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Promises And Pitfalls In Linux Game Development 118

Posted by timothy
from the linux-don't-know-jack-yet-either dept.
Mark 'Nurgle' Collins contributes the piece below on some of the factors which undeniably influence the state of Linux games, espcially for developers hoping to make money by selling them. I haven't been there in a few months (been hooked on various Free games instead), but I know I bought Quake III Arena from dedicated shelf space at EB -- so Mark's optimism can't be that far off the mark.


As a follow up to an article that appeared on GameDev.Net GameDev.Net last year, I've decided to update it and note some of the changes in the industry that have occured, from the news of several developers forming in-house porting teams to Microsoft's stance on opening parts of DirectX. In the original article, I explained the lack of developers interested in developing Linux titles -- their disinterest left the task to a few companies that were established for the sole reason of porting Windows titles to Linux (namely Loki). Since then however, several larger developers have formed in-house teams to port their titles to Linux. That means companies such as Creature Labs, (currently porting Creatures 3 to Linux, should be out very soon), which probably once considered Linux to be so niche that only a group of complete idiots would try and make money out of developing games for it.

Of course, there is always a group of idiots, and those idiots were Loki. By convincing larger developers to outsource the porting, they demonstrated that there is a market on Linux, albeit not a very large one. But how large is the market? According to John Carmack (For cave dwellers: John Carmack is the "big guy" at id software), sales of the Linux version of Quake III Arena were worse than bad, but is that a suitable example?

Like many examples of the poor sellers blamed for the lack of new Linux games, the Linux version of the product was released after the Windows release, but the datafiles were compatible with various other operating systems. With patches and downloads for the other platforms freely available on the Internet, why would should people wait a few months to get the latest gore-fest when they can buy the Windows version, reboot, and play on another platform until the binaries for Linux become available?

The sales figures that the skeptics quote should never be considered of any merit until a few games are released for Linux and Windows simultaneously.

Many people seem to be under the delusion that publishers wouldn't be interested in Linux games, but this isn't the case. Granted, many of the publishers who are prepared to venture into the world of Linux are usually associated with budget titles and/or long dead platforms, they seem to have faith, and with shops such as TuxGames offering a wide range of Linux title, it seems there is a market after all.

But what about the developers? Well, it seems that many of the larger developers aren't prepared to take a chance on Linux, with companies stating that there are too many complications when developing with Linux, such as the lack of DirectX-like APIs.

Sure, we have OpenGL, but with the release of DirectX 8, the cross-platform API just doesn't cut it anymore. Lacking universal support for vertex and pixel shaders, developers are forced into the situation where they can either reduce the quality of their titles by ignoring the improved features that the newer releases of DirectX offer, or by ignoring Linux.

Unfortunately, many developers choose the latter option, instead of thinking about writing clean code which allows the operating system to be accessed only through an abstraction layer, reducing development times for ports as well as allowing the programmers to change the lower-level code without breaking anything.

In a recent discussions with Tony Cox, head engineer of Microsoft Gaming Relations, he informed me that Microsoft is currently looking at ways of opening up parts of DirectX, with the aim of getting the technology onto non-Windows platforms.

When we originally discussed the issue, he was refering to getting DirectPlay support for the PlayStation 2, but in later discussions he mentioned that they may allow 3rd party developers to do the work for them, including Linux support.

With the ever increasing commercial interest in Linux, from both publishers and the developer studios themselves, it is only a matter of time till shelf space in your local EB is dedicated to Linux.


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Promises And Pitfalls In Linux Game Development

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  • The DOM is well documented at W3C [w3.org]. At least if all you need is a reference. The whole point of Mozilla is that you should be able to use open standards to write your web pages, not vendor specific standards.
  • The Linux game market is never going to be big nor profitable, no matter how many Linux machines are out there.

    There's one thing that could change that: a good-selling machine like the Indrema. Provide all the stuff a new user reasonably needs, including e-mail, news, browser, money management, games, etc. and a simple auto-updater, and perhaps it would be a machine a non-techie would be happy with. Give it TIVO-like functionality, a remote, simple controllers, and TV out (perhaps wireless.) And then you've got a market.

  • How is this different from a PC?

    No OS cost, no app cost. The cheapest machines at Best Buy don't ship with MS Office, but a Linux starter system could come with StarOffice, which is a tolerable alternative. So you're starting with lower prices. The machine is cheaper and more reliable. With a standardized hardware platform, maintenance is simple. You can figure out Wine settings needed to get a decent set of Windows games working.

    With Microsoft getting more aggressive about license checking, companies are getting nervous. It may be an opportunity for Linux-based systems.
  • Remember the point here was to build a game console.

    *Indrema's* business model is this. As I said in my second message, *I'm* talking about a general purpose Linux PC. My claim is that such a sales approach could work well enough to sell enough machines that it would create a market for Linux games (and the standardized platform would make writing the games easier.)
  • are you insane? Indrema?

    I said "like Indrema", although actually doing it almost exactly *unlike* Indrema is probably the key.

    Indrema's plan required establishing their game SDK, signing on developers, etc. A much better method, I think, is simply to make the commodity hardware machine with Linux on it. DVD, P-III 700 equivalent processor, decent 3-D graphics (GeForce 2MX or similar), optional video capture, all USB input devices. Then come up with a decent distro and software combos, be prepared to distribute CD/DVD updates, and you've got a simple, decent business.

    Indrema is going way too long without revenue, and they require too much external support (game developers). Combine this with the tech collapse, and you've got trouble.
  • by demon (1039) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @12:01PM (#325062)
    Making a DirectX equivalent for Linux is a good idea too. Duh.

    Hmm. Has no one here heard of SDL? http://www.libsdl.org/ - go check it out. It's the library set that Loki uses as a base for porting its titles (developed by Sam Lantinga, an employee of Loki). It even works on top of Solaris, BeOS, MacOS, MacOS X, Win32, etc.

    Or no, maybe we should just develop yet another completely incompatible API, that's specific to one platform. What a great idea. (Not.)
    _____
  • Exactly why would you want to dilute your potential market by targetting a box at only one system?

    Why not release a product that supports Windows, AND Linux, AND MacOS all in one freaking package?

    Developers that can't write portable code are developers that suck. It's really simple.

    If you don't happen to support Linux and MacOS in the initial release, why not just offer the ports via the web? You're not going to ship all new boxes just because you write a bugfix release, why ship more boxes just because you ported it? I'd go out and buy the "Windows" version if the box said "Check http://www.gamepublisher.com/ for ports to other platforms!"

  • by Sludge (1234)
    Loki is going to be releasing [lokigames.com] Tribes 2 in the nearish future. They're trying their darndest to get VoIP in the package as well. I am certainly going to wait for the Linux version (as I did with Quake 3) even though I'm only mildly excited about the game.

  • by Sludge (1234) <slashdot AT tossed DOT org> on Saturday March 31, 2001 @12:23PM (#325065) Homepage
    Sure, we have OpenGL, but with the release of DirectX 8, the cross-platform API just doesn't cut it anymore. Lacking universal support for vertex and pixel shaders, developers are forced into the situation where they can either reduce the quality of their titles by ignoring the improved features that the newer releases of DirectX offer, or by ignoring Linux.

    OpenGL extensions ARE a viable way to access the pixel shaders. For game programming, a lot of the OpenGL API is obsolete. Using glLight* calls to light a scene is just not done. People commonly prefer to use GL_ARB_MULTITEXTURE and blend another texture pass with lighting.

    Likewise, the GL calls for the new pixel shaders are reputedly supported by the Nvidia drivers under Linux already. John Carmack stated that when Doom 3 comes out, it's going to only work with all it's features under Nvidia's drivers. However, he's going to lend some code to get the other drivers for the operating system up to speed.

    OpenGL is not a lost cause. Dx8 is getting a lot of hype right now. Lots of developers are preferring it because, imo, Microsoft has very timely, large and helpful responses to game develpers, whereas OpenGL has to also cater to those CAD guys.

    For a list and description of all the OpenGL extensions, see this URL [sgi.com].

  • Instead of looking at why Linux may be a bad platform for games, how about looking at what might make it a good platform?

    What are some of the key advantages of Linux over Windows? Often cited are stability, Internet support, and a real networked GUI (i.e. X). How can those advantages be used to make Linux the platform of choice for a game?

    How about games that you want to leave running even when you're not playing them? Or that you want to be able to play (or at least access) from different computers depending on where you are (home, laptop, work(!), etc)? Creatures and SimCity are candidates in this category, but there are others that haven't yet made it onto Linux.

    With Linux it's routine to switch back and forth between multiple applications without worrying whether your system will crash. Depending on the application, this is clearly not true under Microsoft Windows. How many times have you been playing a game under Windows and wanted to switch away for a minute to another application (web browser, e-mail, etc), but didn't because there was a good chance it would crash the game (or the whole system)?

    There are attributes that make Linux the operating system of choice for many applications. We just need to figure out how best to apply those attributes to games.
  • If any Linux users here in Austin, TX are looking for the Loki game ports for Linux cheap, I spotted most of their titles, new in box, at the Half Price Books on Guadalupe for $15 each. This included Heavy Gear II and Myth II. They also had the Quake III Arena for Linux tins for $20.
  • One of the co-authors on my book (Linux Game Programming, just out) is responsible for the LInux port of Creatures 3, and guess what? He did it on company time.

    Then I stand corrected. However, I still believe in the company mostly doing it because he pushed it and they decided to take a shot in the dark to keep him happy and test the waters (but you are the one who knows better in that case).

