Linux Support :D

Discussion in 'Wish List' started by FelixAlias, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. FelixAlias

    FelixAlias

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    I've got a great idea for a feature: Linux deployement support!

    Come on, I'm sick of people leaving the penguin guy behind.. Or worse yet, only developing for X86 Linux.

    I wouldn't know, because I haven't seen the Unity code, but I know that:
    a) Javascript is available on Linux. Well, duh. What's it not available on?
    b) Mono is made almost exclusively FOR Linux, which is what Unity is coded in.
    c) The AgeaX PhysX engine is being ported to Linux (by AgeaX).
    d) OpenGL is available for Linux, and most Mac ATi Cards do support some form of acceleration in Linux (I've tested: Rage 128, Radeon 7500, Radeon 9200).

    Please don't say there isn't a big enough market, because although it isn't a very big market, it means that there are less people developing for it. Maybe if more people developed for it, there would be a bigger market. Also, if there aren't many people developing for it (Especially Linux PPC) you will have almost the entire 3D game market (or rather, your customers will). What other 3D games are there for Linux? Quake? Doom? Unreal? Sure, those are all great, but watching pieces of flesh being ripped apart and thrown all over the screen doesn't appeal to the whole market. I mean, wouldn't it be great if a game like the original Nanosaur was available on Linux? Yeah, of course it would!
     
  2. hsparra

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    Isn't Unity mainly written in C++ with the Mono layer for scripting purposes.

    Has the AgeaX PhysX engine already been ported? If not, I would think it would be wise for OTee wait until that time. Of course, maybe it is just a drop in change :)

    The main problem I see with Linux is testing (besides Linux users have a reputation for not liking to pay :p ). Not only do you have no telling what configuration, but how many different builds do you test against. From a support perspective it would be major challenge. Perhaps they could charge $$$ for any Linux support. Of course that would dilute the focus of Otee. Could Otee reasonably expect that the extra development and support costs would be covered adequately?

    Of all the Linux boxes, are not business oriented and would be good candidates for gaming. It would be interesting to see the numbers on Linux for the titles that you listed.

    I think I would rather see the resources go to other features, preferable the ones I want :wink: or to console support.
     
  3. NicholasFrancis

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    Our publisher of gooball tried porting some earlier games to Linux. Sales were horrendous. Far below what he got on the mac or on windows (around 10% of mac, IIRC).

    And just because we can publish to Linux does not mean we would get a lot of linux users, as they would have to get a Mac and OS X.

    So yes, the market just isn't big enough. We don't have the resources to cure the miniscule of the Linux-buying games community... If the linux community suddenly starts buying up huge amounts of games, then there is a case for us. So far, sadly, that is not the case.

    A small correction: Unity is not made with Mono. we just use it for JavaScript. The core of Unity is written in C++. It would take us some months to get Unity-made games running within linux, and seeing the quality of the ATI X11 drivers, most likely they would run a lot worse than on many other platforms.

    So yeah, it's a sweet dream. Unfortunately, it is not really a compelling business case. I'd much rather spend 3-4 months of my life making Unity cooler than spending them porting the system to Linux.
     
  4. Prometheus

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    No Linux market? In the meantime there are more developers who prefer Linux as their development system than Windows according to an Evans Data study:

    http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/article.php/3645766

    Mainly because it is very ease to develop platform independent under Linux e.g. with the Qt libraries.
     
  5. taumel

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    Well, at some point in the future i also would like to see unity beeing able to export for linux but before this there are more important things to be done in my opinion. It also isn't that easy as saying linux means a lot of distributions. Have you ever wondered why even BlitzMax restricts itself to certain distributions like ubuntu?!
     
  6. StarManta

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    I have honestly never met one of these imaginary developers who is in love with Linux.

    All the developers I've met or talked to are in love with either Visual Studio, or XCode. Game developers, especially, tend to love VS. (Except for those of us wise enough to skip the hard work and use Unity...) ;)
     
  7. Aras

    Aras

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    I don't see how the study would target game developers. Web (or other...) developers are quite different and have different demands than game developers. I've yet to see a game studio where developers use Linux.

