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Why We Shouldn't Accept Bad Linux Ports

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Note: This is a really old article, if you're here, I do suggest you read this article "Why The Porting Method Doesn't Matter For Linux Games".

Thanks to the recent fiasco of The Witcher 2 I wanted to write down some thoughts on why we shouldn't accept bad quality ports from developers.

Only in recent years have we had so many damned games in our Linux libraries that you now see comments from Linux gamers like "I've got too many games already!" which I imagine now sounds familiar to a lot of you. We have never before seen so much attention from developers thanks to Valve & Steam.

Also thanks to the push from developers we are seeing ports come along that are quite frankly lazy or just downright buggy to the point of being unplayable for a majority of people.

The problem is if we keep accepting ports at a sub-par quality then Linux will gain a reputation for having low quality games. Think about that big picture for a moment, seriously.

Imagine if you will that AAA developers started pushing out more games for Linux using technology like this "eON" that was used to port The Witcher 2. Let's say we have a lot of them and it suddenly looks like Linux has a lot of big-name games. You then have plenty of people trying out Linux, and seeing that their games run with terrible performance on the exact same hardware giving them the impression that Linux itself is bad for gaming. That's not good for anyone.

I've seen many people say "the toolkit used to port doesn't matter?". That in my eyes is a very naive statement to make. Of course it matters, it can mean the difference of light and day in the quality of a game on Linux. Which directly goes back to my point above about the perception of Linux gaming.
You can still say the toolkit doesn't matter and use whatever comparison/analogy you fancy, but if the toolkit is the root cause of the issue, like it will be 99% of the time when we are talking about computer software then yes, it does of course matter.

I've seen comments now from other major websites stating we should just accept them and be thankful we have them at all. That is an idiotic statement from people who don't look at the bigger picture.

image
Think about the developers and publishers who will see it as acceptable to push terrible Linux ports out the door and call it a day with only profits in mind. The consumer perception of Linux gaming would worsen yet again with even more bad quality ports.

I am all for ports from developers, of course I am I run this site after-all. I as a customer however do not want to pay for games that would work on Windows, but run like a snail on Linux, why should I? Why should you?

Final added point: You should never attack a developer when they reach out to the community having issues, that's not acceptable. Feedback is fine, but name calling is childish and makes Linux again look bad. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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98 comments
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Faugn 25 May 2014 at 12:46 pm UTC
Don't you mean "why we should not" in the first paragraph?
Liam Dawe 25 May 2014 at 12:46 pm UTC
FaugnDon't you mean "why we should not" in the first paragraph?

You saw nothing!

Hah, I did edit it before publishing, but that didn't save. Odd.
Faugn 25 May 2014 at 12:48 pm UTC
Oh, and I agree with you, we must be more discerning. Accepting shoddy ports is not sending the right message, and not helping Linux in the long term. We must also reward developers and publishers who do make good ports.
entropy 25 May 2014 at 1:16 pm UTC
Exactly my thoughts.
Thank you Liam!
Miljac 25 May 2014 at 1:21 pm UTC
While I do agree with you, I don't think the game that started this fuss (which is Witcher 2 I presume) will stay like that. The way I see it is that CDProjectRED released witcher 2 as beta for their gog version later this year, so they can polish it until then.

Why? Because they are all about gog way of doing thins, and this game is not like that. Maybe I'm wrong, but will see

Bottom line, bad ports are bad for community, but somehow I doubt that witcher 2 will stay a bad port.
gbudny 25 May 2014 at 1:22 pm UTC
I am not sure if we can change anything in this case. I can observe the same situation about games
for Mac OS X where most of the buyers are non-technical users. They usually do not care about the quality of the Mac ports if they do not have problems with them.
I want to remind that a lot of Linux users use Wine and other emulators, and I think that some producers believe that will be acceptable process of creating games for Linux.
Liam Dawe 25 May 2014 at 1:23 pm UTC
I really do hope they fix issues, issues like game-pads not working are easy to fix as users have already pointed out simple ways to fix them. Considering the fixes are already known if they don't fix it officially it's more fuel on the fire.

Again though, I hope it is well supported as I want to play it, but with 9-10FPS even on lowest for me Witcher 2 right now is terrible.
xeranas 25 May 2014 at 1:24 pm UTC
We have many indie games, but only few AAA titles (outside of Valve owned games). So do we have such luxury choice between good/bad ports?

I buy Wicher2 knowing that port have issues, because I decided vote with wallet for showing interest for Linux at all.

I hope that Wicher2 port will be improved. Quality of this port will affect my future game purchases of this company for sure.
Liam Dawe 25 May 2014 at 1:27 pm UTC
xeranasWe have many indie games, but only few AAA titles (outside of Valve owned games). So do we have such luxury choice between good/bad ports?

Yes, of course you have a choice. No one is forcing you to buy a bad port. You don't have to buy just because it's a port either that's the entire point of my article.

xeranasQuality of this port will affect my future game purchases of this company for sure
As it will for many people, me included.
Imants 25 May 2014 at 1:33 pm UTC
I don't think we can ask developers to make quality ports to such a old games, but I agree that all new games should be made with Linux (at least all those which want to target Steam OS) in mind so that developers should not use such a shady ways to port games.
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