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A developer on Tesla Effect details why the Linux port never arrived

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Tesla Effect was a pretty interesting looking game, but sadly the Linux release never happened and not because the developer didn't try. It's yet another case of middleware preventing a Linux version, which is a real shame.

QuoteAs was stated earlier in this thread: the main reason why Linux support is not available (and STILL is not available) is due to the Bink 2 video codec used in the game to decode the Full Motion Video portion. I have it on good authority that the programming and design team worked EXTREMELY hard to try and get RAD Video Tools (the developers of Bink) to work with us on getting Linux support for their codec. But ultimately, the response from them was as follows:

A) They considered Big Finish Games not "big" enough to devote any more time and resources into working out a Linux solution for our game. And...
B) They do not really consider Linux support of their codec a priority, period.

Now, from what I have heard, they have spent a lot of time working directly with Triple A developers to continue to improve and enhance the codec for their needs, and specifically consoles (which is their larger market). This has unfortunately left the indie developers (like Big Finish Games) and those who develop on Unity a bit stranded. This has resulted in many of us heaving to appear to have broken one of our promises, when really, our hand was forced to do so.

A real shame, I hope anyone considering doing a Linux version doesn't go with Bink.

QuoteLet me be clear: Big Finish Games worked tirelessly to get you the game on Linux, and aside from the video Codec, it is a Linux-Ready game. Big Finish Games was basically turned out to the wolves and was left abandoned by RAD Video tools with no way to getting the videos sequences working on Linux machines.

I wish more developers were as honest and open about this as they have now been.

You can see the full post here. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial, Unity
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So then, i suppose there's still hope.
tuubi 9 Dec, 2015
Quoting: PerkeleenVittupSo then, i suppose there's still hope.
Maybe some hope, but not much. They've made it quite clear that the game didn't sell well enough to justify an update to Unity 5 at this point, and the new Bink plugin isn't likely to support older 4.x versions. They didn't say never though, so let's stay optimistic and hope for the best.

PS: It would be pointless to provide the game without the cutscenes, as most of the content is presented in FMV form. A different codec (even a lower quality one) would be an acceptable solution though. They could even up the bit rates (and thus file sizes) slightly to alleviate the drop in visual quality.
jeffatrad 16 Dec, 2015
Well, you guys could have dropped an email to any of us at RAD to ask about this.

We have supported Linux directly since 2003. We shipped source code for Linux all the way back to 1999. Bink has supported Linux for a LONG time.

We also ship integrations for various engines (like Unreal and like Unity). Sometimes the middleware companies write them (Epic wrote the UE3 integration), and sometimes we do (we wrote the UE4 stuff). It's the least favorite part of my job, since I just want to make video compression and not deal with someone else's changing engine, but whatever.

Another company wrote our old Unity integration and I didn't like supporting someone else's code at any point. And finally, at the end of 2014, we stopped shipping Unity *for all platforms* because I was sick of dealing with someone else's crappy code. I had enough, so we just told anyone who wanted Unity support, that we just don't support it right now.

Companies that used the old integration could have the source if they wanted to try to make it run (and some did - on several other platforms include iOS). And, of course, any company can write _their own_ integration - we have many companies that wrote their own Linux Unity integration (*most* companies write their own integrations). You don't need anything from us except the SDK if you want to support *any* game engine, if you wire the two ends together yourself.

So, we offered people the source to the integrations, or they could write their own - Big Finish didn't do either, and I don't know why. Maybe they didn't have time to write their own, maybe they didn't have the technical know-how, or maybe they were just confused.

In any case, I rewrote the integration myself this summer, and it has been available for Linux, Windows and MacOS since August (since haven't dealt with iOS, since Xcode drives me crazy).

So, they had several directions they could have gone using our SDK for Linux. And they could obviously have shipped something since August when we shipped the new integration.

That post just felt like someone who didn't have the whole story and is just guessing (or making excuses why they haven't shipped something that they promised).

Regardless, it had nothing to do with Linux. We're working on Linux debugging tools now in fact.
tuubi 16 Dec, 2015
Quoting: jeffatradWell, you guys could have dropped an email to any of us at RAD to ask about this.
Welcome to GOL. Great to see another industry representative in this tiny corner of the intertubes.

Thanks for your input on this. Makes it all seem a bit surreal though. If the Unity plugin was a third party solution back then, why would BFG have expected RAD to support it at all? And could BFG's contact at RAD have given them reason to believe that they were ignored due to not being big enough, or that Linux was simply not a priority? I wouldn't like to believe that they're simply making it up and trying to shift the blame.

Quoting: jeffatradRegardless, it had nothing to do with Linux. We're working on Linux debugging tools now in fact.
Sounds great!
corvusdeux 16 Dec, 2015
@jeffatrad

Only I can say this:

PLAS PLAS PLAS!

Thank you.

Great community, great community!

:D


Last edited by corvusdeux on 16 December 2015 at 11:04 pm UTC
Cubase 21 Dec, 2015
Hi all, I was the person who originally wrote those comments (which have been quoted here). Jeff is right about one thing: I was NOT the person at the cold face of the entire situation, rather: close to it. I just happened to be one of the very few people left who is still looking up the forums, listening to the user feedback and trying to provide answers to users who have otherwise been left in the dark. Call me a passionate and sympathetic dev, who hates to see things left unresolved.

Quoting: jeffatradWell, you guys could have dropped an email to any of us at RAD to ask about this.

From what I understand, BFG had a contact at RAD, who was (for the most part) very helpful. It was this level of support and excellent communication that gave us the confidence to choose Bink 2 for the game in the first place. In fact, I seem to recall being present at a point in time where this contact was so impressed with this partnership that they were going to use some of our videos as an example back to the company to show them how well Bink 2 was working out in the wild! The back-and-forth was consistent, and any issues were communicated and swiftly resolved. I think both our programmer and this contact worked together on solutions. It was a good time.

However, after the initial PC and Mac version was release, the lines of communication broke down and it was almost impossible to re-establish contact with this person. Perhaps it was the choice of the person we were dealing with, maybe they had their reasons. But from what I can understand, the support and level of response that once was, was no longer. We were informed that it was not likely going to be a priority for some time. In hindsight: one cannot blame all of RAD for this as it may have been the decision of this particular contact. Perhaps this staff member is responsible as an individual. But essentially, this is what lead to the feeling of being "left in the dark" and "not a priority" after this point... which I am sure people can sympathize with.

Quoting: jeffatradAnd finally, at the end of 2014, we stopped shipping Unity *for all platforms* because I was sick of dealing with someone else's crappy code. I had enough, so we just told anyone who wanted Unity support, that we just don't support it right now.

This was likely around about the same time our contact was no longer available. The release of the game was early 2014... Linux support was attempted throughout 2014, and eventually slowed to a standstill by the end of 2014. This timing lines up pretty much with that.

Quoting: jeffatradCompanies that used the old integration could have the source if they wanted to try to make it run (and some did - on several other platforms include iOS). And, of course, any company can write _their own_ integration - we have many companies that wrote their own Linux Unity integration (*most* companies write their own integrations). You don't need anything from us except the SDK if you want to support *any* game engine, if you wire the two ends together yourself.

So, we offered people the source to the integrations, or they could write their own - Big Finish didn't do either, and I don't know why. Maybe they didn't have time to write their own, maybe they didn't have the technical know-how, or maybe they were just confused.

Perhaps you are right. Maybe there was a gap in the skill-set there for the programmers. But in the defense of the developer: to go from having a contact willing to work with us despite this skill-set gap on the developers end, to having no help was probably a bit daunting and caught the developer off guard. That's not to say it is RAD's responsibility to hold the hands of Devs (of course)... but for a team as small as the Tesla Effect team (it was tiny, with many people wearing many hats doing it for a song - such is the indie world), it would have been quite daunting. It's like having a rug pulled out from underneath you, even if the company had its reasons (which, for the record I fully understand). Especially if you consider at the time this decision to drop full integration was made, the game was already failing to live up to sales expectations that would have been the motivator to spend more time and money into the Linux version. Such is the curse of small teams. You either luck out with the situation, or you don't.

Quoting: jeffatradThat post just felt like someone who didn't have the whole story and is just guessing (or making excuses why they haven't shipped something that they promised).

As stated earlier in this response, you are right: I was not part of the "whole story". But quite close to it. In which case, you most likely hear the passionate side of it. Which is also why many things may have been indulged with some hyperbole. But one thing is for certain here: I really respect Jeff's willingness to chime in here. Even if it was in defense, it is great to hear *something*, and some details. This motivation to jump in and provide insight is what motivated me to write my comments in the first place. It pains me to see people left in the dark, and so based on my experiences and close proximity to the situation (at the time) I responded to the best of my knowledge. If that reflected poorly on RAD in an unfair manner I apologize for this. I guess I had more heart that logic in this pursuit. But passion and hyperbole aside, one thing is certain: our programmer had a working relationship with someone at RAD. This worked really well for PC and Mac release. Something broke down in the communication after that (which was around the same time the event detailed in Jeff's post occurred) which changed the parameters of the situation, and the resulting technical requirements (coupled with the same support no longer available) left the developer stranded in the situation.

Hope this helped to clarify things a bit better. And once again, thank you all for being supportive, and understanding. But also thank you Jeff for chiming in here... perhaps this can be a step forward in resolving any further confusions, opening up new dialogue with you guys and moving forward with some solutions? Provided you guys are still willing.


Last edited by Cubase on 21 December 2015 at 6:04 am UTC
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