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Cryengine 3.8.1 Adds Support for Linux, OpenGL and Oculus Rift (cryengine.com)
281 points by jrepin on June 22, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 109 comments

I buy and play an order of magnitude more games these days now that there is a reasonably large library of games on Steam with Linux support. I don't know if it moves the revenue needle for them enough to notice it, but I spent about $10/year on games (sometimes I'd go more than a year between buying a game) before Linux support became a common thing. It's a heck of a lot more than that now, and would be higher still if more games I wanted to play were available for Linux.

I have Windows 7 on my laptop, but my desktop machine (which has a huge video card) only runs Linux. So, gaming happens on Linux or not at all (almost; I play Civ V on my laptop sometimes).

There are even games outside of steam, private distributors like Rimworld or steam-alternatives like GOG.

People have grown sick of the phrase "this is the year of the linux desktop" but I can't help remember when all the games I could play were nethack and tuxracer.

oh yeah, tuxracer! haha, wasted way more time on that than I'd be proud to admit.

A lot of people say that gaming is really the only thing keeping them from making a permanent jump over to their favorite distro. Were slowly moving in the direction of not only multi-platform gaming, but a lot of regular desktop apps too as development becomes easier and easier to deploy out to multiple OSes.

Slowly removing microsofts AAA game monopoly!

this is a great thing, as a person who only runs linux, I'm super excited at the idea of getting the older games updated to this version and potentially running on Linux. :)

If only. Take e.g. Blizzard's Hearthstone for example, which is made in Unity, so they would literally only have to push a button to support linux, and yet, no linux support.

Maybe they have learned other developers' lesson that a it takes much more than a push of a button to get a Unity game on Linux.

QA takes time. Middleware may or may not be available. Launchers may not be there (especially in the case of Hearthstone). A lost of indie/kickstarted projects are still considered "Linux Scams" because they assumed that it'd be that easy.

it may not be easy, but with the progress made by other game engines in last few months, running your game on linux is now a reality and as easy as making it for PC (with little effort).

You mean "Windows PC"? :)

It sure is, I'm a Linux-exclusive gamer ever since Steam on Linux came out, but I try to look realistically at reasoning of developers who never did this before.

You / parent mean "Windows OS"? PC is just one platform Windows runs on.

But then "Windows PC" would be the correct term. "Windows OS" would imply that it also runs on e.g. Windows Phone, which is usually treated separately.

Playonlinux makes it easy to launch Hearthstone and play it on any Linux distro. I have a hard time to believe that Blizzard does not have enough resources to do QA.

I'm sure it does, they just not consider it economically viable.

I just wish they could try once at least.

What's to say they haven't, and decided the work involved would be too much for a commercial release.

Blizzard are well known for their approach of not releasing things until they're ready, and they won't want to kill that reputation for a Linux port.

Maybe there are other reasons not having to do with technical ones that encourages them to not push the button.

>are still considered "Linux Scams"

This is the biggest concern. The linux community is crazy hostile. Heaven forbid your game doesn't work on some wonky setup that would be 100% unreasonable to support. We also see this in Android where reviews for games are sometimes, "Zero stars, doesn't work on $49 $obscure_chinatablet."

Even if a company picked a reference Linux distro, like the current Ubuntu, it would be still displease a lot people, especially if the game only worked correctly on closed video drivers. There's really no winning in such a fragmented environment, unless you're willing to invest a serious amount of your budget here. Its not just "push a button."

What people seem to have a hard time understanding is that Linux is not an operating system, it's a family of operating systems. Someone running Gentoo with OpenRC and Xfce, someone running Debian with sysvinit and GNOME and someone running Arch with systemd and KDE are all "running Linux." This is more difficult than Windows or OS X, where you can rely on the low-level system plumbing staying the same from machine to machine (versions of OS X are all closer to each other than Linuxes are to each other and there's a lot fewer of them).

Valve are doing a lot to help here by distributing Steam with a known set of libraries that will be used by any games launched via Steam. There's still going to be some variation, but developers can at least know which version of key libraries they can rely on

I think their new refund policy will also help a lot. Being able to try a game to see if it works, and get your money back hassle-free if it doesn't, ought to take a lot of the anxiety out of the fragmented-target-OS issue.

