Tag Archives: linux games

3D Game development goes AAA with Leadwerks for Linux

Leadwerks Software has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring their game development software to the Linux operating system. The company says this will allow users to build and play games without ever leaving the Linux operating system.

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Game engine provider Leadwerks is attempting to crowdfund native Linux development using its tech on Kickstarter.

The company is looking for $20,000 to fund the engine’s compatibility with Linux operating systems, starting with Ubuntu 12.04.

In a post on its Kickstarter page, the firm said it wasn’t enough to just export games to Linux, and that it wanted to ease the development process for the platform by allowing developers to create and play titles without leaving the Linux operating system.

It also stated its overall goal was to help facilitate the expansion of the Linux games library and encourage development of Linux-exclusive releases.

“We have a complete visual editor that handles all aspects of the game development process, and we’re porting it to run natively on Linux,” reads the description.

“We’re using GTK for the user interface, so our editor will look and feel like a native Linux application. We’re targeting Ubuntu 12.04 to start with, and will support other distros as we make progress. You’ll also be able to compile your game’s code on Windows and Mac… if you feel like sharing.”

It added: “We want to push Linux graphics beyond anything that’s ever been done. Linux is the perfect platform for triple-A graphics, because it has OpenGL performance faster than Windows or Mac. We’re taking advantage of this performance with deferred lighting, hardware tessellation, and up to 32x multisample antialiasing. And you don’t have to use an emulator.”

”3d-game-development-goes-aaa-with-leadwerks-for-linux”

Leadwerks is known for advanced graphics, and the company says they want to bring this to Linux. This will let Linux users play AAA games that run natively on Linux, instead of going through emulators like WINE. The company points out that the superior performance of OpenGL on Linux makes it the perfect platform for AAA games.

Leadwerks is currently looking to integrate its game engine with Steam, and plans to deliver game assets, including models, textures, scripts and maps through Steam Workshop. It hopes this will also make it easier to submit Linux games to Greenlight.

Leadwerks is a 3D game development platform that allows developers to code in C++, and the latest version of the engine offers features such as automatic asset conversion, and support for scripting language Lua, which can be combined with games written in native code.

The tech’s editing tools were also recently updated to included a technique called constructive solid geometry, which the firm claims helps streamline the process of developing games and allows artists to see what the game looks like as they build it.

It should be noted that the tech’s Steam integration would rely on the engine being passed through the Greenlight process. The Linux version of the development platform will however be available as a standalone application if it successfully reaches its Kickstarter goal.

Leadwerks Software aims to raise $20,000 in 45 days to build Leadwerks for Linux. “We’re really excited to be working with Steam and the Linux community,” said Josh Klint, founder of Leadwerks Software. “We think there’s a unique opportunity here. The timing is right. I think Linux is really ready for mainstream PC gaming, and we really just want to take Linux gaming to the next level”.

Follow this link to Leadworks Kickstarter Campaign

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title="Linux Game Gaming News

Can gaming be the turning point for Linux on the desktop?

By Neil Mohr from PCFormat

Steam’s arrival on Linux is a pretty big deal

Dear old Linux, what are we to do with you? Developed for just over two decades and it’s still barely made a mark on the consumer consciousness.There was a vague peak during the netbook fad – as it enabled companies to eliminate the extra cost of a Windows installation – but that quickly faltered after people started taking them back because Microsoft Office wouldn’t run on them. Have people never heard of Open Office?

The way we’re complaining you’d think Linux is overlooked and underused. The amazing truth is that the majority of supercomputers run one type of Linux or another, and it’s the leading OS on servers. Besides these, it’s put to work on millions of low-power embedded systems around the world – a little something called Android.

So why then does the desktop remain a Windows bastion, while Linux is left shivering out in the cold? The same question could be leveled at the Apple Macintosh. Even with the hysterical success of Apple’s wider products, the Mac as a desktop system accounts for just under seven per cent of the market. Linux is no higher than five per cent, and web use points the figure down to a pathetic 1.5 per cent.

Even with the attractiveness of the Mac’s ease of use – which brutally contrasts with the stubborn user-friendly-free design of Linux – both still have the same fatal flaw: few games.

Until now. Valve, with its release of Steam for Linux – and more recently the announcement it’s going to release an open gaming-platform based on Linux-powered PC architecture – could totally revitalise the desktop fortunes of this able OS.

