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Cloud Games Linux

Cloud Gaming Service OnLive Unofficially On Linux 206

Posted by Soulskill
from the penguins-in-the-clouds dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Through some clever patching, OnLive community members have found a way to run OnLive on Linux using Wine. While the fix isn't perfect, this is a giant leap for Linux users wanting to play the latest games without the need for Windows. Linux users can now play several high quality games like the new Deus Ex with very few performance issues and on lower end hardware."
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Cloud Gaming Service OnLive Unofficially On Linux

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  • DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ge7 (2194648) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @12:27AM (#37312756)
    While a kind offer, I have to say no thanks. This kind of service goes against all my beliefs and every rule for Linux and open source. Not only you don't get source code with the game, you don't even get binaries and data! Once you stop paying, you stop playing. If we support development like this there will soon be nothing else. There are many great open source games for Linux, like Battle for Wesnoth, Freeciv and Nethack. Even ID open sources their engines so that people can create many new awesome games. Once OnLine and companies start doing that, don't include abusive DRM and provides source with the game boxes, we can start talking. Until that I rather support indie developers.
    • Re:DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @12:42AM (#37312832)

      It's just a game... it's not like operating systems or office apps where vendor lock-in and lack of freedom to modify the code is actually a problem.

      Do you also refuse to watch movies because you don't get the files used in production? Or refuse to listen to a CD unless it also comes with sheet music?

      • by exomondo (1725132)
        This is why we can't have nice things.
      • by ge7 (2194648)
        No, but I do remember the days when people could host their own dedicated servers with their own rules and admins instead of that one-player-hosts bullshit. I also remember the days when game developers wanted people to make great mods for their games. Now that has mostly gone away. I'm glad there's still games like Red Orchestra 2 that have that old spirit. But where do you think it goes if the games are fully ran and only streamed to your computer?
      • Re:DRM (Score:5, Interesting)

        by syousef (465911) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:30AM (#37313042) Journal

        It's just a game... it's not like operating systems or office apps where vendor lock-in and lack of freedom to modify the code is actually a problem.

        Tell that to someone who dedicated spare time over 18 months to creating a new aircraft in MS Flight Sim only to have the franchise killed off for the promise of some X-box Windows live experience that may never come to fruition.

        Open source matters for everything including gaming.

        • Tell that to someone who dedicated spare time over 18 months to creating a new aircraft in MS Flight Sim only to have the franchise killed off for the promise of some X-box Windows live experience that may never come to fruition.

          For every game that you can list where you have the opportunity to spend 18 months developing something, there are hundreds of games where you do not. You just play them until you get to the end and then stop.

          Besides, does MS Flight Simulator X no longer run? If it does still run, then your 18 months of work can still be used. If that is not good enough, then it has already been pointed out that there is an open source flight sim that you can use, although it appears to have problems running on some systems

          • by tepples (727027)

            Besides, does MS Flight Simulator X no longer run?

            True, it works on Windows 7. But how long will one be able to buy and activate a copy of MS Flight Simulator X?

      • I refuse to pay retail price for a rented game the same way that I would refuse to pay retail price for an audio CD rented from the library.

        OnLive is a streaming service, and you rent access to their service ( and therefore their game catalogue) to play the games you buy. If the service fails, you lose access to your games. This is the problem I have with Steam, and why I only buy games on their ridiculous 75% off sales. For the rest I buy from Play / Brick and Mortar stores, so even if the point of sale g
        • so even if the point of sale goes bust, I still have the game to play.

          Until the publisher requires activation to play even single-player and switches off the game's activation server without providing a patch.

          • Those games don't make it out of the store in my hands, let alone onto my PC. I don't think I'm missing out on much.
            • Moreover, I boycott all games from companies that do things like that. For example, I've got some nice games from Ubisoft (some of them among my favourites) but I stopped buying their games when they did that with Assassin's Creed 2. That's final... there's nothing Ubisoft can do to make me tolerate them again. (like Sony)

              Steam, as a service, at least allows offline play, if your internet is down (provided you have already logged in online prior to that happening, and the games are "ready to play" which is

      • by devent (1627873)

        "Do you also refuse to watch movies because you don't get the files used in production? Or refuse to listen to a CD unless it also comes with sheet music?"

