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Feature: Games

Commercial gaming: Can it thrive on Linux?

By Joe Barr on December 22, 2006 (8:00:00 AM)

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Can a game company make a profit producing commercial offerings for Linux? Two cross-platform offerings that run on Linux are hoping to show that it can be done.
MyGameCompany.com's Dirk Dashing and Sillysoft's Ancient Empires Lux, both of which are available as free downloads in demo form, are just the thing for reducing holiday stress.

According to the the game's Web site, Dirk Dashing is a secret agent working for a secret government agency called GOOD (Government Operatives On Duty). His mission is "to protect the world from terrorists and power-mad megalomaniacs." As an added bonus for families with young children, he does his job without ever killing a bad guy. No blood, no gore. He uses knockout gas to deal with bad guys.

Dirk Dashing reminds me of Commander Keen, one of my favorite games from the early '90s. Just like Commander Keen, Our hero Dirk has to walk, run, and hop over all manner of obstacles, gathering goodies as he goes, being careful not to fall into pits or be gotten by one of the bad guys.

Dirk Dashing
Click to enlarge
The demo is good for at least a couple of hours fun, and when you're ready for new adventures, the full version, which includes 30 levels of play plus three secret levels and more goodies, can be had for $20.

The game's author, Troy Hepfner, explains how he came to offer a Linux version of the game:

Our company switched to Linux as our primary development platform earlier this year, for various reasons. I have been using Linux myself at home for several years now, and am quite satisfied with it. As a Linux user, I naturally want to see more games available for Linux. And I certainly want to play our own games on Linux.

When one of our Windows machines went down earlier this year due to a virus and impacted our development schedule, I decided it was time to switch to Linux. Not only did this result in a safer and more stable development environment, but it forced us to change the game source code to be cross-platform. Even though this delayed our release by several months, I think this is a very good thing, both for gamers and for our company.

Hepfner says, "We've had a few sales of our Linux version already, which is encouraging, but it's really too early to tell. However, I am encouraged and excited about the level of interest we have received about our Linux game so far. I wasn't sure how the Linux community would respond to the release of a commercial game for Linux, especially from an independent developer, so I was pleasantly surprised at the level of enthusiasm."

Hepfner plans a "major upgrade" to the company's flagship game, Fashion Cents, during the coming year, and that will include a Linux version of the game. In fact, Hepfner says, "Now that we are using Linux as our primary development platform, I expect we will be offering Linux versions of all of our new games from now on."

Ancient Empires Lux: Risky business?

Unlike Dirk Dashing, there is plenty of blood and gore in Ancient Empires Lux. But don't worry, it's a modern day kind of warfare, always seen from 30,000 feet as opposing armies slug it out on the ground. Sillysoft offers several games, all of which appear to be based on the popular board game Risk, but each of which presents a unique twist by basing the warfare on, well, ancient empires, for one, American history for another, or interstellar space. The games are all cross-platform on Windows and Mac OS X, and there are Linux versions of all but Pax Galaxia. They are written in Java, so you'll need to have a JRE to run them.

I downloaded American History Lux and, following the instructions on the download page, installed it by entering java -jar American_History_Lux_Demo.jar in the download directory. A dialog appeared and walked me through the install, offering to run the game when it finished. I chose that, wanting to fight the war in Vietnam again as soon as I could.

I had to settle for the French and Indian war, however, because all the other wars are reserved for paying customers. The game displays a Risk-like map, along with an Info screen detailing each player's holdings. Game play is familiar to Risk players and easy to learn by those without Risk experience. Each turn awards you a certain number of armies, which you place in countries on the map that you own. Then you attack neighboring countries. At the end of your turn, you can relocate armies as you think best. The play is fast, and you can be wiped out or conquer the world in only a few minutes -- at the beginner's level, that is.