    Again, Qt is not the most often used library in games. When game developers care about cross-platform, that usually means PC vs. Consoles; I don't see how developing a console game on Linux would be easier (and some devkits only run on windows).
     
  8. bigkahuna

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    As much as I would love to see the Unity editor running under Linux (and players for Windows, OS X and Linux) I know it will never be. As Aras and Nick alluded, it's just not economically feasible, not enough economic return for the investment.

    If you really want to develop under Linux, then (pardon me for saying this) your best option IMHO is Blender. Blender now has Bullet Physics, GLSL shaders, and a very impressive 3D modeling/animation toolset (fluids, mesh sculpt, etc. etc.). Work is currently under way to integrate the Ogre3D graphics engine into Blender and when completed will make it a real contender. Like many open source projects, though, development tends to happen in "spurts" and some bugs tend to be ignored for years. Even so, I've done some very cool work with Blender.

    It's not Unity, but for the price it's hard to beat.
     
  9. taumel

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    Holy cow if we're discussing Linux than I'm really much more for an publishing option for linux than for an IDE. You know we're missing still the Vista IDE!
     
  10. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    FWIW, the OP (FelixAlias) did ask for it as a publish target, not necessarily as an authoring platform. To that end it is "easier" to port the player as opposed to the authoring platform. But that still won't necessarily make it the best use of time and resources...
     
  11. miguel.de.icaza

    miguel.de.icaza

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    I am a big fan of Unity, and I would very much like to see it run on Linux.

    We are working through the legalese to have some folks inside Novell at the Mono team assist in porting the runtime of Unity.

    Hopefully we will be able to get the legalese out of the way, get the port in place, and Otee will be able to ship the resulting binaries and allow developers to also issue Linux binaries.

    Miguel
     
  12. taumel

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    Although it's up since a pretty long time i still have a lot of traffic for gridwars2.

    Since now the percentage looks like this;

    100% for windows
    57% for linux (out of windows)
    30% for osx (out of windows)

    So there are almost twice as much people playing the game on linux as on OSX. Question is how big the percentage of user would be who also would pay for games on linux.

    One thing which might be misleading is the high percentage of linux and OSX compared to windows. In reality the numbers of the windows version are for sure much higher due to the fact that the win version has been spread by a lot of other links as well. So don't think that OSX makes out 1/3 of the windows pie as this for sure won't be the case!
     
  13. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    Taumel: yet somehow you've managed to secure 187% of people playing your game at all, well done! :p Can you explain those percentages a bit? What do they represent? Sorry but I'm confused as they sum to a number greater than 100% so I'm not sure what they're supposed to indicate.
     
  14. taumel

    taumel

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    Nope the numbers are correct but maybe i didn't explain them good enough.

    If we say the windows chunk is 100% of the whole market then linux and OSX numbers refer to the windows market and not to the whole one. And the stats result on what has been downloaded from my site since march this year, so almost nine months.
     
  15. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    To be sure I understand you then, for every 100 windows users that visit your site, you get 57 Linux users and only 30 Mac users, is that correct? Wouldn't that then really be numbers like this (and thus easier on my eyes, sorry):

    Windows: 53.5% (100/187)
    Linux: 30.5% (57/187)
    Mac: 16.0% (30/187)

    Sorry if I'm being daft here, but when you show percentages my mind wants to assume that each is supposed to be a slice of one whole. If the above is true then I'm quite surprised at those numbers all around (Windows seems low, Mac seems high and Linux seems very high) based on my experience. Interesting stuff...


    Edit: and you know I still don't think that I quite understand the numbers as even after posting this I feel like I'm off in my understanding. How about a nice clean set of percentages, what percent are on Win/Mac/Linux... :p
     
  16. socksy

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    And gridwars isn't the best of indicators to show which operating systems people use to play games - it's not like you've been advertising gridwars to mac sites other than this one... And I guess that the more tech savvy people are, the more likely they are to have a linux installation - and I bet you've mentioned gridwars on blitz/director/whatever-you-made-it-in forums/mailing-lists. No offence or anything, as the game is enjoyable, just not the greatest of indicators.
     
