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Unknown Worlds are dumping the Linux version of Natural Selection 2

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Some sad news to share this Friday evening, as Unknown Worlds Entertainment have announced they're calling it a day for the Linux version of Natural Selection 2. They will, however, continue their Linux server.

Posted in an official announcement on the NS2 website, they claim they're doing this as a result of it apparently being "more difficult to support and develop for the platform natively" including issues like not finding enough users with QA experience to help.

Unlike what happened with Rust, they're not offering refunds to previous buyers. They say to claim a refund from Valve if you purchased it in the last "30" days which isn't even right, it's two weeks and under two hours on Valve's refund option. Update: They adjusted the announcement to mention this is being allowed "from Valve outside the normal Steam refund policy".

Something they noted, is that they've "verified" Natural Selection 2 works in Steam Play saying it "can offer the same or in some cases even better performance on Linux than user experienced before". Sadly ProtonDB has nothing to back that up. They didn't say they would support it, just that it currently works.

The particularly stinging end to the post thanks Linux client users who "helped and gave support from over the years".

Looks like they have already purged Linux from the Steam store page too.

I'm not too happy considering NS2 was a personal purchase. I also upgraded my own copy to their deluxe edition and gifted quite a few copies of it to friends over the years to try to get more people into it.

To be blunt though, this simply sounds like a cost-cutting measure for a game that is way past its prime. For an online shooter, it has an incredibly low player-base and it regularly struggles to even hit 400 players and going by the charts on SteamDB it continues to trend downwards.

This does bring to light an issue here. While yes, we do have Steam Play, again the issue of support that I've raised before comes up. Anyone who purchased it to support them because they had a Linux version are now force to either run it unsupported or not at all. It doesn't sit right with me that games can just be taken away like that.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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42 comments
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morbius 14 September 2019 at 1:36 pm UTC
No reason to hold grudge against this developer, NS2 supported Linux when hardly any game did. And by now, NS2 has ran its course, this sort of move is well justified.
dubigrasu 14 September 2019 at 2:04 pm UTC
rkfg
dubigrasuWhile unsupported, will the Linux client be still downloadable (and able to start a local server) or simply removed completely?
Just in case, you can use the not often used Steam function to backup the game files and restore them afterwards. The build 329 is set to be released on Monday (if nothing bad happens) from what I heard on public Discord channels so not much time left.
Yes, I was wondering if I have to resort to that eventually. Could be also possible to use steam -console to download older builds I suppose.
Truth be told though, I don't see myself playing the game again, I was just curious about what are their intentions regarding the obsolete build. For example Rust devs (initially) removed the Linux support but allowed it to be downloadable, and only later on they actually removed it.
(Is not exactly the same case yes, in Rust case they kept releasing newer, albeit unsupported builds.)
Thanks.
F.Ultra 14 September 2019 at 2:15 pm UTC
rkfg
F.Ultra
Sir_Diealot
F.Ultra
rkfgI have a feeling that as SteamPlay becomes more and more reliable this situation will become common. I wonder what Valve would do if anything at all.

I hardly think that they pulled the native Linux build due to SteamPlay when you need a custom build of Proton to make it work.

Eh, it *will* work through SteamPlay. Good enough for the Linux folks.

Well if "not working properly" is what they deem good enough for Linux folks then I still don't see how they would not have played this card without SteamPlay.
It won't work on current Proton because it ships a slightly outdated Wine version. When they switch to a newer Wine NS2 will work fine (except for the issues I've described). For now there's a big memory leak in one of the Wine-provided functions, quoting the developer:
QuoteThe wine maintainers fixed the issues related to us (or better Luajit) using the 64 bit zero bit offset with NTAllocMemory with the release of 4.14
You need a custom proton build which is already based on wine 4.14

Which was exactly my point ;-)
rkfg 14 September 2019 at 2:18 pm UTC
F.Ultra
rkfg
F.Ultra
Sir_Diealot
F.Ultra
rkfgI have a feeling that as SteamPlay becomes more and more reliable this situation will become common. I wonder what Valve would do if anything at all.

I hardly think that they pulled the native Linux build due to SteamPlay when you need a custom build of Proton to make it work.

Eh, it *will* work through SteamPlay. Good enough for the Linux folks.

