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Mindwarp

Why use linux to dev games?

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Hello everyone, For about the past year or so I have been running linux as my primary operating system. Previously I had only windows experience. I am currently running windows 2000. I recently switched to windows this week because I was hoping to find direction in programming (It always seems to me like there isn''t much money in programming free software or selling software in a market where everything is free). I would just like to share some of my thoughts for those who havent tried linux as to its advantages and disadvantages for programmers looking to make games (Primarily win32 platform). Some benefits of linux are that it is free. To get my win2k box up to speed I have to attempt to attain a copy of Visual C++ 6.. god only knows how much that costs if your not a student. Then I want to make a logo or 2 for my game, so I need to find a suitable editor. Seems either fireworks or photoshop. Both costing alot of money (I prefer photoshop). Then I figure I want some 3d stuff in my games, so I need to go purchase some 3d editor like 3ds max.. point is by the time I am done I have probably spent more money than I have, which is a bad thing. With linux you have the gcc compiler which is free. It does not come bundled with a IDE (I know what most people are saying right now, they can just use borland in windows without paying for the above visual C++.. bah), but it is command line driven, and is very easy to use. (ex. gcc mygame.c -o mygame.exe) There are several very good editors (vim for console mode and xemacs and gvim for xwindows). As for picture editing gimp is great, and for 3d work blender is excellent also. So how do you make games on Linux that do both linux and win32? Libsdl (http://www.libsdl.org).. lets you do both.. slap in a good api like opengl and your ready to go. Give linux about a month or 2 months of moderate use and you will be flying. Point is.. even though the free applications I mentioned are all available on windows also, they may not be as well supported since they were designed for linux. Also linux itself is free, which is a big benefit with XP costing as much as it does. Not to mention you can then serve a webpage, host your own email server etc. all for free.. As a coder I actually enjoy alot of the command line-ness of linux, as it really helps me get stuff done faster than trying to work through some GUI (which probably explains why apache is the #1 webserver. Just simply edit the apache.conf file and your rocking). Related links: www.mandrake.com - Mandrake linux - Good distrobution to start out with www.debian.org - the distribution you will use once you know what your doing www.linuxnewbie.org - where I first learned how to use linux www.libsdl.org - the library your application will use so you dont need to fuss with winapi nehe.gamedev.net - Just about all examples available in SDL cone3d.gamedev.net - SDL examples there also www.gimp.org - Graphic editor www.blender.nl - 3d editor www.vmware.com - Lets you run windows from inside linux ($$$) www.winehq.org - Lets you run windows applications from inside linux (ex. half-life, the sims etc. all run pretty decent) www.slashdot.org - Tons of linux related news, one-sided stories on how linux rules www.lokigames.com - a example of games ported using SDL www.enlightenment.org - my favorite windows manager Hope this helps anyone who is bored with their current operating system, sick of paying too much $, sick of bad business tactics, or if your a hippie.. Mindwarp

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Also remember, the main reason Linux hasn''t become hugely popular yet is because there hasn''t been as much development and support for it. Once more people (like you coders out there) start supporting and developing on Linux, it will quickly get much more popular.

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Umm. Why are you switching back to Windows again?

Oh well, I''ll post a few random thoughts. The last time I had to do a Windows app (for a job interview), I whipped out my ancient Win95 cd, pulled the Borland compiler off the net, and was ready to go within 20 minutes. I only needed to show a garbage collecting/compacting algorithm, and some other random stuff, so it was all console. Did the coding under Linux w/Vim tested/debugged with gcc/gdb and then just copied it over to the Windows stagin area and recompiled. Who needs Visual Studio?

Way back when, when I still used Windows regularly, I used Paint Shop Pro for 2d graphics stuff (www.jasc.com). It suited my needs well enough. Don''t knock it either, the game dev company I worked at used it right alongside Photoshop. For light graphics (ie, if your abilities rank as "Programmer Art", or if all you need to do is some scaling, format conversion or color correction), it is a viable, cheaper alternative to Photoshop. That was a few major versions ago, though, so not sure how well it has matured. If you can have the artists on your team using Photoshop, and leave the programmers with Paint Shop Pro for emergency touch ups, that might be an ideal solution.

I have yet to be impressed with what I''ve seen of the Windows Gtk port, so avoiding the GIMP under Windows is probably wise.

VMWare (www.vmware.com) is your friend. If you can afford the full version, you can run any number of versions of Windows or other OSs. Cheaper than a dedicated machine for different Windows versions, but you''ll want at least 256MB of RAM... Also great for testing installs, you can set up virtual machines that "roll back" to a clean state whenever you want them to. I use this daily at my current job, and it is worth every penny.

Or... Go Mac. A platform with a less saturated market for games. Perhaps an indie developer would have a better chance of getting notice. Mac OS X rocks, and the dev tools are free (Project & Interface Builder, gcc, etc) + the familiar *nix command line tools are available. And Macheads are probably more used to paying for their software. iBooks can be had fairly cheaply and are nice (the iBook and OS X combo are what finally got me to switch )

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I tend to disagree (not with Linux being a great OS, but with everything in the Windows world being expensive). My hard drive is filled with free Windows software. MinGW, Mozilla, Winamp, ICQ, Apache, J2SDK, JCreator, SSH, Leech FTP, Editor ''99, QWS3270, Cygwin, and so on. These aren''t just crappy ports of Linux apps, they are high-quality native Windows applications which I use every day.

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ok, Here is my 2 cents,

I code for Windows inside Linux, mostly because of the money factor, even when I code under Windows I do it with Linux(ish) tools, that is Gimp for Win32, Xemacs for NT, Mingw32, AC3d (not really free, but worth paying for), I have to say that it is a really good environment to work with, and I am staying with it.

The Fact That I can Actually Email the authors of the programs I use, and tell them how great their software is, or tell them hey there is a bug in there! or even fix the bug myself and send them the patch feels great, as you get to be where the action is

My goal is to write a comercial game (its on its way), I know it doesn't very well fit with being developed with open source technologies, but, I want to turn this into a way of life, and the plan is to make donations once the game generates revenue, The GIMP,Mingw,SDL and RedHat are on top of my list, so I see it as a use now, pay later kind of thing.

By The Way, SDL IS great!

Edited by - kwizatz on November 5, 2001 10:39:32 PM

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Use Kylix or Delphi6. They are both free and u can download it from http://www.borland.com
The code is X-platform for both Win32 and Linux. It has a great IDE and good debugging facilities.
For api header translations, you can find it at www.delphi-jedi.org
For OpenAL header translations you can wait for the jedi release or find it at http://amresh09.tripod.com


Amresh
ramresh@dsqsoft.com

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I have been an avid windows user for some time now and I wanted to learn something new.. so I bought a box for $200 and converted it to OpenBSD (not linux) I installed Mandrake and Suse before.. but I didn''t like them.. To be honest I have not developed anything for **nux yet, but it does look promising.. setting up config files with VI was quite interesting.
Windows is good for games because of DirectX. Linux is free, but still requires you to set aside HD partitions to install (except for stuff like loadlin)..


I feel that people keep dancing around the problem.. why not just create an whole OS for game development. Or remember the old days.. the game WAS the OS! The problem is imagine writing driver code for 2000 different devices. Also you could use legacy stuff VESA.. SB compatible code...etc.. but you lose hardware acceleration..
maybe writing a game OS is not a good idea..

sorry i was writing in "real time" so my writing contradicts itself =P

that''s my half a pennies worth

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Anonymous Poster-I don''t know anything about Linux (although I''ve thought about using it because it sounds like a really cool OS), but from what I understand it''s a prompt driven OS (sort of like DOS). Is that right? If so, that''s the reason it will never be hugely popular. Most PC users aren''t really what you call ''geeks'', what they''ll want is an OS that is an event driven type with a visual interface. Personnally, I like that sort of stuff. But I know a little (I said ''alittle'') about programming. Most PC users aren''t programmers and don''t wanna be. They want something that''s easy to use and they don''t care about technical stuff.
Of course, those of us here who are serious about this stuff are an exception to the rule.
Who agrees? disagrees?

"A man can''t just sit around." ''Lawn Chair'' Larry Walters (1982)

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