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Blizzard Reportedly Planning A Linux Game For 2013 353

It looks like the recent success of Linux gaming has caught Blizzard's eye. According to "a reliable source at the company" 2013 will be the year that "at least one of their very popular titles will see a release for Ubuntu Linux." From the article: "It's been a poorly-kept secret that Blizzard has a native Linux client of World of Warcraft. As recently as 2011, the World of Warcraft Linux client was still being maintained internally. The client has been around for years and done by their own developers as a form of testing for the popular MMORPG currently offered on Windows and Mac OS X. As for why they haven't released the client, it's come down to "targeting a specific version of the platform" with Linux being "unstandardized" due to the many different distributions. There's still some fundamental problems with gaming on Linux. With World of Warcraft working generally fine under Wine as well, the company is further unmotivated to officially support a Linux build of the game."
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Blizzard Reportedly Planning A Linux Game For 2013

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  • Too Late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 89cents ( 589228 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @03:40PM (#42497519)
    Blizzard used to by favorite gaming company. Now I loathe them. The recent huge disappointment of Diablo 3, the no LAN play in SC2, and with how I heard they seriously dumbed down WoW, Blizzard won't be getting anymore of my money.
  • Re:Too Late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:00PM (#42497681)

    Not to mention them trying to force people into using that real ID system which back fired so badly. I blame Activision for all of this. Blizzard was great until that merger.

  • by flayzernax ( 1060680 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:05PM (#42497729)

    The ironic thing is to run on mac really well they already have decent GL support, not everyone is forced to use mesa libs anymore those are really a thing of the past and depricated, NVIDIA kernal modules come witht heir own set of those very same libs which are basically everywhere on every linux gamers desktops.

    In essense they already have to cater to the specs of the vid card venders and what libs they prefer their hardware works with. So your argument is invalid for a big corp with devs who are very experienced in dealing with just that problem.

    For a garage startup it sure is a big problem to get a good 3D engine going. But for starts you can do something with SDL libs which are fucking fantastic across all platforms.

  • No it isn't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:09PM (#42497765)

    The Linux community can support itself. All they need is to release a tar.gz binary package and the distributions will make their own packages and instructions. Blizzard can release it and say "Support yourselves, we're only releasing binaries. Have fun" and the community will do the rest.

  • Re:Too Late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 89cents ( 589228 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:15PM (#42497823)
    Agreed, but the fall of Blizzard started with the closure of Blizzard North, a few years before the Activision merger.
  • by dougmc ( 70836 ) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:36PM (#42497977) Homepage

    You're comparing apples to oranges. Supporting multiple versions of one OS does not equate to supporting different Linux distributions. Supporting Windows back to XP is more like supporting Ubuntu going back many versions (pre-4.10 if you want to do it by year, but if you want to normalize for number of OS versions you could go by what Canonical supports and start with 10.04 LTS).

    See, this isn't about "normalizing", it's about differences and how difficult they are to write code to work with and support.

    A modern (within the last few years) Fedora vs a modern Debian is very roughly about as different as XP vs Windows 7 (at least from the point of view of writing a program to run on them), and really, most of the compatibility problems with Linux distributions can be resolved by simply making a statically linked executable or including all the shared libraries that you need rather than assuming that they're part of the OS. (The Linux version of .dll hell, as it were, but at least they're not installed in a system directory to mess up other programs.)

    I guess the problem becomes much larger if Blizzard tries to support Linux distributions going back to when XP was introduced (2001) but considering that they don't even support the original version of XP any more and instead require the most recent service pack even that's not a fair comparison. For the most part, supporting multiple Linux distributions aren't that bad -- the problems come in how 3D acceleration is handled, but even then you can pick a few systems and say you support them and not others. (For example, the open source Nvidia drivers probably don't perform well enough, when the binary blob drivers do, so support the latter but not the former.)

  • Re:No it isn't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:38PM (#42497989) Homepage

    There are even new installers for old Loki games that follow this same exact "support yourself" model. All Valve or Blizzard has to do is get out of the way enough to allow the community to do it's thing.

    Some power user for the random obscure distribution of your choice will gladly do the legwork for you if you don't put up legal barriers.

  • Re:Support (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hduff ( 570443 ) <<hoytduff> <at> <gmail.com>> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:47PM (#42498061) Homepage Journal

    They could release a generic, runs-most-anywhere installation bundled with all the correct libraries, specifying minimum storage,memory, videocard, kernel/glibc requirements (just like for a Windows release).

    If they want to limit support, pick the top 5 distros and make certain it runs on those out-ofthe-box. Everything else is "at your own risk". Other software companies have some model for this so it can't be that difficult.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @05:22PM (#42498345) Journal

    Well, before I start, I'm not (or rather for a long while no longer) a WoW fan, but I did briefly try it again recently. So, you know, I'm only having a superficial impression. I don't think I'll bother much with it, but...

    I think that as far as "dumbing down" goes, it really sounds worse than it really is, when you do the Vulcan thing and think about it logically.

