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More updates on Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation with Vulkan for Linux

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A nice way to end the week, Stardock have given some more updates on Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation for Linux and they said something rather interesting.

Firstly, Stardock gave an update at the end of December to mention how the game engine is now "compiling under Debian Linux and running via Vulkan" which was quite exciting to hear for those that missed it.

A few hours ago, they continued dishing out more information on Steam and it's sounding quite positive with this post:

I don't want to make any promises but...it's looking more and more like Linux will be arriving this year.

So here are some of the issues we have to deal with:

1. Performance. Vulkan on linux (driver wise) is...not very mature. 

2. There are some differences in how memory management works that we're having to step through.

BTW, I want to send a shout out to AMD who helped us with the Vulkan Linux support.

But the good news is that it's compiling at least.

While that's interesting by itself, what they said next was even more interesting. When asked which AMD driver they were testing, they replied with:

No idea. I’ll try to find to find out. I’m a total Linux novice myself.

There is a lot of industry interest in Linux right now as a game platform. I am not at liberty to explain why but Vulkan is a real game changer.

I'm very curious what they mean by the "industry interest", especially since they're not giving out real details on that.

I'm personally excited. I'm a huge RTS fan and I've been itching to play Ashes for along time now. The fact that they're talking more about it and quite openly too is a very good sign.

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36 comments
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pentarctagon 6 January 2019 at 10:54 am UTC
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It would be interesting to know more details on the performance differences. Is it between Windows Vulkan vs Linux Vulkan, or Linux Vulkan vs DirectX? Either way sounds kind of weird though, given the success of DXVK.
Naib 6 January 2019 at 10:56 am UTC
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woohoo! RTS

There is a lot of industry interest in Linux right now as a game platform. I am not at liberty to explain why but Vulkan is a real game changer.

what do they mean? are dev's really looking at linux or are they seeing vulkan as the main benefit (break from DX) and a path to linux is easier if they so wished?

Stardock showing an interest in linux is great but counter to what they have done... so what do they know
Leopard 6 January 2019 at 11:08 am UTC
Well , Valve proved that is possible to benefit existing Windows games if you have right tools. So industry interest is normal in this case.

You want to make a gaming platform but also want old and beloved games on your shiny new platform? Well , with Linux that is possible. Kudos to Wine and DXVK mostly.

Edit:Typo


Last edited by Leopard at 6 January 2019 at 12:57 pm UTC
Brisse 6 January 2019 at 11:37 am UTC
This one surprised me a bit...

Quote1. Performance. Vulkan on linux (driver wise) is...not very mature.

...but perhaps this explains it...

QuoteNo idea. I’ll try to find to find out. I’m a total Linux novice myself.

...no offence intended.
serge 6 January 2019 at 11:57 am UTC
Maybe all the sudden talking is just a way to get some cash from the linux crowd with the Humble Stardock Bundle happening right now.
rkfg 6 January 2019 at 12:04 pm UTC
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BrisseThis one surprised me a bit...

Quote1. Performance. Vulkan on linux (driver wise) is...not very mature.

...but perhaps this explains it...

QuoteNo idea. I’ll try to find to find out. I’m a total Linux novice myself.

...no offence intended.
I read it as "our engine compiled and is working but not on par with the Windows version". They still need to tweak it to work better on Linux and that might be because of the driver behaving differently (not exactly worse). I'm sad anyway every time an abstraction leaks, in this case the driver/Vulkan abstraction. If you thinkg about it, most of the bad things in our world happen due to some interface not being sufficiently abstract from the implementation.
mirv 6 January 2019 at 12:17 pm UTC
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There's not much info there really, so it's easy to read too much into the words, but...

"this year" has only just started, so that phrase makes me think they've an awful lot to do yet and so it probably won't release this year. That's ok - I'm personally not expecting a release at all - but it is good to know they are still working on at least core engine support.

Not sure if any performance differences are enough to withold the game. radv might be a little behind, mostly in shader optimisation I guess, but I didn't think it was enough to be anywhere near a blocker. Makes me think the real problem might not entirely be driver related. But they're also not likely to be using, say, glslvalidator for SPIR-V generation. So blaming "the driver" sounds a bit of a copout, but could easily be the result of devs being just too used to, and reliant on, DX and HLSL. That would be my guess - just a guess only.

Memory management? Really? Uh....ok. Well heap management is different to Windows, yes, and maybe they rely on that for allocation alignment of simd or something...but that's their screwup basically. Or maybe the memory management of Vulkan is different compared to other APIs they've been using and they have to make engine changes around it - but they've been at it long enough that I should have thought that would a solved problem long before now. Very curious about what is really meant by that. Just doesn't make sense to me. I do not mean in a harsh way, I really do mean that it just doesn't mean anything to me and so I wonder what is actually the issue.
TheRiddick 6 January 2019 at 12:22 pm UTC
If games use vulkan then it kinda makes it real easy to port to Linux/Mac/Switch/PS4++ The only platform I know of atm that has a issue with vulkan is the xbox.... does it support vulkan? pretty sure they blacklisted it!
AzP 6 January 2019 at 12:25 pm UTC
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I'm still looking forward to this a lot! Finally a game on Linux that is perfect for benchmarking. See Dan Baker's GDC presentations for more in depth info.
I hope their work together with the driver devs really manage to improve the driver optimizations as well. We need great games to really push the drivers and find the bottlenecks.

I was thinking about buying the Star Dock Humble Bundle since they're working on the Linux support, but I'll rather buy Escalation at full price when they actually deliver the product (even at a beta stage).
Nevertheless 6 January 2019 at 12:47 pm UTC
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There is a lot of industry interest in Linux right now as a game platform. I am not at liberty to explain why but Vulkan is a real game changer.

Firstly, thanks Valve for your initiative!
Wasn't it Intel that said lately Linux graphics drivers were a priority for their standalone graphics cards?
Also, whatever platform/console (Mad Box?) might be created in the future, will most probably use Vulkan. Whatever OS those platforms will use, and however open or closed down they might be, more use of Vulkan will help Linux gaming indirectly too, even if it only leads to more Vulkan Windows games.
Why there is a lot industry interest in Linux gaming is a mystery to me, but I would guess it's not our current 0,8% on Steam! ;-)


Last edited by Nevertheless at 6 January 2019 at 12:48 pm UTC
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