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Half-Life 2 - A Linux User's Lament 792

jvm writes "If you're a gamer with a pulse, you've probably heard about the impending release of Valve's Half-Life 2. As a gamer and a Linux user, I always get a little stirred up about the whole Half-Life situation, where we have a dedicated server but no client. So here's my reflection on the sad situation, past and present. How will the rest of the Linux gaming community react to the release of Half-Life 2? Boot into Windows? Wait for WINE or WineX support? Get the Xbox version? With so many Half-Life servers running on Linux, will the same be true for Half-Life 2?"
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Half-Life 2 - A Linux User's Lament

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  • by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:01AM (#6991753) Journal

    *caps is like yelling so you have to offset it with lowercase text*
    • Hmm, I guess I'm supposed to talk about Linux and open source and some ideology or another. I tried to come up with something really inspirational and altruistic-like. But I felt so dirty lying like that.

      So, I'll admit it: I'm going to play Half-Life 2, on WindowsXP, the day it is released. And, I bet, the next day, and the next day, and the next day, . . .

    • by Idimmu Xul ( 204345 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @08:28AM (#6993250) Homepage Journal
      From =0&sid=c6d361f221e8bb6e95ac4b053c4928de

      Email and reply from some bloke and the HL2 pr bloke, Gabe.


      Gabe Gabe Gabe!!!

      As I'm sure you are aware the HL2 community is going crazy with the rumour that HL2 is going to be like a MMORPG and you will have to pay a fee each month via Steam to play HL2 multiplayer.

      I don't believe this to be true but can you please put it to rest once and for all. PLEEEEEEASE.

      Kind Regards


      Here's my current thinking: Some people want to buy Half-Life 2 in a store. Right now we have three SKUs planned at three price points. One will have single-player only and not play MODs and we think of that as the mass market SKU (sold mainly at the Costcos and Walmarts of the world). The second is our traditional single-player plus multiplayer SKU that runs MODs and is sold at places like EBX. The third is the collector's edition SKU with lots of cool bonus stuff for people who like cool bonus stuff.

      In the Steam world, some people will want to buy it once, like the middle SKU above. Other people will want to buy the game on subscription (e.g. $9.95/month). The good news for the "buy it once" crowd is, well, they only have to pay once. The bad news is that when we come out with new content (expansion products, TF 2, and presumably other games) then they have to pay separately for those. We're pretty sure that the $9.95 guys are going to get the better value, as we've been pretty good over the years at generating a lot of content.

      Now nobody has done this before, so we're scratching our heads and massaging the plans to make sure we've got the best set of options. We've had some feedback that we should sell the top SKU (single-player only no MODs) on Steam, and my reaction has been "yeah, right, for the three people in the world who have a broadband connection, are sophisticated enough to purchase software over the Internet, but DON'T want to play MODs and multiplayer". Some people have said "I want a subscription, but I think the box and the manual are cool, so what about sending me those" and I think that's pretty interesting and we're trying to figure out what to do for them (needless to say Sierra isn't exactly jumping for joy at the idea of selling us boxes so people don't buy Half-Life 2 in stores).

      But nowhere has there been a suggestion that people pay in the store and then pay a monthly fee on top of that a la the MMORPG.

      • by Awptimus Prime ( 695459 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @08:51AM (#6993420)
        "We're pretty sure that the $9.95 guys are going to get the better value, as we've been pretty good over the years at generating a lot of content."

        Yeah, uh, right. I recall the Half-life website going over 2 years without a single update. I downloaded Steam 2.0 and not a single feature has been added to any of the games in months and months.

        The Counter-Strike crew did most of their work before joining the ranks of Valve. The Half-life engine was riddled with hacks and cheats, which took months to get patched.

        My take on the Sierra/Valve thing is they had the right game at the right time. A good 32 player supporting engine that ran on your average machine of the day. TFC, even though it's graphics were bad compared to others, had great potential for people to actually work in teams. All this stuff was extrodinary at the time.

        Yes, Tribes2 looked nicer and was a more advanced game, but you need a serious machine to run it. What fun is multi-player when it's requirements are so demanding that only a very few people will be able to play?

        I guess what I am saying, in so many words, is.. Don't get too excited about a game that hasn't come out yet. The whole industry is geared around hype surrounding sequels. We, as the customers, fall for it every time. We get excited, hoping to re-live the excitement of what once was new. This hasn't been happening lately, as most studios are investing millions into making a game look pretty and have all the latest beats, but forget to make it fun.

