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Thanks to a Twitter tip, I've watched over the video of id Software talking about Doom, Vulkan, Linux and Google's Stadia and it's really quite interesting. For those who don't know what Stadia is, you can see this previous article. In short, it's Google's game streaming platform powered by Linux and Vulkan.

The thing is, id Software actually talked about having a Linux version of DOOM back at GDC last year that was never released, at least now we know why.

You can see the video below, it's currently an unlisted on YouTube and towards the end it does have some footage of the new DOOM Eternal. Some quick thoughts and info below if you can't watch it.

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They go over lots of technical details, which I'm sure some of our readers here will appreciate.

I did particularly enjoy the "Why Linux?" slide with an answer of "It's not Windows" which seemed to give the crowd (and me) a little chuckle. The developer then also touched on how Linux outside of servers has been largely ignored, with a joke of articles talking about how "Linux gaming doesn't suck now, very convincing…and even that small portion is subdivided along different distributions, so it's really no wonder that no one pays attention to poor Linux".

I won't get into a long debate about how Linux gaming doesn't actually suck, but I will most likely be preaching to the choir. Linux gaming certainly isn't perfect but it doesn't suck and that's about as far as I want to get into that directly right now. It's also a shame that multiple distributions is still a hassle and common problem for developers. Anyway…

As for the software stack on Stadia, that was also talked about. Apart from the game and Google's own "libGGP" everything else seems open. It's using Pulse Audio, Vulkan, libc++, glibc and of course the Linux Kernel. They're doing this in the hopes it speeds up adoption, since getting a game onto Stadia would involve prototyping it on a normal Linux distribution like Ubuntu (which is what id Software did) and then you're mostly done by the looks of it.

As for their own software, for idTech7 their latest game engine, they said "everything uses Vulkan now and by that I do mean everything—the engine, idStudio, even our helper tools". At least for future games released normally, they should perform well when using Steam Play.

I'm still torn on Stadia for the reasons I gave before. I personally still consider Stadia to be Linux gaming, to me basically anything done on a Linux box is Linux gaming. After all, if I'm playing on my Ubuntu PC, with Stadia which is also powered by Linux, what about that isn't Linux gaming? I'm sure some of you will have interesting answers to that in the comments (and feel free to debate it—politely please!).

However, there's tons of issues it has to overcome for me. There's a lack of ownership of the games so they could be taken away at any time, latency which even people checking out the demo at GDC this year said was an issue (PC Gamer: "latency is clearly present", "the delayed input to screen loop is very noticeable" and so on - many others said the same and worse), likely no modding support, massive bandwidth use and so on.

What are you current thoughts on Stadia streaming platform? Will you be using it?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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84 comments
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elmapul 14 May 2019 at 9:34 am UTC
liamdawe
Shmerl
QuoteApart from the game and Google's own "libGGP" everything else seems open.

They should have opened it as well, to allow making some SDL drop-in plugins that replace it.
We have now idea what this point what libGGP is though, probably not something they can just open up, as it's likely hooking into their Stadia API. I imagine that's what it would be for anyway.

i dont see any quote of then using xorg.

"verything else seems open. It's using Pulse Audio, Vulkan, libc++, glibc and of course the Linux Kernel. "
xorg is obsolete, and wayland is not even close to be ready for the prime time, so...

looks like everything will be open, except the part that matter, the graphic output of it.
liamdawe 14 May 2019 at 9:43 am UTC
elmapul
liamdawe
Shmerl
QuoteApart from the game and Google's own "libGGP" everything else seems open.

They should have opened it as well, to allow making some SDL drop-in plugins that replace it.
We have now idea what this point what libGGP is though, probably not something they can just open up, as it's likely hooking into their Stadia API. I imagine that's what it would be for anyway.

i dont see any quote of then using xorg.

"verything else seems open. It's using Pulse Audio, Vulkan, libc++, glibc and of course the Linux Kernel. "
xorg is obsolete, and wayland is not even close to be ready for the prime time, so...

looks like everything will be open, except the part that matter, the graphic output of it.
For all we know, that's part of what libGGP is doing. The point is, the majority of it is open. If id Software themselves first ported it to Ubuntu to get it working on Stadia, it can't be much trouble for a standard Linux build.
Ehvis 14 May 2019 at 10:04 am UTC
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elmapulxorg is obsolete, and wayland is not even close to be ready for the prime time, so...

They don't need any of that stuff. All they need to do compress the rendered frames of a single program into a video stream, combine it with audio and send it off to the great beyond. Plenty of open tools that can do that already.
mirv 14 May 2019 at 10:49 am UTC
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After reading the PC Gamer link in the article, I wonder if perhaps consoles shouldn't be more concerned than desktop users. The latency issue will make fast paced shooters, or anything needing quick mouse response, "better" on a desktop. Controllers probably aren't so perceptually responsive, so couch gaming might well end up being where this is used the most - certaintly I could see myself playing game I otherwise wouldn't if I could relax back on the couch and not have to try hook up my desktop machine to the tv. It wouldn't eat away at the games I do play (I don't play much anyway!), but would give me more options.

