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Cedega and Linux Games 422

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pay-and-pray-gaming dept.
Linux.com's Stefan Vrabie has a look at the state of Transgaming's Cedega, which some claim to be the best current offering for running Windows games under Linux. While it may be better than nothing, the author still puts this solidly under the "plug and pray" column with the biggest drawback being the amount of fiddling required to make it work. From the article: "Cedega may not be the answer to games under Linux, but it's better than not being able to play at all, until gaming companies notice Linux users as a market and release games for Linux." Linux.com and Slashdot.org are both owned by OSTG.
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Cedega and Linux Games

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  • No games? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:42PM (#15821231) Homepage Journal
    I bought Neverwinter Nights Saturday, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

    With the Diamond Edition ($30 at Best Buy), you get both expansion packs, and you can follow some online directions [bioware.com] to install to Linux without passing through Windows.

    I also bought Return to Castle Wolfenstein a while back. That was good, too.

    Oh, and there's DOOM, DOOM ][, Quake, Quake 2, Quake 3, several versions of Unreal...

    If you'll go the Open Source route, there's DarkPlaces [icculus.org], Cube [cubeengine.com], Duke Nukem 3d [icculus.org] (engine, anyway. You'll still need the gamedata.

    Uhm...no games? How about, no hyperadvertised games?
  • Is there a market? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WombatDeath (681651) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:48PM (#15821267)
    Or rather, a viable one?

    That's not a rhetorical question. I have no idea how easy it is to make a game compatible with both Windows and Linux but I assume that it's a bit more complicated than changing backslashes to forward slashes. I also don't know how big the market is for Linux games but I doubt it's huge. If it takes an extra, say, 20% longer to make a game Linux-compatible I'm not surprised that it doesn't happen more often.

    On the other hand perhaps it's just lazy design. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who doesn't share my ignorance.
  • I find it extremely difficult to justify porting or designing a game for Mac - and definately not profitable. When it's done it's usually an investment; garnering support for future releases or 'making a name' in the Mac community. Considering Linux is even smaller... The numbers just don't add up yet. It isn't really about market penetration or percentages, it's about pure numbers. How many Linux machines are on the planet; of those how many are used in a home-use desktop fashion; of those how many are willing to spend $40-60 on a game; and of those who would be willing to buy this particular game.
  • by Dionysus (12737) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:09PM (#15821371) Homepage
    Probably not. Loki [lokigames.com] thougth there was a marked and ported some games over to Linux (I bought the SimCity version). They closed shop after three years. Then again, the marked might be a little different now from the way it was four years ago (lots of newbie distros, like Ubuntu, Xandros, Linspire etc, that have brought in non-developers to Linux)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:16PM (#15821403)
    Loki was quite successful at porting games to Linux many years back. They went under for business/management reasons, not due to a lack of sales. It should be noted that the Linux market is clearly far larger today. I don't know whether it could support a large first-party developer who only makes Linux games (very doubtful, in fact) but the cost of entry to the Linux market for Windows devs is fairly low. Write your game to use OpenGL rather than DirectX, and you're halfway there. Cross-platform is easy to do if you plan on it from the get-go. It may be very difficult to bolt on as an afterthought, though.
      The main reason you don't see more cross-platform games, though, I think has to do solely with upper management. They imagine a huge support pricetag for a small market. Loki showed that that's not really the case, but management is timid and easily frightened.
  • by G Morgan (979144) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:26PM (#15821473)
    It could be done via the current methods of releasing a binary online and offering no official support. You can make clear that the game is Windows only officially. Linux users will support each other, we're good generally at making up for companies that give no support so companies that give the tiniest amount (in terms of releasing a patch 'as is') would bring us half way there to begin with. The linux mentality is do it yourself and if its possible the Linux community would help make it happen.

    You'll probably find Linux users will write their own installation script if you don't provide one and then there is no problem.