        I'm just negative..
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) * on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:01AM (#6991754) Homepage Journal
    Given that I'm stuck on an old overclocked Celeron 300A/450 mHZ which has difficulty running even Half-Life one at full speed, I have a hard time feeling sorry for this fellow.
  • by consumer ( 9588 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:04AM (#6991766)
    I just played a good game of Unreal Tournament 2003 on my Linux box. It plays great, the installer came on the CD, and all updates have been available for Linux. If Valve doesn't care about you, spend your money somewhere else.
    • by saden1 ( 581102 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:13AM (#6991818)
      You won't have this luxury come next release! Microsoft has Epic in its pockets.

      Money talks, bullshit walks. With Microsoft you get both.
    • by rblancarte ( 213492 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:18AM (#6991838) Homepage
      This does raise a good point. I pointed this out later, but the Linux community is VERY VERY happy to support those who take time for them. Your right about what you say "you make a game for us, we won't forget." Then again, it is not like Valve doesn't care about this segment of the market, it is a case where they have only so much time and they are doing what they can to get what they can out there.
      Who knows, maybe we will see a native Linux version, but you can't hold your breath for it.
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @06:22AM (#6992819) Homepage
        Let's put it this way.

        Ut2003. I bought 4 copies of it BECAUSE it works with linux.

        I gave out 2 of the copies to friends with a copy of redhat.

        I also used to do the same with the other games available from loki, and constantly told people to go to loki.

        I ave over 20 commercial games that work on linux on my shelf. Many more games than I ever have bought for windows, and I know that I am not alone.

        Linux gaming is at the point where Mac Gaming has been for the past 10 years, hopefully it will increase in the future, but the only way to do it is to be good advocates and make noise with our wallets AND tell the companies that you bought their product BECAUSE of the linux version.
        • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @11:48AM (#6995134) Homepage
          Linux gaming is at the point where Mac Gaming has been for the past 10 years, hopefully it will increase in the future, but the only way to do it is to be good advocates and make noise with our wallets AND tell the companies that you bought their product BECAUSE of the linux version.

          The Mac Game Market is not a useful comparison, the Mac and Linux situations are different. Counting users is a mistake. The Mac situation wildly differs from Linux in that Mac users can not dual boot or effectively emulate. On the Mac they not only have to emulate the APIs but the CPU instructions as well. For modern games it a native version or nothing. On the other hand Linux users can use the Win32 version of the game. Most Linux gamers dual boot or use Wine so they are already customers. Targeting Linux does not generate any new money from them, it merely replaces a Win32 sale with a Linux sale. That's a money losing situation for the developer. The Linux Game Market only consists of those Linux Gamers who would never buy the Win32 version, those who would do without rather than dual boot or use Wine.
    • by sn0wman3030 ( 618319 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:26AM (#6991865) Homepage Journal
      I agree whole-heartedly. This is 2003, and the biggest game of the year locks you down to a propriotary platform. This is an inexcusable insult on Valve's behalf.

      ID and Activition are both releasing competitors to Half-Life 2 (Doom 3 and Unreal Tournament 2004) that will run on linux, and I would strongly recomend either of them over HL2 soley based on principal. If you just buy the damn game like they want you to, and never demand alternative OS support, they're never going to care.

      It's too bad, really, because hl2 looks like a spectacular game.
      • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) * on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:22AM (#6992082)
        This is an inexcusable insult on Valve's behalf.

        Oh, how short the geek memory. Remember Loki []? A company that tried to bring mainstream games to the Linux platform?

        The problem is, while geeks talk the talk, they don't walk the walk with their wallets. There simply isn't a market for games on Linux. A few people might buy a Linux copy, sure, but the majority will buy the Windows version when it's released, then demand the Linux version for free when it's finished porting.

        Games companies are in business to make money. They're not charities, and even if they were, even charities need money to operate. Valve is simply making what it believes to be the best decision based on its reading of the market.
        • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @03:35AM (#6992344) Homepage
          While we're talking about short memories, don't forget that Loki failed not because they had no market, but because they were poorly managed. They were one of many holdouts to the dotcom era who's only ambition, only hope, was not to bring the love of gaming to linux, but to IPO and cash out. It's sad too, seeing how many of the employees of this company that was doomed to fail, stuck it out regardless, and at the end, went months without getting paid, and in some case even spending their own cash to keep the company alive, and in the end, they get screwed by the owner.

          Had the company been managed properly, they'd still be around today, and going strong. Linux would have a much stronger influence on game companies pondering to make a linux port, and if they were successful, there would be other serious competitors. Alas, the chance was lost, only because people at the top had the wrong vision.

          At least we got SDL out of it.