Sure, the refund happens but now the devs have to contend with all the pissy reviews on their game's store page because the game didn't work with their very specific use cases. Its easier to just not bother unless you want to devote significant support and development resources to making the game run on any linux frakenputer.

"Crashes when using wayland. FAIL!"

I keep hearing we're crazy hostile and I don't see it. I have a crazy wonky linux setup and when games don't work, I don't flame the devs on messageboards. I even have a crazy wonky setup on windows - having a display with 240ppi, and I've seen plenty of games render badly, mess up my windows, etc. If it runs on Windows 8.1/latest Ubuntu on a beige Dell box, it's good enough for me, I'll always be able to work-around any problems.

You're talking about something completely different though; I'm talking about numerous releases/kickstarters which promised Linux support before they were funded, but then when they realized that it's harder than they thought they started saying "yeah, we didn't really mean «on release», it will maybe come later, or actually we outsourced it to volunteers", like with Divinity: OS or Skullgirls.

> they would literally only have to push a button to support linux

What. Why do people think that? Even if you use Unity, the DirectX/OpenGL distinction still matters, not to mention all other platform-specific stuff. Of course, with Unity you _can_ develop a very simple and unoptimised game that would be able to compile on all desktop and mobile platforms with one click — but when you start to dig down and try to do things effectively, you end up with a lot of platform-specific code.

Well, they support mobile clients, so they had to deal with OpenGL anyway.

That's OpenGL ES, which isn't the same (though I believe the plan is to merge them one day). Mobile GPUs tend to have different feature support and performance characteristics too.

If you advertise the featureset of OGL 4.3, you must also support the whole ES 3.0 API: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenGL#OpenGL_4.3.

You can ship GLES games on desktops no problem. And anything remotely notebook / desktop class graphics wise is so much more powerful than some Mali GPU that you can ignore "performance characteristics" for the most part and assume brute force will be fine. If your game runs on a feature phone, it will run with GLES on desktops.

Oh, good - they already did it.

What I was getting at with the performance characteristics comment - though don't ask me why I didn't act like normal people and just say this, because I've no idea - was that the game will probably look crap on a PC. That means you'll have to spend some time making it look a bit nicer, if it's to be competitive. This is all going to involve a bit more than a simple button press.

> If you advertise the featureset of OGL 4.3

Mesa doesn't do that:



It does, every driver independently advertises GLES 3, and while it doesn't support full 4.3, every driver supports GLES 3. That post is like three years old now.

Well, they support OS X, so they do have to support OpenGL. Both Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm are native, not just wrappers

They also support OSX, and I know that there was a launch option in at least WC3 to use OpenGL on windows.

Unity is a game engine. I'd assume it handles all graphics calls for you - you don't really have to care about directx and opengl.

Unfortunately, you'd be very wrong. As a Unity developer, I had to drill down to the float sizes on specific Android devices (some genius noname graphic adapter used 12-bit floats, and it messed up my custom shader).

Game engines, as every similar kind of middleware, are an abstraction that is almost always leaky. It's still a great improvement over doing everything natively, of course.

That's a technologist's falacy.

Sure, they could enable a linux build with a "push of a button", but to have linux support they require a support department to support that build.

Actually supporting something is a lot more than just the technology required.

Release it as a beta - perhaps even for a reduced price and let the community provide bug reports or even submit fixes if parts are open sourced. This has worked very well for non-game software so the same principles likely apply at least in part.

This is Blizzard - they would never do that. They don't want to erode their 'we only release stuff when it's properly finished' brand.

Both hearthstone and heroes of the storm were in very long closed/open betas

um, they've eroded it with SC2 and D3 already.

Are there official SC2 and D3 builds?

He meant the 'properly finished' part of the quote.

Support period for unsuccessful games is wayyyy shorter than support for unsuccessful or buggy first release of open source softwares that can benefit from bug fixes and patches in the long run. Games are not in the long run.

Games with a critical mass of followers will receive better support from open source communities than they ever will from companies.

Try to get Quake 3 support today. Then try to get support for ioquake3.

Alternatively, try to get support for Transport Tycoon. Now try to get support for OpenTTD.

It's not a matter of "game or not game". We have these examples of formerly commercial games for which commercial support no longer exists, but for which open source community support is plentiful.

