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Unknown Worlds are dumping the Linux version of Natural Selection 2

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Some sad news to share this Friday evening, as Unknown Worlds Entertainment have announced they're calling it a day for the Linux version of Natural Selection 2. They will, however, continue their Linux server.

Posted in an official announcement on the NS2 website, they claim they're doing this as a result of it apparently being "more difficult to support and develop for the platform natively" including issues like not finding enough users with QA experience to help.

Unlike what happened with Rust, they're not offering refunds to previous buyers. They say to claim a refund from Valve if you purchased it in the last "30" days which isn't even right, it's two weeks and under two hours on Valve's refund option. Update: They adjusted the announcement to mention this is being allowed "from Valve outside the normal Steam refund policy".

Something they noted, is that they've "verified" Natural Selection 2 works in Steam Play saying it "can offer the same or in some cases even better performance on Linux than user experienced before". Sadly ProtonDB has nothing to back that up. They didn't say they would support it, just that it currently works.

The particularly stinging end to the post thanks Linux client users who "helped and gave support from over the years".

Looks like they have already purged Linux from the Steam store page too.

I'm not too happy considering NS2 was a personal purchase. I also upgraded my own copy to their deluxe edition and gifted quite a few copies of it to friends over the years to try to get more people into it.

To be blunt though, this simply sounds like a cost-cutting measure for a game that is way past its prime. For an online shooter, it has an incredibly low player-base and it regularly struggles to even hit 400 players and going by the charts on SteamDB it continues to trend downwards.

This does bring to light an issue here. While yes, we do have Steam Play, again the issue of support that I've raised before comes up. Anyone who purchased it to support them because they had a Linux version are now force to either run it unsupported or not at all. It doesn't sit right with me that games can just be taken away like that.

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Liam Dawe 13 Sep, 2019
Quoting: MohandevirOnline games have always been Linux's weak spot. It's seems that maintaining a build for Windows and Linux, when you constantly update the game is hardly justifiable when you fail to attract enough players (all platforms accounted).

Quite sure that they would have dropped Linux support even if Proton wasn't a thing. They just might have waited a little longer...

It's just sad that an early Linux adopter like UW is giving up on us...
Yup, as I said its a cost cutting exercise. Not as a result of Steam Play.

We began to lose a lot already when it became clear SteamOS/Steam Machines went nowhere. Remember our interview with Aspyr and Feral, both said they got involved due to it. We're still seeing the tail end of it.

No matter what though, thanks to the help on Steam Play we can still game on Linux more than ever before.
phalen 13 Sep, 2019
for me their linux or proton version never worked. I tried a few times to get support on the forums and got ignored. ns1 was great but i never got the loving fealing from ns2 quite sad.
Mohandevir 13 Sep, 2019
Quoting: Liam DaweWe began to lose a lot already when it became clear SteamOS/Steam Machines went nowhere. Remember our interview with Aspyr and Feral, both said they got involved due to it. We're still seeing the tail end of it.

No matter what though, thanks to the help on Steam Play we can still game on Linux more than ever before.

Totally!

I'm still wondering what TTimo was referring to, in his last comment on SteamOS forum, when they released the 2.195 update:

"I hope we can share some news about SteamOS's future soon."

:S:
sub 13 Sep, 2019
What did you expect from the quite good state of SteamPlay?
We will most likely see more and more devs dropping Linux support or not considering it right from the start.

Do we have reliable numbers of the fraction of games with native Linux builds released per month?
omer666 13 Sep, 2019
Their Linux support was quite unstable anyway, with the game executable clinging to 32bit and the game constantly crashing. It's not that I want to complain about it, it's more like a sign that they had some issues supporting Linux in the first place.
Also I think SteamPlay is mentioned as some form of damage control rather than a true justification for this decision.
SteamPlay allows playing so many games that the number of games that really don't get native ports because of its very existence just pale in comparison.
Liam Dawe 13 Sep, 2019
Quoting: subWe will most likely see more and more devs dropping Linux support or not considering it right from the start.
You mean exactly like it was before Steam Play then?
rkfg 13 Sep, 2019
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Quoting: MohandevirOnline games have always been Linux's weak spot. It's seems that maintaining a build for Windows and Linux, when you constantly update the game is hardly justifiable when you fail to attract enough players (all platforms accounted).

Quite sure that they would have dropped Linux support even if Proton wasn't a thing. They just might have waited a little longer...

It's just sad that an early Steam-Linux adopter like UW is giving up on us...
All true, and the playerbase is tiny. Considering there's 215 players playing at the same time and even if the Linux share is 3% (and that's usually A LOT) then there were only 6 Linux players tops. I know it's a peak number, not the amount of players overall but still it's pretty low. The community is very dedicated though and the game is still updated so cutting costs is a natural (heh) thing to do.

I just played several rounds using Proton 4.15 and it worked fine. One nasty issue is that the game doesn't like Alt-Tabbing, you might end up with a frozen window so the game has to be killed. It also spawns a Spark crash handler (their automatic report tool) that either doesn't work properly or just hangs so it should also be killed manually for the game to exit. And the game process stayed working after exit so I yet again had to kill it manually. All these issues can be considered minor and I hope they can be fixed on the UWE side.
F.Ultra 13 Sep, 2019
Quoting: Sir_Diealot
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: rkfgI have a feeling that as SteamPlay becomes more and more reliable this situation will become common. I wonder what Valve would do if anything at all.

I hardly think that they pulled the native Linux build due to SteamPlay when you need a custom build of Proton to make it work.

Eh, it *will* work through SteamPlay. Good enough for the Linux folks.

Well if "not working properly" is what they deem good enough for Linux folks then I still don't see how they would not have played this card without SteamPlay.
Orkultus 14 Sep, 2019
I had a feeling the entire time that Proton was going to cause more drops in native linux support in games. I love Proton dont get me wrong, it's the best thing to happen for Linux gaming, but Native is just so much better.
GustyGhost 14 Sep, 2019
This is a great opportunity for any embittered NS2 players to try out Unvanquished.


Last edited by GustyGhost on 14 September 2019 at 1:19 am UTC
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