Lux online play
Click to enlarge
Next, I tried Lux Delux, and Vietnam was the default campaign there. All's well that ends well, eh? I went toe-to-toe with five evil rogues and must admit I didn't fare too well the first time. One twist to this game is that you can set the nicknames and skill levels for your opponents. I need to remember to do that before I play the demo again. This version also offers online play, which is like Risk on steroids. The demo limits you to playing the game 20 times. The full version sells for $25.

I asked SillySoft how long it had been making Linux versions of its games and how they had found the market for them thus far. Dustin Sacks, the "founder and big kahuna" at SillySoft, replied:

We've offered games for Linux since June 2004. I personally support alternatives to Microsoft, including Mac OS and Linux, so that's a big reason why we support Linux. Since we're using Java as a development environment, the porting is pretty easy, so that's another big reason. Extra testing and support is also required, so even with Java it's not a fully free porting process.

Selling games to Linux users is definitely not easy. There always seems to be some backlash from Linux users about the commercial nature of our apps. Still, I view Linux support as a very valuable asset for the future, since I see the commercial Linux app market growing tremendously as Linux growth continues.

Linux a hostile market?

Apple's success as a desktop OS and the success of third-party offerings on its platform proves that it is possible for commercial software to prosper and thrive outside the Microsoft monopoly. But the Linux market is different, as the question of whether to buy software for many is not about its quality, but rather about its license.

The computer gaming industry is huge, and that Linux's share of it is tiny. Most of us would like to have the latest and greatest titles on the market, but the still unanswered question seems to be how many of us would pay for it? Enough to make it worthwhile for publishers to port?

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on Commercial gaming: Can it thrive on Linux?

Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.

The grass is always greener...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 08:27 AM
"Commercial gaming: Can it thrive on Linux?"

Exist? Yes. Thrive? No.

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One Word:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 24, 2006 03:03 AM
No!

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Thrive yes.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 24, 2006 07:33 PM
Question is when.

The amount of Linux on sold is a lot higher than what it first appears. Lots of people have it just do not see it.

Adsl/dsl modems. And other devices even toys can be linux hiding. It depends on what you call a game.

Its all a question of when. Linux will not die.

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Thrive yes. Sneek? Yes.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 25, 2006 05:55 AM
Well by that POV, BSD is thriving. But that will not shut up the GPLers going "BSD is dying!", and "more prefer GPL over BSD. just look at the numbers".

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Yes...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 25, 2006 07:36 PM
Of cause it could, I know many Linux users, including myself, who would buy games I only they were released for Linux natively.

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Yes...Loki.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 26, 2006 12:22 AM
"Of cause it could, I know many Linux users, including myself, who would buy games I only they were released for Linux natively. "

Yeah. I heard that excuse around the time of Loki, and look how well they turned out. Id even commented on it. Point is is that Open Sourcers want everything to be free, and very reluctantly purchase anything (especially something closed-source like a game).

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Re:Yes...Loki.

Posted by: Joe Klemmer on December 26, 2006 03:02 AM
The imploading of Loki wasn't due to lack of sales. It was due to mismanagement and massive business mistakes made by management. And this was back in the days when it was far more difficult to get anything not "Free Software" accepted by the community. If Loki had come about today and had some good business people running it I've no doubt it would be a success.

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I don't know about you

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 26, 2006 05:27 PM
But I bought almost all Loki games. I bought never winter nights just because it would run in Linux native; I didn't buy nwn2 because it didn't include a native client.
My "gaming machine" is my desktop, and it runs exclusively linux. Dual booting into windows is too cumbersome, and most games won't run well under wmware player or qemu, even more if you're running ReactOS instead of some MS OS.
But I might be in the minority, I prefer my machines to work my way and not the way some manager or some developer (gnome anyone?) thinks best...

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Yes

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 06:51 AM
If you want to make business by making games, you obviously don't solely target Linux. You primary target is for the most widely spread and used platform. But then its a good idea to target other platforms. Example, maybe you make a game for Xbox, but you also make it for Windows.

Or you make it for Windows, but have it for Linux, Mac OS X, etc too.

