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Thread: Steam, Source Engine Get First-Rate Love On Mac OS X

  1. #31
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    Default Source on Linux

    I can't tell you how I know, but Valve's Source engine has, for quite some time now, a Linux build that works.

    It has some issues but it works almost out of the box. There are some technical obstacles in porting Steam + Valve's back catalog ( HL2+eps, TF2, Portal, L4D1/2 ) but, again from what I've heard, the problem is more or less political.

  2. #32
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    Power outage, barely had time to close gracefully.

    Anyways, for example EA also has at least a port of one of their engines for linux and it works ok. However, their networking code is tightly coupled with Microsoft libraries, and then there is the problem of porting DRM goodies to Linux.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    I can't tell you how I know, but Valve's Source engine has, for quite some time now, a Linux build that works.

    It has some issues but it works almost out of the box. There are some technical obstacles in porting Steam + Valve's back catalog ( HL2+eps, TF2, Portal, L4D1/2 ) but, again from what I've heard, the problem is more or less political.
    I'd actually be very surprised if valve didn't have an at least experimental internal linux build. It would be more interesting to know the exact political reasons - gaming market size, difficulty in supporting, drivers (please play nice with this one people...), etc. Obviously if they could make a nice profit off it, they'd go after that market, but the reasons as to why they think they wouldn't profit off it is more the detail.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    I can't tell you how I know, but Valve's Source engine has, for quite some time now, a Linux build that works.

    It has some issues but it works almost out of the box. There are some technical obstacles in porting Steam + Valve's back catalog ( HL2+eps, TF2, Portal, L4D1/2 ) but, again from what I've heard, the problem is more or less political.
    Do you have a feeling or do you actually know it?

  5. #35

    Talking Gave Newell's GDC award tomorrow

    Well in the recent days of leaks and announcements of Portal 2 and Mac OS X support, I heard people mentioning at one point (I think they found that date in one of the leaks, or the BBS thingy Valve set up, or something) that they'd thought one might be announced by Gabe Newell (Valve's CEO) when he receives his award tomorrow (Thursday 11 March 2010) - but as both Portal 2 and Mac OS X support have been announced, Linux support could be Gabe's shock announcement in his acceptance speech.

    I mean to be honest, announcing Linux support really would make sense. Consider the following:
    • Valve now has OpenGL in Source and WebKit in Steam - so most of the porting work is already done - and by brining it to the Mac, they've proven that it's portable.
    • All the clues we've had over the years we've had over the years (including those announced on Phoronix) - including the job listing, the Linux Steam client libraries in the Left 4 Dead demo, and most recently, if I remember correctly, the page for some random game on Steam (maybe L4D2, can't remember) temporarily listed Linux as a supported OS.
    • While there are almost certainly more Macs in desktop use than Linux, what people don't seem to be considering is that, until recently, most of Apple's desktops and laptops have been sold with Intel GPUs, which are pretty much incapable of rendering most of Valve's games correctly. By contrast, Linux will have access to the existing Windows hardware ecosystem (although arguably, Nvidia cards will still perform better at the moment).
    • I've seen it said by several (some of them being Windows gamers), that gamers are exactly the type that would switch quickly to a 'better' alternative platform, such as Linux (especially as it works with their existing hardware) - if only they could play their games still. Valve bringing Steam and Source to Linux could definitely bring a surge of games and gamers to Linux, as it would instantly bring a host of Valve and third party Source-based 'triple-A' titles to Linux, as well as provide both a already well-regraded development platform (Steam) to other developers to make their game development platform agnostic, at not extra cost; then Steam would provide both a way for these developers to distribute their Source-based games to all three platforms, as well as other developers 'dipping their toes' in Linux waters, but using their own tech, to distribute games to Linux users.
    • Valve have shown themselves many times over the years, to be a very 'clever' company, particularly in the way they communicate with their users, so they seem way more willing to 'take the risk', than say, EA.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by tball View Post
    Do you have a feeling or do you actually know it?
    I actually know that Source builds and works on Linux. More than that I can't say. I don't work for Valve nor did I actually saw the build, but I work in the trade, so to speak, and I talk to people of the same trade...

  7. #37
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    Not really surprising is it? There's also rumors about Blizzard having an internal WoW build for Linux, but the higher-ups doesn't seem to care/have much interest....

  8. #38
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by rfdparker2002 View Post
    ....
    "Well in the recent days of leaks and announcements of Portal 2 and Mac OS X support, I heard people mentioning at one point (I think they found that date in one of the leaks, or the BBS thingy Valve set up, or something) that they'd thought one might be announced by Gabe Newell (Valve's CEO) when he receives his award tomorrow (Thursday 11 March 2010) - but as both Portal 2 and Mac OS X support have been announced, Linux support could be Gabe's shock announcement in his acceptance speech."

    There was no "leak". It was a controlled viral marketing campaign. The big announcement for everybody who cares would be 99% "Half Life 2: Episode 3"

    "I mean to be honest, announcing Linux support really would make sense."
    No, not really.

    "Valve now has OpenGL in Source and WebKit in Steam - so most of the porting work is already done - and by brining it to the Mac, they've proven that it's portable."

    Source always had an OpenGL backend. The engine is independent of the rendering backend. All high-quality engines are designed and build that way.

    WebKit is faster and more secure than IE's crappy engine.

    They already released The Orange Box (HL2+ep1+ep2 Portal TF2) on PS3. Source was designed to be cross-platform. What backend do you think Source uses on PS3?

    "All the clues we've had over the years we've had over the years (including those announced on Phoronix) - including the job listing, the Linux Steam client libraries in the Left 4 Dead demo, and most recently, if I remember correctly, the page for some random game on Steam (maybe L4D2, can't remember) temporarily listed Linux as a supported OS."

    As far as I know, the Linux Developers were for the native Linux game servers. As I've said, Source builds and runs on Linux for quite a while, certainly way before the said job announcement.

    "While there are almost certainly more Macs in desktop use than Linux, what people don't seem to be considering is that, until recently, most of Apple's desktops and laptops have been sold with Intel GPUs, which are pretty much incapable of rendering most of Valve's games correctly."

    First assertion is false, maybe if you restrict your sample to US middle-upper class. The rest of the world is very different. Both M$ and Apple talk about SOLD operating systems, Linux doesn't "sell", you download it for free and install it. According to M$ or Apple statistics I count as one Windows XP Professional x64 and one Mac OS X. In reality, I have 4 desktops and a notebook at home. One of them has the XP and Mac OS X (hackintosh, but with legal os licnese) The rest have Debians, Suse, Gentoo, FreeBSD and OpenSolaris. For example, from personal experience, an university bought 60 cheap dells for their labs, all with vista buisness, but all are used as linux stations. That's 60 licenses of the "90% desktop market" crap from M$ and 0 for linux.

    "By contrast, Linux will have access to the existing Windows hardware ecosystem (although arguably, Nvidia cards will still perform better at the moment)."

    You can make a Hackintosh and put Mac OS X on it (like I have). It has a gigabyte radeon 4850.

    "I've seen it said by several (some of them being Windows gamers), that gamers are exactly the type that would switch quickly to a 'better' alternative platform, such as Linux (especially as it works with their existing hardware) - if only they could play their games still."

    Most PC gamers are totally clueless and lack the (modest) technical skills required to properly run Linux. I've been using linux for more than a decade now, working as professional system developer, so I know what I am doing. Most people just need to pop in the cd and play or browse the net.
    From personal experience, most people, especially gamers, don't want to learn to use a new and unfamiliar OS. That's the sad truth. They won't pick an older, less powerful graphics card because it works ok with the latest kernel. They'll want to buy the latest rocket from ATI/NVidia and expect it to work out of the box, like it does on Win.
    Also, right now, if you have a high-end audio card with an optical output hooked to a hi-fi 5.1 system and you want to be thrilled by the omgawesome 3D sound in FarCry2 or whatever, chances are it won't work on Linux, period.

    "Valve bringing Steam and Source to Linux could definitely bring a surge of games and gamers to Linux, as it would instantly bring a host of Valve and third party Source-based 'triple-A' titles to Linux, as well as provide both a already well-regraded development platform (Steam) to other developers to make their game development platform agnostic, at not extra cost; then Steam would provide both a way for these developers to distribute their Source-based games to all three platforms, as well as other developers 'dipping their toes' in Linux waters, but using their own tech, to distribute games to Linux users."

    Erm what? Steam is just a authentication, social network and download platform. Each "tripple-A" 3rd party title will have to be PORTED to linux, even Source based games. You have no idea just how tightly coupled 99% of the engines out there are to M$ specific stuff.

    "Valve have shown themselves many times over the years, to be a very 'clever' company, particularly in the way they communicate with their users, so they seem way more willing to 'take the risk', than say, EA."

    Clever has nothing to do with it. As I've said earlier, EA also had one of their engines ported to Linux. Yet no game was released. I mean, I hate EA as much as the next guy, but you have to understand that the engineers and developers have to get through the business people. Ever tried to explain some business person that, in order to work on Linux/BSD/etc the project will have to include 3rd party *GPL/BSD style license code? The truth is that, whatever they do, they'll have to include *GPL-type license code in their engine and auxiliaries. Business and Legal people have go bananas when you explain them what it means, exactly.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    "Valve have shown themselves many times over the years, to be a very 'clever' company, particularly in the way they communicate with their users, so they seem way more willing to 'take the risk', than say, EA."

    Clever has nothing to do with it. As I've said earlier, EA also had one of their engines ported to Linux. Yet no game was released. I mean, I hate EA as much as the next guy, but you have to understand that the engineers and developers have to get through the business people. Ever tried to explain some business person that, in order to work on Linux/BSD/etc the project will have to include 3rd party *GPL/BSD style license code? The truth is that, whatever they do, they'll have to include *GPL-type license code in their engine and auxiliaries. Business and Legal people have go bananas when you explain them what it means, exactly.
    What do these people say about WebKit in Steam? You don't have to fight with GPL/BSD license in order to include them in your proprietary products. Take Windows for example. For how long did they already include the BSD netlookup into their OS? Win95-Win7?!

    There are already a dozen number of games, that shows us, that you don't have to fight with these licenses to publish proprietary software.

    Sorry, that is not an excuse to not publish a game!

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dopehouse View Post
    What do these people say about WebKit in Steam? You don't have to fight with GPL/BSD license in order to include them in your proprietary products. Take Windows for example. For how long did they already include the BSD netlookup into their OS? Win95-Win7?!

    There are already a dozen number of games, that shows us, that you don't have to fight with these licenses to publish proprietary software.

    Sorry, that is not an excuse to not publish a game!
    It is an excuse if the *GPL code can't be properly insulated, for whatever reason. It's one thing to have one complete application or a big monolithic component that you can hook it up to your code with a standard API and another to blend *GPL code with your own.

    WebKit CAN be insulated very easy from the rest of the Steam app.

    If your entire engine and network code is badly design then you might have to push *GPL code into your own code and then you have a problem.

    I'm not saying that this is why Valve, or EA for that matter, are not publishing games on Linux. But, from my experience, business and legal people have issues.

    Also, this would be a minor issues compared to, say, Support. For example, I worked on a rather large, complicated project (engineering related) that had to support Linux and some *NIXes from HP and others. Pretty easy, eh? We have 12 test machines for Linux alone, each one with a certain distribution, each distribution the current stable release, the previous stable release and the current unstable release, mirrored, one for i386 one for x64 (for PC arch only). PLUS the exotic *NIXes on separate machines.
    And this with rock-solid drivers for ATI FireGL / NVidia Quadro. I don't even want to know what it means to support high-quality, professional sound systems across 12 Linux distributions.

    I really don't want to be in charge of a team testing 3d engines for a plethora of graphics cards / systems combination for a dozen distributions.

    The problem is that, as long as the drivers are the way they are ( and you can blame NVidia, ATI, Creative etc) and APIs are the way they are ( try to find common ground for high quality sound API from Debian to Gentoo ) corporate heads won't do much about it.

    I mean, don't get me wrong. I've been using Linux forever, both at home and at work. I keep a Win and a Mac OS on a desktop to test some cross-platform clients but that's it. Maybe one weekend/month I have time to play some Civ4/SupCom/TF2 but that's it.

    But then, again, now I'm porting some kernel modules from Linux to Mac OS X. I know what I'm doing. I build my ALSA and Jack from source to tweak it.
    99.99% of gamers have no idea how to use an OS beyond *click* *click* *drag* *play* *pew pew crisys*.

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