  17. taumel

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    There are 19 people sitting at the table and discussing which features should make their way into the next unity version.

    Now 10 of them, the windows users say: "Ohhohh we miss the windows IDE so badly you immediately have to make the port otherwise the world will stop turning." Sitting next to them the 6 linux users are trying to get noted and trying to object: "Don't you know, no one uses windows anymore. Linux is the future and it will be a glorious one! Everything is possible with Linux and it's free and free and ..." Now don't let us forget the rest of the guys the 3 left OSX users sitting there murmuring: "We don't need support for other operating systems. Pah! Can't you idiots just understand?! It's an OSX program!"

    I was just too lazy to cummulate the whole chunk in the calculator. Now if i had known what confusion this would cause i would have done it the other way...holy cow!

    What i wanted to say with these numbers is that there are a lot more linux users playing around than osx users. But as i said keep in mind the game is for free. I've no idea how the numbers would look like if gridwars2 would cost something.
     
  18. taumel

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    @socksy
    Obviously the game has also been shown on the Blitz site but hey a) BlitzMax is crossplatform, that's why there are three version available at all and b) the percentage of users who come from there is small, and even smaller the amount of linux users, they are less than little. Be asured there come more mac user from BlitzMax than Linux Users.

    Most of the traffic comes from google and other sites which link to my site and these links come from windows, mac, linux and general forums (overclockers,macuser,happypenguin,stumbleupon,..) and i've never promoted the game anywere beside of here and BlitzMax, just let if flew...

    And before you even accuse me of wanting to promote a linux version i'm more for console publishing if it would be the right one! :O)
     
  19. bigkahuna

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    Thanks for trying to clarify that, although those numbers still seem way out of whack with what our sites and the rest of the world are seeing.

    Last I checked, of the people that visit our sites: about 80% are running Windows, 13% OS X, and 7% Linux. That's more in keeping with the market share info I normally see floating around.
     
  20. taumel

    taumel

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    Well, it's all clear that these numbers only have truth about this specific case but to be honest i was quite impressed about how many linux users there are around AND PLAYING!

    If i go after OSs for the same period and domain than i would get:

    100% windows
    41% linux (out of win)
    23% osx (out of win)
     
  21. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    Well, that's precisely why I was trying to get a clear picture of your numbers. It just all seems so out of alignment with the numbers I've heard/seen/etc. I don't doubt you're getting those figures, but I do wonder how typical they might be compared to the global game playing population.

    Yet you did it again. :p Doing the translation of your numbers (for easier digestion) for the entire domain gives us:

    Win: 61% (100/164)
    Linux: 25% (41/164)
    Mac: 14% (23/164)

    And to me that still seems quite different than I'd expect. Naturally my expectations could be what's out of alignment! :D Thanks for sharing your traffic data, it's good for us all to keep tabs on these sorts of numbers as we discuss things like a Linux player.

    Any thoughts from y'all as to whether the Win/Mac/Linux spread is significantly different in various world regions?
     
  22. taumel

    taumel

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    >>>
    Yet you did it again. :p Doing the translation of your numbers (for easier digestion) for the entire domain gives us:
    <<<

    Just because of you as you might have expected me to do it this way! :O)

    Regarding my numbers i would say they are a) based on a solid ground as the period is rather long and the number of downloads is huge - at least for my little domain.

    My conclusion would be that windows is king of the hill and this much more than my numbers indicate due to what i've been written above. The first time i've noticed that there are a lot of linux downloads, i surfed several linux gaming sites and there were quite some games and a active scene of gamers around. I really was suprised by seeing games beyond tetris, solitaire or freakin out openGL stuff.

    Why there are more linux than osx gamers around could be due to that a) the much larger installed pc hardware base and b) there are not so many games around and linux is also used by gamers. Indy games runs quite well on systems where there aren't this many alternatives to the big commercial ones around. Maybe it's due to this whilst i also would like to point out that gridwars2 is no looser, it's a solid enjoyable addictive game.

    So i think these numbers do make sense...
     
  23. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    Consistency is a good thing I suppose. And I certainly don't mean to indicate that your numbers aren't "based on solid grounds" or in any way nonsense, I'm just pointing out my degree of surprise as they're quite a bit different than I'd expect (and again I cite that my expectations may be out of alignment).