We’re going to take a look at how learning to run Linux, getting it installed and knowing the new gaming platforms can help you get gaming on a free and easy-ish to use OS.

Stop laughing at the back. It’s okay to admit in these modern times that you’ve dabbled with Linux at some point in your life. You might have been drunk, or flirted with it during those care-free college days when life was still exciting and fun. But then you grew up a little and realised Windows was what everyone else used. It had everything you wanted and needed, without all the additional baggage that Linux brought with it.

Linux – or as insane people would like you to call it, Linux-based GNU – can be one funny old fish to fry. It’s one of the most stable, secure and flexible operating systems on the planet. It’s also free – anyone can install, create and release homemade distributions.

The implications are immense for an ever more locked-down DRM world, with devices that require an advanced OS springing up all over the place. Why should you have to pay the Microsoft tax on each one of those devices when Linux frees you from that expense while remaining totally legal? It enables you to throw installs on your desktops, your servers, your media centre and on as many virtual machines as you have time for. No one’s going to try and take your money or, most annoyingly, continuously check and ask you to validate your copy if you happen to change a bit of hardware.

So why won’t it take off on the good ship desktop? We think the big stumbling point is gaming. Originally, a large part of that stumbling point was a distinct lack of hardware driver support – more specifically, 3D graphics card drivers. If you can’t install a 3D card, you simply won’t be playing anything more exciting than Minesweeper or Solitaire.

The good news is that the big three, which is to say Nvidia, AMD and Intel, do provide acceptable driver support. We hesitate to use anything more positive than ‘acceptable’, as stable and optimised support tends to lag Windows drivers by up to a year. This effectively limits you to slightly older and less-able cards, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a VGA cable.

We’ll talk at length on just how to get drivers updated in the box on this page, but to get playable 3D frame-rate performance you’ll need to grab the updated ones from your card’s manufacturer.

Now, when it comes to updating, that brings on another interesting side of Linux…

Terminal illness

If you manage to install Linux without seeing ‘the terminal’ then you’re mistakenly using a Mac. Anyone who tries Linux will discover that at some point they’ll have to contend with the terminal and yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.

Let’s be truthful, all operating systems have a command line interface – it’s the base way of running commands. Even from the days of the Atari ST and Amiga, most companies realised that no one wants to use them. Almost thirty years ago, mankind could manufacturer a computer that held a full GUI OS on ROM, so you didn’t have to use a bloody command line.

Apple, with its Macintosh, elegantly embraced the new graphical interface, so almost every program – bar the most low-level – offered a graphical interface for us puny humans to use. Linux followed its own path, stubbornly sticking to terminal input as a primary system. So, even today with Ubuntu – which has been diligently designed to be as easy to use as possible – there’s no avoiding the terminal. At some point, that black slab of type-based interface is going adorn your screen, like a gravestone marking the death of your happiness.

Maybe we’re being a little dramatic here, but when you’ve spent most of your computing life in a GUI, remembering and typing commands can be a shock. It could also make you look like some super hacker from the movies, but maybe that’s just us…

There is, of course, a valid reason for requiring the terminal and that’s because the graphical element of Linux is delivered by a system called X Windows or X11. It’s a standalone system, badly described as bolted on to the GNU/Linux ecosystem – basically you can’t be guaranteed it’ll be available.

As Linux was developed, the majority of commands have to assume only terminal input will be available and this goes for a lot of the low-level OS updates and install routines. It simply means that for many of the more basic processes, a terminal is the primary input and output. Even installing the Steam for Linux Beta will involve a segment of updates, where you’ll be endlessly typing [Y] into a terminal.

More critically, if anything should go wrong – other than just saying “Sod you, Torvalds!” and reinstalling – you’ll be using a terminal to do some serious fire fighting and bug squishing. It’s at this stage you realise just how powerful it can be, as you’re able to install updates and entire programs over the internet from a single command.

It’s also always there, unlike mother, so if the worst should happen pressing [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [F1] always opens a terminal, and [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [F7] takes you to the first X11 interface. So if you know what you’re doing, even with broken graphics drivers, it’s possible to fight your way back to a working system. Hurrah, we love the terminal!

Games, you said?

