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Games Entertainment

Loki Games Closing? 727

nicku writes: "According to this email to retailers that was leaked, LokiGames is closing on January 31. I'm sad to see them go, I own 3 of their excellent ports..."
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Loki Games Closing?

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  • by L-Wave ( 515413 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:00AM (#2892340)
    I go to the local video game store (yes, a franchise) and what do i see? I can get any linux game for 10 bucks or under. If you consider the Windows version costs roughly 30 bucks or more, this is a huge loss to companies. Loki did some really great ports, but i think linux still has yet to prove itself as a gaming platform.
  • New icon? (Score:4, Informative)

    by DragonPup ( 302885 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:01AM (#2892351)
    No more N64 controller...anyways, ya, sucks that Loki isn't doing well, but honestly, the Linux game market isn't nearly as profittable as the Windows one. Maybe it's because a lot of Linux users have a Win partition and rather than wait for 'Awesome Game X' to get ported, they buy the Win version...

    -Henry
    • I just bought Alpha Centauri. I have the Windows version (a gift), but hate having to boot back into Windows.

      Now I've got RTCW and Alpha Centauri on Linux. If I just had Age of Empires 2 and Half-Life... I'd be set.
    • Maybe it's because a lot of Linux users have a Win partition and rather than wait for 'Awesome Game X' to get ported, they buy the Win version...

      Or they wait until the Linux version comes out, then they realize that they can buy the Windows version for about half the price (and in some cases, they can download a Linux binary!)

      There are many reasons why the Linux game market is failing. They fact that it's an afterthought to most people is one of them.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      that is an atari 2600 controller. NOT a n64 controller. Please get your retro gaming icon name right. I played the Atari 2600, I loved those oblong big ass pixels...
  • humm, this blows (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MaxQuordlepleen ( 236397 ) <el_duggio@hotmail.com> on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:03AM (#2892364) Homepage

    I'm sure it will be said a dozen times again in this thread, but I'm bummed.

    I've got five Loki products cramming my hard drive, and even though their products were sometimes indifferently supported and somewhat uneven in quality, I'm really sorry to seem them go as I'll have no reliable source for new products.

    I'd imagine the contracts to support UT and QIII were pretty huge for them, it was a bad sign when they went away...

    • by garcia ( 6573 )
      Sorry but the games that they ported were already out for a long ass time, didn't really catch my eye, and I really didn't see a need for them.

      As far as the comment in another post about how people wanted the Linux binaries for free: I don't think that users should have demanded it but I also don't believe that they were entirely wrong for asking. I don't want to pay $whatever for an old game and I certainly don't want to pay twice for a game I already own.

      I am VERY sad to see a company that worked so hard at doing something that was ignored by the community but I don't see how they could have thought that they would turn a profit anyway.

      Linux users are so used to receiving games for free (and other apps) I guess they just believe that all apps should be free (this is IMHO as I pretty much refuse to pay for any software).

      Sorry Loki, you had a great idea, it was just too slow and too early.
      • by dougmc ( 70836 )
        Sorry but the games that they ported were already out for a long ass time, didn't really catch my eye, and I really didn't see a need for them.
        And that's why Loki failed. They ported old games.

        By the time a Linux port is available, the Windows version has gone up and down the charts. The people who really wanted that game already bought it, finished it, and have moved on to the next game.

        Now, if Loki could get Linux ports out the same day as the Windows version was released, things would be different ...

        Linux users are so used to receiving games for free (and other apps) I guess they just believe that all apps should be free (this is IMHO as I pretty much refuse to pay for any software).
        That might be a small part, but it's a very small part. You can find lots of good free Windows software too if you just look.

        Here's the real clincher -- as a Linux user, why would I pay $50 for a Linux version of Quake 3 when 1) the Windows version of Quake 3 is in the bargain bin for $10, and 2) I bought Quake many months ago (for Windows) when it first came out. And I only paid $30 for that!

  • ... with running a dual-boot system? I understand the desire to get Linux on every desktop that some people have, but it seems to me that Linux ahs strengths and weaknesses. Frivolous wasting of time, such as videogaming (ignoring /., of course) is not it's strong suit. Windows is great if you want waste your time. Why not let Linux do what it does best, be productive, and get better at those things, and let Windows be the big time waster? Is it really so difficult for a person who really wants to play games to get a copy of Windows and slap it on their machine for playing games? Let Linux do what it does best and don't waste money on projects that in the end may not help the system continue to build its reputation.
  • Hopefully (Score:2, Interesting)

    by T3kno ( 51315 )
    They'll open source everything that they can. That would at least be a silver lining.
    • Re:Hopefully (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Krach42 ( 227798 )
      They already have released everything open-source that they could. The companies that they did the ports for required that the source remain closed.
  • I paid! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Krach42 ( 227798 )
    Damn, I bought a second copy of Descent3 because I wanted the Linux version! I still want my Deus Ex!!! NO!!!! I owned all the games I was willing to buy, and _REGISTERED_ each one! I don't want to see them go!
    • Re:I paid! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Cainam ( 10838 )
      Yeah...I was going to buy SC3K Unlimited and maybe Civ... :(
      However, this isn't the end of the linux gaming world. When Linux has more desktop market share among the masses (note when, not if), someone else will come along and be the next Loki. Maybe even some of the same folks! Wouldn't that be cool?
      Don't despair.
  • Listen I own two of their games.

