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Game porter Ethan Lee on packaging games for Linux

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Game porter Ethan Lee has written up a post aimed at helping developers package their games up for Linux.

He opens with one of my favourite parts:
QuoteOn any operating system you should always assume one thing: Absolutely none of your game's dependencies will be on the system except for the C runtime and a graphics driver (hopefully it's a new one, but that's another story).

I get a game sent to me at least every week that requires me to hunt down some random lib.

I really do love the attention to detail that Ethan puts into everything, even down to how easy it can be to use MojoSetup. Key thing: don't rely on .deb files, MojoSetup has been used to distribute games happily for a long time.

See the full post on github. Article taken from
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Hyperdrive 17 June 2016 at 6:10 pm UTC
I'm confused over why no one have looked into solutions like

mirv 17 June 2016 at 6:46 pm UTC
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HyperdriveI'm confused over why no one have looked into solutions like


Because there are several such solutions about, none is standard, none cover a broad enough case to be generically useful, and none have support across multiple distros. Actually, each distro already has a package manager to cover exactly this problem - that's the whole point of a package manager.

Steam's runtime helps with this issue (you can assume a certain amount of libs), but itself runs into problems if Steam updates something that the game relies upon. This is a separate issue of why I think game code should be available for older games.

End of the day, it's actually not that difficult to simply put your most important dependencies into a lib folder, have a launcher script, and wrap it all up in a tarball.
Nyamiou 17 June 2016 at 7:15 pm UTC
HyperdriveI'm confused over why no one have looked into solutions like


QuoteWorks with most reasonably recent desktop Linux distributions. Well, almost.

Not very reassuring.
hardpenguin 17 June 2016 at 7:34 pm UTC
The quote you picked, Liam, way too much true from my experience!

Last edited by hardpenguin at 17 June 2016 at 7:57 pm UTC
stan 17 June 2016 at 8:08 pm UTC
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I’d rather get a simple .tgz than an annoying installer.
mirv 17 June 2016 at 8:18 pm UTC
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stanI’d rather get a simple .tgz than an annoying installer.

I would as well personally, however I can see where a lot of people would rather something more graphical that also automatically adds a menu entry, desktop icon (I don't actually have any desktop icons), whatever. However, it's really not difficult to have the option available for download: an installer, and a tarball. Let the user decide.
JudasIscariot 17 June 2016 at 9:29 pm UTC
I really wish that he'd also mentioned for developers to stop making 32-bit versions of anything. 32-bits on Linux is dead as far as I am concerned and having a 64-bit build should reduce the dependency on runtimes or needing to pull a bunch of libs from a distro's package manager.
MayeulC 17 June 2016 at 9:32 pm UTC
stanI’d rather get a simple .tgz than an annoying installer.
You can extract those just like a regular archive, as far as I remember ????
Edit: writing on a smartphone, emojis don't seem to be supported (hence the "????" ). Here you have it: :-)

Last edited by MayeulC at 17 June 2016 at 9:35 pm UTC
Comandante Ñoñardo 17 June 2016 at 10:17 pm UTC
As a former Windows XP user, I want the games (or other software) EASY to install and use: Just click the "install_whatevergameorapp" file and let the GUI do the magic (asking me only things like if I want an icon shotcut on the desktop)...
I don't like terminal commands; they make me travel 20 years to the past, when I was an MS-DOS user/student.
sarmad 17 June 2016 at 10:22 pm UTC
stanI’d rather get a simple .tgz than an annoying installer.

tgz archives don't have a way to specify dependencies. If the game doesn't have any extra dependencies then tgz is good enough. If it does then you better have a proper package otherwise the user will need to hunt down dependencies which is a pain.
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