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View Full Version : How far is ubuntu from leading edge gaming?



nksjolinder
September 30th, 2011, 01:41 PM
Hey guys,

I'm just wondering how far ubuntu is from being able to support top of the line games? I know games are primarily developed for windows but is there a way ubuntu developers could make up for the difference or am i just crazy and expecting something impossible?

Nick

Matt__
September 30th, 2011, 01:51 PM
take a look at Phoronics (http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel_sna_comparison&num=2) for some interesting benchmarks.

Mark Phelps
September 30th, 2011, 01:54 PM
While the Phoronix link is interesting, unfortunately, to take advantage of the latest DirectX capabilities needed by modern games, you need to be running the restriced video drivers.

So, unless your card/chip supports the most current restricted drivers, if you are relegated to using the open-source drivers, you're not going to do well.

not found
September 30th, 2011, 01:58 PM
Not a support request. Thread moved to The Community Cafe.



404

Random_Dude
September 30th, 2011, 03:17 PM
I don't see mainstream companies showing any interest in developing games for Linux.
So I would say: very far.

If you are talking about drivers, I have no idea.

aeiah
September 30th, 2011, 03:39 PM
it isnt about linux supporting games, its about games supporting linux.

linux is perfectly capable of outperforming windows due to its lightweight nature but most games developers won't bother because it just doesn't pay to do it

forrestcupp
September 30th, 2011, 05:57 PM
About as far as the east is from the west.

Desktop Linux will never be the platform for leading edge gaming. The closest it's going to come is Android with its apps.

BrokenKingpin
September 30th, 2011, 06:16 PM
Ubuntu itself is setup fine for gaming, and they could even be released through the Ubuntu Software Center. It is just a matter of getting companies to make the games for Linux.

The Humble Indie Bundles are a good start to getting people to support Linux games, but there is still a long way to go:
http://www.humblebundle.com/

debd
September 30th, 2011, 06:22 PM
makes me feel a bit energetic http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/09/desura-linux-beta-video/

it wont be faaaar if demand increases...I think.

3Miro
September 30th, 2011, 06:25 PM
Games are made for the dominant platform which is currently windows. If Linux becomes dominant on the desktop, then all the latest games would be available for Linux.

Currently Linux has wine and despite its many flaws, wine does a pretty good job with slightly older games. For the most part, the best games from about a year ago now run under wine. I don't think wine can ever be as good as having native games, but it is good enough for most games.

Mikeb85
September 30th, 2011, 06:29 PM
While the Phoronix link is interesting, unfortunately, to take advantage of the latest DirectX capabilities needed by modern games, you need to be running the restriced video drivers.


Linux uses OpenGL as an API, not DirectX. And OpenGL in my experience is superior. Check out the benchmarks provided by Unigine (www.unigine.com), Linux can run them very well, tessellation and all. Their game Oil Rush is visually top of the line as well, and runs very nicely on Ubuntu (lots of fun as well). I also know the proprietary nVidia drivers give me great 3D performance...

Linux and Ubuntu are 100% capable of running top of the line games, the only problem is game manufacturers don't code Linux-native games...

matt_symes
September 30th, 2011, 06:37 PM
My thoughts on Linux and gaming ? Let me put it this way.

For every friend of mine who is into gaming in a big way and has expressed an interest in Linux, i have always told them not even to think about Linux.

Benchmarks are not games.

oldsoundguy
September 30th, 2011, 06:38 PM
In answer to the OP .. most likely NEVER. MOST games are developed for profit. There is no profit in giving away the code. Hence, most likely never.

NOW .. when your games become cloud oriented games where you pay a fee to an on line entity, then you MAY see games that can be played on Linux .. simply because you will be using your browser .. not the OS itself.

forrestcupp
September 30th, 2011, 06:40 PM
it wont be faaaar if demand increases...I think.
That's the whole problem. Demand is never going to increase. At least not enough.

ikt
September 30th, 2011, 06:46 PM
Hey guys,

and gals ;)



I'm just wondering how far ubuntu is from being able to support top of the line games?