    Alpha Centauri (the full pack with the regular game and Alien Crossfire)
    and
    Myth II

    I was hoping to get Heavy Gear II or Rune next.

    Damn this bites so hard because of not only the great games but the progress in terms of ideas for developing games while living with an open-source community without pissing them off.

    I was actually hoping the company would cut staff and such and go the mail-order/web sales route.

    Some Mac Game porting companies lived that for awhile. This makes me so fucking sad.

    ________________________________________________ _
  • I own quite a few Loki titles myself. This sucks. At least the open source SDL will live on in someway, so all their effort will not be totally wasted.

    At the same time, I wish they would have diversified some of the titles that they offered. One can only play so many Quake knockoffs ....
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:14AM (#2892431) Homepage Journal

    Root^H^H^Hed Hat should buy Loki's assets and licenses. They have a somewhat successful business already, a gaming division for "their" OS would be a nice feather in their cap (cap.. heh, no pun intended)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      red hat is moving towards the server side.
      if any linux company were to buy loki, it would be Mandrake. they have a gamers edition, which includes the SIMs, and fresh cash from their recent IPO
  • by Bigger R ( 131370 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:14AM (#2892436) Homepage
    The point of games is entertainment. We've all got limited leisure time. You have to WORK to get a linux box tuned for games. Even then the return on your investment has a smaller pay-off than the windows-environment hassles, because there are fewer choices.

    I have a couple of boxen, both W2K and *nix. I really wanted to make it happen, but I just found that I enjoyed playing more than configuring.

    I'm just sorry the chickens and eggs did get sorted out(if the "leak" is indeed real).
    • Remember the DOS days when you had to hack up your autoexec.bat file to get enough free memory to run cool games, configure your sound card, and otherwise hack at your box to make stuff work? Yeah, playing can be more fun than configuring but if I didn't want to configure, I'd buy a console instead of a PC.
    • Oh, it was just so much work for me. First I had to download the nVidia drivers (gasp!) and (because I chose the SRPMS) rebuild and install them - that was 4 commands! 4 commands I'll never get back! After that, I downloaded the wolfenstein demo, and when I ran the installer I had to choose a directory to install to (~/wolftest2) AND a binary directory (~/bin)! And, to top it all off, the game doesn't automatically start when I want to play! (I know wolf isn't a Loki game, but it's the same installer)
  • Does anyone actually put out press releases any more, or does every company just leak an internal email when they have news?
  • by An Ominous Cow Erred ( 28892 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:15AM (#2892444)
    At Hyperion, an alternative platform game software porting company I work for, we've produced titles for Linux as well as MacOS and AmigaOS. The Linux versions simply bombed, with the Amiga versions outselling them by a good margin. The *AMIGA* versions! The Amiga market, by a good estimate, is around 100 times smaller than the Linux community.

    What we got from Linux users were not sales, but tons of email demanding that we put up the binary executeables on an ftp site for free so they could download them and use them with their Windows version of the game. For some reason they just couldn't grasp that it cost us money to both license and port the software, and that we didn't see a red cent for the Windows version they bought. It didn't matter, all they wanted was free beer.

    As a Linux enthusiast myself (active in my LUG, promoting Linux wherever I can) it really saddens me that so many users will clamor for Linux games but won't actually pony up the money when they become available. It's very, very depressing.

    ::goes to cry in his non-free beer::

    James Sellman -- Hyperion Entertainment -- http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/

    • Every Amiga comes with minimal standard gaming hardware (video chips/sound/etc). MANY "Linux" boxes are just boxes - servers, etc. - without video or sound (or at least video/sound usable for a game). True, there is a great number of Linux machines out there - I'd hazard a guess to say most aren't configured for gaming, and configuring it isn't a piece of cake...
    • SiN didn't play any better on my machine than it did under Windows so I didn't buy it. Shogo, on the other hand, was pretty good- I bought that.
    • When someone asks me why there are no linux games (my little brother does), I can refer to this. I hear a lot of people complain that software costs too much or that they didnt get this thing or that thing for free. I sometimes wonder if these people can balance their checkbooks.
    • At Hyperion, an alternative platform game software porting company I work for, we've produced titles for Linux ... For some reason they just couldn't grasp that it cost us money to both license and port the software, and that we didn't see a red cent for the Windows version they bought.

      I'm having trouble grasping the concept myself. You might try explaining it a little better. Do those compaines pay you to port those games, or do they just give you the source and then give you a chunck of the revenue when you are done? You're not doing for fun are you?

      I'm also having trouble imagining the demanding weenies you describe. The Baton Rouge LUG is small, but most of the people there were NOT like this. Me and the people I know don't do Linux for games. I do it for scientific computing, and I'm just resigned to the idea that I can't make a sound card work. My wife's Red Hat machine has bunches of games that I've never bothered to play, at least one of my Debian machines has Quake that I never play. Having not bothered with all of that, I'm not going to bother to harrass your sales clerks. I don't know anyone else who would either. Perhapse the folks at X-Box have strange ways of ammusing themselves.

      All that being said, I've got plenty of money that I have not spent on M$ crap that could be spent on games, especially some of the more interesting social interaction games you mention in another post.