    From the development point of view theres no disadvantage to using SDL over DX apart from maybe devs have more experience with the MS platform (it's a rare one that has no SDL experience though, its usually the first port of call).

    Another way of looking at it is this, plan for portability even if you have no intention of a Linux release. It costs nothing more to write portable code if you plan correctly and you at least then have the option. Then if a million Linux users cry "this game is SDL please port it" then you can judge the market from there.
  • The problem is. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spysmily1 (962459) <spysmily1@hotmail.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:30PM (#15821487)

    PC games in general don't have the market they use to. I remember going into some place like Babbages or EB(now everything seems to be Gamestop) and they would have almost two full walls of games. Walk into any store now including Best Buy or Circuit City and the selection is smaller with the fact that PC games don't generate revenue like they did at one time.

    So with the smaller interest there is commercially to develop games for PC I'm sure it is especially difficult to find a company that wants to port their games to Linux. I am puzzled why games like The Sims don't get ported to Linux with the sales they put up. Or did they port Sims and I didn't notice. Not that anyone is missing much.

  • Re:No games? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by narooze (845310) * on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:49PM (#15821610)
    You're forgetting Doom 3. Not only are there games for Linux, it's not uncommon that the hardware requirements are lower due to better hardware utilization. Doom 3 for example, sported official hardware requirements only 2/3 as high for Linux compared to for Windows.
  • by Runesabre (732910) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:52PM (#15821626) Homepage
    Gaming companies don't develop for Linux because it's not pratical to support properly.

    There are too many Linux distributions, none of which have a big enough of the Linux market to be considered the de facto standard Linux distribution to develop for and build a customer service department to support.

    Game applications are the most strenous and sensitive to the capabilities of the platform. Windows is pretty standard with DirectX. On Linux you don't know what's going to work; the very philosophy of choice with Linux translates to everyone's machine is just different enough in a way that makes developing a game for Linux a real frustration.

    Finally, once you manage to get things working on a couple distributions, a new release comes out that invalidates your existing application. And in another 6 months another release of Linux is going to come out and invalidate your work again. A developer has a hard time keeping his game working under one distribution from one version to the next. Now multiply that by 10-20 for the most popular Linux platforms each releasing new versions every 6 months.

    Shipping source code to your customers and expecting them to build it every time they upgrade their machine or switch distributions isn't a solution.

    Combine the constant, frequent changes that aren't guaranteed to be backwards compatible like the Windows platform provides with the sheer number of distributions of Linux you would have to support to make it worthwhile, and then consider that all this effort just to support one platform might translate to an extra 5% sales and you have your reason why game companies don't develop for Linux.

    Linux is a great platform to develop for; it's a terrible platform to support. This is what's holding Linux back from becoming truly mainstream. It has nothing to do with features or hardware support or useability. If a company can't reasonably develop and SUPPORT their applications for a platform and expect a reasonable amount of sales while doing so then it's not worth doing it when you can simply focus on another platform (Windows) that is much easier to support and maintain and hits 90% of your whole market in the first place.
  • by fimbulvetr (598306) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:58PM (#15821661)
    I'm on ubuntu. I downloaded the deb. Double clicked the deb. Typed my sudo password. Waited a few moments. Got the install screen. Clicked yes, next and ok. Boom! It's in my applications menu.
  • by StormReaver (59959) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:12PM (#15821736)
    "Loki thougth[sic] there was a marked and ported some games over to Linux (I bought the SimCity version). They closed shop after three years."

    Loki didn't close shop for lack of a sustainable market. Loki closed up shop because the company president and his wife were draining the company coffers for personal use.
  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:21PM (#15821788)
    The funny thing is... Cedega doesn't run half of the games I run under normal Wine.
  • Re:No games? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JeffElkins (977243) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:14PM (#15822043)
    ==
    In the holy wars of whether WINE benefits the Linux community or not, I think it hurts more than it harms. If you want to game with your PC, dual boot...you know, with that OS your machine came with.
    ==

    I have to agree. As a former OS/2 user, in retrospect I think that having limited Windows compatibility hurt more than it helped.