Using a platform-independent graphics API such as OpenGL you can make games that run on all kinds of platforms. There are good and popular libraries such as libsdl.

Smaller platforms often have less quantity of available products to choose from, so if you get a foot into that platform, you can get some very loyal customers. Also get a good reputation, etc.

A gaming company that I am very found of is iD software.

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Linux

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 26, 2006 08:36 AM
Nowadays OpenGL seems actualy quite more sophisticated compared to DirectX. I play some non-commercial games on linux, and one of my favourites is Sauerbraten. Sauerbraten is intentionaly a game engine, but if perfectly playable. It is a well thought-out FPS with good graphics if you have a good graphics card. I have a dual boot with windows and I have installed this game on both to compare. On linux it worked fine and fast on highest detail, especially water refraction and water reflection looked quite impressive on my not-so-impressive graphics card. But on windows i could not get any of those features to work because i needed DirectX 9.0 which was not supported with my graphics card. And suddenly the game looked like wolfenstein 3d. I also think that linux and other open source OS'es are a good target for commercial game designers, take unreal tournament as an example. On windows it is played by millions, on linux by hundreds. But if you compare the percentage of players to the users of the OS, and then to the targeted group on the OS. You shall then find that on linux the game is more popular, this might be because the lack of good commercial games on linux, which forces users towards the few games that there are. But it does not mean it was a waste. As the hundreds of linux gamers who bought Unreal Tournament did pay a good 30 euro's (or whatever it costs nowadays) for it. So if linux usage would rise so would the profits of commercial multi-platform games. I rest my case, and i thank you for the courage you had to read this long reply.

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Re:Yes

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 27, 2006 12:25 AM
I absolutely support the idea of games for profit on linux environments. I think very few things will push linux to the desktop as quickly or effectively as popular games being offered for non or noobie tech people on linux environments.

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Zsnes

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 06:52 AM
My friend play thousands of games under Linux on ZSNES.

Albeit old games, but they're good classic games with very nice game play.

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Wine

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 08:12 AM
Wine is getting really, really good. In my humble opinion, Wine-compatibility is the thing publishers should aim for in their mostly-Windows-games. This could actually work in the real world.

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Re:Wine

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 24, 2006 06:21 AM
i agree, there is a company called Transgaming that ported WineX into what they call cedega, i have a copy at home<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.., its really awesome, you can play most of the latest windows games like warcraft 3 and Need for Speed: Carbon. Although many games are supported there are still tons that arent. If gaming studios can publish support for cedega, it would be great<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and if it says "compatible with cedega" on the cover I would definitely buy it.

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Pay for games!? Darned right!!!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 08:21 AM
I'd be more than willing to pay for games that ran under Linux. It's the most important area of development that's holding Linux adoption back in our household and the *ONLY* important need we have for Windows.

Any hostility to the idea is a function of the low acceptance rate of Linux in the overall population. When the market finally starts to take off those voices will be drowned out by people who are not ideologues.

I'm pleased by any company that will make my Linux machine more useful and fun.

Thanks!

Mike D.

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the trend of things to come

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 09:22 AM
Games will be more and more for 'game consoles' and less and less for desktop computers using Windows, Linux, etc. However, the 'game consoles' are becoming so powerful to be able to compete with low- to medium-end desktop computers.

Sony's new PS3 (though largely unproven - because it's new) has the ability to run linux and some benchmarks I've seen compare it to approx a PIII - 750MHz. That is, of course, without optimizations (and no 3D drivers yet) and considering the poor PS3 only has 192MB of usable memory (256MB total + 256MB VRAM).

Maybe version 2 of the PS3 will really get people's attention<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... if it includes a tad bit more memory and other refinements.

Mark these [anonymous] words!!

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Supercomputing

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 11:05 PM
I heard something that if you connect a couple of PS3 you will have the power of a supercomputer.
That the Cell processor is very good.

