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Factorio devs detail their 'Linux adventures' in a new blog post

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Factorio from Wube Software currently has an expansion and big update on the way, with regular blog posts going over all that's coming. The latest has some fun behind the scenes info on their Linux adventures.

The post is detailed in Friday Facts #408, which goes over all sorts of things but I felt it worth highlighting because one developer, raiguard, clearly puts a lot of effort and love into their official Native Linux version. As mentioned by raiguard they were originally making mods for the game since 2019 and eventually joined Wube Software in 2023 with their primary goals being "expansion programming and Linux support, as well as being an advocate for the modding community" and they daily-drive Linux on their own system too.

And the subject of why don't more games support Linux comes up, here's what raiguard said:

"Why don't most games support macOS and Linux?" is a sentiment I often see echoed across the internet. Supporting a new platform is a lot more than just changing some flags and hitting compile. Windows, macOS, Linux, and the Nintendo Switch all use different compilers, different implementations of the C++ standard library, and have different implementation quirks, bugs, and features. You need to set up CI for the new platform, expand your build system to support the new compiler(s) and architecture(s), and have at least one person on the team that cares enough about the platform to actively maintain it. If you are a video game, you will likely need to add support for another graphics backend (Vulkan or OpenGL) as well, since DirectX is Windows-exclusive.

Many developers will take one look at the Windows market share and decide that it is not worth the trouble to support other platforms. Also, with the meteoric rise of the Steam Deck and Proton, it is easier than ever for game developers to ignore Linux support because Valve does some black magic that lets their game run anyway.

Factorio supports macOS and Linux so well because there has always been someone at Wube who actively uses these platforms and is willing to take on the burden of supporting it. Our native Apple Silicon support is a great example of this. Today, I will take you through some of the adventures I've had with maintaining Factorio's Linux support.

After that raiguard goes over the fun of add Wayland support to the game, client-side window decorations, the game having seizures when the window was resized, dependency hell, clipboard issues and more.

The blog post is worth a read for the more technical side of game development and Linux support, especially in an area where Linux is in quite a bit of flux due to Wayland, Pipewire and more.

Factorio is available to buy on GOGHumble Store and Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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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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13 comments
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Kandarihu Apr 30
One thing that I think might be worth noting is that he also mentioned that there is a hidden feature of Asynchronous Saving that only works on Mac/Linux but not on Windows. It's hidden in the options menu (look at the FFF for more info). But he wants to promote it out of the hidden status for 2.0 and needs for us to test it. He'd like us to reproduce a seemingly random freeze at the last stage of the process. I'm sure if that can be fixed, we'll have something nice to flex on the Windows-users about in 2.0.
slembcke May 2
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Quoting: SamsaiI'm sure there are probably plenty of people that would be annoyed by missing decorations though.

There are 2 programs I use regularly that have handwritten Wayland support and decided against using libdecor because "they shouldn't have to". The one dev is even pretty angry about it and says that people should use a sensible desktop environment if it bothers them.

I really like modern Gnome myself, so yeah I just shrugged and held down the super button. I do wonder what percentage of Gnome users know about that though. I suspect not a lot.
Quoting: slembcke
Quoting: SamsaiI'm sure there are probably plenty of people that would be annoyed by missing decorations though.

There are 2 programs I use regularly that have handwritten Wayland support and decided against using libdecor because "they shouldn't have to". The one dev is even pretty angry about it and says that people should use a sensible desktop environment if it bothers them.

I really like modern Gnome myself, so yeah I just shrugged and held down the super button. I do wonder what percentage of Gnome users know about that though. I suspect not a lot.
I haven't tried Gnome in a long time, but I get the impression that it can do a lot of cool things that aren't very discoverable, so a lot of people who try it in effect can't use those cool things.
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