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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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Cybolic 3 December 2018 at 2:08 pm UTC
PhlebiacFrom the article: "Ubisoft has been able to accurately port one of its most advanced titles from Windows and DX11 across to Linux and Vulkan." Would be nice to see them attempt to recoup some of that development cost by actually making it available outside of streaming.

Please don't forget the part that comes before, it completely changes the meaning:
Eurogamer.netwe still have no idea if the Odyssey demo is using the system spec shared with developers working on the Yeti platform. If it is, all we can really take away from this is that Ubisoft has been able to accurately port one of its most advanced titles from Windows and DX11 across to Linux and Vulkan
Purple Library Guy 3 December 2018 at 6:28 pm UTC
wintermute
mirvJust want to point out that Google already have an OS that uses Linux...

Actually they have two: Android and ChromeOS.
Android making an interesting sidelight on certain long-running naming discussions; unusually it is I believe Linux but not GNU/Linux. And indeed much of the feeling of it not being really Linux comes precisely from that lack of GNU.
Ketil 3 December 2018 at 7:29 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy
wintermute
mirvJust want to point out that Google already have an OS that uses Linux...

Actually they have two: Android and ChromeOS.
Android making an interesting sidelight on certain long-running naming discussions; unusually it is I believe Linux but not GNU/Linux. And indeed much of the feeling of it not being really Linux comes precisely from that lack of GNU.
GNU isn't important, just look at the BSDs. The important thing is that it is unix-like.
dirkdierickx 4 December 2018 at 8:51 am UTC
Interesting that the push to linux gaming will come from cloud streaming.
I guess, in the end money talks and those game cloud streaming services probably will be a bigger income for publishers than trying to sell to linux gamers directly.
skinnyraf 5 December 2018 at 8:18 am UTC
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KetilGNU isn't important, just look at the BSDs. The important thing is that it is unix-like.
MacOS is BSD under the hud, but we cannot call Apple free software friendly. If this announcement came from Apple, I'd be sure there wouldn't be Linux support at all.
elmapul 5 December 2018 at 3:00 pm UTC
Shmerl
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

many windows users are already against DRM we cant fight 2 battles at once and expect to win both.
we barely have enough persons to fight the OS wars, fighting against DRM and against microsoft at once will only make we twice as irrelevant in both battles.
Brisse 5 December 2018 at 3:34 pm UTC
elmapul
Shmerl
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

many windows users are already against DRM we cant fight 2 battles at once and expect to win both.
we barely have enough persons to fight the OS wars, fighting against DRM and against microsoft at once will only make we twice as irrelevant in both battles.

At least we are spared from the most draconic DRM methods on Linux, with things like Denuvo being Windows-exclusive.
wvstolzing 5 December 2018 at 3:41 pm UTC
skinnyrafMacOS is BSD under the hud, but we cannot call Apple free software friendly. If this announcement came from Apple, I'd be sure there wouldn't be Linux support at all.

This is going to be off-topic pedantry, so apologies first. It's pretty inaccurate to say that macOS is 'BSD under the hood'; they take the BSD userland, and due to the fact that the 'hybrid' kernel that they use (XNU) has 'elements' of the BSD kernel, *some* low level utilities like dtrace work. Other features like jails, ZFS & pf don't work. As to the userland, though, what comes on the standard installation are BSD versions of a bunch of *ancient* releases of commandline tools. People who know that they exist, and use them, replace them with more up to date versions, or the GNU versions, via package managers like MacPorts or homebrew. Also -- Apple is pretty 'open source' friendly, but not 'free software' friendly; so that distinction is crucial here.

KetilGNU isn't important, just look at the BSDs. The important thing is that it is unix-like.

I fail to see (for practical purposes) how Android is 'unix-like', when anything that faces the user comes from an opaque java layer.
Ketil 5 December 2018 at 10:08 pm UTC
Quote
KetilGNU isn't important, just look at the BSDs. The important thing is that it is unix-like.

I fail to see (for practical purposes) how Android is 'unix-like', when anything that faces the user comes from an opaque java layer.
My point was that ubuntu/fedora/arch etc are more similar to the BSDs than to android, despite android and desktop linux distributions using similar linux kernels. And the BSDs generally don't use much GNU software.


Last edited by Ketil at 5 December 2018 at 10:12 pm UTC
Pikolo 22 January 2019 at 11:05 pm UTC
wintermute
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?

Actually have 3(and briefly had 4) desktop Linuxes, before we even get to the server flavors:
- Android("desktop" is debatable, but since you can use a mouse and keyboard, so I'd argue it qualifies)
- ChromeOS(forked off Gentoo),
- Goobuntu(internal Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, used 2012-2018),
- gLinux(based on Debian Testing, started in 2017-18).

Bus since you couldn't get your hands on GooBuntu and can't on gLinux, it's fair to omit them.
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