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Gog.com Now Supports Linux (gog.com)
225 points by oal on July 24, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 58 comments

What hardware platforms are supported?

Give it one, three, five, ten or fifteen years. When will these proprietary binaries stop working?

I look forward (probably in vain) to the day when game developers want their games to be playable by anyone on any system, any time, even long after release. Played by everyone. I mean, who wouldn't want his work to be loved by everyone and forever? Why?

Freeing the code is a first, inevitable step.

Funny how often, musicians and directors feel the same about their work and encourage people to "illegally" download their products.

I don't think developers are the problem.

I've played World of Warcraft a lot. It's a game that has affected tens of millions of people directly, and hundreds of millions indirectly (through WoW's influence on other games, game models and so on). It has built careers, businesses, companies, and so on.

Yet one day, it'll close down and nobody will ever be able to play it. All that'll be left will be the game files - 3d models - and a lot of screenshots.


There are hundreds of private servers out there. I know of at least six that are near-perfect recreations of vanilla, BC, wrath, and even cata. If the main game died, these private servers would continue to exist. Most of them are actually self-funded and self-sufficient as is. I played expensively on a Cataclysm private server, because I had quit in the first patch due to brokeness and never had a chance to actually see Deathwing (in its intended form at level 85) because Pandas had come out by then.

In reality, the game has gone away. Every time a new expansion has come out and reset everything millions of people had their old game taken and were given a new game. And sometimes, they didn't like the new one, and sought the old one. And even if it is illegal, the market is providing their demands. There are even a few open source projects for server cores to run WoW on.

I'm sure WoW's community would find a way to keep the game alive with relatively few alterations. There's no reason someone can't write a third-party world viewer and/or server that would still allow people to enjoy a more or less authentic WoW experience.

I actually think it'd be really exciting for someone to write a compatible client for a 3D game like that and release it. What would FreeTF2 look like? The idea of multiple clients implementing a proprietary game netcode and all simultaneously playing together is really interesting to me, at least.

This has happened with Second Life but only because Linden Lab explicitly facilitated it. They actively encourage third-party developers and release the code of their official reference client. Second Life The Network is also basically just a bunch of scripts and textures coming down the pipe so it's easier to implement than say an unofficial client for an FPS or RTS, which is very likely much more opaque.

I agree about WoW. I've never played it, but I could imagine loving it. Chances are I never will though.

> I don't think developers are the problem.

It depends on the project. So I guess big commercial titles have other problems. Smaller groups though -- whether indie game studios or just individuals making freeware games (Dwarf Fortress, anyone?) -- they're usually what the developers make of it. And it very often is the case that the developers do not care about others' freedoms or portability and all that. It's too much work, nobody uses that platform, we don't care about minority users, whatever. The same old excuses, which are mostly BS.

Because you know, the baker, the supermarket, the landlord all accept the said BS as payment.

It is very easy to wave BS to software developers. Now try to earn a steady income from FOSS desktop software.

Way to miss the point. Now try to read again and understand.

Giving users the source so they can help themselves has nothing to do with landlords and supermarkets. It can get you more money though, by increasing the user base and making more happy users. It can make your game sell for much longer. Doom still sells, and people play it on the weirdest of platforms. And if the developers cared enough, they'd learn that it doesn't necessarily take much effort at all to make code easier to port. But you do have to care. If you don't, and you write code under the assumption that you won't and nobody else should port it, then the result won't be very nice.

So maybe you could still play Doom on dosbox or in a VM, but I don't think it'd sell much if they hadn't given the source that allowed people to create legal ports for modern systems, with features that make the game more enjoyable. People still enjoy Doom.

> It can get you more money though, by increasing the user base and making more happy users. It can make your game sell for much longer.

Does not follow. There is no evidence that you can make more money by simply open sourcing your project. In fact, judging from the number of popular, widely used open source projects reduced to begging for donations, it's precisely the opposite. You may simply be assuming as true the same excuses that pirates use to justify their piracy, saying "Hey, I'm giving you free advertising!", completely overlooking the fact that 1) advertising in itself does not feed the creators, and 2) they're primarily advertising it to people just like them, who'll also simply pirate the product.

Look at the companies making the most money in software. Then look at the companies making money from open source software. Note: not companies that use open source or open up some of their non-core code, but those whose primary product is open source, such as Red Hat. There's a few orders of magnitude of difference in revenues. This despite Linux running the vast majority of servers on the Internet and in data centers. Why is this?

While open source proponents like to live in an ideal world where everybody shares their code and collaborates, the harsh truth is that the vast, vast majority of the world will take what it can and give nothing back. That is not conducive to building a viable business when by open sourcing your code, you're essentially make your product even easier to be taken for free.

Way to miss the fucking point. Now try to read again and understand. Pay attention to the words I make. Note the example I made.

