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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.

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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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98 comments
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Faugn 25 May 2014 at 1:39 pm UTC
ImantsI 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.

Common, it's only 3 years old, and they are not doing this from the kindness of their hearts: let's be realist, they are doing it to make a profit. I pre-ordered The Witcher 2 on GOG knowing full well I would not be able to play it on Linux before a couple of years (if lucky, with time for Wine and my system specs to catch-up) because I support their stance on DRM, but I'm sorry I bought it again on Steam.
wolfyrion 25 May 2014 at 1:42 pm UTC
For me is the same like accepting a newly created horrible bad game because it supports Linux/SteamOS.

I see many people vote "yes" many greenlight games because they support Linux/SteamOS no matter what game it is.
Many indie developers take advantage of the Linux Gaming Community , they know how bad we want games for Linux , so they just throw a game no matter how good it is.

The same goes with old games that are not selling any more , lets throw a bad Linux port to get some money.

I know everyone is excited when a new game is released, including me but actually the BEST Games for 2014 havent released yet for Linux and I dont thing will be released soon.

- Watch Dogs
- Dark Souls 2
- Wolfenstein the New Order
- The Forest - No Linux Support
- Stomping Land - No Linux Support
- Battlefield 4

I can keep going on....

We just need one Good Game Title to be released on Linux to show the difference between Windows and Linux.
For example if you have Left For Dead 3 on Linux and Windows and the performance on Linux is like 2x Times better , no crashes etc then you would see many people switching OS.

Lets hope in 2015 with the release of SteamOS Machines we will have better games on Linux.
Faugn 25 May 2014 at 1:44 pm UTC
wolfyrion[...]

We just need one Good Game Title to be released on Linux to show the difference between Windows and Linux.
For example if you have Left For Dead 3 on Linux and Windows and the performance on Linux is like 2x Times better , no crashes etc then you would see many people switching OS.

Lets hope in 2015 with the release of SteamOS Machines we will have better games on Linux.

Yes, exactly, we need one good game, provided the port is good. An under-performing AA port is not helping Linux at all.
scaine 25 May 2014 at 1:45 pm UTC
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ImantsI 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.

Yeah, this is pretty much it in a nutshell.

And a wee note to Liam directly. I support this site. Both with money and you'll also remember that despite that support, I also asked you NOT to remove your ads. I also contribute to the Funding Crowd article with Speedster and Munts - they're usually good for about 1000 page views each and we spend hours putting them together.

So to hear you still banging on about eON like it's actually relevant and quoting me in an editorial to yet again dismiss my arguments... well, what can I think? You certainly have no respect for my opinion - you've made that clear here. But I'm a big boy - call me naive in your editorial then, life will go on, the world will keep spinning.

But what rankles the most is that you're not listening. I've told you why eON is irrelevant and you just don't care.

Disappointing.
scaine 25 May 2014 at 1:49 pm UTC
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And one more thing - this editorial is based on us "accepting" the port. When did we do that? I had this game in my library from some bundle I bought years ago - and I suspect most did too.

What constitutes our "acceptance". Buying the game? Too late. Playing it? Well, it's working great on my system. Are you suggesting I don't play it because a minority are having problems?

And is it a minority? How many people are actually affected by this terrible port that works really well for me?

I get it. You're angry because it doesn't work for you. Doubly so, if you bought the game. But using your editorial power to trash a company's efforts to enter the Linux market? Based on supposition?

No. I'm not supporting that.
texaco 25 May 2014 at 1:49 pm UTC
Hi Liam.

First of all, I'd like to say that I really like your work.

I think that your opinion is quite a bit tough from time to time. And I really do, because I also think we are living an awesome time to be Linux gamers. The day that Witcher 2 was released to Linux, Metro 2033 Redux was also announced to support Linux.

I didn't expect any of them, and I thought didn't neither!

Those could be bad ports, but it is just what we can expect at this time of the story. To be honest, I also think that it is also quite unnatural.

What I want to mean is, there are a lot of staff that know how to do great games, but they are trying to figure out how to do as good as they can on Linux. I am also quite sure that the maturity of the tools witch they are working aren't nearly as good as they want.

It is just matter of time that good ports come to Linux if those ports sell well.

Just forgive my english. It is not my own language. And keep playing on Linux!
Faugn 25 May 2014 at 1:49 pm UTC
scaineBut what rankles the most is that you're not listening. I've told you why eON is irrelevant and you just don't care.

I'm curious, do you know of any other game ported to Linux with eON? Or is it the first one? From what I understand there might have been a few games released for Mac using it, right?
Xpander 25 May 2014 at 1:50 pm UTC
i dont really care what they are using under the hood if the performance is on par with with windows version ... at least with good linux drivers.

i myself dont have performance problems with witcher 2... runs perfectly around 40-60fps most of the time.. all maxed except ubersample and vsync.. at 1920x1080 ... in some places it drops to below 30 a little though...but those are rare..

but a lot of people have issues..and i surely hope those will be fixed.
liamdawe 25 May 2014 at 1:51 pm UTC
Now now Scaine. You need to take a chill pill it wasn't aimed at you directly, but you are included in that since you are one of many, there have been masses of comments from both sides on the toolkit. Why do you seem to think it's about you directly? That comes off as a bit big-headed.

I am giving my opinion in this piece, as that is what it is an editorial.

You have an opinion and so do I, stop acting like yours is the only one that matters. I state very clearly in this editorial why I feel the way I do.
scaine 25 May 2014 at 1:51 pm UTC
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Faugn
scaineBut what rankles the most is that you're not listening. I've told you why eON is irrelevant and you just don't care.
I'm curious, do you know of any other game ported to Linux with eON? Or is it the first one? From what I understand there might have been a few games released for Mac using it, right?

No, I don't know. Because I don't care. The result is what matters. Does it work well? Great. Don't care how it was done.

To be clear, I'm talking about ports of older games. I'd prefer future games to be made "properly", but you have to be realistic about this.
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