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UPDATE: The developer provided some clarifications here. I think the key point to take away is this "Last but not least, we are shelving the Linux port, not outright killing it. This doesn't mean we won't do it after the launch."

ORIGINAL: Book of Demons [Steam], a dungeon crawling hack and slash with deck-building will no longer get a native Linux port. Steam Play is part of the reason.

It won't be the last game to do this I'm sure. At least in this case, they aren't pulling support for an already released game like Human: Fall Flat as Book of Demons didn't have a public Linux version. Anyway, writing on the Steam forum the developer noted a few vague issues they were having.

Things like "We had as many different issues with the build as testers. With each flavor of Linux came different issues." along with "Right now everything indicates that Linux port would be very high maintenance.". I always find these types of statements highly unhelpful, unless they actually say why that is. Let's be clear on this again too, you do not need to support all Linux distributions, support the most popular.

They went on to mention the issue of users only getting a single choice between Native or Proton, since Steam has no built-in way of picking between Steam Play or a Native build. An issue that seems to be mentioned more lately by gamers and developers. So, they said they will "focus our efforts on supporting Steam Play and Proton.".;

This does bring up some interesting thoughts. To be clear, I'm very open minded about Steam Play especially since sales will still show up as Linux and that I do like.

However, there's a lot that's unclear right now. When developers say they will support Steam Play/Proton, how will they do that? It would at the very least, require them to test every single patch they do on a Linux system through Steam Play to ensure they haven't broken it. Anything less than that and I wouldn't say they were actually supporting it. If it is broken, finding out why might end up being a hassle and hold them back and end up causing more issues. They can't really guarantee any degree of support since it is Valve and co handling it for them, the way I see it is that the game developer is not really doing anything.

14 Likes, Who?
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67 comments
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Beamboom 5 November 2018 at 3:50 pm UTC
... And this is exactly what the pessimists were worried about.
TimeFreeze 5 November 2018 at 3:52 pm UTC
QuoteWith each flavor of Linux came different issues.

And WHO excatly told them to support EVERY flavor? Just support Steam OS and/or Ubuntu. And for the most part it will work on any Distro.
rkfg 5 November 2018 at 3:55 pm UTC
Beamboom... And this is exactly what the pessimists were worried about.
If they can get Linux support basically for free they'd sure go for it. Especially if they don't have any personal feelings for Linux and FOSS in general (I'm not judging of course). So yeah, it's not good but considering the market share it's much better than nothing. And if they see any significant Linux share, they might reconsider.
Hori 5 November 2018 at 3:58 pm UTC
They give up too easily. They, as developers, would be better off putting the effort in a native port.
What are they going to do the next time they develop a game?

If they would be willing to put more effort into this, and not take the easy way out, they would gain enough experience on properly developing cross-platform game, that they won't be having this issues anymore in the future.

Sure, you can get a port done with less effort, but it's just less, not zero. You still have to put effort into it if you commit to support it (unless they were not serious about that part - which could be the case ***). And you end up still spending effort and not earning any useful experience and/or learning anything. It's "cheaper" but it will stack up, and it will be more costly for the company in the long term. And even worse for the individual programmers since they won't grow those (useful) skills that they would if they took the native port route.

If you don't want to make a Linux port, fine, but come out clean and tell it. Don't hide behind excuses, and false promises. If you really, really have a reason for changing the approach on the matter, then, again, come clean and tell it. Don't hide it behind vague statements and empty words.

*** - I say this because they took the easy way out. If they gave up and took the short route in the first place, what's to stop them giving up on supporting SP? Especially since officially it's Valve's responsibility to do so. There's nothing that binds them to that "promise".

Now I don't know anything about this dev studio. And I don't know anything about this particular game. This is literally the first time I heard about it and it's the only info I have on it. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe they are trustworthy, I don't know. But as a first impression, I got the feeling that's not the case - quite the opposite, actually. And when this happens - it's very bad news for a small gamedev studio, since I'm most probably not the only one who feels this way. It's just that I wrote about, while others simply skipped it. (Keyword: skip)


Last edited by Hori at 5 November 2018 at 4:07 pm UTC. Edited 3 times.
Patola 5 November 2018 at 4:06 pm UTC
TimeFreeze
QuoteWith each flavor of Linux came different issues.

And WHO excatly told them to support EVERY flavor? Just support Steam OS and/or Ubuntu. And for the most part it will work on any Distro.

In theory, yes, they should only support Ubuntu and SteamOS, but in practice users of different distros complain in the forums, give negative reviews and return their games as much as they have problems. So it doesn't help giving this advice, those users feel entitled to the game as much as any user of the support distributions.

I empathize with the developers on this. With Steam Play being much more uniform across linux distros, they'll have less trouble.
TemplarGR 5 November 2018 at 4:10 pm UTC
I am very glad this is happening. The game is not a AAA game, it can play on a toaster, so any performance penalty from Steamplay won't affect us much. And i would rather have a proper proton-based release that will be supported forever, than a half-assed native port that will be abandoned and will never play in the future... Also with Proton we get crossplay, same day updates, etc.

I have a very bad experience with many "native" linux ports (most of those use wrappers anyway), like Lord of Xulima, Sheltered, Divinity Original Sin, which either don't play at all( Xulima and Sheltered just don't play on Archlinux. Try it) or need hacks to work (DOS).

I only care about native ports if the game is at least AAA or a large RPG like Pillars of Eternity. I don't care about pixel art indies and other low requirement games. Those are better off officially supporting Proton, that way we are going to get more Proton ports since it will be easier for indie developers.
rustybroomhandle 5 November 2018 at 4:12 pm UTC
QuoteIt would at the very least, require them to test every single patch they do on a Linux system through Steam Play to ensure they haven't broken it. Anything less than that and I wouldn't say they were actually supporting it.

This. If they are agreeing to "support" it, they must be willing to field bug reports from users.

Other than this, I don't have too much of a problem with this approach. It's going to be good in some cases, terrible in other cases.

Having had the occasional Linux native game just stop working after a while, I've come to the conclusion that what I want more than anything is a library of games that keep working. So this basically means devs supporting their software one way or another.
rkfg 5 November 2018 at 4:17 pm UTC
PatolaIn theory, yes, they should only support Ubuntu and SteamOS, but in practice users of different distros complain in the forums, give negative reviews and return their games as much as they have problems. So it doesn't help giving this advice, those users feel entitled to the game as much as any user of the support distributions.
This is the first time I hear about such an issue. Do you have any examples of negative reviews because the game didn't work on Arch or Gentoo? I had an impression that non-mainstream distro users (as well as most of the Linux users in general) are very eager to report the bugs and support the developers in their quest. And the reports come quite detailed also. If the game still doesn't work, they're usually quite understanding.
Botonoski 5 November 2018 at 4:33 pm UTC
Linux is sort of on the bleeding edge, always changing and a bunch of experimentation going on. Perhaps when Linux has a larger market share and one particular distro rises to the occasion the platform will be more stable and easier for developers to support. Though if that were to occur I think Linux would ultimately be worse off as it probably be slower to progress in performance and design to maintain legacy support and whatnot.
GustyGhost 5 November 2018 at 4:34 pm UTC
cat /home/GustyGhost/List_of_cancer_developers.txt

No Brakes Games Thing Trunk
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