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Interview With Icculus on GNU/Linux Gaming

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the ioquake3-between-stories dept.

Games 74

Via Phoronix comes a link to an interview with prolific GNU/Linux game porter Icculus about the state of gaming on GNU/Linux. Topics include Steam, Windows 8, his experiences trying to push FatELF vs full screen games, and the general state of the game industry. From the article (on the general state of games on GNU/Linux): "It's making progress. We're turning out to have a pretty big year, with Unity3D coming to the platform, and Valve preparing to release Steam. These are just good foundations to an awesome 2013."

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Unity games not Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42162391)

You'll be able to run Unity made games on Linux BUT not able to run Unity itself

Re:Unity games not Unity (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about 2 years ago | (#42163809)

Still, I always thought it was a pretty serious gap in Unity's coverage that you couldn't compile games for Linux, being able to develop on linux would be nice but one step at a time.

What's the point? (0, Troll)

u17 (1730558) | about 2 years ago | (#42162407)

The whole point of GNU/Linux is that you have complete control over and significant trust of your system. If you bring closed, proprietary, DRM-infested software onto it, you're just turning it into another Windows; you might as well just go back to it.

No, what we need to get these people to do is to give us the code to their engines (even if under a mostly proprietary license). That way we will be able to continue enjoying what makes GNU/Linux attractive and play games as well.

Re:What's the point? (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#42162429)

If you bring closed, proprietary, DRM-infested software onto it, you're just turning it into another Windows; you might as well just go back to it.

Nonsense. Bringing in Steam and closed source games doesn't turn a GNU/Linux platform into a closed source OS. The closed bits have to behave and accept that I control the system.

you might as well just go back to it.

I'm trying to get away from it. Games moving to Linux gives me more reason to leave.

what we need to get these people to do is to give us the code to their engines (even if under a mostly proprietary license).

Some do, eventually.

that way we will be able to continue enjoying what makes GNU/Linux attractive and play games as well.

How about we move games, and users, to Linux first? Silly absolutist stances accomplish nothing.

Re:What's the point? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42163373)

If you bring closed, proprietary, DRM-infested software onto it, you're just turning it into another Windows; you might as well just go back to it.

Nonsense. Bringing in Steam and closed source games doesn't turn a GNU/Linux platform into a closed source OS. The closed bits have to behave and accept that I control the system.

I'm amazed at the number of people with such an attitude to which you respond. For some reason, some number of unintelligent people actually believe making Linux popular and attractive to game developers and publishers, somehow Linux itself will be magically destroyed. The complete lack of critical thought to reach such a conclussion is truly amazing I completely agree with you. Even beyond that, availability of Steam and game frameworks is going to attract developers and games, which have absolutely nothing to do with Steam.

Re:What's the point? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42165691)

Actually, for many in the Linux community, if Linux were to become popular, it would be magically destroyed. For many, Linux is not just an operating system, it is an exclusive club. Like all exclusive clubs, the appeal is the exclusivity...i.e. "I'm better than you because I'm in club X." If the platform were to become popular, it would destroy the exclusivity, and then the nerds would have to find something else to make themselves feel superior.

Then, there are the purists. "All closed-source software is evil." As stated above, this is silly absolutist thinking. Here is the fact: A software vendors has the right to do WHATEVER THEY WANT with THEIR OWN CODE. If they want to release the code, then good...but if the vendor wants to keep the code closed, then GOOD! Neither side is "right" or "wrong"--its merely a cost/benefit analysis. Some software makes absolutely no sense being open source, while other things make perfect sense. Purists exist ONLY out of their own selfish desire to control other people.

Frankly, I say: bring steam, games, and all manner of closed-source software. Let it even stay closed, because that is Valve's decision, not mine. My decision is whether or not I install/use/purchase Valve's products.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42163623)

Silly absolutist stances accomplish nothing when constantly undermined by non-adherants.

Re:What's the point? (3, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | about 2 years ago | (#42163633)

What's with the assumption that with Steam coming to Linux, games will automatically follow? It certainly hasn't worked that way for their Mac library.

Re:What's the point? (3, Insightful)

EvilIdler (21087) | about 2 years ago | (#42163987)

Everything already existing hasn't been ported, but I've definitely noticed a rise in games with Windows/OS X simultaneous launch on Steam. Every game doesn't get a port, but the ones which do at least get them sooner. But OS X probably has ~15x as many desktop users as the various Linux distros, so it might not be that awesome for Linux. We can be certain the indies won't have any reservations now, though. Unity3D is huge among them, and the Linux client export is a first-class feature, like the OS X and Windows players.

