Friday, November 30

Ryan C. Gordon: 2013 will be Awesome for Linux Gaming

In an intervirew with Cheerful Ghost, star Linux developer Ryan "Icculus" Gordon said that Unity3D game engine and Steam coming to Linux are good foundations to an awesome 2013.

Ryan has brought numerous game projects and tools to Linux and he has also been working with Humble team. Below are some excerpts (full interview can be read from here):

On Windows 8:

I confess to not knowing much about Windows 8, except that I think I've seen more Win8 commercials this month than I saw political ads leading up to the election.

I do think that Valve is making this move to Linux specifically because of the Windows Store. If your product is a store that sells software, can you survive on platforms where the platform maker is concerned with controlling (and getting a cut of) software purchases? Between Apple and Microsoft, Valve has to fight for a less restrictive platform.

Interest in Linux as gaming platform is increasing because of:

Steam on Linux, as you mentioned,
Humble Bundle pushing really hard for Linux ports,
Unity shipping a Linux port of their engine,
Kickstarter being flooded with Linux customers.

There's just a lot of data (and specifically, data about money) this year, and it's motivating a lot of developers to test the waters.

On Humble Bundles:

Humble Bundle is really great to work with. No one is advocating the Linux platform more than they are, and something like 25% of their revenue comes from Linux gamers, so it's paying out for them.

Currently working on:

With Steam launching, I've lost count.
Killing Floor and Red Orchestra were just announced the other day.
There are others in the pipeline, but I've gotten in trouble for prematurely announcing things before. :)

Preferred Linux distribution:

Currently: Ubuntu. It just works, and I don't have to think about it much.
I used to be a Slackware fanboy back in the early 90's, though, does that count?

On recent proposal for improved fullscreen support in Linux games:

So Sam Lantinga is working for Valve, and Valve is using his SDL library for their games. This is great. One of the things they wanted to work better is fullscreen games. Right now it's sort of a mess. The application takes over the screen, changes the resolution, and maybe crashes, leaving your desktop mangled, or maybe cleans up and leaves all your windows crunched down. The problem is the wrong thing is in charge of the resolution change.

Sam and I went back and forth a million times trying to find a "right" way to make this work, and decided the only thing that would be correct is a formal spec to let the Window Manager handle this. I wrote it up, posted it, and held my breath, waiting to get beat up again.

I don't think I'd have even tried if Sam and Valve hadn't encouraged me to do it. Maybe I'll start submitting patches again.

What Linux stack needs to make game development and porting easier:

We need need need a better OpenGL debugger. ApiTrace is a good start, but it's only a start.

on iodoom3:

iodoom3 is pretty much stalled at the moment. Everyone is busy doing other things. I would like to say we'll get to it eventually, but I think everyone was much more passionate about Quake 3 than we were about Doom 3, and it shows in our revision history.

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