        Would be nice if they come with the files, but it's unpractical. But the nice thing about videos and music is that is always have the "source code" available, you can always take the video or song and remix it. That is why we have such a booming culture of remixes on Youtube, despite every effort to kill it; and the fan-dubs and fan-subs of anime shows; a

        • by ansible (9585)

          But the nice thing about videos and music is that is always have the "source code" available, you can always take the video or song and remix it.

          Uh, except for the CC-licensed stuff, we don't get the "source code" to mainstream music and videos.

          The "source code" for a song is the individual track recordings and other stuff that gets mixed into the final product. For movies, there are tons of assets that go into making the movie: the dailies, raw audio tracks, CG models, etc., etc., etc.. Otherwise, to do a high-quality derivative of Avatar, such as just a couple of Navi' standing around and telling jokes, you'd need to re-create the very sophist

          • by JamesP (688957)

            . That would be relatively easy if the 'source code' of the movie was released, but is incredibly difficult without it.

            No way. Absolutely no way...

            And by the way, one frame of a modern 3D scene in a movie takes an hour to render.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        I'm aware of a number of games that have had their source code released. Doom, Quake 3, Freespace 2, Star Control II, Tyrian, I could go on. In each case the release of the source has made these games much easier to play, on any platform. In some cases the opening of the source has enabled the creation of entirely new games.

        So I'd have to disagree with your assertion that the lack of code freedom is not a problem with games.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Even for people who don't care about the source, shoving games into a SaaS model is simply screwing consumers. This model only really serves publishers because they realise that client-side DRM doesn't work. The only plus that consumers get is that they don't have to have a high end machine to play games which isn't really much of a problem these days in PC-land as it use to be. Also, now the requirements are shifted to have a decent internet connection, anything over 100ms latency is going to have a notice
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Battle for Wesnoth: 2003, Freeciv: 1996, Nethack: 1987. Sounds like when Mac enthusiasts used to point to Bolo and Marathon as proof that Mac gaming is a real market.

    • by Squiddie (1942230)
      Same here, it's just using software as a service, which is evil, in and of itself. It's the same reason why I use LibreOffice, when I could use Google docs, and it's the same reason that I don't use "cloud" services.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Jinzo (955633)
      Your line of thinking about beliefs and bullshit like that is one the main reasons the developers don't make triple AAA releases on Linux. You free software hippies all act like hermits. You talk about being open and yet act so closed at the same time.
      • by bersl2 (689221)

        triple AAA

        lol

        But seriously, that's bullshit, and you know it.

        Dinosaurs who make so-called "AAA titles" don't make Linux games because it costs too much money, one way or another. Management at such places don't want to spend money if they aren't guaranteed a return, which only says how much the bottom line drives everything they do anyway, and good riddance.

        Larger companies not yet swallowed by conglomerates have senior devs who may consider Linux and just might have the clout to pull it off, but they can't afford (t

        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          how much the bottom line drives everything they do anyway, and good riddance.

          Yeah, that's how they pay their employees. If you went to work tomorrow and your employer told you he wasn't going to be paying you anymore because he's "tired of focusing on the bottom line," I'm pretty sure you wouldn't respond with "Good riddance!"

      • Hipsters seem kind of the same way - a zealous obsession with "indie" culture that oddly doesn't seem all that independent-thinking.
        (my signature refers to music-specific pragmatism, but I mean that more generally.)

      • Your line of thinking about beliefs and bullshit like that is one the main reasons the developers don't make triple AAA releases on Linux.

        Here I thought it was because a grand majority of people use windows, and not because a few people that use Linux could be described as arrogant...

        You talk about being open and yet act so closed at the same time.

        There's a difference between supporting open source and supporting open-mindedness. Not that I'm saying that people who disagree with you are closed-minded (how does that work, by the way?).

    • by gmuslera (3436) *

      See it from the other point of view. People that will pay for that games anyway, but now could choose the operating system they will run.

      Anyway, this is about freedom. That don't ensure to be right, just to be able to choose. Giving more options don't take away the "right" ones, and people that think different from you can pick whatever they prefer, not just what you think they should. And if they choose to be lemmings and

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Do you also watch no movies or listen to no music where the "source" isn't open?

    • by Dunbal (464142) *

      Until that I rather support indie developers.