Re:What's the point? (3, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#42164789)

OSX is dramatically closer to the market share of Desktop Linux than it is to Windows. OSX has somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-10% more of the market than Linux. This isn't to say that the Linux market is large. It is to say that the OS X market is tiny. As much as Mac fans want to rave about how their platform is a major contender, it really isn't. It is a niche OS that has been marketed well enough that it looks like a major OS.

Before the fanboys come out of the woodwork to accuse me of being a 'Hater'. Please notice that I did not comment on the quality of the OS. Only it's market share.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42171183)

If the Humble Bundle statistics are anything to go by, Linux has a larger population of gamers than Mac OS.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42173373)

No, it just goes to show that Linux users have no other place to go to to buy commercial games at the moment.

Re:What's the point? (-1, Offtopic)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 years ago | (#42163645)

The truth is, most Linux users don't care about games.
There are much more interesting uses of a computer than gaming.

Re:What's the point? (4, Insightful)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about 2 years ago | (#42163815)

The truth is, most Linux users don't care about games.

There is a causal element there: Most people who care about games don't use linux. If games come to linux that could change.

Re:What's the point? (-1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 years ago | (#42163935)

People who use Linux do so because they want a good operating systems to actually do things productively.
People who want games just want a toy, which is why they use Windows.

The only thing bringing games to Linux will do is provide a bit of occasional entertainment for the existing Linux users. Don't expect people to migrate to Linux because of that. The people that do not use Linux do not do so because it doesn't have games, it's because they don't look for the same thing in a computer.

Re:What's the point? (1, Redundant)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#42164809)

That is simply wrong. Why would you think something like that?

Re:What's the point? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#42165841)

What about people who use Android?

Re:What's the point? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 years ago | (#42166677)

By Linux, I mean GNU/Linux, of course.

Re:What's the point? (2)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about 2 years ago | (#42167063)

Actually I am a gamer, and I have been wanting to move to linux for ages because it is simply better than windows. Yes I just want a toy, but linux can be a toy, linux can be whatever you want it to be and that is the great thing about it.

Re:What's the point? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42162471)

Hey honey. Wake up, go to the street, get some fresh air. Phone a friend, a girl if you know any. Drink a tea or a beer with her. Go to bed, feel happy playing with your "google".

Now that you are a healthy humane person, repeat with me: If you computer does have a free operating system running propietary software from time to time, that is much better than having a propietary operating system running free software from time to time.

If you can't understand that, then just buy a Mac and stop whinning.

Re:What's the point? (1, Insightful)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#42163247)

W.T.F. How did that patronising, sarcastic comment get +4? The parent isn't even a troll, it just raises a quite extreme viewpoint

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42167347)

It's called "intelligence".

Re:What's the point? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42162745)

Why would this be modded troll? Steam is DRM. You are either for DRM on Linux or you are opposed to it.

Re:What's the point? (4, Funny)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#42162789)

I'm all for DRM, I really like the accelerated desktop experience personally.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42163137)

I'm all for DRM, I really like the accelerated desktop experience personally.

I am all for SMTP, I really like the accelerated hard drive read rates.

Both were the same statement.

Re:What's the point? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42163189)

You're an idiot. DRM in the context of the Linux kernel means Direct Rendering Management, part of the graphics subsystem which does in fact help with desktop acceleration.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42163589)

The use of a false dichotomy is not going to help your original position. Linux gives people the choice to either embrace DRM or avoid it. Windows loads that shit by default even if someone chooses to avoid it. In other words if you want to avoid DRM then don't download steam or any games that use DRM. That shouldn't be too hard.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Vince6791 (2639183) | about 2 years ago | (#42163557)

Why does the linux communities have to act like a bunch of bullies. You expect a company who spend millions of dollars and years to develop a game or gaming engine to release the source code to you just like that, get real. If you are talented to add features or modify a game engine than maybe you are talented enough to create your own game engine from scratch instead of expecting others to give one to you for free. And nobody is forcing you to install a closed sourced or DRM based program. Linux desktop will never overtake windows because of this attitude from linux community towards closed proprietary programs. Windows may not be free but at least it has the all games and applications that I need. I really don't give a crap if the software is closed, open, drm, proprietary, free, $$, if i need it I will buy it.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42164253)

Linux desktop will never overtake windows because of this attitude from linux community towards closed proprietary programs.

We can only hope so. One 'Eternal September' was enough. Weren't you supposed to be on the 'B' ark?

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42222275)

Bullies?

Steam is the very definition of bullies.

That you can't see that shows how fucking retarded you are.

Stop letting corporations do your thinking for you.

Re:What's the point? (1)

spcebar (2786203) | about 2 years ago | (#42165419)

No, what we need to get these people to do is to give us the code to their engines (even if under a mostly proprietary license). That way we will be able to continue enjoying what makes GNU/Linux attractive and play games as well.

That just doesn't leave enough incentive for developers to work on the platform. I'm a die hard Linux fan, but I don't think most game developers are. And keeping us happy isn't really that high on their priorities list. I think they're thinking somewhere along the lines of "take it or leave it"? Lord knows Valve can afford it.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#42167451)

For most applications i would agree, but games?

These are applications that noone *needs*, noone depends on, don't hold your data to ransom and just provide casual entertainment... Just keep them appropriately sandboxed away from any of your important data.

DRM is a separate issue, and a ridiculous one... Sooner or later they will realise it just doesn't and cannot work, and all they achieve is to irritate their paying customers while making the pirate copies more attractive.

You do make a good point however, code to software should always be made available even if under restrictive terms. I want to see how things work, debug problems and perhaps make minor changes or fix bugs for my own use.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42167737)

I guess we're allowed all the freedom we want, unless it's the freedom to run closed source software then asshats like you try to take away my freedoms. Why do you hate freedom so much?

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42222315)

Nothing stops you from running closed software on Linux.

So WTF is your problem?

Steam is dacronian DRM. There is no dispute about it. If you don't care that you have to ask permission to run apps you bought, well there is a fucking retard born every minute.

FLUFFHEAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42162451)

LOLssia

Re:FLUFFHEAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42162811)

Sir, are your children old enough to read Icculus?

Walled Garden (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about 2 years ago | (#42162507)

From the interview:

Between Apple and Microsoft, Valve has to fight for a less restrictive platform.

The interesting thing here is that Microsoft, Google, and Apple are all building app stores with serious restrictions as a way to improve security, but aside from making stronger brands and improving user experience in removing malware, they don't get a lot out of the restrictiveness. Apple doesn't make money by not allowing pornography apps. There is potential for abuse, but realistically none of the major players have been doing a lot to promote their own software with these restrictions and seem mostly focused on preventing apps that kill battery life, could be malware, or create development chains controlled by their competitors in ways that leave them strategically vulnerable.

That said, I think they could all be persuaded to have more open policies, ones that would allow Steam to be a first class citizen, if they could get the same level of security. The main problem is that in all these walled garden stores the security auditing and the distribution system are tied together and managed centrally by one company. If we could persuade them to split these apart and allow third party security auditing that applies a filter to the distribution system and then put in place policies of completely open distribution, where they distribute anything... but by default apply a user editable filter that removes all the same things they do now it would still solve their security and battery woes for the mass market (potentially improving it by making it competitive) but also open up distribution for third parties like Steam.

In the above scenario Steam would face more competition as well, as much of their value added would already be bundled, but I'm sure Valve would be willing to go with it and innovate in order to earn their dollar.

Re:Walled Garden (3, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#42162523)

The interesting thing here is that Microsoft, Google, and Apple are all building app stores with serious restrictions as a way to improve security, but aside from making stronger brands and improving user experience in removing malware, they don't get a lot out of the restrictiveness.

Google is largely exempt from this implication so long as Android continues to come with a simple check-box for side loading software.

If we could persuade them to split these apart and allow third party security auditing that applies a filter to the distribution system and then put in place policies of completely open distribution, where they distribute anything... but by default apply a user editable filter that removes all the same things they do now it would still solve their security and battery woes for the mass market (potentially improving it by making it competitive) but also open up distribution for third parties like Steam.

For Android this is already possible, as evidenced by the Amazon App Store. For Microsoft and Apple, you'll have to force the issue legally. They're quite content to maintain lock-down on their "current" platforms. I say current because Microsoft has extended the walled garden to x86, but only for formerly-Metro applications.

Re:Walled Garden (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about 2 years ago | (#42163117)

The interesting thing here is that Microsoft, Google, and Apple are all building app stores with serious restrictions as a way to improve security, but aside from making stronger brands and improving user experience in removing malware, they don't get a lot out of the restrictiveness.

Google is largely exempt from this implication so long as Android continues to come with a simple check-box for side loading software.

I'm not sure I agree. The problem with Google's solution is that it does not do just what I described, split the security auditing from the distribution. To get software Google does not approve of (for any not necessarily disclosed reason) you have to go out on a limb and try to independently verify the security of an app, and frankly 99% of users can't do that. This is one of the major reasons why there is such a malware problem on Android compared to the other phone platforms.

For Android this is already possible, as evidenced by the Amazon App Store.

You're missing the point. There are also app stores for jailbroken iPhones and numerous stores for Windows and Mac OS X. The problem with them is that they are separate stores with separate policies and separate interfaces trying to compete with a pre-bundled store. That's great for power users but not so great for normal users.

For Microsoft and Apple, you'll have to force the issue legally. They're quite content to maintain lock-down on their "current" platforms.

Again, I disagree. Both Apple and MS retain their models because of the benefits it brings them, but the model I proposed retains those benefits and actually provides more benefit to the company. It is my belief that both MS and Apple would make more money if they had a store in place that divorced auditing from distribution, but maybe not enough to offset the cost of building such a platform. Sometimes it doesn't take legal action to get something beneficial to the user, just enlightened self interest. Look at Apple's opposition to DRM on music. They fought long and hard to get DRM removed from contracts and to paint it in a negative light in the public eye. They didn't do this out of altruism, but because it made them more money by making the whole system better for end users and thus sold more music players.

Re:Walled Garden (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#42163523)

The problem with Google's solution is that it does not do just what I described, split the security auditing from the distribution.

No, my point was that the stores with serious restrictions are not purely for security purposes. Google does not have a walled garden, Microsoft and Apple do, and they do because they want 100% control over the platform. Beyond security, it lets them play gatekeeper and impose a toll on both developers and users they haven't been able to before.

Every store is going to perform its own vetting, there's no real way to divorce it from the companies except in Google's case, and they'll do it anyway if they want their reputation to mean anything (and it needs improving.) Microsoft and Apple will never budge, as they want you to be their only option. Apple may have pushed to remove DRM on music, but they haven't made a peep about ebooks or movies, let alone the effective DRM that iOS as a whole imposes.

Re:Walled Garden (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about 2 years ago | (#42163709)

The problem with Google's solution is that it does not do just what I described, split the security auditing from the distribution.

No, my point was that the stores with serious restrictions are not purely for security purposes. Google does not have a walled garden, Microsoft and Apple do, and they do because they want 100% control over the platform. Beyond security, it lets them play gatekeeper and impose a toll on both developers and users they haven't been able to before.

I understand your point but I don't think I agree. It is easy to try to villify Apple and MS for their choices and to ascribe all sorts of nefarious motives. I think it's bunk. I think they're primarily interested in making money and the App stores are there to make it convenient and easy for users to get apps without getting any malware. It serves the needs of 90% of users and makes things very easy for those users at the expense of power users and those who want a bit more choice.

You ascribe, for example, the ability to impose a toll on developers, but really Apple makes jack from developer licensing and their share of content distribution. They make their money on the hardware and the whole app store thing is just a means to make users happy so they can get there.

Every store is going to perform its own vetting, there's no real way to divorce it from the companies except in Google's case, and they'll do it anyway if they want their reputation to mean anything (and it needs improving.)

I 100% disagree. It is certainly possible to divorce the vetting from the distribution. We just haven't built a system to do it, but there is certainly not a technological barrier, nor is there a financial reason it wouldn't work.

Microsoft and Apple will never budge, as they want you to be their only option.

Show them a way to make more money by not being the only option, that also doesn't tarnish their brands and we'll see.

Apple may have pushed to remove DRM on music, but they haven't made a peep about ebooks or movies, let alone the effective DRM that iOS as a whole imposes.

Of course they haven't. For movies the DVD format is locked down with legal nonsense so there is no motivation and for e-books, no one scans them in. This means the DRM is not really costing Apple any sales, so Apple has no motivation to fight them. My point was that Apple will happily and effectively fight for better experiences for users when it will make more money for Apple. I believe that divorcing application distribution and security vetting is just such a situation, where Apple would make more money by selling more devices and at the same time we'd win by getting more freedom.

Re:Walled Garden (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#42167301)

It is easy to try to villify Apple and MS for their choices and to ascribe all sorts of nefarious motives. I think it's bunk. I think they're primarily interested in making money and the App stores are there to make it convenient and easy for users to get apps without getting any malware.

So you think that if, say, McAfee proved that they did a better job checking for malware, Apple would just turn over the App store to them? With the 30% cut (after all, that's just expenses for checking the app's compatibility and security, right)

Malware protection is a completely transparent excuse for maintaining a monopoly. They do it because a walled garden makes a collossal amount of money for themselves, this is not "ascribing them a nefarious motive", it's plain, obvious fact.

Re:Walled Garden (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#42165867)

To get software Google does not approve of (for any not necessarily disclosed reason) you have to go out on a limb and try to independently verify the security of an app, and frankly 99% of users can't do that. This is one of the major reasons why there is such a malware problem on Android compared to the other phone platforms.

The reason why Android has malware is because Google app store is not premoderated, so more crap gets in - and even though it gets kicked out eventually after users report it, it's there for long enough that someone downloads and installs it. It has nothing to do with the ability to sideload apps. It's not like that functionality is enabled by default - you have to go fairly deep into advanced settings to even see the checkbox that lets you install random APKs.

Re:Walled Garden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42162661)

"they don't get a lot out of the restrictiveness"
From what I understand Apple (and probably the others) makes loads of money out of every sell on their store, they don't make money when someone sell a macosx software outside apple's store.
And of course google doesn't currently prevent users from using other apps store, unlike Apple, I don't know about microsoft.

Re:Walled Garden (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about 2 years ago | (#42163149)

they don't get a lot out of the restrictiveness

From what I understand Apple (and probably the others) makes loads of money out of every sell on their store, they don't make money when someone sell a macosx software outside apple's store.

I'm not sure why you think that. Apple makes a crapton of money selling iPhones, iPods, and Macs. They make basically nothing selling software and content. They have a "razors" business model where they sell the content at near cost to motivate purchases of hardware. Their whole software and services division accounts for something like 3% of revenue. The management would have to be idiots to make any decision to try to get profit from those services at the expense of their current, super profitable, hardware business.

Re:Walled Garden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42162723)

I feel like you are talking about different things. Steam isn't a developer, it's a gaming platform and a game store. There's no manner in which you can place the Steam store into the Windows/Apple/Google store. That would be like talking about putting Steam into Game for Windows Live. You can talk about Valve putting their games into other people's store, but not Steam as a platform. So, there is no scenario in which Steam can be a first class citizen. You're mixing Valve the developers, and Steam as a distribution platform.

Re:Walled Garden (4, Interesting)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about 2 years ago | (#42163283)

I feel like you are talking about different things. Steam isn't a developer, it's a gaming platform and a game store.

Agreed, but Steam is a distribution platform and a store. They add value by handling a lot of the purchasing and with value added integration. They are competing with the App stores for about half of their business model. It is likely not sustainable unless there is some sort of major technological shift.

That would be like talking about putting Steam into Game for Windows Live. You can talk about Valve putting their games into other people's store, but not Steam as a platform.

Well, yes and no. Steam is not a fixed technology. One of the benefits is that across platforms it can link users together to play, chat, share scores, etc. Valve introducing not only their games to Windows Live but also their reputation and ability to audit games to determine which ones are malware or crashy or will otherwise cause users problems is a very real value, especially if MS were to walk away from that service and leave it up to third parties. Xbox, however is the most locked down and least likely of platforms. Phones and desktop OS's on the other hand are a more plausible situation.

So, there is no scenario in which Steam can be a first class citizen. You're mixing Valve the developers, and Steam as a distribution platform.

So imagine a world where Apple announced they were going to allow absolutely any application to be distributed in the App store... but by default users would only see the ones Apple approved. Imagine, however, that users could add any company/organization they wanted to approve or disapprove of software and provide ratings for it. For example, Symantec could feed information to the Apple store and users that enabled it could (for a fee) have all applications vetted against Symantec's white/black list. Users could add the Catholic Church's whitelist to remove even apps Apple provided that did not align with the beliefs of those adherents. Users could also add Valve and see added to the store any games Valve had approved as options for purchase. Further Valve approved apps (submitted to the store by Valve) all included integration with Steam's network services to add value.

In the example above Steam is a first class citizen as much as any other distributor of software and while Apple might exclude some of their games by default for whatever reason, users could still get those games from the same place as all their other games. This is a survivable situation for Valve so long as they keep producing games and adding value with their network services (like integration with other platforms and authentication on other platforms) and Apple wins because more people can get the apps they want and Apple sells more hardware all without seriously degrading the security benefits of the current App store.

Re:Walled Garden (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#42166163)

From the interview:

Between Apple and Microsoft, Valve has to fight for a less restrictive platform.

The interesting thing here is that Microsoft, Google, and Apple are all building app stores with serious restrictions as a way to improve security, but aside from making stronger brands and improving user experience in removing malware, they don't get a lot out of the restrictiveness.

Actually, Valve is simply moving their walled garden elsewhere. And yes, Steam is a walled garden - until recently, unless you were someone Valve wanted to talk to, you weren't invited into the Steam store. Which keeps the quality of games high, but also meant that various indie games also weren't in.

And now Valve implemented a vetting process called Greenlight, which costs $100 per entry to add games to the store. Of course, it's also a popularity contest, which means a developer who wants to write a game for the PC platform (after having games on iOS, Android, PS3, PS Vita, Wii, Xbox360 and MacOS, but NOT PC). They could do it themselves, but they need a payment platform and really, Steam is it. Hell it's so bad they're considering Origin.

No. Just no. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42162779)

I don't want another Minecraft. I want Mass Effect. I want Command & Conquer. I want Supreme Commander. I want Borderlands. And I want the absolute latest sequels to each and every one of these. Yes, even Mass Effect 3 (aside from the worst ending in the history of gaming, it's still a good game for the first 99 hours...)

I am sitting here, running XP x64 on a system that isn't even 2 years old built specifically for gaming (an ASUS G72 if you're curious) with Backtrack 5r3 in a VMWare guest running Unity (the VMWare feature, not that god awful Ubuntu desktop system). Yanno why? Because aside from games, every program I run is in Linux. And yet, it took me 2 hours to get EVERY SINGLE LINUX BINARY running flawlessly and fully integrated into the XP Host, whilst I spent over 2 WEEKS trying to get just 3 games running via WINE and only 1 success - and that was Rage, a game that's already in OpenGL (because idTech5 is OpenGL).

So no, we don't need to expect AAA studios who are only in this for the money to release source. That's unreasonable, and you're never going to appeal to someone who's only concerned with the business side of games to do anything because it's the "right thing" to do.

What we SHOULD expect them to do, however, is to pick idTech over Unreal so that their games rely primarily on OpenGL instead of DirectX, and thus make a Linux port (as well as both PS3 and Wii, even if not Xbox) infinitely easier on themselves. And when they do, we should then expect them to see that with the drastically reduced cost of porting their now-OpenGL-based games to Linux, it's financially viable for them to turn a profit on selling those games to Linux users. As binaries. Not source.

This is what we should ask, because if what we're demanding is these people to release source and let us do the porting for them, it ain't happening, and yanno what we get stuck with? Artsy-fartsy indie games like Minecraft that are coded in JAVA so they're cross-platform but basically boring. Don't get me wrong, Minecraft is good, I just don't ever want another game like it. Ever. One is enough of those to last me over a decade.

Re:No. Just no. (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#42164113)

If you want the latest and greatest games, I have to ask - why Windows XP 64-bit? While there aren't all that many games that -require- DirectX 10 or higher yet, there are a few,and some of them are really damned good. (Just Cause 2 springs to mind.)

Even games that don't require it are often markedly visually improved by DX10/11 (like Lord of the Rings Online, for instance.)

Re:No. Just no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42164339)

Because the average gamer's knowledge of computers could fit into two bytes and still leave room to store four nibbles. At best, you have someone who can compare hardware benchmark numbers.

In this specific example, he probably has some idea that he is better at managing his computer's memory than the OS is. 'WinXP doesn't suck up all my RAM!'

The mindset of the gamer does not seem to lend itself to a more than superficial knowledge of computing.

Re:No. Just no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42169921)

I take consolation in the knowledge that there may be a future (mainly when everyone who didn't go up with games dies of old age) where playing video games carries no more stigma than reading fiction, or watching movies.

Re:No. Just no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42174511)

What the fuck ever. Whether games are a 'high' art form or not has nothing to do with gamers being appliance users. Go feel superior about your choices somewhere else; this is a tech discussion.

The last generation that didn't 'grow up with games' was decades ago. You're talking about a period closer in time to Prohibition than to today.

And the Linux naming experts strike again (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42163253)

Seriously, fat elf? ELF was fine, it's another TLA that you might pronounce as E-L-F, but there's only one way people would say FatELF. "Just turn the GIMP into a FatELF and it'll run on all platforms.", seriously RMS should add another one to the list, free as in beer, free as in speech and free as in puns.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (3, Insightful)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about 2 years ago | (#42163343)

Seriously, fat elf? ELF was fine, it's another TLA that you might pronounce as E-L-F, but there's only one way people would say FatELF. "Just turn the GIMP into a FatELF and it'll run on all platforms.", seriously RMS should add another one to the list, free as in beer, free as in speech and free as in puns.

Funny. Seriously though application formats are not user facing so you can name them "BinaryBlumpers" for all I care. I just wish Linux as a desktop were not quite so castrated by Linux as a server design choices and mentality. Icculus's experiences mirrored my own when trying to discuss ways Linux could borrow from other OS's to make it a better desktop. It's all fine and dandy unless you want to add something fundamental and then a million angry server monkeys appear and throw poo. Unless the culture changes Linux will forever be relegated to server and appliance roles.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (1)

trooper9 (1205868) | about 2 years ago | (#42163545)

It's all fine and dandy unless you want to add something fundamental and then a million angry server monkeys appear and throw poo. Unless the culture changes Linux will forever be relegated to server and appliance roles.

Beyond funny and spot on. Wish I had mod points.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42164509)

Icculus's experiences mirrored my own when trying to discuss ways Linux could borrow from other OS's to make it a better desktop. It's all fine and dandy unless you want to add something fundamental and then a million angry server monkeys appear and throw poo. Unless the culture changes Linux will forever be relegated to server and appliance roles.

That's the strength of free software -- if you want something done then just do it. What I don't understand is why Icculus is complaining about this being rejected. Something must have been seriously wrong with it if he couldn't convince ANYONE else to start using his patches. Even just one distro being interested would have been enough. The free software community is no different than any other, you need to "market" your idea otherwise no one is going to care.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (4, Informative)

RCL (891376) | about 2 years ago | (#42164609)

Seconded. I feel that people who use Linux not even for gaming, but for anything graphics-related, are a tiny minority. Available API (de facto standard: OpenGL + SDL) sucks, drivers suck (except for NVidia, who gets blamed for being binary), development tools suck (see TFA about OpenGL debugger), distributing binaries is problematic.

Desktop integration isn't there ("standard" SDL will not help you detect multiple monitors), when your app crashes you are left with broken screen. Just allocating too much (overcommit by a few GB) memory can make your Linux desktop unresponsive enough so you have to SSH to it from another machine and kill the offending process.

Now compare it to Windows where TDR allows you to survive even a driver crash! There's A LOT of work needed if Linux is to become a good desktop, and the majority of it is not about fancy UI. It's about getting a solid graphics stack, good support for debugging, good tools built on top of that. Frankly speaking, I'm not sure that community can provide that. This requires unification of will on a large scale, and community tends to produce loosely-knit patchwork of locally optimal solutions.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 2 years ago | (#42168255)

I use Linux to run XBMC (my video media center) at my house. So does my brother at his dorm and my mom at her home and my dad in his.

That said, I do dual boot for most of my games but I hate it to the point that I just don't bother to play that many games anymore. It's not convenient having to stop whatever is going on in the background of my linux machine just to play a game in windows for an hour. I am really hoping that Steam changes that.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42169663)

Available API (de facto standard: OpenGL + SDL) sucks

I know several ways in which SDL sucks, but they don't really differentiate it from DirectX, so I'm not sure what you're complaining about. OpenGL doesn't seem to suck at all, but the support does vary broadly.

drivers suck (except for NVidia, who gets blamed for being binary),

Eh, the nVidia drivers have been sucking more and more of late themselves...

Now compare it to Windows where TDR allows you to survive even a driver crash!

Haha, maybe. I've had Windows taken out by graphics drivers more than everything else put together.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (1)

RCL (891376) | about 2 years ago | (#42186939)

OpenGL doesn't seem to suck at all, but the support does vary broadly.

OpenGL has multiple flaws which are well documented on the net. The core API is too high level, while at the same time its extension model pushes the burden of supporting incompatible hardware to application developers. Its internal state can be changed at unpredictable times and the API remains essentially single-threaded as far as a single context is concerned. It is getting better in recent versions, but we will have to support older profiles for a long time, given the fact that only proprietary drivers implement OpenGL 3.0+ on Linux.

