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Cheese Talks To Double Fine (about cross-platform game development)

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In my latest Cheese Talks To interview, I chat with Greg Rice and Nathan Martz of Double Fine about their cross-platform efforts, ranging from last year's record breaking Kickstarter campaign through to next week's simultaneous PC Linux/Mac/Windows launch of The Cave next week.

Without further ado, here are some of my favourite parts:
QuoteAt what point did Linux and Mac support start to become a priority for Double Fine? Have Double Fine's forays into Linux and Mac gaming been the result of careful long term planning, or timely responses to unforeseen opportunities?

Nathan: A multiplatform engine has been a technology priority for Double Fine ever since Psychonauts was dropped by Microsoft and had to, with little time and a lot of aggravation, very quickly become a multi-platform game. We designed our "next generation" Buddha engine (named after Brütal Legend's original code name) to make multi-platform game development as easy as possible. When it came time to do more 2D games, we adopted Moai in large part because it had also been designed to be a cross platform engine.

While our early focus as a studio was on consoles, our goal has always been to create technologies that can easily bring our games to any every platform that makes sense for them, and we are adding more platforms all the time. Of course the Windows PC market is the largest desktop gaming market (and also the easiest to get to from an Xbox 360 game), so we went after that first (after consoles). But everyone knows that Mac computers have become much more popular over the past years and Linux looks set to take over the world, one Steam box at a time. Ultimately, my goal is that ultimately, whenever Double Fine talks about releasing a game on the PC, we mean "personal computer" regardless of whether it runs Windows, OSX, or Linux[1].

As to how carefully or opportunistic the planning has been, it's a bit of both. We had the great opportunity to partner with companies like Dracogen, Transgaming, and Humble Bundle to bring Psychonauts to Mac and Linux, which allowed us to learn more about those platforms and, test the waters as it were. But we've also done a lot of work and planning to build an engine and toolchain that can support releasing games on many platforms at once. As with many things, it's been planning and luck in roughly equal measure.

QuoteWhat kind of feedback have you had from the Linux and Mac user communities about the in-progress Double Fine Adventure and Psychonauts?

Nathan: So far the most valuable feedback from our fans on Mac and Linux has just been about what matter most to them in games on those platforms. Our number one priority is always to make games that please our fans, and getting the tech right is a big part of that. We also have come to understand that doing well on a platform isn't just a thing you do once, but it's an ongoing conversation between our developers and our customers.

QuoteAre Linux ports of Double Fine games likely to be maintained in-house or externally through contractors like Ryan 'icculus' Gordon, who ported Psychonauts for the Humble Indie Bundle V?

Nathan: We've been lucky to work with external partners, especially to help get us off the ground on these platforms, but our vision for Double Fine has always been that we treat every platform we ship on as a first class citizen, which we can do best when we develop and maintain the code internally. Especially as we try to realize that vision of games on the Personal Computer, regardless of which operating system you use, it'll only become more important that we know, love, and are masters of our engine on Mac and Linux.

QuoteWhat kind of response have you had regarding the DRM free versions of Psychonauts, and planned DRM free versions of the Double Fine Adventure? Will you be considering DRM free releases of future and/or existing Double Fine Titles?

Greg: We saw great success with the Humble Bundle that our new DRM free versions of Psychonauts for Mac and Linux launched in. Our fans love having the ability to play our games wherever they want however they want and we love pleasing our fans!

Don't forget that you can read the full interview here:

Enjoy! Article taken from
Tags: Misc
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About the author -
author picture
Game developer, Linux helper person, and independent writer/interviewer.

Currently working on Winter's Wake, a first person text adventure thing and its engine Icicle. Also making a little bee themed base builder called Hive Time :)

I do more stuff than could ever fit into a bio.
See more from me
The comments on this article are closed.

Hamish 20 Jan, 2013
"Our fans love having the ability to play our games wherever they want however they want and we love pleasing our fans!"

Hopefully we could see a non-Steam release of The Cave at some point then maybe. Is it a Steamworks integrated title or just using Steam as it's primary distribution platform ATM?
Cheeseness 20 Jan, 2013
It's got achievements and cloud support, but these aren't features that can't easily be replaced by something custom (and the game wouldn't suffer without them). There's no networked multiplayer, so it's not using Steamworks for that. I imagine a non-Steam release wouldn't be a lot of hassle, but I have no idea if it's being worked on.
SCIBOTIC 21 Jan, 2013
Excellent article once again, personally I've always been a big fan of Double Fine and I preordered The Cave the second I heard about the Linux port.
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