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Left 4 Dead Demo Includes Linux Steam Client Libraries 217

SheeEttin writes "If you've been longing to play games from Steam on your Linux machine, you may not have to wait much longer — the Left 4 Dead demo includes some Linux libraries, in particular, one named '' While the game's full release does not include these libraries, their apparently accidental inclusion in the demo suggests that Steam games will have native Linux clients in the near future. (A job listing at Valve looking for someone whose responsibilities would include 'Port[ing] Windows-based games to the Linux platform' would seem to support this.) The libraries also include several strings nonessential to a pure server, including references to forgotten passwords. Hopefully, this indicates that at least some Valve-affiliated games will have native Linux clients."
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Left 4 Dead Demo Includes Linux Steam Client Libraries

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  • by evilNomad ( 807119 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @11:48AM (#25925121) is used by the dedicated linux servers to connect to steam and check for updates and such, it was probably just included by mistake..

  • Hold your horses (Score:4, Informative)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @11:51AM (#25925159) Homepage Journal

    Just because the Steam client may run native Linux doesn't mean that games will.
    I'd be surprised if the first offerings were more than the few games that will run under wine bundled with wine.
    And a game running under wine doesn't become a Linux game. Sorry, no.

  • by cjfs ( 1253208 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @11:53AM (#25925171) Homepage Journal is used by the dedicated linux servers to connect to steam and check for updates and such, it was probably just included by mistake..

    The article quotes a large string of names and says:

    These strings plus hundreds of other technically shouldn't be needed if this were simply for Linux server usage -- even though no Linux server binary ships with the Windows game on Steam.

    Not sure if that's reasonable grounds for their assumption, but is worth considering.

  • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) < ... NBSDom minus bsd> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:01PM (#25925225) Homepage

    People write inefficient code..
    Client apps that have absolutely no business being on a server make it to "servers" all the time, just look at all the cruft supposed server versions of windows come with.

  • wishful thinking (Score:5, Informative)

    by niteice ( 793961 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:48PM (#25925549) Journal
    I don't doubt that Valve has investigated the possibility of a native Linux client. However, Phoronix doesn't seem to be looking in the right places. Let's go through what they brought up from the perspective of someone who is familiar with the Source engine: - this is the ONLY interesting file. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that a majority is stubbed out and this is a remnant of the port of L4D to Steamworks - it uses a more generic library layout to work with any application, not tightly integrated with Source as before. Perhaps the server uses some functions in it to connect to the Steam master servers. That would explain why they only found it to be about half the size of the Windows version. - Valve calls their 3D model format a "studio model." I'm fairly certain that this file is stubbed out and only the model loader is available - the physics engine needs it to get at mesh data. - Valve's standard libraries. Routines and classes used throughout the engine. No surprise, it's been shipping as long as the dedicated server has. - The API into Steam. Again, probably a Steamworks artifact. Again, perhaps part is used by the dedicated server. - core engine functionality. Anything that isn't factored out into another library (there are about 45) exists in here. I'm fairly sure that typically, left4dead.exe connects to Steam, then loads this library to make stuff happen. Core client and server code (operation, not logic) is in here.

    Unfortunately, I have since removed the demo from my computer (bought the actual game, well worth it) and can't investigate these files any further. I don't think this is 100% indicative of Valve having a Linux client ready, but rather extreme extrapolation on Phoronix's part. I'm completely with them on wanting a client though.
  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:50PM (#25925575)
    whoa whoa whoa. Extra OEM licenses != extra licenses. Licenses purchased installed with a computer are limited to use with that computer. Even if you wipe it. If the argument is about being legal with windows, this is not a valid point. Secondly wine runs opengl games, even with steam fairly well, and it wasn't too hard to setup. Lastly and more importantly, games from valve are NOT expensive. In fact there was just a deal for all the games released from valve for 99.95. Yes, that's all the games, cs, cs:s, portal, hl, hl2, hl expansion, etc etc
  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:3, Informative)

    by cbrocious ( 764766 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:22PM (#25925883) Homepage
    Many, many engines support OpenGL. id tech 4 (Doom 3, Quake 4, Prey, etc) was pure OpenGL, Unreal's engine is always D3D and OGL, etc. The only big engine that doesn't support OGL is Source; even stock Gamebryo supports it, although many games opt not to ship with it (e.g. Oblivion, Morrowind (back when it was NetImmerse)) since they make internal changes and don't care about maintaining OGL support.
  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:4, Informative)

    by cbrocious ( 764766 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:24PM (#25925901) Homepage
    Wine doesn't support x64 code, so the only benefit you can get is having the full address space enabled (because the kernel can properly map memory).
  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:34PM (#25925993) Homepage

    Sound files are needed if your server uses sv_pure, AFAIK. The server needs all the game resources to compare files hashes with the hashes the client sends to be sure they're not replacing files. A common reason to use sv_pure would be to prevent TF2 cheaters from replacing, say, the soft "spy decloak" sound FX with a REALLY LOUD NOISE, which would make it a lot easier to hear any nearby spies.

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:3, Informative)

    by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:41PM (#25926059)

    id Software's engines are a very rare exception; Carmack, for some strange reason, likes OpenGL over DirectX. Unreal Engine 3 technically supports OpenGL, but their primary focus is on D3D as is just about everyone else's.

    Why? Because D3D is better than OpenGL in the majority of ways, enough that targeting the minute market of Linux is almost certainly not worth the hassle.

    And no, don't say "use SDL." SDL sucks, too. If you can seriously look at SDL next to DirectX and say that there's any valid comparison that doesn't involve a belly laugh, you do not belong in this conversation.

  • Re:How about OS X? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 29, 2008 @02:09PM (#25926313)

    Why be such an asshole?

    Are you so insecure than you can only feel good about yourself by insulting others?

    Poor little man.

  • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @02:56PM (#25926713)

    no, because the hacked client can do the same thing. The server hashes a random part of the file, and then tells the client to hash that same part.

  • by Doug52392 ( 1094585 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @03:02PM (#25926757)
    Among the libraries included in the L4D demo:

    I noticed this within the first hour after the demo came out while adjusting the configuration files.

    However, I was more surprised with the file:
    C:\Program files\Steam\SteamApps\Common\left 4 dead demo\left4dead\cfg\splitscreen_on.cfg:

    // PC Specific Splitscreen Performance Options
    // Currently these are all pretty much disabled because they muck with per-machine system settings.

    //cl_particle_fallback_base 3
    //cl_particle_fallback_multiplier 2.0

    // Leave flashlight depth texture on in PC splitscreen
    r_flashlightdepthtexture 1

    //r_shadowrendertotexture 0
    //r_shadowfromworldlights 0

    //cl_detaildist 450
    //cl_detailfade 150

    //r_drawmodeldecals 0
    //r_decals 512
    //r_decalstaticprops 0

    //cl_ragdoll_maxcount 0
    //sv_ragdoll_maxcount 0
    //ragdoll_sleepaftertime 3

    I thought "WTF!? Splitscreen on the PC???". Doesn't do much, since it's disabled, but it's worth pointing out.

  • Re:How about OS X? (Score:3, Informative)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @06:36PM (#25928195) Homepage

    Some developers are using CIDER to bring games to OSX, and I'm afraid I don't really see the problem with that. Whether or not it's "native" is somewhat a matter of what you mean by "native", since it's certainly not emulation. Relying on WINE isn't too far different from relying on a set of libraries that happen to not be installed by default.

    And when you run things on WINE, they run pretty fast and stable. You don't need to rely on Codeweavers, since they could simply test to make sure their software runs on the default install of WINE. It'd be one option for developers to provide cross-platform compatibility even if their primary development platform is Windows.

    Now I agree that, ideally, everyone would do real cross-platform development and make their games completely native on Linux and OSX as well. I'm just saying that if software developers are finding that it requires too much additional resources to do that outright, developing with WINE compatibility in mind might be a good middle-ground.

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:3, Informative)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @08:02PM (#25928659) Homepage

    The Wii uses a proprietary graphics library. It's probably closer to OpenGL than DirectX, though, and I bet someone has written a commercial OpenGL wrapper for it, as some people have been working on that in the homebrew world too.

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:3, Informative)

    by jfim ( 1167051 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @08:52PM (#25928937)

    How, exactly, is D3D "better" than OGL? The language is obtuse (a COM interface versus a simple state machine), amongst other things.

    It's not really obtuse, both APIs are functionally equivalent. The biggest difference between both is that D3D is object-oriented whereas OGL is just a C-style series of function calls(ie. the difference is direct3DDevice->Present() vs glSwap()).

    Also, D3D does not have an immediate mode, which is why OGL "seems" easier when looking at simple programs(immediate mode allows passing a single vertex by a call to glVertex). However, immediate mode does not reasonably scale, because the overhead of function calls quickly becomes the bottleneck with larger geometries and so you have to move into using vertex arrays(called vertex buffers, in D3D-speak), thus making your program very similar to the D3D one.

    As for which one is better, that's debatable. In the 90's, D3D was lagging behind with regards to newer functionality(there was a Carmack rant on how D3D didn't include some functionality and the OGL folks simply did an extension) but I believe the situation is reversed now. D3D does have the advantage of having PIX for free, which is a really nifty 3D debugging app(GarageGames wrote an article about it []).

  • Re:Just in time (Score:3, Informative)

    by PsyQ ( 87838 ) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @07:07AM (#25932019) Homepage

    If you run Steam through WINE and use Gecko as the HTML renderer, performance is much improved. The whole store feels lightning fast.

    If they did the same with their Linux version and perhaps used Gecko on Windows as well, maybe they could fix that problem.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"