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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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45 comments
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BillNyeTheBlackGuy 28 May, 2014
New games shouldn't use wrapper, it should be made with an Engine that's multplatform support.

Old games on the other hand, I really don't mind; developers don't have the man power or money like Valve to port old games. And sometimes they won't make much of a profit doing this because some Linux already own the windows version (Seriously, if the developer ops out of steamplay, you know they'll be some complaints).

The Witcher 2, despite its performance problems, feels native. If they can sort the crashing and the frame rate problems, then I think it will turn into a good port regardless of whether it's using a wrapper or not.
Anonymous 28 May, 2014
Good going letting Canonical blow smoke up your ass that's like saying FPS don't matter as well...

Canonical is really good at PR and it looks like they fooled you as well just like the users who think tool kits will make Mir app's work just fine on Wayland or Xorg nope not going to happen

yes ports don't have to be 100% native but you want a really good DX>GL layer in there hard coded like what Valve did with their games and this is what they 100% failed to do users will be better off using Wine over this s### port
fedso 29 May, 2014
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Congrats Liam for being a guest on Linux Unplugged! :)
Natty 29 May, 2014
Well I bought witcher 2 and I am running it on ultra settings without problem,
probably due to my high spec PC that I just built with a nvidia GTX 770.
But I am really glad that witcher 2 is available on linux as there are very few games out that can really test my card (that I don't already own on other platforms).
So yeah it would be better if native but until they are, ports are fine, we should stop being so snobby about it.
Anonymous 29 May, 2014
Quoting: liamdawe... (not) having two Steam installs for example, one in wine and one not ...
I have one native Steam install and several Steem installs in several Wine bottles (sharing one c:/progfiles/steam folder using symlink to save disk space) e.g. i have separate bottle for Witcher 1 which needs "winetricks dinput" for me but it (dinput) causes some other games not to work in the same bottle.
p.s. I'll be happy to see as many as possible Windows games in native linux Steam bundled with Wine... i refer to games which will never be ported to linux because of lost source code or hard dependence on WinAPI
Burzmali 29 May, 2014
On the topic of Wine vs windows performance, keep in mind that FPS counters aren't really the best way to make the comparison. Wine has vast swaths of functionality missing, disabled or unimplemented. So despite having a higher FPS on a particular title, it might be skipping over all of the ambient graphics rendering that is slowing down the windows version...
a4644246 29 May, 2014
Port by its definition is native code, not WINE, eON and DOsBOX. If your code is portable you take source-code and compile it into PE for Windows and ELF for Linux. If your code is not portable you need to edit it or have two different source-codes for each platform. So please STOP calling wine, eON and DosBOX packages PORTS because you are an IDIOT! There is only one case where you can use WINE and DOSBox ant it is if you dont have source-code.

The problem is that developers use non-portable technology. Solution to that problem is to use portable technology.

QuoteIf the game is using eON, Wine, DosBox, and it works for you, why does it matter?
I want them to use native technology so native techonlogy will be more developed. When they use wrapers ony wrapers gets developed. I dont want to report bugs for stupid wrapers I want to find and report bugs for native multi-platform tools, so everyone will benefit, gamers, non-gamers and developers!!! In your stupid case only developers benefit and gamers from non-primary platform get inferior product.

If you think that for the future of FLOSS is good that we have wraped stuff you dont understand how FLOSS works and its philosophy and in that case please STFU!!!
Cheeseness 30 May, 2014
Quoting: a4644246I dont want to report bugs for stupid wrapers I want to find and report bugs for native multi-platform tools, so everyone will benefit, gamers, non-gamers and developers!!!

How does anybody but the developer and the game's players benefit from bug reports for closed source proprietary games?

Also, what value is there in calling people names? Being misinformed or unclear on something doesn't make a person an idiot. Your post is full of the sort of thing that is unhealthy about the way people have been approaching this situation. I'd suggest following some of Wil Wheaton's advice.
oldrocker99 31 May, 2014
I (a happy Witcher 2 player) also play the original Witcher using wine, and it runs beautifully, and is 100% playable for me. Having played it under That Other OS, I saw and experienced no difference in graphics, game speed, or graphics.

As long as I can play a game, I personally don't care how the game is made to run. Just sayin'.
a4644246 31 May, 2014
Quoting: CheesenessHow does anybody but the developer and the game's players benefit from bug reports for closed source proprietary games?

Because games are using bunch of other middle-ware and there is open-source ones and developers should use them. For example, zlib for compression, game use it, it has bug, bug is fixed and everyone who doesnt game can benefit. You are saying that technology doesnt mater, but it does matter, very much. Most developed part of Linux/Liber/OpenSoure are most used, that is how it works, by using eON and wine developers are ignoring FLOSS alternatives and they will stay underdeveloped. And then shit like this happens:
http://www.joshbarczak.com/blog/?p=154
http://timothylottes.blogspot.com/2014/05/re-joshua-barczaks-opengl-is-broken.html

D3D had same/similar problems but developers used it so they got polished.

Quoting: CheesenessAlso, what value is there in calling people names? Being misinformed or unclear on something doesn't make a person an idiot. Your post is full of the sort of thing that is unhealthy about the way people have been approaching this situation. I'd suggest following some of Wil Wheaton's advice.
Im not calling names Im just describing my observation. When there is a problem in F/LOSS just ask your self "What will Linus do", he would throw couple of "f*** you"s then said do it right way or GTFO. My approach is healthy for F/LOSS platform it is unhealthy for corporation and developers, and if they dont care about F/LOSS platform I dont care about them.
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