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How easy is Linux for Game Development?


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#1 mind_wipe   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 09 April 2011 - 08:58 AM

I mean to say.. or ask... or comment on is how easy Linux is vs. learning curb. Basically I'm talking about the graphics, sound and system routines that are common to most games. I wanna know how many other developers out there feel the same way I do. I personally, feel that Linux was pretty easy to learn my self. Again, I'm talking about the basic system parts that are common to most games. More importantly though, I've found that X11 isn't all that good. Coming from windows (i.e. Win32) it was quite a change. I don't like the way it looks, at all! But it works at least. It's cool when you get a window open running OpenGL on another operating system... I think it is anyways. Sound. Sound was amazingly simple using OpenAL. Not even 100 lines of code and I have a decent sound system ready. Add in a WAV reader for loading sounds into OpenAL and now I have a fairly complete sound system. -Minus streaming of cource. Which didn't look to hard to handle I might add. So I guess I'm wondering why more developers are not taken by the simplicity of Linux and it's lil sorts of APIs for game development. It seams easy enough for me to learn and play with. It would be cool to be able to buy a game off the shelf from Wall-world for Linux. I have noticed better frame rates on certain things when porting applications I've created. I like it... what about you?

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#2 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2397

Posted 09 April 2011 - 09:12 AM

Linux users don't pay for software.

Selling to people who are unwilling or incapable of paying is not a good business model.


And no, no holy wars. It's a fact. Look at market shares. Unless you're RedHat, selling enterprise contracts, there is no money. There is definitely no money in boxed software.

And if there is, Windows and Mac markets are thousands to million times bigger, so might as well focus on that.

#3 Wooh   Members   -  Reputation: 636

Posted 09 April 2011 - 09:16 AM

I use Linux for everything and finds it very good. I only do simple games. If you use cross platform libraries like SDL things will work mostly the same as on windows.

I understand why you think X11 is ugly. It is just the basic functionality that other desktop environment build on. Install GNOME, KDE, Xfce or some other desktop environment and you will see a huge difference.

I would never buy a game for Linux. Half the point is that it is free/open source software.

#4 Doopydoo22   Members   -  Reputation: 121

Posted 09 April 2011 - 09:53 AM

@Antheus

I'm not going to argue that Linux is a viable platform to target, but stating that Linux users cannot or will not pay for software and claiming that it's a fact is kinda ridiculous. You could say that they're rarely willing to pay, but a flat no is just asking for a rebuttal:

http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Linux-users-contribute-twice-as-much-as-Windows-users

#5 weaponx69   Members   -  Reputation: 103

Posted 09 April 2011 - 10:10 AM

Linux users don't pay for software.

Selling to people who are unwilling or incapable of paying is not a good business model.


And no, no holy wars. It's a fact. Look at market shares. Unless you're RedHat, selling enterprise contracts, there is no money. There is definitely no money in boxed software.

And if there is, Windows and Mac markets are thousands to million times bigger, so might as well focus on that.


How do you explain the humble indie bundle and those numbers then?

#6 weaponx69   Members   -  Reputation: 103

Posted 09 April 2011 - 10:16 AM

@Antheus

I'm not going to argue that Linux is a viable platform to target, but stating that Linux users cannot or will not pay for software and claiming that it's a fact is kinda ridiculous. You could say that they're rarely willing to pay, but a flat no is just asking for a rebuttal:

http://blog.wolfire....s-Windows-users


I agree with. I have and will continue to buy games on linux. A lot of people that want to run linux do. People do on Android all the time. People that want to buy do buy if you make it available. I intend to open a company based on platform independent games. I want to distribute it in the chrome, android, and Ubuntu store. Many indies are doing this and making money. Also, with game making tools like panda3d. Its easy to make games. I'm going to make a game for a class I'm taking right now with panda and its fairly easy to use. I'll also willing to help anyone that wants it. I want friends that want to develop open source games on linux. Just email me @ perry.brian@gmail.com

#7 mind_wipe   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 09 April 2011 - 10:31 AM

