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Company Seeks To Boost Linux Game Development With 3D Engine Giveaway 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-services-rendered dept.
binstream writes "To support Linux game development, Unigine Corp. announced a competition: it will give a free license for its Unigine engine to a seasoned team willing to work on a native Linux game. The company has been Linux-friendly from the very start; it released advanced GPU benchmarks (Heaven, Tropics, Sanctuary) for Linux before and is working on the OilRush strategy game that supports Linux as well."
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Company Seeks To Boost Linux Game Development With 3D Engine Giveaway

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  • When I read the headline I, foolishly perhaps, imagined a free-for-all release. Nonetheless this is excellent news!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Threni (635302)

      That's what I thought. Nice advert for the company, I guess. It's going to boost Linux development by precisely one game, in 18 months time, maybe....

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When I read the headline I thought "why would anyone care?" There are plenty of good, free engines out there already.

      ioquake3 [ioquake3.org]
      XreaL [xreal-project.net]
      Cube 2 [sauerbraten.org]
      Irrlicht [sourceforge.net]
      OGRE [ogre3d.org]
      Crystal Space [crystalspace3d.org]
      Blender [blender.org]
      Panda3D [panda3d.org]

      And if John Carmack doesn't go back on his word, id Tech 4 will soon be free.

  • by whiteboy86 (1930018) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:20PM (#34353864)
    We are now entering a transition period when the masses are starting to migrate to low-spec tablet computers from the PCs. The iPads, the new wave of Android tablets and such.. There is no need for the old PC-format packaged computer, the average joe consumer is quicky realizing that fact. The games that need gigs of memory, are CPU/GPU hungry, draw lot of power and require these 3D engines might not be such a hot genre to dive in and develop for right now.
    • by AnonGCB (1398517) <7spams.gmail@com> on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:34PM (#34353960)

      Yeah no. You have no idea what you're talking about. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see Steam be released for Android/iOS/mobile, and get a chunk of that market.

      • by Lucky75 (1265142) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:40PM (#34354018)
        Damn I wish I had mod points. Whiteboy86 seems to just be repeating the standard apple rhetoric. PC gaming is NOT dying. The quality of the games on a phone/tablet is no where near what it is on a PC. Full stop.
        • by Tromad (1741656) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:12AM (#34356626)

          Support for the notion that PC gaming is dying: Civilization V, Spore, Supreme Commander 2, Dragon Age 2 (maybe). All dumbed-down versions of their predecessors. The current selection of PC games at retail stores. The trend of UI for PC games. Mandatory online DRM for single player games. Lack of innovation in the past decade/consolidation of genres. Games run like shit even on modern PCs. "Ship now, patch later". Shift towards netbooks/phones/tablets.

          Support against the notion that PC gaming is dying: Steam holiday sales (AAA titles for poverty prices), wide-berth of indie games, probably more AAA titles released per year now more than ever, digital downloads, nearly the entire back catalog of PC games available to play (GOG) on modern hardware. Integrated graphics are good enough to play games from several years ago on minimal settings.

          Regardless of where you stand on the issue, one thing is for certain: PC gaming is definitely not like it used to be.

      • Aside from the fact that Apple won't allow Steam on iOS, I fail to see the need. On the PC, Steam was the first good app store. Game developers can use the iTunes App store (and get a better percentage than they do on Steam). On Android, maybe, since Google is pushing free apps with advertising, but the only advantage there would be supporting more countries. What would steam bring over existing app stores? Play and sync Plants vs Zombies on your phone and your pc?
        • by Culture20 (968837)

          What would steam bring over existing app stores? Play and sync Plants vs Zombies on your phone and your pc?

          Buy once, play everywhere? That's better than the iTunes+steam model where you have to buy once for each platform. Of course, iTunes makes more sense than steam since if Apple dies, your iPhone is quickly worthless. If steam somehow dies, your computers still work, but you can't install your software anymore.

        • What are you talking about? I've been playing Left 4 Dead2 on my Mac for months now.
    • Nice. I'm not sure I could manage offtopic, troll, and flamebait all at once. Go you!
    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      Laptops, which are more than capable gaming platforms, won't be going anywhere for a long time. Your iPad or Galaxy might be fun and might be a good substitute for some tasks, but I've yet to meet a single soul who has ditched their main PC for a tablet or smartphone.

      And while we're on the subject, tablets aren't exactly "low spec". Compared to the PCs of only a couple of years ago, these tablets can hold their own quite nicely. Maybe PC game devs might be forced to hold back on the bloat a little for the n

  • What surprises me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:35PM (#34353972) Journal
    What I find curious about the general poverty of the linux gaming scene is how the prerequisite elements that do exist seem to have come together much less well than I would have expected, even as, in other areas, the prerequisite elements come together better than I would expect.

    A lot of effort gets dumped into Linux and the software ecosystem that people generally mean when they say "linux"(gnome, KDE, prominent programs for both, etc.) A fair percentage of it is paid for(kernel work that makes it more suitable for vendor X's servers and vendor Y's embedded platforms, some Freedesktop consortium stuff, etc.); but much of it is purely voluntary, even the sort of thing that corporations might shy away from under the advice of their lawyers(swift reverse-engineering of iPod and MTP syncing, that one French physicist who single-handedly built support for about a bazillion pre-UVC webcams, etc.).

    Similarly, a lot of purely voluntary effort gets dumped into the modding scene. On occasion, a very prominent and successful mod team gets snapped up and goes pro; but that is a sucker's bet. There is a lot of hard, sometimes tedious, modding/art/game balance work going on around commercial games purely voluntarily.

    On the Linux side, support for cutting-edge, just-released games and engines is rather sparse; but there are a number of fully free engines and generic asset packs that have been kicking around for a while. All of ID's older engine properties have been cleaned up and open-ified, some from-scratch engines have as well, as well as a few other scratch developed or commercially abandoned projects.

    There exist the engines(not cutting edge; but adequate enough for reasonably pretty graphics), there exists a talent pool, as proven by the modders, and their exists a reasonable amount of volunteerism and paid-for-by-people-unconcerned-by-free-riders paid work in the linux ecosystem generally. Why does that so seldom come together on the Linux side? Are the modding tools with contemporary-release proprietary games just that superior to the tools available to the freed engines? Is the mass of potential gamers to turn into modders just that much larger on Windows? Something else?
    • Right on: you nailed it, clearly and succinctly and thoroughly.

      Although you didn't take an outright "call to arms" tone, I hope the ideas you are propounding get the attention and action they deserve.

    • by hedwards (940851) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:33PM (#34355010)
      It's a catch 22 sort of a situation. Which is why when I buy a game which is available on Mac, PC and Linux that I choose the Linux version or tell them that my main system is Linux.

      I have a copy of HoMM3 bought from Loki before they went belly up, unfortunate since the produce was quite well polished and plays just as well as the Windows copy I now own.

      More than that though, there's an awful lot of free Linux games out there, and Linux hasn't really drawn enough attention from either games or developers to make it a gaming platform. Crossover Games helps, but it's really not anywhere near good enough. Not to mention that the developer has no way of knowing that it's being played on Linux and that DRM schemes often foil it.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:38PM (#34355390) Homepage

      For one most of the people that are paid have employers that want them to focus on specific things, not in detail but I doubt they'd could sit around making games on company time. The other thing is that it's much easier to envision a mod of an existing game than a new game, and on Linux you're mostly talking about a new game. There's few existing communities today. The open source model has proven much more effective when there is a clear rally flag, the way FreeCiv is a clone of civilization.

      • by Yfrwlf (998822)
        I think you may have hit the nail on the head. I don't think it's anything like a lack of standards that is keeping there from being more open source Linux games, except good cross-distro installation standards (getting your game recognized by the software manager so you can control it, and even update it, using it), I think it's vision and organisation issues. Conveying one's vision for a game is difficult, and getting several developers to agree and want the same vision is pretty hard too. With somethi
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      The motivator for (most) people doing creative work is to have people see/experience their work.

      You can make a mod for a PC game, which thousands of people share and talk about, or make a game from scratch on Linux, which not only has a significantly smaller audience, but is actually a harder development process (modding on an existing game lets you re-use a *lot* of stuff you'd have to make yourself on Linux.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LingNoi (1066278)

      Most open source projects are only developed by one person. X.org for example has only 12 main contributors even through it's a 20+ year old project.

      This is why open source games never go anywhere because a game needs far more then one person working on it, people quickly get bored due to lack of progress and the project dies. I've seen it over and over again on open source games.

      Also I think this is a good guide that sums up the situation too.. http://cube.wikispaces.com/How+not+to+start+a+mod [wikispaces.com]

  • A nice gesture (Score:5, Interesting)

    by somenickname (1270442) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:37PM (#34353984)

    This is a nice gesture but, I don't really see it jump starting linux game development. I don't think linux will be considered a viable gaming market until a gigantic name like Blizzard starts releasing native linux clients. In fact, I think Blizzard could single handedly make linux a gaming platform. They already release OpenGL versions for the Mac so technologically, they are a short hop from a linux client rather than a giant leap. I wonder if thousands of e-mails to release Diablo 3 with a native linux client would be enough to persuade them to do it.

    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      s/Blizzard/Valve/g

    • Re:A nice gesture (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmai l . com> on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:03PM (#34354230) Homepage Journal

      World of Warcraft and many of their games run fine on Wine already. Eve Online officially supported their game in Linux for a while, and that was just Wine + their Client bundled together. If Blizzard officially recognized and supported their clients on Wine, that alone would be a huge win for Linux.

      And if Google is really pushing for greater success of Linux, helping advance Wine would help them.

      • by mqduck (232646)

        This seriously deserves some modpoints. While I'd prefer truly native GNU/Linux ports, I'd be a happy ducky if we could see "Made for Windows XP/Vista/7/Wine" on game boxes in the future.

      • Re:A nice gesture (Score:5, Insightful)

        by somenickname (1270442) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:19PM (#34355278)

        Official Wine support would certainly be a step in the right direction. I played WoW under Wine long ago and I got the impression that while it wasn't officially supported, it wasn't such an unsavory configuration that Blizzard would tell you to bugger off if you asked for support for it. I have no evidence to back this up but, I also got the impression that the desire to play WoW on linux gave the Wine project a very tangible flagship kind of "This Must Work" application. So, while I would love to see native linux clients, official Wine support would still be amazing and, possibly more beneficial to the linux community because of the side effects of having a better Wine.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Official Wine support would certainly be a step in the right direction. I played WoW under Wine long ago and I got the impression that while it wasn't officially supported, it wasn't such an unsavory configuration that Blizzard would tell you to bugger off if you asked for support for it. I have no evidence to back this up but, I also got the impression that the desire to play WoW on linux gave the Wine project a very tangible flagship kind of "This Must Work" application. So, while I would love to see nati

    • Re:A nice gesture (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gman003 (1693318) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:53PM (#34354656)

      Valve is another company that could do it. Importantly, they're currently porting all their major games to the Mac, which is a very good halfway point for porting to Linux. More importantly, they've been releasing Linux ports of their dedicated server software - no renderer or client software, meaning you can't actually play it, but that means a good chunk of the code is already there. Most importantly, though, Valve is pretty much in control of digital distribution, which is the ONLY way commercial games are going to come to Linux (many shops don't even stock Windows games anymore, let alone Linux) - and their current push onto the Mac is causing other companies to port there as well.

