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Does Linux Have Game?

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the tuxracer dept.

PC Games (Games) 729

kwpulliam writes "Tom's Hardware has an interesting writeup, discussing the difficulties in bringing games to Linux, and the dilemmas faced by the graphics card developers."

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729 comments

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first post-hevonen (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240003)

!mitä

Re:first post-hevonen (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240132)

paskan marjat.

Direct3D on Linux? (4, Interesting)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240006)

Why can't someone port the Direct3D API to Linux? This would save a lot of hassle of porting the games to OpenGL.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240015)

What sort of whore house bull shit are you peddling? M$ would shit on anyone doing this from a pretty high height. When they'd finished shitting, they'd likly come down and rape the poor bastard for luck too.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (5, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240025)

Why can't someone port the Direct3D API to Linux? This would save a lot of hassle of porting the games to OpenGL.

Well, with Cedega [transgaming.com] (formerly WineX), they basically have...

Still, with porting to OpenGL, you get the benefit of not having to use a runtime Direct3D-to-OpenGL translator (which is essentially what Wine/WineX/Cedega uses), and you're also a step closer to the OpenGL-only Mac.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (2)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240045)

They are really proud to have Half Life 2 listed amongst their runnable software.

However, there is a large difference between one company proclaiming it, and how it actually plays.

Does anybody have any experience with running HL2 on linux? How does it fare against the Win version on same hardware?

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (3, Informative)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240112)

I know this isn't what you asked, but apparently the minimum specifications of doom 3 on linux are much lower than those on windows (doom3 plays great on my linux box, not tried it on windows)

"DirectSound" equivalent is already on Linux (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240176)

Yes, ALL we need is a really well programmed display driver and gfx API for Linux. Many people haven't realised it yet, but NOW we do have the sound driver problem solved as ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) was incorporated into Kernel 2.6 series. Now we have a common sound architecture and that's a really good start.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (5, Insightful)

CrusadeR (555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240029)

Direct3D to OpenGL is far less of a hurdle than convincing a publisher to budget the time for a developer to spend porting for a niche market unfortunately. From what I've read, porting MFC-based utilities (such as game editors) is more of a pain than switching 3D APIs.

FPS games tend to get ported because developers/publishers see the value of having user-run Linux servers, and it's easier (although by no means guaranteed) to get a client port from a dev team that's already porting the server code.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (0)

Kyouryuu (685884) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240083)

And as you point out, it's often the game editors that get left behind. UnrealEd still has no Linux functionality, which is mildly ironic considering Epic markets Unreal as a cross-platform engine.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240149)

From what I've read, porting MFC-based utilities (such as game editors) is more of a pain than switching 3D APIs.

Yep. D3D and OpenGL both do more or less the same thing, and generally aren't a huge portion of the application. And if things are done properly, the renderer will be its own module. When you get down to it, all you're doing is drawing a lot of textured shaded triangles, and changing state.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240033)

Yes, wine has an implementation of Direct3D, or at least Transgaming were going to add it to their WineX. I don't know if the API by itself, without the rest of Win32, would be useful for native apps (rather than Windows or winelib programs).

Re:OpenGL everywhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240040)

Why can't all game developers use OpenGL? This would save a lot of hassle of porting Direct3D. BTW, Transgaming has a version of wine which includes some kind of DirectX API.

Re:OpenGL everywhere? (1)

JediJorgie (700217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240115)

Folks need to remember that DirectX is much more then just graphics... developers get a standard API for sound (including 3d sound), input (including joysticks/pad/forcefeedback) and networking. Jorgie

Re:OpenGL everywhere? (1)

pmjordan (745016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240191)

Meh, DirectInput is pretty primitive and could easily be ported to any platform. Hardly any developer uses DirectSound directly, most of the time they use sound middleware such as Miles Sound System, which, if I remember correctly, supports a bunch of different platforms and sound APIs.

DirectPlay is probably the only one of these that is an issue. The Cedega guys have managed to port that as well, though. Now, if they just had a more permissive license!

~phil

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (1, Insightful)

rote_locke (829859) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240055)

hmmm... doesn't directX belong to that software manufacturer from redmond? the one that does not like to share?
sadly, that is why i don't see a linux-port of directX in the near future... :-(

rote_locke

Need Game Boxes and Mac to Run Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240063)

What would drive the development of games on Linux is convincing the game manufacturers (e.g. Sony and its PS) to use Linux as the operating system and Apple to use Linux instead of BSD as the basis of MacOS.

Actually, what would help even more is to stop piracy in China (which includes Taiwan province and Hong Kong) [phrusa.org] . Without piracy, the average cost of Windows XP in China would rise from 10 American cents to about $200. Then, there would be huge market demand for using Linux since it would be free and would not be competing with a "free" (i.e. pirated) version of Windows.

Then, the huge market in China would drive the development of games on Linux.

Of course, all this talk is sheer fancy since we can never stop piracy in China. Stealing and brutalizing are integral parts of Chinese culture, celebrated and encouraged by most Chinese.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (4, Interesting)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240066)

Why can't someone port the Direct3D API to Linux? This would save a lot of hassle of porting the games to OpenGL.

I don't think so. It's been almost 2 years since DirectX is available for MacOS, developed by British company Coderus [coderus.com] . So far, no major breakthrough was achieved this way - main Macintosh game ports are done "the hard way" by companies like Aspyr Media [aspyr.com] , that's why it takes so long. Only a handful of Mac ports actually use MacDX. It's probably because when you move a game from Windows to Unix-ish environment, you still have to change so many things (Unix privileges etc.) that the 3D API is only a fraction of it.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (1)

pmjordan (745016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240113)

Many games are developed in a cross-platform way to start with. Unix and Windows are quite similar compared to, say, Windows and the PS2! All system-specific calls are hidden behind APIs and libraries anyway, adding a Unix version isn't so hard. Of course, until someone can prove to the publishers that porting to Linux or Mac yields more sold units, the situation won't change.

~phil

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (5, Interesting)

JonLatane (750195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240069)

Better yet, why don't more developers program for OpenGL? Granted, DirectX 9 has a lot of good support for pixel shaders and stuff, but OpenGL 2 can do that too. Seriously, DirectX is a completely closed-source solution and MS can do whatever they want with it, breaking games (although, to their credit, DX9 is supposed to be compatible all the way back to DX5 I think), forcing people to update their OS (which is why Windows 95/98 are dead) and, well, anything else.

Take a look at what Apple did with OpenGL and Aqua. Perhaps they should adopt the it like they did BSD and give it a similar overhaul, providing source and giving back to the community. That way, not only Linux gaming but Mac gaming could seriously improve.

MS is using their OS and browser monopoly to create their own standards and maintain control. They're doing it with ActiveX and their poor CSS support in IE, and they're doing it with DX9 by getting hardware designers the make their graphics cards specifically for their API. Something's got to stop them, and porting DX to Linux (which would never happen anyway) is not the solution.

Re:Direct3D on Linux? (2, Informative)

pmjordan (745016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240165)

One problem is that OpenGL (pre 2.0, haven't looked at that yet) is horrible to work with if you actually want to get stuff done. I'm using it in a game right now, and let me tell you, using a library with a stateful API is no fun. Direct3D does a great job of abstracting things like geometry submission (Vertex Buffers) away, and things like shaders are backwards compatible. For example, on Direct3D, a Radeon 9800 can use GeForce3-class 1.1 pixel shaders; in OpenGL they are a NVIDIA-specific extension. If you want your game to be successful you have to cater for ALL hardware out there, and D3D just makes this so much easier.

Having said that, I still use OpenGL, as I run Linux, and don't like the closedness of Direct3D.

~phil

Sure. (5, Funny)

falzer (224563) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240008)

Linux has gaim.

Re:Sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240058)

And Windows doesn't?
http://gaim.sourceforge.net/win32/index.php [sourceforge.net]

Re:Sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240217)

You missed the joke I think. Poster was saying not something along the lines of "it may not have games, but it has Gaim", but just doing a pun off of the homonym games/Gaim.

Public Enemy (0, Offtopic)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240095)


It might feel good
It might sound a lil somethin
but Damn the gaim
If it don't mean nuttin
What is gaim who got gaim
Where's the gaim
In life
Behind the gaim
Behind the gaim
I got gaim
She got gaim
We got gaim
They got gaim
He got gaim
It might feel good
It might sound a lil somethin
But fuck the gaim
If it ain't sayin nuttin


-- Public Enemy, "He Got Gaim"

Re:Sure. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240156)

OHOHOHOHOHHOH so funny

pathetic wanker dweeb moderator

post (-1, Offtopic)

AlphaJoe (798014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240009)

First Post?

bwahahahahaha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240196)

d00d you are SOOOO not first post!!! not even close! everybody point and laugh!

Stop making excuses (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240010)

Id seems to do a good job of getting their games working in Linux and THEY seem to push the envelope of what gaming IS. If they can do it, I'm sure others can as well. Just as soon as the other game manufacturers get their priorities in order that is. :)

MOD PARENT UP: +5 CORRECT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240024)

n/t

Re:Stop making excuses (1)

JediJorgie (700217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240162)

True, but they are a big exception because they make a lot more money selling the toolbox then the end product. Their focus is the _engine_ not game content. (Just look at Doom3!) That is very different from the average game designer. Jorgie

Re:Stop making excuses (4, Insightful)

pmjordan (745016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240179)

The problem is that the developers are more or less at the whim of the publishers, and resources are spent on fixing bugs rather than porting to platforms that may or may not increase profits. ID have loads of money anyway, so they don't really care, and it also helps engine sales.

~phil

Big releases (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240014)

Well, I hate to say it but one of the biggest titles coming to Linux was pre-empted from Linux, OS X, and even Windows in favor of the X-box. Yes, eventually it shipped for Windows and OS X, but Linux was left out in the cold when Microsoft purchased Bungie. Bungie had plans for simultaneous release of Halo on Windows and OS X to be followed soon by a Linux release. That all changed when Bungie was bought out. Honestly given the consolidation within the game industry, I don't see much hope for games on Linux for a few years yet which is sort of odd given Linux's marketshare as being so much greater than OS X. Perhaps Toms Hardware is correct when it comes to Linux being a true desktop replacement?

Re:Big releases (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240034)

"...given Linux's marketshare as being so much greater than OS X"
Earth to fuck wit, OSX rips Linux on the desktop in terms of market share. Unless you're talking about the dumb arse sitting in his mom's basement segment of course,in which case, you're right.

Re:Big releases (4, Interesting)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240087)

Not that I disagree, but how do you know Linux has greater marketshare than OSX?

Re:Big releases (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240155)

There were never any plans for a Linux release even before the buyout. Please provide a (reputable) link that says there were.

Re:Big releases (1)

JediJorgie (700217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240199)

I don't see much hope for games on Linux for a few years yet which is sort of odd given Linux's marketshare as being so much greater than OS X.

I think that has more to do with the suportability of OSX vs Linux. It is much easier to support a single OS on an limited varity of hardware then it is to support the chaos that is linux... (chaos as in infinate number of combinations of linux distros and mass market hardware.)

Ouch, that reminds me of the support issues of running games on windows vs consoles... :O

Jorgie

ATI video drivers (5, Informative)

IgD (232964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240016)

The problem I have is ATI video drivers for Linux. So far they have been a huge dissapointment. My brother has an Dell notebook with an old nVidia graphics card that works much better than my Radeon 9800.

For productivity, I'm using OpenOffice, FireFox and Thunderbird amongst other open source applications. For games, I play Savage (http://www.s2games.com) which has a native Linux binary. I also play some other games like BattleField 1942 and Vietnam that run under Linux through an emulator.

The rate limiting step here is the ATI video drivers. It's the only thing keeping me running Windows XP instead of Linux.

Re:ATI video drivers (1)

JonLatane (750195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240129)

I'd recommend switching to an nVidia card; you could probably sell your Radeon 9800 and get a Geforce 6600/6600GT fairly easily. I know a lot of gamers don't like nVidia these days because of the FX series, but their current midrange cards are a bit ahead of ATI. The 6600GT can usually beat out 9800s with ease, except in certain rare cases (well, and in Half-Life 2).

Of course, that's mainly in DX9 games, which means Windows. However, nVidia's Linux drivers are far ahead of ATI's, so either way you should get some performance increase.

Re:ATI video drivers (3, Interesting)

Trelane (16124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240202)

Amen to that. ATI, give us a usable binary driver, or give the community the specs!

At this time, my recommendation to those who want 3d gaming is either:

  • Get an old ATI card (if you care about Free drivers, this is the way to go; ATI gives great support to developers for their old cards)
  • Get an NVidia. While you will be completely dependent upon nvidia to provide drivers for the lifetime of your card, you get seriously butt-kicking graphics now, not several years down the road when ATI would have finally told developers the specifications.
  • Buy an off-brand (e.g. Intel) chip; some have great in-kernel support due to their vendors supporting Linux well. Only problem is that they have inferior speed compared to current nvidia or ati offerings. Though I'm not sure how they compare to ATI's old cards; this may be a wash.

I got bit hard by that when I got my laptop; I dropped the money for an ATI card, thinking the only problem was that they were a bit slower than the nvidia drivers. After kernel horkage and lockups and filesystem damage due to this driver, I've sworn off ati unless it's an old, well-supported card. I shoulda just given my money to NVidia instead. From what I've been reading, ATI is very ambivalent about making good Linux drivers, whereas NVidia seems to be bending over backwards to give us great support.

Re:ATI video drivers (1)

pmjordan (745016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240206)

Yep, they suck. ATI are also atrociously slow at supporting new versions of X. (no 3D acceleration on my SUSE 9.2 :( )

My next card will be a nVidia.

~phil

wei shen me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240019)

bu fang qi
na shi li xiang ji fa zhe bu mie de ji qing

Re:wei shen me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240039)

fike silentu, cxinacxo! flavaj malpurajxoj venenujo la mondon!

Yes... (4, Insightful)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240020)

...it's called Tetris. And XTris. And Hextris. And CubeTris. And TrisTris. And GLTris. And...

Clearly, the most dominant platform on consumer computers is going to have the vast majority of games available.

If Linux was the dominant OS, you'd see plenty of games available.

Simple as that.

Re:Yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240048)

If Linux was the dominant OS, you'd see plenty of games available.

If wishes were horses then hay would be scarce.

Re:Yes... (2, Insightful)

Zebbers (134389) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240050)

True...except.....

I play Enemy Territory all the time. As well as the UT series and Quake as well. Doom 3 is coming soon. Neverwinter Nights was fun and I can tackle a good number of games using Cedega.

These discussions are always so pointless. As you said, of course windows has the most games. If you want the latest, or even a good selection- you must run windows.

Interestingly enough, the only games I really find more enjoyable on PC vs my PS2 or Xbox are FPS. And those are the ones best supported under linux. So the one are PCs dominate in gaming: fps, is actually relatively supported on linux- atleast by the big TWO (id/epic)

Re:Yes... (5, Funny)

Cynikal (513328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240110)

kinda like mac gaming...

theres lots of great games for the mac... warcraft 3... zork.. break out... super breakout... photoshop...

Re:Yes... (2, Informative)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240173)

LOL!!!!!!

If you people dont reconize this, this is from a video Red vs Blue did. Insanely funny.

ET runs well (5, Informative)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240028)

Hmm... Enemy Territory runs quite well on my Linux system, and that's despite having a crappy low end ATI Radeon. Not quite as fast as under Windows but that's probably due to the video driver. Enable glx, dri, and do some AGP tweaks...
Section "Device"
Identifier "Radeon"
Driver "radeon"
Option "AGPMode" "4"
Option "AGPFastWrite" "on"
Option "EnablePageFlip" "on"
EndSection

Re:ET runs well (3, Informative)

leathered (780018) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240148)

...and that's despite having a crappy low end ATI Radeon

For those of us unfortunate enought to have a 9500 or greater, using DRI is not an option, we have to use ATI's pitful excuse for a driver. My 9600 Pro gets slaughtered by a GF4MX in glxgears , yes I know glxgears is not much of a bench but still..

We're also still waiting for official Xorg support. This was promised by mid-December but that's now been put back until mid-January.

Rule #1 about Linux Having Game (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240031)

Do NOT talk about Linux Having Game

Whoa (1, Funny)

mrbah (844007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240032)

They have Linux on computers now?

Tried & failed already. (3, Interesting)

Proz512 (586054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240035)

From LokiGames website [lokigames.com] : Loki is closed. Thanks for your patronage. Tried & failed already.

Why pay when Linux users use a free OS. Everybody expects their games to be free.

What game companies should do is like linux companies make money: release the game for free but charge for tech support. Of course, when someone figures how to do the MUST-HAVE exclusively on Linux then things will change... not likely.

Re:Tried & failed already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240067)

that would never work. there are games i have which i have never needed tech support for. therefore, after i initially pay for the game, they would never see any more income from me.

good idea, but the linux approach simply doesn't work for everything.

Re:Tried & failed already. (2, Interesting)

pmjordan (745016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240099)

Charge for tech support? How the hell is that going to work? There's already the problem of piracy, I don't hear those people complaining about lack of tech support for their "free" version of the game. I'm sorry, but that's just not going to work.

I don't think the argument of Linux users wanting everything for free holds, either. Cedega seem to be doing quite well. DooM 3 suddenly sold out on amazon.co.uk the day the Linux binary was posted on the web.

Games must be treated as entertainment, NOT software. They are far more similar to going and buying a DVD than purchasing a database app.

~phil

Re:Tried & failed already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240108)

Free? No.

But people didn't expect to pay full, 'new game' price for a Linux version when the Windows version was already in the $10 bargain bin.

That's why Loki died. Real gamers have a Windows partition. There's no choice; there is no getting around it - if you're serious about PC gaming, you have Windows.

So, what're the choices? Pay $50 now, play now. Pay $10 three months from now. Pay $50 three months from now.

I don't think anyone with half a brain would take that last option, eh?

As for games being free, why should the companies change their methods of business? They're fine as is. The real problem is that Linux offers nothing for gaming. Again, any serious PC gamer already has a Windows partition. What will supporting Linux bring besides headaches and wasted money?

It might bring a sense of goodwill and sheer coolness, but goodwill and sheer coolness don't put dinner on the tables of stockholders. ;)

Re:Tried & failed already. (4, Informative)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240109)

Loki closed almost four years ago. The market today is significantly different then it was then. Linux is used significantly more, on the server and the desktop. Id say with ALSA, and Winelib, the effort required to do source code porting today would be significantly less then it was back when Loki was alive. Also with broadband connections being far more popular as well, a modern Loki could sell direct to users.

So a modern Loki would have more customers. The porting would be easier - cheaper. And they would have higher margins if doing direct-download sales. The economics are compleatly different.

Re:Tried & failed already. (4, Insightful)

xgamer04 (248962) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240119)

...Loki is closed. Thanks for your patronage. Tried & failed already.

Yeah, I can see how ONE company failing is indicative of the whole "linux game company" game. Loki failed, so OMG L00NiX GAM35 R T3H D00M3D!11.

Why pay when Linux users use a free OS. Everybody expects their games to be free.

Yeah, I notice tons of comments on /. all the time expressing how game companies should open source their code. Oh wait... maybe not. And also, companies like iD have released the engine code for their old games, which is what I think ALL software companies should do when their code is no longer financially useful.

Re:Tried & failed already. (2, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240138)

Everybody expects their games to be free.

Speak for yourself. I have no problems paying for my games as long as I know that they're games that I will enjoy. Those people who work hard to deliver games should not be told to give it away for free just to comply with the ridiculous notion that "Linux" should always equal "open source" or "free" just because the operating system happens to be free. This is one attitude of the Linux/FOSS community that I simply despise.

It's attitudes like what you stated that are exactly why companies are not going to Linux. Oh, my! I'm a Linux user! I refuse to buy anything! The world should be free! I'm a Linux user! I should be able to get whatever I want for free! Either release it as Open Source or don't release it at all! I'm a Linux user!

Additionally, if you knew anything about the history of Loki, you'd know that they went under primarily because of horrendous fiscal management, not because of a lack of demand for Linux games.

Re:Tried & failed already. (2, Insightful)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240175)

Loki closed almost three years ago, and the events that led to its demise occurred over a course of 2-3 years before that. A lot has changed in (approx) 5 years.

Linux needs to penetrate (5, Interesting)

ForteMaster (844937) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240038)

This is the final goal for open source. They need to become a gaming platform, both commercially and not, if they want to win the war with Microsoft.

Re:Linux needs to penetrate (1)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240061)

Trust me, it's not just the lack of games...

Re:Linux needs to penetrate (2, Insightful)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240098)

Parent is close, but no cigar...

The adverage gamer DOESN'T care what O/S hes running, as long as it runs as good as he wants it.
What linux wants is many things but two stick out mostly to me. Remmber, adverage gamer is not Computer nerd (normally 12yr olds if you watch the news about Grand Theft Auto!).

1. Linux must be EASY to use.
2. Linux must run games BETTER than windows.

Smile

Re:Linux needs to penetrate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240187)

Not only Linux, probably most of Slashdot needs to penetrate ;-)

OpenGL is the Future (5, Interesting)

toonerh (518351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240064)

Game developers should only use OpenGL for newly written rendering code. It is a high performance, advancing standard. Microsoft often "borrows" from it for Direct X (n+1).

OpenGL makes Linux, BSD, MacOS X and other ports practical as well as not having to deal with Microsoft's arbitrary API's.

mod 3oWn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240070)

hand...don't is not prone to BitTorrent) Second, be any fucking Balance is s7ruck, use the sling. Own lube, beverage, in jock5 or chaps When I stood for resound as fitting

It's the "video" drivers stupid (2, Insightful)

buttkick (626712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240073)

In these days, game = 3d video card.
And the support of 3d Video cards in linux is pathetic, only nvidia gives some interest on that, but the main reason is because of the MESS that is the interface to make drivers work in LINUX.
Every year comes a new bunch of video cards, windows get the drivers, LINUX? don't.

If LINUX wants fo compete with windows on ANYTHING, FIX THE DAMN DRIVERS, make it easy to developers, and support commercial drivers well too, manufactures have the right to keep their source in a very competitive market.

Just check any benchmark of DOOM3 in windows x linux. The result is always, linux is slower, and more difficult to install and conigure the drivers.

Re:It's the "video" drivers stupid (1)

deathazre (761949) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240177)

I'll bite.

# emerge nvidia-glx nvidia-kernel
# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf
- replace driver "nv" with driver "nvidia"
# modprobe nvidia
# opengl-update nvidia
# /etc/init.d/xdm restart

hey, look, my graphics drivers are set up, in less time than it takes on windows.

and it runs enemy territory no slower on linux than it does on windows, identical hardware (dual boot setup).

I've actually heard of people having it run *faster* on linux.

Re:It's the "video" drivers stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240190)

Linux does support comercial drivers. And there is some logic to the sanity of a non-static kernel ABI. As for fixing "the drivers" you might want to write a letter to ATi. Also benchmarking has nothing to do with ease of installation or configuration, just a scientific analysis of a program's efficiency.

Re:It's the "video" drivers stupid (1)

alph0ns3 (547254) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240203)

Difficult to fix the drivers when you don't have any or poor documentation on the cards...

Re:It's the "video" drivers stupid (3, Informative)

Dave2 Wickham (600202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240213)

I seriously hope this is a troll, but I'll bite anyway.

RTFA [tomshardware.com] .

"There is often a misunderstanding in the market that leads to the misconception that Linux [driver development] is difficult," Tippett said.