      The problem you have is threefold. Teaching me how to build a machine that works. Telling me about your game. Finding the time for me to follow your instructions, get your game and actually play it. Oh wait, most of those problems are mine. Oh well.

      Games and PC's multimedia that don't really work right are the smallest social cost of the M$ monopoly.

      • by An Ominous Cow Erred ( 28892 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @01:04AM (#2892700)
        It actually works totally the other way around. *WE* pay a software company for the right to port the game. We have to pay a big chunk of money up front. These companies do not see fit to make Linux versions of games, so we have to give them money to convince them to do it. While we have also done some contract work (where we were paid to write code) this isn't really how it works for games for any OS besides Windows. Somebody has to pay the original publisher for the rights.

        Regarding the number of people who play games under Linux... Well, there certainly has been a clamor for them. While it's true that most installations of Linux are running as servers, there are also many desktop installations. Certainly a larger number than any other alternative OS except perhaps MacOS. We get quite a few requests for ports, and in general there seems to be quite a clamor for Linux games (if you read any website frequented by the Linux community). Loki, as the predominant Linux gaming company, received heaps of praise.

        As far as social simulation and other interesting not-common-on-American-PCs genres go... Well, I sure wish we'd release some of those. Unfortunately it is still a niche market, and given that we already cater to a niche market it would be a niche within a niche. :-(

        I hope with growing acceptance of Linux there might be a revival of Linux gaming at some point.... But for the time being the attitude seems to be Everything-On-Linux-Must-Be-Free-Beer. People who are willing to buy Windows games are unwilling to buy the Linux version (even though they claim that they want it). Instead they expect it to be supplied for free. I really hope this changes in the future. :-(

        James Sellman - Hyperion Entertainment - http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/

        • I think the major problem with this (or at least loki's) business model is the fact they ported games after the windows games were already out. You need to cordinate and release at the same time.

          People aren't going to sit around and wait 6-12 month for a port when they can just reboot into windows a play the already released game. How can you possibly expect people to buy a second copy 6-12months later just to play it under linux?

        • As far as social simulation and other interesting not-common-on-American-PCs genres go...

          I think this was a major reason for Loki failing - they concentrated on the American market where Linux is scarce on the desktop.

          I've made a small statistic on the basis of newsgroups. It shows that in the average American, non-technical newsgroup there, about 0 to 5% are posting with Linux, in the average German, non-technical newsgroup, about 5 to 25% post using Linux.

          Even with less than 1/3rd of the population there are almost certainly more Linux-desktops in Germany alone than in the U.S.A.

      • Do those compaines pay you to port those games, or do they just give you the source and then give you a chunck of the revenue when you are done? You're not doing for fun are you?

        Two classic deals, not Linux specific, Mac/Console too:

        (1) When a developer/publisher has no interest in targeting a particular secondary platform themselves what often happens is that some other company pays to license the game for that platform.

        (2) When a developer/publisher has a mild interest in targeting a particular secondary platform themselves what often happens is that they hire some other company to do a port for them. Hiring usually involves a flat fee and/or royalties. If the game is expected to sell well the royalty component may be small or non-existent. If the project is riskier then the royalty component offered is often larger.

        In case (1) the porting company takes all the risk. Case (2) sounds safer but the profits in that flat fee disappear pretty quickly if the project runs longer than expected. Royalties usually are seen only in dreams, not the real world.

      • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @02:38AM (#2893001) Homepage
        What we got from Linux users were not sales, but tons of email demanding that we put up the binary executeables on an ftp site for free so they could download them and use them with their Windows version of the game. For some reason they just couldn't grasp that it cost us money to both license and port the software, and that we didn't see a red cent for the Windows version they bought. It didn't matter, all they wanted was free beer.
        I'm also having trouble imagining the demanding weenies you describe. The Baton Rouge LUG is small, but most of the people there were NOT like this.

        Awww... hell. I'm at the cap, let's burn a little.

        I am really exhausted by people who just say "I don't (see|believe) it" when someone describes an issue they're having. Let me help my fellow Linvocates.

        • Saying "I know lots of people, and I've never seen them act as you describe" doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist, it (usually) means you don't have enough experience in the area to know what you're talking about.
        • Saying "I've done it lots of times and I never make that mistake" doesn't mean other people avoided the mistake too, it (usually) means you have no life and other people do.
        • Saying "Your real problem is blah" doesn't actually solve the issue for the person, it usually just makes them give up on getting the help they needed.

        Why do I bring this up now? Because Loki is closing and another Linux developer here is telling us what a real issue is -- our "collective image" to some software companies apparently boils down to greedy "w@r3z d00d." You can say the people you know don't act like that, but it doesn't change the fact that people you don't know apparently are acting like that. And until we, as a collective group, can agree to change that collective mindset, we're going to collectively find our butts on the curb while companies pass us by.

        Part of the reason why I'm "exhausted" by these kinds of responses is that everywhere I see it happen, things get fucked up. Mac apologists are notorious for telling people who point out problems with Apple to leave. "You don't like it? We don't need ya, get the hell out." The problem is that they do leave. And you end up with Quicken leaving the Apple market for a while. Anyone remember that? The workarounds sucked. We've got boatloads of Windows refugees out on Linux newsgroups saying "I didn't understand this" or "this part is too hard." It's a usability goldmine out on Usenet, but Linux users (and developers!) are basically just giving them the finger with comments like "I don't have that problem" or "well, you're just too stupid for this OS, I guess" or any other number of witty retorts that solve nothing. And as this happens, we see Linux lose momentum. Look, you want Linux to succeed, to be more than a source-code ghost-town 10 years from now? Then drag everyone along for the ride, and if they tell you they're uncomfortable, then make them more comfortable. Build momentum, acknowledge people's problems.

