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GOG.com To Add Linux Support 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-linux-on-the-gamebox dept.
jones_supa writes "More great news for Linux gamers: following the footsteps of Steam, GOG.com is preparing delivery of Linux games. They expect to start doing so this autumn. The officially supported distributions will be Ubuntu and Mint. Right now, they are performing testing on various configurations, training up their teams on Linux-speak, and generally preparing for the rollout of at least 100 titles — DRM-free, as usual. This will update some of the catalog's existing games with a Linux port and bring new ones to the collection. Further information on specific games is yet not known, but GOG invites fans and customers to their community wishlist for discussion."
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GOG.com To Add Linux Support

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  • by HighOrbit (631451) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:05PM (#46519915)
    The linked announcement was a bit vague on details. Not very hard technologically for them if its only the old dos games which they already distribute with dosbox to run properly even on windows. It would be interesting to see what they can do with the DX based stuff.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:12PM (#46519971)

      The old DOS games is for starters. The DX stuff is simply using the Linux port of games that are coming out now for many games. Except instead of relying on the developer to test their Linux builds somehow, they test on Ubuntu and Mint to make sure it at least works there (heaven forbid some game developers merely recompile and ship, or use some oddball Linux config and "works for me!").

      It's really an extension of what they did for OS X - DOSbox games are inherently supported, other games are on a case-by-case basis on whether or not a port exists.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:57PM (#46520261)

      Not very hard technologically for them if its only the old dos games which they already distribute with dosbox to run properly even on windows.

      This closes an even sillier gap to be honest; because GoG has for quite some time expanded beyond old games to embrace indie games, and it was a bit of a goof to not support linux versions of games that were already natively available on Linux.

      I ended up, for example, choosing to buy FTL via the HumbleStore (back before there even was a humble store, and there were just those wierd 'secret' links you could use.) because although GoG has FTL, they only had the Mac and PC; and I wanted to buy something that gave me access to all 3 platforms.

      So while it will be great to see what progress GoG can make on on the old DOS (and old windows catalogs) its just great news that we'll be able to get the native linux release of any indies we buy there now. This is a real boost to their indie catalog, much of which is already linux native, and all they have to do is add the downloads.

    • The linked announcement was a bit vague on details. Not very hard technologically for them if its only the old dos games which they already distribute with dosbox to run properly even on windows. It would be interesting to see what they can do with the DX based stuff.

      They sadly haven't done any of the old DX stuff on Mac with WINE, so I wouldn't hold out hope that you will see Linux releases of that.

      Not that I wouldn't like that to change. Deus Ex can't be that hard to package inside of WINE.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by gmhowell (26755)

        They sadly haven't done any of the old DX stuff on Mac with WINE, so I wouldn't hold out hope that you will see Linux releases of that.

        Not that I wouldn't like that to change. Deus Ex can't be that hard to package inside of WINE.

        Damnit, not again [simhqmotorsports.com].

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Many of their games already run on MacOS. They're basically either dosbox or Wine, preconfigured and ready to go without any deciphering of manuals or experimenting with config files. The Wine ones feel nicer overall.

  • This is great news. Gog installers are very easy to use. I've been wanting this for some time.
  • Sounds good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:30PM (#46520081)

    About time too. All their games catalog which runs on DOSBox and ScummVM should be easy enough to port. Other games have portable engines too like GemRB.

    GOG is a vendor that sells DRM free games so more power to them.

  • This should rope in literally a handful of crotchety old nerds. I almost decided not to buy stuff from GOG because they didn't already package for Linux, and I imagined that it would sometimes be a pain in the ass to make the games work even though it should be easy because I've written dosbox configs before, etc. And lo, I was right. The dosbox configs for example have no consistency in the style department, so you actually have to understand them in order to write the new one. That's just a waste of space in my brain that I could be using for something useful, like Firefly trivia. So I wound up only buying the games I really felt I needed, or games which were a buck, because I would then run them in a XP VM. So huzzah, GOG. I am likely to spend more money with you in the future.

    • by hduff (570443)

      The dosbox configs for example have no consistency in the style department, so you actually have to understand them in order to write the new one.

      Rather than just complain, you could contrinute better DOSBOX configs back to the GOG community and encourage GOG to write to a higher standard by example.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Rather than just complain, you could contrinute better DOSBOX configs back to the GOG community and encourage GOG to write to a higher standard by example.