    I clearly choose SDL/OpenGL ahead of Direct X unless I really need an obscure feature that SDL/OpenGL doesn't have. In all game projects I know of that have been based on Direct X the programmers have made their own abstraction layers for initialization etc since you need so bloody much of Direct X code to get things up and running. To me, SDL is that higher abstraction layer while still providing everything you need in more than 90% of the case. There are a lot of Windows hackers who use SDL instead of Direct X since it's soo much easier to learn and quick and straight forward to set up things.

    Direct X is of course better supported both in mailing lists, documentation and from hardware developers. But OpenGL has very good documentation and both SDL and OpenGL have good, active developer lists. You still easily get all the info you need in a timely manner.

    However, I'm looking forward to read your book, the title looks interesting. ;)

  • Actually, I would say that Linux is ready for games now.

    Most things you mention about having to upgrade to Linux 2.4, install XFree 4.0x, install drivers etc will be a mooth point for anyone who installs any of the distros that will be comming now.

    You say: "apps first and then games", I say: "some apps first, then some games, then some more apps, then some more games...".

    We are not in the dark ages of DOS gaming. With SDL we have standardized Graphics, sound, 3d and a few other things taken care of. As far as I'm concerned, SDL *is* Linux's Direct X, plus that it runs on many other platforms as well. Granted, we haven't covered all kinds of funky controlers yet, but we are getting there.

    Things are looking better and better. We're not yet where we want to be, but we have allready covered quite some distance and the first part was the hardest...

  • by Tord (5801) <tord@jansson.gmail@com> on Saturday March 31, 2001 @02:34PM (#325070) Homepage
    Unfortunatelly I find Mark's article quite substance-less and quite a number of erros. Since I've investigated the situation of gaming on Linux quite extensively for the last few months I think I should correct/add some things:

    1. I don't know any game developer who have formed inhouse Linux teams. The Creatures port is done by one or more of the original coders, mostly or completely on their sparetime since some of them are Linux fans. The company just decided to take a shot to test the waters and make their developers happy when they practically gets the port for free anyway. This was quite obvious from an interview that I *think* was headlined here on Slashdot.

    2. If I remember correctly Carmack said that Linux sales "were a disappointment, but covered the costs". Of course, it's up to anyone to interprete that but I wouldn't translate it to worse than bad.

    3. There are already games that have been released for Windows and Linux simultaneously, but most of them have been distributed on the same CD so it's hard to separate sales according to platform. No bestseller has done that so far though.

    4. He forget what I see as the main reason for low Linux sales of Q3A: The terrible state of 3D support back then, making it almost impossible for people to run even the demo. Would you buy a game that you can't run? With XFree 4.0x the situation has improved drastically. Note that Loki didn't port any 3D games until later, when 3D acceleration was a little bit more in order, a wise decision I would say...

    5. See some earlier posts regarding the state of Vertex Shaders in OpenGL.

    6. Microsoft has Direct X, we have OpenGL/OpenAL/SDL which works great in combination and provides us with a very nice, cross-platform API that I (professional game developer for more than 5 years) and many with me clearly prefer instead of Direct X since the API is so much easier and straight forward. Granted, Direct X has a lead, but OpenGL/OpenAL/SDL keeps up quite nicely in the development.

    7. He forgot to mention that we now have at least 3 porting houses. Loki, Tribsoft (www.tribsoft.com) and Hyperion Software (www.hyperion-software.com). Which I think is very promising.

    However, I do agree with his analysis that things keep getting better. The technology (especially 3D acceleration) has taken a big step forward, more games are coming from more developers/porting houses and total game sales are increasing.

    I also know some more good news, but unfortunatelly I can't tell you about it... ;)
  • I'm not that big a gamer, but I did have Quake II and III and a couple other games for Linux on my home system. Debian, running Xfree 3.3.x. It took a while to get the 3dfx stuff working. Time I usually don't have to spare, but I thought, what the heck.

    I carelessly do a dist-upgrade, and my system migrates to Xfree 4.0.3. I like it for the most part, but it breaks Quake etc. on 3dfx cards (which I had purchased specifically for Linux/Quake compatibility.) I haven't been able to downgrade Xfree back to 3.x for some reason. So, no Quake, nor any other games. I could rebuild the system, but that's a day I just don't have for a while.

    I don't really mean to kvetch. It's not like I'm going to give it that much time - it's not what my system is really for - but I don't trust Linux games at this point to be able to handle the relative anarchy of X video. What would make me feel comfortable buying games for Linux is a. some sort of assurance that my distro will be able to handle it, b. fairly painless installation of required libs, and c. *clear* and *definitive* hardware requirements. Otherwise, it's just gambling.

  • Not blaming the kernel. Blaming maybe a wee bit the variety of dists and libs and environments, but "blame" is a somewhat strong term. I don't *expect* my system to be a game platform, so it's more like it would be nice if I can play games on it without too much hassle, but the inability to play the games I might like to certain doesn't discourage me from using the system as I do (as a SOHO server and development platform - already double duty, so there's no complaints about that here.)
  • I still think that there is a large potential market for "budget" titles and shareware games for Linux. These kinds of games were often fun to play (on older systems, like the Atari ST) without taking full advantage of the available hardware, so people would gladly pay $5-10 even though there is no cool environment-mapped bump mapping etc. in use in the game.

    Unfortunately, most of the amateurs' Linux games are either too unoriginal or in a perpetually unfinished state...

    Unoriginal or not, I'll gladly pay $50 for a well-done cross-platform "Master of Magic" clone.

  • Err, that one's already being done, you know. LokiGames [lokigames.com] ... right there on the front page, it says (under news 11.05.00), 'Tribes2 Beta Testers Needed'

    Parity None
    --Parity
  • Yeah, games like Starcraft, Diablo 2, Everquest, Ultima Online, Age of Empires 2, and Myth were complete failures until Linux and BSD ports of the servers became available.

    Let me restate that. Not successful, just suck. Online playing where a Client is also the Server are horrible. Starcraft, AOE2, and Myth 1 and 2 suck online (I own Starcraft and Myth 1 and 2, and I have played AOE2 online).
    Diable 2, Everquest, and Ultime Online are different, as I understand, you connect to the game makers servers. There are no independent servers.

    --
  • by Mullen (14656) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @11:51AM (#325076)
    The Linux game market is never going to be big nor profitable, no matter how many Linux machines are out there.

    People who run Linux on the desktop are not hardcore gamers. They are people who want a Unix Workstation on their desktop, either at work or at home. On the other end of the scale, people who buy gaming machines don't put Linux on it. They want something that is simple to install and maintain and you can run lots of games on; Win32 is that. Linux is great for games, don't get me wrong, but there is no market for games on it.

    The best that us rare Linux gamers can hope for are the token Linux ports that people like John Carmack insist on putting out.

    Linux server ports are another story. I don't think a online game would make it if it did not have a Linux and/or BSD port. Win32 just sucks to much to host big online games. I speak from experience as a former game server admin and current online game player.

    Now if I could just my copy of Tribes2 shipped, I would be a happy camper. ;)


    --
  • Linux server ports are another story. I don't think a online game would make it if it did not have a Linux and/or BSD port.

    Yeah, games like Starcraft, Diablo 2, Everquest, Ultima Online, Age of Empires 2, and Myth were complete failures until Linux and BSD ports of the servers became available.
  • by kaisyain (15013) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @12:26PM (#325078)
    I don't think it's even as complicated as you make it out to be. I think the simple answer is that there aren't "people who play games on Linux". There are simply "people who play games". And the existence of one or two Linux games isn't going to obviate the need to have a Windows partition hanging around to play things under. And, really, when I play games, the underlying OS is merely a commodity...I don't care what it is so long as it gets the job done. I'd wager that the majority of people who play games feel the same way. After all, I don't buy a Playstation just because Sony makes it...I buy it because of the games I can play on it. Why should Linux be any different?
  • by The Cat (19816) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @01:17PM (#325079)
    Game development in the current business model is problematic even for Windows platforms. The problem is not the games or the technology, it is that there is no viable business model for any game other than the top ten. Its that simple.

    By the time the boxes get to the retail shelf, the developers and publishers have dug a hole so deep that they have to sell hundreds of thousands of units just to break even. Those numbers aren't there for any games except the top ten and perhaps one unlikely left-field surprise. Everyone else loses their shirts. This is the fundamental problem in computer games.

    Until this problem: the business model, is fixed, nothing is going to improve. Fixing the business model will mean that some difficult decisions will have to be made, but at some point, the game industry is going to have to face reality:

    1. Re-invention of a "state of the art" engine for every single title will have to stop.

    2. Standard platforms and APIs will have to be developed and *adhered to* for five years at a time or more. Accomplishing #1 will help here.

    3. Games will have to become simpler, in order to encourage casual players to buy more games.

    4. More companies will have to get involved and be able to succeed.

    Otherwise, its just going to be one expensive project after another with "worse than bad" sales, while the game press whines about the lack of originality and how the game industry isn't enough like Hollywood and that the engine and graphics look "dated," and the players complain that every game is a clone of some other game, and everyone else wonders why someone would spend $3500 upgrading their computer so they can get some game to run faster.

    When a good game can be developed for a couple hundred thousand dollars, then it will become possible to make money developing primarily for Linux, because selling 20,000 units at $30 means there is some profit to be had. If it costs $5 million, its not going to happen, unless it is a cross-platform effort, and even then, it won't get funded, because the break-even number is just too high.

    It might also be nice if some new "genres" of games could be developed and/or some games from the semi-forgotten genres like puzzle, adventure and interactive fiction could be developed. A good sign would be a wildly successful game that doesn't neatly fit into a particular section of PC Gamer.