          • Eh? Of course Loki was mismanaged, but there was no way we could have IPOd and 'cashed out (and this was recognized internally by management)', nor was that the focus. And even if the company has been managed properly, there's no way it would still be around. One poster mentioned that Linux gaming is just like Mac gaming has been for the last 10 years--this is bullshit. There are at least three Mac porting houses that are alive and well, and new games are released all the time for the Mac. I have Warcraft 3
      • by SiggyRadiation ( 628651 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @03:14AM (#6992263) Homepage Journal
        Would you pay the additional R&D costs associated with game-development on two platforms?

        I mean, there would be 3 parts in the costs:
        1. General development of the Game
        2. Implementation for windows
        3. Implementation for Linux

        Now costs for #1 would be devided over all sales.
        Costs for #2 would be devided over all sales for Windows.
        Costs for #3 would be devided over all sales for Linux (being... whell... a few thousand?)

        A realistic price for the game on windows would be 50 or 60 euro's (forgive me, I am in euroland). A realistic price for linux would be 250 - 350 euro's.

        Now, it's very nice of those folks at ID et al that are pretty much helping out Linux-users by taking Linux R&D costs and include them in the windows-variant. But would you, Linux ubergeek, *want* those darn windowsusers to pay for your product?

        Dumb question. I know.
        • by gerddie ( 173963 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @04:08AM (#6992460)
          1. General development of the Game
          2. Implementation for windows
          3. Implementation for Linux

          If the product is targeted cross-platform then (2) and (3) are only very thin layers on top of (1). In such case a good programmer would implement (1) by using cross-platform APIs like OpenGL, OpenAL, and SDL. Therefore, in a cross-platform environment (1) isn't more expensive than it would be in a single-platform environment. The next good thing about such implementation of (1) is that a port to even more platforme, like MAC or PS2, is also very cheap.
          In the special case of HalfLife2, where the game engine seems to be implemened by using DirectX, a client port is more or less a complete rewrite of the whole engine. Therefore, I don't expect to see ports of the game to any other platforms then MS Windows and X-Box.

          Anyway, there are other games for linux, like BUG-HUNTING 2.6 or so - check it out, it's fun! ;-)
      • I agree whole-heartedly. This is 2003, and the biggest game of the year locks you down to a propriotary platform...

        I hate to break it to you but with a very small number of exceptions, every game released in the last 10 years locks you down to a propriatory platform. I can't see this trend changing for the next couple of years at least.

        This would be more news-worthy if there was going to be a Linux version - rather than there not being one.

    • I take it you have no fucking clue what kind of revelation and gamers dreams coming true HL2 represents.. I mean the physics.

      The only way around halflife2 is another game using the havoc 2 engine.

      Valve doesn't care about you? Think of it as a *really* hot chick wanting you to be something you're not. Usually you'd say screw that (no pun intended), but if the hotness is too big you'll end up in that janitors uniform going "quack, quack!".

      It might be worth the humiliation.
  • Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cca93014 ( 466820 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:05AM (#6991771) Homepage
    Sidestepping, for the moment, that there are only five game engines represented there (Unreal, Q3, NWN, T2, and Q2) and they are mostly all first person shooters and that way too many game names include a colon

    Whoever said the the Linux gaming scene was full of shit?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:05AM (#6991774)
    How will the rest of the Linux gaming community react to the release of Half-Life 2?
    I dunno about the other three people in this category, but I'm just gonna walk in the office with a rocket launcher. Fun will ensue!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:06AM (#6991779)
    The fact is that VALVe is a company. A company which, obviously enough, wants to make a profit. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to pander to the widest possible audience -- Windows users. Linux, as a gaming platform, has been lacking since it came into being. The answer to the question of Linux gaming won't be discovered for a while to come. In the meantime, the more people that run Linux servers for Half-Life and Half-Life 2, the more VALVe will take notice. This isn't something that will be won quickly, but with a little patience and understanding of the ideas behind VALVe's business practices, Linux will have a version of Half-Life all its own.
    • by Aadain2001 ( 684036 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:29AM (#6991877) Journal
      He brings up both of those points in the article, so I'm assuming you stopped reading at the title of the story and hit the reply button.

      He says exactly what you said: no one will get rich, or even make a profit, selling Linux games (just check out Loki!). His angle is that since Linux gamers have really helped out on the dedicated server side with Half Life 1, maybe its time to expect Valve to return the favor a little. Most of the lastest-n-greatest games/engines have native Linux versions, so it is technically possible if you keep portability in mind (and isn't that just plain good programing?). Of all the big game producers, Valve is one of the few that do great FPS that don't have Linux ports.