Freeing the code is a first, inevitable step.

This is what id has done with the Doom and Quake series. These games still sell! And we can play these games on whatever platform, with whatever custom features, because the source was released and people picked it up and made it work and improved it.

You're completely overlooking the fact that freeing a game's source code is completely different from making the entire game free. Business continues as usual: they sell the actual game, which people need to actually play it.

Companies whose source code is their entire core product are completely different. You cannot make a relevant point by talking about their problems.

A lot of the games on GOG are DOS games that have been ported to DOSbox, so they'll continue to run on any platform DOSbox has been ported to and for as long as DOSbox is maintained (which, hopefully, will be many years to come)

Yup, and that's very nice. It still would be better to get the source and native ports with enhancements that make the games more accessible, less buggy, prettier, etc. Also, performance matters. Emulating a bunch of hardware is not cheap.

Performance isn't an issue with the age of many of those games (and the overhead of emulating hardware for DOSbox is pretty negligible given todays grunt).

I'd also say having the source doesn't mean it's portable. The code might have a number of legacy dependencies (references to old DOS libraries etc) or even weird code tweaks specific for that platform (eg the Pinball game bundled with earlier versions of Windows wasn't ported to Vista because the source was in 32bit assembly) which would mean a direct port would be less practical than a reimplementation.

If developers / studios wish to release the code for research or academic curiosity, then kudos to them. But I don't think old games necessarily need to be open source.

> Performance isn't an issue with the age of many of those games (and the overhead of emulating hardware for DOSbox is pretty negligible given todays grunt).

It's far from negligible, especially if you're not using a platform which supports dynamic translation of x86 code. Even so, you can easily run into performance issues. There are many dosbox games that run like shit on my PC, which is only four years old.

> I'd also say having the source doesn't mean it's portable.

You're right, and I'm well aware of the fact. Which is why I said giving people the source is an important first step. If you read my other comments in the thread, you know I know that the game's developers can also affect the portability of their code, if they care.

> which would mean a direct port would be less practical than a reimplementation.

Sorry but this is very uncommon. Even with weird unportable dependencies, it is almost always easier to take existing code and port it than to completely rewrite it (reverse-engineering the original in the process). If you think otherwise, you're grossly underestimating the amount of work it takes to reverse-engineer and make a game.

> I don't think old games necessarily need to be open source.

Games do not need to exist in the first place. But people want them (this is why GOG exists). People also want them to run well on their computers (this is also why GOG exists). Why shouldn't people enjoy old games, just like they can enjoy old books and movies? This is what GOG attempts to let them do. Why shouldn't game developers agree? Why not make it easy for people to enjoy their work any time? Why should games bit rot to hell? I'm talking about all games, not just old games.

I brought up an old game as an example because it shows off what open sourcing the game can do. There is a vibrant, active Doom community to this day. New map packs are being made, new source ports are being made, new mods are being made. There's new stuff and there's improvements to the old stuff. And it really makes a difference. I don't think the current community could exist if we only had DOS Doom. I know for a fact I wouldn't be playing it anymore.

My PC can't even run it in dosbox well enough. Performance is an issue.

And yes there are other old games that are very difficult to run properly on anything modern. If there isn't enough community around it to hack around all these problems, these games will slowly be forgotten. It's sad.

> If developers / studios wish to release the code for research or academic curiosity, then kudos to them.

Do you really think research and academic curiosity is all the source is good for? Maybe you do not care about old games and all the new games that have spawned as a result of old engines being made available to us. That's fine. But for a lot of people, it's much much more than a code museum. People really do play source ports of old games, or new games that are built on the sources of old games.

EDIT: If someone knows of a port or reimplementation of the original System Shock, I'm interested. I'd love to play the game, but not in dosbox, and not without some UI tweaks.

Most of that last post is taking sentences I've posted out of the context of the paragraph they were posted in just so you can argue an unrelated point I never made to begin with. Of course I think old games should be preserved and of course I think source code serves greater perpose than just for academic curiosity. I never claimed otherwise and don't appreciate you claiming I did just to win an internet debate.

Also, I have reverse engineered games before. Albeit on a very small scale. I've also ported existing code on a number of occasions. I'm aware of the positives and negatives of both methods. Sometimes though, it's just easier to reimplement something than port old incompatible code to a new platform because the old code might have the graphics calls embedded in with the core game engine, and what not. Thus meaning that huge chunks of the core game engine would need to be rewritten regardless. Or in instances where the core game logic is written in 16bit assembly, so couldn't be ported regardless.

I'm not saying having access to the source isn't an advantage, what I'm saying is that sometimes it's not always as much help to the port as you claim with your generalisations.

Edit, freeing the art and sfx resources would be a massive help in almost all instances though

People bugfix binary releases regularly. The original NES FinalFantasy shipped with dozens of fairly significant bugs, and you can get fixed for all of them now.

