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Valve Looking to Port Games to Linux?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the crazy-day-in-my-neighborhood dept.

Games 129

Martin Bozic writes "Valve is apparently looking for senior engineers to port games to Linux. They have an ad up on the official site looking for a Senior Software Engineer with experience in 'systems engineering designing and developing communications software and hardware solutions including resolving problems surrounding real-time and non real time PC- based systems using C++ and network programming algorithms and their interaction with physical devices.' One of the lines under the job description is the simple statement: 'Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform.'" No reason to get excited about this before they make an official announcement; while this may eventually mean Half-Life 2 running under Linux, they may just want penguin-based folks to play Peggle.

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129 comments

Sure, why not? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20602323)

They've already ported it to the PS3, so why not port it to another, more successful gaming platform? I mean, it's not like it can be any harder than the PS3 port, and it's likely to pull in more sales anyway.

I wonder if this means Steam under Linux?

Re:Sure, why not? (3, Insightful)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602475)

God I hope so. I'm sick of dual booting and Cedega is a pain. I for one welcome our new Linux gaming overloards.

Re:Sure, why not? (2, Insightful)

SausageOfDoom (930370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603477)

Now all I need is for Microsoft to release Office for linux, and I can ditch Windows for good! Oh, right.

Adobe CS3 wouldn't go amiss either, but I doubt we'll see that happening any time soon.

IF, just, IF (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20602329)

IF Valve wants to port its Windows games to Linux, and IF that involves porting Steam, does that mean they'd be required to disclose the source to Steam's authentication system?

Otherwise they'd just release binaries that target distributions, right?

Re:IF, just, IF (5, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602463)

Why would they be required to do that? Just because they might release software on Linux does not mean that they are in any way obligated to release the source. There is nothing that says that if you write software for Linux you must release the source code. Microsoft could write Office for Linux but they would be under absolutely no obligation to release the source code, and of course we know that they never would. I know that many here think that Linux is synonymous with open source, but in reality open source is not a requirement for Linux.

A few years ago, I spoke with someone from one company that makes astronomy-based software who said that they decided not to release their software in the early days of Linux because of the demand at the time from Linux extremists to release the source code. Please don't scare Steam into the same kind of retraction by suggesting or insisting that they release their code as well. You can be almost guaranteed that Steam would be a binary release, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Re:IF, just, IF (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20602641)

A few years ago, I spoke with someone from one company that makes astronomy-based software who said that they decided not to release their software in the early days of Linux because of the demand at the time from Linux extremists to release the source code.


We ran into exactly this as well. We had binaries for both Windows and Linux and a significant portion (read: 75%+) of the queries about the Linux software included questions about getting the source code for it as well. More than a few indicated that our not willing to give them source code was why they didn't use/buy our product.

Re:IF, just, IF (2, Interesting)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603207)

More than a few indicated that our not willing to give them source code was why they didn't use/buy our product.

That seem fair enough to me, you can even get the source code for Windows now adays.

If they want the source, charge them for it and slap on a big NDA etc...

Re:IF, just, IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20606115)

No shit dumbass, what do you expect?

Re:IF, just, IF (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603043)

You can be almost guaranteed that Steam would be a binary release, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Except for all the usual reasons about source code being a prerequisite for software freedom.

Other than that, yeah, nothing wrong with it at all.

Re:IF, just, IF (4, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603511)

And just who are you to demand that anyone grant "freedom" to the software that they - not you - spent countless hours coding? Jesus! Is it not enough that people are finally considering releasing their software for Linux? This "all-or-nothing" attitude is exactly why companies like the one that I mentioned refuse to release Linux software -- because of this irrational, self-proclaimed "requirement" of the extreme Linux fringe that companies "free" their software.

You are coaxing a timid animal out of its hole only to start screaming at it when it pokes its head out, forcing it to run back into its hole out of fright. Knock it off, damn it!

Re:IF, just, IF (1, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603781)

I didn't demand anything.

Re:IF, just, IF (1, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603917)

Oh, please. Your snarky comment was nothing more than a criticism that companies would dare to release closed-source software for Linux. That in itself is nothing more than a veiled demand that companies release their source code; otherwise, they're violating the whole premise of Linux, right? If I was a software developer and I was hit with an attitude of "I want your code because your code demands freedom!" instead of "Hey, thanks a lot for helping to support our platform!" I wouldn't want to code for that platform either.

No, you didn't use the word "demand", but your comment was a direct reflection of the attitude that (unfortunately) has existed since Linux became a commonly-known term that companies who release software for Linux are just somehow expected to release (or "give freedom to") the source code as well.

Re:IF, just, IF (3, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604119)

And just who are you to demand that anyone grant "freedom" to the software that they - not you - spent countless hours coding?