      I want to play HL2, and I will buy HL2, but I'm not going to buy it until a) WineX is reported to run it with no problems or b) there is a native Linux port. I will not use Windows for it. But that's just me. No skin off Valve's back if they don't get my money since I'm not their target market.
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:06AM (#6991782)
    You come talk to me when you've read something about the sad, sad debacle that was Half Life for Mac. 99% ported after months of delay and sandbagging, then.. blammo, Cancelled, never to be seen again.

    I swear it was like watching your dog get hit by a car as he returned from the pound.

    • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:58AM (#6992006) Homepage Journal

      Reminds me of the Doom for OS/2 debacle back in the early-mid 90s. IBM contracted a developer to port Doom to OS/2. IBM demoed the game in action at some trade shows. A private beta version was eventually leaked to the Internet, but the finished game never saw the light of day.

      Similar situation happened with Lemmings for OS/2. A developer was contracted by Sony/Psygnosis to do the port. The developer became active on recruiting beta testers. Public betas were made available. The game worked perfectly with the 5 or 6 demo levels that were in the beta, and then suddenly everything disappeared.

      I sometimes think that Linux users have forgotten that, for many of us, this sort of situation isn't new. I swore off Windows completely back in 1993, and saw this same sort of thing over, and over, and over, and over again. I'm seeing the same thing now with Linux (and, as you point out, it's often been an issue for Mac users as well).

      I wish I had a solution (I wish I had a solution 8 years ago for that matter). I don't like the situation anymore than anyone else here does, but, as they say, it is what it is.


  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:08AM (#6991791) Homepage
    I'm running netware, that means I can't even play tuxracer! Why oh why won't Valve give me a netware port?

    One other thing, I have this Amiga....
    • by LucidityZero ( 602202 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {xelastisemitemos}> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:00AM (#6992012) Homepage
      Moded up as funny, but actually in a strange way insightful...

      You run Linux. I run Linux. For the added beauty of this operating system, we have to make compromises. Right now, that is software (specifically game) support.

      The answer is simply to continue to run Linux and continue to show others how wonderful this OS is.

      We need numbers before companies will port all of their games to Linux. I can't blame them in the least, if I was the CEO of a gaming company, I wouldn't waste my time and effort porting something to Linux.

      Unfortunately, the answer is not "MAKE THEM PORT GAMES SO MORE USERS WILL COME!!!??!?!"

      The answer is, get more users. Once Linux has a significant share of the desktop community, the games will follow suit.

      • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @05:10AM (#6992605) Journal
        Ah but you see this is valve, not say a company like bioware. The difference is that valve has made great use of Linux for their game. Namely as a the server for multiplayer. My ISP runs several games. All on linux, they refuse to touch windows games servers for obvious reasons.

        So valve is familiar with how to write code for linux and they use it to make money. Bioware didn't but they did support linux, sure it took them time but they did it. Thanks.

        So is it really that stupid to expect a company like Valve to give something back for all those linux machines that have helped make their game great?

        Remember that the the cost of the engine, the bit that would need porting, is minor nowadays to the cost of creating the world, the art, wich doesn't need to be ported.

        So the real problem the poster has is not that valve like the fast majority of game companies ignores linux. They made gratefull use of linux by running their game servers on it. Is it then really that odd to expect that they would this time also allow all those linux users who helped made their game great to be able to play it as well? It is not like the cost of porting is all that big. They know how to write for linux and considering it comes out on x-box they know how to port.

  • by Kalewa ( 561267 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:09AM (#6991800)
    Linux has a strong hold in the server market, but not so much with clients. It would seem be holding true here too, but not for the same reasons.
  • by The Revolutionary ( 694752 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:09AM (#6991802) Homepage Journal

    How do you think I should react? I mean, I could switch to Slash'Em, but don't you think that's a bit extreme?
  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:09AM (#6991803) Homepage
    It won't kill you. Just think of it as a Wintendo.
  • by Trent_Alkaline ( 636705 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:09AM (#6991806) Homepage
    and I'll look into valve studios and find out for you.
  • Here we go... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Talez ( 468021 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:10AM (#6991808)
    Ever so often someone bring up the Linux as a game platform argument.

    Yes its technically capable. Especially with modern nVidia drivers the way they are. But that's not the point.

    The point is that you have to expend money, resources and time to make a Linux client. Why are you going to do that when 95% of your user base can/will use the Windows version anyway?