      They all provide the source code do they? Not all independent developers choose the GPL, but since we're talking about your support, how much money have you sent this year to the authors of GPLed source code that you run? Or do you support it by downloading it and using it only?

    • Re:DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geminidomino (614729) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @03:47AM (#37313508) Journal

      There are many great open source games for Linux, like Battle for Wesnoth, Freeciv and Nethack

      Wesnoth and Freeciv are all right, at best. Unless of course, you don't like Turn-based or Real-time strategy games. And Nethack? Come on. The game predates Donkey Kong, FFS. You might as well tout the umpteen billion 'Tetris' clones and flash games.

      Don't get me wrong. Linux is a great OS for getting real work done and even for day-to-day PC use, but gaming? No way.

      I'm with you on the abusive DRM. I loved Torchlight and salivated over the idea of a new Deus Ex game, but I don't and won't install Steam, so I couldn't buy them. But expecting games to be free and open source, you might as well quit gaming altogether, since you're letting idealism set the bar higher than reality will ever reasonably reach.

    • I used to purchase games that had native Linux ports, even though they weren't open source/free. I am still able to play Unreal Tournament 2004 (64 bit even, by using the 64 bit binary provided by one of the patches, and compiling and dropping some libraries in its System directory). Doom 3 (and friends) and Quake 4 to this day still work out of the box for me (at whatever patch levels I'm at that added ALSA support etc. I mean)

      So I'd say I've done pretty well with those game titles. It's a shame that thing

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      While I agree with the no DRM bits, I'd pay for a good game that runs on Linux in a heart beat. I'd pay for a game built specifically to run on Linux using GPL libraries. I have three simple rules for a Linux game I would buy. 1) No DRM. 2) Doesn't suck. 3) Doesn't require wine. I have purchased a copy of everything Loki released as well as everything Id released that has been ported to run on Linux.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:01AM (#37312902)

    Well I suppose if you ignore:

    1) Low resolution/detail. Onlive isn't streaming you a 25mbps 1080p AVCHD signal. They stream a low bitrate 720p signal. What this means is that not only are you dealing with a lower resolution but fine detail gets lost. That's how video compression works: Algorithms are used to simplify things which results in the loss of detail. The more you compress, the more you lose. So you aren't getting the full experience of a "high end system" like they want to pretend. You get something that is mid-low end at best.

    2) Large amounts of interface lag. Since all the rendering is done remotely, there is lag on everything, even mouse cursor movements. The amount of lag is cumulative, so not only the lag from your monitor and mouse as you always get, but network as well. Even if you live real near a datacenter, it is going to be non-trivial and any further and it could be rather major. You can learn to adjust, to an extent, but it is amazing how much nicer a no-lag interface feels. If you have a monitor with, say, 30ms of lag, you won't notice it, it is below human perception. But add that to a 60ms network and encoding lag and you will notice.

    3) It is 100% network dependent. Your Internet goes out? No games. Have a bandwidth cap? This uses heavily towards that. Someone else downloading something? You can get stuttering and dropouts. You take any problem you've ever had with streaming video and then add to the fact that there is no buffer and that's what you've got.

    Now of course this is on top of the fact that you don't get to have the games. They are all "sold" on the service meaning if Onlive ever goes under, you are SOL. It isn't even something like with a DRM or download solution where you could crack it, or they could let you download before they go down for good, Onlive goes down, you are done.

    Also it isn't as though you are "running" the games on Linux. You are just streaming the video to Linux. They are running on the Onlive servers.

    Really, if you wish to play games a much better idea is to just get yourself a console, or mid-low end graphics card. Pick up a $80-100 graphics card and you'll get quality as good or better than what Onlive pulls, with none of the problems.

    It is a service that really doesn't make any sense. Maybe back in the day when you had to have high end hardware to play games but these days not only are consoles a major option, but you don't need much computer to play games. You take a reasonable desktop computer, like a Core 2 and 2+GB of RAM, and toss in a reasonable video card and you can play what you want.

    Much better idea than using Onlive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jewelie (752077)

      Lust for reference, you have actually tried it haven't you?

      My experience was different. I gave a few demo games a go on a wee lil netbook. Worked a treat. I was very impressed with the graphics quality and lack of lag.

      I was ready to slag it off, but it actually worked well. If I could afford it, I'd happily subscribe - cheaper than maintaining a big gaming PC.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Are there any bullet hell shmups or vs fighters on onlive? If not, why not?

