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| John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support - briefly|
|(hx) 05:26 PM EST - Feb,06 2013 |
| There is no business case to be made for officially supporting Linux with mainstream games as things currently stand, John Carmack has said. Speaking on Reddit, the id Software founder said that while he would be tempted to port to Linux for technical reasons, such as using Valgrind, working on open source Linux OpenGL drivers and running experimental GPU features, the platform barely made it into his top ten priorities. He also stated that while he was happy that id Software's last release Rage ran in Wine, an emulator designed to allow the use of Windows programs on Linux, there was no special effort made to support it. (thanks Develop)
I wish Linux well, but the reality is that it barely makes it into my
top ten priorities (Burn the heretic!); I use Linux for the flight
computers at Armadillo Aerospace, but not for any regular desktop work.
I was happy to hear that Rage ran in Wine, but no special effort was
made to support it.
I do get tempted to port to Linux for technical reasons – I would like
to use Valgrind again, and Nvidia has told me that some experimental
GPU features I would like to use for R&D would be easier to prove
out on Linux. Working on open source Linux OpenGL drivers again would
also be fun if I ever had the time.
However, I don't think that a good business case can be made for
officially supporting Linux for mainstream games today, and Zenimax
doesn't have any policy of “unofficial binaries” like Id used to have.
I have argued for their value (mostly in the context of experimental
Windows features, but Linux would also benefit), but my forceful
internal pushes have been for the continuation of Id Software's open
source code releases, which I feel have broader benefits than
unsupported Linux binaries.
I can't speak for the executives at Zenimax, but they don't even
publish Mac titles (they partner with Aspyr), so I would be stunned if
they showed an interest in officially publishing and supporting a Linux
title. A port could be up and running in a week or two, but there is so
much work to do beyond that for official support. The conventional
wisdom is that native Linux games are not a good market. Id Software
tested the conventional wisdom twice, with Quake Arena and Quake Live.
The conventional wisdom proved correct. Arguments can be made that
neither one was an optimal test case, but they were honest tries.
If you fervently believe that there is an actual business case to be
made for Linux ports, you can make a business offer to a publisher –
offer a guarantee and be willing to do the work and support. This is
what Aspyr does for the Mac, and what Loki did for Linux. However, you
probably can't even get an email returned if you are offering less than
six figures to a top ten publisher. This may sound ridiculous – “Who
would turn away $20,000?” but the reality is that many of the same
legal, financial, executive, and support resources need to be brought
to bear on every single deal, regardless of size, and taking time away
from something that is in the tens of millions of dollars range is
often not justifiable.
I truly do feel that emulation of some sort is a proper technical
direction for gaming on Linux. It is obviously pragmatic in the range
of possible support, but it shouldn't have the technical stigma that it
does. There really isn't much of anything special that a native port
does – we still make OpenGL calls, winsock is just BSD sockets, windows
threads become pthreads, and the translation of input and audio
interfaces don't make much difference (XInput and Xaudio2 are good
APIs!). A good shim layer should have far less impact on performance
than the variability in driver quality.
Translating from D3D to OpenGL would involve more inefficiencies, but
figuring out exactly what the difficulties are and making some form of
“D3D interop” extension for OpenGL to smooth it out is a lot easier
than making dozens of completely refactored, high performance native
Ideally, following a set of best practice guidelines could allow
developers to get Linux versions with little more effort than
supporting, say, Windows XP.
Properly evangelized, with Steam as a monetized distribution platform,
this is a plausible path forward.
|Majnun||(05:40 AM EST - Feb,07 2013 )|
|John Carmack blows himself, news at 11!
Just program stuff and NEVER SPEAK IN PUBLIC you moron.
|Baconnaise||(05:15 PM EST - Feb,07 2013 )|
|He does like hearing himself talk.|