    Besides community goodwill, there is no good reason for a developer to port a game to Linux and until there is a damn good reason for developers to port games to Linux, UT2K3 will remain the exception rather than the rule.
    • Re:Here we go... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:44AM (#6991951)
      Lets assume we write a portable version of code instead of a Windows tied version. Mac OS X (and by extension Linux which is *nix like) is then a very obvious targets. So, original development costs possibly go up a bit. Then, work is done to tune the port it onto multiple platforms. You use OpenGL, have to write a different core sound driver for each platform you target, different installers, maybe a few other tweaks, and that's it. Now, this only brings in a possible 5% of the market place, like you stated. But 5% of 300 million is 1.5 million. If 1% of that market buys the game, you've got 150,000 more customers. You've also got a very portable game which minus the graphics engine should work on an xbox (yet another market). You've also got very little rewrite. Now, it might make sense for a one time shot company who doesn't have the resources to write for multiple platforms, but for even remotely large projects now days there's no reason to use anything but mostly portable C or C++. It's not like you need to write anything in assembly which was the old excuse. Or is 150,000*$30 (aka $4.5 million) not worth the upfront extra work to write portable code in the first place?
    • The point is that you have to expend money, resources and time to make a Linux client. Why are you going to do that when 95% of your user base can/will use the Windows version anyway?

      Just to clarify and elaborate on your point, the 95% are Linux folk not Windows folk. Most Linux gamers dual boot or run Wine, they are already customers. A Linux port would not generate new money, it would merely replace a Win32 sale with a Linux sale. That's a loss from Valve's perspective, more work, no new money.

  • I won't be buying it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrResistor ( 120588 ) <> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:12AM (#6991814) Homepage
    I finally said goodby to Windows almost a year ago, and I won't be going back for a mere game, no matter how good it is. If they won't support me, I won't support them.

    If they do decide to port it, though, I will gladly give them some of my money. Sadly, I don't see that happening. I guess I'll just have to give it to id and Epic instead.

    • Nice sentiment - unfortunately it does not mean much. The lack of sales due to people using Linux won't hurt Valve in any measurable way. The problem really is that if you want to play games, you have to have Windows.

      I tried this a few years ago, I switched entirely to Linux on my home PC. Guess What? I had a bunch of nice Loki Games, but other than Quake 3 I could not deathmatch with my friends in games like Half Life.

      That did not do me much good. So, I started looking into different ways to get Half Lif
  • directX (Score:4, Insightful)

    by klocwerk ( 48514 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:16AM (#6991829) Homepage
    it really comes down to the fact that directX is the most capable api for games at the moment.
    DX9 beats the living pixels out of OpenGL, and that's just a simple fact.
    I hate MS as much as the next slashdotter, but come on guys.
    Windows has Linux beat hands down for gaming.

    On another note, while freeBSD runs fine on my 500mhz via mini-itx board, I know I'm not the only person out there buying a whole new system for HL2 and Doom3 in the next few months. and guess what's going on the primary partition? It'll only get booted up to play games, web/e-mail can be done on anything.
    • Yes, directX is very cool. but never forget that when MS wanted to release Xbox they tanked PC game developement over a year to make it happen. When it's time for Xbox2, what's to stop MS from grabbing all the good games...again. [oh wait, that's on the same games main page as this article!] Or diverting all the developed DX9 games away from PC. After all, remember we still don't HAVE Halo 3 years after there was a working PC demo. Once MS picks it's "friends" if you don't already have a plan to sell ga
  • the bottom line (Score:5, Informative)

    by NotAnotherReboot ( 262125 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:18AM (#6991840)
    The bottom line is, Valve is a company with many ex-Microsoft employees. They fully embrace DirectX 9. In fact, the reason that the Mac port that was almost completely finished was cancelled was because (I believe) they wouldn't be able to get them to network together due to DirectX concerns.

    Valve has made steps to ensure that Half-Life works under WINE, but the reality is, they will continue to use DirectX, as they feel that is how they can make the best possible game. The money that would go into creating a Linux box would be prohibitively expensive, not to mention perhaps impossible because of patents/copyrights on DirectX technology.

    It would be great if it worked under Linux, but the bottom line is it doesn't make economic sense.
    • Re:the bottom line (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TotallyUseless ( 157895 ) <tot AT mac DOT com> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:31AM (#6991884) Homepage Journal
      Actually, Andrew Meggs, the one man team who was doing the Mac port of Half Life, got Mac & PC networking working just fine, and got it into beta relatively quickly. That is actually what scared Valve. They realized they couldn't just release the Mac version and be done with it. If Macs couldn't play PCs, they could have just released the game and said 'have fun!', but with Mac->PC play, they would have had to update the Mac version every time they updated the PC version enough to change the protocol, or deal with the wrath of many angry Mac customers.

