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

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    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"
    Well yes, but it was a whole mix of different things, but you get what I meant - it's not really worth the time picking that apart. And yes, I'd certainly like to see Ep3, but with the Mac support announcment, it kind of brought my attention to something for which I certainly wouldn't mind delaying Ep3 further.

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    "I mean to be honest, announcing Linux support really would make sense."
    No, not really.
    I simply mean that they'd already solved the two largest *technical* obstacles, and if they were to announce Linux support any time soon, this would be understandably the time to do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    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?
    Actually, from what I've read in the past, during the development of HL2, during an interview, Valve said the only graphics API they were developing for with Source is D3D, and further to that, the -gl option, which worked with GoldSrc games, never worked with Source games, and while there was apparently a D3D/OpenGL menu setting in the HL2 leak, this no longer made any difference, with the game always using D3D.

    In respect to the PS3 Orange Box port, this was apparently (by Valve's own admission), and if you've ever actually played it (noticeably), a bad 'hacky' port by EA - and they apparently never shared the code with Valve (one of many reasons why Valve aren't updating it). Another point here is that EA would have been highly likely to have used the PS3's native libgcm, rather than its apparently no-too-good OpenGL ES implementation. The reason for the Xbox 360 port being so much better was because Valve were able to make the port themselves, precisely because it supported D3D.

    And in respect to changing the Steam rendering engine from IE to WebKit - well obviously it's going to be 1000% better performance and reliability wise, but Valve showed that their main motivation was obviously portability, when they announced the Mac port only a few weeks after the Steam beta was introduced.

    And I quote the words of Valves's Director of Steam Development, from Valve's own press release on the announcement of OS X support - "The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward.".

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    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.
    Well if anything, that's a good indication.

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    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.
    Well I'd agree with you that there's probably a lot more Linux desktops than people like MS and Apple would have you believe, but it's going to be hard to argue that without the support of figures (which is a hard problem to crack - there's no registration process - you could measure ISO downloads, but any one can get installed multiple times or never be used at all).

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    You can make a Hackintosh and put Mac OS X on it (like I have). It has a gigabyte radeon 4850.

    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.
    I'm sorry - I've only been used Linux on the desktop for the last five years - but you can hardly argue that it's easier to mess around faking EFI, etc, to set-up a hackintosh, than it is to grab and install the latest Ubuntu, and let it auto-install the Nvidia driver for you when you go to play with Desktop Effects.

    And yes, hardware support is still a problem, but *if* Valve were to start the ball rolling, then this would also have a trickle down effect of putting a lot more pressure one hardware manufacturers to release better drivers. Why does Broadcom now produce relatively-decent driver solutions for Linux? Because when Dell first formed their partnership with Canonical to sell Ubuntu machines, Dell put the pressure on Broadcom to produce some decent drivers.

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    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.
    Well first of all, your last statement in the above paragraph contradicts your earlier statement ("Source always had an OpenGL backend. The engine is independent of the rendering backend. All high-quality engines are designed and build that way."). But no my point was this - from what Valve are pushing with the Mac, and if they did the same for a Linux release, if a developer was writing for Source to distribute on Steam, it would provide a pretty much 'write once' solution. Then the other point I was trying to get across was that, for developers who don't use Source, if they ever wanted to make a Linux port (and of course they'd have to handle the porting themselves), distributions is always going to be another headache - and Steam could solve a fair bit of that problem for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    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.
    Well a few points here - first of all is that, from top to bottom, Valve has taken decisions in the past that wouldn't get beyond the upper management at EA. The other is this - I'm sorry, but the gaming world's 'Business and Legal people' can't bury their heads in the sand forever - the rest of the world is moving to become more open-source friendly (or at least accepting) - companies such as ID have shown its perfectly possible; the legal people need to be a little more familiar with open source licensing if they believe it's going to infect their code 'like a virus'. And I believe 'clever' does have something to do with it - being clever enough to realise there's an opportunity, and that they're one of the few with the ability to exploit it effectively.

    Anyway - in a few hours, we'll see whether the earliest chance for Valve to announce Linux support comes to pass...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfdparker2002 View Post

    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.
    OK, I understand your enthusiasm about having a openGL renderer and Webkit but these are really no indication "most of the porting work is already done". openGL is just one small part of porting a application and the use of Webkit just allows more flexibility and even adds the option of using it's 3d capabilities if they wanted to and as well allows for addressing a whole new market to them. Portable devices such as phones.


    • 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.
    There was one game accidentally listed on steam as linux. The games own developer admitted this was a mistake. It happens. There have been many places and times where this has happened on the web. Heck I even remember a mousepad having minimum system specifications on Amazon once.


    • 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).
    Most macs from the intel era have a discreet graphics solutions. In fact when they first came out with the iMac the Intel GPU was only available on the 17" which was only sold to educational customers. The Mac Mini had a Intel IGP as well but the number of sales of them compared to a imac are extremely small (think low single digits) because by the time people started adding the monitor/keyboard/mouse/ram/etc they were back up the the price of an iMac with more capable abilities then you could ever spec out a Mac Mini with. The only real seller with Intel IGP's that sold very well were the Macbooks. All and all Intel IGP's simply doesn't have the dominance in Apple machines like they do in PC's and most Apples do have a discreet solution. (in PowerPC days they were all discreet solutions).

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    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    Also, this would be a minor issues compared to, say, Support. *snip* 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.
    good point, but this is pretty common for windows software to. But here we have windows xp (sp1 ... spx), windows vista (sp1...spx), windows 7, sp1..spx).
    Different names, same shit. Although linux is a bit ehm... dynamic

    99.99% of gamers have no idea how to use an OS beyond *click* *click* *drag* *play* *pew pew crisys*.
    yah... developers are way better... *drag* *play* *pew pew visual studio*

    most developers these days don't know assembly or how a OS is build and still deliver excellent stuff... Gamers know how to use forums and hack games... no problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfdparker2002 View Post
    Well first of all, your last statement in the above paragraph contradicts your earlier statement ("Source always had an OpenGL backend. The engine is independent of the rendering backend. All high-quality engines are designed and build that way."). But no my point was this - from what Valve are pushing with the Mac, and if they did the same for a Linux release, if a developer was writing for Source to distribute on Steam, it would provide a pretty much 'write once' solution. Then the other point I was trying to get across was that, for developers who don't use Source, if they ever wanted to make a Linux port (and of course they'd have to handle the porting themselves), distributions is always going to be another headache - and Steam could solve a fair bit of that problem for them.
    I'm sorry, I was trying to keep it short. Source is a GAME engine. It's more than a rendering engine. Having a rendering backend for OpenGL doesn't mean the rest that fills the gap from Rendering to Complete Game Engine ( audio, network, input, threading, drm, to name just a few ) is ported 100%.

    Look, you got me wrong. I'm not arguing against. I'm arguing that, given what I've seen and the state of the economy, there's a very slim chance anybody, including Valve, will risk developing for what is from their pov an insignificant platform.

    I mean, the only reason I keep Windows on one of my home machines is to play some games from time to time. I can easily test all my cross platform clients in a virtual machine, but I can't play games in the virtual machine.

    If Valve ports the Orange Box to Linux I'd buy a dozen and use make them gifts. I purchased Loki's stuff (Alpha Centauri, Heroes 3, Quake 3 and the like ) 4-5 each. They make nice presents for dev team members...

    Since everybody already knows about Portal 2, if there is indeed a BIG announcement to be made by Valve (and not just marketing hype) then it has to be either HL2EP3 or some unknown title. Remember that they said they are working on something that is a new ip.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfdparker2002 View Post
    The other is this - I'm sorry, but the gaming world's 'Business and Legal people' can't bury their heads in the sand forever
    Yes they can because they have the money. I've been playing PC games at home since my first 286 and before that at my father's workplace on even older machines. I'm sorry to say, but 99% of the stuff the gaming 'industry' puts out is utter rubbish and it continues to degrade. The only thing they are doing better is graphics, and that isn't even their doing. If you really want to know how good 3d engines developers are, freeze the graphics cards for 3 years and tell them to make better engines on the same hardware. Every developer is shifting to consoles, almost all "triple a" titles (whatever that means today) for the last two or three years were designed and developed for consoles and ported to PC as an afterthought and it shows badly. The more they move to a locked mono-culture ecosystem like the xbox or ps3 or wii the harder it is for them to build generic engines for the PC market where you don't have the same, identical, locked in configuration. From this perspective, Valve's move to Mac makes perfect sense. They'll work on another tightly controlled hardware/software ecosystem where they can minimize their costs. Moving to the wild world of Linux where there is a plethora of hardware, kernels, libraries, GUIs and so on doesn't sit well with ANY product manager that I know. I love the freedom of Linux/Free Software but I understand that it comes at a price.

    I assure you legal people know the ins and outs of *GPL and the like far better than you or me. They usually advise against it. Remember that most of what makes Google 'Google' is closed source.

    ID has shown that that they can make really cool real time rendering engines. That's about it. Yes, they have Linux builds but then, if it would be so easy, with a AAA super optimized graphics engine already working on Linux, why is it that companies don't make cross platform games using ID's engine? Maybe because the rest of it, from rendering engine to game engine is utterly missing? If you gonna tell your managers and sponsors that there are more sound APIs on Linux than MBA degrees in their resumes they'll bury your Linux target on spot. Again, I'm not ranting out of my arse, I'm talking from experience.

    For example, I managed to stall for a year and a half a mandatory management course but they finally had me take it. It was a "thorough" course that laster 6 month and was taken at a prestigious university. You have to understand they actually teach people that open source is bad and you have to be careful and so and so. There was a guy from Sony who was some sort of product manager for PS3 stuff. He excelled at pointing out the evils and traps of open source. And this is not 'one bad apple', pick a book geared toward business-management people and start reading. I'll make a compilation of books that are required reading for software management courses and post it here. Read them and tell me the people who will graduate learning this stuff, and moving on to lead development teams will ok ports to Linux.

    I was at a wedding and there were a lot of lawyers, friends of the bride, and they were chatting and two of them, who were specialized in software related issues were talking about 'the terror of open source' that ravages their clients...

    I mean it's really cool on slashdot and phoronix, and it may seem crowded now and then, but the 'real world out there' isn't an inch friendlier to foss. Yeah, if they can take it for free and wash their hands, but otherwise...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    I'm sorry to say, but 99% of the stuff the gaming 'industry' puts out is utter rubbish and it continues to degrade. The only thing they are doing better is graphics, and that isn't even their doing. If you really want to know how good 3d engines developers are, freeze the graphics cards for 3 years and tell them to make better engines on the same hardware. Every developer is shifting to consoles, almost all "triple a" titles (whatever that means today) for the last two or three years were designed and developed for consoles and ported to PC as an afterthought and it shows badly. The more they move to a locked mono-culture ecosystem like the xbox or ps3 or wii the harder it is for them to build generic engines for the PC market where you don't have the same, identical, locked in configuration. From this perspective, Valve's move to Mac makes perfect sense. They'll work on another tightly controlled hardware/software ecosystem where they can minimize their costs. Moving to the wild world of Linux where there is a plethora of hardware, kernels, libraries, GUIs and so on doesn't sit well with ANY product manager that I know. I love the freedom of Linux/Free Software but I understand that it comes at a price.
    1st)'AAA' titles GDevelopers usually don't mess with low system programming.
    2nd) Usually it's Game Engine SDK task to support multi-platform(there is plenty cross platform engines/toolchains(PC&XBOX&PS) at 100k$+ cost but each platform add additional cost)
    3rd) Again there very few companies that develop&maintain own large scale game engines.
    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    I assure you legal people know the ins and outs of *GPL and the like far better than you or me. They usually advise against it. Remember that most of what makes Google 'Google' is closed source.
    4th) That's one more reason to use 3rd party GE to not mess with licenses.
    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    Again, I'm not ranting out of my arse, I'm talking from experience.
    Very interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCFarraday View Post
    I mean it's really cool on slashdot and phoronix, and it may seem crowded now and then, but the 'real world out there' isn't an inch friendlier to foss. Yeah, if they can take it for free and wash their hands, but otherwise...
    Party agree, but this is lazy talks. What missing is profitable time proven business model for Linux games(developers ain't have first/final world in companies you know that). When you see that you can make on product +$ more by paying license and hiring developer to make install this starting to make sense.

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    Also regarding consoles i little displeased with my PS3 console and one of reasons why i turned down offer to buy XBOX360. All i see a few console specific titles and a lot of clones or PC sequels. Console disk cost very high is look like major companies try to raise profit in game industry, but without innovations.

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    Default My promise to Valve.

    If Valve release Linux Steam. I will drop $1000 on games the day it's announced. (Or the next payday after.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyDrake View Post
    1st)'AAA' titles GDevelopers usually don't mess with low system programming.
    2nd) Usually it's Game Engine SDK task to support multi-platform(there is plenty cross platform engines/toolchains(PC&XBOX&PS) at 100k$+ cost but each platform add additional cost)
    3rd) Again there very few companies that develop&maintain own large scale game engines.
    Yeah, but from what I saw, many good game engine don't come with networking code beyond connecting to a server and offering a reactor/proactor or stuff like that. Many developers hit a brick wall wit some rather widely used SDKs when they built, 1/2 from scratch, 1/2 from purchased 3rd party libs their networking code, especially modern 'mmo' type and such.

    The point was that Linux is very dynamic and 'multicultural'. Most companies get a GSDK that works on Win/Xbox (pretty much the same sing, from the M$ provided APIs) and PS3 and, maybe Wii. The thing is there is ONE standard API per platform. You won't test with a gazillion sound systems. The state of ATI's and NVidia's binary blobs leaves much to be desired, compared to their 'professional' cousins (firegl and quadro). We had OpenGL/SL conformance and performance test batches and they workd fine on the 'pro' drivers on 'pro' cards but failed there and there on gaming cards and since all the additional costs from a radeon to a firegl or geforce to quadro is in the drivers (hardware is identical) that tells me that their 'consumer' blobs are badly designed and implemented, at least on Linux.

    I mean, I don't want to make a big deal out of it, no show-stoppers, products work fine and we always had fixes, but it shows the weaknes of the platform. NVidia provides fairly stable drivers, and we can expect that with ATI and Creative open sourcing their stuff, we'll have non-binary, quality drivers for audio and video. But then, what about ALSA, Jack, Pulse and the myriad of other sound systems? I don't think any major developer will support all, or at least the hand full of the most important ones.

    Again, I'm not arguing against it, I'm just saying that it will be quite a while until both the software (drivers and such) and the mentality (on part of the big names in the gaming industry) will catch up.

    I'd rather see them contributing to wine and making their games work. For example, I can almost play Civ4 in wine. I actually played for 2 hours mp until it crashed, even longer in sp.

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