  • Re:No games? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by G-funk (22712) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:19PM (#15822325) Homepage Journal
    Because this isn't the 80s / early 90s. If I want to turn off my pc and run a game, I have a PS2. I sure as hell don't want to reboot just to play a game, and then again when I want to go back to browsing the net.
  • CodeWeavers anyone? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by wateriestfire (962915) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:46PM (#15822447)
    As an advocate for CodeWeavers CrossOver X The newer verions are starting to be able to play windows games in linux (like world of warcraft, half life.. etc...) when 6.0 gets released from it's beta state it will be able to play these games and others as well although they may be unsupported.
  • by syndicationucsc (992445) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @02:42AM (#15823279)
    I think this skit correctly sums of linux gaming of what we will see for ages to come. http://tv.truenuff.com/mac/gaming_wmv.php [truenuff.com]
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:32AM (#15823677)
    I really do not see there being any increase in games companies making native Linux games.

    For starters, even if you suggested that 10% of computer users in the world are using Linux currently (possibly side-by-side with Windows), then that community of users is made up of many different distros and many different types of people - it's dangerous to assume that all of that 10% actually want or care about commercial games on Linux.

    Although I'm a relatively avid gamer and a user of Linux far more than Windows, I personally am not that interested in any commercial software on Linux. I'm a Gentoo Linux user, I enjoy tweaking and optimising my systems and I'm more than happy to compile source code to run as best as it can on those machines whether it's a game or application. I'm just not prepared to take someone else's closed-source pre-compiled executable and trust it on my Linux machines, especially when I update the machines a lot and will end up breaking those same executables quite quickly due to dependency issues. Besides which, I don't want to "pollute" my nice Open Source-based operating system with closed source software and I think a lot of the core Linux user community thinks entirely the same way.

    Yes, I'd like to see more games on Linux but I'd rather see games companies releasing source code to older games (like ID and the early Quakes) at which point I'm happy to go buy the Windows version of the CD in order to get hold of the games data files and levels.

    I've no problem with commercial software or Windows and probably buy a game a month to run on my Windows XP machine. But I've no "passion" for Windows XP - as long as it does what it's supposed to do, I really don't care to know how or why it does it.

    However, my Linux machines are *mine*, I decide what and how software gets installed on them, no argument - again, a lot of Linux users feel entirely the same way.

    Therefore, it's safe to conclude that the community of people who want commercial games on Linux is a very small minority, to the point where it just isn't ecomonically viable for games companies to port the games across. Sure, I'd *like* to see it happen for those people because Linux is about "having it your way" but I personally wouldn't buy any closed source Linux software.

  • Re:No games? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by number6 (38954) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @07:30AM (#15823987) Homepage Journal
    I'm currently playing Vendetta Online, an Elite style MMORPG that has a native Linux port. Probably not up to the quality of things like Eve (I don't know, I only play games that are out on Linux), but it's a lot of fun. See www.vendetta-online.com

    Another game I liked was Savage. An excellent RTS/FPS combination that had a Linux port available. As I'm liable to do, I didn't play it for 12 months, then when I tried to logon, discovered I needed to update it to play and there was no update available for Linux, so I wasn't able to play it anymore. Last time I buy something from that company.

    I'd really like to see games like Rome:Total War (or even the old Medieval Total War games), but they don't even work under Wine/Cedega, and there doesn't seem to be much chance of them working in the future.
  • Re:No games? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phisbut (761268) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @11:19AM (#15825032)
    * Doom III (plus the Resurrection of Evil Expansion Pack)
    * Quake 4
    * Unreal Tournament 2004

    We all know that Linux isn't a platform for gamers, but still there are a few games for GNU/Linux.

    I don't happen to enjoy FPS as my favorite type of game. Doom 1 to 3, Quake 1 to 3 and several versions of Unreal, that's all the same game to me. Thank god games aren't limited to FPS...

