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Google's game streaming platform Project Stream is built on Linux and Vulkan

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Project Stream, the game streaming platform Google is currently building is apparently built on Linux and uses the Vulkan API. While this isn't specifically Linux desktop gaming news, hopefully some of our readers will find it interesting.

For Project Stream, Google has partnered up with Ubisoft to show off Assassin's Creed Odyssey running on it. This is something I touched on, in an editorial I wrote at the start of last month with my thoughts on Valve doing such a service.

The interesting thing here, is that it seems to be part of some wider effort from Google for something code-named Yeti. According to Eurogamer, who had some hands-on time with the system. Here's the relevant text:

Our understanding is that Yeti is a bespoke platform, built on Linux and using Vulkan as the graphics API of choice. We are also told by sources that there will be deep integration with YouTube, not just in terms of infrastructure but also in being able to leap from watching a video into playing a game. Whether these innovative ideas will make it into the final product remains to be seen, but suffice to say, Yeti may well be a major next-gen contender, especially with that kind of backing.

Emphasis mine. 

It's interesting, since Project Stream itself already works well on Linux. I've had multiple reports, from people who've also had hands-on with it tell me that it's working just as well on Linux as it does on Windows. Regardless of your feelings towards cloud gaming, including the technical hurdles it faces (which are pretty big) it's going to eventually be a much bigger thing with more developers pushing it.

A lot of questions remain, such as have Ubisoft essentially ported Assassin's Creed Odyssey to Linux with Vulkan, exclusively for use on Project Stream or is it using something more like Valve's Steam Play? Considering the performance it would need, it's likely a native port.

Regardless of either way it's been done, the little point I want to make is that with enough backing, big titles like this can be ported to Linux. Most of us know this already of course, with companies like Feral Interactive, Aspyr Media and Virtual Programming all having ported some bigger titles to Linux.

What do you make of this?

Hat tip to Marc.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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50 comments
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Shmerl 2 December 2018 at 6:22 am UTC
elmapulnot having an linux version, but the windows version is DRM free
and:
having an linux version but with drm.

what would you chose?

I stick to DRM-free only, so the first option. Such things actually are not that uncommon unfortunately. There are a number of games that have a Linux version, but it's Steam only, and it has only Windows one on GOG. It's good that at least Windows one is available DRM-free, so I'd prefer that, to not having that option at all.

I.e. for example I can play Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II in Wine (GOG release), while Linux version by Aspyr is limited to Steam. If not for the Windows release at least, I wouldn't have played it at all.

At least some other Aspyr games for Linux came out on GOG. But for instance all Linux games by Feral are Steam exclusives. So even when some of them get DRM-free release on GOG for Windows, Feral refuse to release Linux versions there. It's regrettable, but at least those Windows versions can be playable in Wine.

Example: https://www.gog.com/game/xcom_enemy_unknown_complete_pack


Last edited by Shmerl at 2 December 2018 at 6:32 am UTC
kuhpunkt 2 December 2018 at 8:57 am UTC
EhvisSo if the game has to run on Windows (let's face it, Ubisoft did not suddenly make Linux/Vulkan port for this) and the client is a browser, where does Vulkan factor in? Even if Linux is in between there for the hosting side, I still don't see a role for Vulkan.

I guess that's why they either ported AC to Linux or use something like Steam Play. I seriously doubt that Google wants to use Windows/pay for their licenses. That's where Vulkan comes in.
Shmerl 2 December 2018 at 8:59 am UTC
kuhpunktI guess that's why they either ported AC to Linux or use something like Steam Play. I seriously doubt that Google wants to use Windows/pay for their licenses. That's where Vulkan comes in.

Rather I'd expect straight Wine+add-ons in such case. Google doesn't need Steam itself for their backend. Throwing in enough hardware, they can produce good performance for a lot of even Windows only games (using Wine).


Last edited by Shmerl at 2 December 2018 at 9:00 am UTC
kuhpunkt 2 December 2018 at 9:03 am UTC
Shmerl
kuhpunktI guess that's why they either ported AC to Linux or use something like Steam Play. I seriously doubt that Google wants to use Windows/pay for their licenses. That's where Vulkan comes in.

Rather I'd expect straight Wine+add-ons in such case. Google doesn't need Steam itself for their backend. Throwing in enough hardware, they can produce good performance for a lot of even Windows only games (using Wine).

"something like" Steam Play ;)

I mean they could literally just use Proton, since it's open source.
Shmerl 2 December 2018 at 9:04 am UTC
kuhpunktI mean they could literally just use Proton, since it's open source.

Yep, or whatever their flavor of Wine would be. Proton is still somewhat Steam specific.

If Google can push more developers to use Vulkan, it will be a big plus already.


Last edited by Shmerl at 2 December 2018 at 9:05 am UTC
kuhpunkt 2 December 2018 at 9:08 am UTC
Shmerl
kuhpunktI mean they could literally just use Proton, since it's open source.

If Google can push more developers to use Vulkan, it will be a big plus already.

As long as they don't enforce Streaming only I'm fine with it as an alternative. If people want to use it... fine. But I would never want to rely on that.
Shmerl 2 December 2018 at 9:10 am UTC
kuhpunktAs long as they don't enforce Streaming only I'm fine with it as an alternative. If people want to use it... fine. But I would never want to rely on that.

Yep, we'll have to wait and see if this will be spoiled by exclusivity or not.
mirv 2 December 2018 at 10:06 am UTC
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Just want to point out that Google already have an OS that uses Linux (and to be extra-explicit because not everyone reads it the same way, I mean Linux as in the kernel and just the kernel) and Vulkan. It's called "Android". So I wouldn't be surprised if Project Yeti is essentially Ouya with some Google slapped on top.

There's nothing to say that Assassin's Creed: Odyssey was ported to use Vulkan. And even if it has been, it might be vastly different to what you might expect from a desktop system (e.g essentially streaming 3D video with some interactive overlays). That's purely off the top of my head, but I wouldn't be surprised if they've found a way to pre-render much of the game. So I'm just trying to say that I wouldn't expect a desktop release anytime soon; if the game has been modified, it's been modified for streaming, not for desktop.

But considering the impressively fast, low latency, incredibly high data allowance, Internet connection in places like Australia, then I'm sure people will be thrilled at the prospect of gaming needing even more.
Shmerl 2 December 2018 at 10:11 am UTC
I quite doubt Google would be running Android on the server for gaming purposes. What for? Android can't run existing Linux games (thanks to its completely incompatible Surface Flinger) and normal glibc Linux works much better with Wine.
mirv 2 December 2018 at 10:17 am UTC
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ShmerlI quite doubt Google would be running Android on the server for gaming purposes. What for? Android can't run existing Linux games (thanks to its completely incompatible Surface Flinger) and normal glibc Linux works much better with Wine.

Project Yeti is something different to Project Stream (as far as rumours go). There's actually two projects being mentioned: one is a streaming service, the other is something with a bit more hardware to it. The latter could basically be a dedicated client to the former, and might quite happily run Android.
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