Um... he didn't "demand" that. He just pointed out that some people value 'software freedom' highly, and that value may (for such people) outweigh the utility of closed software, no matter how many hours were spent coding it. The fact that someone doesn't share your tastes or priorities is not prima facie evidence that they are wrong. De gustibus and all that.

Sure, Linux has 'free-software purists' among its users. How could it possibly be otherwise? If they were using Windows or Macs, they would not, ipso facto, be free-software purists.

You seem to be implying that any free-software purism among any Linux users will scare off companies. Perhaps that's even true (though I doubt it, and I'll need more than a couple of anecdotes to convince me of that) but I have to ask why companies are that timid? Don't they know that there are also plenty of pragmatic, 'impure' Linux users, too?

Re:IF, just, IF (4, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604663)

The pragmatic, 'impure' Linux users don't seem to be as vocal. They don't seem to flood message boards with statements of "thats ok, I don't need the source, thanks for supporting my platform anyways.

The very vocal purists seem to paint the picture of the entire community. You also have companies like MS ensuring them that it is worthless to bother with them. After walking into a site on several occasions to find an unpatched windows 2000 server that was also a file server and router that was owned by a lot of different people, I decided to recommend pulling it out, replacing it with a linux box as a firewall/router and then after rebuilding it once again, keep it behind the firewall.

A notes on this, the owners had a rocket scientist for a son in his mid 20's who set this up and maintained the server, I was only called to get them up and going again on several occasions. I know that windows servers, can run on the Internet without getting infected with something or completely pawned. That isn't the point, the point is that no one qualified to make it happen was around the server until after the fact.

Anyways, the normal admin/maintainer started calling me a linux zealot because I mentioned using the *nix boxen as a firewall to protect the windows devices. As if that was a bad thing?. They had an old computer that could have been easily used. He convinced the owners (mom and dad) to put a Dlink wrt54 in as a firewall instead and about cried when I told him it ran linux as the device's base OS. Now, he had to get the idea that linux was bad somehow. He was also studying for his MCSA at the time. He was dead set against linux for some reason and ended up pointing to some comments from the vocal purists to support his beliefs.

I think the MCS* training warned him about linux and he became convinced enough to end up being an MS fanboy. But it wasn't hard for him to show outrageous comments on message boards that appeared with no context in a vein attempt to prove his point. I still laugh when I get a call asking if X behavior is normal. I guess some people take the term using the right tool for the job to a whole new meaning.

I can only imagine that companies looking to support linux have came across the exact same stuff. They have MS on one hand saying this is bad, your computer will blow up and date your wife in front of you, and at the same time, purist will be letting them know that want everything or nothing at all. The pragmatic, 'impure' Linux users don't even get recognized.

Re:IF, just, IF (2, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604839)

The very vocal purists seem to paint the picture of the entire community... it wasn't hard for him to show outrageous comments on message boards that appeared with no context in a vein[sic] attempt to prove his point.

"There is no cause so noble it will not attract some kooks." - Larry Niven

You're kind of reinforcing my point there. Quoting irrational message board comments is not an argument. I defy you to name a platform that doesn't have its irrational fanboys [penny-arcade.com]. The guy you're talking about had a negative attitude about Linux for other reasons. At most, extremists users were an excuse or rationalization.

If we address the real reasons that people form negative preconceptions about Linux, the whackjobs (and note: I'm not saying the 'free software purists' are 'whackjobs') won't matter.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605353)

I'm not really disagreeing with your point. I am expanding it to show that we are usually impressed by what we pay attention to. With companies pointing us into a direction and then being able to validate it on our own, we have the makings of a grand conspiracy theory that anyone would believe.

Maybe we should get more of the impure users to voice their opinions and support. But the issues are clouded way before we can rationally look at why it is being said. A lcd monitor works by displaying several colors of light at the same time. A yellow pixel isn't a yellow led embedded into the board of the monitor. It is a combination of different colors displaying at different intensities to make up the color you can see. The loudest, or brightest color tends to show the most with the other blending together which makes the light seem like something totally different then what is actually there. I think an LCD monitor only has Blue green and red LEDs in each pixel.

I think this situation is a lot like that. You have a bunch of people making up the combinations of color with the vocal one defining it. yellow was probably the wrong color to use in that example because it uses two primary colors with other sources. You can address anything your want but without addressing the Whack jobs who paint the picture so someone can use the extremist outlook to excuse or more likely reinforce their behavior, you won't get far.

As with most conspiracy theories, there has to be an element of truth and then you can impose an untrue situation around it. Saying that zealots do X is more likely enabled only because some zealots are doing X. It is hard to explain it any better without straying far from topic. But basically, if every poor person you met was stupid, then you could easily believe that all poor people are stupid. If all you see in the movies are black people playing the parts of murderous thugs, then when your meet one face to face, you would probably think they are murderous thugs (which isn't remotely the casE) and when all you see when looking at opening something to the linux platform is purist demanding the source, then you can easily think that is all the linux community wants.

I think maybe we see more then on real reasons that people form negative preconceptions about Linux. I'm sure there are and they probably both need to be addresses. But I was talking from the perspective of companies wanting to release a product for the platform. You can easily give a requirement that you must have this or that installed and get around some of the differences between platforms. You can also release the product to only work on red hat or slackware and let the community tell whoever what needs to be changed to get it working. Pointing these companies to positive places that under the perceptions some have gotten from the Source or nothing crowds is a little more difficult.

Re:IF, just, IF (2, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605409)

And just who are you to demand that anyone grant "freedom" to the software that they - not you - spent countless hours coding?
Who are we to make such demands? You may as well ask: "Who are you to demand that you be granted freedom of speech?" or "Who are you to demand that companies don't treat you as a badly?" or whatever.

As citizens of free countries, we are all very much allowed to make loud demands for freedom from whomever we wish. It doesn't mean that the entities in question have to care about our demands, nor does it mean that the government should be stepping in to guarantee those freedoms that some citizens want. But we are damn well free to voice our desires to those companies.

To put it in a less adversarial way: Software authors undoubtedly have the legal right to release their software as binary-only. However for many people, open-source software is "better" (for pragmatic and even ethical reasons), and so they will encourage those software authors to release their software as open source ("encourage," not "force"). This is no different that any other interaction between customers and a company: we encourage companies to do all kinds of things that we want. It's up to them to decide which ones they think are worth doing.

You are coaxing a timid animal out of its hole only to start screaming at it when it pokes its head out, forcing it to run back into its hole out of fright. Knock it off, damn it!
Your analogy presupposes that the objective is to get "more software on Linux" in which case demands for source, as you point out, simply scare off potential developers. However not everyone shares that goal. For many, the goal is "make all software free" and those people are urging software developers (for Windows and Linux) to release source code. In that regard, getting more binary software on Linux isn't really a step forward. The fact is that most people with such goals are Linux users, so the requests for source code are statistically going to be higher for a binaries released for Linux than for Windows.

This is simply a manifestation of the diverse goals of the FOSS community (that diversity, incidentally, is not necessarily a bad thing).

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605579)

> You are coaxing a timid animal out of its hole

I hardly think Valve is a timid animal, and dealing with the demands of its existing customers is almost certainly more difficult. Anyway, the dedicated servers already run on Linux, so it's not like they're never touched it before.

Re:IF, just, IF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20603217)

Parent here, thank you for the clarification.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604221)

As I recall, Valve released the source code before the game was even out =). Seriously though, there is a lot of commercial software out there on Linux where the source (no pun intended) is not available. Though with a game like HL2 which thrives on Mods, you at least get the ability to mess with portions of the code.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

anboni (1000474) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602471)

Nowadays, it isn't too hard anymore to create binaries that will work on most recent mainstream distros. Or they could open-source most of the steam engine and leave the authentication mechanism locked in a closed source library. I'd think there's lots of options to offer their products on many linux distros without giving up info on the authentication.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602607)

They do not even need that.

All mainline distros now ship with kernels which support TPM and 99% of the machines likely to run their games have it onboard. From there on they can implement an authentication scheme based on PKI and machine keys (or user keys signed by the machine one).

In fact it is way easier than on Windows XP where you have to "hide" parts of your auth. On linux you can leave the entire thing in the open, supply source, publish the algorithm and it will still be unbreakable due to the underlying cryptography being unbreakable (via practical means).

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603621)

I'm not all that up on encryption, but it sounds like you think that Steam has to be registered to one computer.. in actual fact I can have steam and HL2 on as many computers as I want. All the authentication is through the username/password, the software is not locked to any single computer, just a single account.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603879)

I am not that up on Steam to be honest. I know some of its functionality, but as I do not myself play HL some other parts are clearly beyond my interest scope.

Encryption will give you the copy protection function of it which is essential to use it for secure distribution. Copies shipped to one account will not be useable by other accounts. This can be done under linux in a fashion which is very hard to break.

The other function of Steam and similar frameworks AFAIK is to be software police and make sure players are not cheating. Same as with windows every one of these is circumventable. End of the day, the syscalls it has to intercept are documented so even if you do not have the source you can still break it. Once again, using crypto in a few places can make this task considerably harder.

Re:IF, just, IF (1, Troll)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602997)

Nowadays, it isn't too hard anymore to create binaries that will work on most recent mainstream distros.
Funny how "nowadays" a problem that no other OS but Linux has ever had is not so bad anymore. Still there, mind you, just not as bad.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604099)

Funny how "nowadays" a problem that no other OS but Linux has ever had is not so bad anymore. Still there, mind you, just not as bad.
Oh ya, Winders never has any compatibility problems with previous versions. Never. /sarcasm

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604169)

Windows is one of the best OSes when it comes to backwards compatibility. It's not perfect, but comparing it to the insane mess that is Linux is just idiotic. Linux can't even manage binary compatibility between current versions, never mind older versions.

Re:IF, just, IF (0)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605813)

Windows is one of the best OSes when it comes to backwards compatibility. It's not perfect, but comparing it to the insane mess that is Linux is just idiotic. Linux can't even manage binary compatibility between current versions, never mind older versions.
Fortunately I haven't run into that issue. Never had a issue with Unreal Tournament under the various versions of Linux I've used, nor have I had this issue with the text games I own from the early 90 (which I don't have the source to either). Many others don't have this issue either with games from Loki and so on.

Now, if you want to complain about issues related to shared dynamic resources which are from different versions of glibc and so on, you have a point -- But if you know your application is going to be binary only, you can take many options to get around the issue from static compiling to making C++ interfaces.

In other words, you're exaggerating the issue.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605949)

So because you can kludge your way around the problem, it does not exist?

My point was that none of that work is needed on other platforms.

Re:IF, just, IF (0, Redundant)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20606205)

So because you can kludge your way around the problem, it does not exist?
The problem I discussed was not quite the issue you brought up. As your issue didn't exist except in a specific instance.

My point was that none of that work is needed on other platforms.
Your point was on binary compatibility, not shared resources. And guess what, even Windows has issues with different versions of shared resources. Just try running a C++ application compiled with the latest windows xp sp2 platform SDK on a Windows XP (no service pack system). msvc71/msvcr71 may exist on Windows XP, even have the same APIs, but it won't be 100% compatible either (can cause runtime errors).

Additionally there have been past bug issues with riched20.dll, where new versions caused problems with programs compiled with older platform SDK packs and so on (can cause runtime errors).

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604471)

You're looking at the problem wrong. The difference between different distros of Linux is the same as the difference between Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95. Same codebase (roughly speaking), but a lot of software needs to be tweaked to port between the two different operating systems. In that respect, kudos to the distributors for collaborating on a standard.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604893)

What do you mean no other OS has ever had? Windows 3.1 was a different distribution then windows XP. Try running a program from one on the other. Now try doing it to all of them.

Don't look at distributions as one version of windows. It isn't. It is more akin to each revision of windows. There have been compatibility problem in windows when going between 3.1x to 95, 95 to 98, 98 to 98se, 98 to ME, windows 2000 and XP. and even more so in between.

Why do you think there is a product life cycle and forced support or compatibility upgrades? Do you really think those terms would be common if not other OS other then linux had these problems?

If you can't see these problems in other OS's, then it is because for some reason, you are willing to accept them in that environment but not in *nix land.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605981)

That's simply untrue. There is far, far less work involved in making a binary that runs on multiple versions of Windows than making one that runs on multiple Linux distros. Programs run on multiple Windows versions pretty much by default. The only thing you need to watch out for is using features which were only introduced in new versions. Not so on Linux, where you have a million headaches to deal with before a binary will run across different systems.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20606575)

If that was true, then I would have had to buy newer versions of quickbooks when going from XP to vista. I wouldn't have had to buy different versions of several apps including a new printer when going from windows XP SP1 to SP2.

You can act like it isn't that way all you want. People have had to get patches, do workarounds and all sort of stuff to get programs to work when upgrading and such. And just because the installer cd will install on both windows 98 and XP doesn't mean there aren't two seperate install routines with completely different binaries to do the install. It just means that is isn't as transparent as it owuld be on a linux machine. Any vendor making an installer for their product could look at the distro and make appropriate changed durring the setup. RPM, Make, make config, and all that already do it to some degree. they can hide the process form the user and make just as smooth if they want.

Re:IF, just, IF (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602479)

Just because you release programs that run on an open-source system doesn't mean you have to release your source in turn.

Re:IF, just, IF (4, Funny)

SQLz (564901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603737)

No, they don't have to release the source. Reminds me of back in the day when I had a large farm of apache servers and a M$ salesman told me if I was running Linux I had to release to source code to my website.

Re:IF, just, IF (3, Funny)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604315)

"...a M$ salesman told me if I was running Linux I had to release to source code to my website."
Did you show him the view source button on your browser?

quick, somebody call Icculus (2, Insightful)

g051051 (71145) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602337)

The man's a porting machine, from the old Loki days up to a lot of the current Linux compatible titles. http://www.icculus.org/~icculus/ [icculus.org]

Porting games to the OLPC (1, Flamebait)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602849)

It's a much better use of Ryan's precious time to work on porting games to the open source OLPC platform [laptop.org] which will bring new educational games to millions of kids, instead of working on closed source software like Valve which will only bring old violent games to a few thousand hard core Linux fanatics.

-Don

Re:Porting games to the OLPC (1)

g051051 (71145) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603081)

I agree that the OLPC stuff is an excellent cause, worthy of the attentions of a talented porting guru like the esteemed Mr. Gordon.

Personal observation: You're the most famous person who's ever replied to one of my posts!

Were it not for the GPLv3... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20605177)

Were it not for the commercial software hostile GPLv3 there might be lots of games for teh Lunix.

Ah... who am I fooling? Nobody cares about making games on teh Lunix. OpenGL is as dead as Prince's music career... and just as desperate.

DirectX just kicks TOO much ass, and game developers like it too much. It takes too much of the trouble out of programming the games. I mean, unless you love reinventing the wheel every time you do something, why use Teh Lunix? Sure, it's "open", but that is only used to mask it's inability to compete. Even the biggest advocates of Teh Lunix on teh desktop have quit in frustration (blaming MS for their inability to accomplish anything, of course, but they're still dyed-in-the-wool FOSSies, even in ignominious defeat).

If they do port HL2... (3, Insightful)

Cius (918707) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602343)

I'll be all over it in a hearbeat. That game and CS:S are the only reasons I give windows any hard drive space at all.

Re:If they do port HL2... (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602843)

Marketer#1: Hey, we've hit every group out there to promote the orange box, except the /. crowd. How do we promote this to them....

Marketer#2: Hey, I've got it! Mention Linux!

Re:If they do port HL2... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603661)

I'm right there with you... I can muddle along making home movies with something in Linux if I can get Steam games on it.

Re:If they do port HL2... (3, Informative)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603703)

Half Life 2 and its ilk already run reasonably well in Wine these days. All you have to do is have the Taholma font installed in ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/fonts and Steam ought to work great, and from there CS:Source works great too. I notice maybe a 10fps difference between Windows and Linux, and I have a shitty throwaway Geforce FX.

Urban Terror.... (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604755)

...is much better than CS:S. At least in my opinion (and many of my gamer friends as well), the gameplay is superior to any version of counter strike, and it is free and available for Linux NATIVELY. Give it a shot, and if you like it, free up that windows drive. I'll see you on there.... :)

You wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20602359)

More like they're looking to port dedicated server clients to Linux.

Re:You wish (1)

EagleEye101 (834633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603107)

Most official dedicated servers already have a linux port, and a way to interface them with the steam servers to update them.

Maintain existing servers, create new ones (2, Interesting)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604833)

Most official dedicated servers already have a linux port, and a way to interface them with the steam servers to update them.

They are hiring someone to port new game code to create servers for future games and/or maintain the existing servers for old games. They are merely continuing what they have already been doing, they just need another person.

i hope not (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20602405)

the quality of the games from valve will suffer under linux. i don't want linux to have an influence over what i play. linux fanbois have already shown that they're unwilling to get with the program and they're going to be nothing but a liability to valve.

Re:i hope not (0)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602567)

Wow. Major troll. No wonder you posted anonymously. So, pray tell, exactly how would games suffer under Linux? One might argue that games on Linux might actually be better than on Windows depending how efficient the Linux coding is. Also, it's not as though the whole game would need to be retooled -- just the binaries. There would be no need to change the data files. Of course, this would be even easier if the game companies would start using OGL instead of DX.

I'm also very interested to hear how Linux will have an influence over what you play. Funny, but I've never had a Linux person come to me and say, "You can't buy that game! It's not on Linux!" and I've never heard a gaming company say, "We're not releasing this game until we have a working Linux client!!"

And how a Linux client will be a liability to Valve? Yeah, expanding a client base. That's a really bad liability. *cough*

Next time, put more thought into it. As a troll-wannabe, you're not very good at it.

Re:i hope not (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603369)

Linux usually won't let a program root it as easily as Windows will, due to all the sensible security design that gets in the way.

So there may be a certain liability just from having a Steam client that doesn't allow you as much security through obscurity.

Yeah, I know, bad idea and all that. But I'm just positing a possibly worry.

On the other hand, if this is just to get dedicated Linux servers for the new Team Fortress, they may not care too much about an uncrackable Steam client.

Re:i hope not (1, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603611)

Linux usually won't let a program root it as easily as Windows will, due to all the sensible security design that gets in the way.
I've ran Steam and some of Valve's demos under a limited account under Windows.

And those applications didn't run under a Administrator account at all when running.

So there may be a certain liability just from having a Steam client that doesn't allow you as much security through obscurity.
I have no idea what you're talking about here. Steam doesn't have to be opensource to run on Linux. Hell, I've ran it under Wine under yet again, a normal user account.

Re:i hope not (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604847)

Ah, thanks for that. Like I said, I was just trying to come up with a reason. I don't know the ins and outs of Steam that well, because I gave up trying to use my PC as a games machine ages ago in favour of consoles. Ever since Starforce screwed up my DVD writing software, basically.

Re:i hope not (1)

Laurence0 (832251) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603665)

Is the version of DX used by the XBox360 anything like the one used by Windows? If so, that might drop developers into the position of having to choose between: (XBox360 and Windows with DX) or (Windows and Linux with OGL), and sadly, I think there are a lot more gamers out there with the X360 than Linux... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkzhVHTXgS4/ [youtube.com] I suspect there isn't enough Linuxy bits in the PS3 (or enough PS3s in the marketplace!) for that to help sway the other way.

Re:i hope not (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604127)

I think the 360 Dx and the PC Dx are extremely similar if not exactly the same. I think that's what they've been using as a selling feature to publishers. Or at least if I were Microsoft I'd be doing that.

"See you should release your game on the Xbox 360 because you could also release it for PC, maximizing profitability while minimizing development costs!"

of course this is from the bizzaro world line of reasoning (where things that make sense prevail)

Re:i hope not (3, Informative)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603023)

In my experience developing games on the playstation 3, Linux is fine for gaming. ;) Eventually, companies will invest in better opengl implementations for linux- such as the one used by ... you know... Linux Gaming Machines. Sony has some sweet libraries for it.

Tears of joy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20602477)

I swear to god I have tears of joy. As a developer (OK Modder) who truly enjoys developing with the Source engine, this is my dream come true! Valve I love you! Finally I will be able to stay completely within my OS of choice!

Valve, if your reading my post, thank you for making this guy's dream come true.

I support this fully! Let me know if you need anything on my part!

It could be server software (4, Insightful)

torrija (993870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602485)

Server software may run under Linux and the games under Windows.

It already does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20602671)

Many Half Life 2 servers already run on Linux.

Probably right (2, Insightful)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603129)

While the description talks about algorithms and real-time, not a word is mentioned of OpenGL or similar graphics background. All the more reason to think Linux is being used backend somehow.

Re:Probably right (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603787)

I picked up on that too. This to me says their goal has nothing to do with ports but rather back end server development. Given the references to real time I assume this is for some MMORPG where they want to ensure timely player packet processing and perhaps predictive means of accounting for network lag.

Re:It could be server software (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603307)

That makes good sense. My first thought was that getting Steam to a reasonably difficult to fool status would be a nightmare on such an open platform, but if you're only running servers who cares?

Re:It could be server software (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603351)

Yes but with all the people making moves to Linux lately it makes more sense that they are looking in to it. Plus porting from windows to Linux is allot like to porting from windows to OS X. I had a "programing C in Unix" class that focused on porting from one *nix distro to another. OS X was one of the *nixes we ported to. I bet this is an effort to port to OS X and Linux.

Re:It could be server software (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603761)

Yes but with all the people making moves to Linux lately

I keep seeing this comment floated here, I don't see any evidence presented though.

Re:It could be server software (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603951)

I was referring mostly to Dell, HP and IBM. They have all made an effort to start selling Linux with their computers. Also, ATI just opened their specs. I don't think this would have happened if not for Linux people being pissed that there were no good ATI drivers for Linux. I guess I should have said "with all the companies..." but the way I look at it companies only move if people have moved.

Re:It could be server software (0, Offtopic)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604387)

Dell seems to think there's money in it. Businesses don't do things unless there's a market for them, or at least a reasonable return on investment.

Re:It could be server software (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605161)

No, its already possible to run a dedicated steam server in linux.

I've done it.

Re:It could be server software (1)

nicolastheadept (930317) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605711)

It specifically says:

Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform.
Not server software, GAMES. Besides they already have perfectly good server software on Linux.

AMD opened up ATI drivers, so this makes sense (1)

sr. taquito (996805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602517)

Now that we will have way better open source video drivers for ATI (which we all know valve LOVES ATI), I think that the day has come for having real games on linux. This just makes sense.

Re:AMD opened up ATI drivers, so this makes sense (2, Informative)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602875)

There are already real games on Linux. Just not so many. All the Quake games and most of the major Quake / Doom3 engine games are on Linux (ET: Quake Wars is coming soon for example). Same for the UT series.

Re:AMD opened up ATI drivers, so this makes sense (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603321)

Having better drivers will ease game development for sure. But it ultimately comes down to market. Regardless of how well your games *can* run on Linux and how easy you *can* write for the platform, it still costs money to produce, market and distribute. If the customers aren't there then it's not worth it to the company. There's no profit.

People boast about better drives all the time and as a Linux user I want to see better drivers as well. I also want to see the games. Back in 1998 / 1999 I went to Electronic Boutique and bought every single Loki title that they had (I spent over $200 Canadian after tax). I also applied for a job at Loki a few times with little success (in hindsight the little success was a good thing). But I'm not naive enough to think that better drivers = more games.

Better drivers simply won't mean very much at all to the game manufacturers who who only consider porting their titles to another platform if they see money to be made. Think of this way. Let's pretend for a moment that there was a HUGE market for Linux and it was blatantly obvious to the game developers that if they released titles for Linux they'd be making a lot more money. However, it's only the crappy video card drivers that are stopping them. They wouldn't sit back and say "oh well, the video card drivers are crappy so we won't bother". Instead they'd be putting pressure on the ATI and Nvidia saying "hey man, we can all make a fortune supporting Linux. Get your butt in gear. Hell we'll even help you with money and programmers if you need it etc."

But alas, the video card manufacturers don't support Linux very well for the same reasons there are no games. The companies do not see the potential for profit. It's a vicious cycle. No gamers = No games. No games = No gamers.

I think the best and most likely solution to the paradox is companies like Dell [successfully] selling Linux boxes to their customers and putting pressure on both the game developers and the video card manufacturers by showing them just how much they're selling. Hell, if Dell saw profit in making a "Linux gaming machine" they might strike a deal with a big gaming company like Valve and a video card manufacturer like ATI to provide some big titles and rock solid drivers. THAT would begin to attract a market for Linux gamers and provoke interest from other game developers and video card manufacturers who see Dell actually making a profit by catering to Linux gamers.

So maybe that's an angle the community can take. Instead of just bitching at AMD/ATI, NVidia and the game manufacturers, go to Dell and HP and the other disposable PC companies and say:

"Dear Dell,

WE WANT A LINUX GAMING BOX AND WILL PAY MONEY FOR IT!

It needs to come pre-installed with at least one Linux port of a BIG-TITLE game (Half-Life 2, GTA, Halo etc.) with the option of buying more separately.

It needs to have rock solid graphics performance and stability.

Some decent audio and gaming input devices wouldn't hurt either

Sincerely Yours,
The Linux Gaming Community".

My $0.02

why nobody makes linux games (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20602781)

The reason most devs show no interest in doing this is that 90%+ of linux users refuse to pay for software, either stealing it, or just not buying it. This is why the platform is (rightfully) ignored.

Re:why nobody makes linux games (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603681)

The reason most devs show no interest in doing this is that 90%+ of linux users refuse to pay for software, either stealing it, or just not buying it. This is why the platform is (rightfully) ignored
That sounds more like a Windows user issue. With pirate copies of Office, Photoshop, Windows, Games etc.

It's very rare I come across a personal machine with Windows that doesn't have some sort of pirated software running on it.

Personal Linux machines I have come across on the other hand, well, I can't think of ever seeing pirated software on one.

Seems unlikely (0)

Shaddup (615685) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602899)

It seems unlikely that Valve would go in this direction. Valve's founders are ex-Microsoft employees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valve_Corporation [wikipedia.org]

Re:Seems unlikely (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20602959)

Yeah, because it's totally impossible that visionaries that left a company to pursue something greater would be able to see beyond the box they used to work in.

Seriously, how could you even type this without your fingers breaking themselves in disgust before you could finish?

Valve will follow the road that leads to them making more money. That means watching the market and adapting as it shifts. With so much new support for Linux lately (Ubuntu, Dell, HP, ATI/AMD) it would be hard to ignore Linux as a gaming platform. That doesn't mean they WILL decide to write cross-platform games, just that they would be fools to ignore it without reason.

Linux gaming market is far smaller than most think (2, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604717)

With so much new support for Linux lately (Ubuntu, Dell, HP, ATI/AMD) it would be hard to ignore Linux as a gaming platform.

Game developers are not ignoring Linux as a potential retail platform, they are merely doing the math and seeing that it is not justified. The major problem is that Linux gamers generally dual boot or emulate, therefore they are already customers buying the Win32 version of the game. A Linux version of the game would merely replace a Win32 sale with a Linux sale, there is no new money in such a swap, the development and support costs are not paid for. These costs are only supported by *new* sales, this means sales to people who refuse to dual boot or emulate. This makes the Linux gaming market far smaller than most people think.

Mac used to be in a better situation because dual boot was impossible and emulation impractical. However with modern Intel based Macs this is no longer the case. Note what is happening there, developers are starting to use emulation. To oversimplify things, wine (Cider) is being linked into the Win32 game, as opposed to Linux where wine (Cedega) is a standalone tool. If developers start support Linux it will be through something like Cider where there is very little work compared to doing a native Linux port.

Re:Linux gaming market is far smaller than most th (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605047)

On the other hand, I buy a LOT fewer games for the PC now than I used to. I use Linux as my main OS and I hate even going into the other room to use my gaming PC. If I'm going to go that far, I just go to the living room and play on a console instead.

At this point, I have no plans to update my gaming rig. This is the first time I've ever been able to say that, and it surprises me greatly.

