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John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support

A comment on reddit by id Software co-founder John Carmack (thanks Develop) follows the theme of a recent post by former id programmer Timothee Besset indicating that id's once-strong support for Linux gaming has waned. The post basically confirms and explains that premise, discussing how he sees a plausible path for Linux gaming via emulation on Steam, if "properly evangalized," but expressing skepticism about commercial native Linux ports:

However, I don’t think that a good business case can be made for officially supporting Linux for mainstream games today, and Zenimax doesn’t have any policy of “unofficial binaries” like Id used to have. I have argued for their value (mostly in the context of experimental Windows features, but Linux would also benefit), but my forceful internal pushes have been for the continuation of Id Software’s open source code releases, which I feel have broader benefits than unsupported Linux binaries.

I can’t speak for the executives at Zenimax, but they don’t even publish Mac titles (they partner with Aspyr), so I would be stunned if they showed an interest in officially publishing and supporting a Linux title. A port could be up and running in a week or two, but there is so much work to do beyond that for official support. The conventional wisdom is that native Linux games are not a good market. Id Software tested the conventional wisdom twice, with Quake Arena and Quake Live. The conventional wisdom proved correct. Arguments can be made that neither one was an optimal test case, but they were honest tries.

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53 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 2.
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33. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:35 cronik
 
fu john!  
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32. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:34 saluk
 
The linux gaming market is huge now. It's just called Google Play and only available on weird mobile devices.  
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31. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:23 Beamer
 
Quake Live isn't even browser based. yuastnav is either misunderstanding the game or what "browser based" means.

 
-------------
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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30. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:18 |RaptoR|
 
yuastnav wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 11:01:
Yes, a web browser version of a game from 1999 that caters to the decreasing number of gamers who like extremly fast twitch shooters is a honest try.

Riiiight.

The reason why I am not playing Quake Live that often IS because it's a browser plugin. Playing ioquake is much more efficient and much easier than playing Quake Live.


Quake, Quake 2, and Quake 3 had native linux binaries, but it's cool to focus on a browser-based version of Quake 3 to drive home your (invalid) point
 
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29. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:17 Panickd
 
Xil wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 10:59:
Orogogus wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 10:49:
Panickd wrote on
uake III Arena came out in 1999. That would be well before Linux had caught on with anyone outside of the zealot and admin crowds.[/quote:

I guess the question would be whether the situation is significantly different now.

you know what they did back then ? they released a windows version which even Linux people should buy (thus counting as windows sales), then these linux people can dig through their website and find the FTP link for the linux client..... indeed I wonder why that did not work so great

Actually they released boxed versions of Quake III Arena for all three OSes (Windows, Linux and MacOS) and made it easy to move from one version to another with a patch. I know because I still have my Linux copy of Quake III that was put out by Loki back then. But again, we're talking 12 years ago. That was before Ubuntu began convincing people Linux was easy to use.
 
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28. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:16 Creston
 
If all you care about is the bottom line, then a linux port makes no sense. Seems pretty logical.

It's sad that the industry has devolved into this, but there you go. And even Carmack reports to a boss now.

Creston
 
Avatar 15604
 
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27. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:13 yuastnav
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 11:09:
yuastnav wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 11:04:
Beamer wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 11:01:
[...]
You understand that he writes the engines, not programs the games and missions, right?
That he has nothing to do with that?


I may be mistaken but didn't he say during a Q&A at Quakecon that he actually doesn't write the engines anymore because there are other people at his company who are just much, much more better at that than he is?
He may have been a good programmer in the 90s but that time is long gone.
If I think back to that Q&A in 2011 it seems more like he is a sort of designer who looks at how the gameplay and design decisions fit together and whether he likes it or not.

Though I have to admit that I could not really figure out what exactly his task was at that company besides being at the top.

He almost definitely does the Tim Sweeney model of doing graphics research. He's probably always working a generation of the engine out. It's other people actually taking his research and high level programming and turning it into something you can make games on.

In other words, he's doing the intellectual, fun, and hard work and others are doing the more gruntish and tedious work (not that it isn't hard and intellectual.) Carmack isn't writing networking code or physical inputs, but you'd better believe he's writing the insanely brilliant lighting algorithms, or at least the basis for them.

Okay. I actually never knew that he was such a good mathematician.
 
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26. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:11 netnerd85
 
Ignorance doesn't cover most of these comments

"I play games, I know everything, DEERRRRRR" no no, continue people, show me your worst!
 
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25. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:09 Beamer
 
yuastnav wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 11:04:
Beamer wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 11:01:
[...]
You understand that he writes the engines, not programs the games and missions, right?
That he has nothing to do with that?


I may be mistaken but didn't he say during a Q&A at Quakecon that he actually doesn't write the engines anymore because there are other people at his company who are just much, much more better at that than he is?
He may have been a good programmer in the 90s but that time is long gone.
If I think back to that Q&A in 2011 it seems more like he is a sort of designer who looks at how the gameplay and design decisions fit together and whether he likes it or not.

Though I have to admit that I could not really figure out what exactly his task was at that company besides being at the top.

He almost definitely does the Tim Sweeney model of doing graphics research. He's probably always working a generation of the engine out. It's other people actually taking his research and high level programming and turning it into something you can make games on.

In other words, he's doing the intellectual, fun, and hard work and others are doing the more gruntish and tedious work (not that it isn't hard and intellectual.) Carmack isn't writing networking code or physical inputs, but you'd better believe he's writing the insanely brilliant lighting algorithms, or at least the basis for them.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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24. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:05 StaTik
 
Good ol John comes out of the wood work after the fact to proclaim how right he was to begin with. Even though it was right 10+ years ago he was still right dammit.

This Steam project is still in beta, lets see where it goes.
 
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23. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:04 yuastnav
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 11:01:
[...]
You understand that he writes the engines, not programs the games and missions, right?
That he has nothing to do with that?


I may be mistaken but didn't he say during a Q&A at Quakecon that he actually doesn't write the engines anymore because there are other people at his company who are just much, much more better at that than he is?
He may have been a good programmer in the 90s but that time is long gone.
If I think back to that Q&A in 2011 it seems more like he is a sort of designer who looks at how the gameplay and design decisions fit together and whether he likes it or not.

Though I have to admit that I could not really figure out what exactly his task was at that company besides being at the top.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
22. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:04 Beamer
 
InBlack wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 10:38:
I think someone needs to bring Carmack up to speed, as he is obviously totally unaware of what Valve's plans are. Its obvious that he wrote this post as a quick response to Besset's post without taking the time to look at what Valve is actually doing.

Also as far as I know Valve has no plans of emulating Linux support, they wants to build a "console" which would basically be a special PC running on a version of Linux.

If they push this "console" aggresively and get some large software developers aboard you can bet your fucking ASS Zenimax is going to want a piece of that.

An obvious side benefit of a console that uses Linux as an OS is that PCs would be able to run the same games natively without any porting whatsoever.

So Carmack while usually well informed, managed to look pretty bad with this shit.



Zenimax isn't on board with the Wii or WiiU, which have a much, much larger install base than anything Valve can dream of for their Steambox. What makes you think Zenimax is dying to commit money to it?

Valve's problem is going to be getting anyone to actually make Linux games. Like you said, "If they... get some large software developers aboard...." that's a big if. It's a risk. They need to hire Linux game programmers, something not really plentiful now. It's a big leap. Some will stick a toe in the waters, but don't expect anyone committing capital to jump in the deep end before anything is proven.

And, if it becomes proven, it isn't hard for others to adapt to it. Actually kicking out the product for Linux isn't really time or resource intensive, but it does require hiring some new people.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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21. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:02 Orogogus
 
InBlack wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 10:54:
Many other things are also irrelevant commercialy TODAY. That doesnt exactly mean that they will ever be irrelevant...

Heh, yes it does. "Always" would be the word.
 
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20. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:01 yuastnav
 
Yes, a web browser version of a game from 1999 that caters to the decreasing number of gamers who like extremly fast twitch shooters is a honest try.

Riiiight.

The reason why I am not playing Quake Live that often IS because it's a browser plugin. Playing ioquake is much more efficient and much easier than playing Quake Live.
 
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19. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 11:01 Beamer
 
dardin wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 10:59:
I really don't care what Carmack thinks about anything game related anymore. He is so out of touch with the genera. His thoughts are pretty much irrelevant. When is the last time ID Software even developed a really good game?

Last one I can think of was Doom III in 2004 which graphically at the time was good. The game itself was pretty sub par and the multiplayer was completely worthless. Please do not mention Rage, because that game which if you have played it was cut short and shipped incomplete. One minute you are playing that game running a typical mission and the next minute the game suddenly ends for no reason. I sat at my computer for a good 5 minutes trying to figure out WTF just happened. So for me the last good memories I have of ID was Quake III back in 1999.

You understand that he writes the engines, not programs the games and missions, right?
That he has nothing to do with that?

 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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18. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 10:59 dardin
 
I really don't care what Carmack thinks about anything game related anymore. He is so out of touch with the genera. His thoughts are pretty much irrelevant. When is the last time ID Software even developed a good game?

Last one I can think of was Doom III in 2004 which graphically at the time was good. The game itself was pretty sub par and the multiplayer was completely worthless. Please do not mention Rage, because that game which if you have played it was cut short and shipped incomplete. One minute you are playing that game running a typical mission and the next minute the game suddenly ends for no reason. I sat at my computer for a good 5 minutes trying to figure out WTF just happened. So for me the last good memories I have of ID was Quake III back in 1999.
 
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17. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 10:59 netnerd85
 
Cutter wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 09:57:
Why does Carmack even bother staying in gaming? He clearly doesn't need the dough. And whatever passion he had for it seems to have evaporated long ago. It's more like just doing it because it's routine. He only seems to be stoked about space related stuff so why doesn't he focus on that?
Follow his tweets, read his articles, watch his interviews and you may learn something about the man rather than selected snippets and comments by gamers. He is a passionate programmer with an interest in other things. You have other hobbies right?
 
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16. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 10:59 Xil
 
Orogogus wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 10:49:
Panickd wrote on
uake III Arena came out in 1999. That would be well before Linux had caught on with anyone outside of the zealot and admin crowds.[/quote:

I guess the question would be whether the situation is significantly different now.

you know what they did back then ? they released a windows version which even Linux people should buy (thus counting as windows sales), then these linux people can dig through their website and find the FTP link for the linux client..... indeed I wonder why that did not work so great
 
Avatar 12935
 
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15. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 10:54 InBlack
 
I think he should have written TODAY in big bold fucking italics two fonts larger than the rest of the text.

Linux is irrelevant TODAY, I will concede that is a fact. Many other things are also irrelevant commercialy TODAY. That doesnt exactly mean that they will ever be irrelevant and John should have mentioned that in his post.
 
Avatar 46994
 
I have a nifty blue line!
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14. Re: John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support Feb 6, 2013, 10:49 Orogogus
 
InBlack wrote on Feb 6, 2013, 10:38:
I think someone needs to bring Carmack up to speed, as he is obviously totally unaware of what Valve's plans are. Its obvious that he wrote this post as a quick response to Besset's post without taking the time to look at what Valve is actually doing.

Also as far as I know Valve has no plans of emulating Linux support, they wants to build a "console" which would basically be a special PC running on a version of Linux.

If they push this "console" aggresively and get some large software developers aboard you can bet your fucking ASS Zenimax is going to want a piece of that.

An obvious side benefit of a console that uses Linux as an OS is that PCs would be able to run the same games natively without any porting whatsoever.

So Carmack while usually well informed, managed to look pretty bad with this shit.

I don't know that that translates into Linux support today being a good idea. According to wikipedia the only timeline for Piston is that Valve doesn't think it's going to come out in 2013. Given Valve's leisurely pace it might be best to wait before jumping on that bandwagon.

Panicked: Quake III Arena came out in 1999. That would be well before Linux had caught on with anyone outside of the zealot and admin crowds.

I guess the question would be whether the situation is significantly different now.

This comment was edited on Feb 6, 2013, 10:59.
 
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