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Why The Porting Method Doesn't Matter For Linux Games

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So, I've already talked at length about "bad ports" and why I thought the toolkit used to port games to Linux matters. Now I'm here again to talk about why it actually doesn't matter and why we need to accept that in the end.

The first thing to note is that I feel like my mind has done a complete turn-around on games being ported to Linux that aren't "native". Native ports are great yes that's true of course, but I doubt we will ever have every developer and publisher on board with that. Publishers & Developers are in it for the money, no matter what they say if they didn't sell well they would be in trouble and wouldn't be able to continue, time is also money and time-saving for a tiny platform where they are likely to see ~5% of their sales from will probably look appealing.
So, for those developers & publishers what would be so bad about them using something like Wine?

If they used an open source technology like Wine and contributed a bug-fix here and there to make sure their game works then surly that's better for the Linux gaming ecosystem as a whole than not having a game at all? We then have a game and a less-buggy version Wine for everyone.

The problem with The Witcher 2 is that the toolkit it used is very new on Linux and untested by the masses. Once it gets fixed up somewhat (and I am hoping it does) then it will become more useful and the games using it will get better performance thus making way for more games using it. It certainly looks like Virtual Programming are working on it as since the Linux release there has been a few new builds of the "vp_beta" branch, so patches will come soon hopefully. If they can suddenly make me go from 10FPS to a reasonable amount and it becomes playable, then will it bother me any more? Probably not.

If the game is using eON, Wine, DosBox, and it works for you, why does it matter? It doesn't since it works and isn't a working game what you want? If it doesn't work then report the bugs, don't get up-in-arms about it as bugs just happen and treat it as you would any other software.

I recently guest talked on Jupiter Broadcasting's LINUX Unplugged Episode 42, if you listen to it be mindful that was my first live cast ever!

I think Alan Pope from Canonical said it best after I had my section:
QuoteI don't care what technology enables it, so long as it works and it depresses me that the Linux community is happy to file a bug like their keyboard or mouse not working to their distro, but when a developer of a game comes along and uses a 3rd party enabler to make their game work on Linux rather than file a bug and say "your game doesn't work very well on my platform" they go full-bore hassling the person on Steam, and I think that's the wrong way.


Those are some really wise words and they sunk into me that's for sure. I've seen reports from people actually stating Windows games ran in Wine have at times worked better for them on Linux than they did in Windows and hearing that has actually become more common.

If you are on the thought process of "wine is often buggy and unreliable", well that's thinking from the point of view that you have purchased a Windows game and have to tweak everything about Wine to fit it. This is the developer doing all that work for you so that the game works without an issue.

When GOG.com comes along and brings with it games using DosBox will anyone get annoyed about that? I doubt it if I remember correctly masses of people were excited about that, and I feel the same applies here really. If it works, it works. If it doesn't file bugs, don't be rude and don't carry on the bad reputation Linux gamers already seem to have.

I will always support developers who go the native route more of course, but if it works using something else and sets a precedent for that developer & publisher to go native in the future then that's bloody fantastic.

If you still feel that strongly about refusing ports that aren't "100% native" then vote with your wallet and not a loud mouth that attacks developers and shuns them for even trying, they might never return to our platform keeping us in the limbo of "but x game isn't on Linux!".

The situation is going to improve over time, Source engine 2 from Valve is going OpenGL native, Unreal Engine 4+ is native and more. It's a time to be happy to be a Linux gamer and support those who try rather than ignore our platform don't you think? Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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Cheeseness 28 May, 2014
Quoting: SkullyWine devs themselves state that you can expect 50% performance in wine.

This is a Wine thing, and not necessarily applicable to all wrappers.

I don't think Liam is saying that anybody should put up with lesser performance on Linux, just that whether or not they're happening via wrappers is irrelevant - it's the issues themselves (poor performance, poor stability, whatver) that we should be reporting, regardless of whether it's "native" or not.


Ideally we want native ports, but that's not going to happen for a lot of legacy titles. If we're being offered Linux support (proper support, with bug fixes and maintenance), then that's the important thing, and having presence on Linux will be more likely to lead to greater commitment, which I reckon will translate into more native ports longer term.

I can't see CD Projekt pulling teams off The Witcher 3 to port The Witcher 2, but having the latter out there on Wine makes the former much more sellable and could justify a native port in a way that the W2 on its own might not have been able to.

If they don't support the game, then sure, they don't deserve support from the Linux community, but if they do (and it sounds like they're working on fixing the situation up), then what value is there in shunning them?
Mohandevir 28 May, 2014
I'm no game developper but in my Wine tweaker experience the name of the game is OpenGL. It showed me that windows games which supports OpenGL performs better under wine.

If the developpers could drop DirectX it's already an awesome win.

After that, the technology that permits the port is not much of a problem. As long as it is transparent for the user, it doesn't matter for me.

I just want to play my games on Linux! :)
Liam Dawe 28 May, 2014
Quoting: Cheeseness
Quoting: SkullyWine devs themselves state that you can expect 50% performance in wine.
This is a Wine thing, and not necessarily applicable to all wrappers.

I don't think Liam is saying that anybody should put up with lesser performance on Linux, just that whether or not they're happening via wrappers is irrelevant - it's the issues themselves (poor performance, poor stability, whatver) that we should be reporting, regardless of whether it's "native" or not.

Bingo. Wine is just one example used in the article.

Don't put up with poor performance, report the bugs and make it better. Push for native if and when you can, but do not shun and talk down on developers who don't have the man-power to port natively.
Skully 28 May, 2014
With attitudes like this, I hope you all enjoy ya 2nd rate experiences while paying full price. You all deserve what you get. Hope this isn't a clear picture of how most Linux gamers feel otherwise the future won't be fun at all :(

The devs who do this clearly don't give a damn, and will serve you up crap after crap while you all beg for more. This shit has been going on for MAC users for ages now, go look and see if any them seem happy with the wrapped titles after all this time. The real mac gamers are dual booting windows, I only just stopped dual booting bout a year ago. I don't want to do it again in future.
Maquis196 28 May, 2014
No one here wants second rate, not sure where you picked that up front. We all want good performing games and porting titles that originally didnt have Linux next to its requirements at creation sometimes need wrappers.

If a game is using a wrapper, and its shit, we'll either moan to get it fixed or not buy it. Ive got over 180 linux games on my steam list and most are native, so its not the worst trend we could have.
Anonymous 28 May, 2014
I tried TransGaming's Kohan "port" back in 2002 or 2003, and compared it with Loki's real Kohan port. One of them worked well, and the other performed like shit. Too bad that the company that did it right went under, and the other is still breathing their nasty breath on Mac.

There is no reason to use DirectX other than familiarity.

The only time Wine is acceptable is when the game is older. Witcher 2 using eON or System Shock 2 using Wine, fine. I can accept that, even if I don't want to spend my money on them. But new games should be designed cross-platform from the get-go. There are several libraries out there designed specifically for this, including SDL2. Many of the big engines are now supporting Linux directly, so if a game uses one of those there's literally no reason to use Wine, period. Lack of foresight, laziness, whatever you want to call it - there is no excuse for it. If Linux is nothing but an afterthought, then they don't really need or want my money. If devs don't want to properly code multi-platform, then they shouldn't try to release their games multi-platform.
Maquis196 28 May, 2014
Thats another good point, something that is already out is already been through the "new game purchase" phase. I didn't buy witcher 2 when it came out for Linux,I got it in some god forsaken steam sale event yonks ago.

So in essence, me having Witcher 2 on Linux earnt the company _nothing_, I didnt spend a penny on the effort of porting it. Now I know others won't have had it and will now buy it so we expect some quality in that regard (no way am I letting them off the hook), but how much can we expect from a game that already is out?

As previous said, its new games built from ground up to be cross-platform that shouldnt go near wrappers, but some companies dont have the experience to do proper native ports. If youre a windows dev house, doing Linux sometimes might be too hard for the expected returns.

Either way, im not that bothered, EU4 for Linux runs beautifully <3
Skully 28 May, 2014
I got 374 games on steam, only 168 of them for linux. 2 of em are wrapped bought by mistake like finding out that The witcher is wrapped 5mins after I already bought it. That means I have bought 206 games that I can no longer play. And a over 100 of em I have never played, thanks to having to get like 5 windows games in a bundle to get 1 linux game. I am happy for all 206 of them to sit and rot if they arn't native. I do miss some of them, but have had plenty of games to keep me busy. Like you say we have loads of games now, we don't need this and shouldn't accept it. We can moan all we wan't to get a wrapped port fixed but hey, it alot of people already handed over their money. If they really are willing to put time/effort/money into fixing these things, they would of just put time/effort/money into porting it properly.

I don't feel I have anything else constructive to say about it now, so I am done with this thread.
Speedster 28 May, 2014
Quoting: SkullyThe devs who do this clearly don't give a ****, and will serve you up crap after crap while you all beg for more. This **** has been going on for MAC users for ages now, go look and see if any them seem happy with the wrapped titles after all this time. The real mac gamers are dual booting windows, I only just stopped dual booting bout a year ago. I don't want to do it again in future.

Maybe you haven't heard that this same company is already working on a new engine that will be more cross-platform for their new games. This wrapper thing was for an old game where they couldn't afford to rip the engine apart and fix its single-platform-ness.

In situations like this, people who really care about Linux gaming should either politely explain that the "wrapper port" did not meet their expectations and request a refund, or file bug reports and engage with the developers trying to fix the thing. Going all outraged on somebody who is finally making some effort for Linux gamers can so easily backfire. In particular, CD Projekt is anti-DRM, not known for disrespecting their users (unlike certain other AAA game title publishers), so why do people have to start out assuming they "don't give a ****"???
Skully 28 May, 2014
You think they actually thought the game would meet expectations? Who ever made that decision should be fired, at best it should of been put in the beta tab. They have to know it's bad right? Could anyone have tried it and thought, yep this is ready for our fans. lmao
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