Did someone make the mention of games earlier? The big great hope for Linux gaming comes in the form of Steam for Linux. Currently just out of beta, we take a quick look at the steps you need to get this installed.

Valve has done a reasonable job of making it easy to install, but even so it hardly fills you with confidence. The beta is officially only aimed at Ubuntu 12.04, though you can obviously try to install it on any flavour of Linux your heart desires, and it will work on many.

Steam for Linux is an ambitious project, as it’s attempting to bring native Linux games to the Steam platform. The success of which seems rather limited, with around 55 games – minus demos and expansions packs – currently converted, the majority of which were already natively available on Linux.

Even Valve itself is hardly churning out the titles. It’s main, and only, triple-A title for Linux is Team Fortress 2, and while it does run on the Source engine it’s still a six-year-old game. The three other games from Valve are the original Half-Life and original Counter-Strike, both of which are nigh on 15-years old. Counter Strike: Source was added on 6 February 2013.

But the major benefit of having Steam on Linux, if you’re already a Steam user, is that any game you bought on Windows will still be available. So it’s likely you’ll have at least one copy of FTL, Amnesia, Killing Floor, World of Goo, Defcon or Darwinia on your books. It keeps your library and the community elements of Steam that you know and love, but brings them to an open OS that you can install on anything.

Steaming ahead

That brings us on to the mysterious Steam Box from Valve. Little is really known about the project at this point, though Gabe Newell did talk about it a little at CES 2013, where Valve was holding closed-door discussions with up to 20 potential hardware partners.

From what was said, we do know that a Valve ‘Steam Box’ is going to be running Linux and likely be released in 2014. It’ll be a small-box PC without an optical drive, and it should have the capability of driving remote screens around the home. It sounds like the base system could even be a smart-streaming box, using the processing power of your main PC to do the 3D donkey work, while extending the HDMI output to your HDTV.

It will, of course, run Steam in its Big Picture mode, providing access to your account, chat and games library. It’s open in as much as it’s a standard PC that other manufacturers can produce, but whether you’ll be able to run standard Linux programs and how exposed the OS will be is unknown. Valve is also offering productivity software via Steam, so that might circumvent that issue to a degree.

You need to realise that Steam as an online gaming distribution platform is huge. Steam accounted for at least 50 per cent of the $4 billion worth online sales in 2011, and estimates go as far as 75 per cent. The huge disparity is no one knows how much money Valve actually makes, but we can imagine it’s a pretty penny.

With all that muscle, could Valve really walk in with a Linux-based console and proclaim “Start making games!” and expect companies to do just that? Or indeed to re-engineer their entire back catalogue to run natively on Linux? All the while, expecting a gaming community to drop their PCs and pick one up? Surely there’s a better way?

Wining away

There is another way and that’s using Wine, a recursive acronym that proves how clever everyone is, standing for Wine Is Not an Emulator – an acronym that makes a very good point.

An emulator seeks to mimic the original runtime hardware and software environment by translating the code to run on an entirely new system. Wine does no such thing – it redirects system calls to suitable alternative Linux-based ones, all running directly on the native x86 processor.

An alternative name would be a wrapper, the like of which was used for the DirectX version of Half-Life. At the time it was an OpenGL-developed game based on the Quake engine. To enable a DirectX compatible version, the most elegant solution was to create a wrapper that would translate OpenGL calls into DirectX ones, with almost no slow down or side-effects.

The most interesting aspect of Wine is that it caters for more than just games, as it’ll attempt to enable a host of standard Windows software to run under Linux. Wine is an awesome way of running Windows software via Linux – that is, if you like bugs.

Wine breaks compatibility down into four levels: Platinum for flawless compatibility, Gold for great use with special settings, Silver and Bronze are for games with minor issues and Garbage covers, well, garbage. Over 3,400 games are listed as Platinum, just over 5,500 as Gold or Silver, while over 6,000 games are rated Bronze or worse.

Interestingly, Wine concentrates on the core Windows API and doesn’t concern itself with how well individual games or software actually work. This means there’s a host of add-on systems that attempt to tune Wine for individual games, and a list can be found at https://wiki.winehq.org/ThirdPartyApplications.