    • SiN didn't work... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wee ( 17189 )
      ...with NVidia cards. Well, at least not with my Geforce2. The game simply would not work for a great majority of linux gamers. Word of that got out (too late for me, but others must have heard about about the video issues). Combine that with the fact that it was something like 3 years old when the port was completed and you have a darn good reason why the game didn't sell. I don't think some abnormality endemic to Linux gamers was the cause.

      Even if you were simultaneously porting an upcoming Win32 title, you'd still face the "why can't I get a binary free?" issue. Loki had that in spades with Tribes2, but it sold pretty well. (Most people wanted to binary for servers anyway -- id ruined people on that count, IMO.)

      I wouldn't use SiN's sales figures as anything but an anecdotal tale.

      -B

      • by An Ominous Cow Erred ( 28892 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @01:22AM (#2892774)
        Yes, we're aware of the problem. Something changed in nVidia's drivers after we finalized the game that broke it. I personally led a beta testing group and SiN did indeed run just fine on the GeForce line of cards. After the problem occured we tried to figure out what was changed that was causing it to fail but because of nVidia's complete lack of interest in working with other developers we weren't able to easily identify it. We considered spending more time working on it but by that time the sales were so disappointing we put a freeze on all Linux projects (this freeze is not permanent hopefully but it's understandable why we have it.)

        Actually, a bunch of us at Hyperion really, REALLY hate nVidia. They are the prima donnas of the graphics card manufacturing community. We repeatedly asked them for information concerning the functioning of their cards and for the large part they refused our pleas. Their attitude is that everything has to be done internally and they refuse to cooperate with others. Companies like ATI and Matrox have been very cooperative with us, giving us the information we need to make sure our stuff works properly with their hardware. 3DFX, while they still existed, were also somewhat helpful in providing information (though not as good as ATI). There was a problem with the Voodoo GL drivers that actually caused the game to crash when we had glowing objects onscreen in Shogo, but fortunately due easy-to-access information we were able to include a workaround.

        I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to NOT use nVidia hardware until they open up a bit with the information so that people can actually SUPPORT their cards. There are many other great companies that make great cards you can buy from. My personal favorite is the ATI Radeon series but there are other worthy contenders as well.

        And yes, I know Loki games don't have problems with the new nVidia drivers. And no I don't know why. :-( Loki, to their credit, were more devoted to Linux and certainly did work harder to fix incompatibilities. If someone who's reading this knows what's causing the crash, please let us know. I wish we could afford the time to root out the problem but unfortunately we need to spend it on other projects so we don't wind up like Loki. :-(

        James Sellman - Hyperion Entertainment - http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/

        • by dieman ( 4814 )
          Once I talked to Nick Triantos in passing at LWCE 2000 he was *very* interested in knowing about bugs in the driver and/or in the opengl implementation. I really doubt that you were either talking to the right people or you were asking the wrong questions. Trying to force a company to 'opensource' a driver isn't going to get you any help.
        • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @03:12AM (#2893078) Homepage Journal
          The Linux community needs to stop pushing nVidia. I don't know why they do, but they do. You see the lists and boards choked with newbies trying to get their cards to work, yet the GeForce still seems to be the recommended card fo Linux. Huh?

          The "Linux guy" where I bought my Matrox G450 didn't want to sell it to me. He insisted I buy an nVidia instead because it was better supported under Linux. I had to walk away and get another salesperson who would sell me what I asked for. I've had Linux guys tell me I should take back my G450 because nVidia was better. I've seen posts on boards where some guy wants to know what the best card is and gets a dozen replies favoring nVidia.
    • by captaineo ( 87164 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @01:37AM (#2892824)
      Hi James,

      What we got from Linux users were not sales, but tons of email demanding that we put up the binary executeables on an ftp site for free so they could download them and use them with their Windows version of the game.

      Maybe this is a clue towards a better marketing angle for your services? Linux customers are in this strange situation where the majority of them also run (and buy games for) Windows. So naturally they see a Linux binary as an incremental "nice-to-have" add-on, whereas they won't look twice at a standalone full-price Linux product.

      Have you considered giving these people exactly what they ask (for a small fee of course)? I mean, don't produce or ship a full boxed product, just sell downloadable Linux binaries for say 20% the purchase price of the full game (and maybe charge a bit extra for optional tech support hand-holding). This way you get less revenue per sale, but you might make a lot more sales. Of course the economics of this business model might not work out; I just hope it's something you've considered.

      • by An Ominous Cow Erred ( 28892 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @02:38AM (#2893004)
        We actually considered this, unfortunately most major publishers specifically prohibit making their products downloadable -- even after credit card verification. It opens up a big can of worms like credit card fraud and the like so they generally prevent us from doing such things in the license agreement.

        In the future as we move more towards distribution of stuff over the 'net, perhaps these attitudes might change, but as it is this is simply not possible. The companies like having that physical box, that keeps the product "real" and makes it harder for numbers to be fudged about the number of copies produced, etc. I do understand this perspective and agree with it somewhat, but the obvious advantages of digital distribution I think will in the end override these concerns. These same issues affect the movie and music industries as well, and they are only just now sticking their toes into the digital content distribution market (after thoroughly sueing a lot of people I might add. :-( ).

        We'll see what tomorrow brings.

        James Sellman - Hyperion Entertainment - http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/

    • by Some Dumbass... ( 192298 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @01:53AM (#2892865)
      What we got from Linux users were not sales, but tons of email demanding that we put up the binary executeables on an ftp site for free so they could download them and use them with their Windows version of the game.

      This goes back to the dual-booting problem. Linux and Windows both run on x86 hardware, while MacOS and AmigaOS do not (I assume most gamers are using x86 CPUs, not SPARCs :). Thus dual-booting to play games is an option for the Linux crowd only. Then there's Wine and (especially!) WineX, the latter being x86-Linux-only right now. My point being, most Linux users have the option to run Windows games somehow, awkward and unpleasant though it may be.

      Meanwhile, Linux gamers had to wait an awfully long time for most games to come out after the Windows version was released. When they did, they cost twice as much as the Windows game because the Linux game was "new". If they already bought the Windows (or Mac) version, tough, they get to pay again. Given all this, I'm not surprised that the Linux game market didn't work out. There were some pretty strange economic models involved. Linux gamers have options that users of other OSes don't have. Yet they were being asked to put up with long delays and higher prices just so that they could have The Linux Version of a game. Of course it didn't work. If Linux users had no options, maybe they'd put up with this stuff. But alas, we do, and thus we tend to demand our games more-or-less on time and more-or-less reasonably priced. If they're not, we buy the Windows version. (In general... I personally own 6 Loki games, plus UT bought from TuxGames).

      So now, let's look at those complaints from the perspective of someone who can dual-boot or use WineX. You got complaints from people who already had the Windows version. That is, they already paid for the game once. (I assume they could pirate the Linux version just as easily as the Windows one, so let's assume they have legit copies) There's a good chance they could get that game running on dual-booted Windows, or barring that, Wine/WineX. Isn't it obvious why they don't want to have to buy the game again? "Free beer"? Not from their point of view! They figure that they paid once already, so why pay again ("I'll just dual-boot instead until I can get WineX working...")? Obviously, this doesn't work for Hyperion :) But you see my point, right? The Linux market just wasn't going to work as well as other non-Windows markets, because we tend to have access to Windows. Yes, this may be terrible for Linux; but as far as the mob is concerned, second-class treatment just won't cut it.

      I do want to thank you and Hyperion for porting some commercial games to Linux. Thanks for helping us out, especially given that it didn't work out financially for you. (Hindsight is 20-20 and all...) Good luck with the MacOS and AmigaOS markets.
  • One size... (Score:4, Redundant)

    by AntipodesTroll ( 552543 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:17AM (#2892454) Homepage
    Dosent fit all. Wholly open source and popular-commercial-gaming just dont seem to go together.

    Carmack is right, Linux gaming isnt a viable market. As asthetically displeasing as it is to the faithfull crowd, Windows holds the market on the gaming market. Hopefully this will accelerate the development going on in WINE and other API abstraction layers out there, so one day we can run most any Windows game reliably on Linux. That will be better IMO than Loki (or another company) scrabbling to port a subset of Win games to Linux, after the fact.

    It is just plain more efficient for all involved, after all.
    • There's nothing fundamental about free software that makes gaming impractical, it just comes down to market share. The Linux desktop just doesn't have the market share yet. It'll be a few more years. Loki is a victim of poor timing.

      My worry is that other desktop oriented companies - for example Mandrake, Suse, and Ximian - will have the same problem. Too high of a burn rate to hold out for three more years. The only ones left might well be Red Flag Linux. I bet that would make Americans really happy :-).

  • The worst part (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xwred1 ( 207269 )
    The worst part of this is that trying to be a Linux gamer will be alot harder, since there's almost nothing coming down the pipeline anymore. I really don't want to use Wine or WineX if I can avoid it. In my experience, Loki's ports have been superior to, if not equal to, the Win32 port's quality.

    Maybe I will just because a bitter ex-gamer, and only play Doom 3 (which will by then, probably be the only newish commercial Linux game). Serious Sam will be nice too, but by the time its done, it probably won't be big in the lanning scene, which is where I do most of my gaming.
  • by antistuff ( 233076 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:19AM (#2892467) Homepage
    It looks like a lot of people are saying that loki should make everything opensource. Rather than respond to each thread, ill just post the general response here. They cant. They dont actualy make games, they port them, and the orriginal maker still has the copyright for it. Loki isnt allowed to just release the source to it. Rather than release the source, I hope they sell all their games for like $10 or somthing in a going out of buissness thing. I only bought three of thier games and there are a couple more I would like.
  • Perhaps Loki Games will somehow find a buyer, and they'll continue to operate under a different name. Like AOL/Loki.

    OH WELL.

  • Sad to see them go (Score:3, Informative)

    by Evanrude ( 21624 ) <david@f a t t y co.org> on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:22AM (#2892484) Homepage Journal
    I try and purchase any Linux games I see on store shelves. I was surprised to see Railroad Tycoon II in my local Best Buy a few weeks ago.