But the critical mass needed to get that kind of support is in the Quake 3 range... I seriously doubt many games are going to reach that threshold and prove that `à la linux' support can work. Especially on the long term (ie: further along the line than the game launch window).

I am of the opinion that Quake3 is an exception, not the rule.

Ofc Quake3 is exceptional, everyone who says otherwise is a heretic.

I've found first release of open source software to often be more stable and release ready than commercial software I paid for.

Your point being ? Whatever the platform the vast majority of games are never going to be supported for as long as open source software running on Linux is.

So if the game is successful but doesn't work out of the box players will not bother and simply run the Windows version while the Linux gang will lament how it's not yet the year of Linux gaming. If the game isn't successful the Linux version will die out the same but faster.

Thinking an AAA game that missed its launch might benefit `from the community bug reports` is wishful thinking.

edit: And it's not due to the technological aspects or the software philosophy of the platform, it's about having the money and the time to support a product for a niche platform.

I don't think it's that easy. The amount of effort that goes into testing, supporting and getting a game running for another operating system is not offset by the amount of consumers you have in the linux demographic.

I imagine it has less to do with Hearthstone and more to do with Battle.net and other DRM-related stuffs. But that's just a guess.

But how would they sell it? Their launcher is not on Linux so there is more overhead to it. It has just now come to Android and IOS, which makes sense that they would target those platforms first.

There's a lot of Unity games that don't release on Linux. Ori and the Blind Forest is another one that comes to mind (http://store.steampowered.com/app/261570/).

I agree with the overall thrust of your point (plenty of Unity games don't see a Linux release, and it's not as easy as pushing a button), but a game published by Microsoft Studios is not a very good example.

> Blizzard's Hearthstone for example, which is made in Unity

Oh, that explains why it's so shitty on Mac OS X.

Pretty much all Blizzard Games have been running very well under Wine for years.

Microsoft's E3 presentation put a nail in the coffin. There was a huge XBoxOne sign on the stage and many XBoxOne exclusive and time-exclusive games. There was no "Windows 10" sign. Windows exclusive games, nada. New Microsoft Game Studio games (Age of Empires, Flight Simulator, etc. anyone?), nope. Kinect 2 was absent. And after the HoloLens Minecraft showcase, it turned out the field-of-view is tiny and the device twice as expensive as their console: http://www.theverge.com/2015/6/18/8809323/microsoft-hololens...

On the other side, the PC gaming platform is thriving, especially in certain parts of Europe and Asia. The PC was able to render Witcher 3, Watch_Dogs and The Division in all its graphical glory without the need for a Console-downgrade. Also many former PlayStation exclusive titles are released on PS4 and PC. And Steam and GoG are big too. So great, despite the little effort from Microsoft itself.

I'm more excited about new games coming out for Linux from day one.

I'm in total agreement, Linux really is the future of the desktop (though Microsoft seems to be improving some things so I'll give them that). If I were Canonical I'd be worried they come out with Microsoft Linux and ditch Windows by 2020.

About time. I am so sick of rebooting into Windows just to play the odd game. I find myself spending a lot of the time rebooting for windows updates, removing spyware or finding myself rebooting into OS X / Linux when needing to do work (ssh, git etc...)

Install steam for Linux. There's enough good games that, unless you are an enthusiast, gaming on Linux only is completely acceptable. I'd recommend Civilization V, dreamfall chapters, spec ops: the line (way smarter than it looks), witcher 2, team fortress 2 and braid. Those are the kinds of games that are officially supported for Steam on Ubuntu these days. Most of the rpg classics (torment, baldur's gate etc) on gog.com also works on linux, if that's more your thing.

Here's an up to date list about great games to play on Linux right now: http://boilingsteam.com/recommended-games/

Thanks for the tip. Last time I tried steam on Linux it only supported Ubuntu and only has 32bit packages with broken i386 compatibility dependencies but that's probably changed now I'm assuming. I've actually really been enjoying Elite: Dangerous recently and they've just come out with an OSX client which is great.

I run Steam on two different 64 bit Fedora machines (one with AMD, one with nVidia). It might have installed 32 bit compatibility libraries, but I don't mind and didn't notice, if it did.

