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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.

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69 comments
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Leopard 5 November 2018 at 10:53 pm UTC
Nevertheless
Leopard
Nevertheless
Leopard
Nevertheless
Beamboom... And this is exactly what the pessimists were worried about.

And it's also what the optimists were hoping for. Instead of maybe just giving up Linux support completely, the developer now looks out for Steam Play compatibility at least. What's the harm in it? If you want the game, you will be able to play it on Linux.

Problem is , what kind of compability they would be looking for?

Using Wine / Proton just as a surface for not dealing Linux specific things but using OGL or Vulkan in their game , not including crazy drm etc
OR
Just hoping it works alright with existing Windows version?

There is a huge difference between them.

"By "official support" for Proton we mean that if issues specific to Proton occur we will work on fixing them, not just write them off to "well it's a weird emulator on Linux we don't support that"."

Is that sounds realistic to you? Seriously , devs who can't deal with native build will fix issues on Proton side things which i'm sure they never used Wine before.

Eventually, all they can do will be reporting issues to Wine tracker in order to get them fixed

I'd say if that's really so, we're better off with a Proton version all the more.

So that is not supporting SteamPlay , that is expecting SteamPlay to support their title.

Which i was all debating from the start.
Nevertheless 5 November 2018 at 11:03 pm UTC
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Leopard
Nevertheless
Leopard
Nevertheless
Leopard
Nevertheless
Beamboom... And this is exactly what the pessimists were worried about.

And it's also what the optimists were hoping for. Instead of maybe just giving up Linux support completely, the developer now looks out for Steam Play compatibility at least. What's the harm in it? If you want the game, you will be able to play it on Linux.

Problem is , what kind of compability they would be looking for?

Using Wine / Proton just as a surface for not dealing Linux specific things but using OGL or Vulkan in their game , not including crazy drm etc
OR
Just hoping it works alright with existing Windows version?

There is a huge difference between them.

"By "official support" for Proton we mean that if issues specific to Proton occur we will work on fixing them, not just write them off to "well it's a weird emulator on Linux we don't support that"."

Is that sounds realistic to you? Seriously , devs who can't deal with native build will fix issues on Proton side things which i'm sure they never used Wine before.

Eventually, all they can do will be reporting issues to Wine tracker in order to get them fixed

I'd say if that's really so, we're better off with a Proton version all the more.

So that is not supporting SteamPlay , that is expecting SteamPlay to support their title.

Which i was all debating from the start.

Ok.. the longer form. I meant: If it really is true what you say, and they are unable to do it right, which I wouldn't dare to state, then they won't be able to port the game OR help with Proton compatibility. In this case we're still better off with a Proton version.


Last edited by Nevertheless at 5 November 2018 at 11:32 pm UTC
the3dfxdude 5 November 2018 at 11:42 pm UTC
TemplarGRMost people who pretend that "Everything is fine", are casuals who only use vanilla versions of Ubuntu/SteamOS, possibly even outdated versions... But Ubuntu will inevitably have to be upgraded at some point and you will lose access to those games then.

At least with WINE/Proton you know that if a game works 100% fine, it will probably work fine FOREVER, no matter how much sdl2 or other libs change, no matter the distro. Even if a regression happens in WINE, it will be a matter of time before fixing it again. This won't happen with poor "native" ports, those will be abandoned.

Wait, what part of Wine will make it a "will work forever?" And SDL does not?

It's pretty clear you haven't seen how Wine has changed over the years. Yes, as an extended life platform it's probably does do a better job than it's sister platform Win10 does now. But what it does well with Windows executables does not make everything else now unable to compete in support, even if Valve supports Wine.

Also, I can count with just my fingers how many "native" games I've come across no longer work on Linux. Exactly zero. Regressions, nada.

As far as distros go, I can count as many that have broke games due to upgrades, out of those that really worth putting any time into. Yes the debian world, how they handle libraries, packages, and updates, I find very user unfriendly and prone to the troubles that people talk about. But there are better distros out there that don't have these issues.

You also got one more thing to really consider. Most games do end up "abandoned" even those still sold. Platforms have nothing to do with it.
madpinger 5 November 2018 at 11:55 pm UTC
Yah, removed from my wishlist.
scaine 6 November 2018 at 12:14 am UTC
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Great update from the developers. It's tough being a small studio, and way too easy to sit here as a gamer and criticise their coding, experience, resources, commitment or whatever.

It's probably even more frustrating for them - if they'd just announced for Windows and Mac, this game wouldn't even have hit our radar and life would have gone on, everyone happy. We're only getting agitated because they TRIED TO SUPPORT OUR PLATFORM.

I don't like the way it's turned out, and no, I'm not (yet) paying for Steam Play titles, so they won't be getting my money. But kudos to them for trying. And you know what, maybe their next title will benefit from their attempts?

But it would be a shame if all the grief they went through, and all the negative comments on this very site actually contributed to put them off any future support.

The only aspect of their decision that bothers is locking out GOG. But I suppose if they support Proton, perhaps DXVK will offer a solution there too.
bingus 6 November 2018 at 1:10 am UTC
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At the end of the day, it ends up as a Linux sale. So I'm happy enough with that. Its not perfect, sure, but such is life.
Furyspark 6 November 2018 at 2:19 am UTC
[quote=mirv]
subThey're just letting "Proton" handle things for them and see it as the easy way out.

I don't really agree with that remark. If you replace 'Proton' with 'SDL', 'OpenGL', 'PixiJS', or something similar, that'd be awkward. Game developers don't *need* to know certain stuff, as long as they can make their games work well.

There are differences between those things and Proton, of course, but if it's sensible to use Proton, I don't really feel bad about them doing that, as long as, of course, they're supporting it properly.
enz 6 November 2018 at 7:47 am UTC
In my opinion using Wine/Proton to provide a Linux port is an implementation detail that the end users shouldn't even have to know about. The important thing is that the developers support the Linux version, meaning that they test it on Linux, make sure it runs reasonably well and fix bugs.

Optimally, they would contribute to the Wine development if something does not work yet, or at least report bugs upstream and work around or avoid features that do not work yet. And improvements to an open source project like Wine is something I personally care more about than getting the last bit of performance in a closed source game.
Cestarian 6 November 2018 at 10:02 am UTC
To be completely honest here. I prefer this over bad ports with no bugfixes/patches/future support. Anyone play dungeon defenders? You couldn't play online with users from windows, and a core function of the game which was 'crystal' auto pickup did not work, and neither of these got fixed. It's better to just play on proton (although doing so is not an option yet, so you'd have to use lutris instead).

There's also the witcher 2 'port'.

Officially supporting and testing on proton/steam play and fixing the bugs that occur on it, is better than creating a native linux build and never fixing any of the bugs that occur on it.

For most games, this is fine, sure there's a bit of cpu overhead and framerates can be a bit lower on proton, but most games will be fully playable on adequate hardware, because most games overshoot the ~60fps target on windows on low-end hardware anyways, and even with a fully native port we don't get the same performance os on windows anyways for whatever reason (probably inferior drivers...)

The only people this is bad for are people on the lowest of low end hardware, like integrated GPU kind of low-end hardware.

The thing is, that unless the game engine is developed with full linux support out of the gate, and hell, preferably made entirely from linux, and then ported to windows and macos with miniscule efforts (because it's really easy to do it that way rather than the other way around in the first place), making a native linux version of games is too much work, and likely to be a buggy, sloppy port. Is that really what you would prefer over this?


Last edited by Cestarian at 6 November 2018 at 10:43 am UTC
mirv 6 November 2018 at 10:19 am UTC
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[quote=Furyspark]
mirv
subThey're just letting "Proton" handle things for them and see it as the easy way out.

I don't really agree with that remark. If you replace 'Proton' with 'SDL', 'OpenGL', 'PixiJS', or something similar, that'd be awkward. Game developers don't *need* to know certain stuff, as long as they can make their games work well.

There are differences between those things and Proton, of course, but if it's sensible to use Proton, I don't really feel bad about them doing that, as long as, of course, they're supporting it properly.

The whole proper support thing is what I've issue with. My suspicion is that there won't be - it sounds more to me like they haven't really done much, just relying on "Proton" to make it work.
I could be wrong. They might have tested it proper, they might continue to test and make sure it works. They might even check with wine proper. But I doubt it.
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