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Maxis Developer on Linux Game Porting

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the isn't-xbill-and-same-game-enough-for-ya dept.

Games 364

friedmud wrote in to tell us about a comment from a Maxis developer, Don Hopkins, who did a partial linux port of "The Sims". You can find his post here (3rd one down, comment from Don Hopkins titled "Reality check from a game developer") in a forum. I don't know if I agree with his assertion that Wine is the best way to have games happen on Linux but his comments on the economics of Linux games development and especially the costs of keeping versions concurrent on multiple platforms are insightful.

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Important Message (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498755)

It is with my deepest regret today, that I have to announce the passing of Ms. Dos [].

Ms. Dos was found in it's NY hotel room, lonely and dead. Apperently, Ms. Dos committed suicide because of lack of attention from others, and not feeling "needed" anymore.

We are still trying to find out if Ms. Dos was married or not. If so, her husband will be needed for questioning and to identify the body.

If you have any information on Ms. Dos's husband's whereabouts, please post it to this page...

SHIT! (-1)

First Nigger (460412) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498785)

Damn, punked by a honkey cracker bastard! Oh well, tonight my big black dick will be in your wife's pussy, you motherfucking white trash faggot!!!!

Re:Important Message (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499055)

Do you want good luck to follow you and your offspring for generations to come? This troll has the solution for you.

All you have to do is copy this troll onto two to four of the discussion threads of your choice! That's right! Just copy this into a new message and click "post anonymously." That's all there is to it!

Tired of that idiot talking about geek culture! Stick one of these babies on it! And it's good for the economy!

Marge Gentry of Cambridge, Minnesota participated, and the next day she received a large fruit basket outside of her door from a secret admirer. Unfortunately, Marge was hit by a truck the next day, so she didn't get to the Granny Smith apples.

Commander Taco of Hole-in-the-ground West Virginia didn't participate, and he was violated by a group of raging homosexuals. Since the gang was headed by Jon Katz, Taco had no recourse to the law because the entire town knew about their previous relationship. The unfortunate outcome is enshrined forever at

So if you want to get the fruit basket and not get poked in the bread basket, just copy this troll onto two of the discussions threads of your choice. We could have this place blanketed by sundown!

Re:Important Message (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499109)

I believe the man you're looking for is Dr. Dos [] .

First Nigger (-1)

First Nigger (460412) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498756)

First nigger!!!!!!!

Re:First Nigger (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498779)

First fist is when you fist someone first in Quake 3 Arena.

Slow Down Cowboy!

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!fp, but.. (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498761)

greetz to bubba and merlin and [m1] and the ress of #lwz

post nirst? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498769)

post nirst!

First... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498771)


port (-1, Flamebait)

n4th4n (532934) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498773)

they should port some popular windows games to linux.

Re:port (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498786)

Why, Linux is just a piece of crap...

Re:port (-1, Flamebait)

n4th4n (532934) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498802)

why is linux a piece of crap?

Re:port (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498820)

I don't have time to make a list for you, but it is a well known fact in the IT world that is you want your IT infrastructure to fail, then build your network using LinSux servers and workstations.

Re:port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498924)

sounds to me you don't know anything about linux

Re:port (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498966)

Sounds to me you don't know anything about your mom... Let me tell you... she is good!

Re:port (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499008)

yes, you're right about my mom. she's good. and thank god i'm not adopted by a gay ass couple like you were adopted by your dad(s).

Re:port (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499105)

That's not funny. My dad was killed by a drunk driver 5 years ago. You faggot, burn in hell... I hate people like you. My dad was a very respectable man. A pillar in the community. I hope you get some VD from your mom and your penis falls off.

Re:port (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499075)

Admin costs of Linux vs the admin costs of Win NT or Server 2k... hmmm.. Linux servers can usually only be administered (administrated?) by ubergeeks that demand stupidly high pay, while the ease of use in Windows allows a regular IT Tech to keep a whole network going.

Suck my penis, suck my penis.

The Sims (1)

stoopidguy (530032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498791)

I never really enjoyed The Sims that much; but I guess getting a game like that to Linux would at least encourage some people that Linux is legitimate (quake 3 != legitimate)

Re:The Sims (1)

drzhivago (310144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498883)

Of course Quake 3 is legitimate. Why else would ATI hack their own drivers to boost Quake 3 framerates?

But I guess what you mean by legitimate is "geared to casual users". The Sims is definately geared to casual users where Quake 3 is aimed right at hardcore gamers.

If you want a game that would put Linux on the map, try any of the Blizzard games. A huge following, tremendously popular games, yet Blizzard refuses to port to Linux. Kind of surprising they haven't tried it with at least one game, considering they release all their games for the Mac.


Re:The Sims (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498899)

Of course then again, when you run your game on Linsux, the performace will be worse than anything you've ever seen on Windows or dos.

Re:The Sims (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499102)

Or my spectrum 48k.

Or my Z80 or Atari VCS.

Or my pubes. The Sims could run faster on my pubes.

You might be wrong (0)

kryptola (450494) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498925)

I think the other way around.
Lots of The Sims fans are completely ignore Linux (or don't know how good it is (example: my sister and her buddies) so i think the sims might lure them away from Windows.

Any idea to port at all? (1, Flamebait)

kalleanka2 (318385) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498792)

After all, do all the will-not-pay-for-software open source geeks really support (like in paying for) the porting-costs anyway?

