Phoronix: A Gaming Team For Ubuntu Has Been Started
Take it as you will, but a group of interested Linux gamers have launched the Ubuntu Gaming Team. The mission of this newest Ubuntu focus group is "to give the open source gaming world a boost!" They intend to promote gaming on Ubuntu, connect free software gamers together on Ubuntu, address barriers to the development of free and open-source games, promote such games, and to organize gaming events. More on the Ubuntu Gaming Team can be found on their Wiki page or on Launchpad...
Don't get me wrong: it's great that people care about games. But things like promotional groups have been around forever, sometimes here and sometimes there. Often it does not bring any advantages or they don't attract many people. Please, proof me wrong.
Take Linux audio, for example. Not pulse audio or drivers or anything like that... that's desktop stuff. I am talking about using Linux as a digital audio workstation and having good applications for doing studio recording and music creation.
For a very long time Linux had lots of capabilities in regards to audio creation and editing, but it was all very difficult to install and use. Stuff was distributed in source code form, there was no way to use it all together.
Then along came the Angula project. The Angula project was a initiative to try to produce audio specific Linux distributions based on Redhat/Fedora and Debian. The Redhat/Fedora side didn't really end up going anywere, but the Debian side was fairly successful and was called 'Demudi'.
What this did was to clean up a lot of the applications and ended up helping the standardization around JACK daemon. The Jack daemon allows for a very low-latency, high-performance method of routing uncompressed audio and midi signals from application to application and to and from external devices. So people can now easily install the software, and with a bit of work, develop their specific workflow using a mixture of hardware, software, and multiple audio applications, that rivals anything you can get out of Windows or OS X.
This lead to those packages from Demudi to being accepted as part of Debian proper and from that grew distributions like 64Studio*, which are used in real-world commercial DAWs and such things. (and UbuntuStudio, of course. But I like 64Studio a _lot_)
* 64Studio is a commercial Linux distribution that focuses on being 100% open source/free software. They make money by support and distribution customization. Very cool stuff.
There is already a suprisingly large amount of OSS code in game. The Bullet physics engine is one big example of this.. I've seen them advertised in multiple different commercial games, but Bullet itself is completely open source.
We have crystal space, then python bindings for that and easy to use gaming engine in the form of cspace. Ogre3D is used in commercial games and is quite popular on Windows, but originally was developed for people on Linux by people using Linux. It's just that it's currently easier to do this sort of stuff on Windows.
All sorts of things like that. Coin scenegraph.. lua is heavily used in games as a scripting engine. So is python.
Panda3D is a open source python-based gaming engine originally developed by Disney.. http://www.panda3d.org/ They use it for real world MMORPGs like the 'Pirates of the Carrabean' and things like that.
There are lots of examples like that. Open Source is definately no slouch when it comes to gaming.. it's very immature compared to other things OSS is good at.
There are also Mono-based game engines being used in professional games and are finding their way into iPhones and such..
Of course other then the game-creation and media-creation side of things there are a multitude of games aviable for Linux that are open source. Most are going to be smaller projects that are clones of old arcade games there are lots of actually pretty good 3D games.
Racing games, a ton of decent quality FPS, flight simulators, 2D platformers, 3D platformers, space fighter games, MMoRPG games.. both 2D and 3D. All sorts of stuff.
With all of this for normal users your running into the traditional problems that the software is just packaged in source code form for a lot of it. A lack of attention and developer resources to make the software easily avialable in Linux causes much of the decent quality games to go unnoticed and gives the impression that there are no really good OSS gaming development tools and resources.
If Ubuntu could get together a good quality 'gaming edition' version of their OS then that could help gain a lot of traction.
People could sit down, download a DVD, and get literally hundreds of games. Not only that then they can get their hands on engines and development tools very easily so they can not only play on the games, but hack on them, contribute their own models and levels. and all sorts of fun stuff.
I remember back in the Quake2 days that producing models and levels were very popular thing to do and added a hell of a lot of game play worth to that engine. I knew dozens of people online that made their own custom models for that game and even my brother was having fun on custom levels. People were hacking together all sorts of extensions... like freeze tag and grappling hooks and all sorts of bizzare extensions.
But quake3 came along and made making models and such much more difficult (not soley because of increased complexity of the models, but they changed how a lot of the engine worked so that you needed more expertises to make drastic changed to how characters looked and moved). Even then there are lots of hacks and mods people made for it, some which survive well into this day.
So I know the potential for user involvement in all of this is very high. It's just a matter of getting the development tools, software, games, examples, and other resources presented to users in a easy-to-use, unified, and concise manner.
There are things still holding Linux back.. the lack of high quality 3D graphics is one of them. (sure you can get it for Nvidia for a long time, but that was not stable and didn't help anybody else out). As open source drivers stablise things its going to help out a lot.
Wouldn't it be better to have a group that promotes gaming on "Linux" not just Ubuntu. What kind of news is this. A vendor is promoting gaming on their own brand OS and not the entire community as a whole. We see lost of things like this lately, building for specific distros, and not for the community of distros. Ubuntu's starting to turn into "build for our establishment, not the community. Unlike other distros who have fought and developed standards, applications, and more, that promote linux, not just their brand. This is the type of promotion and fight that should be led by a group of people that are not vendor specific, but a combination of Linux gamers from every distro as a whole. I'd join if it were "Promotion of gaming on Linux" not just ubuntu. Oh well.
and in general, any group that promotes advancement of any technology compatible with Unix variants is fine by me. it just struck me as odd at first how all the articles about this have ubuntu brand pasted all over them.
I do not fully get the purpose, usually U games are in universe and most packages there are just Debian sid snapshots. Does anybody know a game that is in U repo but not in Debian? Maybe they can do FOSS gaming parties but nobody needs U to do that. And there are really lots of games already available. Look at the goplay tool which is also in lenny.