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Jonathan Blow's next game looks like it might support Linux

Posted by , 20 April 2017 at 8:48 pm UTC / 5951 views
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Take this with a pinch of salt, since it's early days for his next game, but Jonathan Blow (Braid, The Witness) actually showed off his next game 'Jai Sokoban' running on Linux.

You might be wondering why this is news, well, Jonathan has never been particularly interested in doing Linux versions, usually claiming something about Linux gamers not buying games, or Linux just not being good enough. His last game The Witness never came to Linux too, so it's really great to know someone so vocal against doing Linux games might actually do another.

It's not just him though, he has someone else helping with compilers and making sure it's portable.

He was onstage at the Reboot Develop 2017 Conference showing off the game, when to my surprise he did show it running on Linux. See the video here, he shows it off a little and then shows it running on Ubuntu directly.

It's running on OpenGL 4, although he did note he strongly dislikes OpenGL so he will switch to something else "by the end".

Awesome stuff, really pleasing since Braid was fantastic and I've heard nothing but good things about The Witness, which I would still love to be able to play on Linux one day.
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silmeth 21 April 2017 at 9:50 am UTC

Seems he is doing this game to prove that his upcoming laguage Jai is good enough to make a complex game in. And when you want to interest programmers interested in modern programming languages, you have to show that your code runs on Linux and macOS (and, preferably, other Unixes).

So it makes sense that he will build this game for Linux just to show it is possible, so that his language cannot be rejected by his audience on the presumption that it’s Windows-only. It doesn’t mean he starts loving Linux or he will do anything beyond this proof-of-concept on Linux ever.

Also, I’ve just read a few things about Jai here – I don’t have time to listen to Blow’s own presentations on Youtube right now to verify correctness of this source – and the section called WHY NOT USE C++/RUST/GO/D/SWIFT/HASKELL/LISP/ETC? gave actually not a single argument against using Rust… (and not that there are none – eg. ecosystem is still a bit immature, but games written in Rust still start appearing on Steam right now).

But, anyway, the Jai language itself looks quite nice for somebody who just wants a little bit more polished C, with a little easier (but still very manual and pretty cumbersome) memory management (and certainly better than C++ in that regard).


Last edited by silmeth at 21 April 2017 at 2:54 pm UTC. Edited 7 times.


Luke_Nukem 21 April 2017 at 11:31 am UTC

silmethgave actually not a single argument against using Rust… (and not that there are none – eg. ecosystem is still a bit immature, but games written in Rust still start appearing on Steam right now).

Rust is fucking excellent for game dev, and I will choose it over any other language every single time.
The only downsides are;

Some projects such as rust-sdl2, glium, glutin etc, are still a little immature; however, they are absolutely entirely useable right now, and it's pretty darn easy to keep on top of updates and changes.

Learning curve - the fucking borrow checker. But honestly, this is overcome fairly quickly once you understand how it works, and why it works that way. It does seem to lead to better understanding of how to use pointers in other languages and a larger awareness of the problems they can cause too.


stan 21 April 2017 at 3:37 pm UTC

I found Braid very bad and heard mostly bad things about The Witcher.


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