    Anyone else have such traffic numbers to offer? It would be good to read them for comparison. Also, any thoughts on if/how the Win/Mac/Linux split varies by world region? Is Linux any more or less common in Europe than in the US/North America?
     
  24. taumel

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    Linux as OSX is more common in europe than the usa according to the figures i've seen and i suspect that the third world will be more a linux place although i've no idea how much they are gaming...
     
  25. lgoss007

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    Being a linux user :D ...

    Hi. My name is Lucas. Nice to meet you (oh and I'm not imaginary). I really do like doing development in linux (virtual desktops rock). And yes, I even do development by day in Windows with Visual Studio (which is nice), but I actually prefer doing linux development (and would leave if I could find a job doing linux or mac work).

    Anyways, these numbers don't really surprise me for a free game. I know quite a few Windows users that are now using linux, and have asked about gaming. The main problem with linux is, people get used to the whole free thing and don't want to pay for things. Which is why I got a Mac. I'd like to get paid for at least some of the work I do. Now if this was for a paid game I'd be surprised.
     
  26. nafonso

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  27. greenland

    greenland

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    People that did not pay for their operating system or a single application they run on their operating system do not expect to pay money for their games.

    Unless they are gamers. Then they boot Windows.

    However, a Unity server (2.0 wink wink nudge) that compiled on linux would be excellent.
     
  28. taumel

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    There's a interesting fact about those linux numbers: It shows that there is a noticeable audience who is gaming on linux and this is interesting for doing contract work where you don't get payed by the person who plays the game directly. So if i can reach more users with linux support then this are great news for the client.
     
  29. Jonathan Czeck

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    It's really great to have your support behind Unity! I hope the port turns out. It will be great for Linux games. How many (or which) distributions do you think would be able to be supported?

    Cheers,
    -Jon
     
  30. Prometheus

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  31. joacoerazo

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    A linux version of the player will be nice.
     
  32. madhead

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    I do windows development by day with (VS2005 C#) and I have to use windows to develop on. (I have no choice in it!) I spend a very large percentage of my day trying to find out why programs aren't working as i would have expected them too. And normally its down to the way windows doesn't work as expected!

    Now at night I use Linux exclusively at home for a firewall and for server and for desktops. And my whole family uses Linux too. Each machine can boot windows and Linux but my kids and wife all prefer Linux. I have no troubles and spend no time trying to get Linux to work it just does out of the box.

    Now all my kids play and buy games (I own 3 PlayStation two's, a WII console, PSP and a number of Nintendo's) they don't really care what OS they play them on they just want to stick a disk in and it works without hassles. I have only purchased a few PC based games in my time RTCW, doom4 and quake2, 3 and 4 (All of which normally go down as windows games as the same disks are used for both). I play them on Linux and they work for hours without trouble. The reason so many people still play games on PCs and not on Linux is that the majority of software companies like the fact that they only have to worry about one platform. There are many potential customers using Linux they only purchase games for windows because they have too not because they want to. The people on Linux who don't buy games are the people on windows who steal them (i.e. they wouldn't buy them either!). I pay for games on PlayStation and on the WII consoles because I refuse to pay for games written only for MS windows. If those games worked on Linux I would without doubt buy all my games for Linux as they will work forever after wards. (Unlike windows where they break with every new windows upgrade u know 98 x 7 version - ME windows2000 XP and Vista etc. etc.).

    Please think about the potential market gain by getting the unity runtime to work on Linux surely when you see that uses will buy games that run on Linux your total percentages will go up I for one would buy more PC based games as they are after all cheaper on PCs. I just won't pay for them unless they do work on Linux. I would much rather buy games for LINUX than consoles too. But until more software houses make them available as a real choice we are all stuck with the status quo. If you don't make unity cross platform then surely someone else will eventually step in and create an alternative. Why wait and be second in the queue? Be bold and be first! And of course make loads more money for yourselves and make Linux gamers happy too:)

    Sorry for the length of the post But its late I'm tired and Fed up with people constantly saying its not viable as a business case to port games engines to work on all x86 based OSes.