As for Linux ports... It's a lot easier to plan to be cross-platform in the beginning than port it, even using Cider. There are even free libraries to help ease the transition now. There's not much excuse left for why they continue to be Windows-only when it won't cost them much more development time. (It'll cost more test-time, but cross-platform programming tends to force proper coding, and fewer bugs to start with.)

So no, not everyone that dual-boots can be bothered to reboot just for a game. Not everyone with 2 systems can be bothered to flip back and forth just for a game. Ignoring (without specific reason) 2 of the 3 major OS's is a huge mistake, and Valve is making sure they are covered. It's not a big surprise.

Re:Linux gaming market is far smaller than most th (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605447)

There are even free libraries to help ease the transition now. There's not much excuse left for why they continue to be Windows-only when it won't cost them much more development time. (It'll cost more test-time, but cross-platform programming tends to force proper coding, and fewer bugs to start with.)

I agree that cross platform development can help, however it makes far more sense to target Mac than Linux. Adding a third platform, Linux, would not improve things much over two, Win32 and Mac. Even when portions of a game are ported to Linux in order to create a server there is still a lot of work to be done with respect to getting the user interface and other client side code running.

The free libraries are often overrated, they are not without their own troubles and tend to lead towards a least common denominator approach. Companies that develop for both Win32 and Mac or port from Win32 to Mac tend to use their own code developed over many years. However, I think Cider is threatening the idea of native ports to Mac, we'll have to wait and see how things go with these early adopters of Cider.

Ignoring (without specific reason) 2 of the 3 major OS's is a huge mistake, and Valve is making sure they are covered. It's not a big surprise.

It is a bit premature to say Valve will support native Linux clients. They are probably just hiring another person to work on Linux servers. The existing servers need to be maintained and new servers need to be developed for games under development.

Re:Linux gaming market is far smaller than most th (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20606387)

Game developers are not ignoring Linux as a potential retail platform, they are merely doing the math and seeing that it is not justified.

You do realize that Valve is the *only* major game engine vendor that still doesn't provide a native Linux port, right?

Re:Seems unlikely (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603515)

Sure, it seems unlikely because Gabe and Co. were MS employees, but even MS is working with Novelle on Linux, and if Valve is selling id games on steam, and id games work on Linux already, then Valve as a digital distrbution provider may want to push sales on multiple platforms now.

Re:Seems unlikely (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603571)

No kidding. Valve even went so far as to port the engine used for the original Half-Life from OpenGL to Direct3D. And then, when they made the Source engine, they dropped the OpenGL part entirely. Now they've apparently not only had a 180-degree change in heart, but such a big one that they're (maybe) willing to face the cost of porting Source* back to OpenGL? I don't believe it. I mean, it'd be great -- don't get me wrong -- but I don't believe it.

(*Yes, the job description could just be talking about Peggle, but then who the heck cares anyway?)

Re:Seems unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20603979)

And then, when they made the Source engine, they dropped the OpenGL part entirely.
No. The Source Engine always had an OpenGL renderer (internally) just like every other big game engine out there.

Re:Seems unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20604609)

You do realize TF2 is coming out for the PS3 right? So obviously they've already got an opengl renderer for the source engine.

Re:Seems unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20603577)

Your point?

Valve's roots are in Mac, Not Micorosoft (1, Informative)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20604533)

It seems unlikely that Valve would go in this direction. Valve's founders are ex-Microsoft employees.

Valve's founders started as Macintosh developers who ported their products to Windows. Microsoft eventually bought them.

That said, I agree with others, this job is most likely to port new game code to Linux for use in game servers only.

Counter-Strike: Source runs under Wine now... (1)

BrianCarlstrom (717058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603587)

My friend and I both have Dell XPS Gen 2 laptops. With mine running Windows and his running Wine Ubuntu, he can get into a game slightly faster than I can.

Or Servers (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603685)

Or, it could just mean that they're making a network game/MMO and want to use Linux to power the servers that talk to Windows clients. This could easily be explained if they already have a good portion of the Windows networking code working for the game (thus porting from Windows to Linux for the server.) It could be they started development with the idea of using Windows Server, but then decided to switch to Linux or add a Linux option.

Drop DX and use open GL (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20603727)

For all new games so it is easier to port them.

Re:Drop DX and use open GL (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20606589)

Ignoring the difference between D3D and DX for a while, it's weird that a company should decide to write games for a mere majority of platforms, when they could have practically all platforms instead. It's not like GL doesn't work in Windows. Also the Playstations use GL, so there's a huge unnecessary duplication effort for some games. One problem could be the Xboxes that only accept DX, though of course there's no technical reason for not using GL as well.

Best news all day (1)

nicolastheadept (930317) | more than 6 years ago | (#20605523)

That's the best news I've heard all day. Especially seeing as if they port Source and Steam, we probably won't be paying twice.
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