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We have both good and bad news to share this morning, as inXile entertainment have given an update on both The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep and The Bard's Tale Trilogy.

In their most recent Kickstarter update, inXile have said that progress on the massive Director’s Cut update for Barrows Deep is going really well. They said Microsoft has been a "truly amazing partner" giving them extra resources allowing them to take their time. As for the release, they're now saying it will be in "late summer" which will include the long-delayed Linux version. Hopefully those who backed it will enjoy it but it must be annoying waiting almost a year since the release for official Linux support.

As for The Bard's Tale Trilogy which was developed separately by Krome Studios, they said this:

We also have some news regarding The Bard’s Tale Trilogy for Mac gamers. Since launch, we’ve seen that Linux users have been able to play the game with minimal fuss, using methods like Steam’s Proton service. On the other hand, Mac users have not been able to play the game, so we are pleased to announce that we have made the additional investment to develop a Mac version. Krome is currently working on some additional updates for The Bard’s Tale Trilogy, and will begin work on the Mac version later this summer. All of you, Windows, Mac, and Linux, will be getting these additional Bard’s Tale Trilogy enhancement updates free of charge. 

Clarifying it in the comments of the post, they confirmed "There won't be a native Linux version". It's a shame to see Linux support isn't coming for The Bard's Tale Trilogy but at least it had a "Platinum" rating on ProtonDB.

If you want to follow it along, the Linux build of The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep will be up on Humble Store, GOG and Steam.

Hat tip to Faugn.

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F.Ultra Jun 9, 2019
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Quoting: Guest
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: Guest... we need to make sure they know they won't get our support until they support Linux in return. ...

And therein lies the rub, we simply are not in a position where "they" (except a minority of devs) care if we support them or not.

If our numbers aren't big enough to fund Linux support, then our numbers need to get bigger first, obviously. Although I will add that there is corruption/bribery from Microsoft, too, so it's not always a clear cut case of work being funded. Like take DOOM 2016 for example, very popular title, already running on Vulkan, supposedly even had an internal Linux build, but regardless it could have easily gotten enough funding for Linux support in my opinion but didn't, so asking why not is a good question, but that's off topic-ish...

Quoting: F.UltraAnd if we would have been in such a position to begin with then Steam Play / Proton would not have been created either so while the one is due to the other I do think that you have that order in reverse in your argument.

Not understanding what you mean. Regardless, of course I hope Proton/Wine is helping us and getting us more titles with Linux support rather than hurting us, but so far I'm not seeing it. I just hope it's not hurting us at the very least.

Regarding DOOM it indeed would be interesting to hear the real story. I've speculated before that it was never released due to AAA studios always wanting to not just sell a few copies but also make a huge PR event out of it so that they can increase their sales on all platforms. That is why they release it on Switch since Nintendo gives them such an event, exposure on CES and so on which is something that we never can do since we don't have a single controlling entity. Also AAA houses typically only perform releases when they expect millions of sold copies, just a few 100k sales is chump chance for those guys and "not worth it" so to speak.
jens Jun 9, 2019
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Quoting: Guest
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: Avehicle7887
Quoting: F.UltraHowever 0.84% vs 3.26% of Steams 90M users results in 756000 vs 2934000 potential customers and close to 3M potential new users is probably above some threshold for publishing houses to plan to put resources into support. Where exactly that threshold is I don't know but so far it seams to be above 0.84% for at least Linux.

I always found those percentages to be a bit misleading, primarily because Linux is a much better gaming OS than Mac. It is quite obvious why Mac appears more popular since the OS is sold with the hardware and Linux is not as widely marketed. For every new Linux user, you get 10 more Apples right off the shelf and the % starts going higher right away.

Quoting: F.UltraSo I would still argue that with or without hype we are still a bit too few for game publishers to care.

Chicken and egg situation sort of, the publishers not caring is part of the reason why we're still a bit too few, how are we supposed to do that without them feeding us games? I've seen quite a few people around saying they would try Linux if game x and y ran. The situation has improved over the years, but we need a bigger push to fix those last few issues with Multiplayer anti cheat software.

Yeah it's a bothersome situation where our platform came after the market already decided that it was Windows (PC) or Mac that defined a computer (after Commodore, Atari and so on died) coupled with the anti competitive business practice by Microsoft that enabled them to take the 95% market share.

So it will be an uphill battle for many years to come and during that time we simply have no leverage to demand native games like Swiftpaw thinks that we can.

Steam Play might not be the magic bullet that helps our market share grow to the needed threshold but at least it allows us existing users to enjoy a far wider variety of modern games.

We have no leverage to demand games? Right, that's why we have thousands of games with Linux support. All those developers who made those thousands of games with Linux support are responding to a demand for that, otherwise they never would have supported Linux. So, clearly that "leverage" did work. We need more demand so that we'll have more games, and the way we get it is more Linux gamers demanding Linux support.

No, that "leverage" only works with small titles with very small studio, but not for anything bigger. If you are only here for indie games, sure, go ahead, your tactics may convince a small developer. The big boys really don't care about no-tux-no-bucks. Really, I'm convinced they don't care at all for less than 1% market share.

I agree with you that the number of bigger titles seems to decrease lately. But as stated earlier, I think that was already the case before Proton arrived. Actually I think that happened when OpenGL was no longer sufficient for a port of a modern game. The only way to convince developers and publisher to invest into Linux and actually to release for is market share, market share and again market share. I sincerely hope that Stadia is a driver for companies to invest into Linux and Vulkan, Steam Play might be a driver for getting better market share. In my opinion no-tux-no-bucks won't get you anywhere (except if you want to torture yourself) because very few people care for the very small money (if any money at all) that can be currently earned with native Linux games.

Don't get me wrong. I know that Proton is not perfect, performance is somewhat lower, some essential features aren't there yet and support is completely Valve driven. But it attracts people and brings Linux on the table. This is more worth in my opinion than a few lost native Linux games (that even might run better in Steam Play over time anyway).
I would also wish that Linux was a first class gaming platform and that every title was a first day release with Feral quality. But lets face it, that is completely unrealistic in the current situation.

Last edited by jens on 9 June 2019 at 8:51 pm UTC
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