You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page!
Support us on Patreon to keep GamingOnLinux alive. This ensures we have no timed articles and no paywalls. Just good, fresh content! Alternatively, you can support us on Paypal and Liberapay!
I had the pleasure of speaking with another developer today about their Linux sales, and this time it was Lurler from AtomicTorch Studio.

I asked the developer about how their sales have been going across different platforms:
image
VoidExpanse:
Windows: 94.4%
Mac: 4.2%
Linux: 1.4%

image
Dinocide:
Windows: 91.5%
Mac: 6.7%
Linux: 1.8%

Those figures seem pretty similar to what we have seen from other developers before here on GOL.

The developer had this to say about the figures:
QuoteLinux sales are more or less consistent across these two projects, the difference is within the range of standard deviation. But mac sales are a bit bigger for Dinocide since it is a bit more casual game. I think this is because Mac has a higher percentage of casual users.

But as you can see it isn't really worth financially to support any platforms other than Windows, especially considering how broken the support for these platforms on most of the cross platform engines. Never the less, we felt it is important.


Q: How hard was it for you to support Linux?
QuoteSupporting Linux was a very difficult task. Even though Unity is supposed to be cross-platform solution, yet there are hundreds of problems related to compatibility and performance. Not to mention critical bugs in the Unity itself when running on Linux. And you can't always find workarounds to these problems and bugs... We are hoping that the situation improves, but for us the conclusion is that we will never use Unity for our future games. However seeing as Unity is one of the most used engines in the indie scene it is a serious problem for everyone...

We also had to rewrite many of our custom plugins and contact third party developers whose solutions we were using in order to improve their products in relation to Linux and Mac support. Unfortunately I must say that the Linux is the least stable platform when it comes to these kind of third party software and libraries. Obviously not the Linux itself, but the software tools that are available for that platform.

Another thing I want to mention, our game required Mono, but most of the users didn't have it installed or had an incomplete version and many actually had a corrupted installation. We solved that problem by providing a special bundled-mono with the game. But that was one hell of a task to overcome. Which again, doesn't make supporting Linux easy. However, there might be some improvements in this regards after merge between Microsoft and Xamarin.


Q: Do you feel you made any profit on the Linux version?
QuoteThe game was released simultaneously for Win, Mac and Linux. As you can see from the stats I provided above the sales of Linux version turned out to be minuscule. I would say with the amount of effort we had to put into making this support available we ended up losing money.
This is obviously only true for VoidExpanse. Some simpler games might actually be a very straightforward to port. In fact our second game - Dinocide, which is a classic platformer, was indeed a relatively easy port without any serious issues and we did make some extra income from this port.
And I would say, again. If you are using Unity and your game is a complex piece of software with many third party modules - porting isn't a good idea. But if you are making something simple and only using native Unity tools, making a port is definitely a good idea. As I mentioned above, for us the conclusion is simple - we are writing our custom engine (Renkei Engine:
http://wiki.atomictorch.com/Renkei_Engine) for our future projects to ensure total compatibility with all three platforms.


Q: What would you say to developers wanting to release a Linux version?
QuoteStay away from closed-source code where you have no control over things. You won't be able to fix the problems that might arise when porting. And waiting for fixes from the developers of these solutions may take months if it will be available at all. Not to mention that quite often the support for platforms other than Windows is sub-par.


Q: How do you feel about supporting Linux in future games?
QuoteTaking everything that I wrote above into consideration and the fact that we are a very small team with tiny budgets - all of our _big_ future projects will be released for Window only initially. At least for the Early Access phase. This will allow us to focus on developing the game itself, rather than spending significant amount of time for cross platform support early on. And when the game is more or less complete we will make the ports for other platforms available. We feel it is better to make a good product first, and then take care of porting, rather than allocating a significant portion of the time towards cross platform support during the initial development phase. However, if our custom engine proves to be stable enough to release for all platforms at the same time we will obviously do that. Never the less, it is still very important to us to make our games available on all platforms, including Linux. Hopefully the situation will only improve in the future :)


I would like to thank Lurler for the honesty, and wish the studio all the best!

You can find Dinocide here and VoidExpanse here. You can also buy them directly to get them from the developer + a Steam key.

If you want to have a chat with me about your games, send me a message.
0 Likes
Comments
Page: 1/4»
  Go to:

Comments on this article are now closed.
zikzak 7 March 2016 at 10:39 am UTC
Too bad they only sell their titles on Steam.
DRM will also hurt their sales, both titles appeal me but with DRM it's clear I'll not purchase any.
liamdawe 7 March 2016 at 10:58 am UTC
zikzakToo bad they only sell their titles on Steam.
DRM will also hurt their sales, both titles appeal me but with DRM it's clear I'll not purchase any.

https://atomictorch.com/Store
ai_enabled 7 March 2016 at 11:07 am UTC
zikzakToo bad they only sell their titles on Steam.
DRM will also hurt their sales, both titles appeal me but with DRM it's clear I'll not purchase any.
I will post the response from @Lurler (he has a problem with registration here):
Actually both of the games are available DRM free on our website, including Linux version. And if you get them direct there will also be a few extra goodies as well. But you will obviously receive a Steam key as well.