Recently, id co-founder John Carmack tweeted that creating native mainstream Linux games makes no business sense for any company. Largely this comes from id’s dabble with Quake Arena and Quake Live, with Carmack adding: “The conventional wisdom is that native Linux games are not a good market.” He went on to say that a Wine-style layer “could allow developers to get Linux versions with little more effort than supporting, say, Windows XP.”

They’re interesting words, and perhaps that’s what Valve is planning with the Steam Box – whatever it is, it’ll be more than a little interesting.

Fighting talk

As a day-to-day OS, Linux is used by millions of people all around the globe. The X11 interface has been developed on for years and offers some lovely touches, while Ubuntu comes with multi-desktop built-in and it’s easy to add more extensions than we have space for.

As it was created by programmers, for programmers, it’s a fantastic development platform for coders – so if you’ve got a passion for code or are looking to give it a go then there’s no better platform.

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s also used to drive the majority of the world’s web servers, so using it to learn and develop web APIs is never going to be a bad thing. It’s not even like you have to abandon Windows – you can still cling to your favourite Microsoft OS and still dabble with a little Linux debauchery. It’s one of the great advantages of Linux that you can head over to www.virtualbox.org, download it and fire it up on a virtual machine running Linux – just grab an ISO of your favourite Linux distribution and install.

This effectively gives you a perfectly safe and flexible environment to learn and use Linux within. Don’t forget to create a snapshot of a clean build, so even if you utterly break an install, it’s just a click away from being totally restored.

Reblogged from: techradar.com

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title="Linux Game Gaming News

Android gaming on a x86-powered PC with iConsole.tv

The new computer should outmuscle Android consoles using mobile chips, and may be able to run the Linux version of Steambox.

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Android gaming at home has mostly been limited to low-power consoles like the long-awaited Ouya, but a new company hopes to beef up the platform with some serious gaming PC hardware.

Unlike competitors that rely on mobile chips like ARM processors, iConsole.tv is readying a device that uses an x86 CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 500GB hybrid disk drive/SSD, and an undisclosed GPU. In other words, it’s built more like a mini-gaming PC than a feeble Android console.

It also will run a Linux Desktop mode, which means users will be able to access Steam for Linux to get even more games than the Android ecosystem already provides. Mobile Media Ventures even throws in support for CableCARD to turn iConsole.tv into a home theater PC.

Currently, the company is offering a $999 Developer Kit that features an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, but only integrated graphics. It explains that Ivy Bridge vastly outperforms other chips running Android, and that the graphics card that will ship with the actual console will be “at least two to three times more powerful” than Intel’s integrated graphics.

The device lacks a price yet, as well as a firm release date. Right now, Mobile Media Ventures says it hopes to launch iConsole.tv in the winter. That vagueness leaves open the possibility that this will turn out to be vaporware, but the company did let Engadget gets its hands on a Developer Kit to show off its capabilities. In an interview, CEO Christopher Price extolled the potential of Android not only for serious gaming, but also as “the future of personal computing.” He also said iConsole.tv will be priced well below the cost of the Developer Kit.

Does iConsole.tv have a future as a gaming PC for your HDTV and built on Android? Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to find out several months from now.

Reblogged from: zdnet.com

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title="Linux Game Gaming News

RPMize your Humble Bundle Linux games for Fedora 17/18

If you ever bought a Humble Bundle game pack you already know they provide game installers for Windows, Mac OS and Linux (some packs also support Android) in addition to a Steam / Desura activation key. While the installers are fine (usually tar.gz or sh), using more of them on your machine may cause confusion as to what’s installed on your system. Some developers do provide rpm installers for their games, but those might not necessarily be 100% compatible with your OS.

Luckily for Fedora 17 and Fedora 18 there is an alternative. By the help of Mumble RPMs you can build your own rpm packages using the game Linux installers provided by Humble Bundle. You don’t have to know anything about building RPMs, the web site comes with specific instructions for each games, so all you need is good copy & paste skills.

The Mumble RPMs come as nosrc rpm packages. While typical source rpms include a spec file and one or multiple source files, a Mumble rpm only provides the former and you would have to own the latter in its original state as provided by Humble Bundle.