    I thought that *maybe* Linux gaming was starting to become more main stream. Truly a sad day for Linux gaming
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:26AM (#2892508)
    Most of Loki's port came out 6 to 12 months after the Windows version was released. Now, maybe 5-6 years ago, this would be reasonable, but in today's age, the average lifecycle for a game with a multiplayer element is at most 3 months, with only a few notable exceptions (Half-Life Counterstrike, for example). After that initial 3 months, while people will still be playing these games, there's definitely a lack of servers for that game. While single-player elements can be used 'indefinitely', the lack of a usable multiplayer element when the port is released is a bad selling point.

    Understandably, Loki's method couldn't allow them to start the port much earlier, as it seems they waited until a 'popular' game emerged from new releases. The same thing appears to be happening with the Mac market, but maybe not as apparent as a Mac owner doesn't have the same dual-booting option that many Linux users have. A better method, as demonstrated by id, is to work on the port at the same time, either in house or with outside help, such that the binaries for all systems of interest can be released near-simulateously.

  • by b.foster ( 543648 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:32AM (#2892537)
    I work for a small, moderately successful custom software company. We've got 95 employees and serve mostly medium size businesses in the U.S. that need us to engineer supply chain and inventory management software.

    You may wonder why a bombshell in the Linux games market impacts us. Well, I did as well, until I started hanging out with my boss and understanding the way the marketing department works. And now I know that Loki's death is yet another nail in the coffin of the concept of ever using Linux on a client site again.

    The problem here stems from the fact that customers purchase buzzwords from us, not solutions. Our software is simple - it can be implemeted in FORTRAN and run on VMS, for all we care. In the late 1990s, we began a massive shift from NT to Linux because, well, our clients asked us for a massive shift from NT to Linux. They didn't care that it was free (they still paid us for our "official" copy of Redhat which we made with our CD copies). They wanted it because it was fashionable. And that is why the tide has turned on us Linux fans now. Linux is out; it is not a hot topic anymore. Companies are asking for what they believe to be the "tried and true" solutions, and most of those come from Redmond and from Big Blue (and we aren't talking OS/2 here). If we stuck to our guns and sold Linux products, we would lose a lot of business and wind up in va's situation - barely alive. It's sad but that's the way it is. I want nothing to do with Windows but if I don't learn it, I will inevitably cost my company money and lose my job as a result.

    What can we do to turn the tide in our favor again? Learn to write. Offer to write a computer advice column in your local/school newspaper and encourage users to pursue Free solutions. When somebody writes in with an Outlook problem, steer them toward Pine or Mutt. Take the time to teach people how to use Linux - if you let them sink or swim, they will take the path of least resistance and make billg richer. Nobody said it would be easy, but the only way our grass roots movement can succeed is by pursuading users to switch, one at a time.

    Bill

    • Please, please don't steer them toward Pine or Mutt. If pine had been my first linux experience,
      I would have run away screaming. I mean, even techmail was more fun to use than pine. Meanwhile, Eudora (and presumably outlook, kmail, and evolution) will let you sort messages and
      even view more than one email at a time. It's really hard to give that up once you're
      used to it.


      Seriously, you shouldn't be pushing free solutions that are less useful than the windows
      or mac equivalents or of course people will conclude that free software is inferior, and
      they may never try it again. Concentrate on the linux applications that actually do what they do better than the non-free competition. They're out there.

  • by X-Dopple ( 213116 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:35AM (#2892553)
    ..but after spending hours trying to get Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament to work, I had little hope for their future. I checked their support newsgroups some time back; Unreal Tournament support was active with about 4000 posts. Let me detail my experiences with Unreal Tournament:

    - Downloaded and installed it with Windows CD.
    - ./UnrealTournament. Takes an eternity to load, but I blame that on my slow hard drive and K6/2 500.
    - Crashes: Cannot find Glide drivers, even though Glide v3 was installed (Voodoo Banshee, by the way), and libglide.so was sitting plainly in one of the main /lib directories, I forget which.
    - To cut a long story short, I was sent on a wild goose chase, trying hack after hack after hack (DRI, Utah-GLX, recompile OpenGL^HMesa, recompile kernel) until I finally decided that I will never try one of Loki's games again unless they can successfully make Unreal Tournament work on a Banshee. Mandrake 7.2, BTW.

    Asking on IRC was futile, as my problem was unique.

    This experience isn't new for me. LinuxGames.com's instructions on emulating UltraHLE in WINE must involve some sort of magic, as I have never been able to get that working. Quake 3 Arena's demo segfaulted on startup.

    Sorry to see you go, Loki.
  • Well, nearly everything. I still have to get MindRover [lokigames.com]. TuxGames sells it [tuxgames.com] (and they should be able to get some copies, since that letter Draeker sent out was an invite to buy up the balance of Loki's stock.

    Loki will be sorely missed.

    -B

  • No! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Blymie ( 231220 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:44AM (#2892605)
    Loki is _not_ dead because they entered a market that couldn't support them. Scott has mentioned several times that he had no intention of showing a profit for a few more years, at least. Loki's intention was to become the defacto standard for porting games to linux, and to capitalize on that ability in a year or two more down the road, when Linux sales _really_ started to generate revenue. At that point in time, they would have developed all the tools necessary to port games to Linux (like an installer, SDL, and so on), and have shown that they have the skill to do it quickly and professionally when they were handed the ball.