      Looking through my current Steam gamelist, I see 20-odd games that already have Linux ports, and another 30 or so that could be ported with less effort than normal. Now, not all of them are guaranteed to get a port - but even if half of them do, that's enough for 35 games on launch day, probably more (I used my "purchased games" list instead of the full "all games on Steam" list). That's enough for a pretty good launch, which would probably push other developers to either release ports, or hire someone to port it.

    • by mqduck (232646)

      They already release OpenGL versions for the Mac so technologically, they are a short hop from a linux client rather than a giant leap.

      That brings up an interesting point. If a developer knows they're going to make a Mac port, why in the world do they still write their game in Direct3D first?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gman003 (1693318)
        Performance. On Windows, Direct3D apps are faster. Not by much, but enough to be used. Also, the renderer itself is only a small part of the port. The main thing is optimization - fine-tuning it to run quickly and efficiently.
      • Because they can just wrap it up with Cider.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        That brings up an interesting point. If a developer knows they're going to make a Mac port, why in the world do they still write their game in Direct3D first?

        It's not an either/or problem. You can easily write your game engine to use either, and it's been done before. (For example, pretty much every game engine that exists ever in the last decade.) That way, you get higher performance on DirectX-supporting machines, and compatibility with more platforms, without having to change your core game code. This is

        • Galium3D is working on D3D11 support as a state tracker - i.e. native 3D performance, possibly faster than Windows, no tweaking the game engine.
    • Except that Blizzard has been releasing Mac games for nearly two decades now. Macs still aren't a real gaming platform. Why would Linux, which has a much smaller piece of the desktop market than Apple, suddenly become a gaming platform when Blizzard releases a game for it? You'd need a serious Linux EXCLUSIVE game to do that, and I don't see that happening.
      • I'm not really sure how to say this without using stereotypes but, linux users and mac users are generally very different types of people. While the installed user base of OSX is larger than linux, the percentage of hardcore gamers is probably much, much higher on linux. I think when you target OSX for games, you are targeting a platform. If you target linux, you are targeting a demographic: Nerds with copious amounts of free time.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DurendalMac (736637)
          Nonsense. If people were hardcore gamers then they wouldn't be running only Linux in the first place. There are some that run Linux and use games in Wine, but there aren't as many as you make out. Furthermore, those who do are usually savvy enough to get games running in Wine. Most Mac users have a hard time figuring out how to dual boot, and Crossover in OS X has much crappier performance than Wine in Linux. As such, combined with Apple having, at minimum, five times the marketshare as Linux on the desktop
          • I may not have made my point well but, I think a love of gaming and a curiosity of technology are attributes you'll often find together in a person. I admit that this is again generalizing but, buying a mac is practically a declaration of "I have no interest whatsoever in understanding how my computer works. I just want it to work" (In fact, that's basically what Mac ads say). If a curiosity of technology and gaming go hand in hand (which I think they do), then mac users are the most abysmal gaming marke

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by DurendalMac (736637)
              I have several friends who are pretty hardcore gamers. None of them are very interested in Linux. Why would they be? Everything they want to play runs fine in Windows. Furthermore, I've seen PLENTY of hardcore gamers who are utterly clueless. Why else would people blow money on Alienware? You are completely mistaken in thinking that hardcore gamers are interested in how a computer works. Most don't really care. They just want the computer to run their games.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Blakey Rat (99501)

          the percentage of hardcore gamers is probably much, much higher on linux.

          Hardcore gamers who (generally speaking) don't see anything wrong with pirating software. That little detail is pretty important.

          • the percentage of hardcore gamers is probably much, much higher on linux.

            Hardcore gamers who (generally speaking) don't see anything wrong with pirating software. That little detail is pretty important.

            That seems a bit disingenuous. There are philosophically crazy open source users and there are practical open source users. The latter almost certainly outweigh the former and they don't mind paying for a game. I've met far, far more "This just works better" linux users than I have "Fuck the man!" linux users.