        Well, like I said, I wrote one or two crappy ones and then gave up wasting my time on it when 100% of the games I tried would run fine in vmware. Well, as fine as they did anywhere else. I finally dusted off an XP box and a lot of games were crashy there too.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          PEBKAC. DosBox is easy to configure [dosbox.com] on all platforms.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            PEBKAC. DosBox is easy to configure on all platforms.

            You say that, but a lot of video output options don't work properly with a lot of games, and which are appropriate for which isn't immediately apparent. I could dick around with it, but the whole point is just to play a game and the "make shit work so I can do shit" game isn't as fun to me as it used to be. If that's your idea of a good time, by all means go forth and write some dosbox configs and give them away, posterity will thank you. Wait, I mean, forget you.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              I haven't come across a single DOS game that hasn't just worked with default settings. So yeah, the problem is probably you.

          • Ah, I see you use the US QWERTY keyboard layout. Good for you. However, that doesn't make your statement true for anyone else with a different key layout... No, dosbox uses scancodes instead of the virtual keycodes of the OS, and it really is a pain in the ass to configure a new key layout for it, even though it is possible, and it even has a keypress display feature.

  • YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!

    That's all

  • Not everybody uses Ubuntu or Mint.

    It's a shame they decided to support a specific "distro" instead of just generic Linux. How hard can that be?

    What's wrong with specifying minimum version numbers for libraries, using /usr/local/games and providing standards-compliant *.desktop files? How difficult is that?
    Or better yet, ship the required libraries with the binaries (providing the source code via ftp) and using a wrapper script to load the correct libraries and run the game for a "works-every-time" experienc

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If it runs on ubuntu, it won't be a problem to run it on any other distro. And if you don't know how, maybe you should use ubuntu.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Damn, already spent some mod points here...
      Anyway, it's not a shame that they support a specific distro, as there is no such thing as a "generic linux". Different libc versions, different set of patch for the same version of some libraries, different config locations, different way to handle very simple stuff... Although there is some "standardization", mainly for the visible stuff (standard way to add menu in every desktop environment...).
      And officially supporting one distribution doesn't mean it won't
    • Re:It's A Shame (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruisin ... nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:31PM (#46520535) Homepage Journal

      'How hard can that be?"

      Really, really hard. Linux is a mess of mutually incompatible pieces with mutually incompatible dependencies. There have been attempts to create a "common base" that can be used, but very few people seem to use it. Pretty much the only truly safe way I've found to distribute Linux binaries (as opposed to source code, for which there's autoconf and friends) is to statically link all your dependencies and build for as many architectures as you feel like supporting (x86 obviously - probably i586 at best, though and maybe i386 - and likely x64; maybe ARM but probably not). This produces huge binaries with a lot of redundant code compiled in, but it means it works regardless of which libc you use, what version of openssl (or gnutls) you have, and so on.

      Distro-specific builds let you use package files which pull in the requisite dependencies. They have smaller install footprints and smaller downloads, and you don't have to push a whole new version every time a dependent package fixes a security bug; you can expect the user's package manager to handle that. You can also massively reduce support costs by assuming that users have a common base of software installed (a full set of standard utilities instead of busybox, a version of python that can execute a given script, etc.)

      However, distro-specific builds have their own costs. If you say you support distros X and Y, you have to test on all the common configurations of those distros. The more you add, the more the costs go up. There are over a thousand tracked distros on distrowatch. You have to draw the line somewhere. Ubuntu and Mint are close enough that it's really easy to handle both of them, but it's awkward for those who don't use Debian-derived distros.

      For what it's worth, some game companies do take the "support generic Linux" approach. Heroes of Newerth, for example (a DotA clone that predates, and is in some ways better than, DotA 2) has a Linux client that often works... but sometimes it doesn't (I've had real issues with some older Fedora machines), and troubleshooting why can be a real pain.

      • Re:It's A Shame (Score:4, Informative)

        by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:00PM (#46521341) Homepage Journal

        Funny. It would seem IBM has no problem with their DB/2 UDB releases, which run on every version of Linux I've thrown them at over the past 5-6 years. Sure you have to install some optional modules on some platforms, but how much more complex do you get than a database server?

        Shame on the other database vendors for not being able to do the same. Currently DB/2 UDB 10.2 is the only commercial database I was able to install on Debian. Clearly it can be done, but the other vendors seem to take the "RHEL or the highway" lazy approach to "Linux" support.

        • by Yosho (135835)

          how much more complex do you get than a database server?

          How about an application that not only does client/server network processing, but also does realtime hardware-accelerated 3D rendering, multi-channel 3D sound processing, and processes user input from a wide variety of completely different devices. Oh, and it's probably got an internal database that it uses to track its state so that it can serialize and deserialize it to a file at any time. And don't forget that the video, audio, network, and input all have to appear to be synchronized to the user.