I would certainly prefer to program for DirectX if it were a cross-platform (well, cross-vendor) API.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#42173797)

I am presently developing from scratch a rendering engine in Linux which runs on the GPU so it is certainly possible to develop games for it. Yes some tools could be better and the way drivers and handled is less than optimal. Ideally we should have proper memory protection in drivers just like we have on regular programs but we are still not there yet. The main problem IMO is a lack of de facto standardization of sound APIs. Networking is covered. OpenGL does the trick for graphics. It certainly goes not suck.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about 2 years ago | (#42168203)

I believe the best way to combat the Linux absolutists' and the Linux exclusivists' effect on the future acceptance of Linux is to completely ignore them and push forward with a viable product that people want. Canonical knows that. As does Steam, it seems.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about 2 years ago | (#42168211)

Yes, I just made up the word exclusivist. If any grammar/verbiage fascists can't understand what it means, I'd be happy to define it for you.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42169635)

You don't ask for permission, you just go forth and do it, and if the people use it, then you win. And if they don't, you should have done it better :)

I was waiting and waiting for someone to make something like MacOS (classic) on top of Linux that I could give to my friends who just wanted something simple that worked, because I didn't have the skills to do all of it and therefore didn't want to bother taking on yet another project, I have more than enough of them already. How fortunate for me that Google finally did it. When android-x86 actually works, I'll finally be able to suggest a Linux-based OS to people I don't live with without feeling like I'm setting them up for disappointment.

Re:And the Linux naming experts strike again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42165075)

FatELF is a packaging scheme that allows you to embed the varying binaries (a' la "Fat" Binaries on OSX) into a single bundle.

While I have respect for Icculus for all the other contributions he's done- FatELF's NOT a fix for the problem he's claiming...it's just a "cleaner" packaging for when you've actually solved the problem he's claiming to fix. The rest of the stuff? He's come up with good answers for things.

Even open source games need "FATELFS" (2)

gajop (1285284) | about 2 years ago | (#42163635)

And the reason why open source games need statically compiled cross-distro binaries is that these days, you need to assure your game works in an online environment.
Online play requires all clients to have the same game version. There are exceptions I guess, but they aren't worth mentioning it.
What this means is that you need all distros to release(update) your newest game version at the same time, and if they don't (which they can't realistically) users will get locked out.

A good example of this is the Spring RTS engine, probably the best open source 3D RTS engine.
Games that use it are written in Lua language and thus only system-specific constraint is the engine itself.
Recently there was a push, and hopefully from next version we will have Linux static cross-distro binaries.
This gives us both assurance that users will always be able to use the newest, just released version, as well as to have multiple engine versions at the same time.
Just imagine how much package maintenance "fun" it would be to use an old package, with all the old package deps, and to maintain that dependency tree for each old engine version if we didn't have the statically compiled binaries.

Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42164795)

A lot of effort to go to just for the 2 linux users in existence.

Re:Why bother? (1)

spcebar (2786203) | about 2 years ago | (#42165437)

But maybe if we sign enough online petitions- Right guys!? Guys?

The numbers matter... (3, Interesting)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 2 years ago | (#42165261)

And the sad fact is, that as of today, Windows 8 under steam outnumbers *all* versions of Mac OS all together. You can bet that the desktop distribution to Mac is higher than Linux, so what is the point here?

Valve is caught with a problem, they are trying desperately to stay relevant in an era where XBox is actually really good, and while the integration into Windows 8 leaves much to be desired, you now give companies a huge benefit in added revenue via XBox points and Xbox Achievements (which points can unlock certain things). Simply stated, developers and publishers make more money through the Xbox channels than they do anywhere else.

I know the idea of Linux gaming is great on /. but let's face the bad news; only if the community takes on the challenge of porting games (ala Wine or something), will it ever be bothered to be played. And even then, every Linux "gamer" will keep a Windows partition because all games will come to Windows, and only some will come to Linux -- and that's in an ideal world. So if publishers/developers know this, what's the point in adding Linux support in? The games won't play as well, they will lose added revenue via Xbox points/achievements, and they will make a few nerds happy.

Sorry to say but getting a Humble Bundle developer to push the idea that Steam on Linux will be "moderately successful" to "wildly successful" is idiotic and naive. Next time show an interview from a big name publisher and let the entire interview be three minutes of laughing.

Re:The numbers matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42167789)

You're making an ilogical argument which can be summed up as "unless you're number 1 you're a loser". It doesn't matter if xbox has more players. It doesn't matter that windows 8 has more users on steam. You can be a successful and small at the same time. If all you do is go through life thinking that success equals popularity then it seems that your level of thinking hasn't left high school.

Re:The numbers matter... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#42173837)

The community already spends quite a lot of time porting games. I have ported a couple of them which got their source code released myself. The main issue isn't that. We need to have our own leading edge games which run best on our own platform. Wine is not the solution. When the time comes that it is stupidly easier to develop a game in Linux the developers will come. For what it's worth I think Linux desktop market share is underreported.

I think opensource games is what we need on linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168229)

I'd like to see more projects like 0ad Game [wildfiregames.com] or
unknown-horizons [unknown-horizons.org] they are open source.

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