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        Your gaming rigs must be really expensive. $15 per month + $60/game builds up really fast IMHO. A game machine doesn't have to cost $2k.

    • by 0ld_d0g (923931)

      While the problems you mention exist at present, they are minor problems that can be fairly easily solved in the future. OnLive might be trying to make a proof of concept type thing to get some investment money.

      w.r.t resolution .. - You are limiting yourself to standard movie/video compression. There is no reason that they can't develop special compression techniques to preserve details specific to games that get trampled by traditional compression (esp. Text). A simple technique would be to combine multipl

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        they are minor problems that can be fairly easily solved in the future.

        I like the optimism, but this kind of problem is not something minor that is fairly easily solved. Solving the types of problems mentioned above is award winning genius type stuff.

        The basic problem is transmitting more information faster down a restricted pipe. People have been working on these issues for 20 years. Maybe when we one day all have FTTH internet connections we'll have solved this from a technological point of view, but the issues are very bloody complex in software. If you want to squeeze out

    • by tepples (727027)

      Really, if you wish to play games a much better idea is to just get yourself a console

      And not be able to run indie games on the same box. Or are people already expected to own one box just for indie games and another box just for major-label games?

      or mid-low end graphics card.

      Provided your primary PC is a desktop PC.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        And not be able to run indie games on the same box

        Maybe you haven't been keeping up with the news, but there are TONS of indie games available on consoles now. Xbox Live even has its own indie section [wikipedia.org], where you can find thousands of indie and user-developed titles.

        • by tepples (727027)
          Context: merits of buying a non-gaming PC and a game console vs. buying a non-gaming PC and OnLive service vs. buying a gaming PC, and to what extent the availability of indie games is a deciding factor.

          Xbox Live even has its own indie section

          For one thing, PLAYSTATION 3 and Wii do not. Wii still has the same old "secure office" and "industry experience" requirements that it has always had (source: warioworld). I'd look up the PS3 policy, but Sony's developer relations web site has been down for four months.

          For another, all Xbox Live Indie Game

  • So basically this is the future of gaming. You own nothing, you just rent and there is absolutely no reason to put any work into porting games or at least making them compatible with WINE so long as Onlive or its successors technically work. There is no single player because Onlive is essentially a form of always on DRM. Their servers go down, no gaming for you. At least with WINE there is the possibility of eventually playing a game offline with or without some outside server being involved.

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      I have mixed feelings myself.

      On the plus. Most of these games I just play once and am done with it. Linux compatibility would be amazing; if you OnLive client works, every game in OnLive works. The negatives are like you said, always on DRM, extra monthly fee, etc.

      I can see this being beneficial to linux gamers but personally OnLive is too far from me and I prefer to play my games natively.

    • by snookums (48954)

      It's probably the future for a few types of games, and will be popular with a segment of the market, but I'd say at the extreme low and high end it won't be popular.

      Hand-held, mobile gaming isn't going to have the bandwidth, nor the always-online capability (I want to play Angry Birds on the subway).

      At the other end, so long as home hardware (console and PC) can render better content faster than the network can stream good-quality video there will be a market for high-def gaming.

      Then there's the extremely l

  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:32AM (#37313050) Journal

    Everytime you see something marketed as 'Cloud' based or 'Cloud' anything just mentally remove the word cloud from the product and add "For Suckers (TM)". You'll save yourself a lot of fuss, hassle and confusion.

    • I regularly use "cloud stuff" like Google Docs and the Aviary [aviary.com] apps, as well as Dropbox. That means I can access and edit my documents everywhere I can find a barely decent computer with internet connection. As well as download them everytime I need.

      So, no. Using the "cloud" has saved me a lot of hassle.

  • by Kunedog (1033226) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @02:25AM (#37313224)

    . . . imagine if the Ubisoft always-on DRM were an inherent, unremoveable aspect of the game system rather than just something tacked on to a few individual games after the fact, such that Ubisoft couldn't even begrudgingly neuter it in a patch. Well, Onlive is even worse than that would be.

    The game doesn't even run remotely. All you get is streaming video/audio and all the lag you'd expect (including controller lag), which is a recipe for disaster in North America.