Re:Any idea to port at all? (2)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498849)

I will gladly pay for software. I'd even gladly contribute towards porting costs. But if the software is not Free Software, what's the point? Unless I get lucky, my distribution or architecture may well not be supported (or not supported well), then I'm no better off than I was starting out, and my only hope of getting support is to convince, cajole, or convert the developer to offer that support. Given the history of luck this ex-Mac-zealot had getting stuff for Mac OS (pre-X), I'm not going to hold my breath.

Re:Any idea to port at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499014)

an ex-Mac-zealot?

So really you're just a contrarian.


Re:Any idea to port at all? (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498855)

Hi, I am a linsux punk. And I just want to tell you that there is no chance in hell that we (the linsux fascists) will ever allow anyone to make a single penny on anything written for Linsux. We want everthing for free and we want to source for it so we can customize it and take credit for it. Generally, we Linsux users are pretty usles for anything...

Re:Any idea to port at all? (2)

quartz (64169) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499104)

I'm an open source geek, and I do pay for software; in fact, just last week I bought a copy of Redhat Linux 7.2. I pay for games too, and I don't even care if they're closed source -- WTF, they're just games. But for the same reason, I'm completely uninterested in Linux games. My PS2 is more than enough to satisfy my gaming needs, and it does a better job at it than Linux will ever do.

Re:Any idea to port at all? (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499119)

I couldn't agree more about the PS2... and you don't have to put up with Linux's crappy performance...

SDL and other multi-platform libraries (5, Informative)

geekfiend (448150) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498798)

The process of porting a game can be much less difficult if the developer chooses a multi-platform library. For games SDL allows this and for other sorts of applications, QT can do the same. The challenge lies not in porting, but rather the developer chosing to work with a propietary single-platform library (DirectX) versus something more portable, and argueably better!

Re:SDL and other multi-platform libraries (1)

kalleanka2 (318385) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498822)

But what exactly is the point in porting?

Will anyone buy it? The story so far is that it's madness to invest in Linux development altogether since people just refuses to pay.

Re:SDL and other multi-platform libraries (2, Insightful)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498943)

Who says the decision is up to the developer anyway? I work as a developer and I don't get any choice as to which language or platform I code for. I would love to write platform-independent code, but I just don't get that option. Why would game developers have it any differently?

Re:SDL and other multi-platform libraries (5, Insightful)

drzhivago (310144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498968)

I believe some of the problems lie in the way a multiplatform library works. For games, if SDL isn't as fast on Windows as DirectX, why should it be used? I know its a bad example, because I think that SDL actually routes down to DirectX on Windows. Remember, users come before developers...

But what about a UI library that doesn't draw the controls the same as the user's operating system? Look at Photoshop for Windows.. it looks like I'm using a Mac. I don't want that! I want an application that looks and feels like what I normally use. The best libraries will work like that, even though they have a cross-platform API. Linux versions will have the window manager look and feel. Mac versions will look like a Mac application.

RealBasic for Mac does this pretty well. Using a single source tree, RealBasic will compile for both Mac and Windows. The Mac apps look like Mac apps, and the Windows apps look like Windows apps. That transparency is what will win.

Of course, to make it easier for the developer can be a good thing. But to give the user a better experience is more important. Because if a user doesn't like your product, why bother?


Re:SDL and other multi-platform libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499000)

I would bet RealBasic was made for Mac first? In this case it makes sense to port it to windows since you reach a bigger market this way.

Porting something to Linux is...well...more like a stupid thing to do.

Who will pay for your software? Maybe 2 people or something. Who will encourage people to just grab the software without paying for the authors work? Lots of people (like RMS).

Silence the weak (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498807)

...Because you will never silence the strong!

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In addition, we feel that keeping a permanent and indelible record of every IP address used to post every Anonymous comment on Slashdot erases whatever hopes of anonymity that endangered or threatened users may have had. To name two examples, Chinese dissidents and corporate insiders can have no expectation of anonymously revealing civil rights violations and corporate abuse.

It is our hope that given these concerns, VA Linux or Slashdot may choose to provide an opt-out option to users, whereby users could choose not to be tracked and profiled if they so request. Some discussion has been made of a Slashdot subscription service; perhaps one revenue stream for Slashdot would be to sell Privacy Rights. For a low yearly fee, a user could purchase the right not to be tracked, profiled, and logged by IP address.

Whatever steps are taken, it is our hope that Slashdot will address the current privacy concerns in public to allay our fears and to promote open discussion.

Thanks again for creating one of the most popular sites on the Internet, and all the best.

-The Slashdot Privacy Watch Team.

Now is the time... for ACTION!

I'm waiting for the game... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498815)

I'm waiting for the game ..

wait for it...

wait for it...

Sim Sim Developers rimshot

The game where the Sims are cognoscent and write the next game they appear in.

Yeah, that's the ticket...

Holland, Michigan, and the boys of summer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498818)

Hemos and I, CmdrTaco, were both fourteen. We were just getting ready for the end of summer. We had started out the week with a campout down by the pond. It was a warm night and we seldom slept early. Hemos and I had played all the young boy games and discovered jerking off together last summer. Now we seldom lost a chance to take a squirt.

Hemos was telling me, CmdrTaco, a story of how his older brother Michael had let a kid we both knew give him a blowjob. Michael said he gave JonKatz a ride home from school and was really horny. He said JonKatz could not stop looking at the bulge in his shorts. Michael said it took some real convincing but he got him to take his cock in his mouth and suck it exactly like his other bitch Jamie did.

I told Hemos he was full of shit that I knew JonKatz and that he didn't look queer. Hemos said his brother said you could never tell who had queer genes in them, but guys who are willing to suck usually who do it. I didn't believe him but the story made me real hard. Hemos had been constantly horny for the last year.

"CmdrTaco, you want to suck my dick?" Hemos asked, me. "No way, asshole, that thing would not fit in my mouth." said. "Why not?" he asked. "I'm not gonna put a cock in my mouth and be known as a queer like JonKatz," I told him. "You would," he assured me. "You might have the queer genes. And I promise I won't cum in your mouth," he added quickly.

I just looked at him, not believing what he wanted me to do. I just shook my head, "You are crazy, dude." He looked at me and said, " You can't tell me you don't want to find out what its like." I said quickly, "Not me, you want one go find JonKatz." He smiled as he looked down at his naked hard cock and then up at me, "Maybe I might find JonKatz for a blowjob, but he's not here and you are, CmdrTaco."

He pumped his cock a few strokes and paused, "Why don't you just try it? I'll put my jockeys back on and you can just put it in your mouth and jerk me off. Any cum will go in my jockeys and your lips won't touch any skin." he added, arguing like he always did.

"Since you won't really be sucking a cock, it won't be queer, and if you don't like it, we can stop," he pleaded. I looked down at Hemos's cock and my face turned red as I realized he had me thinking about sucking his cock. Both of us knew that sucking dick was sucking dick. I knew that if I took his cock in my mouth even covered with his jockey shorts that he would have me do it again.

I looked at Hemos's hard dick. I crossed the line when I said, "put your shorts on it." He quickly grabbed his shorts and pulled them over his rigid cock, "Shit yea, I can't wait. Go for it CmdrTaco." I knelt down between his legs as he sat on the ground cloth. I put my mouth over the head of his cock through his shorts. Hemos said, "Wait I want to know what a blow job feels like and he started taking his shorts back off.

I watched his four-inch cock plop back against his plump stomach as he removed his shorts. I said, "No way, unless you put them on I'm not gonna touch your cock." Hemos started looking around in the tent and came out with a sheer clothe bandana. "How bout this? It will be more like a blowjob and it still will be as if you're not." He wanted me to actually put a bandana covered cock in my mouth yet he was telling me it would not be queer. I had seen Hemos hard before, but this was different. His cock was rock hard and strained in the bandana. I didn't look at Hemos's face as I knelt between his legs again. I became acutely aware of the wetness where precum had soaked through the thin cloth as my mouth covered the place at the tip of his cock. Hemos was waiting, so I lowered my mouth, and I raised my eyes to Hemos's face and I felt his cock twitching and jumping in anticipation.

I turned my attention to his cock and I felt the wetness as I forced out more precum from the cock head in my mouth. I grasped his shaft and started to jerk him off with just the cloth-covered head in my mouth. I held his cock at the base as I continued bobbing my head and sucking on his cock. The slow sucking rhythm caused him to reach the edge. He was shooting and his cum was going into my mouth. The cloth was so wet that it did not slow down the spurts of cum in my mouth I never had time to think about or to turn away before a volley of jism shot through the cloth. Cum just flowed into my mouth and I don't know why I continued to pump his cock.

Hemos was silent as I release his cock from my mouth. He said, "See, CmdrTaco, the cloth did the job and all the cum was captured." There was no way to describe how it felt to suck his dick, but it had been unbelievable. "Well do you have the queer gene? Do you like to suck dick? Want to try it like JonKatz did without the cloth?" Hemos asked. I actually got kind of a thrill and yet was embarrassed that I must have swallowed his cum. I never remember spitting it out.

I told him that the experience had been unbelievable but that I would not do it again. I was glad that I had gone down on Hemos and I knew I would do it again, though I couldn't tell him that. It was less than an hour when he started begging me to do it again. That was fine by me. I think he knew that I was willing. I guess my reluctance was gone, because I didn't have any trouble going down on Hemos again. The second time sucking his dick was easier for me. Hemos started asking me what it felt like while I sucked him. While I was bobbing up and down, with a little more action, Hemos asked me if I wanted to remove the cloth. He said that it was just he and I and he would never tell anyone. He said it was just two dudes experimenting and that he was just joking about the queer genes. I actually wanted to do it yet I was not prepared to go that far. Hemos knew that I liked to suck his cock, yet he knew that it would mean admitting that I was queer if I admitted it and he knew that I wouldn't do that. He had just completed what it took to persuade me to go down on him that night.

The next week Hemos was busy all the time and he didn't talk about what we had done. I thought he was ashamed and I even noticed that he would get hard sometimes while we hung out together. But would always say he had better leave. I thought that he did not want to be embarrassed around me. It was about a week later when found why he would leave. He told me that he had come home from our trip and that JonKatz was at his house with his brother. He said that he watched him give Michael a blowjob. He said that JonKatz was always trying to get Michael to let him suck him off again, so he said he let him. Now he sucks Michael off all the time. Hemos said after he saw JonKatz go down on his older brother. He looked at me and said "Shit JonKatz sucked me too. Boy it felt good." He smiled and said, "Almost as good as you suck." Hemos was good at getting me to do whatever he wanted. There was no denying I got off on sucking him and I knew what he wanted me, CmdrTaco, to do next.

Re:Holland, Michigan, and the boys of summer (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498864)

I hope you get AIDS and die slowly.

Re:Holland, Michigan, and the boys of summer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498935)

An excellent work of literary art. Fuck, did I spell that right? Does your DRESSING ROOM have enough ASPARAGUS?

Re:Holland, Michigan, and the boys of summer (-1)

Trollcaholic (522055) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499083)

Damnit! I never laughed while masturbating before. thank you AC.

Native ports are best! (5, Insightful)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498832)

What we need are elegant, cross platform game libraries (and languages) so one code base can be used.

I think the best current approach involves Java, which can be either natively compiled (gcc 3.0) or run on a VM (JDK 1.4 should be quite good). Check out Arkanae [] for an early preview. :-)

299,792,458 m/s...not just a good idea, its the law!

just say no to ports (2, Interesting)

capoccia (312092) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498834)

forget porting and forget emulating/re-implimenting.

game developers need to write to a cross-platform gaming library like sdl. then all the os-specific and hardware-specific enhancements can be developed in the library by people who enjoy those sorts of things and game developers can spend their time developing games. and the users are happy because they can spend time playing games instead of being concerned needing a specific os.

Remember Windows 95? (5, Insightful)

uchian (454825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499019)

Anyone remember when Windows 95 came out originally? It had no games, or at least the ones it did have sucked big time. Everyone moaned that Windows gaming would never take off because dos games were faster, and more dedicated.

And now everyone uses Windows.


Because it was still possible to play at least some dos games under Windows (because it was built on dos), and with for a bit of hassle, Windows would close, your game would run, you finish your game and windows would reboot.

Yeah, it wasn't neat, but it let people move to Windows 95 and still play their dos games. Once the user base was large enough, native games became available.

My point is, the argument against Wine is exactly the same.What I want to be able to tell people is

"Yeah, you CAN play all your existing Windows games under Linux! Try it and see! It's SOOOOO much better than Windows!!!".

Y'see, if we could get people using Linux more, the user base grows. Then it becomes more feasible to make native Linux games. Then the user base grows some more... See what I'm getting at?

If wine can play all windows games, we can get all those game loving people who won't try Linux because it hasn't got any games to try it and love it too.

Re:Remember Windows 95? Mod it up! (1)

CBravo (35450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499110)

Because it is insightful.

Re:just say no to ports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499043)

The only game that comes to my mind that I've enjoyed a good deal that I can't run on a single OS is koules.

Any other game I want I am certain I can run on Windows, unless it's console-only in which case it's a moot point.

So, to put it succinctly, 'the users are happy because they can spend their time playing games instead of being concerned needing a specific OS.' That is already the case. The OS is Windows. Only the OS zealots are fuming and sputtering.

Its a shame. (5, Insightful)

Captain_Frisk (248297) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498835)

As much as I'd like to see more games ported to linux, so that I might be able to give up my MS habit completely, you have to agree that economically it just doesn't make sense.

Having multiple target platforms is a serious headache, and Linux just isn't a big enough market. Most linux users are used to getting their software for free anyway, and probably have the technical savvy to score free versions of any software released. While I'm sure that there are plenty of honest people out there, the fact is that there are very few people who are going to pay for linux games.

Also considering the generally degraded performance of games under linux and the continued acceptance of DirectX as the standard for graphics, all make Linux development difficult.

I read recently that id doesn't want to release their next product under linux (historically they have been pretty good about that stuff) because its a support nightmare, and just really doesn't bring in that much revenue.

I think in order to start getting more native Linux games, Linux needs to prove itself as a consumer OS first. Once Linux starts to satisfy peoples needs easily (thats so important) then i think more people will start moving over, and once they do, then the linux games will start rolling in.

Re:Its a shame. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498885)

Did you just get up this morning and decide to troll or what?

-1 Flamebait

Re:Its a shame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498979)

Probably just decided to troll, games with decreased performance on Linux is rarely the case. It's actually the opposite, games run in a more stable enviroment especially networked games. They seem to just be smoother overall; not to mention that I've got an increased framerate in Quake3 but I attribute that to good Xfree86 DRI code. This dude has no idea what he's talking about sadly. It seems slashdot is filled with trolls like these as of late.

Re:Its a shame. (2, Interesting)

nirvdrum (240842) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499042)

Is it not possible that people experience different results under different systems? I typically get 3x the framerate on Windows than I do on linux with my TNT2 Ultra. And I've had a lot more crashes with games under linux than under Windows.

Does that mean that you'll have the same problems? No. It's just people talking from experience. That is not trolling. What you and the previous poster have done is construed as trolling, but since you're carrying the linux battle flag, you don't see it as that.

Re:Its a shame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499057)

If you're going to post unattributed anecdote, please do it with a logged in account so we can email you for details.

Otherwise all I can say about your comments about higher performance on Linux, or any other top-heavy time sharing system, is: bullshit.

Excellent points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498995)

Those are a lot of valid points. Sales for Linux have been abysmal, and porting to Linux just doesn't make sense at this time.

Written by : anonymous user? (-1, Offtopic)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498844)

He wasn't logged in while the message was made (said its an anonymous user). I'm sure its probably him, but I don't think /. should take it to heart until he somehow proves its him.

Or should we all believe Ms. Anne Tomlinson [] ??

Re:Written by : anonymous user? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498875)

Off topic?

Ummm the post (3rd one down from the link to the article) is posted by an "Anonymous User". This is very on topic.

I just don't get it... (5, Redundant)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498845)

... we have SDL. we have OpenGL. I fail to understand the logic that game companies harbor to not write cross-platform games. I've done some development with SDL and it's a really good toolkit. Sure, it needs some more work but everything does. OpenGL is awesome, and it's not controlled by one proprietary source.
Taking some extra time to port to linux and ship it on the same CD as the windows version doesn't seem like a bad idea. His talks about Wine are fine and all, and I can understand that.. but I really dislike his dismissal of whether or not it is native. AFAIK Wine still requires Windows. That is bullshit. I want a game to run on Linux. Linux. Not windows, not wine. Wine is Not an Emulator, Right?
It doesn't seem to take much to build a game using existing cross-platforms toolkits that rival Direct3d. OpenAL seems to be the largest gap to bridge.. but, this is a pointless rant so I'll end it.

Re:I just don't get it... (1)

kalleanka2 (318385) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498881)

I'll tell you the reasons.

1: SDL and OpenGL doesn't keep up with DirectX. OpenGL is really nice (IMHO) but it's falling behind since it's evolution unfortunately is quite slow.

2: Is there really any point in porting? Noone buys software on Linux so it really doesn't make much sense at the moment to invest money in it.

Re:I just don't get it... (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498922)

Wine hans't required windows ever, AFAIK. It certainly doens't now.

Re:I just don't get it... (2, Insightful)

PlaysWithMatches (531546) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498972)

> It doesn't seem to take much to build a game using existing cross-platforms toolkits that rival Direct3d.

Maybe, but their code is already written for Direct3D, and that's what their developers know. They're not going to pour the money into training developers to use totally different tools and platforms, and pay for the development time to convert everything to OpenGL/AL/SDL whatever. Your points are valid, except in a case such as this - the code is already there, and they're not going to re-write it all.

I just know somebody is going to say, "open source it, we'll port it!" or something like that. But think about it - if you were a company like Maxis, would you give away the source code to your best-selling game that you've put millions into (and received that much as well)?

Re:I just don't get it... (2, Troll)

Amokscience (86909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499006)

I see you glossed over the fine points so let me restate it simply:

Linux is not worth it. Not 5 years ago, not today, not tomorrow, not a year from now. I have a game developer friend, he was enthused with Linux before he had to port his companies game; now he detests it and much of the (Linux gaming) 'community'.

OpenGL develops slowly and requires proprietary extensions for the newest video cards. Hardcore gamers are the last people on Earth who like to wait until their new-fangled video card and sound drivers are supported. Video card companies will support Quake because of it's mindshare. They don't support other companies near as well.

The development and support costs FAR outstrip the benefits of having a native Linux port. The bottom line in a truly cutthroat industry is how much ROI can you get. Last I heard, Q3's linux version didn't do well enough to justify further Linux targeted box sales (late release, blah blah blah, excuses), and the Quake series is probably the biggest, most popular commercial game among the /. crowds.

Re:I just don't get it... (1)

Bilestoad (60385) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499021)

I'll tell you why - there's no money in it. Require more explanation? Look at sales of Linux games. Look at Loki (and their attitude as shown to Don Hopkins). Look at the gaming industry as a whole, and observe the choice of DirectX over OpenGL. Where's the convincing reason to switch?

People who are concerned with making money don't give a rat's ass about Linux because the paying market is not big enough. This is the same reason many games never make it to the Mac. You think the game industry is somehow nobler because it involves programmers? Believe me, the game industry is just as rapacious as Hollywood - and if money is the metric, there's more at stake, too.

Open Source Maketplace Insights (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498851)

I work as a consultant for several fortune 500 companies, and I think I can shed a little light on the climate of the open source community at the moment. I believe that part of the reason that open source based startups are failing left and right is not an issue of marketing as it's commonly believed but more of an issue of the underlying technology.

I know that that's a strong statement to make, but I have evidence to back it up! At one of the major corps(5000+ employees) that I consult for, we wanted to integrate Linux into our server pool. The allure of not having to pay any restrictive licensing fees was too great to ignore. I reccomended the installation of several boxes running the new 2.4.9 kernel, and my hopes were high that it would perform up to snuff with the Windows 2k boxes which were(and still are!) doing an AMAZING job at their respective tasks of serving HTTP requests, DNS, and fileserving.

I consider myself to be very technically inclined having programmed in VB for the last 8 years doing kernel level programming. I don't believe in C programming because contrary to popular belief, VB can go just as low level as C and the newest VB compiler generates code that's every bit as fast. I took it upon myself to configure the system from scratch and even used an optimised version of gcc 3.1 to increase the execution speed of the binaries. I integrated the 3 machines I had configured into the server pool, and I'd have to say the results were less than impressive... We all know that linux isn't even close to being ready for the desktop, but I had heard that it was supposed to perform decently as a "server" based operating system. The 3 machines all went into swap immediately, and it was obvious that they weren't going to be able to handle the load in this "enterprise" environment. After running for less than 24 hours, 2 of them had experienced kernel panics caused by Bind and Apache crashing! Granted, Apache is a volunteer based project written by weekend hackers in their spare time while Microsft's IIS has an actual professional full fledged development team devoted to it. Not to mention the fact that the Linux kernel itself lacks any support for any type of journaled filesystem, memory protection, SMP support, etc, but I thought that since Linux is based on such "old" technology that it would run with some level of stability. After several days of this type of behaviour, we decided to reinstall windows 2k on the boxes to make sure it wasn't a hardware problem that was causing things to go wrong. The machines instantly shaped up and were seamlessly reintegrated into the server pool with just one Win2K machine doing more work than all 3 of the Linux boxes.

Needless to say, I won't be reccomending Linux/FSF to anymore of my clients. I'm dissappointed that they won't be able to leverege the free cost of Linux to their advantage, but in this case I suppose the old adage stands true that, "you get what you pay for." I would have also liked to have access to the source code of the applications that we're running on our mission critical systems; however, from the looks of it, the Microsoft "shared source" program seems to offer all of the same freedoms as the GPL.

As things stand now, I can understand using Linux in academia to compile simple "Hello World" style programs and learn C programming, but I'm afraid that for anything more than a hobby OS, Windows 98/NT/2K are your only choices.

thank you.

Re:Open Source Maketplace Insights (0, Offtopic)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498910)

Is it at all possible that you and your crack team are just really really comfy with W2K/NT? That you are able to configure those servers better than you can a *nix box.

As for Apache being demeaned by you as a "volunteer based project written by weekend hackers" I hope you realize that it is Apache that holds the lion's share of the web server market and that IIS has been relegated to the realm of ludicrisly broken.

Re:Open Source Maketplace Insights (1)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499047)

Don't feed the Trolls

Re:Open Source Maketplace Insights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499085)

Apache is what most of the lil' web servers run.

It's not what the bulk of the big revenue producing servers run.

Hell, it's not even what the bulk of the productivy serving web servers run.

It's just what's free so it's what every yahoo with a static IP puts up when he really doesn't have a business use, but what the heck....

Let's get real here. It's a Patchy Web Server.

Best UNIX for Games? (2)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498860)

Do you think that installed base for Linux will be higher or lower than the installed base for Mac OS X in terms of gaming population? Do you think that it will be easier to port your games to Linux or Mac OS X? Will UNIX ever beat Windows for Gaming?

P.S. Thanks for native build of "The Sims" on Mac OS X and supporting Linux in general.

Re:Best UNIX for Games? (1, Offtopic)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498900)

Actually, UNIX was originally written to play a game at AT&T. It was a play of the name off of the failed O/S called Multix.

Re:Best UNIX for Games? (1, Offtopic)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498907)

What was the game??? Has it been ported to Linux? :P

Re:Best UNIX for Games? (1)

kalleanka2 (318385) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498902)

Don't know about the install base but the major difference is that mac users are more likely to buy software.

Sim this (1, Interesting)

Flakeloaf (321975) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498873)

Am I the only one who's getting a little tired of Maxis' "guess my algorithm" game? Sim City was brilliant. Each game that came after it was either trying to cash in on success, or add an extra level of pretentious detail on top of what is essentially an experiment to see how well game players react to behaviour modification.

Porting this game to *nix won't lend any air of legitimacy to company or platform. Get Blizzard onside and I'll be impressed.

WineX could work iff.... (2, Redundant)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498895)

I think the subscription is a dumb idea....why put the onus on the user to get the most up to date libs for his system? if TG would sell their wine implementation to a game studio so that it can be included on the cd, then the game studio only needs to make an installer for Linux, the Winx is included so the Linux user just needs to buy the game with the penguine on the box, not worry about how it is being implemented, the installer can look at the system, see the winex libs are all compatable, if not install the ones that are included on the cd, and put an Icon on the desktop. bam a game that runs and the user dioes not have to know how it works.....that is how to make good use of wine, by including it in the installer, not a subscription.

Re:WineX could work iff.... (-1)

Trollcaholic (522055) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498977)

~ $ ispell
@(#) International Ispell Version 3.2.03 06/10/01
word: iff
how about: if, iffy, miff, off, tiff, WFF

Re:WineX could work iff.... (2)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499123)

how about iff = if and only if dumb ass

Re:WineX could work iff.... (1)

zangdesign (462534) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498982)

By putting Wine on the install disk for a game, you run into the same DirectX-like issue that we have on Win machines. How does the installer determine if the version of Wine on the Linux box can support the game? How do you handle custome extensions written by the game developers to optimize Wine for their particular game? Don't tell me it won't happen - it will. No two Linux installations are alike and there are bound to be more problems than solutions.

You arent subscribed so dont talk (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499012)

Its a great Idea, I'm subcribed, and voting on the development process is GREAT!!!

is today still troll day? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498898)

I haven't seen many trolls yet...

Re:is today still troll day? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2498958)

I hear muh brother's music, but I don't see muh brothers!

The Sims Hot Date (3, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498913)

... is only the first of a slew of revolutionary match-making games. Soon, the following titles will appear :

- The Sims Warm Feeling : you have to prepare the ceremony. Choose the right cake, find an affordable ring, discover friends to invite who aren't drinking buddies, select an appropriate church (avoid the ever treacherous Vegas drive-in wedding !) : will your marriage be successful, or will she say no ?

- The Sims Hot Waters : your mistress and you are busted ! dodge flying plates, try to watch the ball game amidst the shrieks : can you manage to stay married, or will you join the legions of single men again ?

- The Sims Cold Feet : you can't take it anymore, your family urges you to take a decision. Work harder to pay attorney fees : can you make enough money to win your divorce ?

Why not games on Novell? (1, Insightful)

OpenMind(tm) (129095) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498928)

I'm not quite sure qwhy everyone is so insistant on games for Linux. So far, the prime excellance of Linux is as a network server OS. Now if game developers want to spend time on Linux ports, good for them, but I don't think it warrants a political movement. I think people some times discount Linux as an OS, because they see it trying to be all things to all people, and the first one a consumer would lay hands on (games or desktop productivity), it doesn't do that great.

What we really need is an open source OS written to be the perfect game platform, putting development ease, hardware support, and performance above all else. Imagin getting a game on a self-booting CD/DVD, that boots you into the a fast, BSOD-free environment. Code it to use Windows hardware drivers and various filesystems for installs, and you'd have something worth developing for.