Civ V and all of the Valve games are excellent under Linux. Rust is a little flaky, but I get the impression it's a little flaky under Windows, too.

Elite: Dangerous is fantastic on the Mac. Runs better than on Bootcamp on the same machines I play in (2011 iMac, 2015 15in Macbook).

[Warmly recommended][1] game if you are into space and simulations.

[1]: http://hypertexthero.com/logbook/2014/07/elite-dangerous-edu...

Edited to change 2012 to 2011 iMac.

Steam on Linux is pretty craptacular overall but it does work on my 64bit Fedora with no additional effort besides installing it. Some games even work better on Linux (e.g. Kerbal Space Program).

afaik the witcher 2 port for linux is actually really poor quality to the point of being just barely playable with a solid machine. or so i heard.

You heard something that was true when it was released but which is completely wrong now after many updates. I finished the game from A to Z on Linux and while it still have some crashes it's perfectly playable even on a medium configuration (amd excluded, but that does without saying on Linux right now)

I can't play The Witcher 2, at all. It literally kills my computer, both on Jessie and Sid. After a few seconds in the game my GPU crashes or the kernel panics. It's most likely because of radeonsi.

Yeah, as I hinted in another comment, the games using eON technology for porting do not work so well with AMD yet.

All I found is that games ported with eON technology only work with the binary nvidia driver. Do you have more information about this?

What I find strange is that the game starts and seems to render fine, and then crashes the whole machine[1].

[1] https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=788779

Edit: fixed the link

No, I think they work with the AMD binary blob driver as well, but they have some display/compatibility issues with the drivers on those. You should check the official GIthub trackers for Witcher 2 and Bioshock Infinite, some issues are reported there.

Fair enough it was a little time ago, glad to hear it's better now. However, even though I have been gaming on Linux for years, if playing a high-end title I encounter any performance problems I see no reason not to switch to Windows. You pay for the hardware and the game to have a high-end experience and then you limit that, for what?

Having said all that I have been buying lots of games from GOG and have been really impressed with the quality AND quantity of linux versions.

It's not very good, no, but it works. Many gamers don't really care that much about graphics settings and if you do then Linux gaming is not for you anyway. The graphics drivers and the game executables are more optimized on windows, and that's just the current state of the world.

That wasn't the case when I used to run Windows and I really doubt it is a supportable blanket statement that can be made now.

Well, the consoles always win on optimization. However, Windows is a lot better supported than Linux or Mac. There's no other way to see it, really.

GOG also has many Linux games, and all of them are DRM-free.

Love Linux and I even got work to allow me to work on OpenSUSE in a non-technical job, but you can do all you just said on Windows and very easily.

ssh and git: I personally use mobaXterm for git and ssh. Others like putty and other different programs.

Also Windows 7 and 8 do have a monthly update that does require the machine to reboot which is stupid, but I wouldn't say someone couldn't get work done with Windows. That is not the reason why I use Linux. I use Linux because I can set up my computer any way I like and use any kind of work flow that is best for me. It is also much easier to script and program common tasks.

While you 'can' do those things on windows - it's truly horrible and you lack all the local tools that allow me to work properly. Windows just isn't a good client for administering servers (unless they're running windows I guess?).

Have you ever tried mobaxterm? It is that good for Admin you get XForwarding and great tools.

Local tools is different, but administratively you get great ssh and well that's all you need. I go full screen and tmux and I am good as gold. If need be XForarding is available but people that install X on servers need to be put through tiny cut on a slide that ends in a pool of rubbing alcohol.

I have a Windows system with Steam Home Streaming that stream video to a Linux system. It works really well! Quality is great on a gigabit network and latency isn't noticable at all(I play a lot of DOTA2 at 4K+ rating). I can even stream third party games like Diablo 3 or applications like Microsoft Word.

This Windows system is like a server, however I need to use TightVNC as remote desktop. Regular remote desktop doesn't work.

Do you have any more info on how you set that up? I kinda want a gaming PC but I like my current laptop/monitor setup, maybe I could leave the PC sitting in the corner of the room running headless, and stream the content to my laptop?

Unfortunately, Oculus removed Linux&OSX support. Or at least put it on indefinite life-unsupport. https://www.oculus.com/en-us/blog/powering-the-rift/

Whenever I see news about opengl these days I only think about how great vulkan is going to be. I know the spec won't be out until late this year, and drivers will probably need a good 6 months, but still everything opengl already feels outdated.

Next step must be making the tools run on Linux/OSX.

I've been using Linux as a desktop at work, and it just works.

(Good HW configuration seems to be the key though, and Windows still is the leader of running almost on anything x86 out there)

Things are looking good for October when the pre-order Steam Controller and Steam Links should ship out :)

I don't play games on my desktop computer anymore because I prefer to do work there. After giving my old Xbox 360 to my nephew I've been hesitant to get another console, choosing instead to wait out Steam's living room experience (Steam's where most of my games are anyways). It'll be fun to fill some of my work breaks with a little bit of light gaming on the couch.

supporting your game engine for Linux is great for overall PC game ecosystem and not just Linux. Also, for a casual gamer, its a win as they can probably buy a 20$ game and run it on a Linux laptop without needing to buy the PS machine. I mean, most of us run a i5 8gig laptop as a dev machine anyway.

Not surprising. Demand is coming from developers, so all major engines are supporting Linux now. Those who don't will be less competitive.

Some middleware solutions however still lag behind. For instance Umbra 3D still has no Linux support: http://umbra3d.com/

I wonder how Witcher 3 developers plan to port it to Linux without Umbra.

Oh yes, another major step taken! I love how the whole world switches to Linux. Now I hope they start to leverage the GPU driver companies into better Linux support. At least on my computer it's still complicated as hell to get everything running and even then the performance is quite below of what Windows drivers would get done.

With Vulkan, there will be a lot less to providing quality drivers; Of course Intel has been really good with their drivers for about five years or so(and we know there's already a Vulkan driver for Intel hardware that will be released along with the spec)

Their linux OpenGL drivers often outperform their Windows drivers.

As for AMD, the open source Radeon drivers are pleasant to work with, and on some hardware perform as well as Catalyst.

That's quite interesting. The reason I bought my laptop with a secondary NVidia card was because I heard AMD on linux should be aweful. Did that change or did I hear it wrong or something? Getting a secondary NVidia card working is a pain in the butt, at least from my experience.

AMD is better at providing documentation needed to write open-source drivers, nVidia is better at providing a high-quality closed-source driver. From what I understand nVidia's closed-source driver is still the best for gaming and other intensive 3D applications followed by AMD's closed-source driver.

The open-source drivers are not on the same performance level as the closed-source drivers, though the AMD open-source driver can be classified as "usable" (or better) in most contexts whereas the nVidia open-source driver has many issues since it depends far more on reverse-engineering the GPU's programming interface. Intel has the best open source driver of all of the desktop vendors (since the open source driver is their official driver) but its use for anything 3D is constrained by the relatively weak performance of their GPUs.

AMD's open source drivers are better but NVidia's closed source drivers blow them out of the water. NVidia is the way to go for Linux unless you care enough about free software to not use their drivers.

AMD is less of a nightmare on linux than it used to be. I still wince when I'm forced to install fglrx drivers on a user's PC, and it's still a huge pain in the butt to upgrade (especially on Arch), but at least you'll crash less than you used to. I still wouldn't recommend fglrx on a stable production system (after all, it's only been 10+ years, which isn't long enough for AMD to make stable drivers), but if you need 3D gaming, fglrx is still 250% faster than the free drivers.

I have to agree that the free and open radeonsi driver is so much more hazzle-free than catalyst on either platform. Still, the driver reliably kills my system in some games, in others texture is missing.

Games on nVidia have always been faster for me on Linux as well as far more stable.

But at least for me it takes a long time after every major Ubuntu release before I can get it working, and it's always more magic than real understanding. The most painful is that I have to do that every 6 months. Doing it once would be acceptable. So often I just use the onbaord Intel chip because it just works. But with many games it runs so hot that even my laptop screen gets a black mark on the side where the Intel chip is.

>> But at least for me it takes a long time after every major Ubuntu release before I can get it working

7 years with Ubuntu, I don't see that, what is it you're doing that makes it so difficult for you?

