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The technical director for Electronic Art’s SEED division who works on the engine has stated that it’s capable of running on Linux. While very cool, this isn’t a reason to get your hopes up when it comes to future AAA ports just yet.

The Frostbite game engine has been used a lot in the past few years for powering many of the games created by EA-affiliated developers. Titles like Battlefield 1, Star Wars Battlefront II and various Need for Speed all run on Frostbite.

Johan Andersson, long time developer of the engine and current technical director tweeted this out earlier today:

the Frostbite dedicated servers do run on Linux for MP games, and we've had the client up also but not fully or officially supported

— Johan Andersson (@repi) September 7, 2017

 

This was after tweeting about how the Frostbite engine has about as much code as the Linux kernel.

While it’s exciting to learn that dedicated servers run on Linux, what’s more interesting is that they’ve also done work in getting a client up and running. It’s no secret that DICE, the studio that originally created the engine, and the people who have gone on to develop it since have been positive about wanting to bring their games to Linux for years. Still, a few years ago, Andersson dispelled any notion that it’s likely to happen anytime soon, saying that the Linux market share is too small to support.

We’ve come a long way as a gaming platform in the last few years, but I think that it’s still reasonable for publishers to be skeptical of making the financial commitment necessary to support Linux. Even if the engine already sort of works you need to hire dedicated QAs, allocate resources for platform-specific technical issues and to keep the port functional and up-to-date. Even massively popular and well-used engines like Unity or Unreal have many issues that any Linux user here can likely attest to the sometimes bumpy experience. This also doesn't take into account that EA has its own distribution platform, Origin, which would also need a port and would also incurr QA and technically-related costs to operate.

These aren't insurmountable challenges but it can be part of things that we gamers sometimes overlook when it comes to wanting games on our platform. Big publicly-traded companies like EA are accountable to investors who often wish to maximize profit. This occasionally means they’re a little shy to enter new, untested markets. Valve, being privately owned, had some more leeway in making these decisions when it decided to bring Steam and its game catalogue to Linux.

I’m cautiously optimistic that this is still an overall good sign. The Frostbite engine adopted AMD’s Mantle a few years ago and it wouldn’t surprise me if it adopted its kinda-successor-API Vulkan in the near future. That could further lower the barriers and convince the people who ultimately make these kinds of decisions that investing in Linux is worth the risk. For the meantime, I think it’s important to politely remind publishers and developers from time to time that we’re a receptive and understanding bunch and would be open to any ventures they made in our little market space.

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pb 7 September 2017 at 8:54 pm UTC
♥ DICE, I loved your Pinballs on Amiga, I loved Benefactor, in fact I still play them sometimes on FS-UAE - I hope I can also play your newer games some day on SteamOS. ;-)
themixturemedia 7 September 2017 at 9:12 pm UTC
I would buy there games if it works on Steam I am not interested with a different client other than Steam.
Sir_Diealot 7 September 2017 at 9:22 pm UTC
I don't know why you are listing reasons and excuses for companies to not bring out stuff for Linux. Where there's a will... And as others have said, EA could do it easily if they wanted to. They might not be the worst games company in the US anymore since WB is giving them a run for the money, but I'm still not going to buy any newish titles from them. Not as long as they require players to be online and similar BS.
Tiedemann 7 September 2017 at 9:38 pm UTC
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If it's EA, I won't buy, Linux or not. If it's someone else using the engine to make a game that supports Linux, then I'm in.
etonbears 7 September 2017 at 10:36 pm UTC
Sir_DiealotI don't know why you are listing reasons and excuses for companies to not bring out stuff for Linux. Where there's a will... And as others have said, EA could do it easily if they wanted to. They might not be the worst games company in the US anymore since WB is giving them a run for the money, but I'm still not going to buy any newish titles from them. Not as long as they require players to be online and similar BS.

Of course EA could do something similar to Valve and build a fixed Linux target to port Origin and then their Frostbite titles. It is certainly not beyond them, and from past comments, Johan probably wants to support Linux.

