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Interview With The Developers Of Cossacks 3, Which Is Coming To Linux

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Cossacks 3 was a bit of a surprise announcement to be coming to Linux, and it looks fantastic. I decided to send over a few burning questions.

About the game
Modern remake of the best 2001 strategy, with armies numbering in thousands of warriors and reconciled game mechanics. It’s a genuine RTS classic, including construction and production of resources. A vast selection of unit types, cold steel and firearms, influence of the landscape, and the realistic physics provide the player with an unlimited number of tactical opportunities.

Interview
Q: This will be the first Linux game for GSC Game World, what pushed your studio towards supporting Linux?

That is right, Cossacks 3 will be our first cross platform project supporting Windows, Linux and Mac OS. In the Cossacks 3 engine we are using OpenGL API and it gives a bunch of advantages in porting the game. It gives advantages even for marketing as the main selling platform will be Steam which welcomes games supporting Linux.

Q: Is this an in-house engine, or are you using something like Unity/Unreal Engine to develop Cossacks 3?

Traditionally we are using in-house built engine. We’ve managed to develop very lightweight and powerful engine for Cossacks 3. For 2015 it is unusually not system demanding and performs good on 3-5 year old computers.

Q: Will it feature any form of gamepad support, for SteamOS for example? Or is this a really traditional mouse and keyboard strategy game?

Cossacks 3 will be traditional mouse and keyboard strategy game. We really think that using any other input type will dramatically affect the classic RTS gameplay, will make it slower and simpler in negative meaning of the word.

Q: What graphics chips will Cossacks 3 support on Linux? Some games/developers have been struggling with AMD/Intel.

That is a common obstacle for the developers working on Linux, and we’ve probably faced this with a couple of the Intel chip models. As for now we’ve managed to fight through the main amount of Intel chips and have no problems at all with AMD graphics.

Q: Will you be using an Early Access model for Cossacks 3, or straight to a full release?

Cossacks 3 will be released on Steam with the full version. Before the release there will be closed beta test.

Q: Will it support cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux) multiplayer?

Players of all versions will be able to play together.

Q: Have you decided on a price for the game?

We can’t tell any specific price right now, but it will be completely affordable.

Q: Are you planning a release on DRM free platforms like GOG?

We’re still thinking about these platforms and the main issue for us is the Steam integration. We are going to significantly support mod-making and Steam Workshop is the best way of sharing mods, so everyone who bought Cossacks 3 can install any of the mods available. But GOG version, for example will need separate mods made for this very version. As a result there could be troubles with playing Steam version with GOG version in multiplayer, for example.

Q: What has been the biggest hurdle to overcome for your team to support Linux?

There weren’t really any hurdles working on Linux version. Probably the only difficulty for us was finding time and resources in our tight development schedule.

Q: Have you come across any interesting tools that have really helped your team support Linux?

Actually we are not using anything specific, just common tools everyone uses.

Q: With Linux having a low market share compared with say Windows, what are you expecting sales wise from Linux?

Linux is really not a big market, so there is no great financial purpose in supporting it. Its more a marketing expectations. Steam actively supports games that have Linux versions

Q: What Linux distributions have you tested Cossacks 3 on so far, and will you be limiting support to specific distributions?

It’s a bit early to say. We will make large scale tests in the nearest future and base our decision on the results of them.

Q: Will Cossacks 3 feature traditional base building, or is it more about the battles?

Cossacks 3 contains classic RTS gameplay that tightly combine battles and economic part. So there will be 50\50 building and resource gathering and battles.

Q: You mention that there could be up to 10,000 units in a battle, how do you plan on making that many units easy to manage?

Cossacks 3 has handy unit controls that allows easily group them, or join them in squads, so you can conveniently manage armies, groups or even give orders to a single soldier on the battlefield.

You can learn more about Cossacks 3 on the official website, stay tuned.

I think it’s fantastic to see another developer jumping in that knows they won’t strike it rich from Linux, but they’re doing it anyway!

I would like to thank the developers for giving me some time. I am looking forward to the release, a lot! Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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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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Beamboom 4 Aug, 2015
There's one piece of info in this interview that really stands out from the rest for me, and that's this:

"Steam actively supports games that have Linux versions"

He mention this twice, and was new to me. You should have digged more around this, Liam.
From how he express himself it does look like there are benefits on a wider perspective than just the Linux sales, I get the impression Valve gives some concrete additional benefits for the devs if they release the game for Linux too. One can only wonder what: Promotional benefits? Visibility in the store? Economical advantages across all versions?

Either way, it would explain quite a lot in regards to some of the ports we've seen coming our way.
Very interesting.
ajgp 4 Aug, 2015
Quoting: Beamboom... "Steam actively supports games that have Linux versions" ...

... I get the impression Valve gives some concrete additional benefits for the devs if they release the game for Linux too. One can only wonder what: Promotional benefits? Visibility in the store? Economical advantages across all versions?

I second this, it does appear that supporting linux may not give direct sales benefits but the extra support from Valve may lead to a total increase in profits; or perhaps Valve offers QA help. It is definately a topic I would like to see more information on, perhaps GOL needs to reach out to a few Devs on this subject and see what this support may be and how it factors into devlopers making the decision to support Linux. Im sure there are some who support Linux out of love, some because they want to spread the love as it were, and others it may be down to a business decision which would be were direct valve support would come in I reckon.


On topic, the game itself doesnt look to bad, will keep an eye on it and see how it develops, I have a soft spot for RTS games even though Im crap at them!
fishxz 4 Aug, 2015
Quoting: BeamboomThere's one piece of info in this interview that really stands out from the rest for me, and that's this:

"Steam actively supports games that have Linux versions"

He mention this twice, and was new to me. You should have digged more around this, Liam.
From how he express himself it does look like there are benefits on a wider perspective than just the Linux sales, I get the impression Valve gives some concrete additional benefits for the devs if they release the game for Linux too. One can only wonder what: Promotional benefits? Visibility in the store? Economical advantages across all versions?

Either way, it would explain quite a lot in regards to some of the ports we've seen coming our way.
Very interesting.
im also really interested in this question
Liam Dawe 4 Aug, 2015
Honestly, I didn't see it that way. I saw it more as that Steam supports Linux fully, which is what I believe they meant. Rather than Valve directly pitching into help every developer (which would be impossible, they aren't a big company staff wise).
Segata Sanshiro 4 Aug, 2015
The way I interpreted it was "Steam always has sales on Linux games and always sticks them on the front page, which translates into greater Windows sales". I never really thought about it that way for some reason, but yeah I guess they make more money from the extra promotion they get instead of the Linux sales.
Mountain Man 4 Aug, 2015
OpenGL from the start? No early access? Cross platform multiplayer? These guys are doing it right.

Although I'm curious about his comment that "Steam actively supports games that have Linux versions". Does Valve have some sort of incentive program in place for Linux releases?
Eike 4 Aug, 2015
Quoting: liamdaweHonestly, I didn't see it that way. I saw it more as that Steam supports Linux fully, which is what I believe they meant. Rather than Valve directly pitching into help every developer (which would be impossible, they aren't a big company staff wise).

I had the same impression as the others: There's some kind of incentive. Maybe more prominent search places or such. I'd like to know, too, but I'm not sure they're allowed to talk about it.
Mountain Man 4 Aug, 2015
Quoting: liamdaweHonestly, I didn't see it that way. I saw it more as that Steam supports Linux fully, which is what I believe they meant. Rather than Valve directly pitching into help every developer (which would be impossible, they aren't a big company staff wise).
This was his complete statement:

"Linux is really not a big market, so there is no great financial purpose in supporting it. Its more a marketing expectations. Steam actively supports games that have Linux versions."

It certainly seems he's talking about more than merely the fact that Steam is Linux compatible. But there's also the reference to "marketing expectations". Does this suggest, perhaps, that Valve promises more visibility to games that have a Linux version?
FutureSuture 4 Aug, 2015
I am especially impressed that these guys are using OpenGL from the start, wasting no time with DirectX just to support one operating system when OpenGL supports all three major operating systems. Smart.
Beamboom 4 Aug, 2015
Quoting: liamdaweHonestly, I didn't see it that way. I saw it more as that Steam supports Linux fully, which is what I believe they meant. Rather than Valve directly pitching into help every developer (which would be impossible, they aren't a big company staff wise).

The key word here is "active". They are actively supporting games that have Linux versions. It doesn't sound like we just talk about the Linux version, but the game as a whole. It could indicate an incentive that benefits all versions of that game.
Something that would make good sense to do if one wants to drive the process forward at this stage, since the Linux share is so small.

Quoting: Mountain ManIt certainly seems he's talking about more than merely the fact that Steam is Linux compatible. But there's also the reference to "marketing expectations". Does this suggest, perhaps, that Valve promises more visibility to games that have a Linux version?

That's a thought that struck my mind too. Not just exposure of the Linux versions towards the Linux clients, but all the versions of the game.

For all I know a similar program for Mac may exist too - but this does sound very specific for the Linux versions.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4 August 2015 at 7:30 pm UTC
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