  • by Excelsior (164338) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:37PM (#15825578)
    Incorrect. If Linux users can now run games written for Windows, then there is ZERO incentive to make Linux ports at all.
    Nice blanket statement, ignoring many dynamics at play here. Cedega is about support existing Windows games in Linux. By Cedega making it possible for Linux users to play existing games in Linux, there are more full-time Linux users. Myself and GP both are examples of this. If there are more full-time Linux users, there is more incentive to make Linux games. Do you think somehow the alternative (dual-booters) helps drive the Linux game market? It doesn't at all.

    The existing Windows games out there are unlikely to ever be ported, and so there is Cedega. If Cedega drives more and more people to uninstall Windows from their desktop, the market for future games to be made native in Linux will be more attractive, which is what Linux gaming needs. This isn't a perfect world we live in, but there are some benefits to Cedega.

    For more information see Windows vs OS/2.
    Please stop bringing up this rediculous point that has been made several times in this thread (maybe by you). OS/2 failed for dozens of reasons, most importantly because IBM is the worst company at marketing its products, EVAR (sic). Trivializing the failure of a multi-million dollar product in a multi-billion dollar market down to "Windows compatibility hurt it" is an exercise in revisionist history.
  • TransGaming Response (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gavriels (55831) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @01:29PM (#15826056) Homepage
    While this article is informative and the author has shared his views, some of the information provided is simply not correct. We at TransGaming would like our say on a few points.

    In response to the comments on TransGaming's contributions to the Wine project, we began development of Cedega while Wine was still under a BSD-style license which fully allows the creation of proprietary derivatives. During the time before the Wine license was changed to the LGPL we contributed dozens of patches to the Wine project including key infrastructure for DirectDraw, DirectSound and DirectInput. The LGPL change made it more difficult for us to work closely with the WineHQ community, but nevertheless we continued to contribute code in areas such as DirectSound, OLE, COM, DCOM, the Wine IDL compiler, a 2D DIB rasterizer, and the WinInet APIs. We also made proposals for improving Wine performance through the use of a prototype shared memory WineServer. Those wishing to view our contributions can easily find them in a simple search of the wine-patches archives:

      http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=wine-patches&w=2&r =3&s=transgaming&q=b [theaimsgroup.com]

    We continue to work with the Wine project, with Cedega incorporating several of the WineHQ DLLs under the LGPL license. Full source code to these DLLs is of course available from our website. We're also thinking carefully about how we can cooperate further in the future.

    On the topic of ease of installation and use of Cedega, the TransGaming team has taken huge strides recently to make Linux gaming much easier. With the inclusion of the Game Disc Database (GDDB) using Cedega has never been easier. Simply insert a supported title in the drive and Cedega will detect the disc and use the optimal settings for both installation and game play. No more messing or tweaking with settings.

    Is Cedega hurting Linux gaming development? This topic is hotly debated by armchair quarterbacks, however, as Linux gaming is our business, we have some pretty in-depth and intimate knowledge here. We have been talking to game publishers and developers for years and the fact is that most game publishers prefer to stick to the markets that they know and understand - standard console and PC projects. Working on other platforms would require not only a direct investment of resources, but also means fewer resources directed to traditional console or PC projects that the publishers already know how to make money on.

    TransGaming works very hard to show publishers that exactly the opposite is true - that a vibrant gaming culture exists on Linux.
    Unfortunately, the misconception that all Linux users believe that software should be free-as-in-beer makes many of the decision makers feel that even if they were to produce a Linux game it would simply be pirated rather than purchased. Fear of wide scale piracy plays a significant role in preventing quality commercial games from transitioning to Linux.

    TransGaming is still pushing to prove the value of the Linux market and will continue to do so at every opportunity. Meanwhile we will continue our work to improve Cedega, to provide better support for more titles and to give customers the ability to play their favorite games on the platform of their choice.

    Take care,
      -Gav

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