    1. Most of the stuff you'll only notice if you've played it before and have any particular attachment (even if just for nostalgia sake) about the old system. Truth is, I most other recent games are just about as "dumbed down".

    You can play TOR for example as a DPS Trooper with little more than Grav Round, Full Auto and High Impact Bolt as the only three buttons you'll ever have to press. Heck, you could play it with Grav Round only, if you don't mind losing a little DPS. Trust me, that's actually less skill needed than WoW even now. (And obviously the Bounty Hunter is the same deal, just with different names on the buttons you press.)

    2. For that matter, it's not really dumber than WoW used to be to start with. Anyone remember the pre-Burning Crusade raids that some classes only needed one button to get through? Ironically, for all its reputation of a noob class, the Hunter was technically the most "complex" to play since it needed a whole THREE buttons. Yeah, you also needed to set the hunter mark and send the pet, so, yeah, that's a whole two whole extra buttons :p

    (Not to mention you had more typing or talking to do than the raid leader, what with having to tell everyone that yes, the pet was on passive, every time anything went wrong, no matter who started it or what actually happened. You could be still running back from the cemetery when the rest of the group did something stupid, and they'd still insist that it's somehow the pet not being on passive that caused it. I mean, it wasn't even in the dungeon, but it must have caused it. Somehow.;))

    Yeah, it didn't really start as a sort of modern day chess or go or other complex thinking game. Nor had the geekiest and smartest population. Really, it was from the start a game that 6 year olds can master.

    So let's get on to what really changed:

    3. So now for a bunch of quests you don't have to run back to the quest giver to get the next step of it. Well, it takes some getting used to it, but at the end of the day, it's not like running back and forth was actually the fun part.

    4. You don't have to keep buying skill upgrades every 2 levels; they now increase in effect with your level. Not only it's like how a bunch of other games were working already (e.g., COH), but basically if you've been on the game long enough to have a valid whine about being used to the old system... guess what? Paying a few coppers to buy the skills on a new alt wasn't really a balance factor any more anyway.

    Plus, again, running back to wherever your trainer was, and then back, was hardly something that added any fun.

    5. The talent trees. Well, the issue with those is two-fold:

    A) Most people were going for cookie-cutter builds from some site anyway. Not just in COH, but generally. Whether it's actually talent trees (e.g., TOR, RIFT, etc) or putting points in some skill (e.g., STO), most people just want something that works, not to solve a puzzle. If there had been some way to tell the computer "just go by this build off that site" automatically, most people would have just done it. And in effect that's what the new system does.

    B) You haven't actually lost much. In addition to the choice every 15 levels now, many of which are actually new extras, a bunch of the old talents everyone took for a given spec are now automatic passive skills, that you get automatically when reaching a certain level. So, you know, you haven't actually lost them or anything, and they were not that much of a choice in the first place anyway. Now you just get them automatically instead of having to click through the tree.

    C) Basically it doesn't let you mak

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @06:09PM (#42498623)

    The problem is that Linux gamers do not exist in the eyes of the developer

    It's not that they don't exist. It's that they're the ones most capable of sorting out their own setup and having multiple computers etc. Because there aren't a lot of technically inept people running linux as a desktop at home.

    If you make a 'linux' version of your game, for how many of your customers is the fastest solution to their problem to just use windows or a particular linux version? How many of those customers can manage that on their own? With linux, the answer is all of them. If you're a linux user and want to play a game you try it under wine and if that doesn't work you use a windows machine. For the technically illiterate... those are the ones we want to get money from and who need the most development support time.

    But, and it's a big but, windows 8 is horrid. It's horrid to use, but more importantly on the business side of things, it's horrid to software developers. We do not want to support it. If consumers decide to adopt it in droves (or the same basic business problems are in Windows 9 and it is adopted in droves) we have a problem. But I'd rather not be scrambling to make a linux version after I've discovered that consumers are fleeing windows to android/linux tablets and desktops or god knows what. Then you're way behind the curve and trying to play catch up, and that's a bad place to be.

  • Re:No future (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spikestabber ( 644578 ) <spike @ s pykes.net> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @08:21PM (#42499477) Homepage
    Steam works great in Gentoo Linux, I would expect Gentoo to be the absolute worst to get it running on, but it works!
  • by astro ( 20275 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:50PM (#42500307) Homepage

    I think it's time to dispel the notion that "...there aren't a lot of technically inept people running Linux as a desktop at home." This is simply not as true as it used to be. I have a growing number of friends running Linux on their single computer that is used by the whole family. These people are generally FAR from technically adept. Why are they running Linux? They can't afford Windows any more. As Windows has become harder to pirate, the required hardware has become more expensive, and with the advent of many small shops or non-profits selling very inexpensive, turn-on-and-it-works Linux systems, I am seeing it much more commonly in homes of average or below technical aptitude.

    The scary economy is actually driving people to FOSS, in my subjective experience.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"