          But th

        • by Lotana (842533)

          It would seem IBM has no problem with their DB/2 UDB releases, which run on every version of Linux I've thrown them at over the past 5-6 years.

          True, but that is IBM you are talking about.

          It is a MASSIVE corporation that charges arms-legs-and-all-other-body-parts for their services. They got the resources to spare in order to test and support their products on all the hundreds of Linux distributions.

          Contrast it to GoG.com that is a speck in comparison.

          • A bunch of IBM products are HELL to install. I never installed DB2 myself, but I have used it and boy I would rather use pretty much any other database server.

        • Funny. It would seem IBM has no problem with their DB/2 UDB releases, which run on every version of Linux I've thrown them at over the past 5-6 years. Sure you have to install some optional modules on some platforms, but how much more complex do you get than a database server?

          Actually server apps are easy. Well, of course they can be very complex, but they don't necessarily need that many fancy interfaces like games do. What do you need for a server... a TCP/IP stack, a network card driver, a disk driver, a simple terminal for administration ... other than that, it is just running lots of standard CPU code.

          This is also why Linux works so well on servers, but has still some rough edges on the desktop.

        • If you are lucky they support SUSE, if you are unlucky they support only Red Hat version X.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This produces huge binaries with a lot of redundant code compiled in, but it means it works regardless of which libc you use

        You didn't statically link glibc did you? It's LGPL which requires that the end-user be able to swap out the glibc you used with any other version they'd like to use. I suppose it's possible to do in some way, maybe by distributing object code which can then be linked against the user's custom glibc, but the requirement is ridiculous enough that, for a project that a friend and I are working on, we tell the Linux users to just run the Windows version in Wine even though the Windows version is just a port

        • by cbhacking (979169)

          Well no, you don't statically link glibc (unless you're willing to open-source your own code, which most are not). There are other libc options, some of which can be incorporated into proprietary code on Linux. Some are less mature than glibc, but then, there are many people who disagree with some of the implementation decisions in glibc and prefer to use a different library anyhow.

        • I'm sorry, but, you are a fool. You do realize that you can include a lib folder as part of your application and include in that folder whatever versions of whatever libraries you want (yes, including libc) and simply load it via: env LD_LIBRARY_PATH=./lib/libc.so ... myexectuable. You can even wrap this up in a nice script. No static linking required. Your whole rant just shows you to be more interested in trolling than actually having any real expertise.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I suspect they'll be very portable to other distributions anyway. They just won't be as simple to get running with just a click or two.

  • Steam Machine? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:08PM (#46520353) Homepage

    I wonder how hard it will be to play these games on a Steam Machine. The quantity of Linux games available will make a big difference in the success or failure of that project.

    • Re:Steam Machine? (Score:5, Informative)

      by guises (2423402) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @11:06PM (#46521861)
      I don't see that it would be an issue, I'm sure that's a big part of why they picked Ubuntu - SteamOS is Ubuntu based.
  • PlayOnLinux (Score:5, Informative)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:15PM (#46520421) Homepage Journal

    PlayOnLinux can already access your GOG account and install many Windows games automatically and run them using WINE.

    Here's a good tip for older games that use DOS4GW.EXE: download the GPL'ed binary from http://dos32a.narechk.net/inde... [narechk.net] and re-name it DOS4GW.EXE, then substutite it for the original. You'll find a noticable improvement in game performance, even using WINE o DOSBOX.

    If your game uses CWSDPMI.EXE , download the latest version of it from http://web.archive.org/web/201... [archive.org]

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Sadly, PlayOnLinux never works for me. I feed it a supported title, and then it doesn't run. Or POL errors before it even installs. Tried a half-dozen supposedly supported games so far. Has it gotten usable lately?

  • I have purchased a significant number of games from GOG already, and play pretty well all of them on my Linux laptop in WINE.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Partially because it's now supported as in they'll give you help if something goes awry and will test the releases before claiming they work on Linux.

      The bigger deal though is that it gives more visibility to Linux users. Buying a Windows version of a game and running it on Linux does very, very little for Linux,but buying and running a Linux version is something that developers notice. Even more so if people refuse to buy the Windows version and opt for the Linux version instead.

  • Thank you so much GoG!!!

    No DRM, clean installers, good responsive forums, reasonably priced. And now Linux support incoming. Virtually unheard of in today's game publishing/distributing business.

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