Some games like Quake 3 you would have had to pay for. Quake is open source now, but that doesn't matter. I'm pretty sure there are other game companies that sell or port their games to Linux. It's true that most Linux users would prolly expect the software they would run to be open and free like their OS, but that's not always the case. I know I downloaded Linux for free but that doesn't mean I wouldn't pay for it to support those developers that spent countless hours working on it; or its games. What I was really trying to say, is that it would be cool to see more Linux based software on the market. It would be cool if PopCap would actually port their, or some of their games to Linux. I'd go buy Bejeweled again just for that, I don't care its only a couple bucks and I make more then enough money to afford their games. That's why I own, like 5 of their titles I believe...nope its 4: Bejeweled Twist, Bejeweled Blitz, Bejeweled 3 and Plants vs. Zombies. I like em all and I think it would be so awesome if they ran on a few Linux distros too. But any ways. I could of swore that the PS3 was either linux/unix(one of the two) and the Droid was linux also. I also know that Mac is unix based. So taking from that, I though that Linux or Unix wouldn't be such a bad place for developers to start apposed to Microsoft's Windows. Nothing bad about them, but... hey... Linux is free! Unix isn't, but Linux is. I'm just saying, it would be nice to have more choices or the choices people have, made more obvious.

Hey Wooh, I have Gnome running on X11. What I was referring to was the way the setup/initialization code looks for X11 & GLX. It think its a bit uggy, but oh well.

#8 Nathan Handley   Members   -  Reputation: 792

Posted 09 April 2011 - 10:49 AM

I mean to say.. or ask... or comment on is how easy Linux is vs. learning curb. Basically I'm talking about the graphics, sound and system routines that are common to most games. I wanna know how many other developers out there feel the same way I do. I personally, feel that Linux was pretty easy to learn my self. Again, I'm talking about the basic system parts that are common to most games. More importantly though, I've found that X11 isn't all that good. Coming from windows (i.e. Win32) it was quite a change. I don't like the way it looks, at all! But it works at least. It's cool when you get a window open running OpenGL on another operating system... I think it is anyways. Sound. Sound was amazingly simple using OpenAL. Not even 100 lines of code and I have a decent sound system ready. Add in a WAV reader for loading sounds into OpenAL and now I have a fairly complete sound system. -Minus streaming of cource. Which didn't look to hard to handle I might add. So I guess I'm wondering why more developers are not taken by the simplicity of Linux and it's lil sorts of APIs for game development. It seams easy enough for me to learn and play with. It would be cool to be able to buy a game off the shelf from Wall-world for Linux. I have noticed better frame rates on certain things when porting applications I've created. I like it... what about you?


Development for Linux isn't that much different from Windows, if you use a library to interact with the elements you listed above. For example, SDL on Linux isn't much different than SDL on Windows. "Rolling your own" and trying to work with the base libraries themselves may give you a little trouble, but the curve isn't so vast.
____

Somehow this topic quickly turned into "Linux people don't pay for software, don't bother". That's simply not true, and people who use Linux aren't simply people who don't pay for software. A good portion of them simply want control of their system. With market situation so light as well, there's some great opportunity to get noticed and paid. Similar to how Mac was in the earlier years (and to some degree now). I'd provide links and references, but some already have and it's pretty trivial to find more examples.

#9 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2397

Posted 09 April 2011 - 11:02 AM

How do you explain the humble indie bundle and those numbers then?


They aren't Linux, they are portable?

Which means they use SDL or something similar, which abstracts away the very issues mentioned on all platforms. It's not like OpenGL or OpenAL code is different on Windows.

If you're portable, Linux will be your last market. If you're Linux exclusive - well... TuxRacer is pretty big I hear.

The premise of OP is invalid. OpenGL and OpenAL or any other similar libraries are inherently cross-platform. So saying "Linux is great" doesn't make sense - it's same on all platforms.

As for "boxed games in Wal-mart". Not for Linux. Which is what I was referring to. Indie bundle sold online, with huge marketing and it was a giveaway. To put something onto shelves it costs millions and big name publisher. And unless it's top of the line, it won't cover the costs. Boxed software is passe anyway, let alone on Linux where apt or rpm covers every possible need.

#10 Bregma   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5242

Posted 09 April 2011 - 11:09 AM

I have Gnome running on X11. What I was referring to was the way the setup/initialization code looks for X11 & GLX. It think its a bit uggy, but oh well.

Only a fool or a masochist would use X11 directly. If you use a portability layer like SDL (or SFML, or whatever) you never see X, and your code is pretty portable to any platform that supports OpenGL.