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enemy territory?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 10:30 AM
what about enemy territory? iD releases it for free (not open source though)

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Re:enemy territory?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 24, 2006 06:09 PM
No, Splash Damage releases it free of charge (even though the game engine it is based upon is released under the GPL).

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Appeasing the Target Audience

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 12:14 PM
I wrote the following to Linux Game Publishing because I think it needs to be known that Linux user's aren't cheap, they simply have certain standards for their software.

Hi There,

I am not a member of the press, but rather a member of you adoring public and would just like to fire up an idea on improving Linux-based game sales.

I have noticed that a lot of games released for Linux are either free (as in beer and as in no charge) or commercial (not free as in beer and not free as in charge). I can only assume that the reason for this polarization is the idea that open-source games cannot possible be related to a profit margin. This is a problem because a large portion of the Linux community demands open-source. The reason for this is not that we want all of our software for free, it's that we want it to be free (open to public review and modification to assure it's stability, security, and resistance to becoming abandonware). What I cannot figure out is why no game designer has released their game engine under an open-source license with a project site but released their artwork (at least more than just the "skeleton" or minimum art available in the open-source version) under restricted copyright (under a pay-to-download arrangement or such).

This would carry the following advantages over the current approaches I see:
1) Linux users who demand open-source would have be able to run code they trust in these games
2) Game developers would save the costs of developing a game engine - it would be developed by a community. They would then have more funds to focus on artwork, etc... This would result in a better time to market for the designers.
3) Linux distributions could easily provide the game as part of their repositories with no strings attached for a point-and-click install and simply require either a valid website account with the designer/retailer or otherwise acquiring the better artwork for a better gaming experience.
4) Additional spinoffs, map editors, and applications not even thought of would be developed for any of these open source games. Innovation would not be limited to the ability of the game designer - but demand for more and better artwork from the designer would always be a possibility.

Perhaps you guys at LinuxGamePublishing could see how viable this is - maybe a trial with one of your developers?

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Re:Appeasing the Target Audience

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 02:32 PM
We've actually been exploring the possibility of releasing the source code for Dirk Dashing under an open source license, for many of the reasons you cite. It sounds easy enough, but there are issues:

1) Documentation for how to setup a project site, how to use "configure" to setup the code, and how to put the infrastructure in place for such a site is extremely hard to find. And getting responses from FSF and other volunteer organizations to our licensing questions has also been very slow.
2) Piracy - How to prevent someone from taking the open source code and proprietary content and selling the game illegally (on Linux or any other platform)? Sure the code comes with a license, but not everyone respects the license. And how does a small developer like us enforce the license when we cannot afford the necessary legal fees (especially if the culprits are in another country)?
3) Building a community of Linux developers who are willing to contribute code to a commercial game engine is not as easy as it sounds. First, a small developer like us cannot afford to pay anyone for their assistance. Second, the game will be designed and managed by a company that will be taking their public code contributions and selling them as a commercial product. Third, the commercial company has its own creative vision, schedules to maintain, and business objectives, and therefore by necessity it must have the last word on all design and implementation decisions. Fourth, the company must also own all the rights in the product at the end of the day so it can negotiate with publishers and distributors - this means that open source developers must be willing to give certain rights to the company so their contributions can be incorporated into the commercial product. I'm not sure how many open source developers would be willing to contribute to such a project, even if the source code is free at the end of the day.
4) What happens if someone decides to fork the code base? Wouldn't this create a support nightmare for the commercial company when folks download the variant but then want to obtain the game content for the full version of the game? How do we support such a customer if/when they have problems with the variant?

I would be interested in discussing these issues with developers or experts in the open source community, if anyone is willing. I just don't know where to go or who to talk to.

Troy Hepfner
My Game Company

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Re:Appeasing the Target Audience

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 11:04 PM
1. Re: Documentation. Initially you just need to provide the source code in a compressed file, you don't need put much documentation, then at least the source is there. Later on you can put source there if you really want to. You could also get software like SourceForge or Berlios.