Exactly the problem that a lot of people have (4, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240080)

Not being able to play games on Linux is exactly why I still am running Windows on my systems. I am a heavy (as in activity, not weight) Ghost Recon, UT2004, and Diablo II gamer. I also have Half Life 2 that my wife purchased for me for Christmas waiting for my system to be upgraded, and I'm looking forward to the PC version of Ghost Recon II.

Of course, what do these require? DirectX.

And what's the only operating system that truly supports it? Well, it ain't Linux.

All of the other major apps that I use are open source - Firefox, OpenOffice, CDex, etc. I have my trusty Sun Blade 100 up and running right next to me as well. So, I don't need Windows for all of my normal day to day stuff. I can just as easily run Linux or Solaris x86 for everything but gaming. Now that Linux has greatly evolved towards the desktop, the ability to play DirectX games is the last hurdle to getting Windows off of my main systems.

At its core DirectX is just a set of common libraries. Is there no efficient way to convert Windows/DirectX calls to the equivalent Linux calls? We're no longer in the days of having separate VESA drivers for each video card. Surely, there must be some way out there to develop a functional DirectLinuX. Then again, that's why I'm a system admin, not a programmer.

Re:Exactly the problem that a lot of people have (0)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240151)

There probably *is* an efficient way to implement DirectX in Linux, but I don't think enough programmers care enough, are skilled enough, and are willing to face possible lawsuits (frivolous or otherwise) from MS.

Re:Exactly the problem that a lot of people have (2, Informative)

Trelane (16124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240153)

well, ut2k4 has a native linux version. Believe me, my crack is Diablo 2, and it runs great under cedega (wineX, from transgaming.com). HL2 is well supported (they even released an intermediate version for the sole purpose of working around some steam breakage). It looks like GR is not supported by Transgaming, but works well (the wiki node is a little out of date, though. I don't have it to report directly, thought).

Additionally, transgaming supports popular games pretty well, releasing versions to support them fairly quickly after (or even synchronously with) their release.

Re:Exactly the problem that a lot of people have (2, Informative)

Hopelessness (742112) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240164)

Cedega [transgaming.com] /WineX (based off Wine) is more or less what you just described. It's not exactly free ($5 a month) but it plays most high-profile games with decent sucess. There's also a free CVS version, but from what I've heard it's not as up to date or complete. However, if you're looking to play a game that has never been that popular, good luck. It may work, but chances are some API feature isn't implemented yet.

Re:Exactly the problem that a lot of people have (2, Informative)

Morbid_Angel666 (700127) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240181)

Cedega. http://www.transgaming.org/ [transgaming.org] http://www.transgaming.com/ [transgaming.com] Works great for me and no need for Windows at home ... I played Everquest with Cedega up until November of 2004 and then moved on to World Of Warcraft. These games play flawlessly. It's not free for the packaged version but the CVS installs are. I pay $5 a month to support the project and well worth every dollar.

Re:Exactly the problem that a lot of people have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240200)

"Is there no efficient way to convert Windows/DirectX calls to the equivalent Linux calls?"

RTFA, http://www.transgaming.com/

call me stupid (0, Offtopic)

Cynikal (513328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240085)

but wouldn't it be the next logical step to make a source code translator to alter win32 code to something that compiles and runs on linux? i mean, doesnt a compiler take a line of code, useless in itself to the OS, and translate it to something the OS will understand? how hard would it be to make a compiler that takes win32 code and outputs it into something linux can use... offer that compiler to the developers for free, and they'd be nuts not to release a linux version of every game they make if it was as hastle free as a few clicks.

but im sure if it was as easy as i imagine, it would have already been done.

Re:call me stupid (3, Funny)

dioscaido (541037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240136)

stupid.

Re:call me stupid (2, Informative)

nagora (177841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240159)

how hard would it be to make a compiler that takes win32 code and outputs it into something linux can use...

Very hard. Since most games rely heavily on libraries of code the compiler would have to be able to recognise the functions and either translate Windows DLL calls to Linux .so calls or synthesise new code for routines which are not supported on Linux.

This is in the realm of possible but not the realm of even moderately difficult. Otherwise, as you say, it would already have been done.

TWW

Re:call me stupid (0, Redundant)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240163)

winelib (from the wine project) does something like that

Re:call me stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240166)

stupid

Re:call me stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240168)

u r stoopid

Re:call me stupid (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240172)

Porting code isnt that hard but often there are big differences to how you do something in one OS vs another and thats made worse if the original program hasn't taken that into consideration and is very much tied to doing things one way. another problem is that hardware support under Linux sucks total dogs balls and then eats the dogs shit and takes 3 days of hard work to then shit out that shit which then stinks of crap. Its not really the Linux community's fault, its just because no-one (manufactures) bothers to do decent Linux support and when they do, its still far lower priority than the Windows support so bugs take longer to get fixed.

Boy am I gonna get a beating for this..

Re:call me stupid (2, Interesting)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240178)

but wouldn't it be the next logical step to make a source code translator to alter win32 code to something that compiles and runs on linux?

Winelib [winehq.com] aims to do something like this, and for simple apps, it works. It still has a long way to go, and everytime MS adds or changes an API, it just adds to the to-do list.

In general, though, it isn't translating the source code itself, but compiling it on the target platform, where the APIs you use have to be available in some form. Winelib provides many of the Win32 APIs to Linux, but Direct3D is not among them [slashdot.org] .

Re:call me stupid (0)

v3rgEz (125380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240208)

Holy Moses Cow! Man, I didn't think of that...
Here, lemme code that up real quick...

C#:

JAVA JAVA JAVA++
00100 1000111 001010 010001
0 10100 100100 100110 010010
0100 100011 1001100 1 001101
CIN output.linux
Render.l33t.3d.uberfast()

Well I'll be damned, Cynikal has saved linux! It works! Why did no one think of this before?

Oh wait, Cynikal knows about as much about computers as I know about 13th century religious iconery.

Stupid.

It's quite simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240089)

It's really quite simple, developers won't write for linux while the drivers are rubbish (ATI!), and the drivers will remain rubbish while the developers don't write for linux.

All it really needs is for the gfx developers to commit themselves to supporting linux, and the rest will follow.

One Word ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240093)

XEvil!

Open Source games (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240107)

Seriously, why aren't more Open Source games developed? I'm not talking Pong I'm talking Halo 2, Doom 3 level. I know the obvious answer is they are really expensive and time consuming to produce. If many of the people working on current games are into Open Source why not show there support by starting serious Open Source games in their spare time. Aim them first at Linux then port them to Windows and OSX later. Seems easier to port the other direction anyway, more video card support etc.

Just a question. If everyone is so serious about supporting it donate the time and start building games that can compete one to one with the big boys. Technically they should be better since it's a labor of love and all the technical issues that everyone complains about, game play and such, should have been adressed in development. Without marketing and corporate suits to consider the games should be able to hit a whole new level and actually lead the pack.

Just a thought.

Re:Open Source games (4, Insightful)

wcbarksdale (621327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240170)

The main problem is that a modern game requires a large number of artists, writers, and designers (and comparatively few programmers), and the majority of people who spend their spare time working on open source games are programmers.

It's a problem of market share (5, Insightful)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240131)

Look at Oracle. Did they have a Linux port when nobody used Linux? No, but when Linux started to grow at 30% percent rate in the server market they started to think about it.

Games are a problem of how many people uses it on a desktop, nothing else. And games should be easier to support than a database since in games they spent most of the time in the "data" which depends on the game engine not in the OS, and the game engine can't be that hard with companies like Id. The core problem here is Direct3D but if people starts using linux I don't doubt lots of game companies will consider to create new games in opengl if they can get enought revenue from linux people.

With the current market share linux has is quite difficult to get anything. But if it grows we'll have lots of games, be sure. Heck, just look at doom, halflike, quake. Those games have been ported to linux (or they're in their way), and how much money can they have got those companies from the linux port? Nothing? Or almost nothing, compared with the revenue from the windows clients. That demonstrates that supporting games in linux is not hard, if it were too dificult and with the current lack of interest in the linux port they wouldn't have done it.

Do I smell bullshit? (5, Insightful)

silentrob (115677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240134)

From the article:

ATi cards' initial problems with Linux were due to a lack of driver support for Doom III. (...) Regardless of whether a game is based on an OpenGL or Direct3D API, the graphics card vendor's driver must support the game.

Bullshit. What's the fucking point of utilizing any API for any development if you have to have the vendor modify it to work with your product? I suppose that absolutely no OpenGL game ever works under linux without ATI modifying thier drivers to specifically support that game? There's a lot of games out there. Good luck implementing support at the driver level for each and every one of them, ATI.

It just pisses me off to see ATI try to pass this off as id's problem, when in reality there wouldn't be any fucking problem if ATI were make a proper implementation of OpenGL on linux, instead of focusing entirely on D3D/Win32.

End rant. Flame on, and all that good shit.

Graphics card's driver must support the game?!? (5, Insightful)

rasty (212471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240135)

Wait a minute... did I miss anything (probably), but what's this thing that "Regardless of whether a game is based on an OpenGL or Direct3D API, the graphics card vendor's driver must support the game."?!?

The graphics card vendor's API implementation should be complete regardless of the games that use that API. Of course a card could have certain hardware limitations not allowing it to actually support the whole set, but this doesn't look to be the case with Doom3 and ATI.

True, today developers usually choose just one reference vendor for the development process (maybe sometimes because of the money they get rather than the actual lack of time to test on both, cmon there are just two!), therefore there could be some (possibly minor) incompatibilities with the other, but if both vendors' drivers were as complete as possible, that would definitely be a step in the right direction...! ... or not?

It's quite simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240140)

Until someone develops the equivalent of DirectX
(the whole thing, not just Direct3D)for Linux,
developers will prefer sticking to Windows.

Qt sounds right except it is a royal
pain in the ass to use compared to an evolved
API like DirectX.

Hahahah games on linux..That's rich (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240157)

Word to your motha

logic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11240167)

I first read this article about a week ago on linux.com. What it had to say was correct. They touched on the issues all of us in the Linux/Gaming world have to deal with, such as OpenGL vs. DX flame wars and ATi's horrible Linux support. The one problem I had was when I got the conclusion where they stated

"The harsh truth is that you are not going to get the same adrenaline-charged, bust-them-up, shimmering lake and billowing smoke performance with Linux that you get on WindowsXP."

This made me pause for abit because I didn't see one single benchmark or any sceintific measurements of performance between the OSes.

This also bothers me for I ran ET on my old amd duron 800Mhz with 128Megs of ram on Gentoo perfectly. Now I own a amd64 3400+ that plays quake2 with 100% software excelleration soo smoothly.

Arguments that the Linux market isn't worthy enough for games are beginning to become invalid as more users move into Linux and as the software base becomes more and more "desktop user friendly". As for ATi's support, well thats ATi's problem not Linux's (although a nice LSB would help things out).

Direct3D is a minority (4, Interesting)

Crass Spektakel (4597) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240195)

Ok, maybe Direct3D is the main GUI on windows but it is of no relevance anywhere else. Not on Linux. Not on BSD. Not on MacOS. Not on the PS2. Not even Windows-CE and therefore not on PDAs and Mobile Phones. Nowhere except Wintel.

Therefore any sane producer should use OpenGL which makes it very easy to bring a product to any console, any computer and after some years to PDAs and Mobile Phones.

Today a productive sellcycle for a game should be:

1. sell on consoles - they have less problems with piracy and people are more willing to pay (overpriced) prices.

2. after the first hot sellcycle - three to twelve months - port the game to Desktop-Computers. There are million people which do not want a console but still want to play a game. Also those games are a bit cheaper which gets you more customers. Your game gets pirated though but as sales for (1.) already are over you simply live with it.

3. Meanwhile port it to Unix-Desktops or in other words, MacOS and Linux. It is a piece of cake, given you planes porting through all cycles means you gave some thoughts right at the start about portability and this pay off now. 10-20% additional sales for maybe 10 working days.

4. After several years portable gameconsoles, PDAs and Cell-Phones are becoming a target - your game outsold on the desktop and consoles, people knew your game and have good memory. People actually are willing to pay for Mario/PDA after having played Mario/Console. So now you recompile your game to those portable plattforms, sell it for a real low-budget-price and most likely you are outselling all earlier sales.

All portings only take some days of work, yes this can be done with some planing.

This cycle and no other will give maximum earnings. And it simply forbids use of Direct3D.

I just experienced the slashdot effect! (-1, Offtopic)

andalay (710978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240207)

I was busy reading the first page, and before I got to the second, tomshardware was slashdotted! Wow. This is the highlight of my web surfing. Today.

Its catch 22.. (5, Insightful)

Bhalash (797330) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240209)

To get better gaming support on Linux we need more Linux gamers, but to get more Linux gamers we need better Linux gaming support.

Article Text (3, Informative)

Mr.Radar (764753) | more than 9 years ago | (#11240218)

It looks like it's been /.'ed so here's the full article text (sans images).
---------------
Does Linux Have Game

Introduction

[IMAGE]
Live out your Unreal 2004 midnight adventures on Linux.

Earlier this year, our Linux Comes to the Desktop article caused a stir, when we stated that gaming on a Linux platform remained a limited proposition. Now it is time to detail why this is the case. We will explore what is the best you can hope for when you opt for the penguin to play Unreal and Doom III. We will also look at why Linux lovers must be contented with the state of things -- for the time being, that is, because things are looking up for the Linux gaming crowd.

So why is wide-scale gaming support for Linux not 100% there? A better question may be: why would game developers spend the money to add Linux functionality to games for a limited number of users? The answer is not that simple, especially since Linux desktop use continues to grow.

There are many reasons why you might want to shift from Windows to a Linux OS. We won't cover what those reasons might be in detail here, but will note that users routinely complain of Windows instability, high prices and many layers of software that impede performance. For others, there are ethical considerations for avoiding Windows, such as decisions by courts of law in the U.S. and Europe holding that Microsoft has illegally wielded its monopolistic influence in the marketplace. On the other hand, there are magazines out there, backed by now-a-word-from-our-sponsor Microsoft ads, that claim Windows XP deserves your money.

According to a report issued this month by analyst firm IDC, Linux "is no longer a niche phenomenon." The overall Linux marketplace revenues for server and PC hardware and packaged software are expected to reach $35.7 billion by 2008, IDC says. Packaged software revenue is the fastest growing market segment within the Linux marketplace, growing 44% annually to over $14 billion in 2008.

On the desktop, IDC says Linux PC shipments are expected to almost triple from six million units this year to 17 million units in 2008. Percentages of PCs shipped with Linux increase from about 3.8% in 2004 to about 7% in 2008. However, these numbers do not take into account the PC units shipped with Windows, to which Linux is subsequently added.

As you can see, the evidence suggests that Linux on the desktop is growing, and that means more PC gamers who will want to be able to frag at will in Linux. In the game console sector, hackers already know that Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's Playstation II also support Linux.

Until Linux does become as pervasive as IDC and other analysts claim it will, what is a gamer who wants to play Halo on a Linux platform do? And why is it such an issue to begin with? Without detailing differences based on benchmarks, we offer a look at the connection between graphics card drivers and the APIs that developers use for their games, and how the interface between the two works and doesn't work with Linux.

Direct3D Vs. OpenGL

[IMAGE]
Doom III shows OpenGL can rock

Whether game developers use Direct3D or OpenGL as their API is the main determinant of whether a game will run on Linux or not. Both APIs are used to create games' 3D imagery, including lines and other shapes, smoke, shadows and all the other good imagery games offer. It has been said that Direct3D is superior to OpenGL, but this is not really the case. While Direct3D is indeed the predominant game API, superior graphics have more to do with the creative skills of the game developers than the choice of API.

Direct3D falls under the brought-to-you-by-Microsoft umbrella, and is geared for the Windows-only world. Because Windows is the main OS in the PC world, graphics card makers have only one OS with which to contend when configuring their drivers for Direct3D games.

OpenGL, meanwhile, is everywhere - it is compatible with Linux, Windows, Unix and Mac OS. But while OpenGL is compatible with Windows, Direct3D is not compatible with Linux, and this is the problem -- most game makers just use Direct3D, and don't bother with OpenGL to make them compatible with non-Microsoft OSes.

Exceptions, of course, exist. Doom III, for example, is an example of a recently-released high-profile game that is based on OpenGL. Whether you think it is a great game or not, a look at its rich graphics shows eye-candy that is, at the every least, comparable to that of any other game on the market. Doom III also demonstrates that that claim that

"Direct3D is a better graphics programming interface than OpenGL" is a load of bunk. Doom III is indeed a true cross-platform Windows and Linux game.

Some Direct3D games run on both Windows and Linux. More often than not these were originally written in Direct3D, and then translated into OpenGL for Linux. Some game developers do this in-house, while others do it "on the cheap" by outsourcing. Unfortunately, most games don't offer this choice at all.

The Graphics Card Makers' Driver Dilemma

[IMAGE]
It's the drivers, stupid.

When Doom III was released earlier this year, flames were fanned on many forums as unhappy gamers reported that they were unable to run Doom III on Linux with their ATi cards. ATi's problem with Doom III, in fact, illustrates an additional potential issue when running games on Linux. Doom III was based on OpenGL, right, and is recognized by Linux. So what was the problem?

ATi cards' initial problems with Linux were due to a lack of driver support for Doom III. Regardless of whether a game is based on an OpenGL or Direct3D API, the graphics card vendor's driver must support the game. In the case of Doom III and ATi, the game's development team had not communicated Doom III's final code until just before the game's launch, says Matthew Tippett, product team lead for Linux platform engineering. "We weren't notified until about three weeks before Doom III's release, and we were notified that it didn't work," Tippett said. "The earlier we find out about these issues, the earlier we respond with a catalyst." Indeed, ATi's cards appear to function now when running Doom III on Linux, but this scenario illustrates in general the driver problems for the card makers.

So is it just a matter of downloading the driver for Doom III and making it work for all distributions of Linux, such as SuSe, Red Hat and others? "The driver works for most distributions," Tippett said. "So, the technology is the same, but there are configuration differences, information, etc. and those sort of things are not without complications. Those sort of issues are difficult to solve across the marketplace."

Card maker drivers thus must accommodate not just Linux in addition to Windows, but several variants of the Linux OS. "Each company that packages Linux will do things in their way to suit their customers and so on," Tippett said. "It presents problems, but is not insurmountable. It is more of an awareness that must created."

Each distribution thus offers its intrinsic set of challenges, says Nick Triantos, chief software architect for NVIDIA. "There is a lot of open-source software development done with different Linux distributions, which at times are challenging. Red Hat Enterprise Linux, for example, doesn't change that often. Fedora, which is another Red Hat product, changes very frequently," Triantos said. "In the Linux community, there are those who don't care about how we build our drivers, then there are those who are adamant that everything should be open sourced, and at times they can make it challenging for us to build our drivers. In this case, because we do distribute their drivers as binaries, they can make it more difficult to ship a binary product on top of the rest of a system that is open sourced."

Of course, Linux drivers are not inherently difficult to develop compared to Windows drivers. And as many a gamer will attest, installing the right, updated driver for a graphics card to get a Direct3D game to run on WindowsXP can be a real pain, fraught with device conflicts and other nuisances. Indeed, the development process for Linux drivers are largely the same as creating drivers for Windows. "There is often a misunderstanding in the market that leads to the misconception that Linux [driver development] is difficult," Tippett said.

In fact, Linux driver development for graphics cards can even represent a more streamlined process than it is for Windows. "The problem with Windows is that there is so much different software out there and the quality varies, and any one piece of poorly written software can take down the whole system," Triantos said. "Printer drivers, multimedia devices, and all the junk in the bottom right hand of your system tray with Windows all add up to lots of opportunities for someone to make mistakes. Linux doesn't have all of those levels, but doesn't have those risks as well."

Graphics Card Drivers Can Make The Difference

[IMAGE]
The Linux platform represents another battlefield on which graphics card makers must distinguish themselves.

Again, this article will not attempt to offer prognostications nor make comparisons about performance differences between ATi, NVIDIA or other vendors' graphics cards when running game applications on Linux. However, the graphics card's driver design does make a big differences, and this impacts various performance metrics, not just frames per second. "Stability is the telling tale. It is not hard to make a benchmark run, but it is harder to make a robust driver that runs all of the applications," Triantos said. "It is really the combination of stability, features and quality that measure whether our product is better than that of any other competitor."

NVIDIA Likes Linux

In the case of NVIDIA, for example, its Linux driver developers are among about 400 of the company's total software engineers. They are busy in their development labs programming in C and C++, and working in conjunction with the QA department group that tests the drivers. "Every time a new build comes out from SuSe or Red Hat or Mandrake, or the many others, we get builds from the OS and test the drivers to make sure everything works well," says Triantos.

NVIDIA says a substantial port of its Linux driver initiative is grounded in its graphics card development efforts for very high-end workstations. These are the hardware devices used by Hollywood producers to make movies like Shrek, for complex CAD virtual visuals, or 3D virtual world applications, such a those used for oil and gas exploration. "All these applications require Linux," Triantos said.

However, the extent of NVIDIA's development resources geared for Linux remains undisclosed. Meanwhile, for ATi, Linux remains largely a minority segment. "Unfortunately, [ATi's] Linux development team is smaller than the Windows development team, and so our focus is different," Tippett said. "This remains a very small and niche market, limited only to OpenGL gaming... If we can cover 80% to 90% of the market, and we can participate in games that are playable under Linux, then that is where we are going to focus our efforts."

The official line from ATi is that while the company says it has "dramatically increased" its resources for Linux during the past year or so, the company's development efforts for the platform are limited compared to that for Windows applications. "We can only do what we have the resources to do," an ATi spokesman said. "While we have dramatically increased our resources, which is a good thing for Linux users, at the same time we must put the market in context as well."

Going The Cedega Way

[IMAGE]
Are there really 300 Direct3D games ready to run on Linux?

While gaming on Linux is contingent on OpenGL, alternatives exist so that gamers don't have to wait for game developers to invest in OpenGL support for Direct3D. Canada-based TransGaming can do the Direct3D to OpenGL translation for you, using a product well-known to the Linux gaming community: Cedega. Originally called WineX, TransGaming's marketing copy claims that Cedega allows "Windows games to seamlessly and transparently run under Linux, out-of-the-box, with outstanding performance and equivalent game-play." More than 300 Direct3D games run with Cedega now, the company says, including Battlefield Vietnam, Eidos' Hitman: Contracts and LucasArts' Star WarsGalaxies.

So you just buy the software and get your favorite games to run on your SuSe platform at work just like they do at home with Windows XP. Unfortunately, not all games work with Cedega equally well. Again, while we do not offer benchmarks, the installation process, loading time and other factors can be an issue. In sum, the solution is far from perfect. Stay tuned for more on this.

Conclusion

The harsh truth is that you are not going to get the same adrenaline-charged, bust-them-up, shimmering lake and billowing smoke performance with Linux that you get on WindowsXP. Games like Halo and Half-Life 2 aren't there yet, so if you want the best of the best with NVIDIA's or ATi's latest for new blockbuster games, you need to stick to Microsoft.

In the case of OpenGL Doom III, you might not notice the difference -- at least, not too much. "I have, for example, a laptop with a Mobility 9800 and I'm getting up to 100, and playable frame rates. The difference between frame rate per second counts don't make much difference for the gaming experience of the general user," Tippett says. "But the enthusiast is going to care."
--------------------
Article Info Sidebar:
Does Linux Have Game?
Created: December 30, 2004
By: Bruce Gain
Category: Business Reports
Summary: Some say you can port just about any top PC game to Linux on your PC. Naysayers maintain that most games don't run on Linux, and the ones that do, run badly. We decided to cut to the chase and detail what works and what doesn't, with some input from ATi's and NVIDIA's top software developers.
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