I'd like to point out that posting about Linux on GD.net is a risky undertaking. There is a brigade of folks here who cannot achieve an erection without dissing Linux, and a mighty posse of closed-minded idiologues who will jump at the chance to show how klever they really are. Tread carefully.

The company I work for offers ways to distribute games on Linux, including pay services. My teams just helped get a bunch of games from a development shop get packaged up and made available just a couple of weeks back. If you're interested in developing for Linux, just do it. It's fun, it's easy, there's lots of help, and you could possible make money. Not a lot of money, but probably more than if you targeted Windows or a console, unless you're really just an investor or a suit.
Stephen M. Webb
Professional Free Software Developer

#11 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1831

Posted 09 April 2011 - 11:10 AM

Linux users don't pay for software.

Selling to people who are unwilling or incapable of paying is not a good business model.


And no, no holy wars. It's a fact. Look at market shares. Unless you're RedHat, selling enterprise contracts, there is no money. There is definitely no money in boxed software.

And if there is, Windows and Mac markets are thousands to million times bigger, so might as well focus on that.


I'm sorry to continue derailing the thread, but this is just beyond stupid.

I use Linux on a daily basis, and the biggest thing that stops me from buying more software for my linux boxes is the simple fact that I rarely find software for sale on Linux. I would gladly buy games for Linux instead of windows. (Or ideally, games that let me run them on both my computers.)

Edit: I also can't remember the last time I bought a boxed game out of a store. 90% or more of my software is purchased online with digital downloads. I do miss the box art however.
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#12 Ezbez   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1164

Posted 09 April 2011 - 11:46 AM


How do you explain the humble indie bundle and those numbers then?


They aren't Linux, they are portable?


You've missed the point. The Humble Indie Bundle (using a pay-what-you-want system) got a considerably higher average payment from Linux users than Windows or Mac users.
The averages were: $6.68 for Windows, $9.27 for Mac, and $13.78 for Linux.


On the actual subject, I agree with other comments that when using higher level libraries the differences in developing for platforms are fairly small.

#13 zedz   Members   -  Reputation: 291

Posted 09 April 2011 - 03:30 PM

You've missed the point.

yep
this is not the sole example as well, theres been a few cases where games have come out on windows & also linux & the linux ports have earned decent. & like the example mentioned above the linux users have paid on average more than the win users

anyways to the OP, perhaps look at a crossplatform solution eg Ive been doing some html5,webgl stuff recently it seems OK (apart from javascript is an idiot language, I just discorved an implemention bug this morning), theres also flash & other things

#14 mind_wipe   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 09 April 2011 - 07:23 PM

Only a fool or a masochist would use X11 directly. If you use a portability layer like SDL (or SFML, or whatever) you never see X, and your code is pretty portable to any platform that supports OpenGL.


Come on man! I'm not either of those things and I work with X11 directly a lot. Using SDL is cool too but from my experiences its pretty close to X11 any ways. All OpenGL and OpenAL calls are the same the only difference is how they are linked to the system. What I mean here is how you would use glX* calls vs. wgl* calls. Other than that they are the same. The actual amount of code to init X11 isn't that much. I just don't really like the way it looks because I'm OCD about names and such...yeah... some might remember that topic, but any ways. OpenAL seamed to be the same on Linux and Windows.

By the way, I would always pay for the software I would use. No matter what system it runs on.

#15 mind_wipe   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 09 April 2011 - 07:30 PM

You've missed the point.

yep
this is not the sole example as well, theres been a few cases where games have come out on windows & also linux & the linux ports have earned decent. & like the example mentioned above the linux users have paid on average more than the win users

anyways to the OP, perhaps look at a crossplatform solution eg Ive been doing some html5,webgl stuff recently it seems OK (apart from javascript is an idiot language, I just discorved an implemention bug this morning), theres also flash & other things


I think it would be really cool to develop a program similar to Flash for simple game development for Linux. I think there are some just like that, but I could be wrong. I can't remember actually. But I've been looking into a lot of cross platform things and I have found that Java would make an awesome installation, configuration utility. I've even though about making tools with it but I've noticed that swing is a little slow. I seen some cool UML tools done in Java that could be converted to game UI creators or scene managers or something of that nature. I personally think that kind of thing stems naturally from UML so I would love to take advantage of it. I'm prolly not the first to think this either so...

#16 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3555

Posted 09 April 2011 - 08:21 PM

I think it would be really cool to develop a program similar to Flash for simple game development for Linux.

Try the Blender Game Engine?

#17 Prefect   Members   -  Reputation: 373

Posted 09 April 2011 - 11:20 PM

It's not really advisable to use X11 directly for a real project. I understand that it may be interesting to program directly to the X11 API for curiosity and tinkering purposes. However, there are a lot of subtle things that you will probably do wrong, which will cause troubles for people who want to use your program under a different window manager, for example. If you haven't read the ICCCM, you shouldn't code to X11 directly, and the ICCCM contains some pretty heady stuff. You'll do yourself and the world and your users a favour by using toolkits, or libraries geared towards games such as SDL and SFML, because they have already been debugged against problems related to the ICCCM.

As for the side topic of market size and willingness to pay, the key thing to recognize is that the Linux market may be much smaller than the Windows market, but the Windows market is totally saturated and the Linux market isn't. As long as you develop with a cross-platform target from the beginning, targetting all three of Windows, Mac, and Linux isn't that difficult, and the investment will definitely pay off, simply because your game will get noticed more and spread by word of mouth within the small but desperate for attention Linux gaming world. This word of mouth factor can perhaps even help your Windows sales if you're an indie without a big marketing budget.
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#18 mind_wipe   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 10 April 2011 - 02:50 AM

I don't believe that X11 is all that bad to work with. True, it kinda looks ugly in source code but it works. In my experience, I have found that X11 has it's own logic similar to Win32. But they are different in a lot of ways. I glanced over a google on ICCCM and what I seen were topics on Atoms and things of that nature. I've been working with X11 for a while now and have had no bugs with it on any other Linux box I ran my application on. I did learn the hard way about a few things, but oddly X11 helped me debug.... X11. Like OpenAL, from what I've noticed, when you screw up or forget to release something or try to use something that doesn't exists they both hick'up and dump a bunch of crap in the terminal. Yes, I said terminal. Who knows that one of those is? I still use the old tools because I'm comfortable with them. I haven't seen any lack in development either. Now back on track, X11 and OpenAL both printed out error codes that I looked up via google Xlib. Turns out I learned a lot of neat lil tricks and helpful info that way. For example, I've seen a few sites the demonstrate OpenGL using X11. This is cool, but they close their applications the wrong way. First, they use an atom they technically have created for their application yet so when they try to check for a ClienMessage X11 complains. Well... or... maybe that was just me, but I swear I'm not the only one I've seen it! But who cares, SDL is easy to setup to. I didn't like how it handles sound though. I'd rather use SDL for event processing and OpenGL initialization. But then that takes the fun out it for me... hehe.

Besides all this, its nice to see that there are people here interested in Linux. Look at all the replies I got. Even is some were negative, oh well. Again, I would just like to see more Linux stuff out their. I just downloaded a couple of cool programs from Ubuntu.One: Gtick and tuxguitar. Amazing, I didn't think I could break 100 on chromatics yet but I did. Anyways... all cool stuff cheers ;)

#19 rip-off   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8515

Posted 10 April 2011 - 05:51 AM

If you're portable, Linux will be your last market. If you're Linux exclusive - well... TuxRacer is pretty big I hear.

I don't agree with your point. Windows (and to a lesser extend the Mac) is a large market - but extremely crowded. I think you could do reasonably well targeting Linux exclusively. There are few commercial quality games available for Linux, even smaller ones. Also consider that Linux users tend to be more geeky than their Mac or Windows counterparts, they might be more disposed to playing computer games, particularly non-browser based ones.

And if you were to make an effort to keep the code cross platform so you have the option of targeting the others too.

As for the OP, I find Linux very nice to develop on. I use it at work, though at home I use Windows (mostly).

#20 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

Posted 11 April 2011 - 02:30 AM

@Antheus

I'm not going to argue that Linux is a viable platform to target, but stating that Linux users cannot or will not pay for software and claiming that it's a fact is kinda ridiculous. You could say that they're rarely willing to pay, but a flat no is just asking for a rebuttal:

http://blog.wolfire....s-Windows-users

Saying "nobody buys Linux software" doesn't mean literally nobody. It means the proportion of users is low, and therefore the potential market is tiny.

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