    Cheers,
    Andy
     
  33. Prometheus

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    Anything new on this front?
     
  34. madhead

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    I figure my post was obviously to the point and there is no argument against it :)

    But alas no Linux Version yet :cry:
     
  35. Willem

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    To play the other side here, John Carmack of id Software has been quoted as saying that porting to Linux isn't worth it. Even though id does it, they do it as as technical exercise and not because it makes them any actual money.

    Just food for thought.
     
  36. madhead

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    That is very true however.... when I purchased my copies of RTCW and Quake and Doom they all went down as windows versions and not Linux versions.
     
  37. Willem

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    I guess the way to make your point to the industry at large would be to not buy games unless they came in Linux exclusive packages instead of add-ins on the Windows CD.

    If you buy the Windows CD anyway, they have little incentive to change their format or their attitudes.
     
  38. freyr

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    You were suffering from Warnock's Dilemma :)
     
  39. madhead

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    I agree reason 1. looks favorite to me :)

    And in response to Willem....
    You are right but.... for one very important gotcha! There aren't very many native Linux only boxed games at all. And until runtimes like unity are available to use on linux no-one is going to port unity runtime games to Linux because it is a hardcore porting exercise.

    If Garage Games can do it why not unity. The fact that Miguel offered assistance and as yet hasn't been taken up on it says it all (maybe?)

    Cheers,
    Andy
     
  40. Prometheus

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    More: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/07/02/mswindows-share_1.html
     
  41. careo

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    The study seemed to focus more on enterprise and business software:
    But I can't be sure, because it looks like you have to pay for the study if you want to read it.


    I'd love to see a good study specific to gamers and their platforms of choice. Sales data is even better. After all, if people overwhelmingly prefer Windows because they can easily get cracked games to play on it, that doesn't really do a software developer any good.
     
  42. podperson

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    Which is because they are trying to make money, not support Linux. You cite five games running engines written by id which builds portable codebases (and writes its own drivers). They started out developing on NeXT machines (no kidding) because they understand that you develop on the machine you like and ship on the machine you have to. They make so much money (and have so much technical skill) they can afford to take that attitude. Most games companies fail in both departments.

    The problem for Linux is that it's easier to target WINE (or the game-flavors of that) than Linux itself (in fact, I'd suggest that would be the best path for Unity to take if it cared to). It's easier because (a) they can make their stuff run on WINE but if there are problems, it's not their fault; (b) WINE acts as a binary-compatible hardware abstraction layer for Win32 software (something Linux doesn't quite do even for Linux x86 software).

    Support costs depend on the predictable qualities of the platform, and Linux combines a tiny user base with a ridiculously heterogeneous runtime environment. One of the reasons Mac OS survived for so long with a great application base despite small user numbers is (a) Mac users buy more software than Windows users, (b) the support costs of a Mac version of your product are typically far lower than support costs for one Windows variant, so -- assuming your product has a portable codebase -- producing a Mac version is essentially "free money".

    Linux (desktop) users are (a) smaller in number even than Mac users, (b) buy less software than anyone, (c) have ridiculously high support costs unless they support themselves ... feel like GPLing your codebase?

    Now, imagine trying to support a base of Linux users, many of whom equate paying for software to some kind of fascism, and/or are running Windows (for games or whatever) anyway, and/or insist on compiling their own special version of the kernel. The first group won't pay; the second ground will whine that performance under Linux is inferior to performance under Windows or WINE. The third group will complain that you're retarded because you used KDE instead of Gnome or Gnome instead of KDE, or either of those in favor of MyEvenBetterUILibrary.

    Me too -- but you can infer a lot from the behavior of games companies. Mac gamers manage to buy enough copies of AAA titles that they get ported to the Mac platform and sell for high prices (long after the PC versions have dropped to bargain bin prices), even though most non-casual Mac users own consoles and/or Windows PCs specifically for gaming.
     
  43. madhead

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    I take it then that you are a mac owner/user?

    You have made many statements about linux users and that they don't buy software.How do you know this is true? Like I said in my previous posts I have brought games for the PC to use soley on Linux and they go down as windows sales. You should re-read my previous posts in more detail. I WILL BUY GAMES for Linux if they are available but I want those sales to go down as Linux sales. Otherwise my purchses all go down as windows purchases.
    Yes I know they need to make money doesn't everyone? But ignoring a revenue stream makes you less not more money. If the engine is designed correctly then it should be straight forward to have it available to many platforms at minimal cost surely.

    Garage games have an engine that runs on MAC linux and Windows. My point was about gaming engines not the games writers. Afterall unity is a framework for games writers.
    Cheers,
     
  44. Eric5h5

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    Unless, of course, the investment required for a Linux version is higher than the returns you get, and then there are the support costs to consider, which are higher for Linux because of the reasons mentioned above. I used Linux extensively for a few years and have nothing against it, but it's definitely a poor platform for commercial consumer software. Boxed Linux games could sell, oh, hundreds of copies total. Yes, 3 digits. And then the company gets flooded by emails from people wanting the company to send them the binaries for free, so they can use the data files from the Windows version they found in the bargain bin.

    --Eric
     
  45. Thunderbox Dragonmaster

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    at least make a linux web player, from what i see most web players are practically guaranteed free so they don't have to pay :p . that would work
     
  46. taumel

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    @madhead

    Different people, different experiences, as:

    a) I've never had issues with moving the games i like from one windows to another with the last three ones. Actually i had far more problems with moving games from one console to another. :O)
    b) All stats i have indicate that linux users are fond of downloading but not so fond of paying but i agree it would be nice for webplayers in order to increase the audience.
    c) As crossplatform tools like BlitzMax has shown the driver situation can be much more worse than the openGL side on windows so...
    d) Actually Linux was the only system which ever crashed one of my harddrives due to the buggy NTFS implementation.

    I like Linux for that it's free and somehow open but as long as there are dozens of distributions with all those different things installed, not even preinstalled hw accelerated drivers and so on it's really nothing i'm fond of. Ask BlitzResearch about all the problems and why the Linux version of BlitzMax is the only one which is hard to go with and only one distribution is supported whilst the Win and the Mac versions just flow.

    Actually OSX is what Linux could have been: a nice Unix were all the unhandy stuff is hidden.

    Linux still feels like a hack in comparison and they never managed to get this done and i'm pretty sure we'll see another couple of big and mall window managers and ugly different icon distributions until there shows something up like a common Linux experience. Fine for servers, fine for people who have time to fiddle around but nothing for those who just want to use a computer out of the box. From my experiences and the things i do it's way easier to go with OSX and Windows here...


    Regards,

    taumel
     
  47. jkreijkamp

    jkreijkamp

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
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    Is linux client still prio 0.0 or has time increased it's changes? I know Linux gaming won't make any bucks, but I'm looking in using Linux as cheap alternative for low-cost information and presentation terminals. I wouldn't mind if only one flavour of Linux is supported and only x86. Can also live with webplayer functionality only and even if it stays in beta forever (as long as it is reasonably stable, but without any guarantees/support).

    (webplayer probably helps for casual gaming market because with linux support added it would be more viable alternative to flash for more graphics intensive stuff).

    Maybe a nice internship project?
     
  48. Charles Hinshaw

    Charles Hinshaw

    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,070
    jumping into this thread, which I may regret -- I didn't see anyone mention that being able to publish a headless version of a player that targets Linux might be nice. It could be deployed on servers and respond to command line configuration.
     
  49. jashan

    jashan

    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,520
    Hi Charles,

    actually, I that's something I'd love to see, too. I really don't care to much about games under Linux, but having the possibility to run a headless game server on a Linux box sure would be very very nice...

    Some with Windows, btw... I'll be happy as soon as I get headless on either Windows or Linux. I know it's there for Mac OS, but that doesn't help me much ;-)

    Sunny regards,
    Jashan
     
  50. Charles Hinshaw

    Charles Hinshaw

    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
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    The path to headless on Windows is surely shorter, but Linux would be nice in that game servers could be spawned dynamically with only hardware costs not OS licensing or other software.

    Ideally, I want to be able to spawn them on EC2 instances too. :wink: