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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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Beamboom 8 September 2017 at 8:14 am UTC
Geez, a lot of religious fanatics here. Judge a game on its own merits, regardless of distributor. EA has released some really really great games over the years, and especially Ubisoft has made some of the best open world action games on the entire friggin' market!

I see a lot of "indie indie indie" praise here. Indie is nothing but a release with near zero budget and near zero developers working on it. Most of them are nothing but a semi-pro hobby project. None of them have anything that even resembles the backbone - neither capital nor competence - required to carry a major, grand game.

I'll just say it: If you only want Amiga games, pull out your damn Amiga and stfu. Of course we want the big distributors on our platform. Of COURSE. It's a no-brainer. It's plain ridiculous to sit there with modern gaming hardware and fiddle with software that could (and often also are) made for a mobile phone.

So you don't like microtransactions? Me neither. Then just avoid those games. But to "boycott" an entire major distributor just because they screwed up a franchise you loved a decade ago... Oh come on, can one even GET more butt-hurt than that?

It's fantastic that Dice apparently internally have created a Linux client. Period. If we get more AAA titles - that no single indie dev can ever hope of creating anything remotely similar to - then pop your corks and cheer, at least cheer on behalf of those of us who wants the big, epic, multi-million budget, five-hundred developer projects with sky high production value.
AzP 8 September 2017 at 8:31 am UTC
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Johan (and other developers at Dice) has been active members in the development of Vulkan (based on his experience on running the Frostbite Engine on Mantle). I would assume that Frostbite can actually run on Vulkan, though perhaps not fully optimized, etc.


Last edited by AzP at 8 September 2017 at 9:06 pm UTC
Ehvis 8 September 2017 at 9:26 am UTC
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AzPJohan (and other developers at Dice) has been active members in the development of Vulkan (based on his experionce on running the Frostbite Engine an Mantle). I would assume that Frostbite can actually run on Vulkan, though perhaps not fully optimized, etc.

That actually sounds quite reasonable. This is a direction that engines need to take for the future. That would have been a big chunk of the porting work done without specifically targetting Linux. The remainder could be done as an experiment that never needs to see the light of day.
STiAT 8 September 2017 at 4:31 pm UTC
Hmh, nice to hear of that, but I did not cross a EA Game in the past years I'd have wanted to buy. Maybe DA:I, but DA2 somehow got me off that sequel...

EA is huge, and if they are, as Blizzard was known to be, having an internal client for Linux to see when they can support it officially and actually being able to calculate costs behind porting that's still positive.

I put my bet somehow on snaps + when Vulkan on all drivers has grown major that they'll start calculating.

Origin is written in Qt, porting that one probably wouldn't be a huge undertaking.
erlaan 8 September 2017 at 6:31 pm UTC
Now I know what I gona ask my aunt for . I need that linux client if it exist for Battlefield 1! See what I can do to get the hands on it! I don't care if it's some bugs! I can be a Beta tester for them! As long as I can play it on Linux I will know that the platform is on the right track!
erlaan 8 September 2017 at 6:33 pm UTC
Now I know what I gona ask my aunt for . I need that linux client if it exist for Battlefield 1! See what I can do to get the hands on it! I don't care if it's some bugs! I can be a Beta tester for them! As long as I can play it on Linux I will know that the platform is on the right track!
jens 8 September 2017 at 7:29 pm UTC
BeamboomGeez, a lot of religious fanatics here.

Thank you, exactly my thoughts. The big boys are very carefully exploring our market and we are burning them immediately at the stake instead of welcoming them with open arms

I would definitely buy an EA game if its a game of my taste. No matter of Steam, DRM, always online only, Nvidia closed source only, I don't care what. I wish that people would only want to play some cool games instead of fighting a holy war and hunt for every disbeliever.
razing32 8 September 2017 at 8:26 pm UTC
jens
BeamboomGeez, a lot of religious fanatics here.

Thank you, exactly my thoughts. The big boys are very carefully exploring our market and we are burning them immediately at the stake instead of welcoming them with open arms

I would definitely buy an EA game if its a game of my taste. No matter of Steam, DRM, always online only, Nvidia closed source only, I don't care what. I wish that people would only want to play some cool games instead of fighting a holy war and hunt for every disbeliever.

What are you talking about ?
We dislike EA for very specific reasons.
They treat their developer studios badly , butcher a franchise with anti consumer practices and then burn said franchise in the ground , blame devs and close studios.

Yes the games are cool. When they are first made. After the likes of EA or WB get their hands on them , not so much.
jens 9 September 2017 at 8:43 am UTC
razing32What are you talking about ?

Well, I'm talking about a (hopefully) very small but very vocal part of the Linux community that is nearly blind due to ideology and principles and can't even see anymore when they get presented with a gift.