2. Re: Piracy. Well how do you prevent someone buying the game from you and then selling it illegally? Source or not, they can still sell it. There is a site gpl-violations.org, I am not sure how good it is though. Your game company probably makes some very simple and quick games, and some more advanced games. You could start with open sourcing your oldest or most simple game while keeping the advanced or new games not open source.

3. True. But even if nobody did contribute anything, it would still be nice if the source code was open.

4. Re: Forks. You made the original code base, the fork could be substantially different from your code. It is not your responsibility to provide any support for it.

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Re:Appeasing the Target Audience

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 11:55 PM
1. On documentation, you misunderstand. I wasn't asking about including documentation with my source. I was asking about where to find documentation for HOW to open my source. How do I set up a CVS repository, how do I preconfigure my code so someone only has to use "configure" after they download the source, and stuff like that. I suppose I could just provide a source tarball, as you suggest, and let someone else do all that work. But it seems to me that the company should be the one providing the host web site for the source code repository - plus, because of #3, the company needs to control what code contributions make it into the official baseline and what code contributions are left out. Besides, I would like to learn how what I need to do to properly open my source, including the necessary framework that goes along with it. The point of #1 is that I just cannot find any step-by-step documentation for how I can do this.

2. On piracy, you bring up a good point. They could illegally resell it with or without the source. Although with the source code it would be alot easier to modify the game slightly and claim it was a completely different product.

Your last two sentences under #2 gave me an intriguing idea. Perhaps we could do a very simple game as an experiment, something like a simple match-3 game or something. It isn't a game that would necessarily sell very well for us, but it would serve to "test the waters" and see how the whole process might work. I'll have to give this some thought...

3. True. But if nobody did contribute, then it negates alot of the benefits that were originally listed - particularly those benefits that would persuade a game company to open their source in the first place.

4. That might be legally true; however, even a forked code base would have the company name all over it. Because the company's name is on it, users might expect some level of support (even if we aren't legally obligated to provide it). In that case, the company either has to wash its hands and turn away the users (which might generate ill will), or invest some of its resources to provide support (for the sake of maintaining its good name).

---

Communicating on a forum like this is rather painful, considering I would have to revisit this site frequently to check for new messages (something I also have to do with lots of other sites). I sincerely want to learn and understand, but as someone who operates their company on a part-time basis, I just don't have the time to keep checking back at lots of web sites. So I would prefer to communicate via e-mail, if you don't mind. Anyone who wants to discuss these issues with me further can e-mail me at info @ mygamecompany . com. As I said before, I would be more than willing to discuss these issues. Thanks!

Troy Hepfner
My Game Company

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Re:Appeasing the Target Audience

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 24, 2006 12:54 PM
Well take mods for games. Many companies where afraid to let anyone make or use them for so long. When a few companies finally did they relized that it added to their game sales. This is due to the game play being extended for a longer period of time, as well as someone adding content to the game that garners sales from individuals who would not have purchased it in the first place.

Open sourcing could in theory have the same affect to a point. The problem would be getting someone to buy your product because of any changes, and forking it would be a huge problem. If you could release the source code but only allow changes to your tree somehow I believe that would greatly increase your success rate.

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Re:Appeasing the Target Audience

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 24, 2006 06:22 PM
1.) man cvs
2.) that is what copyright is for.
3.) Most people that will play your game and/or a fork of your game are going to know the difference between the two, stop treating people as if they are morons and stop making excuses as to why you haven't released source under a free license and just do it.

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Re:Appeasing the Target Audience

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 27, 2006 09:14 AM
yeah that will convince him to release his source code. moron.

if the guy has concerns we need to help him not insult him. it sounds like he's looking for info about how to manage an open source project. if so, he's looking to do more than just open his code - he might be looking for ways to include the community in the development process, but isnt sure how to manage it. if that is the case, then i can understand the concerns he's voicing. and that's all the more reason to help him, cuz if we can get one company developing commercial games the open source way and help them succeed at it, maybe others will follow suit.

i just shot him an e-mail with some links. how about pitching in and helping, isn't that what community is supposed to be all about?