Well if "not working properly" is what they deem good enough for Linux folks then I still don't see how they would not have played this card without SteamPlay.
It won't work on current Proton because it ships a slightly outdated Wine version. When they switch to a newer Wine NS2 will work fine (except for the issues I've described). For now there's a big memory leak in one of the Wine-provided functions, quoting the developer:
QuoteThe wine maintainers fixed the issues related to us (or better Luajit) using the 64 bit zero bit offset with NTAllocMemory with the release of 4.14
You need a custom proton build which is already based on wine 4.14

Which was exactly my point ;-)
In my recent post they say it's been patched on the game side to support older Wine versions (but I just checked and it indeed doesn't start on 4.11). Anyway, the "custom" thing doesn't mean you need to patch Proton or Wine for this game, just wait for an update. I know it's not much different for an average Joe but for me it's a big difference.


Last edited by rkfg at 14 September 2019 at 2:20 pm UTC
Whitewolfe80 14 September 2019 at 5:42 pm UTC
Liam Dawe
rkfgI have a feeling that as SteamPlay becomes more and more reliable this situation will become common. I wonder what Valve would do if anything at all.
If it does and Valve do nothing it's going to seriously erode some trust.

The flip side to that is it makes better business sense not to do anything as the majority of people talk a good game about supporting linux gaming yet at the same time they are playing Doom 2016 fallout 4 etc which have no linux friendly policies.I hope for more native games but am thinking this is going to be become more and more common.
Liam Dawe 14 September 2019 at 7:29 pm UTC
Whitewolfe80
Liam Dawe
rkfgI have a feeling that as SteamPlay becomes more and more reliable this situation will become common. I wonder what Valve would do if anything at all.
If it does and Valve do nothing it's going to seriously erode some trust.

The flip side to that is it makes better business sense not to do anything as the majority of people talk a good game about supporting linux gaming yet at the same time they are playing Doom 2016 fallout 4 etc which have no linux friendly policies.I hope for more native games but am thinking this is going to be become more and more common.
So to you, buying a game with Steam Play in mind is not supporting Linux gaming? Even though it shows as a Linux sale? Curious.

Also, you're mixing two completely different situations together.

NS2 players picked it up as it was supported.

F4 and Doom buyers do so *knowing* they are not supported.
Whitewolfe80 14 September 2019 at 11:43 pm UTC
Liam Dawe
Whitewolfe80
Liam Dawe
rkfgI have a feeling that as SteamPlay becomes more and more reliable this situation will become common. I wonder what Valve would do if anything at all.
If it does and Valve do nothing it's going to seriously erode some trust.

The flip side to that is it makes better business sense not to do anything as the majority of people talk a good game about supporting linux gaming yet at the same time they are playing Doom 2016 fallout 4 etc which have no linux friendly policies.I hope for more native games but am thinking this is going to be become more and more common.
So to you, buying a game with Steam Play in mind is not supporting Linux gaming? Even though it shows as a Linux sale? Curious.

Also, you're mixing two completely different situations together.

NS2 players picked it up as it was supported.

F4 and Doom buyers do so *knowing* they are not supported.

No its not because showing as a linux title means if you excuse me f**k all to game studios that are completely unwilling to even entertain a linux port Bethesda EA Activision Ubisoft etc etc. Yes just like they picked up rust knowing it was supported then the devloper changed their minds and poof gone steamplay only and it will keep happening unless the market share grows to a sufficent point. I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this as you are clearly far far more positive than i am I feel we are always dealing from a postion of weakness when it comes to getting native games to linux. (I mean triple a games we will always get the niche games)
Liam Dawe 15 September 2019 at 8:10 am UTC
Sure will agree to disagree as I'm really not into the defeatist attitude.
Whitewolfe80 15 September 2019 at 8:45 am UTC
Liam DaweSure will agree to disagree as I'm really not into the defeatist attitude.

I would call it realist but i get you
Corben 16 September 2019 at 7:10 am UTC
I thought Unknown Worlds did give the development of NS2 to the community? Haven't played NS2 in a while, but I loved it. And the Linux Version did run great for me.
Well, I guess I'm okay with it, as long as it's still running somehow. Though it's pretty sad. I remember vividly this development post and was excited about it. That post was also a reason that brought me to Sublime Text...
Well, times change...
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