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Blizzard Still Has a World of Warcraft Linux Client

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  • #51
    Dumb argument

    One of the big problems with Linux, and this is from other game developers too, is the problem of targeting a specific version of the platform. Since everyone is free to create their own distros, they can become somewhat unstandardized. That makes "targeting linux" difficult.
    I HATE this argument. People who spout this argument on forums always make it sound as if the software vendor in question would have to support every distribution ever created. Nobody complains that companies don't support running games on Windows Server 2003, or 2008 or whatever they're up to now.

    I wish there were a way we could see what the statistical distribution of linux distributions is among desktop users. I'm pretty certain that such stats would show that there's really only 2 distros that software vendors have to worry about: Ubuntu and Fedora. They only support a few past releases, and there's 64-bit and 32-bit versions. That's it. And it's all the same damn software!

    How many versions of windows are there? Windows 7, Vista, XP. I won't count the others, since they aren't supported. They each have 64-bit and 32-bit versions. How many different versions of Mac OS X? I'm too lazy to look it up on Wikipedia, but there's a bunch, and there's the extra complication of having to worry about ppc and x86.

    The point of all this is, the situation isn't really that different on other platforms either. I think vendors just like to cite the "fragmentation" of Linux as an excuse to not spend money on porting because they mistakenly think that there's no user base on Linux. These are arguments that may have been valid 10 or even 5 years ago, but I think it's damn time that companies take notice of the fact that the winds are changing.

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    • #52
      I also think it is a really bad excuse by Blizzard. Now, I'm not a programmer, but there are so many examples of commercial software for Linux with no problems, so I don't believe in the "terrible fragmentation" of the Linux ecosystem.

      To take an example, I work in VFX doing compositing (and some 3D). The app I use is Nuke (http://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/nuke) and we have a Linux pipeline. The company say they only support RHEL/CentOS, but I've used it on Arch, Ubuntu and Gentoo (besides Fedora). No problem whatsoever. It is also one of the easiest apps to install: Just unpack the tar.gz and run the install.sh script, which just moves the content to /usr/local. Why even bother with RPM/DEB? You no doubt have had similar experiences with other software.

      You would think a highend DCC app has higher QA requirements than a game, so Blizzard saying it's a "hard market to target" is BS - just pack it in a self-contained folder, say the game requires Ubuntu 8.04+ and let the community handle the rest. Unfortunately I don't know what would convince them to embrace the Linux market. It seems they've made up their mind...

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      • #53
        Originally posted by numasan View Post
        Unfortunately I don't know what would convince them to embrace the Linux market. It seems they've made up their mind...
        It would take another big game company to open-up that market and test it for them, so they don't have to do it themselves. Indie game companies have no problem targetting linux and I'm almost certain they have less resources for doing this than Blizzard.

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        • #54
          lets face it. Wine is bad for linux. Why port a game? Just let the people run it with wine. Oh, there are missing features and wine really sucks? Too bad - don't care.

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          • #55
            It can be done but it is still not easy

            I am playing with a nice suprise from Unigine this morning. It's a binary and I am away from home. I popped it onto a machine that is not my dev machine and it just worked. Unigine uses OpenGL and OpenAL on Linux. It has very few external dependencies. I haven't tried to run it on a non *buntu machine but I haven't seen anybody asking for support on the forums either. It can be done.

            I do get where Blizzard are comming from though. Wow has something of a mainstream audience many of whom are likely to try Wow on Linux distro of there choice. It will be very difficult to train their support monkeys for this eventuality. Linux gives you a lot of rope.

            I have noticed that a lot Windows apps are now doing a installer that runs first and downloads the right files to deal with 32bit vs 64bit systems. I imagine if gaming really starts happening on Linux then we will see something similiar.

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            • #56
              ABI Portability?

              ABI breakage isn't really an issue, as you really can have multiple ABI versions of libraries installed for linking at run time. To take stdc++ as an example (it's a bad example, but someone used it earlier), observe the following, run on my linux (Debian) box:
              Code:
              $ locate libstdc++ | egrep '/lib(32)?/.*\.(so|a)(\.[^/]*)?$'
              /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.5
              /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.5.0.7
              /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6
              /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6.0.13
              /usr/lib/gcc/i586-mingw32msvc/4.2.1-sjlj/libstdc++.a
              /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-linux-gnu/4.3/libstdc++.a
              /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-linux-gnu/4.3/libstdc++.so
              /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-linux-gnu/4.4/libstdc++.a
              /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-linux-gnu/4.4/libstdc++.so
              /usr/lib32/libstdc++.so
              /usr/lib32/libstdc++.so.5
              /usr/lib32/libstdc++.so.5.0.7
              /usr/lib32/libstdc++.so.6
              /usr/lib32/libstdc++.so.6.0.13
              /usr/lib32/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.4/libstdc++.a
              /usr/lib32/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.4/libstdc++.so
              /usr/lib32/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.5/libstdc++.a
              /usr/lib32/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.5/libstdc++.so
              That's two run-time versions, and two compile time versions, both in 32-bit AND 64-bit flavours, and as a bonus there's a compile time library for Windows software.

