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Thread: id Software: Linux Hasn't Produced Positive Results

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    Default id Software: Linux Hasn't Produced Positive Results

    Phoronix: id Software: Linux Hasn't Produced Positive Results

    While id Software was known for years as being a Linux-friendly game company with providing native ports of their in-house titles with support for the id Tech engines on Linux, this is no longer the case. John Carmack, the founder of id Software, has lost his commitment to seeing Linux support...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTE1NDA

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    I was saying the same thing since the announcement of Valve being interested in Linux.
    Linux has 1% desktop market share, from this 1% take the gamers which in Linux are just in a VERY VERY small amount.
    Now take from this gamers the ones that are ready to pay, it goes almost to 0%. Ubuntu Software Center can be as a good demonstration that almost all of the Linux users don't want to pay a cent for software.
    Linux is not a good platform for developers to make money on. And IDSoftware had to feel it on their skin. Put in a lot of effort to port and have additional expenses for nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alliancemd View Post
    I was saying the same thing since the announcement of Valve being interested in Linux.
    Linux has 1% desktop market share, from this 1% take the gamers which in Linux are just in a VERY VERY small amount.
    Now take from this gamers the ones that are ready to pay, it goes almost to 0%. Ubuntu Software Center can be as a good demonstration that almost all of the Linux users don't want to pay a cent for software.
    Linux is not a good platform for developers to make money on. And IDSoftware had to feel it on their skin. Put in a lot of effort to port and have additional expenses for nothing.
    I donate to software projects I like/appreciate, and offering fun and polished games for Linux wins devs my donations. I will never buy a game from the Ubuntu Software Center, even though I usually run Ubuntu, because they don't give you a cross-distro application. Application freedom, the freedom to run your games and other programs on any Linux distro you want, is a requirement for me as I refuse to be bound to a proprietary Linux OS. If they provide straight-up normal binaries or cross-distro installers, I pay. Desura has provided those things with Oil Rush and Trine 2, so I had no problem paying for those games.

    The biggest problem on Linux that I keep saying over and over again and it seems like no one listens or cares is standards, including software installation standards. If there is any chance that a particular library you are linking to isn't a solid standard and might not be on someone's installed Linux OS, you need to include the damn thing in your installer or make it easy (automatically, preferrably) to get it.

    The most important thing for anyone's freedom in any area, hardware and software, with cars and computers and TVs and all devices, is standards. Standards = freedom, thus Linux needs more standards. I don't know why this is a hard concept for anyone who cares about openness and freedom to grasp. Instead, Canonical wants their own Apple iStore, as does Microsoft, to lock users to their platform and their platform only. None of them will get my money because of that (among other factors).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yfrwlf View Post
    I donate to software projects I like/appreciate, and offering fun and polished games for Linux wins devs my donations. I will never buy a game from the Ubuntu Software Center, even though I usually run Ubuntu, because they don't give you a cross-distro application. Application freedom, the freedom to run your games and other programs on any Linux distro you want, is a requirement for me as I refuse to be bound to a proprietary Linux OS. If they provide straight-up normal binaries or cross-distro installers, I pay. Desura has provided those things with Oil Rush and Trine 2, so I had no problem paying for those games.

    The biggest problem on Linux that I keep saying over and over again and it seems like no one listens or cares is standards, including software installation standards. If there is any chance that a particular library you are linking to isn't a solid standard and might not be on someone's installed Linux OS, you need to include the damn thing in your installer or make it easy (automatically, preferrably) to get it.

    The most important thing for anyone's freedom in any area, hardware and software, with cars and computers and TVs and all devices, is standards. Standards = freedom, thus Linux needs more standards. I don't know why this is a hard concept for anyone who cares about openness and freedom to grasp. Instead, Canonical wants their own Apple iStore, as does Microsoft, to lock users to their platform and their platform only. None of them will get my money because of that (among other factors).
    Same here. Even though I'm a gamer for more than 5 years my first bought game was Oil Rush. Second I bought Trine 1, which is a great game, in Humble Frozen Bundle. I also plan to buy Trine 2. All this games have in common some requirements that I have.

    These are my requirements for buying games:
    1. Have a first class linux client
    2. Have a stand-alone installer (no Desura, no Steam), but being available on Desura and Steam is a plus, like Oil Rush
    3. No DRM, maximum that I allow is a simple serial number
    4. No Internet connection required
    5. If it's possible LAN multiplayer (with no internet required, not Starcraft II shit)
    6. Demo available, if not i will download an unlocked version and play it. I don't buy games that I didn't played before.
    7. Reasonable price (less than 30 $)

    If my requirements are not met, they should go fuck themselves, because I like my freedom and I will not buy their game.

