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Re: Tools

Steve Baker wrote:

> > No, don't try saying it doesn't, because it DOES. ACCEPT IT and DO
> > SOMETHING ABOUT IT is what we should do!
> I don't know how you can say that when Quake3test appeared on Linux *before*
> windoze - and when Loki's games run (as far as I can tell) as well under
> Linux as the originals did under Windoze.  That they run that well despite
> having been PORTED from Windoze is amazing.  We have yet to see what a
> professional game written especially *for* Linux could do...but you have to
> imagine it couldn't be any worse than a ported Windoze game.

OpenGL "doesn't" count in a way. As I said, a lot of effort went into
making 3D as good as possible, much more than the efforts put into other
aspects of Linux gaming, and those games were already written with a
portable API (OpenGL) to start with.

Even with all those efforts, if you take a dual booting machine, Q3A
will be about 15% slower in Linux. Input also has its problems (people
in Windows with USB mouses are laughing VERY HARD at Linux Q3A players).
Direct rendering is supposed to bring back the 15%, but somehow, I doubt
this a bit. After all, the Glide driver is already doing direct
rendering (due to the way Voodoo1 and Voodoo2 cards work), and it is
slower than the Windows version anyway!

> Now, I can somewhat understand the argument that games are harder to
> WRITE on Linux (although I'd argue against that too) - but the game
> itself doesn't have to RUN any worse under Linux than under other OS's.

No, I don't really thing the games are harder to write (I'm a native
Unix guy, not a Win32 refugee), quite the contrary, and I wouldn't
exactly say that games themselves *have* to run worse under Linux.

In fact, the advantages that make Linux work better than Windows on
smaller machines for things like web servers and general responsiveness
(like better memory management and swapping, better scheduling, shared
library code actually shared between processes, etc) would probably let
Linux run games a tad BETTER than on Windows, like everything else! Of
course, this might be offset by the fact that most system runs with a
few daemons around, but we're pretty sure to break even or be within a
few percents of Windows performance.

It's just that for the moment, we are stuck with technology from 5-10
years ago, which stinks a lot, no matter how nicely coded it is. So
while they don't *have* to run worse, they *do* run worse.

> A company that produces games would be insane to produce *only*
> a Linux version.  They have to target Windoze too.

Yes, agreed. Anyway, with such nice SDKs as SDL and ClanLib, there is no
excuse for not doing it!

> That being the case, they could care less whether the game is
> 20% faster on one platform or the other.  The Linux version of
> a game doesn't have to compete against the Windoze version of
> the same game.  It has to compete against other Linux games...
> which operate under the same set of restrictions.

Yes, but when it comes to getting people into Linux, the gamers people
will look at Linux and see that games are obviously not cutting-edge.
That other Linux games operate under the same restrictions is no excuse
for leaving the restrictions there!

> You don't need to worry about supporting hardware that Linux
> doesn't support - because Linux-only users don't own hardware
> that Linux doesn't support.  The only Linux users who own
> incompatible hardware are those that still run Windoze - and
> they can just as easily get the Windoze version of the game.

The hardware support is worrying. As it stands, if you go spectate a
Quake 3 games at which similar level of players are in there, it is
possible to tell who has 3D audio and who hasn't! Incredible, isn't it?
Serious gamers have 3D audio, naturally.

Two very important pieces of hardware serious Quake players need (for
tournament players for example) is an USB mouse (increased definition
and speed) and 3D audio (beside the usual "big CPU, large memory and
fast video subsystem").

Linux is not apt for tournament level Quake 3 playing.

> For a small company that kind afford big splashy TV ads - and who can't
> compete against the 'big boys', the Linux market is interesting.

Hence Ludus Design! :-)

> Word of any new game spreads by word of mouth and advertising
> happens without your help in places like slashdot.  The market
> is so hungry for games that even a mid-1990's quality game could
> sell to a large fraction of the gamers who use Linux.

Surprisingly, Quadra as a new commercial game available both for Windows
and Linux didn't stir up Slashdot, but then, we're not a big name
development company...

And when I stand as a Linux-only guy and that I see my friends playing
late-1990's quality games, playing mid or early 1990's quality games
isn't something I'm completely ecstatic about. But I must admit I had a
lot of fun playing with my girlfriend's (also using only Linux) Eric's
Ultimate Solitaire (despite of the bugs!)! Some classics never dies! ;-)

> Stores like Fry's are beginning to stock Linux games - but you
> don't have to compete for shelf space and use flashy packaging
> to attract the consumers' attention.  You could put your game in
> a brown paper sack with the name hand-written in crayon...every
> potential Linux game buyer who enters the store would *still*
> be guaranteed to see it and know what it is.

That's one thing sorely needed: Linux-aware publishers. Loki is
self-published, and I don't know if they would publish titles from other
developers, but as a commercial developer, I can say the most painful
part is the publisher hunt (self-publishing, like we did for Quadra, is
also quite painful).

Pierre Phaneuf
Ludus Design, http://ludusdesign.com/
"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you. Then you win." -- Gandhi