    Let's say you're lucky enough to have a 30mb/s connection. Why would you want to use it to transfer your game's video instead of, uh, a DVI cable, which is capable of 4 Gb/s? The people who developed DVI apparently understood that that 1920 x 1200 pixels w/ 24 bits/pixels @ 60Hz results in bandwidth well over 3 Gb/s. The people who developed Onlive seem very, very confused (at best).

    Some people consider IPS monitors unsuitable for games requiring fast reflexes (i.e. FPSes) due to their double-digit response times. Internet latency is often worse and certainly more unpredictable than LCD monitor response time, and with Onlive it applies to audio and keyboard/controller/etc input too.

    Those of us who know anything about bandwidth and compression and (especially) latency can see the enormous technical obstacles facing a service like this, and Onlive has never done anything to explain how they intend to solve them. Instead, they've done everything they can to lock out independent reviewers with NDAs and closed demonstrations. A friend of mine described it as the gaming equivalent of the perpetual motion scam, and IMO that's spot on (except that Onlive would still have the draconian DRM issues even if it worked perfectly)..

    BTW, you pay a monthly fee for the service and then you STILL have to "buy" the games (which of course become useless if your subscription lapses, giving them another leash to choke you with). I'm not kidding.

    Onlive appears designed from the ground up to benefit the game publishers and fuck the customers, exactly what you'd expect from any DRM system.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *

      a 30mb/s connection. Why would you want to use it to transfer your game's video instead of, uh, a DVI cable

      Or better yet, instead of downloading a torrent of the game in question...

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      Sheeple are having fun! I don't understand how this is possible! Don't they understand that I have objections to their enjoyment? This angers me!

      EFA.

    • by westlake (615356)

      The game doesn't even run remotely. All you get is streaming video/audio and all the lag you'd expect (including controller lag), which is a recipe for disaster in North America.

      But all you need is the client app and a wireless game controller for your Internet enabled HDTV, Blu-Ray player or set top box. Upfront cost $50 to $100.

      The significance of lag depends on the game and your style of play. Not everyone has the reflexes for an intense first person shooter. There are other genres which are no less engaging, just paced a little differently.

      The rental and subscrption model has been a success for Netflix. There is no good reason to believe it won't be a success for OnLive.

  • A lot of the comments on here are pointing out that OnLive is a subscription service. This is not the only pricing plan they have available. Looking at their documentation on "Getting Games in the OnLive Game Service" [onlive.com] you will notice their are multiple avenues to purchase a game.

    The subscription service they offer is for a collection of ~80 titles. For most newer titles you purchase a pass to play the game. This allows access to the game for a timed interval (think multiple days like renting) or unlimited p

    • by ledow (319597)

      And the "full pass" costs exactly the same as buying the game on Steam / in the store and owning it forever, on as many computers as you like, and being able to play it offline, etc.

      That's not really a "good" thing. Even at the same price, the service is substandard - you don't get the full effect of the game (latency, moving image compression, etc.) and end up paying more for your broadband because of it (in most countries that have bandwidth limits, etc.). A PC is a one-off cost, and you have to have SO

  • It's outrageous that they refused to listen to my detailed objections about the insurmountable barriers to provide such a so-called "service", and surmounted them. How dare they have satisfied customers whose only response to my withering criticism is "LULZ can't talk, having 2 much fun."

    I do not understand this! This angers me! Cease your operations immediately, OnLive, or I shall be forced to produce yet more charts and diagrams that provide incontrovertible evidence that those sheeple who believe th

  • Well along with gaming on a netbook there's finally some other use for onlive. Pity that Linux users would have to put up with low end settings for games, but at least there are some decent titles now available to them.
  • is not that much different from powering on an XBox or Playstation. When I play a game, I'm not also surfing the web or doing word processing, I'm concentrating on killing zombies. If I had an XBox or Playstation, I'd be sitting in front of my TV not my computer, so I'd be in the same boat as when I boot into Windows to play games.

    Sure, it'd be nice to have Deus Ex on Linux, but you know what? My game console runs Windows 7, and I have no problem with that.

  • I can already VNC to a game console from my Linux boxen. I don't have to pay a monthly fee. I own the game console. I own the game. I can play on line or off. I don't even need to run the VNC client in wine. That being said, I don't know why I would play a game over VNC but there you go.

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