    And what positive results Carmack wants?
    You don't have a first class linux client, linux market share is less than 5%, you don't advetise linux much but you want positive results?
    If you want positive results release a long awaited game like Doom 4 on linux first and wait 3-6 monts and then release it to Windows. You will see then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny3 View Post
    Same here. Even though I'm a gamer for more than 5 years my first bought game was Oil Rush. Second I bought Trine 1, which is a great game, in Humble Frozen Bundle. I also plan to buy Trine 2. All this games have in common some requirements that I have.

    These are my requirements for buying games:
    1. Have a first class linux client
    This one really pisses me off, too. I just went to Bastion's and Limbo's websites. With Limbo, they don't even tell you about Linux support anywhere on the site. You can't even buy it for Linux from them. With Bastion, at the bottom is a link to a Ubuntu Software Center page requiring you to thus install Ubuntu and be locked into Ubuntu anytime you wish to play that game. Unacceptible. If someone says supporting multiple Linux distros is too difficult as their reason, that is no excuse for only offering a Ubuntu DEB package and NOT a regular binary or installer, and you can just include all libraries you need to link to with the installer package. Plus, you should be getting involved in pushing for actual Linux standards in cases where that is an issue. OpenGL is a standard, X.org is a standard, so simply help push for audio/joystick/etc standards that will not move, and/or use whatever is the biggest "standard" right now that shouldn't change anytime soon. ALSA? Pulse? OSS? AFAIK all of those have wrappers anyway, so if someone has one of them but not the other two, they can just use a wrapper? As for joysticks, I'm not sure how good the standard is, perhaps it is just fine and Linux just lacks joystick configuration utilities. Perhaps Linux needs a cohesive bundle of all its APIs, like DirectX offers with DirectInput, Direct3D, etc.

    Anyway, it looks like neither of those games will be getting my donations. A pity, as I heard they were supposedly decent games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny3 View Post
    2. Have a stand-alone installer (no Desura, no Steam), but being available on Desura and Steam is a plus, like Oil Rush
    I agree, but actually you're wrong about Desura. I had the same assumption too, but come to find out Desura does offer stand-alone installers, so installing and running through Desura is only optional. There is a section on the game's "profile" that links to the downloadable installer. It's silly though because they don't have downloading support in the Desura client, so when you click on it it does nothing, but if you go to the website in a normal browser (since with Steam and Desura are just canned web browsers) you can download it that way. You have the option to use Desura to buy, install, and play games though if you want. It is sort of pointless though when you can just use your favorite browser instead.

    With Steam though, sadly, I doubt this is or will be the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny3 View Post
    3. No DRM, maximum that I allow is a simple serial number
    Yes, serial numbers are okayish even if they are a bit silly, since if you ever lose it you'll have to use someone else's or whatnot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny3 View Post
    4. No Internet connection required
    5. If it's possible LAN multiplayer (with no internet required, not Starcraft II shit)
    Lol, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 are a joke. Having lag in a game while playing single player is the most hilarious thing I've ever seen. Additionally, they don't even allow "spawn copies" (multiplayer-only) anymore. Blizzard has really fucked up. Maybe when they get tired of hosting their server-side services for those two games, and decide to release "patches" i.e. the server-side portions of their games so that everyone can play them without reverse-engineering the server-side bits, I might be interested in buying them, but then again who would want to donate to them after doing all that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny3 View Post
    6. Demo available, if not i will download an unlocked version and play it. I don't buy games that I didn't played before.
    7. Reasonable price (less than 30 $)
    I really hate games that have no demo as well. They expect you to just make a leap of faith that you'll like it, which is especially stupid since liking something is a matter of taste. At least there are lots of review sources and media, but still, demos are definitely ideal of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny3 View Post
    If my requirements are not met, they should go fuck themselves, because I like my freedom and I will not buy their game.

    And what positive results Carmack wants?
    You don't have a first class linux client, linux market share is less than 5%, you don't advetise linux much but you want positive results?
    If you want positive results release a long awaited game like Doom 4 on linux first and wait 3-6 monts and then release it to Windows. You will see then.
    Exactly. id and most all game companies bury Linux. Good luck finding them even mentioning the word "Linux" anywhere that is publically tied to their company name. It is my theory that Microsoft signs agreements with them in which to be provided with DirectX and other Microsoft API documentation and testing platforms/devices, you have to agree not to endorse in any way publically non-Microsoft operating systems, or perhaps in the case of Windows + Mac they both conspire to close out Linux, I don't know, but that's the only thing that makes sense to me. All I know is Linux usually gets the boot, even when the company supports it, and I know Microsoft's marketing department is ruthless and commonly signs deals with anyone selling their products to endorse them and de-endorse competitors (the latter of which should be illegal).

    So, how does anyone expect Linux to "sell well" when that kind of behavior occurs? Not only with software development, but in hardware stores as well. Software + hardware bundling and giving discounts to vendors who don't sell competing software are the biggest rackets and by far the biggest aces Microsoft has in their deck. Secure Boot will be the next, since due to being able to sell products more cheaply to those who kiss their asses, they will be able to force computers that do not have Secure Boot to be sold at a higher cost than computers without it, etc. To put it another way, if there was a law that was passed which said all products have to be sold at the same price everywhere and to everyone, that would be the death blow to Microsoft.
    Last edited by Yfrwlf; 08-05-2012 at 12:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yfrwlf View Post
    I will never buy a game from the Ubuntu Software Center, even though I usually run Ubuntu, because they don't give you a cross-distro application. Application freedom, the freedom to run your games and other programs on any Linux distro you want, is a requirement for me as I refuse to be bound to a proprietary Linux OS. If they provide straight-up normal binaries or cross-distro installers, I pay. Desura has provided those things with Oil Rush and Trine 2, so I had no problem paying for those games.
    Just an FYI... All the games that I bought through the Ubuntu Software Center was very easy to install on my Debian laptop. cp -r and you're done... The games are *NOT* loaded with DRM and they are very easy to burn to CD or archive any way you like.. Also, the games are redownloadable, so if you need HD space on your laptop, you can just delete it and download it again later.

    I for one, like the Ubuntu Software Center.. It certainly isn't a steam replacement, but it could very well have become one someday if Valve had continued to ignore Linux.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidicas View Post
    Just an FYI... All the games that I bought through the Ubuntu Software Center was very easy to install on my Debian laptop. cp -r and you're done... The games are *NOT* loaded with DRM and they are very easy to burn to CD or archive any way you like.. Also, the games are redownloadable, so if you need HD space on your laptop, you can just delete it and download it again later.

    I for one, like the Ubuntu Software Center.. It certainly isn't a steam replacement, but it could very well have become one someday if Valve had continued to ignore Linux.
    My only gripe with Software Center is that it doesn't appear to be version specific, or at least the apps aren't. Too often you can download something that just doesn't work with the current point release. I think it could improve with a better user feedback model (more than just a primitive star rating), and maybe a bit of hardware config snooping. No stealing personal info, just a user opt-in for sharing system specs to help provide developers with more information on what works and what doesn't. Eventually, with such feedback, software center could better filter results, only showing you what works with your specs. Software Center needs to be very reliable before purchases make more sense.

    As for the comment about how Linux users are cheap. I've always been cheap with software. When I had a Mac, I used mostly free Apps. For Windows, I use Office 2000 and Paint Shop Pro 9. I don't want to upgrade to the newest Office because of Ribbon, and Paint Shop Pros turned into phone-home-ware shortly after v9. I'll buy games, but not the $60 new releases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yfrwlf View Post
    The biggest problem on Linux that I keep saying over and over again and it seems like no one listens or cares is standards, including software installation standards. If there is any chance that a particular library you are linking to isn't a solid standard and might not be on someone's installed Linux OS, you need to include the damn thing in your installer or make it easy (automatically, preferrably) to get it.
    Sorry, but as someone that spent half of his professional life in developing Windows application is pure B.S.
    Not only there's around 50 different installers, some completely oblivious to any Microsoft semi-official-standard, but also, the OS is *completely* incapable of insuring the any of said installers will be even capable of, hell, uninstalling itself, let alone prevent it from trashing system-wide DLLs. (And no UAC only gets users used to clicking Next, next, next. Calling it a security measure is absurd).
    Far worse, not only Windows lack any type of centralized package manager *, it also lack any type of centralized library management system.
    Trust me on this one, I literally spent months on debugging crashes on client systems until I found out, the hard way, that I should *always* place a local copy of all the runtime DLLs and *never* trust the junk placed in system32.

    Unlike Windows, most Linux distributions have a powerful package management system. Library version management, etc.
    Sure, having multiple distributions is a pain in the backside, but given sufficient know-how, it can easily avoided (LGP, Epic, Loki all solved it by using statically linked libraries).

    - Gilboa
    * No, MSI is not a real package manager.
    Last edited by gilboa; 08-06-2012 at 06:04 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alliancemd View Post
    I was saying the same thing since the announcement of Valve being interested in Linux.
    Linux has 1% desktop market share, from this 1% take the gamers which in Linux are just in a VERY VERY small amount.
    Now take from this gamers the ones that are ready to pay, it goes almost to 0%. Ubuntu Software Center can be as a good demonstration that almost all of the Linux users don't want to pay a cent for software.
    Linux is not a good platform for developers to make money on. And IDSoftware had to feel it on their skin. Put in a lot of effort to port and have additional expenses for nothing.
    Numbers from http://www.humblebundle.com/ prove you wrong, the population of Linux gamers is almost as big as Mac ones, but interestingly they tend to pay more than Mac and Windows community. It makes me believe there is a market waiting to be discovered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazer View Post
    Numbers from http://www.humblebundle.com/ prove you wrong, the population of Linux gamers is almost as big as Mac ones, but interestingly they tend to pay more than Mac and Windows community. It makes me believe there is a market waiting to be discovered.
    You need to be careful with those numbers. Keep in mind that many Windows and Mac gamers already owned many of the Humble Bundle titles before they were offered as part of a Humble Bundle. I haven't bought the last 3 PC humble bundles for instance since the only games in them I had already bought on Steam a long time before. There's also a potential "bubble" effect with Linux interest. That is, Linux users are willing to pay a lot more, but those numbers might drop drastically if the Linux market starts getting a higher number of quality titles. The humble bundles might stop seeming like they're worth paying $20 for if you have access to titles that normally retail at $20 but blow the quality of (almost) all the humble bundle games out of the water.

    Again, I'm not saying that IS the case, just that it MIGHT be. Business folks do a hell of a lot more analysis of these things than just looking at two charts on Humble Bundle's site. If they're opting to stay away, it might be their reluctance to try to something new (and risky), or it might be because they know something you don't.

    Indie games however should ABSOLUTELY be targeting Linux. Small games with tiny budgets see a lot back from every single sale. So long as the Linux port time isn't too rough (and with the focus of iOS and Android for Linux gamers, they've already sloshed through OpenGL and abstracting Windows-isms out of their code, so the port shouldn't be that rough) they're likely to actually see benefit from even Linux's tiny marketshare. If I were working on an indie game on my own time, I would be absolutely sure to hit Windows, Mac, Linux, NaCl, and (if it made sense for the game) iOS and Android. Even if only 1,000 Linux users were to buy a game for $5, that would be $5,000. That's roughly 3 weeks pay for the average dev, and it sure as hell shouldn't take even close to three weeks to port a small indie game to Linux (especially if I already had the OpenGL renderer written, which I would for OS X and iOS).

    A bigger company, however, is going to spend a considerably larger amount of time and effort on the port. They not only have to code it, they also have to QA it, potentially market it, and then support it. Then there's the simple fact that to a big company, the mere administrative overhead of having to run a company and manage resources means that any particular endeavor needs to see a huge return on investment to be worth the time; a small profit disappears into the margin of error of what the core operations is expected to produce. The sales numbers need to be much bigger to see a return on investment there. And that's what Carmack was likely talking about: they surely made sales, but the sales weren't large enough to even matter given the dollar figures they pulled in from other platform.


    Quote Originally Posted by kwahoo View Post
    The id way:
    1. Sell games with Windows-only executable
    2. Put free (as beer) Linux executable on website
    3. HOW Linux users could "pay bills"?
    id's games are all multiplayer focused. They know the numbers of users of any OS given the stats their servers report. They can then extrapolate the percentages of each OS connecting to their servers to figure out what percentage of their sales figures to associate with those OSes. If they see 5% Linux users, they can assume that up to 5% of their profits were because of Linux support (possibly if they track IPs or client IDs they can figure out multi-OS users as well; don't know if they do that).

    I recall seeing a while back that the percentage of clients running Linux connecting to their servers was close to zero. I'm unsure if that was a specific game or all their games; it may have just been one of their more recent, unpopular titles.

    id also is in the odd position of having Open Sources their older engines, which has spawned a lot of the more popular Linux games. I imagine that a lot of Linux gamers might be satisfied playing a 15 year old game design and not have to pay anything while Windows gamers -- having a wider variety of much better games -- are less interested in playing crappy Quake 3 clones and go buy more modern shooters (or even games from other genres, which Linux users barely even have the choice of). Valve, being an otherwise very traditional proprietary software vendor, will not have to compete with its own past titles like id has to.

    I suppose its up to Linux gamers to decide whether they prefer technologically dated Open/Free games from id or not (as) dated proprietary games from Valve and other game vendors. (Obviously I think that the vast majority of people would rather have newer more popular titles... but then, I also think it should be law that all games be forced to be open sourced within 5 years of release. If only I were king of the world...)

    Valve does have a bit more accurate capability since Steam is required to even install the games, and hence they can track for any given customer which OS he was using when he made the purchase and which OSes he installed the game onto. Again, there's some margin of error there, as some people might install games on another platform just out of curiosity. Forgive the anecdote, but I installed several games on my Mac just for shits and giggles, but I don't think I actually ever played them there for more than a few minutes, and the Mac support of any game has certainly never affected my purchasing decision.

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