      They chose the easy and cheap way out... cancel the port

  • Half-Life 2 (Score:4, Funny)

    by product byproduct ( 628318 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:19AM (#6991842)
    Since 1/2 * 2 = 1, shouldn't this version of the game be simply called One-Life?
  • HL for Mac. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Daleks ( 226923 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:25AM (#6991860)
    Linux users sad about no HL? How about Mac users? The Mac version of HL was essentially finished, but then axed by Sierra. Mention of it can be found here []. How's that for getting stiffed?
  • by bani ( 467531 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:31AM (#6991885)
    gabe newell, head of nerve, worked for microsoft in various senior positions for 13 years...

    they are already talking about making HL2 an xbox-exclusive title, locking out PS2 etc.

    how friendly to linux do YOU think they could possibly be?
  • Why? (Score:3, Funny)

    by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:34AM (#6991904)
    Why do they Lament for half-Life 2?

    I have not the heart to tell you.
  • by DeathPenguin ( 449875 ) * on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:35AM (#6991910)
    By buying Doom 3 and running the native client in Linux.
  • Strike two on Valve. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Whammy666 ( 589169 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:38AM (#6991921) Homepage
    I'm a little disappointed with Valve about now. Strike one is the DRM nitemare called Steam that they're shoving down the gaming community's throat. OMG! What a fiasco that is. Strike two is the shutting out of linux users. If Id can support linux, why can't Valve?

    What I don't fully understand is why Valve went with DX9 over CG and openGL, especially since DX9's HLSL is essentially identical to CG. CG offers cross-platform compatibility. DX9 limits the portability of HL2. So why do it?
  • by Ieshan ( 409693 ) <> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:40AM (#6991930) Homepage Journal
    Wait a long time for it's release.
  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Obiwan Kenobi ( 32807 ) * <evan&misterorange,com> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:45AM (#6991953) Homepage
    Technically, this probably means that some small part of the engine runs under Linux. In the past, dedicated servers have been little more than headless clients, clients without a rendering engine. As with Half-life, there is probably no technical reason that Half-life 2 couldn't run under Linux, especially given that the latest Linux drivers from ATI and NVIDIA have expanded support for even the newest hardware released by those vendors. Given that a game as new as UT2003 runs under Linux, I think that it isn't that much of a stretch to say that Linux could handle Half-life 2 as well.

    No, it doesn't. Just because you can run a server, which people connect to and run maps from, doesn't mean your server is actually "rendering" anything. It's loading data for your clients to read/write to, and its controlling the flow of that data. Linux does this much better than Windows, which is why the Linux server exists in the first place. No one would bother cooking up a dedicated server for it otherwise.

    But Half-Life 2 is DX9 from the ground up. This means it uses extensions, functions, and rendering calls that are so deeply ingrained into windows, that you can NOT run the game any other way. This is where WineX and whatnot come into play, taking those same function calls and telling Linux how to use them.

    Firstly, this type of translation is going to make any port of the game run slower, until the code is much faster than it will be in the first few WineX releases supporting it. Yes, I know how fast UT2003 can run in Linux. But have you seen the tech demos for HL2? It will be quite some time before we see that level of speed and clarity on a Linux system.

    And, this sounds really pathetic, but their licensing agreements with Installshield may hold them back as well. From what I recall, this is the same thing that held up NWN from being released on Linux. The Windows registry can be a shit-filled bog, and the Installshield makes the game-makers lives that much easier. It sounds pitiful, but little stuff like that can hold up development.

    And finally, Valve has busted their ass on Steam, and even though it stumbled out of the gate with their recent full-on release (who didn't see that coming), they put so much time and effort on a solid DRM release platform that to try and convert that to Linux, who by nature is a registry-less system, would be too much time and trouble for a company to put themselves through, let alone farm out the work at considerable cost.

    In this dreamworld that the article-writer lives in, he forgets that game companies are under intense pressure to deliver perfect product all of the time. It is easier to leave it up to the community than to put serious time and resources into making the same thing available on both OSes.

    And don't forget about DRM. We geeks chuckle at it, but the fact remains that as the years go on, and MS has its way (which it always does, eventually), between the Windows versions of iTunes and delivery mechanisms such as Steam, you'd be surprised at how this will begin to hold Linux back, in my opinion. DRM is awful, I agree, but everyone loves iTunes and what is it but a wolf in sheeps clothing (nice interface and high moral standing but really just DRM)?

