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Early Access survival game 'Rust' gains Vulkan support in a pre-release
14 January 2017 at 3:31 pm UTC

tmtvlFirst reaction: yeah, I know there are Vulkan bindings for Rust.

Rust rewrite of Rust with Vulkano would be a great practical pun. ;-)

The Humble Store winter sale is on and DiRT Showdown is free
12 January 2017 at 10:18 pm UTC Likes: 1

The Talos Principle is 75% off. I might grab that.

Multiple statistics have shown Linux market-share doing better than ever
7 January 2017 at 8:40 pm UTC Likes: 25

14 % increase of Linux visits on pornhub? I didn’t see that cumming!

Editorial: The Nintendo Switch will use Vulkan, why that doesn't suddenly mean more Linux ports
20 December 2016 at 9:16 am UTC

liamdaweA different platform using Vulkan will not change our situation. Windows is a much bigger platform that exists right now and supported Vulkan day-1 just like we did. So far not much has changed there.

Windows also have extremely popular D3D, so Vulkan on Windows won’t get traction all by itself. Something other than Windows must push gamedev industry into using it in DX’s stead. Until now this “it” was Android. Now Nintendo joins.

I believe if Apple platforms also had Vulkan support, there would be no problem with killing D3D12. Unfortunately, and somehow contrary to the intuition, Apple’s Metal and their whole wheel-reinventing with proprietary programming tools makes it worse for Vulkan and Linux more than for Apple platforms, which have their funding and support and it won’t change (even if programming for it means additional work).

Editorial: The Nintendo Switch will use Vulkan, why that doesn't suddenly mean more Linux ports
20 December 2016 at 12:41 am UTC Likes: 8

Web development is a pretty good analogy here. Multimedia APIs situation is very similar to what the web looked a decade ago – everyone was targeting Internet Explorer, ActiveX, later with Silverlight, closed video formats for embedded playback, etc. This made a lot of it unusable on Linux and its open browsers, with a lot of stuff displaying “you need to use IE to properly display this website” or similar messages. Pretty analogically to D3D vs OpenGL situation.

Now, similarly to what happened to the web, broader adoption of Vulkan and OpenGL might convince more game devs to use those open APIs. And the more they use Vulkan (and/or OpenGL), the bigger chance that the next shiny engine will use it, that new tutorial “how to start writing your game” will be based on it, that books will get written on it, and in effect much higher portion of all devs will write using Vulkan/OGL.

Will they automatically release for Linux? No. But it will be easier for them than rewriting the whole DX stack, they won’t have a mental blocker about working with hated technology (some people really hate OpenGL, so porting D3D into it is painful for them), and the whole market will become a bit friendlier.

Also, when Vulkan becomes popular (gets used in games ported to Windows from Nintendo), those Vulkan games for Windows will work better on Wine. And games working well on Wine will convince a few more people to switch to Linux, which will make the Linux marketshare bigger…

So, sure, Nintendo choosing Vulkan won’t automatically save us, it won’t bring a lot of Linux games next month. But it’s not true it is not beneficial for Linux gaming and for open standards – it is, and every new adoption of those standards on every single closed platform with funding is a good thing, as it leads the industry out of MS vendor lock-in, makes open standards more viable, and removes stigma of being useless from them. And those changes are needed for Linux gaming to progress.

VK9, the open source project to implement d3d9 over Vulkan reaches another milestone
18 December 2016 at 11:49 pm UTC Likes: 8

It might be useful in the future as a way to support legacy games on new hardware without D3D9 support (not going to happen soon, but one day…, and this project will free driver devs from it to focus on just Vulkan), and as a way to port DX9 games for other platforms (think Android). At least that’s what comes to my mind.

Also, Linux users with Vulkan-compatible hardware will be able to use it with Wine instead of its translation layer into OpenGL (which, I believe, might be beneficial: translation layer from a high-level API into low-level one should be cleaner and faster than from a high-level API into totally different high-level one).

Torment: Tides of Numenera gets a release date
18 December 2016 at 12:49 pm UTC

slaapliedjeThey kind of get the cast offs after the studio who made the original game decided to work on other projects. Some of their games are epic, some are not so much. Though I believe they did make the original for Pillars of Eternity, and I think Tyranny is the somewhat sequel to that?

