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Co-Op Stealth Game Clandestine May See a Linux Port

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A developer from Logic Artists has shown renewed interest in porting their Early Access stealth game to Linux, though still being careful not to make any concrete commitments.

The developer's first game Expeditions: Conquistador is on Linux and if you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should - it's outstanding. However, citing poor Linux sales, distro fragmentation and troubles with middleware on that game, one of the developers stated in November of last year that a Linux port seemed unlikely for the time being:

]I'll give it to you guys straight, because you deserve some honesty.

Our last game Expeditions: Conquistador was released simultaneously for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Like Clandestine, this game was also a Unity game, so we know exactly what's involved. Making the initial build is not the problem, fixing all the bugs on all the different distros and hardware configurations is the problem.

The Linux build we released worked impeccably on our own Linux box in the office, yet the bug reports just poured in soon after release. We spent a completely disproportionate amount of time on post-release support for the Linux build compared to the other builds, particularly when you look at the sales numbers - the amount of Linux activations the game got was almost negligible compared to Windows and even Mac.

So if we spend 90% of our time supporting the Linux build and it's only (hypothetically, I don't have the real numbers at hand) 1% of the actual sales are the Linux version, the only sensible choice is not to release for Linux.

It makes me unhappy, because I love Linux in principle and we all want to make our game available to as many people as possible. Besides, the Linux community is extremely generous and passionate (as evidenced by how many vocal proponents Linux games have despite the fact that Linux users make up such a tiny proportion of the overall player community). In the end we just can't afford it.

The silver lining is that SteamOS seems promising, and the fact that it's a more unified platformwill make it much easier (and therefore cheaper) to support. We're definitely keeping an eye on its development and on how popular it'll be among players, and I hope we'll be able to release Clandestine for the SteamOS in the future.


It was a similar case with the upcoming sequel to Conquistador, Expeditions: Viking where Logic Artists gave similar reasons. It was a shame that the Linux port simply wasn't profitable for them, especially given their enthusiasm for the OS. As in most cases though, it's a matter of cost-benefit which makes the difference in us getting a port or not, hence why the success of SteamOS is often cited as being conditional to a port given the potential increase in market share.

It's also interesting to note that despite these games running on Unity, it's not as straightforward as just clicking a button to get a Linux port, as is often erroneously claimed. There is all kinds of proprietary middleware out there, but luckily more and more are receiving Linux support while other developers are creating games with cross-platform in mind.

With that in mind, more recently the same developer has come forward showing revived interesting Linux (albeit specifically for SteamOS), though still not giving solid confirmation:

Jonas (Developer) - 2 October 2015We're hoping to support Steam OS - we've got it installed on one of the test machines in the office, but we need to focus on Windows for now. Mac and Steam OS, we'll deal with later.

In other words, no promises, sorry.


It's pretty interesting to see different perspectives from different developers on these matters, with some stating that even 1% sales can be worth it or getting figures upwards of 4% with others having complete radio silence on both SteamOS and Linux as a whole. For now, this developer seems to be in the category of those "cautiously optimistic" about SteamOS and the future of Linux.

On the plus side though, at least the developers like Logic Artists who have ventured into Linux and then u-turned now have the experience of working with and porting to Linux to make things easier in the future when they also have the numbers to accompany their personal enthusiasm.

You can read the original comments from this developer and others on the [url=http://steamcommunity.com/app/290530/discussions/0/613940477705674299/]Steam Forums
.

Official About:

Clandestine is a two-player co-op stealth/hacking game set in the 90's. An asymmetrical co-op system allows one player to take the role of the spy while a friend provides overwatch and assistance as the hacker, or play in Single Player and switch back and forth with the push of a button. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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The comments on this article are closed.
booman 6 October 2015 at 6:08 pm UTC
Maybe they should support one Distro like most games do. Reccomend Ubuntu or Mint as a standard.
I can't imagine how much work it takes to support all the distro's out there and all the different hardware as well.
Does Unity 3D support a specific Distro?
kellerkindt 6 October 2015 at 6:11 pm UTC
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Nice to see people getting used to the thought making their game available for Linux.

I just hope Steam Machine will not be a flop, since some developers really have quite high expectations.
Nothing would hurt the Linux community more than disappointing sales of Steam Machines.

Fingers crossed.
Nyamiou 6 October 2015 at 7:35 pm UTC
boomanI can't imagine how much work it takes to support all the distro's out there and all the different hardware as well.
It was supposed to be impossible but the truth is that by providing the libraries you need directly with your build (or by using the Steam Runtime which is basically the same thing) and by not depending on what is installed you solve most of the problems. You can solve even more problems by not depending on bleeding edge graphics drivers (or ask people to update). And in fact, you can cover 90% of people with 3 distributions : Debian, Arch and Fedora.