There's more in-depth information on the release notes: http://docs.cryengine.com/display/SDKDOC1/EaaS+3.8.1

> While you will still need Windows to use the Sandbox Editor


I suppose it's a good step forwards though.

Microsoft has pretty strict conformance tests for all DirectX drivers. Is there anything comparable qualitywise for Opengl drivers on Linux?

Not ATM, there's also a fuss about using closed source drivers/components.

Wine is major performance and feature hit since it attempts to translate DX API calls into OpenGL, many of the commercial GameOnLinux solutions are technically wine with slightly better profiles.

Engines with dedicated Linux support are still well kinda messy, graphically wise they might still have to make sacrifice mostly because OpenGL was in a political limbo for a decade and didn't kept up with DX graphical API.

But the biggest issue in many games for me was actually the controls, audio, and network code. DX is much more than just graphics and OpenGL doesn't cover audio, controls and network code. So unless your engine has discrete code to deal with that e.g. uses Steam Workshop or what ever Unity calls their set of API's you'll get quite a shitty experience.

I use OpenGL on nVidia proprietary on a GTX 660. I run many Steam games and some of them are Unity: 7 Days To Die, Beasts Of Prey, Dying Light, Metro Last Light, they all run great. In past years back when I ran Windows XP for games and dual booted into Ubuntu I ran Unreal 2004. One day it crashed (as it did sometimes ending in the BSOD) then I booted into Ubuntu and ran the Linux version and it ran faster and smoother and never crashed. That was the moment I decided it was time to go full time Ubuntu Linux.

Does it run Crysis? Apparently now Linux can.

Isn't Crytek not in good financial shape? Seems a bit risky to rely on them right now.

It seems Crytek sold a Cryengine license (maybe more) for 50-70 million USD to Amazon.


No doubt Steam / Value are offering enough incentive to make it worthwhile.

Somehow doubt this is the case, Crytek said they are following CDPR's footsteps and they are reforging their core business strategy to become an online publisher.

GOG at this point seems to be an actual threat to Valve's Steam, they got the right business model at this point to pull it off. If they'll still would've been as Good if they were in Valve's shoes i don't know.

But no DRM on any game, and an offset for regional pricing which means It's finally makes sense to me to buy games in GBP with a very good customer support policy makes me wish i could transfer my giant Steam library to GOG.

> GOG at this point seems to be an actual threat to Valve's Steam

GOG Galaxy is such a load. I tried reinstalling some games after I replaced a hard drive -- in order to get one game to work I had to dig into the GOG folders and manually run the installer myself. And then I had to redownload another entire game again to get the synced saved game files, because GOG Galaxy seemed to neither think that it was important to download my saved game files the first time or to make the saved game files available for download separately for the main game. There are very, very few people willing to put up with the level of inconvenience GOG Galaxy presents versus Steam just for the lack of DRM, so long as Steam keeps its DRM unobtrusive enough for most people not to notice it.

Not talking about GOG Galaxy at this point, but about GOG in general, steam was a steaming pile of crap the for quite a while i remember the outrage of having to install it to play HL2 and some other games like COD(2?) even when they came on a disk. I also remembering steam breaking entire game installations (which came on a freaking CD back in 2000 and change), losing my save files, changing localization of games, and heck even giving me grief when attempting to launch a game from a region other than it was purchased from.

Not to mention the thing i hate the most about steam is it getting it's nickers in a twist and refusing to go into an offline mode or launch games while in offline mode that weren't launched for X amount of time.

To this day every time i travel i keep cracks for all of my steam games that i might want to play while on a plane or in a hotel with poor internet connection, or just somewhere in the middle of nowhere like my GF's parents summer house in Iceland.

And the sad part? most of the people i know who both use steam and travel allot are still doing the same for any game which might have some weird pseudo online-DRM which cannot be launched without steam from the steamapps folder directly.

GOG in general has a much better user policy than steam, the regional price normalization alone is worth it this means that Europe and more importantly the UK which paid much more on games than the US due to currency exchange rate actually get a rebate to match the USD game price.

You also have 30 days refund for any purchase no questions asked, and ofc no DRM. And the fact that even with GOG Galaxy you can still do anything you want without a client makes this service better than steam.

How long will they be able to keep up with such generous user oriented policies i don't know, but for sure it looks better than steam atm.

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