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Valve Continues Recruiting Top Linux Talent

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the year-of-linux-on-the-gametop dept.

Games 167

An anonymous reader writes "Valve Software, in their Linux Steam / Source Engine effort, plus the rumored Steam Box, is continuing to hire top Linux developers. So far they have poached the lead developers of the DarkPlaces open-source engine used by Nexuiz/Xonotic, the founder of Battle for Wesnoth, and just yesterday they hired Sam latinga, creator of Simple DirectMedia Layer. According to Michael Larabel, they are still trying to hire more Linux kernel developers, driver experts, and other 'extremely talented Linux developers.'"

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167 comments

Vale Linux (3)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#40651335)

Hope they port all those -games- to linux. A Linux Steam client isn't enough.

Re:Vale Linux (4, Interesting)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 2 years ago | (#40651367)

First party (Valve) games are a given since they all support OpenGL to work on the Mac.

It's up to the game developer to support Linux however.

Re:Vale Linux (4, Interesting)

miknix (1047580) | about 2 years ago | (#40651455)

I repeat what I said before in another post:

Not only that but if you think on it, Valve can actually create a dedicated gaming platform using Linux (with dedicated hardware or not). Steam on Linux might just be the entry point for it.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2896153&cid=40218485 [slashdot.org]

This increasing interest of Valve on hiring Linux based platform developers seems to be going in that way.. : )

Re:Vale Linux (2)

Sark666 (756464) | about 2 years ago | (#40652799)

The only motive where this makes sense to me is because of a dedicated platform using linux. Valve's a great company, but I don't think they'd port to linux just cause 'it's a good thing' to quote John Carmack on his motives for having linux versions of past games. Sadly, even id doesn't do that anymore. What other motive could there be? it's not like the linux market share is growing.

What might make more sense is port steam and these games to android and sell them on the market, but that goes against valve's vision of using steam or something other means of distribution.

Re:Vale Linux (4, Insightful)

SurfsUp (11523) | about 2 years ago | (#40653319)

I don't think they'd port to linux just cause 'it's a good thing' to quote John Carmack on his motives for having linux versions of past games. Sadly, even id doesn't do that anymore.

John played his part admirably, both in providing the open community with several lovely, pragmatic examples of high performance 3D engine design and in preventing Microsoft from killing off OpenGL as a gaming platform. I think that's enough. We ought to be able to take it from here.

Re:Vale Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40653479)

Well, the linux market share isn't yet growing, and I do also suspect you're right about dedicated hardware being the major motivation. But, they have also mentioned in the past that they suspect that Windows 8's Metro UI may start chasing gamers away from Windows, as to put it their way, it appears that Windows 8 looks at Desktops only as an afterthought. So, there is some motivation in addition to the console market opportunities... Personally, I'm looking forward to it for both reasons.

Re:Vale Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651707)

Heh their first task is to support case-sensitive filesystems.

Try installing on a case-sensitive partition on a Mac sometime :) Fail.

Re:Valve Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652389)

Audio and video support is probably the biggest factor. Audio drivers are probably easier to fix -- and good support for a few popular chips, especially the integrated audio chips, would go a long way. So, that leaves video support, with lots of chips and cards out there. Performant opengl and directx api support without help from chip makers isnt going to be easy - and from what posters have said before, vendor supplied drivers leave something to be desired.

They can fix the case sensitive problems in their own source. It will cost them something, but it is something they have control over.

Re:Vale Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652035)

I bet Valve will help with the 3rd party developer support, perhaps a cross-platform answer to DirectX. That will prevent them from getting locked out of the desktop/tablet platforms as more and more software sales move to app stores. If they can offer a lower cut than Microsoft/Apple/Google, then it will be a win/win/win for the developers, Valve and the consumer.

Re:Vale Linux (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651375)

See, I just enjoy Steam for the community. The games are really secondary to what is a top notch social network and built in chat program.

Re:Vale Linux (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651495)

See, I just enjoy Steam for the community. The games are really secondary to what is a top notch social network and built in chat program.

+1 Insane?

Re:Vale Linux (4, Funny)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40653599)

Since GP has conveyed his enjoyment of the Steam community, I think the more apt way of wording the same message is "lol u mad?"

Re:Vale Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651587)

Porting the engines should suffice.
(Ok, including the modifications.)

Re:Vale Linux (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#40652169)

Well, what about a Valve console? Something like Tegra Wayne 4 cores @2GHz, plus 16 GPU cores with XBMC or Android. Would we buy that?

Re:Vale Linux (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#40652293)

That's more or less what Ouya is already trying to do, although scaled down a bit.

Re:Vale Linux (1)

Junta (36770) | about 2 years ago | (#40652381)

Actually, the likelihood would be that Valve would do an x86 based solution with a higher end graphics solution. It will cost more, but it will accomodate the market segment of high end games from big name studios and such that Tegra won't compete with (due to power envelope).

Ouya would aim for cheap and high commonality with tablets and cell phones, which have much tighter power and cost constraints. You'll likely see more interesting independent works on Ouya.

Re:Vale Linux (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#40652935)

Ouya is definitely aiming for something smaller, sure. People underestimate what you can do with that sort of hardware when it's a fixed platform (the thing has almost as much power as a 360), but it's never going to be considered high-end hardware.

That's not to say that you can't do higher end similar hardware. You throw an eight-core Cortex A15 with an eight-core Mali-T658 at a problem, and you're going to have some decent performance. It'll use an unprecedented amount of power for an ARM SoC, but it's within spec. My basic point is that you can scale things up to a certain extent; such a system would already have several times more performance than a Vita, for example.

Re:Vale Linux (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40652337)

If it's not tivoised and there's nothing stopping me from removing Steam from it, and it comes at a good price, and it does indeed run XBMC on Android or on Linux itself, then sure, I would buy that. It sounds like a very attractive package. Steam poops on First Sale, though, so poop on Steam.

Re:Vale Linux (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40652401)

A MUCH smarter move would be to back some of that giant Valve money truck over to the ReactOS guys. Lets face it folks DirectX won years ago because the kronos group cared more about CAD than they did 3D gaming, but if Valve can get a stable Dx11 running on Linux then they can just do an end run around MSFT, and the ReactOS idea is a good one.

Imagine a gaming Linux that was "clicky clicky" simple when it came to things like drivers without being beholden to MSFT and their retarded dreams of being Apple? Hell if MSFT would have given XP X64 the support they should have most folks would have probably been happy to stay on XP, as RAM limits was the thing that pushed many over and now that they are gonna try to ram a stupid appstore down everyone's throat having an OS that'll run DirectX that valve can control would be a smart move.

Like it or not folks OpenGL just isn't as good as DirectX, its too hacky with all the extensions and its just not been given the love like it had in the late 90s when it looked like it had a shot at the title. if you were to suggest getting rid of kronos and focusing on gaming again? I'd be ALL for it, but it looks like OpenGL is gonna be for the CAD guys more than the gamers. If you really want decent gaming support you'r either gonna have to get both GPU manufacturers to focus a hell of a lot more on OpenGL or you're gonna need DirectX support, simple as that.

Re:Vale Linux (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about 2 years ago | (#40652511)

Erm... why, exactly, is OpenGL not up to the task? TF2 in DX9 mode on Wine looked* the same as it did on in Windows with native DirectX, though slightly slower... which is understandable due to the realtime translation being done.

(*Until the Pyromania update broke that feature)

Re:Vale Linux (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 2 years ago | (#40653281)

Need it be pointed out that DX9 is getting rather long in the tooth and should thus not be considered as a basis for a future platform?

In order to work, it'd have to support DX11, otherwise it won't be future-proofed enough and would fall apart with the next console generation just around the corner.

Re:Vale Linux (4, Insightful)

SurfsUp (11523) | about 2 years ago | (#40653373)

Lets face it folks DirectX won years ago because the kronos group cared more about CAD than they did 3D gaming

Let's face it, you're a trolling FUDster. In case you haven't noticed, OpenGL rules the world at the moment, except for exactly one segment that Microsoft runs as a walled garden (an $8 billion vanity project) and the PC gaming segment from which Microsoft failed to completely evict OpenGL, not for want of trying or lack of expenditure. Every other platform is OpenGL, and those platforms are growing far faster than Microsoft's DirectX segment.

On top of that, DirectX has gone back to being the crappy API. Sure, it was first to move on some necessary improvements to the 3D rendering pipeline and for a time it held a technical lead over OpenGL in some ways. But that is history. OpenGL 4+ is to DirectX as... an Arabian stallion is to a Camel? Sure, Microsoft's Camel can race, but it still smells like a camel.

Re:Vale Linux (3, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#40653607)

All smartphones support some form of hardware OpenGL ES acceleration by now and I am not seeing them changing to DirectX any time soon. Considering that there is a huge market in mobile gaming there is plenty of room there. Not to mention that there are more consoles around than the Xbox.

Re:Vale Linux (2)

theArtificial (613980) | about 2 years ago | (#40653571)

Hell if MSFT would have given XP X64 the support they should have most folks would have probably been happy to stay on XP

IE6 would still be alive and massively deployed. Good riddance! Not to kick it while it's down, but see XP & the rise of botnets. I'm glad it wasn't adopted. Not to mention the improved display driver model [wikipedia.org] first in Vista and also in Windows 7.

and now that they are gonna try to ram a stupid appstore down everyone's throat having an OS that'll run DirectX that valve can control would be a smart move.

I'm glad you mentioned this. I'd like to counter this point by saying that this appears to be what the masses want judged by the success of the Android market place (now Google Play) and the App Store. Joe Sixpack accesses the store from his phone/device, selects the desired app, and installs it. A simple process. Most phones have auto update notifications to boot (Wouldn't it be nice if Windows had this without requiring each application to run its own updater, or knowing someone has once-overed the code to the store compliance guidelines? As an example: I have updaters I'm able to name off the top of my head: Adobe Application Updater, Flash (web developer), apps with update checking: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Steam, Malware Bytes, Nvidia, Skype). One of the biggest problems out there is people who don't patch vulnerabilities, many cases the hot fixes and patches were available before the storm hit, creating a problem for even more people.

There have been many vocal posts about how dodgy software plagues the less technical users and how the fault lies either with the OS vendor or application developer. The App Store takes this a step further by vetting code as well as requiring a developers license to submit software. It is massively popular with the masses and very successful at generating revenue for Apple and others who use the marketplace. Not to mention look at how extremely well Apple is doing. I am aware they make most of their money on the phones not just digital purchases. You may be surprised to know Apple isn't the king of devices activated though. The Android daily device activation is number staggering (~12 a second, 1 million a day [webpronews.com] ) which is roughly half of all smartphones.

I've been berated on /. for "not getting it" when talking about computer use (I'm a technical user, to frame it briefly: why wouldn't you want to master a tool which is used in your life daily?). The barrier to entry is lower now than it has ever been, enabling more people to be online than ever before. Now these users are voting with their wallets. Seems like mainframes (cloud) and proprietary systems/walled gardens are all the rage in the industry's mind and the users are not at all concerned with who owns or accesses data and how. As long as they eventually get what they want.

I'd be ALL for it, but it looks like OpenGL is gonna be for the CAD guys

I'm sure games are another legitimate consideration, so is GUI compositing. Shiny sells. That giant screen is used for more than just a phone button interface. You're not thinking about the oodles of handsets that are out there; literally millions more are created daily. Millions of potential customers daily and developers cater to their customers.

OpenGL just isn't as good as DirectX, its too hacky with all the extensions and its just not been given the love like it had in the late 90s when it looked like it had a shot at the title.

Indeed. However, an (arguable) benefit of OpenGL and variants is the graphics are now largely cross platform. DirectX also succeeds because, as a developer wouldn't you be interested in (relative) ease? I'm referring specifically to complexity.

Valve (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651453)

Steam is a pile of !@#$% whether its on Linux or Windows. What Valve needs to do is get busy on L4D3.

Seriously, Linux as a high-end game platform is the worst idea I've ever heard. What are people going to dual boot their game boxes to support all of their games? Do you realize how hard it is keeping a game box stable as it is? Now we are having to screw around with keeping it stable on Linux too?

This is a huge waste of time, and suggests how no adults are running the show over at Valve.

Re:Valve (0)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#40651529)

The only reasons your game box might be unstable are a) failing hardware b) some crappy 3rd party "optomizer" and c) noob overclocking.

Re:Valve (1, Insightful)

pegasustonans (589396) | about 2 years ago | (#40651539)

Steam is a pile of !@#$% whether its on Linux or Windows. What Valve needs to do is get busy on L4D3.

Seriously, Linux as a high-end game platform is the worst idea I've ever heard. What are people going to dual boot their game boxes to support all of their games? Do you realize how hard it is keeping a game box stable as it is? Now we are having to screw around with keeping it stable on Linux too?

This is a huge waste of time, and suggests how no adults are running the show over at Valve.

Are you the guy I always see at the truck-stop diner double fisting coffee with a cigarette in his mouth?

Re:Valve (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#40651657)

I keep my Win7 only because of the games. Like DiabloIII. And some others. Nothing else. Actually, i found out that i do play a lot of flash games, for which you don't need WIN troll.

LOL LOL LOL (1)

bobs666 (146801) | about 2 years ago | (#40653525)

If your gaming platform was Linux it would be stable. Windows has so many holes in, its never going to be stable. You only hope is that the producers make Linux CD's for you. With the ability to install. But of course UNIX's philosophy is source code compatibility, some thing that few people understand the value of that. Source code implys open source and its hard to hide away your profit margin in that case. Open Source code is why Linux(UNIX) is portable across so many hardware platforms. Windows is not portable it only runs on Intel chips.

Interesting times ahead potentially.. (4, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | about 2 years ago | (#40651501)

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo may be in for an interesting landscape in 2013.

It's reasonable to assume Valve isn't doing this for the Linux desktop (though they may be doing things in such a way that Linux desktop is covered 'for free'), but likely related to the other rumors of a Steam branded game console.

If Steam gives a console-equivalent experience in a manner similar to their PC platform, it's likely to be as capable as Sony and MS platforms but a lot more approachable. The 'big studios' are likely to be very enthusiastic about it. So the 'AAA' games will likely hit a Valve platform and probably with a bit more aggressive pricing (at first) compared to Sony and MS.

On the low end, Ouya may stir things up significantly.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (-1, Flamebait)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#40651543)

Yeah, but amazingly the Linux people here still won't be happy. Much in the same way that people criticize Android for being "not real Linux" they will attack Valve's console Linux as "not real Linux" and demand that they can run the game on their distro of choice.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (0, Offtopic)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#40651573)

Oh lovely modded as flamebait. Does anyone here want to refute my point or just meta mod me?

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#40651607)

>Oh lovely modded as flamebait

That's because you made a sweeping generalization about "linux people" that was meant to paint us all in a bad light.

It's flamebait. Deal with it.

--
BMO

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#40651697)

It is flame bait though. You are painting the entire slashdot Linux community with one broad brush and no matter how many Linux people here like myself that applaud what Valve us doing, it only takes one for you to jump up and down screaming 'See? See? I'm right!' basically it was a worthless comment that was modded appropriately.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

nzac (1822298) | about 2 years ago | (#40651753)

I believe you take things out of the context they are generally used and construct a straw man that will take paragraphs of effort to show you are wrong.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | about 2 years ago | (#40651991)

I replied to your post. Also, slashdot has a system where the person with mod points can comment or moderate in one thread but not both.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652323)

But the system can be cheated, like this AC just modded himself "insightful".

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652393)

Now I feel stupid.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40653035)

Oh lovely modded as flamebait. Does anyone here want to refute my point or just meta mod me?

I mod down anyone that bitches about moderation, and anyone that constantly replies to every reply to their posts. You are being a jackass, quit it.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (2)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | about 2 years ago | (#40651575)

There's varying degrees of "linux people" (here and elsewhere). I'm sure there will be sufficient numbers of people celebrating this progress.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | about 2 years ago | (#40651677)

Much in the same way that people criticize Android for being "not real Linux" they will attack Valve's console Linux as "not real Linux" and demand that they can run the game on their distro of choice.

The people I run into saying "Android isn't real Linux" are anti Linux people trying to continue their claims that Linux is a total failure. We must not meet the same people as the pro Linux people I know acknowledge that Android is on a Linux core without rancor.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (-1, Troll)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#40651739)

I've run into plenty of people who say that it isn't real Linux because it isn't GNU/Linux.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

Raenex (947668) | about 2 years ago | (#40652537)

The people I run into saying "Android isn't real Linux" are anti Linux people trying to continue their claims that Linux is a total failure.

It really depends on what you mean by "Linux". The average Linux desktop user, for example, cares about all the "Linux" software that is available to them regardless of the distro. If that same software can't be run on an Android device, then the fact that there's Linux under the hood doesn't carry much merit.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (2)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about 2 years ago | (#40652563)

Well, I would say it's not real linux, and I'm no anti-Linux person. I just can't see Android as Linux without native X11(or Wayland), thus it doesn't run "Linux" applications without some sort of translation layer or port.
Now, Maemo... That's *real* linux. It runs X, Pulseaudio, Busybox, Bash(if you want), and a good number of OSS Linux apps will run natively with a recompile. It's only real lack is no HW-accellerated OpenGL(GLES isn't enough to play OpenGL desktop games etc.), but meh.

As far as I'm concerned, Android is a good start. It's better than iOS or WP7.. But it's only a start, and isn't really Linux(especially so when you have binary driver blobs and such that aren't portable to other kernel versions).

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651951)

Personally I do not care. but since you blatantly paint all linux users the same colour of froothing anti-everything, at the same time all the "windows people" will come out with their funny "desktop linux year" joke while others have used and still use linux on the desktop since the early-mid 90ies (in my own case). Though I rarely bother to get into these flamewars because I do not care what you use, as long as you let me use what i want... and stop lumping me in with the idiot loud fanatics, kthxbye

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651993)

What do you mean by "the Linux people" ? Don't want to consider the possibility that there may be those that really love the idea, those that really hate the idea and many that really couldn't care less either way?

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

BeShaMo (996745) | about 2 years ago | (#40652731)

I know you're trolling, but if they make their own Steambox based on Linux but also support the standard Linux Desktops, I can not see anyone object. If their Linux effort on the other hand becomes limited to a closed console, although based on Linux, there will be a lot of disappointment out there, and rightly so.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651679)

2013? Right there I can dismiss most of your thoughts on the matter. You clearly have no clue how long a project of this nature takes to get to market.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651963)

They have already been working on it for a long time. Had you at least read the title, you would have noticed it contained the word "Continues," which would imply that they are, you know, continuing to do it.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652371)

Again, you have no clue how long it takes a project of this nature to go to market.
 
If they hoped to release in 18 months they'd be past the go/no-go point where hiring on technical talent wouldn't be needed any longer. You seriously do not understand the process.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

Junta (36770) | about 2 years ago | (#40652737)

Have you never been involved a project that past the go/no go point they decided to bring on additional talent, either because a solid opportunity presents itself (e.g. learning a coveted developer is leaving a position or is otherwise more willing to work for your effort than you imagined) or because they realized resources on hand were insufficient in some way or another? Valve has already been reporting significant issues with the layers they are targeting in linux. It would not be surprising that they made use of SDL, determined in QA significant problems in SDL or their use of SDL and they were not getting the attention on problems they needed without paying, and hired the lead of the project to improve attention to their usage of SDL.

Based on the progress demonstrated, they've pretty far along, farther along than I would expect a company to be if they had not yet decided for sure to make a go for it. Or if they haven't decided for sure to make a go for it, they have been risking devolpment resources speculating that they would make a go for it, so the runway is potentially shorter than an organization where no one does *anything* until the business is 100% percent certain.

Remember on the OSX launch, native linux reference could be found by digging. They've been toying with this at least so long that they were doing some build activity back in 1H 2010. All the steam box rumors seem to center around Linux on AMD x86 platform, which isn't so exotic that Valve would face an overwhelming challenge compared with what they already support between Windows and OSX today.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

sd4f (1891894) | about 2 years ago | (#40651985)

I think the main thing is, valve is probably looking at tech such as OnLive as a potential threat, so it appears that releasing their own steam box is probably the best way to fend of competing technologies. Steams livelihood depends on it being the only serious attempt at digital distribution, the landscape is somewhat like the mp3 player days when the ipod came out, ie, big companies were too busy suiting themselves rather than consumers *ahem*sony*cough*. Steam is in a similar situation, where it has the market share compared to other competitors, but, there is still an enormous untapped market, and valve can get smothered in an instant if a competing tech comes in and takes larger shares of the console crowd, which something like OnLive, or sony buying out a company doing similar things, can very easily do!

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40652479)

Sadly more likely the studios other than Valve (EA and Activision, cough cough) will expect, nay DEMAND that the SteamBox be as high or higher than the assrape prices they charge on consoles and will thus screw the whole deal.

Lets face it folks, they sell PC games cheaper because they know the PC gamer can always pirate if they get too damned greedy for too long. Valve has shown with their Steam Sales the way you catch more flies is with honey and the other publishers look at the giant money truck valve gets every Steam sale and want a piece of the pie.

That is the exact opposite of a console, where thanks to being "DRM...in a box" they know Joe Average isn't gonna be able to pirate squat without breaking out a soldering iron and developing some skills, so they can keep the price jacked up longer. it won't matter to the game houses that it is basically a PC, so are the other consoles but the second you put it in a living room they start rubbing their hands together and figuring to the cent how much they can squeeze.

So while i personally would love the hell out of it if Valve pulls it off, as long as they don't abandon us PC Steam users of course, i'd wait until we saw what the other major publishers do. Having Valve games on a SteamBox is all well and good, but if ALL you get is Valve games its not gonna go anywhere.

Re:Interesting times ahead potentially.. (1)

nappingcracker (700750) | about 2 years ago | (#40653385)

It's reasonable to assume Valve isn't doing this for the Linux desktop (though they may be doing things in such a way that Linux desktop is covered 'for free'), but likely related to the other rumors of a Steam branded game console.

Of course they're going to do it for the linux desktop, at least for source engine games (provided DRM continues to function), they are in a position to out compete the entire market, PC, console, engines, development tools.

IMO current and past games are not the big win for Valve. The Source Engine will quickly become THE most attractive engine for future development. It's easily the most disruptive idea to the video game market in a generation. As if digital distribution via Steam wasn't already disruptive, I think this is on the order of...I don't know of a good analog...optical disc vs cartrige? Microsoft's game SDK thing?

  • Easy cross platform PC
  • easy distribution
  • easy drm
  • Nice SDK with all the trimmings that come with it
  • easy community
  • big market
  • digital distribution
  • (as yet unreleased) steambox console
  • and STILL have potential or physical distribution on box or other console platforms

It's a masterstroke IMO.

"top developers" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651567)

A "top" anything is applying his brain to a long-term project and can't just jump from one company to another according to what pays more / makes the most unlikely promises. He is either sitting in a university or at one of the established companies with respectable research divisions, such as IBM.

What they mean here is 1) poaching employees of competitors; 2) employing engineers who have contributed toward core components of Linux.

Re:"top developers" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651909)

Top people will jump at a chance to work on something they really want to work on. They're generally already doing something they really like which is why they don't hop around, but that doesn't mean someone can't come up with something they like even better. These people basically have the opportunity to bring gaming to Linux. If they can pull it off they'll be in Linux history forever.

Weird requirement (-1, Flamebait)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#40651569)

The idea that there are programmers who are "Linux experts" is silly. The difference between programming for Linux and programming for Windows, and programming for whatever other general-purpose platform with moderately mature tools is insignificant. It makes even less sense to seek a "Linux programmer" than it does to seek a "C++ programmer." If you want some expertise beyond just programmer then you look for domain knowledge like 3d engine programming or distributed system programming, or maybe limited resource programming. This guy doesn't look like a Linux programmer. He looks like a guy with a very specific skill set, porting games from Windows to Linux.

Re:Weird requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651709)

If they want to port games to linux, why is it a weird requirement?

Re:Weird requirement (4, Informative)

nzac (1822298) | about 2 years ago | (#40651717)

They are buying knowledge specifically experience not just skills. They are employing people who know far more about linux development than their current staff do.

Employing windows or whatever devs will delay them from having productive staff and will increase the chance they take the wrong approach to the problem. Only the genius windows devs will avoid thinking the windows way is the standard or best way to do something in linux.

Re:Weird requirement (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#40652101)

The knowledge they are buying in this case seems to be the specific experience porting games to Linux. That makes sense. It's a particular task and type of programming. If they were just going after programmers who know how to write software for desktop Linux that would be silly. It's not sufficiently different from writing software for platform X to justify limiting your candidate pool. Employing "Windows or whatever devs" is fine as long as they are competent, and I wouldn't want an incompetent programmer no matter which platform he was most familiar using.

Re:Weird requirement (1)

nzac (1822298) | about 2 years ago | (#40652319)

Everyone wants to work for Valve, they have no problems with talent and are snapping up well known devs.

If they were just going after programmers who know how to write software for desktop Linux that would be silly.

You sound like you mean application development. These are lead devs who have proven they have skills to make things happen in linux, some of which are unique skills that are not needed for dev work in mature environment.

I think you will find you don't employ an experienced dev just for his coding skills that often.

You'd Be Surprised (5, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#40651771)

You know, I used to say stuff like "UNIX is UNIX is UNIX" and "Programming is about patterns, languages are just syntax." And that's true, at a very granular perspective. The C standard library looks pretty much the same across most UNIXes, and you can pick up the basics of any language pretty easily once you get comfortable with the patterns that programs are made out of.

But... this landscape is actually a fractal. If you zoom in a bit you can see whole new landscapes open in front of you. Someone who mostly programs in C# on windows system may not be entirely comfortable with writing a socket server on a UNIX machine. The various UNIX graphics libraries might be confusing and annoying to that person as well. As you start to learn the differences for things like socket handling on BSD style systems (And HPUX ugh,) you start to realize that platform experience does matter. Maybe not so much for your average application development, but if you're trying to squeeze something out of the hardware, it kind of does. A while back I wanted to write a segv stack dumper for C on an AIX system. The interrupt handler installation was pretty standard, but the stack dump code was VERY AIX specific.

Likewise on the language side of things, sure you can pick up the basics of Perl or C or any other (reasonable) language pretty quickly, but mastery of any specific language is something that could easily take an entire career. There's always something more to master. Maybe you want to force loop unwinding with funky switch tricks, maybe you want use C++ templates to set up matrix math at compile time. Maybe at some point you realize how unmaintainable doing that sort of thing actually is and decide not to do it anymore. The more you delve into any one area, the more you will find to learn. Things that looked good at one level might be completely different at the next.

The vast majority of programming projects out there really don't need this level of mastery, of course. Which brings you back to the top of the fractal. If you're the kind of person who can recognize the patterns, you can get by reasonably well on any platform in any language. But for any specific task, someone with more experience on that platform or with that language will almost always write more efficient code.

Re:Weird requirement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651783)

So you're saying working on the linux kernel is the same as working on the windows kernel (which isn't even a unix variant)? Sounds you don't know dick. Are you some kind of entry level C# clown? Obviously they are porting the linux kernel to their console device. Man, you are stupid as shit.

Re:Weird requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652415)

Sounds you don't know dick. Are you some kind of entry level C# clown? Man, you are stupid as shit.

Welcome to Slashdot, Ghost of Steve Jobs!

Re:Weird requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652483)

C'mon, we should welcome these former Digg regulars instead of insulting them.

Although GP did pack an amazing amount of nonsense into about six sentences.

Re:Weird requirement (5, Insightful)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 2 years ago | (#40651871)

I did my Google Summer of Code project under Sam. He's a great guy, and he basically wrote SDL from nothing. Hell, as far as I'm aware, he's possibly the only living person who understands its autotools-based build system ;-).

He won't just be able to port games. If the rumors are true and Valve is building their own full-scale gaming platform (a Valve console, say), then putting Sam Lantinga with the Source engine for starters will be a great start to their platform's API.

Re:Weird requirement (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40653437)

While SDL overall is a great library, Sam is undoubtedly talented, and I thank him for releasing a great library, in many ways, I would not want him in charge of many things. I used to be a heavy SDL user so I am extremely grateful, but I have to say after moving on to SFML, Ogre, and other open source libs (as well as professionally working with everything from UDK to custom in-house engines and low-level libs), I want to stab SDL in the face. I can't really blame him too much since C is C, but sometimes that lib makes me cry.

Sam seems like a guy with some good ideas or who might be great for grunt work, but SDL is a horrid library in terms of design. Retrospect is nice of course...wish he would redo the lib from scratch. SDL has caused a lot of people some serious pain over the years, but conversely brought us leaps and bounds over what was freely available before. SDL is anything but a showcase of great design, although one could argue that it "just works." Such is the case with a lot of of software open or closed source in general. I just hope he has learned from his mistakes. Your comment about the build system is very revealing - if only one person understands it, this is not to be commended.

I can tell you one of the major barriers to entry I've faced in both the games and business software industry with open source is the horrid and neglected APIs, and in the case of C and C++ especially, the ridiculous build systems (bjam and boost, SDL and autotools, and so on). Hopefully he can learn from Valve and likewise they can learn from him. Wish him the best, but please don't let him design any more APIs without a sane human being editing and challenging his assumptions.

Linux kernel developers wanted? (1)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | about 2 years ago | (#40652571)

Among the possibly weird requirements:

According to Michael Larabel, they are still trying to hire more Linux kernel developers [...]

So what, you need changes to the Linux kernel in other to make the game platform work smoothly? That doesn't sound good. Either Steam sucks as a platform or Linux sucks for doing game-oriented graphics.

Re:Linux kernel developers wanted? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40653011)

Kernel developers write drivers too. For example an anti cheat software driver that runs at the kernel.

Re:Weird requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40653009)

Writing "Hello World" is the same on every platform. Doing real work isn't. Valve is trying to do real work.

valve sells oppressive closed source bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651571)

if you're just going to run closed source apps you might as well stop being cheap and buy a mac. macs deliver the unix desktop dream that linux has failed to produce. the only reason to run linux on the desktop is that you believe in the open source ideal, if you're just going to buy closed source games from valve might as well just get a mac and get them through the app store.

Re:valve sells oppressive closed source bullshit (0)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | about 2 years ago | (#40651721)

if you're just going to run closed source apps you might as well stop being cheap and buy a mac. macs deliver the unix desktop dream that linux has failed to produce. the only reason to run linux on the desktop is that you believe in the open source ideal, if you're just going to buy closed source games from valve might as well just get a mac and get them through the app store.

DRM. Customer lockin.

Re:valve sells oppressive closed source bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651875)

Oh, yeah, good point. Valve's DRM is atrocious! Meanwhile the Mac app store let's you download whatever you buy with no restriction and run it on any Macs you own! Isn't it funny (or maybe sad) how Linux distros are more dumbed down than a Mac and thanks to Valve will be riddled with DRM? See that's the advantage Apple has. They sell hardware. They don't give a shit if you install Bung Commando III on your cousins laptop when he visits you during Thanksgiving. Meanwhile Valve sure as hell won't allow it! Haha...Linux is such a failure on the desktop.

Re:valve sells oppressive closed source bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651737)

Incorrect.

Not only top Linux talent... (-1, Troll)

uxaskalli (2021868) | about 2 years ago | (#40651577)

...but they have also recruited a top Linux site for all their public relations! Or has anything on Valve's Linux efforts come from any other source than Phoronix?

Re:Not only top Linux talent... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651693)

does Gabe count, or is he a suspected silent partner in phoronix by now?

Could there be... (1)

wiwa (905999) | about 2 years ago | (#40651609)

a Linux-powered Steam Box in the works? Probably not, given the technical challenges of getting Steam's huge library of DirectX-based games to run reliably on Linux, but it's an intriguing possibility.

Re:Could there be... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40652015)

I think it's still the most likely suggestion that's been raised so far. Another possibility is arcade machines, I know that industry is kind of whimpering in the corner right now but it's still feasible. Or given the hardware work they've done maybe they're imagining Linux-powered AR gaming? Who knows.

Source engine games will be easy ports, at least.

Re:Could there be... (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#40652333)

Because nobody ever ported a game between the XBox 360 (which uses a variant of DirectX) and the PS3 (whose PSGL graphics API is a variant of OpenGL ES) before, right? Many games these days are already running on multiplatform engines that get you the other platforms for free anyhow. Source has already been shown running on Linux, which means any Source game should be an easy port. Unreal runs on anything, and that seems to power most games. Any engine that runs on OS X can probably be adapted relatively easily to run on Linux, since you've already ported the graphics code at that point anyhow. As for the rest, well, every current major gaming platform already has a different environment, but we still see tons of cross-platform titles.

I wish them best luck... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#40651635)

Really, but unfortunately, it would be only a wish. Except if Christmas exists of course.

This might keep NVIDIA in the console business (4, Interesting)

goruka (1721094) | about 2 years ago | (#40651703)

Given that it seems all Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony will be going with AMD for their next-gen graphics hardware, nVidia will likely be the one to supply graphics hardware for the Steam box (as their Linux drivers are by far the most mature).

Re:This might keep NVIDIA in the console business (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651759)

Given that it seems all Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony will be going with AMD for their next-gen graphics hardware, nVidia will likely be the one to supply graphics hardware for the Steam box (as their Linux drivers are by far the most mature).

As long as you aren't using an Optimus card. Then nVidia's driver support can best be described as "#$%* you!"

better linux graphics drivers? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40651723)

I'm interested to see if this means that these newly hired valve devs will be put to improving the now lackluster Linux graphics drivers. In addition, with pressure or cooperation from valve, nvidia or and may also be more likely to improve on their open source / Linux drivers as well. Either way, this is probably gonna be a win win for the Linux / Linux gaming community.

Poaching? (5, Funny)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#40651869)

Poaching is the act of taking another persons livestock. The use of the word in this context means the author considers people the equivalent of livestock to the corporate ranchers.

Re:Poaching? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652191)

They don't call it "Human Resources" for nothin. Capitalism quantifies all things, even people.

Re:Poaching? (4, Funny)

EnsilZah (575600) | about 2 years ago | (#40652467)

Poaching is also 'the process of gently simmering food in liquid, generally milk, stock or wine', clearly Gabe Newell's hunger for human flesh has must be satisfied... for now...

bad news for valve (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652043)

Linux is failure. Any big project that associates itself with the platform FAILS. If linux is their plan than valve has already failed against their REAL competition : Apple. Apple is now the #1 gaming platform company and their platform is faster, stabler, easier to use and far far less infringing on copyrights and patents than linux. So yeah valve needs to smarten up and beg apple to buy them or something. Anything less and they are dead in a year, two Max.

Think different.
think BETTER.
Think Apple!

Re:bad news for valve (1)

SScorpio (595836) | about 2 years ago | (#40652291)

Valve was valued at between 1.5 - 2 billion last Feburary by Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/oliverchiang/2011/02/15/valve-and-steam-worth-billions/ [forbes.com]

They are also more profitable per employee than either Apple or Google. I think they'll be able to put up a fight. Sure their gaming market isn't as large, but they produce games that are played to have fun, versus casual games you can play for a minute or two while the barista is making your whatever crap your drinking.

Re:bad news for valve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652661)

> Linux is failure. Any big project that associates itself with the platform FAILS.
Android?

hEp? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652387)

beyOnd the scope of

Name Correction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652465)

... its Sam Lantinga (with an N before the T).

yup. this sticks out like a sore thumb (2)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#40653063)

Lantinga was at one of the first linux game companies, Loki Software, way way way back in the day, the company was trying to port windows games to linux and make a profit. Didn't work out so hot, but Lantinga made SDL out of it, and then he got the job at Blizzard .

Cmon folks lets get his name right.

Oh well (2)

humanrev (2606607) | about 2 years ago | (#40652649)

It's times like this I'm sad when we've got a completely non-DRM store like GOG which is completely overshadowed by something like Steam, where the access to your games are entirely in the hands of Valve and if something fucks up, you can't play. We've now got a generation who believe this is OK, rather than someone older like me who's seen enough issues with such a system to be extremely weary of it.

I guess the only good part is that the number of people who've been fucked by Steam restrictions are probably far and few between, but given the little time most of us have to play games, I don't see why we can't just be fickle and go to non-DRM stores when purchasing games to feed what is ultimately a waste-of-time hobby.

Re:Oh well (1)

jensen404 (717086) | about 2 years ago | (#40652849)

I have more issues with DRM when it restricts my hardware choices, such as DRM for audio, video and books. That DRM limits which devices the media can be used with, such as when iTunes music was limited to iPods and Mac/Windows. On the other hand, I can run Steam on any device that can run the game. For me, the advantages of Steam outweigh the disadvantages of its DRM, except when it comes to the one movie on the service. I won't be buying Indiegame the Movie on Steam, because it restricts my viewing options.

Re:Oh well (1)

humanrev (2606607) | about 2 years ago | (#40653425)

Fair enough. I shall admit that a good portion of not wanting to use Steam is also because I don't have the discipline to avoid those fucking AWESOME sales they keep having (such as now). I have in the past ended up with a significant backlog of games I simply don't have enough time to play, and often were purchased simply because of a good daily deal, even though they end up not being my type of game anyway.

In any case, I guess I feel concern for those gamers who are adamant of ONLY using Steam for all their gaming needs (even though it's admittedly convenient), since they're putting all their eggs in one basket - a single point of failure. If Steam didn't have DRM and you could play virtually all games via the .exe in their folders, then I'd probably go back to it. It's still possible - Valve are a big player in PC gaming, they could leverage it perhaps.

Not for the client! (1)

bobs666 (146801) | about 2 years ago | (#40653467)

Linux has been the go to desktop for people in the know. I know have used Linux as my professional desktop for 20 years.

How ever getting Linux people does not imply any change to the game clients. For Valve to work, and it does, one has to assume it runs on Unix and and in this day Linux is the #1 Unix. So getting Linux developers to make the Valve servers better is a no brainier.
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