Ultima IV Updated graphics, native port:


Obviously it's harder with binaries; and these games had significant parts written in assembly anyway, so it's easier with games from the 80s than modern games.

Isn't the point playing the original game?

Freeing the art assets would be nice too, at some point. I really do not want to know how many millions of hours of designer effort have been spent modeling and texturing barrels.

Agree. Also, it'd be nice if abandonware somehow got legal recognition. I don't think it helps anyone that there are games which are not being sold, not really owned by anyone (the company went bankrupt), not generating anyone any revenue, and not legal to do things with.

Wouldn't the easiest thing be a virtual machine that runs older instance of Linux? (Much like DOSBox, and other emulators). So I guess nothing to worry about.

Emulating hardware takes tons of processing power. If you think our hardware is up for running games for modern OSen in a VM, you're probably assuming paravirtualization with hardware assistance. This works when you are running current hardware with current software designed to make use of these features. As soon as the implementation or hardware changes, you're likely to be out of luck. I would worry that a Linux from 2014 will not run on a 2024 Linux system without full virtualization. Heck, I don't even know if I'm still running amd64 ten years down the line.

Try boot a 2004 Linux in Qemu without using kvm, kqemu or the like. Play a game in it. For the heck of it, try emulate a machine with a different ISA.

I've been using Linux for work for years (software developer) but my main machine at home is still running Windows 7 because for me, the state of gaming is still kind of horrible on Linux.

Am I the only one who just gave up because of video and sound driver issues? That's for 3d, of course - as stated above, everything in a window manager usually works just fine.

That said, this is awesome news, maybe I'll come around to try dualboot again (after many, many years) because it could be easier to get my Radeon working under Linux than some of the other chips (especially on laptops) in the past.

It depends. I'm playing Enemy Unknown without a hitch with an older Nvidia card. The beta of Sunless Sea (arguably not a demanding game, but Unity seems to have a bad rep on Linux) runs well on Intel graphics. Gaming on Linux has improved by leaps and bounds, to the point where I gave up on dualbooting Windows a few years ago (though I'm not a avid gamer).

PS: don't know why you get downvoted. I wish it was possible to flag unwarranted downvotes...

Nowadays native games usually don't have issues and for the other ones wine often works, even with a somewhat unusual tiling window manager (Xmonad).

Performance is still not as good as on Windows though. For example I can't play Dota 2 because of low fps on linux but on windows it is playable.

You're not alone. Things are getting better, though. Drivers are definitely still an issue, but I think because of Steam's movement in the Linux market a lot of progress is going to be made... of course, maybe all this SteamOS stuff is just a hedge against Windows (to dissuade a move to a 100% app-store model on desktop).

Laptops and wireless are still definitely a big issue. I think desktops have a much better chance of working. Whether they work as well as Windows or not is a different question.

I dunno, this morning I was able to get minecraft, sims 3 (via wine) and steam (playing xcom) on an Arch/BridgeLinux liveUSB playing without issues in about 45 minutes. Kernel 3.12.x means the 3d was slower than I'd want (AMD free drivers are waaay faster in the new kernels), but I didn't want to do a full pacman -Syu on the liveUSB. Performance was decent, and had I installed to hard drive, would've been competitive with windows even without the catalyst drivers installed (which is a yaourt install away).

> Am I the only one who just gave up because of video and sound driver issues?

No issues here. I guess you may be running AMD hardware hence the video drivers issues, but I haven't had sound issues in games for years.

Nvidia. Installed System Shock 2 (through Steam) on my Linux machine at work. Ran it, cool, left the game and resolution was stuck at a really weird one (on 1 of 2 monitors) and I had to fix a problem.

Same game on Windows, likely no problem to fix.

Issues for sure still happen with Linux gaming. Many games are fine though, of course.

That's more likely an issue with the game, the desktop, or some other component than the video driver.

To be fair, dual screen setups and games have a history of trouble (even on Windows)

I have a dual screen desktop running Arch and I play games a lot, on the radeonSI Gallium driver and Intel driver.

The funny thing with multi-screen gaming on Linux is that the "default" target SDL picks is not your primary monitor, it is the monitor on the left. It doesn't matter what input order its in, or anything else, I can reconfigure my screens however I want but "full screen" always means leftmost panel.

Note that many of GOG's Windows games will work on Linux under Wine too. The good news is you don't have to figure anything out - use PlayOnLinux which will prompt you for the games setup executable and then do everything else. Start at http://www.playonlinux.com/en/supported_apps-1-0.html and scroll down to the ones beginning GOG.com.

I'm surprised that Papers Please is missing, given that the game has already been released on GNU/Linux release through the developer's website. I wouldn't be surprised if there is other such low-hanging fruit in their catalogue.

