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Graphics Intel Upgrades Linux Games

Valve Sponsors Work To Greatly Speed-Up Linux OpenGL Game Load Times 202

Posted by timothy
from the small-steps-add-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Valve Software has sponsored some interesting improvements developed by LunarG for the Mesa OpenGL library on Linux for deferred and threaded GLSL shader compilation. What these changes mean for users of the open-source Linux graphics drivers when running their favorite games is that OpenGL games now load a lot faster. As an example, the time from starting Dota 2 until the time actually being within the game is reduced by about 20 seconds on an Intel system. While Direct3D has offered similar functionality for a while, OpenGL has not, which has given it a bad reputation with regard to game load times until all shaders are compiled and cached — fortunately it's now addressed for OpenGL if using the Mesa Linux graphics drivers on a supported game."
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Valve Sponsors Work To Greatly Speed-Up Linux OpenGL Game Load Times

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  • by dingen (958134) on Monday May 05, 2014 @06:16AM (#46917555)

    So Linux sucks because anyone can improve it in the areas where they feel it is needed? Yeah, that does suck. Booo, Linux.

  • by dingen (958134) on Monday May 05, 2014 @06:29AM (#46917585)

    If nobody is willing to develop a certain feature, then maybe there isn't a real demand for it.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Monday May 05, 2014 @06:44AM (#46917623) Journal
    Well, there's no demand for this because there's a relatively convenient alternative. In this case, the alternative is Windows and DirectX. It doesn't really say a lot for Linux if this is what people are doing.
  • by dingen (958134) on Monday May 05, 2014 @06:52AM (#46917649)

    I doubt people are using Windows because of the deferred and threaded GLSL shader compilation. I think it has more to do with the fact games are barely available for Linux at all. And that also has little do with how shaders are precompiled I think.

    This feature just shaves off a few seconds during load time. That's great of course, but by no means a killer feature that previously has been a real problem for anyone. That's why the feature is late to the party and it is a gaming company who comes up with the patch, as they want their games to load faster. Makes sense, right? In no way I see how this makes Linux look bad.

  • by dingen (958134) on Monday May 05, 2014 @06:54AM (#46917651)

    How is it Linux fault that Microsoft doesn't provide Office or Adobe doesn't provide Photoshop for it?

  • by dingen (958134) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:03AM (#46917679)

    So hurray to Valve for fixing this and hurray to Linux for letting them, right?

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:06AM (#46917691)

    Well, there's no demand for this because there's a relatively convenient alternative. In this case, the alternative is Windows and DirectX. It doesn't really say a lot for Linux if this is what people are doing.

    Yes, exactly right. 3D gaming isn't some half-dead community with no revenue stream on other platforms. Hell, other platforms were created for gaming due to demand (From Atari to PS4), which has been going on for decades.

    In the meantime, the Linux community sat on the sidelines and assumed what everyone really wanted in any new distro...a new version of GNOME or KDE to keep other more "important" debates alive.

    While I can understand an efficiency within demand, it's rather odd that Linux still looks at 3D gaming like it's a 20-megapixel camera in a cell phone, when we in fact have 20-megapixel cameras in cell phones these days...

  • by Wootery (1087023) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:11AM (#46917715)

    Kinda, yeah. What we're seeing now is the breaking of the chicken-and-egg problem of gaming on Linux. Up until very recently, virtually no developers bothered developing games for Linux, because no-one does gaming in Linux. No-one ran Linux for gaming, because there were very few games for Linux (and the drivers were a pain).

    Up until recently, Linux had merely taken over the world when it came to servers and mobile (Android). Now it's being given a real shot at gaming.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:32AM (#46917799)

    The problem with OpenGL isn't speed or load times. Microsoft made directx so 3D programming in windows would be easier. It's just like C# or VBA. They made it much easier to use, and therefore much cheaper to hire for. If you're hiring people to write a new 3D engine using OpenGL you need people at the top of their field... If you're hiring for DirectX there are dozens of local tech colleges filled with mediocre talent that will fit the bill. Now, you could argue that you should be getting top talent anyways, but that's why you don't run a major game producers.

  • by crossmr (957846) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:59AM (#46917899) Journal

    Because linux isn't a cohesive platform. That's the problem. As I was googling around one of the staff at adobe mentioned last year that Linux lacked standardized APIs on a forum thread regarding photoshop on Linux.

    There is a perception that Linux is a bit like the wild west and in this day and age when you have stable mature platforms like Mac and Windows available, that's risky for developers. Even for big companies.

    The intrinsic connection they have is market share and having already been the platform for this programs for a long time. Linux needs to really step up and say "Hey we're ready look at us" but they haven't had that moment yet.

    Ubuntu is a step in the right direction. If a company with real money can get behind it and drive it to some kind of consumer ready level like Windows or Mac is, enthusiasts can still sit there and fork and tweak and do as they like, but getting a real ready version there that gets people's attention and wants to make people use it and develop for it is what will drive Linux's success.

    It might not be directly Linux's fault that Microsoft doesn't make office for Linux, but they just got office for IOS not that long ago. Who knows what kind of wrangling that took. But if I was someone like Canonical I'd see just how much money it would take to convince Microsoft to make it for linux and make that happen. I'd do the same with programs like Photoshop, and other major programs that have major user bases that are seen as core apps. Valve already seems like they're moving in the direction of taking care of games so I'd make sure I was meeting with them and getting everyone on the same page. They don't have to arrange all the programs. If they do a few core programs that reach a large percentage of the user base, the other programs will start to get ported to linux as user base picks up. For example if they paid to get photoshop and office ported and linux went from the low single digits its sitting around now on the desktop up to 20% or a little higher I think you'd see companies start to take notice and start to focus a little more on it.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:59AM (#46917903)

    I don't know what API Playstation games require.

    OpenGL. Just like WiiU, Android, iOS, and every other platform that isn't Microsoft.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Monday May 05, 2014 @09:31AM (#46918453)
    Yes, there are some dickheads in charge of major Linux projects that refuse to do things users want. There are also dickheads in charge of major Microsoft proejct that refuse to do things users want. Same with Apple, Adobe, Oracle, and many other companies.

    and no, it's not only used by cultists. It's used by smartphones, GPS, DVRs, servers, supercomputers, and other places. The desktop is more of an exception than a rule, but the desktop is the place where the OS is more visible.

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination -- but the combination is locked up in the safe. -- Peter DeVries

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