I'm truly happy and grateful when I'm behind my Fedora box with NVidia closed source driver and able to enjoy games like Hitman, Tomb Raider or CIV VI etc. purchased and started from Steam with just a few clicks. It is close to unbelievable that this is now possible on Linux. But instead of being very grateful to the companies and people behind it for making this possible and letting the market slowly grow, I'm constantly reading arguments that the parties that made this happen but obviously also want to earn money are evil and hostile against Linux:

- Steam is bad, they offer a closed source distribution platform
- Steam is even more evil because they seem to have lost they Linux focus and won't bring VR to Linux
- Gog is hostile because the abandoned their plans for Galaxy on Linux
- Nvidia is bad cause they don't open their driver and don't participate in upstream development
- Publishers are bad because they don't port game x or y
- Porting Studios are bad because because they use kind of wrappers and haven't yet completely embraced Vulkan
- Smaller Studios are bad because they don't want to deal with Linux support
- Newcomers on the complex Linux platform will be openly attacked when they can't get everything right the first time.

I could go on and go on

Really, I think Linux had they peak regarding to gaming. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong, but I fear we are shooting our self in the foot due to not seeing our chance and due to completely unrealistic demands for such a small market.

Coming back to the article this is about. It is actually fantastic news that some employees in the background of the big player EA do consider Linux in the future. But the overall response here is mostly: they are evil due to actions in the past, I wont buy from them, full period. I wouldn't blame the people that fought internally within EA to have some resource freed for Linux to throw the towel in the ring and give up on Linux entirely after reading this.

Please, just be a little bit grateful when companies and people behind it are reaching out a hand.
qptain Nemo 9 September 2017 at 10:05 am UTC
jensWell, I'm talking about a (hopefully) very small but very vocal part of the Linux community that is nearly blind due to ideology and principles and can't even see anymore when they get presented with a gift.

I'm truly happy and grateful when I'm behind my Fedora box with NVidia closed source driver and able to enjoy games like Hitman, Tomb Raider or CIV VI etc. purchased and started from Steam with just a few clicks. It is close to unbelievable that this is now possible on Linux. But instead of being very grateful to the companies and people behind it for making this possible and letting the market slowly grow, I'm constantly reading arguments that the parties that made this happen but obviously also want to earn money are evil and hostile against Linux:

- Steam is bad, they offer a closed source distribution platform
- Steam is even more evil because they seem to have lost they Linux focus and won't bring VR to Linux
- Gog is hostile because the abandoned their plans for Galaxy on Linux
- Nvidia is bad cause they don't open their driver and don't participate in upstream development
- Publishers are bad because they don't port game x or y
- Porting Studios are bad because because they use kind of wrappers and haven't yet completely embraced Vulkan
- Smaller Studios are bad because they don't want to deal with Linux support
- Newcomers on the complex Linux platform will be openly attacked when they can't get everything right the first time.

I could go on and go on

Really, I think Linux had they peak regarding to gaming. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong, but I fear we are shooting our self in the foot due to not seeing our chance and due to completely unrealistic demands for such a small market.

Coming back to the article this is about. It is actually fantastic news that some employees in the background of the big player EA do consider Linux in the future. But the overall response here is mostly: they are evil due to actions in the past, I wont buy from them, full period. I wouldn't blame the people that fought internally within EA to have some resource freed for Linux to throw the towel in the ring and give up on Linux entirely after reading this.

Please, just be a little bit grateful when companies and people behind it are reaching out a hand.
I'm gonna assume that if you saw my comment you'd include me in the vocal minority of religious fanatics so I'm gonna elaborate on my perspective a bit and on things I disagree with you on.

EA destroyed my favorite game developer of all time, Westwood studios, and as far as I'm concerned I'm never getting over it. I'm absolutely a fanatic when it comes to that. You can consider that childish, petty and unreasonable. That's fair.

And I totally get where you're generally coming from, I'd consider buying from virtually any other company and I'm a fan of Valve and honestly a borderline fan of Nvidia for their awesome support of my platform. However there is no obligation on me or anyone else to pay money to companies or welcome them with open arms. You consider yourself free to only buy games if they're to your liking, well everybody else is also free to do with their money as they please and not necessarily welcome anyone with open arms and buy stuff unconditionally.

And yeah, buy stuff. It's bought. As welcome as the availability of games is, they're not "gifts". (Unless they are literally free)

I'm not an expert economist but I think your phrase "completely unrealistic demands for such a small market" doesn't make a lot of sense. I think markets are shaped by demands not the other way around. And I sure agree 100% that we should be civil and reasonable, but I don't agree that we should be humble. Humility will earn us no favors, especially from AAA companies. Humility will get us walked all over and running DRM as root before long. Windows and console gamers get games not because they're nice, but because they can pay when their core demands are met. No company, especially a big one would expect to get anything but the boot if they don't meet the target audience's core demands, so coddling them is completely pointless and even arguably strategically disadvantageous. Being grateful when good stuff actually happens though, is again something I can get behind. We have some amazing stuff on our platform both indie and AAA and I'm super grateful for it. It makes me happy too.

Being a zealous fanatic might or might not be optimal for the well-being of the platform, but neither is the opposite extreme of kissing up to people who haven't shown some real concern or respect first. So yeah sure be friendly and approachable, buy from EA if you want, but also have some dignity. "we sorta considered it but then went eh screw it" is not reaching out a hand yet.


Last edited by qptain Nemo at 9 September 2017 at 10:09 am UTC
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