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Gaming and Linux graphics talks at FOSDEM 2019

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Hello fellow penguin enthusiasts. I spent the last weekend in Brussels, Belgium attending the FOSDEM conference -- a free event focused on free open-source software, and a place where free-software developers can meet, share idea and collaborate. There was no shortage of Linux-related content, and it was really exciting to meet and listen to people working on software that you directly or indirectly rely on every day.

Gaming was not the main focus, but there were several talks that I thought you may find interesting. I selected 4 talks that I wanted to highlight. The first two are more high-level focused on gaming directly, while the last 2 are more technical dealing with the Linux graphics stack in general.

Hope you find these interesting. And checkout FOSDEM and many other talks they had.

Godot Engine

 

Juan Linietsky, the main author and development lead of Godot Engine, talked about Godot and how they created a third person shooter demo using tools like Blender, Gimp, Krita and of course Godot Engine. He gave the presentation and ran the demo on a Linux machine. Source

 

0 A.D., a libre real-time strategy game

 

Nicolas Auvray, the project leader of 0 A.D., talked about the features of the game itself, and integration of the modding service https://mod.io/ into the game. Source

 

Virgil 3D GPU

 

Elie Tournier talked about the Virgil 3D GPU project, a virtual GPU implementation for QEMU. He showed a demo of the Heaven benchmark running pretty smoothly. The project still has a long way to go. It currently lacks support for Vulkan, Windows guests, and Direct3D, so it is limited in usefulness for a Linux gamer wanting to run games in the virtual machine. But quite impressive nonetheless. Source

 

Mesa memory usage

 

Ian Romanick, a software developer for Intel's open-source OpenGL driver, and Intel’s representative to the Khronos Board, talked about the nitty-gritty details of inner workings of Mesa, and how they managed to substantially reduce the memory usage of shaders. It is basically a talk about optimization, and how he approached the problem. Source

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc, Video
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GustyGhost 9 Feb, 2019
Virgil GPU sounds like very good news if you find yourself wanting to game on a non-x86 host. That one is going in my notes, for sure.
silmeth 9 Feb, 2019
Quotea free event focused on free open-source software, and a place where free-software developers can meet, share idea and collaborate

And most importantly – drink Belgian beer together. ;-)

As for 0 A.D. – there was also another talk about graphics problems the game was facing – the 0 A.D: Graphics – Graphics problems and opportunities of open-source game talk. But I haven’t seen it yet, so cannot comment how worth watching it is (tbh, I haven’t been to any gaming-related talks in person, but am catching up thanks to the recordings; there are too many things happening at the same time to see all those you’d like to…).
Linas 10 Feb, 2019
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Quoting: silmethAnd most importantly – drink Belgian beer together. ;-)
That might have happened as well. :)

Quoting: silmethAs for 0 A.D. – there was also another talk about graphics problems the game was facing – the 0 A.D: Graphics – Graphics problems and opportunities of open-source game talk.

Good catch. Yes, I think it is worth watching. He talks about legacy OpenGL support and why they cannot just drop it because of macOS. I really don't get why people spend so much energy supporting a platform that is so anti-gaming like macOS.
stan 10 Feb, 2019
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Quoting: LinasI really don't get why people spend so much energy supporting a platform that is so anti-gaming like macOS.
Many Windows users are probably thinking the same thing about Linux.
Brisse 10 Feb, 2019
Quoting: stan
Quoting: LinasI really don't get why people spend so much energy supporting a platform that is so anti-gaming like macOS.
Many Windows users are probably thinking the same thing about Linux.

Oh yes. I hang around some hardware focused forums where you see a lot of average gamer types and Windows users, and I see this a lot.

There are people that are completely ignorant and have no idea what FOSS is. They think Linux is something that doesn't work and react with sentences like "there is no free meal" because ofc. they think of FOSS as something that is "free as in beer" or it's the same as Freeware/Shareware. These people will generally bully you if you reveal yourself as a GNU/Linux user and they think game developers are wasting their time bringing games to GNU/Linux in the few cases where said people are even aware of devs doing so. They will also happily give up their privacy and personal integrity to big corporations like M$.

Then there are also people who genuinely express interest in switching but in the end they don't because they're stuck in old habits, or they think the game portfolio is too small, or their favourite game isn't available, or they want the latest "AAA" on release day or they are afraid they will have to input a bunch of mystical commands in a terminal. These people are generally sane but perhaps a bit uneducated on the subject.

Let's just say there are a lot of misconceptions and predjudice out there, but there are also some truths.


Last edited by Brisse on 12 February 2019 at 8:36 pm UTC
Ananace 10 Feb, 2019
There was a really nice talk at DevConf.cz about direct hardware acceleration in virtio as well, though in that case focused more on the hardware developers themselves directly implementing virtualization support into their devices.

I've been hoping that the virgil project will grab onto Vulkan and all the extra features from there though, with DXVK and all it should be possible to even run it as a Windows driver and just convert all Direct3D stuff into Vulkan calls to the Linux host.
Quoting: stan
Quoting: LinasI really don't get why people spend so much energy supporting a platform that is so anti-gaming like macOS.
Many Windows users are probably thinking the same thing about Linux.
Although the reason for that might be pure ignorance and/or arrogance. If you just mention Linux some "gamers" just turn away.
Dedale 10 Feb, 2019
Unfortunately, it was even the case when MAC hardware made them good gaming platforms. Apple was never interested. Also, back in the day compilers for beginners were simply not easy to get by so you did not learn to program on a mac. I never did on mine, i did a few thing on a DOS dinosaur because the resource was available there.

Another problem is devs complain of the huge support burden from MAC users. You sometimes hear the same remarks about Linux gamers but on a more nuanced tone.


Last edited by Dedale on 10 February 2019 at 5:17 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 11 Feb, 2019
Quoting: DedaleUnfortunately, it was even the case when MAC hardware made them good gaming platforms. Apple was never interested. Also, back in the day compilers for beginners were simply not easy to get by so you did not learn to program on a mac. I never did on mine, i did a few thing on a DOS dinosaur because the resource was available there.

Another problem is devs complain of the huge support burden from MAC users. You sometimes hear the same remarks about Linux gamers but on a more nuanced tone.
I get the impression that in the Linux case, although on one hand there might be support headaches, on the other Linux gamers have a strong contingent willing and able to get their hands dirty pinpointing and working around bugs (a contingent I don't belong to but for which I am thankful). In the Mac case, this is just a wild guess but I'm thinking there are far fewer such, so no silver lining.
Cookiedemkp 11 Feb, 2019
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The idea of Virgil 3D GPU seems kind of neat in that it looks like it's attempting to provide a QEMU-level API + drivers for allowing the guest VM to directly interface with the host GPU.

While I've used VGA passthrough in the past to run games inside a Windows VM, the requirement of having two GPUs, one of which is always unusable on the host OS under normal booting circumstances, could be a bit steep or at the least a bit annoying. Considering that I was never really using the GPU on the host OS for anything more than rendering the desktop, I could see this sort of resource sharing as being viable at least. Once/if Windows guest support gets added, I'd be really interested to see some metrics on the current overhead of running through a virtual GPU.
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