            • by Blakey Rat (99501)

              Possibly, but the perception is the part that matters. It doesn't help that Mac game releases also generally have > 50% piracy rates if they're priced more than $15.

    • by walshy007 (906710)

      You do know that the WoW beta included a linux client as well as the windows one yes?

      Apparently the official reasons it was dropped for release were 'legal reasons'. Nobody knows if the port is kept up to date, however it is known that one point some of the developers were using the linux build on their own machines.

    • by SheeEttin (899897)

      Blizzard could single handedly make linux a gaming platform. They already release OpenGL versions for the Mac so technologically, they are a short hop from a linux client rather than a giant leap

      The Source engine does OpenGL on the Mac now too, so Valve is in the same position. The Steam client partially runs on Linux (natively, that is, not under Wine) too, although Valve is denying there's an actual Linux client for end users now. (Of course, Michael Larabel of Phoronix claims otherwise.)

      Time will tell

    • by Raenex (947668)

      This is a nice gesture

      No it isn't. It's completely self-serving (free publicity) and limited in nature. It costs them nothing to license an engine people weren't going to buy anyways, and get this: The first place team gets to keep using the engine for free for their game, but the runner-ups have to buy the license to keep working on their game:

      "The winner team will get a free binary license on Unigine engine for a single project on PC platform (Windows / Linux) with full access to technical support and updates.

      The teams that wi

  • No Thank You (Score:2, Informative)

    by goruka (1721094)
    I'd rather use alternatives such as Ogre3D [ogre3d.org] or Irrlitch [slashdot.org] even if not technologically advanced. I think that's the best way to support Linux-based game development, the same way Blender3D has been doing with their animated short films. Otherwise I feel the community will gain nothing from this. You know, what bugs the the most is that even though Unigine is closed sourced, It has never been used in any important industry title, despite being around for years.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Technology wise, Ogre3D is not behind, at least on the 3D engine front. Unigine might offer a few features that fall outside the strict 3D engine category, but I doubt the 3D part is any more advanced than Ogre's. Not being able to fix bugs or customize the engine is a major downside.

      Still, it's good that whoever might be using it for a game can now release a linux binary with minimal cost.

  • If you already have a fairly successful Linux game now, why wouldn't you put in a bid for this? It would take less work for you to port your game than one designed from scratch. And you can prove that you already know how to deliver on the Linux platform.

    That being said, shooters come and go. Their are 10 million. Even with shooters being the most popular genre typically, I think a great platform game would be more likely to steal headlines and gain attention.

    Retro-style platform games (New Super Mario Bros

    • God I'd kill for a new, well done, Commander Keen game.
    • Heh, I don't know if "everyone" would dive in. There are plenty of good retro games out there that have gone absolutely nowhere. You'd need to serious advertising dollars to have more than a scant chance of real success. Heck, I'm building an old-school party-based RPG (Think Bard's Tale) for Android and iOS once I either learn Cocoa or see if there are any good cross-compilers when I'm done, but I'm not betting on it doing more than making me a few bucks. It's fun to dream, but try to keep your expectation
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Even with shooters being the most popular genre typically,

      Here in the Real World (i.e. outside of Slashdot and our parents' basement), sports simulations are the most popular genre of game. I mean, no doubt shooters are popular, but Halo 3 has nothing on Madden.

  • meh (Score:4, Funny)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:11PM (#34354312) Journal
    there are plenty of FREE (as in GPL) 3D engines on Linux. These posers should take their closed-source engine and cram it up their ass.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Actually, that's probably one of Linux's biggest problems in that respect. People are used to getting really good games for free or not being able to have them at all without Wine. It's a tough cycle to break because somebody has to release something in order for it to be bought, and gamers expect to have something to play or they won't ditch Windows.

      It's getting a lot better than it used to be, the commercially available Linux games are far better than they used to be in every way.
    • Re:meh (Score:4, Funny)

      by DurendalMac (736637) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:26PM (#34355324)
      Yes, cry that someone is trying to help Linux development. Get pissed because they're not doing it in a way that YOU want.