    The problem for Loki came when all the venture capital dried up. It shouldn't for them, their plan was always sound, and based on profit in a year or two more. Their problems started when the market crashed, and with how quickly all the VC dried up.

    Some very short sighted people pulled their money out of Loki, and they ... well, they suck ;) Don't invest in a five year plan, and then pull out 1/2 way through just because the market crashes.

    Loki, a victim of circumstances, and a lack of investment fortitude. The sad part is that if Loki could have lasted until the summer, I'm sure that VC would have returned. :/
    • Loki never had VC (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 24, 2002 @03:32AM (#2893119)
      At least, that's what the employees were told. In fact, several efforts at securing real VC were prevented due to reluctance by the owner(s) to part with any shares in the company.

      When the fecal matter had clearly hit the rotating blades, an outside consultant was brought in to try and get the company funded, merged, bought, or something. He tried for six months, and never got anywhere -- in part because so much debt had already been accrued. Also, at least one structured deal, liquidating existing boxed product, fell through when the partner filed for Chapter 11 (and had already taken possession of the game boxes, but not paid the remuneration owed).

      The debt caught up with the company, and the creditors started demanding their money (including the 1/4 million owed to the company that printed all those nice boxes and manuals that the first 10 or so titles came in).

      WAY over-producing the Q3 tins (due, in part, to the enthusiasm of the Slashdot crowd (which has never been backed up in sales), and due in part to mis-judgement of the market), burned through what capital there was A LOT faster than it needed to be.

      Add lack-luster sales of all titles other than CTP, and decreasing sales from title to title, and there's not a lot to sustain it there.

  • From what I understand, Loki wasn't exactly kind to its employees. The management wanted as many games as possible translated for as little money as possible (which got reflected in their payroll and hiring practices), and they had a rather vigorous turn-over rate.

    At any rate, I liked the N64 controller as a logo better than the 2600, but I'm probably biased anyhow. :)
  • Now we're talking a real icon for gaming. Screw that new technology. Give me vector graphics!
  • Way to go! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seebs ( 15766 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:56AM (#2892655) Homepage
    And a hearty round of thanks to all the Warez dudes out there. Remember, piracy is a purely victimless crime; anyone actually put out of work when a product doesn't sell is obviously making stuff up, we all know programmers drive Ferarris and do lots of coke.

    *sigh*.
  • by SuperDuG ( 134989 ) <.be. .at. .eclec.tk.> on Thursday January 24, 2002 @12:58AM (#2892665) Homepage Journal
    This is not the Nerds Rumor Mill, nor does this matter until it's a real problem. If loki was going to go under dontcha think we would have heard about it a little earlier than a WEEK before the so-planned shutdown?

    Here's an idea ... how about you call the company in question for a comment ... you know ... like real reporters do ... before they go an just publish things ...

    In the real world we like to call this research, I would have thought you'd learned your lesson from the AOL/RedHat deal ... geeze

  • What am I going to do next time I install a Loki port of a game with my Windows copy? For example, someone who owns a copy of Unreal Tournament can use the Loki installer to use Linux binaries with datafiles from the Windows copy. Being that I am horrible when it comes to backups, where am I going to get copies of these binaries in the future?


  • As of right now you officially have no choice. Its transgaming, or no games in linux. Make your time.
    Transgaming [transgaming.com]
  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @01:09AM (#2892715)

    What I saw of the 'linux gaming' movement, I wasn't too pleased with.. the idea was noble, but in reality, a) computers are cheap, so I have another machine to play games on besides my linux workstation and b) the ports were either a pain in the ass to get running, or my 3D card was a pain in the ass to get running, or xxx yyy was a PITA to get running. Sorry, no sale. It would have been nice to see a killer title emerge on the linux platform - but Tux Racer just isn't going to cut it *grin*. I think that's what linux gaming was going to need to get off the ground. Games rely too heavily on things that are very platform specific - e.g. controllers and game APIs, and 3D accelleration. Linux loses.

    I'm not sure this is all Loki's fault though. Has anyone else here been introducted to OS X recently? I got a Ti Powerbook because I needed a machine that would work for 4 hours on a battery charge. No big deal on the OS, as long as it runs vim (and it does, through XDarwin, natively). OS X is flawlessly integrated. It reminds me of what my amiga was back in the day - a great platform, where everything worked. No, it isn't completely open source. But, "It works".

    My beef: Aqua and OS X is what Redhat SHOULD have done when they released linux. Take the open source start, hire a team of developers to make everything work flawlessly and consistantly. Glue it together with GREAT developer tools and documentation. Make new hardware work without three kernel recompiles and a prayer to ye gods. Get solid APIs people can build applications from on a bulletproof kernel. Redhat missed out, and I think the failure of gaming to catch on is a symptom of this bigger problem.

    There's sure a lot of successful games for OS X. Even native ones.

  • What about their open-source projects? Though many didn't acheive anything that impressive, smpeg is an extremely useful library for multimedia. OpenAL sounded nice as well, but I don't know how much that would be missed... Though not directly hosted by lokigames, how would SDL development progress, given that it is maintained by Sam Lantinga, same person chiefly responsible for SMPEG.

    Granted, at least in the case of smpeg, there are plenty of alternatives (ffmpeg, mpeglib come to mind), but smpeg is *really* easy to write for. But SDL fills a very important role for multimedia and game development..
  • by I_redwolf ( 51890 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @01:28AM (#2892789) Homepage Journal
    ... On this thread regarding "Why don't you just dual boot". I've got 4 loki games I bought from loki simply because I don't use windows. I don't want to support Microsoft (a company found to be a monopoly which abuses its power mind you). In their quest to basically control what I do with my computer, control what I do online, and control what I do with my career because I like computers. Not only that but I don't care how many games there are for windows if it means I have to pay for a windows license I will not do it. I'm very pleased companies like ID are making ports available and so I support them, I supported Loki.. and I will continue to support any company who will please me with such pleasures as games for Linux. I never used to buy ID games, ever.. I used to just get a copy from a friend but now that they port to Linux I've bought their quake2 set, quake3 and rtcw and will continue to buy from them because they make good games and are now porting to my platform.

    I wish this new slashdot crowd would stop being so goddamn "wishy-washy" and make a decision or stay with windows because most of your posts are absolute dribble; "Stand for something, or fall for anything" is what they say. Most of you just fall for anything.
  • we all should have seen this coming since loki filed for chaper 11 like 6 months ago.. to my knowledge, most companies don't usually recover from that..

    its a shame though, the more I use linux, the more I wished the programs I like to use and play worked so I didn't have to switch back to windows to accomplish the everyday things I like to do.
  • ...this will not change.

    This shouldn't come as any surprise.

    For Christmas I got Mandrake 8.1 Gaming Edition with The Sims. Very cool and just like the Windows version. The only thing is, on my Windows machine, I've got all 3 add-on packs too. Would I have bought The Sims for Linux had it not been packaged with the upgrade? Probably not.

    Until Linux games get released at the same time as the Windows games this won't change. People who have already bought the game under Windows, *most times* don't want to buy it again 1-2 years later just so they can use it under Linux. And they don't want to wait, hoping it will be one of the few ported to Linux, unless that's the only OS they're using AND the Win version doesn't work under Wine.
  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @05:25AM (#2893360) Homepage
    I see all these people saying "if you're a gamer, you want the game now and you want it cheap, so why pay a premium for a late Loki game when I can just dual-boot?"

    This from people who complain about the "Microsoft Tax."

    Well, folks, you have to decide: are you going to be a "hardcore gamer" and pay the Microsoft Tax you claim to hate so much just so you can have a game three months sooner or $10 cheaper, or are you going to put your money where your mouth is and support Linux companies?

    I for one own every game Loki released, and I paid for every one of them, even one or two I didn't care for, just to support Linux gaming. I can hear the crazy free-market folks already who will flame me (as they do every Loki story) saying that the market should decide, that I shouldn't have bought games I didn't like, that Loki should fail if it is destined to fail.

    Well, apparently it was. Feel better now? I certainly don't. Too bad so few Linux users are willing, as I have been, to put my money where my mouth is. On a similar note, I also bought the Corel Draw for Linux and Corel WordPerfect Office for Linux retail software packages before Corel withdrew them due to (direct quote from a sales inquiry to Corel) "lack of interest in non-free software."

    I'm beginning to think that Linux will never grow out of Free Speech and Free Beer. Both are great, but alone they are not enough to make for a full life, or to build a userbase beyond geek-freeks.

    Goodbye, Loki. I for one will miss your excellent ports when I am struggling to keep the truly abysmal but ever-so-free "Wine" emulator [or *sigh* not an emulator] running over the next few years.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @09:22AM (#2893789) Homepage

    It occurs to me that if AOL/TW do actually want ship a Linux OS that can actually wean AOLusers off of Windows entirely, then they could do a lot worse than to use some pocket lint to buy Loki and help make Linux a viable games platform.

    Picture the difference:

    • Hello, nVidia, this is Joe from Loki calling about your shitty Linux drivers, if you've got a minute, sir, please, please god, don't hang up on me again...
    • THE AOL/TW COLLECTIVE DEMANDS BETTER SUPPORT FOR AOLINUX. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
  • by BadBlood ( 134525 ) on Thursday January 24, 2002 @10:01AM (#2893923)
    IMHO, Linux gamers deserve Linux ports of their favorite games from the original developers. Why? I believe you cannot have a successful ONLINE multiplayer game without the support of Linux-based dedicated servers.

    Quake 1 and 2 set the stage as their Linux ports allowed server administrators to set up dedicated servers and donate their bandwidth. Because there were SO MANY servers, there were SO MANY clients and each game flourished.

    No enter the original Unreal. No Linux port. No Linux dedicated server. Multiplayer options were null (and for reasons based in less than steller network performance).

    Enter Unreal Tournament. Epic wises up and ports it to Linux - for free. Tons of dedicated servers spring up and the game flourishes even to this day.

    Half-Life's Counterstrike also has a dedicated server and that game continues to flourish. I consider it a mistake that Valve has not released a client as the multitude of servers continues to keep the game popular.

    That's why I salute id, even though their Linux ports are not simultaneously released, they do recognize the service that Linux based dedicated servers give to them. Therefore they continue to port games to Linux (and for other technically sound reasons).

    I realize my arguement holds only for multiplayer titles, but that's what got the ball rolling originally. Those of us that have hosted Linux dedicated servers do indeed deserve a little condiseration from the developers for a Linux client.

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