Re:Why not games on Novell? (3, Funny)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499037)

Imagin getting a game on a self-booting CD/DVD, that boots you into the a fast, BSOD-free environment

I have that system. It's called a PlayStation2.

Re:Why not games on Novell? (1)

OpenMind(tm) (129095) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499077)

I think the key point was it being open source. But you're right, in the proprietary software and hardware world, PS2 fills the niche, although in its current hard drive-free form, it doesn't offer quite all the flexibility of a general purpose computer.

Re:Why not games on Novell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499073)

sounds like an XBox

Editor Abuse!!! (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498944)

Editors of Slashdot are abusing thier power. Keeping certain content from the Slashdot readers. The editors will mod down comments that they disagree with and don't like. They will do this specifically to silence someone. I have been silenced many times by the Slashdot editors staff. I have vowed to fight back against this censorship. I encourage ALL Slashdot readers to begin trolling against the editors. Every Tuesday, sign on to Slashdot and proudly show them that you will not stand for thier censorship anymore!!!


Wine is important, but.. (4, Insightful)

k98sven (324383) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498946)

In my opinion, there is no future for linux gaming if wine is the only way to go..

The problem is: at the moment, the best gaming API
is Microsoft DirectX, like it or not, and
the likelyhood of DirectX becoming a cross-platform API is zilch.

So obviously, Wine is needed at the moment, partly as a windows-simulator,
but also as an implementation of DirectX on linux.

In the long run, however, It's unhealthy to be dependent on an API dictated by microsoft.
We need a new, open, alternative.

Perhaps SDL 2.0 [] or OpenGL 2.0 [] is the answer needed?
Linux needs a killer DirectX-killer-API, much in the same way DirectX was the
MSDOS-killer that moved games development to windows.

However, if wine is the future of linux gaming,
we are (indirectly) giving that future to Microsoft.

True (1)

Liquid(TJ) (318258) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498949)

It's given that porting games to linux isn't economically viable for windows gaming shops. I hope Loki recovers, and of course the Carmack is going to keep porting Quake because he has plenty of money already, but for the most part, here and now in 2001, Linux gaming is in trouble.

I've never tried to use WINE (I game in windoze for now), but from what I read in that article yesterday they're making some really good progress. If they manage to get WINE running as well as or better than the real windows API, that could do a lot for the community all by itself. "Linux runs windows apps better than windows" sounds almost as good as "Linux has a lot of apps."

If WINE keeps progressing, it could be the shot in the arm that saves Linux gaming. It may not do anything for the Linux gaming industry, but everyone knew that trying to make money in it was risky.

Might be repetitive or obvious (2)

karb (66692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498954)

But he had a pretty interesting post on /. lately, as well. 410 []

Re:Might be repetitive or obvious (2)

karb (66692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498980)

although now that I look farther down on the linuxgames page, I can see that his comment is exactly (or nearly) the same as his /. comment. Ne'er mind.

Reality... altered reality (2)

X (1235) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498960)

The issue of keeping the network protocol consistent on multiple platforms is BS. That being said there are still lots of issues.

The truth of the matter is that no matter how rich your protocol, you still have only a small portion of your code, on both the client and the server, dedicated to the protocol. It is entirely possible to have this part of the code isolated from the rest of the code, and for it to be completely platform independant. It's also possible to allow for updates to the protocol code independant of the rest of the code.

Most well implemented protocols have built in support for handling multiple versions of the protocol simultaneously (typically implemented through some form of extension mechanism or flat out versioning). I've worked on projects using extremely complex binary protocols which make games like Sims Online seem pathetic. It can be done.

The real reality is that most game houses have not yet developed this expertise, nor are they likely to in the near future. Furthermore, even if they DID develop this expertise, heck even if it cost them ZERO $'s to develop on an additional platform, it still doesn't make economic sense. Why? Because no matter how hard you try, each new platform dramatically adds to the support costs for the product. You now have to support a whole new set of OS bugs, train your tech support people on how to support a new platform, etc.

As everyone in the open source world knows, support costs are the real costs of software development. Until your userbase grows large enough outweigh the support costs, well, you won't get a lot of commercial software. So be it.

Well... (3, Interesting)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498994)

I met Scott Draeker at the Game Developers conference on March 7 2000, about a month after The Sims shipped on Feb 4. I suggested that Loki port The Sims to Linux, because I was optimistic that it was going to be a popular game. He didn't seem to think so, and brushed me off, with a "go away kid, you're bothering me" attitude.

Just goes to show what a stellar business-man Scott Draeker is. Maybe that's why Loki's business is in the shitter and all of the good programmers jumped shipped months ago. If I were the Transgaming folks, I'd be happy that Scott Draeker was poo-pooing my idea as he has shown time and time again that he has no idea what he is talking about and in fact is often doing the exact opposite of what the right thing is.

slow news day (5, Insightful)

_|()|\| (159991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2498999)

So let me get this straight. The highest modded [] post from yesterday's story [] is copied to another forum, and it makes today's news?

Re:slow news day (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499027)

Yeah, Slashdot sucks that way... Pretty worthless...

Native vs. Emulated/Wine (2, Interesting)

Bonkers54 (416354) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499010)

I think the problem here is between games being developed with the ideal situation in mind and the practical most efficient situation.

The most efficient way to develope a game to run on multiple platforms is to be able to use a single feature-full API that will run on any platform. Currently, the only fully featured game API is DirectX. SDL with OpenAL/GL and other such combinations have many features and work well, but they still can't compare with the feature set of DirectX. It is most efficient to use the DirectX API and develope an application for one platform, Windows, and have it run verbatim on the other platforms such as Linux using Wine.