It's able to support them today, many AAA titles already run on linux like World of Warcraft.(through wine)

There's a big list here of games for windows that can be played on linux here: http://appdb.winehq.org/



I know games are primarily developed for windows but is there a way ubuntu developers could make up for the difference

Yes, with wine and codeweavers.

http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxgames/



or am i just crazy and expecting something impossible?

Nick

As you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZojsR4zwjt8

And the fact Id Software ported AAA titles to linux for a few years: http://zerowing.idsoftware.com/

FAQ: Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
FAQ: Quake 4
FAQ: DOOM III
FAQ: Return To Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
FAQ: Return To Castle Wolfenstein
FAQ: Quake III Arena

Linux is perfectly capable of supporting high end graphics games and triple A titles without an issue at all, the Linux Audio subsystem is superior to Windows in many ways, and although linux video drivers aren't quite there yet, they have made significant headway compared to a few years ago and the open source drivers continue to advance at an amazing pace.

Natively linux won't be supporting many triple A titles for a long time since developers are already hesitant about developing for PC's at all, they get much less piracy rates and higher profit from selling xbox and playstation games.

The other issue is that Windows has pretty much cemented itself as the gaming platform.

So with the above reasoning you can see that linux is perfectly capable of playing high end games, the issues stopping it from happening are purely political.

PuddingKnife
September 30th, 2011, 07:49 PM
Sure, but if I'm trying to run all of these games through WINE, why wouldn't I just run Windows? No need to tweak config files to get WoW to run, it just does. That's the problem with WINE --it makes you question why you're using Linux in the first place.

forrestcupp
September 30th, 2011, 10:44 PM
Sure, but if I'm trying to run all of these games through WINE, why wouldn't I just run Windows? No need to tweak config files to get WoW to run, it just does. That's the problem with WINE --it makes you question why you're using Linux in the first place.

Not really. The reason for Wine is that you can run supported Windows apps and not have to reboot to Windows. There are a lot of benefits of using Linux, and with Wine, you can get the best of both worlds. If you don't see any benefits of using Linux, then you probably are better off just running Windows.

3Miro
September 30th, 2011, 11:22 PM
Sure, but if I'm trying to run all of these games through WINE, why wouldn't I just run Windows? No need to tweak config files to get WoW to run, it just does. That's the problem with WINE --it makes you question why you're using Linux in the first place.

I use wine because I don't see why I need to pay 200 dollars to MS in order to play a 60 dollar game made by Blizzard. All of my work is in Linux and I cannot work on windows, it is a platform completely incompatible with my needs. I play games for fun in my spare time, why would I have to mess with my system setup and go through all the trouble of dual-booting. Setting up WoW is not harder than setting up windows.

Also, if you think making games for Linux requires one to release the code, you don't know what you are talking about. There are plenty of commercial apps for Linux. Furthermore, if you think that you cannot make money while releasing the code of a game, they you have never heard of Civilization IV.

Come on people, cut the ignorance. The only reason why games are made for Windows is because Windows is dominant, if things were reversed, all the games would have been released for Linux.

aaaantoine
October 1st, 2011, 02:43 AM
the Linux Audio subsystem is superior to Windows in many ways

Really? I only ever hear bad things about the audio stack.

JDShu
October 1st, 2011, 04:57 AM
I'll bite, as this is something that interested me when I first discovered Linux.

There are many parts that need to come together, technical and economic, in order for Linux users to enjoy the gaming experience that Windows users currently enjoy. Here is the stuff that I've come to understand in the past couple years:

On the technical side, we have a few issues that I can think of off the top of my head.

DirectX: Like it or not, game companies today focus on DirectX as the major game API. OpenGL + other multimedia stacks is doable, but it can't beat the simplicity of having everything in one place, with one integrated API. Also, while I've never tried using DirectX, it seems to be a general consensus that it is in fact a much nicer API.

Drivers: Graphics drivers on Linux are getting better, but the user experience and performance lags behind Windows by a couple years. There are a few technical reasons for this. One is that there is no nice mechanism for making proprietary drivers for Linux because the Linux experience is so integrated. The Nvidia and AMD proprietary drivers have to make invasive changes to the kernel and X.org. This makes for an unstable situation, because every time the user upgrades the kernel (very common due to bug and security fixes), the proprietary driver needs to be compiled on top of it again. In addition, in the cases where the kernel or X.org ABI changes (rare these days), the proprietary drivers will stop working and need to be updated by Nvidia/AMD. The much more user friendly open source drivers lag behind in performance due to a lack of manpower and patents that prevent really important features from being implemented in them. Personally, I'm banking on the oss drivers getting better because the user experience with proprietary drivers will always suck on Linux.

Fast moving platform: Linux distributions continually update various system libraries, which a game developer may rely on. And various distributions will have packages from different times. This makes developing for and maintaining support for a Linux distribution very difficult for game developers, and serves as another disincentive to invest in the Linux platform. People are still trying to figure out a solution to this.

Economically the issue is more intuitive:

The Linux market is tiny: Yes, it is a chicken and egg problem, but there really is no incentive to invest in Linux if the chances of profit or so low. Take a look at the Oil Rush sales numbers (https://store.unigine.com/products/stats/)as an example of just how little money is made from marketing to Linux (but I recommend you buy it :D). Even though the average Linux gamer is willing to pay more than the average Windows gamer, the total amount of money that can be earned from Linux (which is what matters to companies) is still far less, and in particular for AAA games where budgets are huge, probably not worth it.

So basically, for Linux gaming to reach the level of Windows gaming, we need the graphics drivers to get better, for a game API stack on Linux to be as good or better than DirectX, for certain patents to expire/be revoked, for some semblance of package stability to exist across distros, and for the Linux user base to grow much larger than it is now. (with a big IMO at the end, but this is my understanding right now).

mips
October 1st, 2011, 09:27 AM
DirectX: Like it or not, game companies today focus on DirectX as the major game API. OpenGL + other multimedia stacks is doable, but it can't beat the simplicity of having everything in one place, with one integrated API. Also, while I've never tried using DirectX, it seems to be a general consensus that it is in fact a much nicer API.

It's used on the Playstation & Wii so I wonder what they use to develop with. Not disagreeing with anything you said though.

aura7
October 1st, 2011, 09:58 AM
Gaming is the only domain where Linux is far behind as compared with Windows. Very few good games are available for Linux platform natively.

I agree to the fact that DirectX is a more favoured platform by gaming companies than Open GL

StephanG
October 1st, 2011, 10:58 AM
I will agree with past posters that Linux is indeed far behind Windows. But I do think that Linux has the potential to catch up. I think that Linux can open a whole new world to game developers, once there is sufficient financial incentives.

But, at the same time, it won't be in the same way that Windows currently experiences games. I think if we want to become important in gaming, we have to offer something that Windows doesn't.

Here are few things that I think game developers could do with Linux in a few years:

1 - Games are becoming larger and larger, soon, a single DVD won't be able to cut it anymore. One of the things that makes Linux interesting, is the fact that it can be loaded onto a portable hard drive or USB stick, and booted into from any computer.
Imagine buying a portable HDD from Bethesda with ALL their older games on it. You could plug it into an external SATA port, and boot from that. The Linux kernel (optimized for playing games) could detect the current PC's hardware and use the graphics drivers for that particular hardware configuration. Then you could play single player games on various machines, without having to worry about copying over your save games or character information.

2 - Something that WINE could perhaps provide developers, is a configuration file. So, when I buy Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, I go to their website, download a small config file, that will tell WINE what it needs to do to run Skyrim properly.

3 - Another interesting feature Linux has to offer, is the fact that your home directory is separated from the system files. So, a game developer could put all your personal settings and saved game files on a hard drive dedicated to your /home partition. Then, the entire machine can be upgraded to better hardware, a newer linux kernel, a faster hard drive, newer versions of the game, etc. and as long as you use the same /home hard drive your game will continue exactly where you left off.

So, in short, I think that Linux definitely has the ability to offer developers some interesting opportunities. But, like others have said, there are still some challenges we have to overcome first.

However, hardware has finally reached the point where game developers are saying "We can do pretty much whatever we want with the current hardware". So, game developers might be less inclined to go after DirectX to squeeze a few extra drops of performance out.

Sorry for the long post, just my 2 cents.

ikt
October 1st, 2011, 11:36 AM
Really? I only ever hear bad things about the audio stack.

FUD spreads far and wide, finally found this after an hour of searching :/

http://insanecoding.blogspot.com/2009/06/state-of-sound-in-linux-not-so-sorry.html

And since 2009 (when the article was written) Pulseaudio has advanced a lot.

forrestcupp
October 1st, 2011, 01:51 PM
It's used on the Playstation & Wii so I wonder what they use to develop with. Not disagreeing with anything you said though.What he said is true, though. I've worked with straight DirectX and I've looked into OpenGL. As convenient as it was having everything in one package with DX, I didn't really see the point in trying to piece together a bunch of different libraries to go with OpenGL and learn them all. It's really too bad they don't just officially integrate audio and input into OpenGL and make it all link together well. In DX I can link a 3D sound to a model and it will adjust the position of the sound according to where that model is in relation to the camera. With OpenGL, you have to hack everything together and make it work.

PS & Wii do that because they don't want to pay license fees to MS.


FUD spreads far and wide, finally found this after an hour of searching :/

http://insanecoding.blogspot.com/2009/06/state-of-sound-in-linux-not-so-sorry.html

And since 2009 (when the article was written) Pulseaudio has advanced a lot.

PA has advanced a lot, but it's still a major pain in the backside compared to doing things in Windows. Especially if you're trying to use Jack and do more professional stuff. Compared to how easy it is to set up in Windows, it's not hardly worth all of the headaches in Linux.

ninjaaron
October 1st, 2011, 02:38 PM
In addition to what everyone has already said, Wine tends to get support for major games quite quickly. Less popular games get supported more slowly.

3Miro
October 1st, 2011, 02:52 PM
what I would like to see is developers making games for wine. Think about it, one API and one well documented standard. Then you get the game and you play it under wine, independent from the OS. There is already wine for Mac and making wine for Windows wouldn't be hard. You can have completely cross OS gaming.

MG&TL
October 1st, 2011, 03:02 PM
I can't run this at anywhere near full graphics, so I guess this:

http://www.redeclipse.net/

Is good. Runs perfectly once you have installed some libraries (libSDL) and is truly cross-platform.

Neken
October 1st, 2011, 05:34 PM
It's used on the Playstation & Wii so I wonder what they use to develop with. Not disagreeing with anything you said though.

to be fair, It's a _highly_ modified opengl-based sdk.

3Miro
October 1st, 2011, 06:49 PM
Speaking of cutting edge gaming, I just got Dragon Age II today and it runs pretty good under wine. The wait is now less than a year for a good gaming experience.

juancarlospaco
October 2nd, 2011, 04:47 AM
Not so far away as many people think, look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=QbzE8jOO7_0&hd=1

Blender + Python, a video game with THAT kind of graphics its doable.

Artificial Intelligence
October 2nd, 2011, 05:07 AM
A bit related to the subject. People should check out the Desura project - http://www.desura.com/

On Subject; I don't think we'll see huge game companies (like EA, Blizzard etc.) releasing linux native games, the market is too small for that. But small companies and indies will.

ikt
October 3rd, 2011, 06:03 PM
Just a plug for the Humble Indy Bundle! http://www.humblebundle.com/

Always has great games on offer! ):P