[SATLUG] Gaming on Linux

Don Davis dondavis at reglue.org
Fri Feb 4 16:11:02 CST 2011

On 02/04/2011 03:50 PM, Christopher Connell wrote:
> I don't have any intention of doing any hardcore gaming, but I'd like to see what the group thinks of the idea of gaming on linux. 
> 1) In particular your thoughts on Cedega, VMware, Parallels, KVM, Wine/Crossover, etc 
I've had subscriptions to Cedega at different times in order to play
four different games. It didn't work with 2 of the games (which were
very popular). It worked well with Eve online (they worked actively with
Eve to make it so but that cooperation ended). The other game worked well.
It seems that the advantages of Cedega over plain Wine have slowly
Running games in VBox can be just as tricky as with Wine or Cedega -- as
most games will want graphics acceleration.

> 2) Do you think/what would it take for major Game Developers to port games to Linux?
> 2b) Do you think they stick to mostly Microsoft Windows because more users use that OS or do you think it more about Microsoft's business practices (e.g. Approaching game developers like they did with manufactures to have their systems carry Windows?

I contacted an 'independent gaming' awards company/organization about
this. They perceived it as being primarily whether it was worth the
programmers time. (While there are Linux gamers they often resort to
emulation (or even alternate OSes) to fill their gaming needs. I'll
paste the text of the email at the bottom of this.

> 3) Also what's your favorite games for linux? Me: I seem to be returning to these games: Uplink, Metal Blob Solid (Really addicted to this one) and GLTron

I really like Pingus. I loved World of Goo (though the developers have
seem to have spent all there time porting the game to iPad recently). I
would like to like Vendetta but I haven't taken the time to get into it.

Email between me and Independent Gaming organization:

Don't get me wrong--many indies do create Linux versions, and Three Rings
famously develops exclusively in an OSS environment:

*Puzzle Pirates* was developed in Java 1.4 on Debian GNU/Linux, and is now
> > deployed on FreeBSD servers. We are fans of open source, and use free
> > software whenever possible, which is most of the time. We have made
our game
> > toolkit available as open source; visit Game
> > where you can also host your multi-player creations for free, a
precursor to
> > our new project, *Whirled* <http://www.whirled.com/>.
> >
Most indies who *do* publish for Linux do so for philosophical reasons,
though.  The business side of things is questionable.  Reports of direct
sales for Linux versions--copies sold via the creator's website, ignoring
Steam/etc sales--account for 2-10% of volume.  10% is quite nice, but at 5%
and below you're probably looking at a loss.  It all depends on whether a
port is easily supported by whatever tech/engine/libraries you're using.

Linux versions certainly build respect among a very vocal audience, and it's
much easier to get press from Slashdot/Anandtech/etc outlets for a Linux
version, compared with the glut of games available on other platforms.  I've
heard anecdotal stories of players who use Linux for getting things done,
yet keep a Windows box around for gaming, and will actually buy the *Windows
* version of a game only if a Linux port is available.  OSS guys are odd
like that ;)

But anyway, indies *are* very aware of Linux--and indies share a lot of
numbers with each other, so we're all aware if the market will make sense
for our projects--so I think there *will* be more Linux ports in the future,
although probably not across the board.

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