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Re:Appeasing the Target Audience

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 28, 2006 01:25 AM
re 1: You probably won't find a step by step guide for any of it. All the tools you mention have extensive documentation of their own though.

As a version control system I'd recommend subversion (<a href="http://svnbook.red-bean.com/" title="red-bean.com">http://svnbook.red-bean.com/</a red-bean.com>), if you want configure-scripts like are common in open source projects you'd need autoconf (<a href="http://www.gnu.org/software/autoconf/" title="gnu.org">http://www.gnu.org/software/autoconf/</a gnu.org>). I guess it's a function of knowing the tools out there. As an introduction, ESR's "The Art Of Unix Programming" is very good. You can browse it online at <a href="http://catb.org/~esr/writings/taoup/" title="catb.org">http://catb.org/~esr/writings/taoup/</a catb.org>. Also, if you're using java consider using ant for your build-scripts (<a href="http://ant.apache.org/" title="apache.org">http://ant.apache.org/</a apache.org>). It's a well known alternative to make in any case.

re 2: Piracy is always a problem. I get how it could make a software house nervous but I'm not sure what the problem is as regards to open/closed source. As mentioned elsewhere someone could just buy a copy and resell it, just as easily as they'd resell the development copy. It is a huge problem but hard to defend against.

re 3: Most open source projects have a core group of developers who are sometimes supplemented by patch writers from all over. The core group has all write access to the repository. Building a community is indeed hard, one way would be to have your code included in the repositories of a big open source distribution such as debian (and sell the data files separately). Yes, someone would probably make a freely available datapack, but your name would still be on the code, which might drive sales just as much as a demo would do. I guess it isn't as much of a problem that you need full rights to the source, given mysql ab does something similar.

re 4: I don't see the problem in your particular example. You can always pre-empt this by offering the user 2 versions, one of the data files, the other of data files + program, and state exactly what program they need. If a user wants to use a modified version of the program (i.e. one that is packaged in his distribution) he should report bugs to whoever maintains it. In any case, he can still download and use your version that you distribute.

As to who to talk to about these issues it's a bit of a complex issue. I wouldn't recommend the FSF(E) since it is my opinion that they take things to extremes. You might just try mailing ESR and asking him, he positions himself as the open source go-to guy anyway.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;-)

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What I'd like to see

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 12:16 PM
Is a standardized cross-platform game engine released as open-source, but with major game developers supporting it. I think that would be good for gaming in general not just Linux.

Since the game content (characters, sound and graphics) is really the proprietary part of a game, having the engine OSS would benefit both users and developers. Developers could focus on creating and improving content, and users would benefit from having the games available on all platforms at the same time.

Game companies could still sell game discs with the premium content, plus users could create their own content.

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Dirk is a fun game

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 06:25 PM
I purchased Dirk Dashing.....

It IS a fun game, I don't play games very often, but Dirk I do at times, my wife enjoy's it and plays every evening.

Hazen

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Re:Dirk is a fun game

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 11:59 PM
Thanks, Hazen! I'm glad to hear you are enjoying the game, and thanks for voicing your support on this thread. I really appreciate it!

Troy Hepfner
My Game Company

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SDL &amp; drivers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 23, 2006 10:12 PM
SDL is a cross platform framework that is well suited for game development. It comes with dual license, so it can be used in proprietary games, which is a prerequisite for game developers.

3D video drivers should install smoothly and without any confusing or hostile messages.

Games under FSF-like licenses are ruled out. Very few vendors, if any, would accept them.

Game users are the most demanding, maybe I should say, most spoiled users. There must be absolutely no obstacles in their way, no philosophy, and no education attempts or preaching if one wants them to use Linux as a gaming platform.

DG

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I doubt it

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 24, 2006 02:24 PM
Do you really think people who complain about binary drivers are going to actually pay for games?

