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Best distro for gamedev and games?

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I'm buying a new computer in the next month or two, and want to get the best speed out of my hardware as possible. Right now I'm thinking of using either Gentoo or Xubuntu. Would you guys recommend either of these? How would gaming using Wine be? The specs would something like: Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz 8600 GT 2 GB RAM 160 GB Hard drive

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Yeah, I'd recommend either one of those -- or pretty much any other current distro.

If you want to game through Wine (good luck) you might be better off geeting a distro with Wine binaries available and with binary video drivers available. That would mean leaning away from Gentoo.

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I would probably say for game development Ubuntu would probably be the best distro as IIRC it has the largest desktop user(which most gamers are) installed base.

For playing games, I can't say, because from what I found it's usually the distro you can easily get tweaked the way you want it, for me that was Arch, for you it could be something completely different.

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Yeah I would get Ubuntu over Xubuntu. The gnome desktop is much more popular, and it won't slow down a machine with specs like those you listed. My pentium 4 laptop runs it nicely.

If you want to play Windows games, why not try to set up a dual boot system?

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Right now my budget is a little tight, so I wanted to get the hardware without worrying about paying another $100 for Windows. I may eventually get it, but right now I'm going under the pretenses that I'll be having Linux for awhile.

Also, you say Ubuntu won't cause any noticeable slowdown on these specs? Not even while gaming?

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Before you can answer that question you must know what's causing the slowdowns.

From what I found the only distro specific thing that caused a slowdown were the currently running applications or even the desktop environment, well the nice thing about Linux is you can set up a custom x init script so that when you're gaming you can unload everything but your essential services, x and the game. I've yet to see a distro that stops you from doing this so it shouldn't matter if you use Ubuntu, Xubuntu or LFS in this regard.

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I think os wont slow your pc down(IMO). The other applications that are running are the ones that might cause the slow down.

Yeah, another vote for Ubuntu here

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I use Ubuntu in my laptop, I don't play games (I program them :D), but it runs without slowdowns.

Pentium M 1.4GHz
512MB RAM
And who knows what else xDDDDDD


So, Ubuntu is fine.

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Thanks for all the suggestions, looks like I'll be downloading the new version of Ubuntu when it comes out (this month right?) and pick out some software to download once I get it all set up.

On a related note, what are some good libraries to look into for gamedev on Linux? My language of choice is C#, so I'll probably downloading Mono & MonoDevelop. Has anyone heard good things about Tao or MonoXNA, or have any libraries/engines you prefer to use?

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Thanks for all the suggestions, looks like I'll be downloading the new version of Ubuntu when it comes out (this month right?) and pick out some software to download once I get it all set up.


also, if you want try downloading Ubuntu Beryl...I hear its great(correct me if im wrong), they say its much like windows vista in linux

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Beryl got merged with compiz and now is called Compiz Fusion
Quote:
Original post by BenThereDoneThat
Thanks for all the suggestions, looks like I'll be downloading the new version of Ubuntu when it comes out (this month right?) and pick out some software to download once I get it all set up.

On a related note, what are some good libraries to look into for gamedev on Linux? My language of choice is C#, so I'll probably downloading Mono & MonoDevelop. Has anyone heard good things about Tao or MonoXNA, or have any libraries/engines you prefer to use?

Haven't used C# on linux much, but Tao is great if you already know SDL/OpenGL, but for 2D games I'm using my own engine I built in pygame and for 3D games I just use Torque.

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If you're concerned about performance or stability, Ubuntu is not what you're looking for. I personally prefer pure Debian. Testing is both more stable and more up to date than Ubuntu's "stable" release at any given point. The only thing Ubuntu has going for it is ease of use and a huge installed base, and I would say OpenSUSE is far better in the ease of use-department, without all the downsides of Ubuntu. As for libraries, SDL and OpenGL are easily the most popular ones, with good reason.

Oh, and the driver for that GeForce is going to rape your battery life big time, though I guess it would on any OS. Chances are battery life doesn't matter much to you if you're actually buying a laptop with one of those cards inside though.

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Quote:
Original post by BenThereDoneThat
On a related note, what are some good libraries to look into for gamedev on Linux? My language of choice is C#, so I'll probably downloading Mono & MonoDevelop. Has anyone heard good things about Tao or MonoXNA, or have any libraries/engines you prefer to use?