Above is the most efficient and practical method for a game company to use, but the ideal method is completly different. The ideal method would be to develope a cross-platform gaming library which contains all features a game developer would need. Currently SDL with OpenGL and OpenAL is available for use, but this combination is still lacking some features. So I see two roads that can be taken. The cross-platform gaming library can be extended to included the needed features and a standard can be decided on which all game companies will use. Or SDL with OpenGL and OpenAL can be used as a base and all other features can be coded into the given application. Either way would result in a native application. In the end the ideal method will also turn out to be the most efficient and practical, but in the current time frame it isn't. The choice is up to the game company to decide which time frame they want to work with. Large companies can go for the extended time frame and work towards the ideal situation, but smaller companies as is the situation for most, will have to go with the smaller timeframe and use Wine.

I hope the someday the ideal road will be acheived and everything will be native to all OSes. But until then, Wine will suit me just fine.

Re:Native vs. Emulated/Wine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2499107)

>> Currently, the only fully featured game API is DirectX.

No, it's lacking a big feature too: PORTABILITY.

No API is perfect.

Feh (3, Insightful)

Aqualung (29956) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499018)

As an avid gamer and coder, I'd have to say that linux really isn't going to catch the gaming market in the forseeable future. Call me a pessimist if you like, but that's the way I see it. Gaming may be a large market, but right now, the market is firmly entrenched on a Microsoft codebase. As the guy from Maxis pointed out, it's not that the tools aren't there, or that they're not professional quality...

Porting games really isn't a solution, as Loki found out... any gamer that's serious about playing isn't going to wait for the linux port to maybe make the rounds, if someone decides to pick it up... so they basically exist to serve two VERY niche markets... the "I won't run anything unless it's on linux" and the "I'd rather run it on linux" groups. Concurrent development for multiple architectures is indeed expensive and carries with it a lot of overhead, EVEN if it's planned from day one! While this may have benefits in the long term, as with the Sims linux code being used as a base for the Sims Online project, I believe that this is still the exception rather than the rule.

So, you a cry, a killer app is perhaps warranted? Difficulties abound in this scenario as well... any game that becomes immensely successful automatically spawns imitation... play-alikes would be appearing on the Windows platform in VERY short order, capitalizing on a much greater market that has been overlooked, purposefully OR unintentinoally, by the original creators.

Realistically, there's only one thing that will make Linux a commercially viable platform for which companies can develop games: Linus' plan for world domination(tm). The game companies will go where the money is, that is the simple truth... if the gamers come to Linux, the games will follow. Loki's "testing of the waters" showed that there isn't the demand yet to justify a supply.

As for the discussion on how to get people to Linux... well, that's a whole different can of worms, and one that I won't open in this thread. I should probably (knowing /.) add the caveat that when I'm talking about games, I'm talking about modern, commercial-quality games, with Hollywoodian budgets and all the bells and whistles.

Just my two cents...

Maxis and gaming (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499031)

What the hell would a guy from Maxis know about gaming anyways?

Why bother? (1)

DarklordJonnyDigital (522978) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499036)

Why bother porting games? Linux users can just buy Windows games and use WINE ;)

Of course, if and when Linux becomes mainstream enough that it's not only used by nerds like us [] , it will be advantageous for game creators to make sure their games are able to run on Linux, with or without an emulator.

You know what would be really k00l tho... transparent emulation of Windows software on Linux. That way you wouldn't have to fire up an emulator every time you wanna play Stellar Frontier [] .

Porting... (-1)

LinuxIsForAssholes (527253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499050)

Kiss this (_!_)

Hey! (1)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499053)

Think of it as evolution in action, to quote somebody whose name doesn't deserve mentioning.

What's he got against Niven?

Real world, eh? (1, Flamebait)

quartz (64169) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499063)

From the original article: Real People in the Real World don't care about religious issues like if it's running under Wine or if it's a native port.

Linux users don't care about religious issues? No shit. If I didn't care about religious issues, I would be running Windows XP now, not Linux. Dumbass...

Microserf? WINE? No thanks. (1)

tigrrl (219188) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499069)

God, I'd be grateful for linux native games. I have 2 systems right now - a linux box for serious work, and a MS box that I use only for gaming. I have the usual objections to Windows, but mostly I resent the forced march upgrade. I don't like WindowsMe, but it runs Diablo just fine, and I'm willing to put up with a certain amount of extra BS.

What I'm not willing to do is shuck out a pile of cash for Windows XP. Or a pile of cash for any other Windows system. Unfortunately, I know damned well that I'm likely to see a whole rash of new, cool games that won't run on Me or 98, and that I'm going to be forced to buy another expensive, bloated, crappy operating system.

And blow WINE. I actually went out and bought Corel Office for Linux, partly because I needed a suite and partly to provide support for linux development. It's a piece of junk, and I'm assured that it's not the office suite itself, it's the damned EMU that underlies it. If WordPerfect won't run right, why on earth would I expect Unreal or Half-Life to behave?

fnoob! (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499094)

i am the cheese!

Bioware? (2, Informative)

mickeyreznor (320351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2499118)

Everyone knows that Bioware [] is doing a native linux version(and they were talking about the possiblity BeOS port as well) of Neverwinter Nights [] , but has anyone actually asked their motivation for it?

I'd certainly like to know. Is it that they see a potential in linux gaming, or are they doing it out of good will? I'm unsure but it looks like they've snubbed directx and direct3d completely in favor of OpenGL.

(before anyone asks "when is it coming out?" go here [] )
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