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Re: Anyone on this list?

Jan Ekholm wrote:
> It would be nice to see some more traffic on this list, as the one other
> game-related list (opengl-gamedev) I know of is just about Windows games.

What should the extra traffic be about? Implementations, algorithms, 
game theory or what else? Problem is that these topics may get very 
project specific. And most projects keep those details to themselves, 

> <troll> 
> Maybe this list reflects the general state of open source game development
> on Linux? Many games are started and developed until 50% complete, then
> they collapse. Is it a matter of too eager and unskilled developers,
> unrealistic projects, lack of time, immature tools, bad libraries, lousy
> hardware support, horribly complex installation issues, or what? Why does
> Linux not have as healthy an underground gaming scene as other platforms?
> </troll>

Do you really want an answer to this?

Here it is anyway:

Linux is not really missing hardware support. Most high quality sound 
and video hardware has superb support for Linux (Creative and nVidia are 
good examples here). So cancel that out.

Helper libraries are not a problem either. Loki has successfully ported 
several successful high quality titles to Linux using SDL, OpenGL and 
OpenAL. So this works for production use. You can't get much further 
than this ;). Btw: the upcoming UT2003 uses OpenAL and SDL on both Linux 
and Windows (have a look at the Sytem/ subdirectoy in the demo to see 
the proof)!

Installing Linux shouldn't be a problem anymore. I've read reports that 
first-time users have installed Linux more quickly than a up-to-date 
M$-OS. The installers for Linux are really easy to use by now and can 
simplify installation even more than M$ does (which is a very useful 
feature for totally inexperienced users). Rule that out, too.

Immature tools? Depends. For pure programming the best tools you can get 
are free (even the Intel compilers for Linux are freely available for 
non-commecial use). For 2D/3D artwork and sound/music the situation is 
slightly different, though. Free tools in that area either haven't quite 
the features you want or have lacking import/export capabilities (like 
blender has ATM). Of course you can try to buy commecial tools, but 
there aren't many creative tools available for Linux commecially and not 
too many people consider bying commecial software for Linux. So there 
are still some holes to fix here, but situation is getting better with time.

Too eager/unskilled developers, unrealistic projects, lack of time: you 
*do* see this on other platforms as well. It is not limited to Linux 
only. Esp. for the Windows plattform there is a big (and already very 
organized - at least here in Germany) community of independent game 
developers. Of course many projects fail. Only a small fraction of them 
ever gets completed, but because of the sheer number of developers and 
projects this small fraction still leads to a considerable output. 
Another reason is that going commecial on Windows is a lot easier than 
doing the same on Linux because the market share of gamers that use 
Linux is virtually non-existent. The situation is like an inverse 
self-fulfilling prophecy: No one is making games for Linux, so why 
should I be interested in using Linux as OS? - No serious gamer has 
Linux installed, so why should I have my game ported? As long as no 
serious high-quality titles (read: commecial games) are available for 
Linux (even better: Linux only) the market for Linux games won't 
increase. And as long as the market isn't there most spare-time Linux 
game projects will be bound to fail because they are only driven by 
self-motivation and not by outlook that the project might go commecial 
one day and actually make money.

How can we change this? I think we all know the answer. So let's try to 
get it done ;).