    FWIW, our company fully intends to continue developing for Linux.

    Just our $0.02 :)

  • ... that OpenGL/Direct3D unification promised by MS/SGI a couple of years ago? They were suppose to provide a common platform from low-high-end graphics. From hearsay, SGI supposedly delivered it to MS and considering their ex-CEO is now heading up MS internet strategy, they can't be ignorant of its presence. Or was it just another FUD to stonewall and hopefully sideshow the OpenGL standard? Given the rather anemic progress of 3D standards (cough*Web3D*cough) which is nothing more than tarted up VRML, I'm wondering what has happened.

    If they're not going to use it at least SGI could OpenSource it to let some other people make use of it, if nothing more than exercise to critique the API.

    LL
  • I've seen people convert to Linux solely because of the Quake III port (which I own), so it's not just Linux users who are the target market, it's gamers in general who are looking for something a little different. As for free and/or GPL'd games [hardcorelinux.com] which unpaid developers toil late into the night over, they are part of the equation too. Games like Jump n Bump [freshmeat.net] and Car World [sourceforge.net] show promise - and who knows - these uncompensated and largely ignored developers may in the future design the next big thingTM.

  • You make some good points but I disagree with this:

    - DX8 has nothing to do with anything. Several developers have been busting their ass for years to use OpenGL which has always been a uphill fight for PC games. There were no drivers, there were no cards, there was no to little support from Microsoft.

    Compare apples to apples: D3D and OpenGL are what should be compared. And there's been a battle royal for developer mindshare between the two for a number of years now. Far from "busting their asses" for years, developers using OpenGL have had the same clean, portable and open API since day one.

    I mean just think about the drivers issue, Carmack had to pay a guy to build a big diver bundle because if he didnt, the game would not have worked for anyone. Anyone does not mean us or any of the upper 10% who can go get our own stuff, but the masses. I mean he was commited, and knew he wasnt going to make any money as far as Linux was concerned, but wanted to do the right thing.

    Don't know what your point is here, but id have done more to promote OpenGL as a viable platform on the PC than anyone else - period. Go and read John Carmack's famous Christmas Letter (~1997) about how long it took to port Quake 1 to GL and his not-so-fun experiences with Direct3D.

    I think Linux and the community that surrounds it are a great idea. But if you dont do a reality check every once in a while, linux will never climb out of the hole. Isnt that what you want?

    I think Paul Ferris of Linux Today said it best. This is a paraphrase because I can't remember the link: "When Linus Torvalds first released Linux, it was viewed as a toy and few people in the commercial world took it seriously. The naysayers said it will never rival a commercial operating system. Now it runs a third of the Web and on a couple of million desktops. When the FSF started work on gcc, commercial C compiler vendors for Unix laughed. Now there is hardly a market for compilers on the Unix platform."
    At every stage of Linux's growth and development, critics have said "well, yeah so what, Linux can now do X but it will never do Y." The problem with this view is that history has shown otherwise in each and every case. Right now games are at that stage. Yes, Linux isn't the best games platform at the moment for a number of reasons.

    But it won't take long to get there.

  • Q3 needed the same easy install/upgrade stuff that didnt exist yet or it would be a support nightmare as most people prolly wouldnt have the latest drivers and the game wouldnt work right. I think that is a good example of going out of your way for a principal.

    Sure. It just shows what a killer app can do. I think it also shows how much pain you'll endure in order not to be forced to use Direct3D :)

    So again, if you think DX8 is an issue you havent appreciated how hard it was.

    I remember the early days of GL only too well, and yes it was very hard to get working (Mesa 2.4 on Windows anyone?). But the signs at the time were that it was The Right Thing: not controlled by one vendor, clean API, open specs, easily extended, portable and easy to write for. Direct 3D was none of these. It may have improved but I can't afford the price of Microsoft's compiler or OS to see for myself.

    And what makes you think this is an issue now? OpenGL has a wonderful extention mechanism. And my point is that the article, at least on this front, is FUD. So, hopefully you see my point now.

    I do. DX 8 just worries me from a competitive point of view because by all accounts, it's damn good for Windows developers. And if it presents enough of a compelling developement platform, then there will be little reason to port to Linux - or worse, it will be harder because of feature set lockin. I suppose it's whether you want best of breed in each case, or a complete solution. There's a good presentation on Game Development in Linux linked from Linux Games [linuxgames.com] which outlines these issues.

    Oh well, back to work on my killer no-it-won't-be-ported-to-Windows-so-stop-asking simulator :)

  • Because they will have to wether they use DX or OpenGL. As it is currently, you cant use those features unless you want to code for specific cards and it doesnt matter which API you're using. Oh, or maybe you regard 0.5 fps as 'working'?

  • True, the support sucks currently unless you really know what you're doing. It will change with the next release cycle of dists as everything is moving to XFree 4 which has GLX, instead of the earlier hacks available to get hardware fullscreen 3d (and lets not even get into how fun it is to get your card in a funky state with some bugs in your 3d program, so it sucked even worse for developers).

    At this point it will stabilize since you have an offical way of doing things rather than the addon hack way.
  • The Linux versions of games are often priced much higher than the corresponding Windows version. It's tough for me to justify buying the Linux version when I can get the Windows version for a much lower price.

    It costs more to make a Windows version, the Linux market isn't as competitive, and the market is smaller. And your above comment just illustrated one of the biggest problems - if you're willing to purchase the Windows version, there's no reason for a company to create a Linux version at all.



    ---
    My opinions are mine.
  • "Duelbooting" may be an unintended spelling error, but it's kind of funny.
  • Sure at any given point in time, Linux games cost
    more than the Windoze equivelent - but that's a
    function of what Mark is saying.

    Since the Windoze game has already been on the
    shelves for six to nine months by the time the
    Linux version appears, it's being cut in price
    to get rid of them. Sure Q3Arena for Windoze
    is $29.99 *now* wasn't it $45 when it first came
    out?

    If the Linux versions came out on the same day
    as the Windoze versions, the prices would be
    the same.
  • Semi-relevent trivia:

    There are at least 41 versions of Tetris for Linux.
    Blocks CXHextris Columns CrystalSpace Tetris Demo Ct Cybercube Fscktris Gktetcolor GTetris Gno3dtet IFRAc IntelligentTETRIS JTetris Jetris Just Another GTK Tetris Just Another Tetris Ltris nct Petris ptris pytris Quadra seatris sphertis Stax Teamtris Tetri Tetrinet TwinTRIS VGA Tetris VRtris XBlockout XJefris XJewel XTrojka Xemeraldia Xinsane Xpuyopuyo Xtetris Xtet42 Xtris
  • Heh my wife hates the huh, huh sound when I jump around in quake 3.

    Seriously though, my real point is that if you are not willing to take a look at what might be wrong with your own world, you are not willing to make things any better. Thus for whoever is unhappy with the linux gaming situation, and just blames everything else, whether you believe my assumptions or not, the reality still exists. I mean, fix what you can control, and not get into this who blame game thing.

    If this means proving to development houses that Linux users are serious about paying fairly for thier efforts, then that is what should be done. This would bring the money and code that would make Linux strong. If it means doing something that I am not smart enough to pick up on, then by god, do that. But wallowing in "we are not bad, other people make it bad for us" is never heathy, and do something to fix it.

    To be honest, I chose to speak up because I have a stake in this. I am tying to make a serious effort to make a cross platform game. I have bought Mandrake since 6.0, slakware, redhat, etc.... I think its hell to try to make a set of binaries, unless you give away all your source code, that work across modern distros. The 3D stuff sucks; my applogies to Mesa of who I think the development has to be the bravest thing I have ever seen, even more than I think of Carmack as being. Because there will never be a cent of apreciation, and it was all done completely alone.

    I never meant to say that EVERYRONE refuses to pay, just that in comparison, you have to admit, many Linux users might be in it for the free beer part. And they might assume that free beer is the only way software should be.

    Lastly, I would LOVE it if Linux got over the comercial hill. And we REALLY had a OS that had mindshare and was usfull to many that was not OWNED by anything. Source code that is available for almost anything; a developers wet dream. But some kinds of projects REQUIRE real money. Like real people working 8 hours a day and getting paid so they can raise babies and have enough money to play put-put. So the thing I found most offensive was that ther was little realistic mention in this article and your comments, at least when I sent my original post, that made it sound like it might be the community's fault.

    I mean thats really the thing I have trouble with reading all the slashdot post the whole time i've been reading this site. If you want cool things, like the SGI journaling file sytem or a nice well thought out and modern GUI system, these things take real effort. I mean I remember when everyone spooged over SGI offering thier file system to Linux.

    What keeps someone from making one of their own kick ass enterprise ready file system the whole time; must we ride off the back of everyone? I'll tell you why, some things are just exactly non-trivial, like a real high end file system, and it takes at least 8 hours a day and 5 days a week of nothing else to make it happen. Conversely, someone made a non-trival disk defragmenter for NT, even though MS said is was stupid. Why did they do that? Because people would buy that. And it was a fruity scientologist VMS company that did it to boot. Why? Because they felt people would buy it. What would stop same nutty company from providing a a defag utility or even journaling file system to Linux? To hard to make money.

    So wheter you like what I have said or not, at least think about not blaming everyone else.
  • Nice points.

    But I must clarify.

    Some people in the early years said screw DX, we like OpenGL, and screw MS as they wont help us. My point was that reguardless of DX8, people have always been using OpenGL, eventhough it wasnt the easiest path, and it really wasnt.

    The point about the super opengl install sponsored by q3 and Carmack, was that here is a good example of what one faced without MS help. DX had a install made by MS that included everything a game needed. Q3 needed the same easy install/upgrade stuff that didnt exist yet or it would be a support nightmare as most people prolly wouldnt have the latest drivers and the game wouldnt work right. I think that is a good example of going out of your way for a principal.

    So again, if you think DX8 is an issue you havent appreciated how hard it was. And what makes you think this is an issue now? OpenGL has a wonderful extention mechanism. And my point is that the article, at least on this front, is FUD. So, hopefully you see my point now.

    On your last point, I agree and if you are trying refute my point, I really dont think we have a difference to argue. My point was that it sounded too much like a blame game, both the article and the posts. I also wanted to say that at some point the commmunity be comes responsible too, not just Linus, Red Hat, or BillG.

  • by Hermanetta (55229) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @02:04PM (#325092)
    This is not a troll or a stab at any Linux OS or the Linux community, but some of these excuses for why Linux is where it is for gaming are sad.

    "If they would have come out at the same time..."
    "If the price wasnt different..."
    "DirectX 8 is better now, noone will use OpenGL..."
    "People who run linux arent hardcore gamers..."
    "Why dont they just release a free or near free Linux version, when the PC version stops selling..."
    etc...
    and my favorite "going to say something bad, forgive me" line:
    "Linux is great for games, don't get me wrong..."

    I love the last one because it is so far from reality. I think this is the reality:

    - The non-comercial Linux users do not like to buy software, ever. No one will make money becuase you dont buy. Hint, they know this. If the brunt of Linux development is people doing it in there spare time, i.e. people who have to make money and eat, then programs that are hard to make like games, will always come slow.

    - This is true wether the price was higher, the same, or lower. Without commercial incentive, you are screwed. Having a Linux dev house make a game just to please the hardcore set that never really makes money, will never get you there. Carmack said, go buy it and show us there is a market. Did you do that? Why? Even just to prove that you care, you could have. You didnt. It was a test case, and you helped people see it as more of a money loser.

    - DX8 has nothing to do with anything. Several developers have been busting their ass for years to use OpenGL which has always been a uphill fight for PC games. There were no drivers, there were no cards, there was no to little support from Microsoft. I mean just think about the drivers issue, Carmack had to pay a guy to build a big diver bundle because if he didnt, the game would not have worked for anyone. Anyone does not mean us or any of the upper 10% who can go get our own stuff, but the masses. I mean he was commited, and knew he wasnt going to make any money as far as Linux was concerned, but wanted to do the right thing.

    - I think lots of the same people who are hard core gamers are Linux friendly. But that still has nothing to do with comercial viability, which is the mass of people who would like to buy a game who do use Linux.

    - This one kills me. The one about giving away a game when its done selling to the PC or other platform. Most companies cant afford to go back and rework what is basically an end of life product for a platform that they precieve as never making money. Especially if they are going to have to support it. No that doesnt always mean tech suport, but worse programming sources at maintainance.

    - The plumming in Linux is cool, but not the best for making and selling a game. Examples: - xFree86 - dll hell in latest distros which compounds the problem of releasing binaries for all the distros - better, but not great, essential API and hardware support - etc... Dont think so? Ask someone who has to try to make games.

    - Im sure if you go back and read all of these posts and think about what Linux has to offer from a business and technical stanpoint, and really think about it, then you might see where im comming from.

    So flame me if you must.

    I think Linux and the community that surrounds it are a great idea. But if you dont do a reality check every once in a while, linux will never climb out of the hole. Isnt that what you want?

    Just dont say late product, microsofts fault, wrong price, greedy corporate whores, etc... And if your really desparate, you could try buying a game for linux. That way the people at the game companies who bothered to make the software for you winey asses can feel like they might be able to make a living from Linux software one day.

    Then maybe they can drop windows. :)

  • sydb wrote:
    Well, you can't have done much research.

    Only about three year's worth. It's not like I can go out at drop a grand or two on a video card in the hope that I might be able to make it work, as you apparently can.

    sydb also wrote:

    For best-class gaming, get a high-end NVidia card. Get the linux drivers here. They provide detailed information about requirements and setting it up. The driver is currently closed-source, however, so you are dependent on NVidia's continued support

    So, if I walk into Best Buy, I can ask one of the guys in a blue shirt for a "high-end NVidia card" and they'll hand me a box labelled "high-end NVidia card" and I'll buy it and take it home and be happy? I don't think you read my post.

    This is not to mention the fact that, of the three games that I mentioned as owning or being interested in owning, none of them are able to use the NVidia cards, according to the system requirements label on the box.

    This is also not to mention that the computers that I own already have 3D accelerated video cards, but only under Windows. It is most uncool to have to boot Windows-NT to play Quake-II, which I've only purchased the Linux version of.

    sydb also wrote:

    For a cheap, no brain option, get an old 16Mb 3DFX VooDoo 3 based card. Lots on ebay at very nice prices. Well supported in XFree.

    Right. See the above question about "Best Buy". (I didn't see anything resembling an "old 16Mb 3DFX VooDoo 3 based card" either there or at CompUSA. Maybe I should try Fry's. After all, it's the last day of their grand opening today.)

    As for the prices on Ebay, well, I looked on Ebay some months back and I attempted to determine that the precise cards being sold had support for 3D acceleration. This is because some VooDoo cards won't work and I don't particularly feel like wasting time and money on solutions that don't work. As near as I could tell, of the inexpensive cards being offered at that time, none were supported under Linux. I already have 3D accelerated hardware that doesn't work under Linux, thank you very much, I don't have to buy any more.

    sydb also wrote:

    You'll want to use XFree4 of course, to benefit from the 3D hardware acceleration in the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI).

    Yes, of course. That's why I installed XFree86 4.0.1 as soon as it was available for Debian Unstable and why I was disappointed that it wouldn't work with the same video adapter that does 3D acceleration just fine under Windows. However, if you want to run one of the three games that I mentioned as owning or being interested in, they say they don't work with XFree86 4.x's 3D acceleration. Again, I'm not interested in pursuing solutions that are documented as not working.

    In fact, I'm wondering what you run with your 3D accelerated video under. Nothing that I'm interested in seems to want to use OpenGL. Except for the screen savers, of course, and they work just fine on both the computers I routinely use, even if they are slow as snot.

  • by jguthrie (57467) <jguthrie.brokersys@com> on Saturday March 31, 2001 @04:42PM (#325094) Homepage
    Among other things, Hermanetta wrote:
    The non-comercial Linux users do not like to buy software, ever. No one will make money becuase you dont buy.

    Who are these "non-comercial[sic] Linux users" that you are talking about? I can't speak for any other Linux user, but I don't mind paying for software. In fact, many Linux users actually do pay for software. This is known because that software is the games that people talk about having to reboot into Windows in order to run.

    I can, however, talk about why I don't buy Linux games. So far, I've bought three of them. I've got "Civilization, Call to Power", I've got Quake II, and I've got Quake III. (I can definitely confirm the poor sales of the last. The Half-Price Books near my house has maybe a dozen copies in those cool limited-edition tins.) Of those, the only one I paid full price for was CivCTP. I chose to pay full price for CivCTP in order to support Loki and encourage others to produce games for Linux.

    My primary difficulty with the current crop of Linux games is the fascination that those who create those games have with 3-d acceleration. I don't know the incantations needed to get hardware 3-d acceleration under Linux. I haven't yet been able to figure out which card to buy that offers 3-d acceleration under Linux or which software to install to cause it to occur. I go to Web sites like Linux3D.org [linux3d.org] and I leave more confused than anything else.

    In particular, the cards that are on sale down at the local Best Buy don't seem to correspond to anything listed in the compatability list.

    So, I've bought these games (and the Half-Price Books has Heavy Gear II for Linux for $14.95, but I haven't purchased it) but I can't play them because they require stuff that I don't have. Maybe if someone ported a game that didn't require hardware 3-d acceleration, it would sell better. I know I'd be more likely to pay full price for it.

  • Rather than buying commercial games, we (linux users) can write our own :) I gather that was the type of linux game referred to earlier in this thread. At first, you get a lot of straight-off clones of whatever was written for a linux system (for instance, StarCraft clones of which I've seen a ton). This isn't necessarily a bad thing, after all, you may want to play a game like that on linux. Eventually (hopefully) we'll also get new variations and types of games not seen before. The number of linux games being developed by the opensource community is increasing, especially after ClanLib was released (there are a number of penguin-platform or penguin-rpg derivatives out there which I don't recall the names) although few of them are what you would call 'complete', but at least theres interest.
  • And, really, when I play games, the underlying OS is merely a commodity...I don't care what it is so long as it gets the job done.

    The problem with this logic is it makes so much sense that the fanatical Linux user won't accept it.

    They can't understand that some people actually DO like playing games. In fact, some people are more fanatical about games than then Linux dorks are about Operating Systems.

    I once explained to a friend that it didn't matter that my main game machine ran Windows ME and there was no way in hell I was putting BSD on it. He continued to bash the fact that my machine is "wasted" becaues it's not running Linux.

    I explained to him that my tower is running BSD, and my game machine runs Windows, as does my Laptop and my image scanning/e-mail/internet/blahblah machine.

    He said he didn't understand how I could accept the fact that I was playing my game on a machine that as he put it "Crashed all the time."

    Then, he called me a liar when I told him that not only does my Windows machine almost never crash, I literally don't get ANY problems out of it. Not a single blue screen, no lock ups, not even illegal operations unless I run some crappy little program, and even then they don't take down the whole machine. Those proggies exit quitly and life goes on.

    He said there was no way I was getting that functionality out of this machine. I insisted that he did.

