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  • Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

    Do they realize that they are the only reason a large number of computer users are even sticking with Windows? Would it be that hard (expensive) to release a game for another OS? Blizzard zealously supports Mac in this regard. Why haven't any companies released any big games for Linux?
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  • #2
    Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

    If I had to hazard a guess at two reasons, I'd go with
    - installed user base
    - consistency of development tools

    With so many flavors of Linux, trying to develop something to run on it would be a feat, and if you somehow managed that feat, you'd still reach only a handful of users (and hardly any 'casual' gamers, ever).
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    • #3
      Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

      Originally posted by Pokerface View Post
      With so many flavors of Linux, trying to develop something to run on it would be a feat,
      Really? I thought that the flavors didn't affect how applications ran on them...

      I really don't see how anyone can claim that Linux is superior if this is the case.
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      • #4
        Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

        so if one game developer greated one Gamer linux and then got other companies to make games that would compatible they might be able to make some actual money off the Linux gamer market.

        If MS can do it why not linux
        that sounds like a good idea trooper.
        -Vulcan

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        • #5
          Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

          I just don't understand how anyone can dev for linux if it's as Poker described. Does GIMP work with all flavors of linux, or not? Does FireFox? Does OpenOffice?
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          • #6
            Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
            I just don't understand how anyone can dev for linux if it's as Poker described. Does GIMP work with all flavors of linux, or not? Does FireFox? Does OpenOffice?
            Most open source apps will run on the flavors of Linus, yes. But they also have a cast of hundreds working on them, and no pressure other than pride forcing them to do well... which brings back my first point, which is by far the larger of the two.

            The real issue in the Linux flavors is hardware support, I think. You get ATI and NVidea making good Linux drivers (nv already does, maybe? Can't recall.), and it's a step in the right direction.

            But that's a pittance compared to Linux moving in on the general population regardless of the realm of interest.
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            • #7
              Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

              That fact is not many actually develope for linux. Well, don't develop off the shelf stuff, anyway.

              First is shelf space. It is hard for any software producer to get shelf space in the like of walmart and best buy. Try to convince those companys that linux software will sell.

              I don't think it is "versions" of linux that is the problem, it is the modules needed to get any particulare piece of software to run. And drivers. Drivers, especially for graphic and sound cards, are sometimes a problem.

              Then there is support. Supporting a linux game could prove difficult and I know I would be afraid of all the varios distibutions out there. The fact users can modify the source then compile it is scary in itself.

              The strength of Linux actually hurts it when it comes to mass produced software.
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              • #8
                Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

                I keep looking at Blizzard, and their continued production of Mac software. Would it not be feasible for WoW to be released for linux, saying, "it's been tested and runs fine on these 6 main distros, if you use any other flavor it's on you to get it to work"?

                I just don't understand why there aren't more linux nerds pushing for this. If I had a nickel for every time I heard "I'd be using linux if I didn't need Windows for gaming", I'd be a rich man. There's got to be a way for this to happen. The market is there. What will it take?
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                • #9
                  Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

                  It's be nice to have more proper Linux games, all I have is Unreal Tournament 2004, which has a Linux installer on the Windows disc.

                  I don't see it happening any time soon, due to several reasons, but mainly because there are relatively very few Linux users. For now, we have to stick with Wine...
                  |TG| Lorian
                  Member since 18th February 2006

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

                    Don't forget about DirectX. A large base of games use DirectX instead of OpenGL. I'm not sure why OpenGL isn't used more.

                    There's also the fact that Windows has a large base of users. There's no real need to make a game compatible on a wide range of OS's. A few companies do it because it may seem worthwhile but it's cheaper to develop for one OS or flavour of OS. There's less testing and shorter development time.

                    Companies will have to take baby steps towards Linux compatibility. Plus, ATI needs better Linux drivers. They've been in the Linux driver business for a short period compared to nVidia.

                    If Linux had better gaming support, I wouldn't use it. Why? Windows already works. Linux has too many choices to make it worthwhile. I have to pick a distro, install the many choices of apps for various tasks like audio/video playback, and deal with any compatibility issues. Windows works out of the box. Although, Windows takes a lot of power away from the user, it makes it easier to use because there's less to think about. Linux will need a lot more work if they want a larger user base.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

                      It's easy, money of course!

                      QA/Testing is a huge, expensive pain in the ass and in developers pocket-books. Imagine having to grow your QA team (and QA budget) by 3x-5x because now every bug must be verified on 7 OS's instead of one. It also means your development team has to grow some % as well. Oh and lets not forget to expand the support team. Why bother increasing your development cost by 30% when your sales are going to grow by... what 1-3%? It just doesn't make any sense.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

                        I'd also guess it is partially due to availability of tools. Developing on linux is a different beast (more difficult) than developing on MS. I like the idea of linux but when it comes to developing on it I cringe. The development tools just aren't up to what Visual Studio can do. Now, this isn't to say porting wouldn't be an option which I believe id did a bit of back in the day. Not sure why they stopped. I think Quake 3 was the last linux port they did. Probably the $$ thing. Just not practical to spend the time on it I guess.

                        And as stated before Drivers are a huge issue. I continually fight with my laptops wireless card. Nvidia finally stepped up and it's just a matter of time before ATI does. I'm not sure about Creative/EAX.

                        Also DirectX seems to be a step ahead of OpenGL in some of the more advanced features. This is a case where being open has not helped. New features must be voted on to make it into OpenGL which has taken quite a while. Sure there are extensions, but the more interesting ones are specific to a particular card (nvidia vs ati).
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                        • #13
                          Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

                          Mac vs linux is a whole different scheme. Mac as a whole is more locked down than windows. Sure you got BSD underneath the hood but it is hardware locked and in reality all the apple bits are locked via Carbon Foundation.

                          Az
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                          • #14
                            Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

                            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                            I keep looking at Blizzard, and their continued production of Mac software. Would it not be feasible for WoW to be released for linux, saying, "it's been tested and runs fine on these 6 main distros, if you use any other flavor it's on you to get it to work"?
                            That's the thing, though. Windows and Mac OS basically only have one distribution each (XP and OS X), and a large majority uses them. And, if an update needs to be made to the software, each has a mainstream company behind it to use for development.

                            Linux, well, first there's no real mainstream version or developer. Half a dozen distributions, so there's no "main" OS to develop for. It's open source, so that means some Joe on the net can make a change to the kernel, compile it, give it a name and suddenly there's yet another distro out there. Aside from all that, Linux is just plain not user-friendly.

                            I'm a computer guy; build and repair them as well as having to act as a higher level help desk. I'm not a programmer but I understand a little code. Hell, I grew up on DOS and Basic/Pascal. Setting up and using Linux is like wrestling an oily bear in a polka-dot bikini. Why is the bear wearing a bikini? Because someone thought it would be a cool idea to put one on the bear and let it loose on the world. I have yet to see any Linux build that your average Windows or Mac OS user would be able to install and run without shooting themselves to end the suffering. This includes the more graphical versions.

                            For all the talk that Linux is a superior OS, it's hampered by a severe lack of organization and a mainstream company to push it. Companies won't develop hard/software for a system if the specs change every week, especially when there's already two standard, well-backed OS's out there. If Linux can get a company for financial backing (which will require a charge to purchase the OS for the users, ala Microsoft/Apple) and a solid build, then maybe something will happen. Until then, Linux's claim to superiority stops at being free and server utility.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Why don't game companies develop for Linux?

                              Originally posted by WhiskeySix View Post
                              It's easy, money of course!

                              QA/Testing is a huge, expensive pain in the ass and in developers pocket-books. Imagine having to grow your QA team (and QA budget) by 3x-5x because now every bug must be verified on 7 OS's instead of one. It also means your development team has to grow some % as well. Oh and lets not forget to expand the support team. Why bother increasing your development cost by 30% when your sales are going to grow by... what 1-3%? It just doesn't make any sense.
                              After reading Tarpan's post, perhaps I'm too ignorant about linux. I was under the impression that the latest distros were pretty much plug and play.

                              And operating under that assumption, that linux is almost as easy to use as Windows, wouldn't it be worth the risk for a studio to try to jumpstart the spread of a free OS?

                              I'm telling you, there's money to be made here. With so many people saying that they wish they could switch to linux "if it weren't for gaming", someone eventually is going to make millions off of developing for linux. It's what the market wants.
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