But EA don't need excuses; unless they see clear financial motivation, Linux support it is not likely to happen. Evidence from this thread suggests that quite a few Linux gamers would shun EA Linux games on points of principle, which will not encourage EA to change their view.

Even publishers with existing Linux support cannot be guaranteed to do so in the future. Egosoft/Deep Silver were an early supporter of Steamplay and ported all 4 of their "current" games to both Linux and Mac, but they have recently shown off their X-Rebirth VR beta, and upcoming X4 engines, both of which are Vulkan only, and both are on Windows only. When asked about other platforms Egosoft were supportive, but suggested that it was not their decision. Make of that what you will.
PublicNuisance 7 September 2017 at 11:47 pm UTC
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All we can hope for is that every step like this gets us closer to companies such as EA and Ubisoft supporting Linux. Even if you don't regard their games very well the masses do and if it helps the masses to start to switch over to Linux then it helps all of us. Consistent baby steps is good with me.


Last edited by PublicNuisance at 7 September 2017 at 11:47 pm UTC
fagnerln 8 September 2017 at 12:03 am UTC
It's funny how a interesting/good news are so unwelcome. EA even with their flaws, are one of the biggest developers actually: FIFA is one of the best sport game, BF is one of the best multiplayer FPS, NFS Payback looks great...

We need to support any movement in your favour.
kon14 8 September 2017 at 12:17 am UTC
I'm not particularly fond of EA's latest games (not a fan of the old ones for the most part either) and only tolerate Steam as a client because it's a community hub and oft as not an inevitable dependency in PC gaming, but if they were to release games on linux I'd probably give in and purchase some of their less awful titles, origin or no origin. They would be far from my worst port-biased purchases anyway.

We've got so much junk coming out of EarlyAccess and ex Greenlight at this point that any low quality console port would be an improvement over the current situation.
That's not to say that we don't already have quite a nice selection of decent titles ofc, but the more the merrier, right?

Getting EA on board would definitely give us some momentum, though I understand why they might not feel ready to support us yet. Can't say I'm not too impatient about it happening, but I'd be willing to give their recent games a free pass for being somewhat kinda boring and repetitive if they were to port them over.

scaineThat kind of mentality landed us Brexit and Trump, so maybe I'd bite my tongue and buy at least one title. Maybe.

(For the avoidance of doubt, I did vote, not for Brexit and if I could have voted for Hilary, I would have. Just, you know, clearing that up.)

Can we please keep politics out of the comment section? Brexit/Trump apologizing is both off-topic and highly subjective in this case.
Zelox 8 September 2017 at 12:23 am UTC
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Havet Read all the comments here. But didn't DICE say waaaay back they wanted to support linux when steam os or when valve was talking about pushing Linux. They sounded very positive to Linux, and frostbite could run on Linux, and to me it sounded like they even wanted to support Linux and was excited to be the "AAA title for steam os".

https://www.polygon.com/2013/10/12/4826190/linux-only-needs-one-killer-game-to-explode-says-battlefield-director


http://answers.ea.com/t5/Battlefield-4/Does-BF4-have-linux-support/td-p/1896259

http://linux.softpedia.com/blog/AMD-and-Battlefield-4-Developer-Dice-Determined-to-Make-Linux-a-Gaming-Powerhouse-400329.shtml


This is very old news, but maybe this is a hint that frostbite or dice still are at it. Inc vulken support for bf games maybe ?
Please dice, make me more proud of u, give the penguin games.

Anyways so when bf1 was gonna come out I was hoping for a Linux port. Maybe its EA thats are holding them back?
Or maybe a reasons I don't know about.
Probably the last example.
The only sad part about frostbite and the bf devs, they are under EA. And they are like cancer along with Ubisoft. I would ofcourse by bf games. And maybe alot of other frostbite titles anyway.


Last edited by Zelox at 8 September 2017 at 12:59 am UTC. Edited 6 times.
qptain Nemo 8 September 2017 at 7:25 am UTC
On one hand EA supporting Linux with their high profile releases would certainly boost the public outlook of the platform.
On the other hand I absolutely don't want EA on Linux.

I guess I'm glad that's not a choice I can make!
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