    Food for thought.
  • will never happen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nexex ( 256614 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:47AM (#6991962) Homepage
    hl2 linux client will never happen, it uses directx.

    "DirectX 9.0 has been crucial in helping us create a worthy sequel to Half-Life, one that gives Windows gamers everything they've been waiting for, a truly unequaled experience," said Gabe Newell, cofounder of Valve. "We are thrilled that our relationship with Microsoft has produced a title that all of us can be proud of."

  • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @01:49AM (#6991973) Homepage Journal

    Welcome to earth. Nice to have you here.

    This has been an issue in computing for the last decade: PC game companies write games for Windows. That's the way it was, that's the way it is, and unless something drastic happens, that's the way it's always going to be. Gamers use Windows because it's the platform the majority of PC games are on, and PC game companies target Windows because that's where the vast majority of their audience is.

    This isn't a Linux-specific issue either. As an OS/2 user for the last 12 years (and Linux user for the past 4 or 5), I've seen it first hand. The only thing that will potientiall change the situation is if the game companies either see a huge decrease in the sales of their Windows titles, or feel there is sufficiently pent-up demand for Linux-based titles.

    Personally, I don't see that happening anytime soon. My advice to you is to do what I did -- leave your PC for serious work, and go out and buy a PlayStation 2, a good TV, and a surround sound system. Add in the network adapter and the PS2 Linux kit, and you have a kick-ass game system, DVD player, and Linux box all in one nice black box, leaving your PCs available for more serious computing tasks.


  • ohhhhh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:15AM (#6992063)
    so THAT's why they call it W(h)INE...
  • by Quizo69 ( 659678 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:15AM (#6992064) Homepage
    As others have mentioned, the problem is that Valve embraced DirectX 9 as the only API they would use to run the game.

    The stupid thing is, they couldn't even just say they would code pure DirectX 9, because Nvidia in their wisdom decided to implement DirectX 9 in their own proprietary way, thus leading to the current public spat with Valve saying they had to code separate paths to have Nvidia hardware work with the game anyway!!

    It really is time that a game protocol is made that is truly able to be used as a cross-platform API. I mean, game developers must surely realise that if they were able to code in one API and have it compile under Windows, Linux, Xbox, PS2, GameCube etc, they would make way more money servicing all the market segments, not just one, and save on development costs to boot!

    OpenGL 2 is touted as being all that DirectX 9 is and more, plus it is an open protocol, but game developers need to use it and help formulate it for it to be a success.

    I use Windows because of the games. That's the ONLY reason. Linux is more than capable of being my primary OS for web browsing, email, office work etc. But without developers coding for Linux, it will never gain the crucial support of the younger generation whose first question will be "What games run on it?" And if you don't hook 'em while they're young, then you will lose another generation to Microsoft's grasp.

    ATI and Nvidia both supply 3D drivers for their cards, so why aren't they trying to get developers on board to actually code or port GAMES for the Linux market???

    Someone really needs to write a GameOS version of Linux, and basically give it away as open source. If one or two top games like Half Life 2 or Doom III were able to run on it, it would soon saturate the market and provide developers with a free alternative to developing purely for Microsoft. Heck, why doesn't Sun write it? It could be a whole new line for them and firmly establish them as a true competitor to Microsoft. Just make it an open source game protocol is all I ask.
    • by s88 ( 255181 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @08:20AM (#6993214) Homepage
      "It really is time that a game protocol is made that is truly able to be used as a cross-platform API. I mean, game developers must surely realise that if they were able to code in one API and have it compile under Windows, Linux, Xbox, PS2, GameCube etc, they would make way more money servicing all the market segments, not just one, and save on development costs to boot!"

      And surely you realize that such an abstraction will either require significant architectural concessions from all platforms, or will inevitably lead to slower performance on all platforms. Its called optimization, and it is almost always the enemy of generalization.
  • by Tuxinatorium ( 463682 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:19AM (#6992075) Homepage
    The reason they made a linux dedicated server but no linux client is twofold:

    1: The dedicated server is simpler and easier to port because most of the source remains unchanged and you don't have to fuss with OS-specific API's and graphics libraries beyond the very rudimentary GUI

    2: Linux is sucessful in the realm of servers, but is not yet a mainstream primary desktop operating system. Sure, maybe there are 10% as many linux desktop installs as windows, but the vast majority of those linux users also have a windows partition or another computer running windows, therefore it's not worth porting the client to take advantage of an extra 1% of market space.
  • dual-boot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IshanCaspian ( 625325 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:50AM (#6992184) Homepage
    If you want a decent desktop OS and games you have to dual boot. Period. That's the god-awful truth and it's not changing any time in the next 5 years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2003 @03:07AM (#6992238)

    So here's a typical slashdot response. I mean, just because it runs on Windows and not linux, you have a bajillion people calling shenanigans on Valve. I didn't hear nearly as many complaints when Nintendo released Legend of Zelda for the Gamecube only. And the same can be said for any third-party-developer game released for a single platform, so don't say that's a bad analogy.