    I guess he doesn't believe that I've literally played Homeworld Cataclysm for 4 days straight without shutting down or resetting, only pausing it seldom to take a shit, get grub, and to drink Tea.

    I've been doing the same thing with Black & White since it came out.

    The fact is -- The Zealots who hate Windows the most have less and less TECHNICAL reasons to hate it every day, but their MORAL reasons conflict so they're very quick to spout technically inaccurate reasons to justify the fact that they just don't like Microsoft. They have the right not to like Microsoft or use their products.

    But in the end, what it comes down to is that any die-hard gamer is going to run Windows. At this point, that doesn't have a chancy ball of snow's hell of changing anytime soon.

    And don't bother trying to convince gamers of idiotic political, moral, or inaccurate technical reasons as to why they should "Switch", because at the end of the day if it doesn't play the coolest, newest game, a gamer isn't going to care.

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • In a recent discussions with Tony Cox, head engineer of Microsoft Gaming Relations, he informed me that Microsoft is currently looking at ways of opening up parts of DirectX, with the aim of getting the technology onto non-Windows platforms.

    When I read this paragraph, two things immediately spring to mind. One, that this journalist is experiencing a temporary mental sickness. Two, that this Tony Cox guy is a Secret Tux Operative.

    When, I ask, *when* has Microsoft ever been known to do something solely for the benefit of a community or industry? Unless I haven't been keeping up to date with the Microsoft Corporation Ethics Department, it has been my experience that whatever Microsoft does, it does it for money.

    In other words, if MS is going to open up DirectX, then it's probably part of some larger strategy involving a transistion to the X-Box, or Windows, or maybe even an inverted version of their Embrace and Extend tactic. Say, maybe DirectX becomes the undisputed standard in the future, but only Microsoft products will have the really cool features. Every kid and his dog (not to mention developers) wants a system with the most features, right?

    I do think, however, that this article was pretty good overall. It just seems a little too optimistic.

  • 3D sacrifices interactivity for realism.
    Nuff said.

    Where are the handpainted games? Show me a video card that can paint a sketch using a Postscript style language of brushstrokes.

    Get the mouse away from the games. Mouse bad, except for fire and run and strafe.

    Make a pick up pad. Show me a bunch of objects that I can pick up from a pad so I don't have to fill my screen with stuff. Even perhaps to send my inventory to a PDA.
  • look buddy 3d sux I want something else.
  • >You are insane. The mouse is a higher form of input than a button.

    I beg to differ. The mouse epands everything to dozens of minute actions that must be performed in sequence to perform the smallest task. It's horrible. Foolproof, but horrid.
  • by qbwiz (87077)
    I haven't been able to figure it out anywhere else, so I might as well ask here: Does Debian unstable support DRI with Xfree86 4.0? libgl.so only comes in mesa. If it doesn't that sucks, because I would have to compile XFree from scratch.
  • So when is Pitfall going to be available on Linux?
  • "Why not release a product that supports Windows, AND Linux, AND MacOS all in one freaking package?"

    Actually, this has already been done. Several month ago "Terminus" was on the shelves (unfortunately not many shelves). It supports the three OS's you mentioned off the same CD. One of the main developers on that project is a good friend of mine and I know they put alot of work into it. It is a real shame that it didn't receive a large acceptance. I personnaly think the game is pretty cool.

    Check out the official page [vvisions.com] or the fan site [stationterminus.com].
  • Am I missing something or has UT been available for Linux for quite some time?
    (No bundled UT for Linux, but binaries for use with the Windows version)

    UT for Linux (Loki) [lokigames.com]


    --
  • by 1skywalker1 (101848) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @11:46AM (#325105) Homepage
    It's sad to say... but today's gaming market seems to be in bed with the blinding speed of the latest CPU. Gone are the days when people could be satisfied with simple games like Tetris.

    If the newest game doesn't require the lastest 32mb graphics card and 900Mhtz CPU... it's just not worth it. So how does Linux fit in? What corporate ties does Linux have with hardware developers? MMX and Active X compatible CPU's act as a kickbacks for game developers... And it works both ways: We make a new software technology which will give you a reason to make a new hardware one.

    Considering that Linux is always playing catch up in terms of hardware compatibility, MHO is that it will be quite some time before Linux is a major game player.

    I hope I'm wrong.

    Until then I'll just stick to tetrinet.

    --
  • Linux people don't like to pay for software.

    Excuse me, but that is a gross oversimplification! I'm a Linux person (I use it for almost everything on this machine), and I have no problem with paying for good software. I'm perfectly willing to pay for high-quality Linux ports of good games.


    -RickHunter
  • The companies that are porting games to linux are trying to make money. Its hard for them to jump right in and offer the games at dirt cheap prices when they got a smaller group to sell to. Check out some new (new to linux that is) games on tuxgames.com like SiN, Shogo, and Jagged Alliance 2 - they all only cost $26. I have been buying every game for linux even if I don't like the game and never plan on playing it. The reason is because if they don't make money now they can't stay in business to make future games. Hopefully everyone will wait for the Tribes 2 for linux version instead of rushing out and getting the windows one - here is a good chance to show them how many people are interested in gaming on linux. The Linux versions of games are often priced much higher than the corresponding Windows version. It's tough for me to justify buying the Linux version when I can get the Windows version for a much lower price.
  • by Mikepekim (119834) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @11:45AM (#325108)
    The Linux versions of games are often priced much higher than the corresponding Windows version. It's tough for me to justify buying the Linux version when I can get the Windows version for a much lower price.

    For example, Quake 3 Arena for Windows is available for $29.99 from Amazon and the Linux version is $44.99 from Amazon. (or $44 at Tuxgames).

    Alpha Centauri is $9.99 at Amazon, and the coming soon Linux release is priced at $49.99 on amazon and $46 on tuxgames (yeah, the Linux version comes with an add-on pack - the corresponding Windows version is $39.99 on amazon).

    Simcity 3000 Unlimited is $46 on tuxgames, and $49.99 on amazon for the Linux version. The Windows version is $39.99 on Amazon, while regular Simcity 3000 is $19.99 on Amazon.
  • Diablo 2 can connect anywhere. If you're running on Battle.net (closed), then it's different because everything is being saved online. However, you can also connect to any valid IP address for open games.
  • It seems that new (and better) things are caught in a slow and exruciating loop. Few programs so fre people switch, few people so few programs made. Thus one of the most important developments would be really nice emulation of Windows programs and functionality. This would probably break the loop and open the flood gates.

    Something else I'd like to say (offtopic, but don't hate me for this).
    Has anyone looked at the different languages supported by Google [google.com]? By personal favorite is their made up language named "Bork, bork, bork!". Check out Google prefs in Bork,bork,bork [google.com] for an example. This is my default now

  • There are at least 41 versions of Tetris for Linux.

    Not accurate. TETRIS® is a registered trademark of The Tetris Company LLC [tetris.com], which has not yet licensed any official conversions for the LINUX® system. But that didn't stop cloners from converting the game and calling it something other than TETRIS [8m.com].

    CXHextris

    These are hextris clones, with a hexagonal grid instead of a square grid.

    Columns XJewel

    These are Columns clones.

    Gno3dtet IFRAc VRtris

    These are apparently 3D Block clones. Xpuyopuyo Vitamins 2 [8m.com]

    These are Puyo clones.

    ksame same-gnome Xinsane FPA Insane [8m.com]

    These are SameGame clones.

    XTrojka

    A bad Klax knockoff.

    CrystalSpace [linuxgames.com]

    What? That's not a puzzle game; that's a 3D engine.

    Here are some tetris clones that don't have the annoying "floating blocks after clearing a line" bug: Quadra [sourceforge.net] | TOD [8m.com] | FPA Tetanus [8m.com]

    Oh, by the way, next time use an HTML list (<ul> <li>foo</li> <li>bar</li> </ul>) to separate games in a long list.

  • Besides, most games take up at least one full CD.

    99% of that is datafiles. The executable code for each platform generally takes up less than 4 MB. Stuffing FreeBSD, Linux PPC, Linux x86, Windows, and Carbon Mac binaries (which will run on Mac OS 8.5 and up) should cover most base [planetstarsiege.com]s and not take too much space away from the game. So you'll have to bump each image's JPEG level down a notch. So you'll have to bump your game music .ogg files from 192 kbps VBR to 188 kbps VBR and decrease the height of your cut-scene clips by 5%. Big fucking deal.

    as long as games are fairly easy to develop on it. Windows is the easiest right now.

    Sega Genesis is also quite easy to develop for. So why not just distribute your game as a ROM with DGen?

  • So when is Pitfall going to be available on Linux?

    PE2000 [pe2000.net] has ROM dumps of many classic games such as the original Pitfall. To run such binaries, you will need an emulator; pick one up at Zophar's Domain [zophar.net].

  • I wanted to get Quake 3, on it's relese, but waited for the promised linux version. After it's announced release, I spent 2 months hasseling the local games shops to see if I could buy the linux verson.
    No one ever imported the linux vrsion to my country so I had to buy a windows version. I wonders how much diference the numbers would have made had it been available here as a linux version too.
  • Developers who claim they don't want to develop under anything under GL cuz it doesn't have shading, etc. "like DX8". What a crock of FUD.

    Don't you realize what you are giving up? At least with GL, you can influence the creation of extensions. You! Not Microsoft.

    Or do you just want to spend your life swallowing what MS decides to plop into your open mouth? Before long you'll be paying for it, too.