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Re:I doubt it

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 25, 2006 02:54 AM
Not all complain about binary drivers. Some people are perfectly okay with it and don't mind at all.
Then there are others who would prefer open source drivers.

A lot of people who use Linux are into free software, but not all.

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Re:I doubt it

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 25, 2006 06:54 AM
Probably not. Their loss. Besides, that type of Linux user is not going to be the norm as more and more Windows refugees find their way onto Linux. New Linux users will expect to be able to download and install games just as quickly and easily as they do on Windows. They're not going to want to waste time trying to figure out how to build and install the game from source. In fact, they're not even going to care whether the source is open or not. Just download and go - that's what they're going to want. And the Dirk Dashing installer does just that - very cool!

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Re:I doubt it

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 28, 2006 01:32 AM
I don't think this is anything of a problem. The fallacy in this article is the author assuming that linux gamers would somehow be a new market. Most of the potential linux gamers who would buy propietary games are probably already buying windows games, to play on windows or under wine. Releasing the game under linux would probably not greatly expand the market, but it would probably make many people give your game a second look. For instance, one of the selling points of UT2004 to me was a linux version being available.

The reason many companies don't release games for linux is most likely they don't see a market there and I believe they are right, most linux gamers run windows or use wine for their gaming needs. I know very little people who don't dual boot their linux machines, exactly because that's the only way you can get to games.

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Re:I doubt it

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 04, 2007 04:10 AM
I think you have a mixed point view. Some ppl who run linux run java and that's not gpl, but others won't touch it's because it's not of the free speech kind of code. I'd like to see game makers gpl the client code and have them run the server code on their hardware and have it to were users pay for access to the servers, that way the code that runs on their box can be proprietary and the end user can run gpl. I think network speeds is an issue(we should be 50x faster than what we are offered via highspeed)

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Games yes... but these?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 27, 2006 02:54 AM
Personally I think that not a lot of people will *buy* games like *these* on either Linux OR Windows... instead these simple games they get with CD's on cereal boxes or they play Java/Flash games online.

It's the Call of Dutys, the Oblivions, the Gothics, the Dreamfalls, the Eve Online, the Guild Wars-es and World of Warcrafts,<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... that matter in the end. And true enough, Wine does show a lot of promise even at its current stage.

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Re:Games yes... but these?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 27, 2006 02:47 PM
Umm, yes.

There are already hundreds of completely free platformers just like these, and new ones are popping up regularly.

If this is what Linux users count as great gaming worth paying for, Linux gaming (in this format) is probably in a better state than Windows.

I want to play TOCA, Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, etc. If I want quick-fix platformer fun, I'll download one of the hundreds of already free ones.

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Re:Games yes... but these?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 28, 2006 07:13 AM
I disagree. The big mainstream game companies will continue to ignore Linux until there is a proven market. If you want the big name games to be available natively on Linux, you need to start supporting the small independent game developers. It's only when the small independents start raking in the cash that the big mainstream companies will take notice.

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I wish it could

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 29, 2006 03:40 PM
We're starting to see more games being developed for Linux, which I think is a great thing...even more than these two, I've come across several others in recent months.

However, developing games for Linux is one thing. Developing *commercial* products of any kind for Linux is entirely another. Linux in my own observation has an attendant culture which is deeply opposed to people making money with it. Linux users expect to be able to get whatever they desire in terms of software without any monetary outlay at all, and will tend to accuse people seeking monetary compensation of being morally degenerate.

If the philosophical zealots could somehow be rendered irrelevant, and if the existing userbase began to understand the value of developers being compensated for their efforts, then I could see a viable gaming market for Linux becoming a possibility. Right now, however, the zealots hold centre stage, and I don't see that changing for the foreseeable future.

There are a lot of reasons why I actually believe that the FSF should probably be abolished, or at least rendered silent. The organisation being an obstacle to a game related market for Linux is but one of them.