I was able to successfully build, install and play 3 Linux games on my Fedora 18 (Waking Mars, Legend of Grimrock and Zen Bound 2), here’s a quick guide for Waking Mars taken from the Mumble RPMs instructions page:

step1: prepare the build environment

sudo yum -y install rpm-build rpmdevtools ImageMagick xz-lzma-compat chrpath rpmdev-setuptree

step2: build the rpm (this assumes you have the original Linux installer downloaded on your machine)

cd ~/Downloads
cp WakingMars-1.2.1-Linux.tar.gz ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES
wget https://mumble.knobgoblin.org.uk/nosrc/wakingmars-1.2.1-1.nosrc.rpm

setarch i386 rpmbuild —rebuild —target=i686 wakingmars-1.2.1-1.nosrc.rpm

Note:

  • the last command will rebuild the rpm binary and place it in ~/rpmbuild/RPMS/i686 as wakingmars-1.2.1-1.i686.rpm. If you want to modify the spec file (to change the package name, version, description etc.) you can install the nosrc rpm instead and issue the rpmbuild command after that against the modified spec file:

rpm -ivh wakingmars-1.2.1-1.nosrc.rpm
cd ~/rpmbuild/SPEC
setarch i386 rpmbuild -b —target=i686 wakingmars.spec

step3: install the newly built rpm:

sudo yum localinstall ~/rpmbuild/RPMS/i686/wakingmars-1.2.1-1.i686.rpm

Reblogged from: linuxsysconfig.com
 

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title="Linux Game Gaming News

Adding Non-Linux Games to the Steam Linux Client

By PyGuy from the SteamCommunityForum

Why?

Well, while it’s simple enough to just launch the game from a desktop shortcut, I’ve found that many people, cross-platform, have taken a liking to having all of their games on one client. So one day, I figured “why should Library shortcuts be limited to just Linux applications on the native client?”

Windows Games

This guide is pretty lengthy, but don’t worry. Most of it is just extra details for newbies.

Step One: Your Simple Bash Script

The first thing we are going to do is create a short bash script that Steam for Linux will launch the game from as a Non-Steam shortcut. If you have absolutely no experience with code, don’t be intimidated by this. Only three lines of code are required, and the writing process should be familiar to anyone who has ever launched a program through a terminal.

Simply right click anywhere on your desktop (or any folder in your preferred file explorer), and navigate to Create New Document > Empty Document. After that, simply rename it to anything without spaces and ending with “.sh” In this example, I’ll be putting World of Warcraft in my Steam for Linux library, so I’ll be naming it WoW.sh; short and sweet.

As aforementioned, the script will be used to launch your game, so here is a small breakdown of the script I used to launch World of Warcraft:

#!/bin/bash
cd “/home/andrew/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/World_of_Warcraft/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/World of Warcraft”
wine Wow-64.exe

#!/bin/bash
This is what every bash script begins with. It’s basically letting the computer know that you are writing a script of this type.

cd “[/path/to/game]”
The purpose of this line is to navigate to where you installed the game (cd = “change directory”). In this case, I navigated to my World of Warcraft folder. Make sure it navigates to where the .exe file is for your game. An easy way to write this line is to type “cd” and then copy and paste the directory in the form of text.

wine [EXECUTABLE.exe]
Finally, this line is used to launch the game with Wine, because Windows games will not open on Linux machines without it.

Once you’re finished writing your script, save and close the text editor. Lastly, you must right click on the file and go to Properties. From there, go to the Permissions tab and tick the box next to “Allow executing file as program.” Go ahead and test it out by double clicking on your script. If the game successfully launches, then you’re good to go onto the next step.

Step Two: Implementing Your Script Into Steam

Now, with Steam open, click “ADD A GAME…” on the bottom left corner of the window and click “Add a Non-Steam Game…” Your script won’t show up in the list, so select some boring application that you’ll probably never need in your Steam library, such as Calculator, and then click “ADD SELECTED PROGRAMS…”

Once it’s added, right click on the application that’s now in your library and go to Properties. In Properties, change the program’s name (Calculator in my case) to the name of your game. More importantly, you must modify the contents of the “Target” and “Start In” text fields. Change the Target to the directories leading to the script file you created. For example, in my case, it’s
“/home/andrew/Desktop/WoW.sh” (keep the quotation marks). For the “Start In” field, type the exact same thing, except without the script file name at the end.

Finally, here’s what the Properties menu looks like for World of Warcraft.

Click the “CLOSE” button, select the game in your library, and launch your game!
Reblogged from: steamcommunity.com

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title="Linux Game Gaming News