Still, the talk shows just how far Vulkan has come in such a short period of time. Tools are appearing and improving (anyone who has used RenderDoc knows just how awesome that is), documentation is great (and getting better), and GNU/Linux (along with other systems using the Linux kernel) have been first class citizens throughout. All this in the last 2 or 3 years. Compare that to the state OpenGL was in after much longer, and....well, it doesn't compare. Well done Khronos, community, developers, that we're even talking about Google offering something like this using GNU/Linux and Vulkan.
mirv 14 May 2019 at 10:59 am UTC
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liamdawe
elmapul
liamdawe
Shmerl
QuoteApart from the game and Google's own "libGGP" everything else seems open.

They should have opened it as well, to allow making some SDL drop-in plugins that replace it.
We have now idea what this point what libGGP is though, probably not something they can just open up, as it's likely hooking into their Stadia API. I imagine that's what it would be for anyway.

i dont see any quote of then using xorg.

"verything else seems open. It's using Pulse Audio, Vulkan, libc++, glibc and of course the Linux Kernel. "
xorg is obsolete, and wayland is not even close to be ready for the prime time, so...

looks like everything will be open, except the part that matter, the graphic output of it.
For all we know, that's part of what libGGP is doing. The point is, the majority of it is open. If id Software themselves first ported it to Ubuntu to get it working on Stadia, it can't be much trouble for a standard Linux build.

It was somewhat easier for iD seeing as they already had Vulkan as a core engine target. It took, what, 3 weeks to get an initial Stadia test working? It took less to get a desktop GNU/Linux version working - but again, core engine support for much of it was already there (because of headless server support). So iD are perhaps an exception in ease of porting - not everyone else will have such an easy time of it if their code base is more Windows-centric.

However, they are a shining example of what can happen if you keep cross-platform in mind from the start. The little nugget of information given in the talk was also: they ported and it just worked. No driver issues. The Vulkan backend was written against Windows, but it just worked the same on GNU/Linux (with some minimal code changes relating to opening a rendering surface, basically). That I think needs to be put in neon signs and shown to publishers.

And yes, libGGP will have to take care of some of the surface creation (for rendering to), because a monitor won't be available on their server racks. That's completely minimal code though. Do it right (assuming that libGGP also does it right), and it's going to be 10's of lines of code, a couple hundred at most. Really shouldn't be much difference between desktop and Stadia when it comes to the rendering part.
liamdawe 14 May 2019 at 11:00 am UTC
mirvIt was somewhat easier for iD seeing as they already had Vulkan as a core engine target. It took, what, 3 weeks to get an initial Stadia test working? It took less to get a desktop GNU/Linux version working - but again, core engine support for much of it was already there (because of headless server support). So iD are perhaps an exception in ease of porting - not everyone else will have such an easy time of it if their code base is more Windows-centric.
Keep in mind the vast majority of developers are using things like Unity and Unreal though, both have Vulkan support which is gradually getting into a better state. Both engines announced support for Stadia too...
mirv 14 May 2019 at 11:34 am UTC
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liamdawe
mirvIt was somewhat easier for iD seeing as they already had Vulkan as a core engine target. It took, what, 3 weeks to get an initial Stadia test working? It took less to get a desktop GNU/Linux version working - but again, core engine support for much of it was already there (because of headless server support). So iD are perhaps an exception in ease of porting - not everyone else will have such an easy time of it if their code base is more Windows-centric.
Keep in mind the vast majority of developers are using things like Unity and Unreal though, both have Vulkan support which is gradually getting into a better state. Both engines announced support for Stadia too...

Oh yes, once those engines are ready with Vulkan everything will be much better for developers using them, but I don't think either can follow the iD path and toss out everything and redesign solely around Vulkan. So it might take a bit longer for others to stabilise their code for Stadia compared to iD - but it's well worth any effort because they can use the same render path on Windows, flavours of Linux, Stadia, etc. Consoles still need something separate.

What I'm thinking is that if Stadia becomes a big thing, why not try share as much with Vulkan as possible, even on Windows? Same driver code under the hood (according to IHVs), so it surely has to reduce the testing & support effort. Guess it depends on how successful Stadia is.
Nanobang 14 May 2019 at 12:06 pm UTC
Re: ID and Vulkan

Awesome news!


Re: Stadia

At&t DSL @ 600kb/s = Stadia? What stadia? And Google, being Google, can be expected to drop the whole thing in a few years anyway.


Last edited by Nanobang at 14 May 2019 at 12:07 pm UTC
Xakep_SDK 14 May 2019 at 12:48 pm UTC
If they don't release gnu/linux version of game, there is actually zero profit for gnu/linux gaming.
Why should regular gnu/linux gamer care about what google made and whom pays to get games working on *their* machines? It's not my computer, it's google's.
mirv 14 May 2019 at 12:54 pm UTC
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Xakep_SDKIf they don't release gnu/linux version of game, there is actually zero profit for gnu/linux gaming.
Why should regular gnu/linux gamer care about what google made and whom pays to get games working on *their* machines? It's not my computer, it's google's.

It's more all the extras that go into making the games work on Stadia that helps. Vulkan drivers, Vulkan development tools, file system support (specifically case sensitivity) for engines, etc. They all help desktop - no, it might not be seen as desktop sales, but if all those extras allow other games to be more easily ported to and sold on GNU/Linux desktop, then it's a net benefit.
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