      Zealots like you are exactly what is wrong with Linux right now. Linux can be free and open all you want, but when you expect software vendors to strictly do the same and badmouth those who don't, you're driving developers away. Less software = less users, plain and simple.
      • by WWWWolf (2428)

        Yes, cry that someone is trying to help Linux development. Get pissed because they're not doing it in a way that YOU want.

        I know it's easy to point out that "but it isn't GPL! waah!" is not exactly a good argument. Obviously.

        But I think it'd be much easier to say "but we already have GPL engines! waah! How does this contest inspire us to do something we were already avoiding doing?"

        The problem with open source games, or Linux gaming in general, isn't the lack of 3D engines. It's the lack of budget (time, effort, talent?) for creating nice game assets and developing the content. An engine donation isn't going to make the game i

    • by gman003 (1693318)
      Not of this level of quality. I've checked out many of the GPL engines, and they just aren't up to the level of quality of Unreal Engine 3 or Unigine. There's a lot of things open-source does better, but so far, game engines are not one of them.
    • I see plenty of free 3D engines around, yes, but most of them are rather inadequate for modern games. And like it or not, there's still quite plenty of gaming companies who prefer closed-source engines.

      I'm just saying that I personally do not care if the game is closed or not, or if parts of it are, as long as it looks good, has great gameplay, and is available for Linux. God knows we lack good games.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        I don't know if it is the engines so much as the crappy lack of ideas. Look at the list of engines another posters added above, how many are nothing but shitty Q3:Arena clones? On the Cube 2 page I got "We aren't focused on single player, but click here for a bunch making a great single player with our engine" or some such. What do I find on the link? project: dead.

        You come up with a kick ass single player with a good story, maybe some nice twist like Bioshock? Folks WILL notice. Crank out the same tired as

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kayoshiii (1099149)

      Please point me to a GPL game engine that supports DirectX11/OpenGL4 features.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Mutually exclusive items. Drop the DirectX part and you might have a little better luck, but lets face it, no self respecting GPL zealot is going to have anything related to Microsoft in it.

      • by Ant P. (974313)

        Please point me to a non-GPL game engine that supports those features and has actually produced a fun game.

      • by renoX (11677)

        Uhm, what good does it do to have the game engine supporting DirectX11/OpenGL4 features, when the drivers don't support those features?

        AFAIK we don't have Linux's drivers with those features..

  • why there is even a question of "Why isn't there more gaming on Linux?" Look at how many desktops Linux currently occupies. I don't have the numbers in front of me but it's pretty small compared to Windows and Mac. Now look at how many of those users are going to be interested in playing games. Comparatively, not many. Hell, they already chose a free OS with mostly free apps, why would they pay for a game? The logic may not necessarily hold up, but I can imagine thats how the game companies see it. N
    • Linux users do pay for games: blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Linux-users-contribute-twice-as-much-as-Windows-users But yes, there are a relatively small number of linux consumer desktops.
  • In my opinion, being Linux-friendly *cannot* exclude being Open-Source and GPL-friendly, as these are really the heart and soul of Linux. Releasing a free *license* is not like releasing the source code. This should not be applauded.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Yep, turn away any help you can get because you have a retarded political agenda that says if you don't get the keys to the entire hotel, you won't spend the night there.

      You'll continue to be looking for a room while you stand in the rain, more or less alone.

      Linux can't make progress with ignorance like yours. You should probably learn to accept that people can use Linux for things you don't agree with, thats what FREEDOM is about.

      You don't want software freedom, you want free software because you're too c

      • by jgrahn (181062)

        You don't want software freedom, you want free software because you're too cheap to pay for it. OSS and GPL are just the mask you hide behind.

        What an odd thing to say to someone who just dismissed a free-as-in-beer offer!

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