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Re:I wish it could

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 04:38 AM
I feel differently about this so called "zealotry". Non-free software causes all kinds of unneeded problems all the time. Without the FSF we'd probably have no choice but to suck it up and use Windows since nobody could provide any alternatives.

For example binary device drivers really suck. HP recently announced that it won't produce a 64-bit driver for my 6-month-old laser printer. This means that most of the Windows machines bought today won't work with the printer. I keep laughing because I use the thing from linux with a free, open driver which can be compiled for any future machine. Graphics cards from Ati and Nvidia have often had the same fate, the support for the legacy cards has been dropped in new versions of the propriatary drivers.

Games I feel are the few non-free applications worth purchasing. It seems that developing a good large-scale simulator takes the focused effort of a professional group.
Nowadays I have probably 50 different titles purchased on my shelf, and no pirated ones. Many of them are rereleases though, legendary games from the past. The funny thing is some of those classics from the Windows 98-era won't run in Windows XP, not to mention Vista, but they run fine in Wine or Cedega(which I also pay for)!

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Graphics cards and Drivers are the biggest problem

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 01, 2007 07:43 AM
Many modern games require 3D accelerated graphics. Except for relatively costly special purpose Linux boxes, most Linux installations are not equipped with a graphics subsystem with suitable drivers.

Most Linux installations are for work, not play. I know I'd be happy to buy some games for my Linux boxes so long as they did not require 3D accelerated graphics (supplied by somebody else, if at all).

The dedicated gaming boxes, such as the PS3 are probably going to take over from the PC platform for gaming in any event.

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Re:Graphics cards and Drivers are the biggest prob

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 02, 2007 08:02 AM
I don't understand how you can back up the statement "most Linux installations are not equipped with a graphics subsystem with suitable drivers" when most Linux PCs had Windows originally installed (and all Windows PCs come with *some* sort of "graphics subsystem" [either integrated or discrete]) and remember that out-of-the-box, retail Windows does NOT support 3D cards (the OEM may pre-install 3D drivers on the Windows PC to compensate for this of course).

For Linux installs, users have to do the same thing that Windows users inevitably end up doing - namely going to the graphic card manufacturers' web site and downloading and installing a 3D driver. There's even a few recent Linux distros out there that have started bundling 3D drivers as part of the install, putting Linux actually one step ahead of retail (non-OEM) Windows!

Most Linux installations are for work because the OS is currently best suited on a server (often "headless" [not even X windows running!], but if I was going to buy a Linux game from the few available, I'd be annoyed if it wasn't 3D (the vast majority of Windows games - even stuff like Chess! - uses 3D and I'd expect the same of Linux games).

As for the PC platform being overtaken by consoles, this overlooks the fact that PCs are multi-purpose, upgradeable and generally more powerful than gaming consoles. Plus they have a long back-catalogue of games that go back up to 20 years, whereas the entire XBox, XBox 360, PS1/2/3 and Nintendo game catalogues combined don't touch the total number of games available for PCs (never mind that PC games are generally noticeably cheaper than their console equivalents, despite often running at faster speeds with higher resolutions on the PC!). PC gaming is here to stay - it won't go away because almost all households that have game consoles *also* have a PC.

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PS3 is the key!!

Posted by: Administrator on December 25, 2006 06:51 PM
How about PS3 it's promoting itself to be linux useable so why don't game developersw start here. An OS called Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) is coming in which is designed for the PS3 and right now I'm planning to try out Fedora Core 6 on my PS3 to see how it works (PS3 is open to any OS). So just sell Linux games among the Playstation games with a free OS bonus or something. Check terrasoft.com to find out more.

I think I forgot when YDL 5.0 will be released.

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Linux on PS3! Enjoy!

Posted by: Administrator on December 25, 2006 07:07 PM
Something I found

<a href="http://www.gamevideos.com/video/id/7770" title="gamevideos.com">http://www.gamevideos.com/video/id/7770</a gamevideos.com>

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