Last edited by ai_enabled at 7 March 2016 at 11:12 am UTC
Tak 7 March 2016 at 11:50 am UTC
QuoteSupporting Linux was a very difficult task. Even though Unity is supposed to be cross-platform solution, yet there are hundreds of problems related to compatibility and performance.
QuoteDinocide, which is a classic platformer, was indeed a relatively easy port without any serious issues and we did make some extra income from this port.
Quoteour game required Mono, but most of the users didn't have it installed
Quoteif you are making something simple and only using native Unity tools, making a port is definitely a good idea.

It sounds like the moral is: Difficulty of porting increases with the complexity of the software.
Mountain Man 7 March 2016 at 11:51 am UTC
Interesting to hear that Unity doesn't play well with Linux when you consider just how popular it is with developers. I wonder if they would have better luck with another engine like Unreal, Source 2, or Cry Engine?

On the positive side, the sales figures here are about double what the Steam hardware survey shows.


Last edited by Mountain Man at 7 March 2016 at 12:05 pm UTC
ai_enabled 7 March 2016 at 12:06 pm UTC
TakIt sounds like the moral is: Difficulty of porting increases with the complexity of the software.
Exactly. And that means most of the ported Indie games today are quite simple games, limited in modding and other aspects.

Mountain ManInteresting to hear that Unity doesn't play well with Linux when you consider just how popular it is with developers. I wonder if they would have better luck with Unreal Engine, Source 2, or Cry Engine?
Unreal Engine 4 and CryEngine should be a much better choice as the source code is opened. But Unity has a much, much more supported platforms (might be important for non-desktop games).
Unfortunately, all these engines are requires deep knowledge of C++, so if you're making a complex game (especially with client-server architecture) switching from Unity (C#) is tough decision. A huge part of game development with UE4 might be done with Blueprints (node-based visual scripting), but anything sophisticated requires C++.
We're implementing our own engine on C# with possibility of using any graphics API library or game framework (such as XNA/MonoGame) powered with C#.

Mountain ManOn the positive side, the sales figures here are about double what the Steam hardware survey shows.
Yes.
Also we would like to know how many players actually playing the game on each platform, but SteamWorks Product Data doesn't display properly this data for us ("VoidExpanse simultaneous players on Linux" graph is equals to "VoidExpanse simultaneous players", looks like a bug).

Regards!


Last edited by ai_enabled at 7 March 2016 at 12:13 pm UTC
zikzak 7 March 2016 at 12:44 pm UTC
TheBoss
zikzakToo bad they only sell their titles on Steam.
DRM will also hurt their sales, both titles appeal me but with DRM it's clear I'll not purchase any.

https://atomictorch.com/Store
Good! It's not obvious from their page, only an info about a Steamkey I'd have no use for so definitely I would not buy something I can't play.
Now I can consider buying one of the two games and as I'm a casual player (but without a Mac) I'll give a shot at Dinocide.

They shoudl consider HumbleStore too, they would gain visibility there. Unless there are some fees or whatever (I do not know how it works).
ai_enabled 7 March 2016 at 12:49 pm UTC
zikzakThey shoudl consider HumbleStore too, they would gain visibility there. Unless there are some fees or whatever (I do not know how it works).
Yes, we're selling VE in Humble Store https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/voidexpanse_storefront
Dinocide is coming very soon to GoG and Humble Store.
Regards!


Last edited by ai_enabled at 7 March 2016 at 12:49 pm UTC
ripper 7 March 2016 at 1:36 pm UTC
QuoteAnother thing I want to mention, our game required Mono, but most of the users didn't have it installed or had an incomplete version and many actually had a corrupted installation. We solved that problem by providing a special bundled-mono with the game. But that was one hell of a task to overcome. Which again, doesn't make supporting Linux easy. However, there might be some improvements in this regards after merge between Microsoft and Xamarin.

You should always bundle everything your game needs (except libstdc++ which is installed everywhere and forcing your version prevents users from using updated gpu drivers or breaks them completely). You don't want your user to have to deal with missing dependencies, or updated libraries that no longer work. So they were actually forced to do the right thing, they just don't know about it.
wolfyrion 7 March 2016 at 1:57 pm UTC
View PC info
  • Supporter
I know is too early to ask about this but some other developers already experimenting with Vulkan and I would like to know if the release of Vulkan was any "game changer" I mean for bringing more games to other OS than Windows?

Also I would love to hear the developer thoughts about Vulkan.
  Go to:
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on Patreon or Liberapay. We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

We also accept Paypal donations and subscriptions! If you already are, thank you!
Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams
See more!
Popular this week
View by Category
Contact
Latest Forum Posts
Facebook