Sunday, November 6

How MonoGame Can Bring More Games to Linux

MonoGame 2.0 was released on October 27 bringing support for 2D XNA APIs for Linux. MonoGame was previously known as XNATouch and is an open source implementation of the XNA tools in OpenGL.

About XNA

Microsoft XNA is a set of tools with a managed runtime environment (.Net, C#) provided by Microsoft that facilitates video game development and management. XNA is used extensively today by indie game developers to develop games for XBox and Windows. Most of the Games on XBLIG (XBox Live Indie Games) are developed in XNA.

About MonoGame

MonoGame is an open source implementation of the XNA 4.0 APIs that allows developers to build 2D games that run on Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Linux and Windows using the same code base, or reusing existing XNA code that runs on Xbox 360 or Windows Phone 7. MonoGame is developed and maintained by Kenneth Pouncey and have support from Xamarin Team.

So What is the Big Deal?

MonoGame can bring a large number of popular games to Linux, which were until now only working on XBox and Windows. Game developers will now be easily able to port their 2D games to Linux. In fact developers of Indie game Wizorb, which is rising fast in popularity are porting their game to Linux using MonoGame 2.0. Check out the Wizorb trailer below:

Just within a week of MonoGame adding support for Linux, we have our first game (there may be more) and I am sure more developers will follow. Next major release of MonoGame, 3.x series will bring 3D API support that will bring even more games to Linux.

Bastion, easily the best Indie game to come out this year is based on XNA and I would like to see more games like this coming to Linux in future (though it is very unlikely that Bastion itself will be ported to Linux even if the tools are available).

MonoXNA is another framework which has been longer in development and supports 2D XNA games but is being developed at a slow pace while MonoGame looks more complete, have a clear roadmap with some heavy development going on. In fact it includes a good amount of code form MonoXNA.

I know Mono is not favored by many Linux users but as long as more games come to Linux, there are no complaints and the future is looking bright.


A fan has attempted to run Terraria natively on Linux using MonoGame and its working quite nicely. There are some issues regarding sound and some other crashes but if official support is extended to it, Terraria can be easily ported to Linux.

If you are wondering, Terraria, a multiplayer action adventure game is another hit indie released this year and has a huge community around it. Thousands of players across the world play this game everyday.

Check out the video showing Terraria running natively on Linux (the game runs at ~ 60 fps, lag in video is recording issue):


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