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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.

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wvstolzing 2 December 2018 at 1:02 pm UTC
One thing that might be worth remembering is that this is Google, who are notoriously flakey on certain types of project, and this 'game streaming' thing may be one of those. So I wouldn't be surprised if it just spontaneously evaporates after a while.

Nevertheless, this sounds like very good news for Vulkan, etc.
1xok 2 December 2018 at 1:52 pm UTC
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As I've often written here. I think streaming is the deeper reason why Valve is into Linux. Valves streaming platform will be called Steam Play. Maybe they will cooperate with Google. Similar to Netflix and Amazon. Maybe they already do in the background.

Unfortunately, Valve is the only big publisher that also has a real heart for the Linux desktop. Fortunately, they own the biggest marketplace for PC games.

Last edited by 1xok at 2 December 2018 at 2:12 pm UTC
ElectricPrism 2 December 2018 at 4:46 pm UTC
Sorry Google, you have no place in my life anymore.

After being bullied into buying more Storage, having Google Plus shut down, having Google Photos no longer upload original quality pictures not against your quota, and all of the location tracking on Android mixed with the shitty Apps crammed full of ads and planned obsolescence I am done.

I have moved my entire Photo library, Email library to NextCloud.

What's worse but was an accepted evil in exchange for convenience is knowing the facial recognition AI will use all our data to feed their machine and scan photos for things to sell us. Don't get me wrong, I expect every company to do some level of evil -- but Google has gone too far.

Their Google Express shopping experience is absolute shit. Their support technicians can't even cancel an order 1 hour old.

They shutdown Google Reader and a lot of other amazing projects and have mish-moshed technologies into some post-appocolytic technical era where all your data is owned and located at Google HQ.

I'll be damned if I ever give them money to support a shitty Game Streaming startup that rips off technologies built by Valve. Google has not done Linux right. Android Graphics drivers are blobs, kernels are out-dated, Linux stock user-space is not included by default. The least they could have done is created a state of the art filesystem similar to ZFS and BTRFS.

2001 Google and 2004 Google are dead. 2018 Google is as evil, incompetent, malicious and dumb as they come.
devnull 2 December 2018 at 5:19 pm UTC
There is little to any good that came come from this.

The real reason Twitch still exists is they aren't Google, nor Microsoft, nor some game company. Period. It's not because they're _better_. Google created an environment of distrust and distain for users, honestly Valve is in one of the best posisitions to overtake Twitch. They don't have the political left's bagage, nor the toxic employees that go with it. Their streaming backend is a pretty freaking welcome refreshment over Twitch. No analytics, no stupid dashboards doing god knows what. No bs, just streams.

It's interesting they also announced the carcus of Google Hangouts will be removed from the Internet. Hangouts was being used by some to stream group podcasts, something I'm sure Google was aware of and further highlights my point. Google's mistake is saying they created it.
Shmerl 2 December 2018 at 5:21 pm UTC
devnullThe real reason Twitch still exists is they aren't Google, nor Microsoft, nor some game company. Period. It's not because they're _better_.

How is Amazon any better? They are as nasty as it gets in many ways. They own Twitch.

Last edited by Shmerl at 2 December 2018 at 5:21 pm UTC
elmapul 2 December 2018 at 6:22 pm UTC
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.

i dont know how good surface flinger is, but but is outdated, everyone knows that and is trying to replace it with wayland but failing.
google has an bigger install base with android's surface flinger than and wayland ever had, so why should they care?
they probably will make those games streaming only, then port it to chromeOS only and not give a shit about the rest of the linux world.

we are already busy fighting against each other (gnome x kde x etc) we dont have energy to compete against then (as if we could anyway)
devnull 2 December 2018 at 6:35 pm UTC
ShmerlHow is Amazon any better? They are as nasty as it gets in many ways. They own Twitch.

Eh? Never said they were. They are the lesser of two evils. Fact that a female streamer can falsely accuse another of rape and still be on their platform makes that pretty obvious. They are both evil.

Twitch was not however created by Amazon.
skinnyraf 2 December 2018 at 8:39 pm UTC
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elmapuli would add:
the end of mods

Not necessarily. Depending on the implementation, there could be something like Steam Workshop, but allowing your own mods to be uploaded to your folder in the cloud.
wintermute 2 December 2018 at 11:05 pm UTC
mirvJust want to point out that Google already have an OS that uses Linux...

Actually they have two: Android and ChromeOS.

I would just like to add to the speculation in this comment thread the speculation from this slightly older thread and note that Assassin's Creed was one of the guesses on that. If Ubisoft have indeed ported their game to Linux it's possible they brought in some expert help?
anarchist_tomato 3 December 2018 at 10:51 am UTC
I think you can safely say this is on topic, Liam. ;)

Well if it has to run server-side, it has to run on Linux, right? Unless it went through yet *another* layer of streaming (vomit!).
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