The truth, I suspect, is that the developers have discovered Linux at the same time that they started porting the game and when you experience Linux for the first time simple tasks can take hours because you don't know what you are doing, you follow tutorials that are outdated or completely wrong (they tell you how to install X in 42 easy steps on the terminal when in fact you can just open a GUI and click install) and you make big mistakes that will take you hours to fix. With that and the fact that they had to learn how to use new tools because the tools they use on Windows are probably not on Linux, I'm not surprised that it takes them so much effort to support Linux, that why most companies will ask a third party to port the game. But it should get easier after a while.
Segata Sanshiro 6 October 2015 at 7:44 pm UTC
boomanMaybe they should support one Distro like most games do. Reccomend Ubuntu or Mint as a standard.
I can't imagine how much work it takes to support all the distro's out there and all the different hardware as well.
Does Unity 3D support a specific Distro?

Most just support Ubuntu, but I can imagine getting a tonne of emails and forum posts about some minor issue on some obscure distribution and having to deal with each one can be very time consuming and it's kind of hard to turn people away saying "nope, we only support Debian-based distros" or whatever. I think that's essentially what happened with Expeditions: Conquistador and I suspect that's also why it's easier to just say "we support SteamOS, it may work on other distributions, but no promises".
Nyamiou 6 October 2015 at 10:09 pm UTC
Segata SanshiroI think that's essentially what happened with Expeditions: Conquistador and I suspect that's also why it's easier to just say "we support SteamOS, it may work on other distributions, but no promises".
Actually, Valve recommend to develop Linux games under Ubuntu and since you can't develop games on SteamOS (there is no tools) this is probably what they are going to use. And in fact, Steam for Linux only support Ubuntu officially :
QuoteThe recommended Linux distribution is Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10 LTS because they received the most testing during development of the Linux Steam client.
[...]
Steam for Linux supports Ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10 LTS (both 32- and 64-bit). In addition, we expect similar performance and stability with Ubuntu variants such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Mint, etc. Other distributions (e.g. Arch, Gentoo, etc.) have very active users who provide methods for installing the Steam Linux client. Valve approves of these efforts but does not officially endorse or support them.
Source (you need to login with your steam account)
But the games are build to run on any distributions that can run Steam :
QuoteAll Steam applications execute using the Steam Runtime which is a fixed binary-compatibility layer for Linux applications. This enables any application to run on any Linux distribution that supports the Steam Runtime without recompiling. As long as your development environment targets Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with the Steam Runtime, it will run without change on SteamOS.
Source
RTheren 7 October 2015 at 10:19 am UTC
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Despite of maybe "not" releasing the game, it looks awesome.

We need more coop games like this
ZekThePenguin 7 October 2015 at 1:32 pm UTC
The quotes given are exactly why we should all build or buy a SteamOS box. Is it the best distro out there? Not at all! However, if that will be the measuring stick developers are watching to see if Linux is a viable platform, we should do our best to stand and be counted so they have a better metric of just how many Linux gamers there are. Developers have shied away from Linux because there is no standard to develop for, and SteamOS will be that standard for them. We just need to get behind it. Up to this point, the many different distros have also skewed the surveys and made it difficult for developers to get a head-count. If we all buy our games using SteamOS that should improve.


Last edited by ZekThePenguin at 7 October 2015 at 1:37 pm UTC
Segata Sanshiro 7 October 2015 at 6:00 pm UTC
ZekThePenguinThe quotes given are exactly why we should all build or buy a SteamOS box. Is it the best distro out there? Not at all! However, if that will be the measuring stick developers are watching to see if Linux is a viable platform, we should do our best to stand and be counted so they have a better metric of just how many Linux gamers there are. Developers have shied away from Linux because there is no standard to develop for, and SteamOS will be that standard for them. We just need to get behind it. Up to this point, the many different distros have also skewed the surveys and made it difficult for developers to get a head-count. If we all buy our games using SteamOS that should improve.

I recently installed SteamOS for the first time on a "homemade" Steam Machine I made for someone, and even in Beta it's infinitely better to use for gaming than your standard Linux distros. No faff, no driver issues or anything - just the latest drivers. Turn it on and you're ready to game, nothing else to tweak or even think about. I was pretty impressed to say the least, and can see why people would want to use it and why developers prefer supporting it.

I think after it's out of Beta, I'll probably install it on my SSD and leave a HDD for the standard desktop (unless a very nice desktop experience on SteamOS arises, in which case I'd happily use it for both). I for one am certainly behind it, at least for gaming.
Nyamiou 7 October 2015 at 11:17 pm UTC
ZekThePenguinWe just need to get behind it. Up to this point, the many different distros have also skewed the surveys and made it difficult for developers to get a head-count. If we all buy our games using SteamOS that should improve.
Right now SteamOS users don't count on the survey (they don't receive it), so I would advise to wait until they do (hopefully right after the official release).
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