Well, no. Tyranny is a brand new, Obsidian-developed, franchise, another setting with a very different atmosphere and characters development, another gameplay, although on the same engine and similar style of isometric RPG in the technical way. But that’s all.

I believe they are making an actual sequel to Pillars of Eternity, in PoE universe. Perhaps they also will make another RPG in Tyranny’s world.

Also, I believe PoE is heavily based on all the original Infinity Engine games, especially the setting style of Baldur’s Gate, storytelling of Planescape: Torment and combat mechanics of Icewind Dale (but shamefully didn’t play them, except for just a few hours of Planescape).

Linux Gaming in 2016, an end of year review
12 December 2016 at 9:20 pm UTC Likes: 4

gurvI think we're witnessing the whole DirectX lock-in all over again. But this time it might very well be the shader language that stops developers from migrating to Vulkan (plus Microsoft offering "incentives" to go DX12)

Well, Vulkan uses intermediate language (pretty low-level assemblery, but still platform-agnostic, one) for shaders, SPIR-V, so its adoption depends on compilers from higher-level ones, like GLSL and HLSL. Vulkan came out with a glslang compiler doing the GLSL → SPIR-V compilation and it is getting HLSL support right now, so let’s hope it won’t be an issue anymore.

On the other hand, glslang does not do optimizations, so developers have to do things like loop unrolling by hand in generated SPIR-V or search for third party optimizers (which take SPIR-V representation and output optimized GLSL, so one needs to write HLSL, compile to SPIR-V, optimize to get GLSL, compile again to SPIR-V (and after that perhaps run official SPIR-V optimizer from Khronos which does just very basic optimizations at the moment). And that is pretty cumbersome, so probably not too encouraging for the switch to Vulkan.

But let’s hope it is going to change for the better in 2017, as all those tools are open-source, SPIR-V and Vulkan are pretty good technologies, and they slowly gain popularity every day. Also remember: Vulkan is the future for Android, and huge amount of gamedev is done on Android. ;-)

Kingdom Come: Deliverance will not aim for day-1 Linux support
8 December 2016 at 11:07 pm UTC Likes: 1

I’ve found a post in Czech in their forums from one of the moderators, back from March 6th. Even though on the international threads they keep saying that they keep Linux version in mind but cannot promise anything, the post in a thread about Linux Beta says:

QuoteTak se k vám vracím s nemilou zprávou.
Linuxová verze není a jen tak asi nebude. Momentálně je to prostě technicky nemožné.

which roughly translates to:

QuoteSo I’m returning to you with an unpleasant update.
There is no Linux version and there won’t be any. At the moment it is just technically impossible.

I wonder if that’s just about beta (and what are the technical – and apparently not just manpower availability – problems) – and if beta is impossible, then how can a final game be possible on Linux.

Did they use some Windows-only middleware and are waiting for a Linux and mac versions? Did they write hard to port HLSL shaders for D3D? Are the Linux drivers and OpenGL support not feasible for the work the game requires to run decently even on high-end hardware? If so, would Vulkan help (as new version of CryEngine supports it)?

EDIT: And after a little more digging I’ve found out that they use CryEngine 3 which does not support Vulkan (nor will) – and they apparently have performance issues, so I believe not doing the Linux/macOS version is related to a difficuty of doing complex optimized OpenGL rendering (but that’s only my guess).

Kingdom Come: Deliverance will not aim for day-1 Linux support
8 December 2016 at 4:24 pm UTC Likes: 2

Putting cross-platformness away does not seem to me as really going for quality – they might end up with platform-specific and platform-optimized code that runs OK, but actually isn’t high-quality maintainable and portable source code.

Of course it is possible that they have well structured abstractions that make code mostly platform agnostic and just do not want to spend energy now on implementing the platform specific bits on Linux and macOS. But I don’t really believe that – if they don’t try to support at least two different platforms since the beginning they cannot be sure their approach is going to make easily portable code later.

EDIT: they ARE supporting consoles, so there is hope that they are making it easily portable and not too Windows-dependent. So I might be (and hopefully am) wrong in my comment.

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