              The best bit? The run time dynamic linker automatically selects the correct version when you run any program that uses it!
              And heck, that's only if you use dynamic linking for libstdc++ (few third-party binaries do).

              Any other relevant library works the same way (for various superobvious reasons, libGL doesn't have the static linking option, though).

              Packaging for multiple distributions? Every linux flavour under the sun supports the most logical way to do this for third party binaries, especially games: Put the whole lot in one directory. /opt/blizzard/WoW anyone?

              Not that I actually care about WoW, but any perceived platform targetting issues are expulsions from the anus of a male bovine.

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              • #57
                Originally posted by yogi_berra View Post
                The latest Wolfenstein is not an iD game and when TTimo retires Linux ports of their games will disappear.
                Well ya it is a iD game, developed out of house.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfens..._video_game%29

                Development

                Wolfenstein uses an improved version of id Software's id Tech 4 video game engine, the technology behind Doom 3 and Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars. The game was developed by Raven Software for Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The modifications to the game engine include depth of field effects, soft shadowing, post-processing effects, Havok physics, as well as the addition of a supernatural realm, called The Veil. While in the Veil the player has access to certain special abilities, such as the power to slow down time, to get around obstacles that exist in the real world, or even to be able to defeat enemies that have an otherwise impenetrable shield (similar to "Spirit Walk" from the previous id Tech 4 title Prey)[11][12] The multiplayer part of Wolfenstein was developed by Endrant Studios. Wolfenstein is the only recent id Software game not planned to have a Linux port, with the person in charge of Linux ports at id Timothee Besset commenting that "It is unlikely the new Wolfenstein title is going to get a native Linux release. None of it was done in house, and I had no involvement in the project."[13]

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                • #58
                  Originally posted by kayosiii View Post
                  I do get where Blizzard are comming from though. Wow has something of a mainstream audience many of whom are likely to try Wow on Linux distro of there choice. It will be very difficult to train their support monkeys for this eventuality. Linux gives you a lot of rope.
                  I'm not sure I completely follow this statement. A mainstream audience who also uses Linux would use a mainstream distro = Ubuntu (-derivative). Most others with a different distro of choice (because they know we have a choice) would quickly find help on various community forums, as Blizzard could say they only support Ubuntu (maybe even outsource the support to Canonical).

                  In any case I find it hard to believe that users of "special" distros, or even Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, would call/write Blizzard if they have minor problems like installation/no sound/etc, and not just use the internet. Heck, with a game like WoW that for me seems very technical/advanced to play (read: not Angry Birds...), I would imagine people invested in this game have the skill to fix minor problems themselves (search for answers, explore options, etc).

                  All in all I don't think Blizzard have anything to fear from Linux, and I'm sure they don't with their talent-base, it's just that they are lazy and find it easier to make up excuses and misconceptions.

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                  • #59
                    Originally posted by allquixotic View Post
                    To date, the only binary package distributor that seems to get it 100% right with binary packages is Sun/Oracle, especially with VirtualBox. Their build system must be unimaginably atrocious, but they support a ton of recent distros with packages built explicitly for each distro of interest. I have yet to install a mainstream distro that they don't support. Take a look for yourself: http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads

                    Eighteen separate packages!
                    This is easily enough to do with a service like opensuse's build server. Current templates allow for building 22 different distro versions as well as it is able to build for multiple architectures (x86, x86-64, powerpc, arm4l, arm5el, arm7el, s390x, ia64).

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                    • #60
                      Originally posted by deanjo View Post
                      Well ya it is a iD game, developed out of house.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfens..._video_game%29
                      Thanks for the obligatory wikipedia link showing that you failed to retain the relevant parts of the "will they port discussion" before Wolfenstein was released.

                      It is not an iD game, it is a Raven game using iD's IP and engine that were licensed for the game.

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