Um, as far as I have heard if you want speed you'll have to stay away from C# and Mono. Those few programs built around Mono I have been forced to endure were quickly replaced with something that did not bring my quad-core 3GHz machine with 4 GB RAM to its knees.

I work at a Linux desktop distro, and we spend a lot of time getting games to work right. The best ones are all written around SDL and OpenGL, which on Linux means the Mesa libraries. If you target OpenGL for graphics and a framework like SDL or Qt to handle interaction, you end up writing something that will be portable to most other platforms (but you need to take care with Microsoft's broken OpenGL implementation -- it reinitializes the entire context on a window resize, which means all your textures need to be reloaded).

There are a number of frameworks, such as Ogre3D, that are built on top of SDL and OpenGL.

For rapid prototyping, there are SDL, Qt, and OpenGL bindings available for languages such as Python, and well as gaming frameworks readily available.

So, my suggestion is you use C++ or Python as a programming language, OpenGL/Mesa for graphics, and SDL or Qt as a framework and just concentrate on game development from there.

--smw

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Testing is both more stable and more up to date than Ubuntu's "stable" release at any given point.


Not always, but right now it is. Debian testing can be a pretty rocky ride shortly after a new stable version was released. That's because all of the things that have been waiting in the experimental repository suddenly get merged into sid and from there into testing. But about 6-12 months before testing becomes the new stable, it's pretty rock solid :-)

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Quote:
Original post by BenThereDoneThat
Also, you say Ubuntu won't cause any noticeable slowdown on these specs? Not even while gaming?


Alarm bells ringing. Games will be slow depending on your hardware & libraries they call into. However, that said; Linux is not made to play Windows targeted games. Using Wine is a perfectly good way to play games on linux, but you -will- get a performance hit most of the time, and occasionally, a game just won't work under Wine. If you want the most out of your hardware in -windows- games, buy a windows license.

On the other hand, if you want to make games -- nothing wrong with doing that in Linux. I vote for Python if you do ;)

~Shiny

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Original post by Shiny
Using Wine is a perfectly good way to play games on linux, but you -will- get a performance hit most of the time, and occasionally, a game just won't work under Wine.


It really depends. I know of some dual-boot people who play WoW under Cedega (a commercial variant of Wine specially for games) because it runs faster that WoW under Windows Vista. Just test it out. You can't tell. It depends of too many factors (your hardware, the Linux distro, Wine, Cedega or Crossover-games, the Windows version you're comparing against. How bloated your Windows is, etcetera).

Of course, it helps if you use a Linux distro that is not as heavy as Ubuntu. And do turn off the 3D desktop effects under Linux.

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I'd be using my favourite distribution.
And from time to time you should check if it runs on the major distributions - ubuntu and suse at least.

There shouldn't be really big problems anyways. The major thing (that comes to mind right now), that might screw something up are differences in 3rd party libraries from version to version.

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Quote:
Original post by Sander
Quote:
Testing is both more stable and more up to date than Ubuntu's "stable" release at any given point.


Not always, but right now it is. Debian testing can be a pretty rocky ride shortly after a new stable version was released. That's because all of the things that have been waiting in the experimental repository suddenly get merged into sid and from there into testing. But about 6-12 months before testing becomes the new stable, it's pretty rock solid :-)
Yeah, well, I guess keeping informed on the release schedule and hold back all but critical updates for a while after a new release might be a good idea. Still better than knowing that any security update might break your X config though. ;)

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Yup. I started using Ubuntu when 4.10 came out. By the time 5.10 rolled over to 6.06 I was so sick of it I installed Sarge on my server and Etch (then in testing) on my desktop and never looked back to Ubuntu.

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I have been writing a game using C# and Tao.Sdl/Tao.OpenGl. It is great.
Performance on .Net is better than on Mono though. But it is at least a lot faster than python i guess.

Main problem when developing C# on Linux is that Monodevelop doesnt have an integrated Debugger. That sucks. And there are no official packages for Tao, so you must install it by hand.

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Quote:
Original post by Bregma
you need to take care with Microsoft's broken OpenGL implementation -- it reinitializes the entire context on a window resize, which means all your textures need to be reloaded


I had never heard about this (and am glad I did as I am currently working on a cross-platform OpenGL game). Is there more info about it anywhere? Is it only specific versions of Windows or all of them?

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