  • why link to SGI? Go directly to opengl.org [opengl.org]

  • If this is true, then the Linux market may be a potentially more profitable market than Windows for games. Many that are really wanting Linux to suceed on the desktop are willing to pay more for a Linux version. Also, some of us have bought Linux versions of games that we otherwise wouldn't have bought, simply to support this fledgling market.
  • Let me just say that's a very cool name. May the rest of the net fall victim to the plague...
  • No offense, but if that's the case, you have problems

    None taken, I came on to the project quite some time after the engine was well underway, too late to go back and have things done the right way. Their original goal was to target Windows with this engine, which they've done, to the exclusion of any other platform.
  • The DOM is well documented at W3C. At least if all you need is a reference.

    To be blunt: the W3C documentation of the DOM is far too verbose to be a useful reference and it reads like a phone book. I'm sure its useful if you have a lot of spare time to sit down and read it all, but in the real world, projects need to get done. It sucked having to bite the bullet and not support Mozilla, but it was a done-in-my-spare-time project, and if I had held up the page until I'd figured out the crummy W3C documentation, it probably still wouldn't be up.

    Microsoft's documentation for IE, on the other hand, is all nicely arranged, grouped by object, with cross-references to every other property, method, and object related, with code examples for pretty much everything. Not only that, but they also tell you when what you're using is a Microsoft-proprietary extension, or if it's part of the W3C standards. Think whatever you want about Microsoft, but nobody can argue that MSDN isn't very, very slick, and what should be expected in documentation for any OS.
  • by Chester K (145560) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @12:27PM (#325121) Homepage
    As a designer at a company with a title about to be released on the Windows platform (see our ads in the May issue of PCGamer and CGW), I've brought up a couple times in our meetings that we should at least try to see if we can easily compile our code under Linux with Winelib.

    Unfortunately, it's far from trivial to do. On top of that, our market studies show a very, very minimal market for Linux games. Most Linux installations are running on servers, not "desktop" systems, and there's such variation between different Linux distributions that shipping binaries for Linux-as-a-whole makes shipping a binary that runs on Win95, 98, ME, and 2000 look easy.

    In short, we haven't been able to justify spending a disproportional amount of time on Linux users compared to Windows users.

    It reminds me a little bit of a webpage I put up (this one [evercrest.com], if you're curious), which relies on some Javascript for the user interface. Unfortunately I had to make the page IE only because I couldn't find any decent documentation for Mozilla's object model, nothing nearly as nice as Microsoft's documentation for IE [microsoft.com], so I had to end up dropping support for Mozilla. IE makes up 80% of my readership, and I had already spent well over half the time I spent developing the page just trying to get it to run with Mozilla. I had passed the point of diminishing returns.

    So I can understand my company's stance on not being interested in putting the effort in to get the code to work with Linux, but I'm still rather interested in doing it myself. Which brings me to a question: If I'm able to get the game running stable under Wine, can we ship a copy of Wine and a Linux installer on the CD and advertise we're a game that runs on Linux, or is that cheaping out?
  • Have you ever programmed anything in DirectX. It's one of the most hideously complex api's i've ever seen :)
  • No, you left something out. It won't be the norm until Linux has desktop marketshare at least in the same league as Windows (which it currently doesn't), the exact same can be said for the mac. IF EVER is not something that should be used, btw. Companies will always prioritize shipping date of it's windows version over releasing a Linux/Mac/WIndows game all at once, for as long as Windows has the tremendous marketshare difference that it does. Consider that there are very, very few desktop computers (read: not servers) out there that have Linux and don't also have a version of Windows, and that Linux video card support is pitiful unless you have at least a 3DFX, Matrox, or nvidia card, and even then only the nvidia cards are supported WELL. It won't happen soon - there are still a number of issues to work out - but to say that it won't happen for years, or ever, in an industry as radically dynamic as this is sheer ignorance. Keep in mind that Linux's marketshare continues to soar, it continues to become easier and easier to setup, configure, and use (not as much as Windows or Mac, but it is improving, and at a considerable rate) and that it is, technologically, able to handle anything that Windows can (often better) and it is not too hard to believe that it will become a major contendor. If anything has the potential, it's Linux. Keep in mind, we will soon have a linux game console, we already have a number of Linux appliances, and the PS2 may someday run Linux (it's more about boardroom politics than technology, Sony has already written a port) and in an effort to fight fire with fire with M$, if Sony uses Linux and the Indrema becomes a contendor, Nintendo just might follow suit as well to keep M$'s influence to a minimum. (Letting people use a similar framework for every major system that's not M$ would be a great way to keep them from gaining dominance (especially since the X-Box itself will likely be able to run Linux in very little time, seeing as the platform is mostly pre-existing, extremely well-supported hardware), which should be priority #1 for Sony and Nintendo, since having M$ gain enough momentum to be able to throw its weight around successfully would cause severe damage to both companies. This is all pure speculation. Salt to taste.) Think about it - Linux as a major game platform is not at all hard to believe.
  • by Ig0r (154739) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @12:15PM (#325124)
    Oh, Q3 did good in the 'pushing the envelope' area. Where it was lacking was in the 'sustainable gameplay' area.
    Vanilla Q3 just gets boring after a while.

    --
  • It amazes me that Linux games are being released at all. It does not surprise me at all that some of the hottest games on Windows have poor sales on Linux. We still have so much work to do on Linux right now.

    Drivers
    Gamers want the best performance and the highest FPS for their games. I can download a binary driver for 95/98/ME and expect it to work for all versions and use a standard install routine. Under Linux it is a completely different beast. Want OpenGL and Nvidia's DRI Server for XWindows, go jump through these hoops. Want sound for my SoundBlaster Live use OSS. Trying to get DVD decoding support, go get Linux 2.4 or use the udfs and ioctl back-port to Linux 2.2. Get Livid and jump through more hoops. Want CD-RW support, struggle through another routine. Setup network card, select any number of paths. TV Tuner, go edit your modules.conf. What about USB devices, force feedback controllers... We need one standard install that will work for open-source binaries and closed binaries for all kinds of hardware. And don't tell me that Windows is easy because it is already set up, because gamers change drivers like they change underwear! This is how average users work. Plus, make sure it works now and into the near future. It amazes me that USB support is now in Linux, but has been available under Windows since 98.

    Apps
    Productivity apps first, then games. We really can't expect games on Linux under the sales can justify the effort. Plus, we are a lot closer on the productivity apps side than on the gaming side.

    Gaming API
    OpenGL is out and DirectX is in. Microsoft through a huge hodgepodge of features has made it in a great API. Want 3D, game controller support, force feedback API, 3D sound support, voice-over-network, etc.. go get DirectX. Unless we develop one huge API that can be installed in one step, developers have no idea what is supported on a particular machine. We are still in the dark ages of DOS gaming, where each game had limited hardware support and coding for certain cards.

  • Unfortunately I'd say most gamers are bigtime pirates. I was at a lan this weekend and someone was sharing the ISO for Black & White and Serious Sam. Everyone leeched it, installed and thought nothing of it.

    At the next lan in a month's time, the same thing will happen with Tribes 2 and anything else due for imminent release. Let alone the thousands who just download ISOs from warez ftp..

    So for many windows games are effectively free.
  • Yeah, I kinda agree with that. I think dev groups should have many clients on the same cd, and you just run the right install program. Also, depending on how you develop games, it isnt hard to make a Linux binary... like look at Loki and their interaction with the SDL [libsdl.org] and SMPEG projects (I mean besides the fact that Loki started them/still runs them)You could write a whole title that can be compiled on either system with little effort. But dont take what Im saying as Linux is easy to dev for. Youll probably have to include multiple binaries, depending on what you feel like supporting... but most likely imo it will be binaries for xfree 4/glibc2.1 and thats it. Console based graphics interaction basically is dead (for those who dont run linux, its like playing a dos game.... run it from a text console prompt, it switches to a graphic mode) even though alot of projects still try to support it. Same with Xfree 3.... Its kinda of a waste to support it, unless your doing only 2D stuff... But with 3D... X3 is behind alot... it really only has indirect/secondary rendering via Mesa, and not alot of 3d acceleration chipsets are supported by mesa either by mesa itself or xserver drivers.
  • I think that the right mix for Linux gaming is made from an open engine, and closed content. For instance, for a game such as Red Alert, the engine would be the sprite displaying mechanism, the audio code and the code for displaying video sequences. Content would be the game sprites, the game sounds and the videos and animations.

    While this model allows for copying of game engines, it does not allow the copying of games themselves. Moreover, for most games the content is what makes them unique. Even Quake III or Unreal Tournament would not be worth anything without the player models, the world physics (they're simple, but they have to be written by someone!), the maps or the sounds.

    However, such attitude will also allow game developers to earn enough for their living (creating serious games, unlike, say, writing desktop software, is very resource-consuming, so very little is possible without adequate funding). Yet on the other side, the engines are still free, and can be easily tweaked, reused and worked upon, and open for people who'd like to develop a completely open game anyway.

  • by sydb (176695)
    Well, you can't have done much research.

    For best-class gaming, get a high-end NVidia card. Get the linux drivers here [nvidia.com]. They provide detailed information about requirements and setting it up. The driver is currently closed-source, however, so you are dependent on NVidia's continued support.

    From what I've read, the ATI Radeon has performance to rival NVidia's GeForce and Precision Insight are creating open-source drivers. So I'd recommend this one :)

    For a cheap, no brain option, get an old 16Mb 3DFX VooDoo 3 based card. Lots on ebay at very nice prices. Well supported in XFree.

    You'll want to use XFree4 of course, to benefit from the 3D hardware acceleration in the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI).
  • by sydb (176695)
    Sorry, I thought it was you that was having problems, not some witless joe public.

    Three years worth of research? That is bad. I've been using Linux for about three years.

    A grand or two on a video card? Did you read what I said? I have a Voodoo 3 2000 which cost me 50 UKP on ebay. I'm sure they're cheaper in the states.Three years worth of research? Sorry, I've only been using Linux for about three years.

    If you actually read the documentation for XFree, you'll see that the DRI provides a more or less opengl-compatible implementation. Does the software say 'opengl' on the box?

    I'm sorry you've got a couple of cards you can't use. But well, that's your problem.

    If you read the box, I think just about every manufacturer tells you what the chipset is and the amount of memory.

    I don't follow your complaint about ebay. What are these voodoo cards that don't work? Read the XFree documentation. It tells you.

    I think you are just too damn lazy to read the docs. You can't have any other excuse.

    I run Myth 2 (OpenGL mode) and Quake 2. Those are my current games of choice.

    At the end of the day, you have three options:
    1. Stick with windows for games. If games are all you care about, that's probably your best option. I care about other things too.
    2. Learn more about your chosen OS and make sensible decisions based on that knowledge. This is what I do.
    3. Carry on as you are, whining and moaning and adding nothing to anyones life.

    :)
  • by sydb (176695)
    The answer is yes, I am running Debian Woody with XFree 4.0.2, hardware accelereated Voodoo 3 3000 under the DRI.

    You need to run your apps in OpenGL mode, though, not Glide if that's what they expect. For instance, Myth 2 does not natively support OpenGL, only Glide and 2D, but there is a patch at Loki's site.
  • Fun games sell well- if there is a market for them. Look at the Dreamcast. Tons of fun games, but it flopped because of the PS2. I think that the real problem with Linux games is a chicken and egg... the games won't sell w/o people, and the people won't come without games. So what are you going to do?
  • And We'll SEE who's better at "Embracing and extending..."
  • Now When a new chunk of hardware comes out, What happens when the specs become open source? Why, One of us, or the manufacturer, writes an implementation of the driver so we can use whatever the hardware gives us access to... How is DirectX different? If they open the specs, can't we just re-implement the code in linux in order to get access to all the nifty games that ONLY use it? In the process, we can even streamline it a bunch...sure, we'd be doing MS's work, but I think everyone would benefit there... So "Hey MS! If you REALLY wanna piece of this market, OPEN YER DRIVERS!"
  • It seems to me that Linux gaming suffers from a serious chicken and egg problem. Game makers don't make Linux games because there isn't enough of a market for them, and when they do port to Linux it's often months after the Window version is released. Consequently, many Linux gamers dual-boot Windows just so they can play games (I'm one of those). We'll buy the Windows game so that we can play it now (we're an impatient bunch). When the Linux port finally comes out, we're hesitant to pay another $45-60 for a game that we already own! The problem is even worse for older games for which the Windows version can be found in the bargain-bin at Best Buy for $5-10, but the Linux version still costs $30-50 online.

    One way to combat this chicken/egg syndrome is to offer Linux binaries for download at a nominal price. Someone who bought Unreal Tournament on sale for Windows at $39.95 is far more likely to pay Loki games $10-15 to download a linux binary that is compatible with their Windows CD than they are to buy the full game again at $50. They could even be sold in stores as "Linux Packs" along side the Windows games for those companies that don't feel that a complete Linux CD will bring enough sales. The profit margin on the "Linux Packs" would be smaller, but this could be made up for by writing into the porting contract a clause that gives the porting company a bonux for each "Pack" sold based on the fact that a Windows sale actually went to a Linux buyer.

    Now before the flames start, let me answer the first question that's going start the burning: "If you can download the binary, no one will ever sell a Linux-only version!" I don't think that's the case, and here's why. Part of the reason that Linux games aren't being produced is the perceived lack of customers. But as it has been noted in other comments, the numbers from other experiments are often skewed by Linux gamers buying Windows versions of games. By offering Linux binaries for a nominal fee, you not only make it easier for Linux gamers to get Linux games, but the numbers become more accurate. Sales figures can be used to find out how many Linux gamers are buying Windows games. Higher sales numbers of Linux game binaries today could mean more Linux games on the shelves tomorrow.

    That's my brilliant idea for the day. Flame away, I'm wearing asbestos underwear! =)

    - Stealth Dave
    --

  • I'm really happy with the quality of graphics in Windows games. Can Linux developers beat it, reinventing the rendering technologies themselves? Possibly, but what a waste of time when they could be improving gameplay.

    What I'm not (always) happy with on Windows is the quality of gameplay. It commonly takes a backseat to graphics technology, and I predict with this Linux API and rendering race, Linux developers will be focussing a lot on better looking, faster, smoother games. Which is great, all else equal. But...

    But wouldn't it be a bigger feather in the cap of the Linux camp if, in a couple of years, people generally agreed, "Yeah, these Linux games don't have very good vertex shading compared to Windows games, but holy crap are they more fun!!! I spend all my time playing Linux games." That's the ultimate complement, in my opinion. You don't have to look farther than the 12-year-old Game Boy platform to realize that fun games sell damn well and create a loyal base of consumers. And you don't have to look farther than PC graphic$ hardware and CPU $peeds to realize that when you chase after (making or buying) technically-impressive games, you are going to spend a lot of time and money.

    I say Fun First, tech later. That requires a lot of inspiration and design and playtesting and playbalancing (things it would seem Linux has the community for!)
  • A better option is perhaps to develop with SDL + OpenGL and just compile natively. SDL is a thin wrapper, so there is very little if any performance loss for doing so.

    -John
  • lhl.linuxgames.com

    many howto's to get Counter-strike running in linux by using Wine. some bugs, but apparently works rather well if you have an nvidia vid card.

    i ALMOST have it running with my radeon...
  • What's important is that a _standard_ API for graphics _as_ _well_ as sound, is created for LiNUX. Until then, forget about developers getting serious with LiNUX game development. There is simply too much hazzle with different ways of doing the same things. And yes, porting DirectX would be a good thing for LiNUX, since it's a standard, it has API's for sound, gfx (2D & 3D), streaming media, joystick I/O...need I go on?
    With DX on LiNUX, game developers wouldn't need to re-write very much code. DX is a very good abstraction layer, actually it's one of best, simply because it has API's for almost everything game-related (and a little beyond).
  • The only thing that keeps me from erasing my Windooze partition is that I like to play Counter-strike from time to time.
    The day I can play the few games I like(Q3A is not one of them) Id erase it.

    Right now I am waiting for Mandrake to finish it's installation on my desktop PC because I will try to see if everything else I do on my home PC can be done from Linux. I have been using FreeBSD and Linux as servers for years, but I have always felt that it could not replace Windows as my desktop because all the neat little utilities I use is for Windooze. But now I am going to give it a try. Since the the Linux crowd is so big, I am fairly sure that I can find a replacement for most, if not all, the programs that I use.
    My only concern right now, will I get it to work with my GeForce card. I guess I'll know in 22 minutes :-)
    --------
  • Hey, excellent, thanks.
    I have got to check that out. Now I have the system up and running, but I think I'll start by checking out NVIDIAs Linux drivers. Better have them running properly first
    --------
  • "The sales figures that the skeptics quote should never be considered of any merit until a few games are released for Linux and Windows simultaneously." Pipe Dreams. Linux may get a few titles that are released simultaneously, but that isn't going to be the norm for YEARS... if ever. Companies will always prioritize shipping date of it's window's version over releasing a Linux/Mac/Windows game all at once.
  • I like the current method of installing games on Linux: copy the data files and get the Linux binaries, or a Linux-friendly install client that opens all of the InstallShield/WISE data files and installs everything properly. After all, isn't that how Linux itself was installed for a while?
  • I've been playing RailRoad Tycoon II on my Mandrake box for the last several weeks now. (My wife is beginning to hate the train's 'Woo-woo!).

    It's a paid for copy. I requested it as a Christmas present.

    Egads...I'm going to be picking up Heros of M&M here soon.

    Flame away...claim that I'm playing old games that no one wants to play anymore. But I'm spending the cash and I like not having to reboot to Windows to enjoy a game for a few hours.

  • try the *nix forum over at www.quake3world.com I play Q3 quite happily on Vodoo3 3000. Oh yes, and linux.3dfx.com is no longer with us but all the stuff from there is available from the XFree86 site or http://www.3ddownloads.com/?directory=/linuxgames/ 3dfx/ Now you'll find you can even play in a window!
  • Then again, I`m perfectly willing to NOT pay for good software (emacs... the best). --Jon

  • I remember a few years ago hearing "This is it, now Linux gaming will take off." ... then a couple years ago "Okay, this is it... Linux gaming will take off". Then last year with the release of Q3a "okay, now most definetly linux gaming is going to take off".

    Give it up. If you want to play games, install windows.
    Game Over

    disc-chord
    and now back to your regularly scheduled M$ bashing, irrational ranting and first posts
  • I am truly sorry that your friend has colored your attitudes so heavily against Linux users. I live in Seattle, WA and there is a lot of hostility toward Linux here... But most of the people I know who use Linux on their primary system are in no way people who hate Linux. Nearly every Linux user I know here also works with Windows on a daily basis professionally.

    Funny, I know more exclusive Windows users that hate Windows than Linux users who share their feelings. I might not care much for the company but the software is tolerable, though I do miss features which I make great use of (virtual consoles, workspaces, etc.)

    Gamers won't switch to Linux because of new games, but Linxu users might be enticed to eventually get rid of Windows altogether if they can play their favorite games. For example a friend of mine decided to run Linux on his system but wanted to make sure he could still play Doom on it.

    I think that the market does exist and is getting stronger every year, but it has not yet reached a potential size which makes it profitable to port games to Linux.

    After all the developers have to be paid, as do the royalties. And the market is smaller that the only way that this happens is when the Linux versions are substantially marked up above the WIndows versions....

    Best Wishes.

  • by Apreche (239272) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @11:47AM (#325149) Homepage Journal
    The reason that Quake 3 Arena for linu didn't sell well is not just because it was release well after the windows version. There are numerous other factors that aren't even mentioned here.

    The first thing is that the are selling a game for linux, that can already be played with wine quite easily. Anyone who wants to play games and uses linux, probably is already doing this. They should release a game like counterstrike which is difficult to get to run under wine. Or a game that is impossible to run under wine like Tribes 2 (I tried, maybe someone else succeeded).

    Why should they pay money? Let's take it for granted that you aren't a software pirate. When new software comes out for windows you run out and pay 50$ for it. When new software comes out for linux you go to freshmeat and download it for free. Linux people don't like to pay for software. Linux is a high quality operating system for free, and windows is a low quality operating system for lots of money. That's what keeps linux alive is that it costs 0$. People don't want to pay money for linux software.

    I propose that game companies release FREE linux versions of their games. Not their newest games, but games that are just old enough so that they aren't selling any more copies. Basically everything from abandonware up to the tomb raider series, final fantasy 7 + 8, Mechwarrior 1 - 3, etc. Every games from that time back should be made available free for linux. All the gamers would RUSH out to download mandrake and red hat so they could take advantage of the situation. Then Start releasing the new games for Linux and charge money. Claim that the game runs faster in linux and is more stable (it's true). Charge only 40$ instead of 50$. Watch the money fly in.

    Making a DirectX equivalent for Linux is a good idea too. Duh.
  • This is a reply in two parts, first, to some specific comments, and then to stuff I should have said in the first place.

    "And of course the DX3, DX5, DX7, DX8 interfaces never changed eh? :)

    DirectX is inclusive. If it was supported by DX3, it'll still work. Code written to support OpenGL extensions, however, often breaks. That's the point of an extension; otherwise, it'd be in the standard. Some extensions are likely to remain in place, others, however, are vendor-specific and might just end up vapor.

    Eh? NVidia loves OpenGL Alias|Wavefront loves OpeNGL

    NVidia loves DirectX more --- well, most of my friends there were pretty pissed at Microsoft for delaying DirectX repeatedly, but that's another issue. NVidia likes whatever the public buys. Right now, games are using more DirectX, meaning that those APIs are more important, at least outside of the Quadro market.

    As for Alias, of course they love OpenGL, Alias is an SGI product (SGI owns OpenGL's trademark, remember?). But then again, Alias isn't a game modelling program; OpenGL is pretty good for architectural and CAD applications, probably better than Direct3D.

    The ultimate problem is that SGI is no longer the stable foundation that they once were. They were integral IMO to the advancement on OpenGL. No one has a similar commitment. NVidia certainly won't advocate OpenGL for the sake of OpenGL. They'll support it and support it well as long as there is demand, but I don't see them pushing the standard. DirectX, on the other hand, advances because of the heavy-handed advocacy of Microsft and because there is a research division full of top graphics people there (Glassner, Hoppe, Cohen, etc).

    Without one hardcore research/industry advocate pushing the technology, OpenGL will continue decrepifying. Different companies will create different non-compatible extensions for new effects, while the standard itself becomes bogged down in standards committee arguments, leaving it lagging many years behind the state of the art.

    Note, I'm not saying that there's anything critically wrong with the OpenGL API itself; until DX 7 rolled around, I wouldn't approach DX without a gas mask and a really long pointy stick. But Microsoft has responded well to the community, vastly improving the interface, something that we can expect to continue in future versions.

    As a side note, though, this entire article is sort of a red herring, although few people have mentioned it. 3D is not necessary for good games, at least not certain types of games, many of which are popular with Linux users. 3D can ,in fact, be bad for RTS games, where it can be difficult to get a grasp on the tactics of a battle when the viewpoint can spin around, zoom, and where mountains can obscur some of your forces (consider Warcraft III's locking of the viewpoint, for instance, even though meshes are used for mobiles). Plus no card can render mobiles with sufficient tentacles, hair, gnats, floating eyes, or whatever --- and we might really want these things, consider the difficulties of rendering lots of beholders from Baldurs Gate II or many of the Zerg in Starcraft in 3D. In isometric games, sprites can do this trivially, since it's just a picture. After all, graphics is just a tool used to better a game;it is only a tool, however, not the game itself, and it can get in the way of the quality of the game.

    More importantly, these "old-style" games can be coded in the true Linux tradition for free. Leave commercial games for commercial OS's. The only reason people don't code games like this for free for Linux is the worry that the code will break --- but that's changing as driver support becomes more standardized.

    Of course, there are several companies make DirectX compliant implementations for Linux, so perhaps it's irrelevant anyway.

  • by Petrophile (253809) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @12:42PM (#325156) Homepage
    Boy do you have it wrong.

    There is a group of "People who play games", and basically run a system designed to play games (which probably means Win9x).

    There is also another, much larger group of "People who play games on a machine that they do real work on". Usually that machine is Windows, but sometimes it's MacOS or Linux or something else. Because these people are doing real work, they aren't that interested in duelbooting or multiple machines.

    Basically for a game to be profitable, it has to convice the first 'hardcore' group. But it also has to sell broadly into the second group. Which is why it wasn't super-critical that Quake III was on the shelves for Linux on Day 1, because the assumption should be that anyone who would run Q3 on Linux is doing so because they want to run Linux, not because they want to run Q3.

    I used to be in a similar boat as the Linux folks of group 2 running NT 4.0 on my work/game box. It meant that I was limited to a subset of NT4-compatible games (OGL and DX3 types usually), and it also meant I had to sit back and wait for compatibility reports before running out and purchasing a new game.
  • I've brought up a couple times in our meetings that we should at least try to see if we can easily compile our code under Linux with Winelib. Unfortunately, it's far from trivial to do.
    No offense, but if that's the case, you have problems.

    Targetting Linux has many more advantages than just targetting Linux per se. It forces you to write cleaner, more portable and more modular code. This is A Good Thing (TM) as it will make your life easier when/if you try to port to GameCube, XBox, PS2, etc.

    Carmack made similar remarks, but I can no longer find that URL.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • by ryants (310088) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @12:18PM (#325163)
    Sure, we have OpenGL, but with the release of DirectX 8, the cross-platform API just doesn't cut it anymore. Lacking universal support for vertex and pixel shaders, developers are forced into the situation where they can either reduce the quality of their titles by ignoring the improved features that the newer releases of DirectX offer, or by ignoring Linux.
    What a crock. With OpenGL extensions, you can use the latest bang-whiz features of nearly any card out there, often even before it is available in DirectX.

    Take a look here [sgi.com] for all the extensions available to you (including shaders) right now.

    Take a look here [nvidia.com] for NVidia's OpenGL SDK which includes, yup, vertex shaders.

    In the DX8 world developer's will also need to cripple their software if the card doesn't support the shaders in hardware. So I really fail to see what the argument is here.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • Your proposal about free linux games will NEVER happen. What possible benefit would there be in releasing old games free on linux to game companies? First they'd have to spend money porting the games. Then they'd get no money in return. And, new game sales would probably drop because everyone would be busy playing the old games. Besides, most games take up at least one full CD. Game companies sure aren't going to create boxed copies of free games, so the only way to get them would be to download them. Most gamers still don't have access to broadband, and don't have the ability to download 650 MB CD images of old games.

    The only benefit provided by your scheme is that it would increase the number of Linux users. Well, game companies don't give a flying fig what OS their customers are running, as long as games are fairly easy to develop on it. Windows is the easiest right now. Game companies would gain NO benefit from your scheme. Therefore, they won't do it.

  • Hi. I wrote the article.

    One of the co-authors on my book (Linux Game Programming, just out) is responsible for the LInux port of Creatures 3, and guess what? He did it on company time.

    DirectX is much better for coding games than OpenGL, IMO. First of all, you need support, you join the DirectX Developers list. Any question answered in under 2 hours. Then there is all the documentation available, as well as being to first offense for hardware developers (the said list is filled to the brim with nVidia and Matrox people).

    I *know* shaders are abailable, but not every card supports them. DX handles that, OpenGL involves a lot more work, and the extra work means a bite out of performance.
  • IMHO, Q3A is not the best example to site for sales of Linux games... Why? Well... in many ways the game was not as "fun" as its major competitor Unreal Tournament..

    Now before everyone flames me because of my use of an obviously subjective term, let me just state that Unreal Tournament was voted by a great many gaming magazines and groups as the "game of the year" (take a look at UT's press page [unrealtournament.com]). It outperformed Q3A as far as retail sales last year are concerned.

    Furthermore, it has been reported that Q3A's sales were low across the board. Granted the Windows versions sold enough to keep id in business.. but it wasn't a real big smash hit.

    So maybe, just maybe, the low Q3A Linux sales might have reflected more the general dissatisfaction of the game rather than a lack of Linux game players. And maybe Carmacks comments in the past (rather lashing ones I might add) should not have been directed at the Linux gamers, but at his developers for not "pushing the envelope" more with Q3A.

    I know that I personally did not purchase Q3A for Linux until I could for cheap because I did not like the game as much as UT (which I did purchase full-price when it came out). UT had so many more options and so much more depth, it wasn't really a contest in my book.

    Granted, the latest UT patches (436 is the most recent) have sucked the performance out of this game on my system... and it is now next to unplayable (what's up with that?!)... but that's a whole 'nother issue! ;-)

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