I agree, there will be lots of low hanging fruits. But I guess GOG is playtesting every single one of them so it could take a while. The linux testing team is probably smaller than the windows and mac teams.

Just speculation ;-)

There are many others. First, many games that can run on DOsBox on Linux (probably several hundreds from their catalog) and many other indie ones. And Witcher 2 (however the port/wrapper used was horrible).

It had low performance, but once I figured out that the keybindings were all empty and you had to restore them to default everything kinda worked ok. Low FPS, but playable on my Nvidia GTX760M laptop.

What's the state of AMD Radeon cards for gaming on Linux right now? I think I'll soon upgrade my desktop computer's graphics card, and I wonder if I'll have to restrict myself to Nvidia only. (Intel's not an option because of performance)

I put together a linux machine around tax return time this year with this video card: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-det...

It's been working great for me. I haven't tried Crysis or FarCry yet, but I can play Half Life 2 at maxed out settings at 60 fps steady and stable. I play a lot of older games, but Bastion, Shadowrun Returns, Rust, Beatbuddy, Fez, Portal (2), Dust, Civ5 all run beautifully. I realize these aren't latest power games, but considering the topic I think this is ok.

Then again, I am very, very comfortable messing around with drivers and settings. Every time I upgrade the kernel I have to recompile my drivers (using AMDs Catalyst beta 14.6 currently). I don't mind, but you might.

The open source version of the AMD drivers have gotten a lot better for very recent versions of the Linux Kernel. Is it better enough? Good question.


Yeah, I've heard complaints about short support periods, weird bugs and games that just crash, but performance seems as good as Nvidia's from what I've read.

This seems to suggest that Nvidia's drivers are vastly superior on new OpenGL 4 features, though they do come from Nvidia: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_apite... It's probably cherrypicking benchmarks a bit, but cherrypicking shouldn't have that dramatic results... Seems like I'll be sticking with Nvidia.

Flatout s running on Linux for the first time as well with this announcement

Can't wait for them to give more of their extensive back catalog the linux treatment.

With this and steam linux edition, the future looks bright for linux gamers.

Playing colonization on linux this evening :-)

Pro tip: never trade guns or horses with indians.

Oh man, there goes my time. I remember FlatOut 1 fondly from when I was a kid and was still using Windows (great soundtrack too, I remember sending No Connection an e-mail and they even replied). Now I couldn't resist buying FlatOut 2, even if just to show my support.

I read on the forums they're wine wrappers though (officially supported, but still). Native ports would be the best, of course.

Wine wrappers are fine, for such "old" software the performance should be plenty sufficient anyway, and as long as there's no bugs in the implementation, why not.

The DOS games I've seen are DOSBox wrappers.

I wonder if they've made the games work (if they didn't already) by hacking DOSBox, rather than the game.

FlatOut is a Windows game. As for DOSBox, if a game works on it in Windows it will work on it in Linux as well.

I would recommend Normality as an oldie but a goodie. Quirky story and an amazing atmosphere. This was also one of the first games where it didn't feel like it consisted of static sets or levels where you had to solve a puzzle then move onto the next one but you were more or less freely roaming like a Grand Theft Auto game and having to solve puzzles within a larger environment.

I will probably keep downloading Windows binaries for backup purposes (I expect Win32 and Wine will still be a thing long after glibc 2.17.3 binaries are no longer supported on any distro), but it's super-encouraging to have a reliable vendor of DRM-free, cross-platform games.

Not to minimize the accomplishment, but most of those "first time on Linux!" titles were previously playable via Dosbox, or free software source ports. That said, can't wait for Rollercoaster Tycoon.

I don't think it's the technical accomplishment that's significant - more the fact that producers are increasingly recognising Linux as an emerging gaming platform.

I agree. I should have said something more like "diminish their efforts" rather than "minimize their accomplishment". My point is the marketing claim that these titles are appearing on Linux for the first time is a stretch.

Unfortunately I don't see a lot of kids games. Not for me, of course, but for my son. As he gets older, these Linux game release announcements will be more meaningful.

Why they're using Ubuntu logo in "Works on: X + Y + Z" instead of Tux or GNU symbols?

Because they officially support only ubuntu and mint. The provide a tarball for other distros but don't officially support them.

But they say "Linux" nearly everywhere, not "Ubuntu" or "Mint" (even though they're the only supported distros and the rest is best-effort tarball). There's inconsistency between iconic and textual data.

Obviously, one can't support "Linux" - that's abstract shortcut title for plethora of various GNU/Linux-based OSes. Yet, I think Tux is universally recognized symbol for those.

I have to ask: Why do you care?

This is great news, why care about the small, completely irrelevant things? Why make it look like the Linux community is blasé, whiny and will complain about anything?

i love you gog.

you just emptied my bank account

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