    And of course, for those people who say that it's the same hardware, so it should be easy, well, just look at how long it took to get WINE working. It's not easy. It's essentially developing for a different platform even if the hardware is the same.

    So before you get all self-righteous about this, just stop and think for a second. If you're about to whine because Valve won't support your platform of choice, just remember that you made a choice. No one's forcing you to use linux. No one but you. And quit saying that Valve is in bed with Microsoft. It sure seems that they've been pretty linux friendly, compared to say... ohh. I don't know. Blizzard. And pretty much everyone else out there. Sure there are some exceptions, but in the end, they're about making money, and yes, you hate that, but many of you live in America, and enjoy doing so, what with the whole democracy and capitalism thing going on, imperfect though our implementation may be. Like the subject says, this is like whining about it not running on your toaster with netbsd. So. Yeah. Stop it.

  • by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @03:43AM (#6992383)
    Remember EpicGames? The folks who developed UT and UT2003. Well, you can now be sure we won't be seeing any more Linux titles from them. According to this article [], EpicGames and Microsoft have just signed a multi-game publishing deal which would make the games PC/XBOX-exclusive and I really doubt MSFT would permit any kind of Linux support.
  • by fluor2 ( 242824 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @07:58AM (#6993108)
    Cheats in gaming has becomed an increased problem in some on-line games.

    Since WINE sports Hardware acceleration, future game hacks (e.g. a program that aims for you, and other cheats) that are developed to run and hack through WINE, might be undetectable for the Windows anti-cheat program. Thus, it might be that the Anti-Cheat will block any WINE.

    I've allready seen cheats that is undetectable through WINE in Half-Life Counter-Strike, and my guess it's only a matter of time before WINE is getting blocked, unless a anti-cheat client from within Linux is written.
  • Here we go again. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @08:18AM (#6993200) Homepage Journal
    OK, folks, here we go again.

    Go back and look over this story []. There, one before, we had a story on Slashdot about a software vendor not supporting Linux. At that time, I made a very reasonable suggestion - write to the company involved and ask for a Linux port. I also asked folks who had done so to comment in my Journal, so as to have a public record of the number of letters so written so that when the company involved said "We've never had any requests for this" we could trivially disprove the claim.

    And what came of it? Nothing. cat /dev/null.

    Why did Valve release a Linux server for Halflife? Because the community innundated them with requests for it.

    So you want a HalfLife2 for Linux? Innundate Valve with requests! Stop bitching on Slashdot, and write them a physical, paper and toner letter requesting a HalfLife2 client for Linux.

    Now, as for the whole "Just suck it up and run Windows" crowd, and the whole "Fuck Windows - Linux or Nothing" crowd: Each of us must make a decision what is more important - running the OS we choose, or playing a game. And you know what? That decision is going to be different for different people - imagine that!

    If you are willing to put up with Windows to be able to run Halflife 2, then by all means do so, have fun, and SHUT THE FUCK UP!

    If you will 'live free or die', and refuse to run Windows in order to run Halflife 2, then great! Welcome to the fold, accept the consequences of your decision, and SHUT THE FUCK UP (on Slashdot, that is)! Bitching on Slashdot won't change things, writing a letter to Valve just might!

    Or if you don't want to write Valve, then help out on the Wine DirectX layer (and yes, I actually DO have contributions in the Wine source tree.)

    But whatever your choices are, accept that they come with consequences, and STOP BITCHING ABOUT THEM WHERE IT WILL DO NO GOOD!
  • Boycott (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _iris ( 92554 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @09:42AM (#6993898) Homepage
    It seems to me that the answer is in the question. A good portion of HL servers run on Linux. Those servers collectively hold a decent amount of power over the ongoing success of HL. If they shut down, demanding a Linux client, Valve sure would wake up.
  • by moojin ( 124799 ) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @10:57AM (#6994583)
    Coordinate a day with other Half Life Linux Server administrators to select a day once a week, two weeks, or month to turn off your Half Life Linux Server. Make sure that the creators of Half Life 2 know that the reason that you are doing this is to convince them to release a Linux client of HL2.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe