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Ask Slashdot: What Video Games Keep You From Using Linux? 951

skade88 writes "Everyone knows content is king. Many of us use Windows or OS X at home instead of Linux because the games we love just are not available on Linux. With Steam moving forward for a Linux launch, I would like to hear from the Slashdot community on this topic. What are the game(s) you cannot live without? If they were available in Linux would you be happy to run Linux instead of Windows or OS X?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Video Games Keep You From Using Linux?

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  • Guild Wars 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mynis01 ( 2448882 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @09:39PM (#42034995)
    I would love to be able to play GW2 on Linux, since it constitutes 99+% of the gaming that I do these days. Mass Effect 3 would be cool too, but I don't really play it much anymore. I'm looking forward to playing native versions of Portal and Left 4 Dead on Linux soon.
  • None (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yotto ( 590067 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @09:42PM (#42035037) Homepage

    I play a little (read: a lot of) Minecraft, which is available on Linux. The reason I started playing it in fact is because it was for Linux and that's all I had. I've also started accruing a library of games from Steam that I tend to not play, including a few games that I play online with friends. I suppose those games would keep me from switching back to Linux, all other things being equal.

    But in all honesty, I haven't switched back to Linux since Windows 7 came out because I don't mind using Windows 7. If it sucked, I'd be on Linux and no game could pull me back. But, much to the chagrin of many, Windows 7 is a pretty good OS and I have no problem using it even though I almost never play really serious games on my computer.

  • None (Score:5, Interesting)

    by connor4312 ( 2608277 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @09:46PM (#42035081)
    The only reason Windows still lurks in my computer is Photoshop. True, GIMP is good, but it just doesn't measure up in terms of features or speed of workflow.
  • Xwing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ashenkase ( 2008188 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @09:57PM (#42035227)
    • Tie Fighter
    • Xwing vs Tiefigher
    • Bwing
    • Xwing Alliance

    Any of those will do.

  • by NoEvidenZ ( 807374 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:02PM (#42035305)
    I can't deny that Linux would confuse a great number of users from Windows and Mac, but it has come a long way in recent years in terms of both usability and driver support. The only issue here is vendor support, and we can't forget that video games are driving the industry. nVidia doesn't keep making more powerful graphics cards so Microsoft Word will look better and run faster, they do it because the games and gamers want more power. If one big game developer made a game for Linux, drivers would be developed alongside the game and the industry would soon follow.
  • Re:Microsoft Office (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ninja59 ( 1029474 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:03PM (#42035311)
    I have found the opposite to be true. For a long time my new windows boxes at work were producing .docx files my clients could not open. This problem seems to have gone away, but I have occasional formatting problems going from windows office machine 1 to windows office machine 2. It is almost always a margins problem, I don't really know why. It might be something intrinsic to résumés.
    The only superiority that I personally have found in Office is in Power Point, and, again this is my personal opinion, Power Point presentations should be illegal. They might just be the pretties, most inefficient way to present real information.
    With the exception of large spread sheets, PDF is always the way to go. You can open them in browsers now a days and if I want it presented in a very specific way, I usually don't want anyone to edit it along the way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:10PM (#42035395)

    Nonsense. What do you even mean? Who programs directly to the sound subsystem?

    Using OpenAL goes a long way when it comes to support on Linux. We've managed to port our game to Linux with zero problems with sound. OpenAL is a requirement that Win, Mac, iOS, Android etc also support so this part of the porting process is bare minimum.

    Video on the other hand, is a real bitch on Linux. Frameworks like Qt rely on platform specific backends (phonon) and there is no de facto standard of a video player on Linux, let alone that the phonon plugin is installed.

    Setting aside technical issues, the real reason why Linux is not a target for game publishers, is that there is no market. People can rage all they want, but the moment there is no market, at all. Kudos for Valve's efforts, but Linux adoption is non-existent, especially among gamers. Indie games might have a shot at Linux, but sadly it seems more of a donation driven effort to bring games to linux than a market demand.


  • by Philotomy ( 1635267 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:13PM (#42035427)
    I'm already running Linux instead of Windows or OS X, so I guess my answer is "none of them." Games aren't very high on my software priority list. That said, I'd probably buy some titles, if they were available on Linux.
  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:17PM (#42035481)

    I agree. I've been able to get a lot of Windows games to run under Wine however it's always a PITA! There is Crossover but it still has it's issues as well. Frankly if they could get Halo or Borderlands to work well under Android, it wouldn't be much of a leap to get it on a Linux Distro.

  • by dohzer ( 867770 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:20PM (#42035503) Homepage

    How about Half-Life 2: Episode 3?

  • Currently? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:21PM (#42035513)

    Xcom 2012, Civ 5, Elemental Fallen Enchantress, Fallout New Vegas, Battlefield 3, and Medieval 2 Total War. Those are the games I've installed and play as the mood strikes me. However they aren't the only ones, I have a list of other games I own but haven't the time to play yet. More or less I want all of the games. I love games, and I own a ton.

    Games aren't the only things though, I'd also need Cakewalk Sonar (and affiliated plugins), or something very much like it, Native Instruments Kontakt and EastWest Play.

    I'd also need support for my hardware, some of which is a bit esoteric (like a MCU Pro).

    If I had a good DAW, good VIs, and all the games, I suppose I could consider switching. Of course I'd still need to be sold on a reason as to why, since personally I find Linux more frustrating to use.

    However it isn't as simple as one or two games. I want all of the games I have, and all the new ones that spark my fancy.

  • by stretch0611 ( 603238 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:33PM (#42035635) Journal

    Aside from a couple of great indie games, the majority of the games I've enjoyed in the past few months are not available for Linux.

    Actually, I feel the reverse... all of the games I have bought recently have been through the Humble Bundle which are all indie and all work on Linux. The few games that have not been through the Humble Bundle have been through and work on wine.

    The last big studio release I have bought was C&C 3. After that I just felt that DRM became too restrictive. (A big reason for buying humble bundle and GOG games.)

    I did buy one indie game about a year ago that did not work on Linux, and that was Torchlight. (which I recently was released under Linux through the humble bundle.) I actually ran Torchlight in a virtual machine.

    As suggested by the article, because I have not been beholden to windows only games, I have not used windows since XP.

  • Re:Microsoft Office (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:42PM (#42035749) Homepage

    Despite of all of the hype and gnashing of teeth, I have been able to do this with "other stuff" for over a decade. The idea that you can't use "other stuff" is just the same old mindless FUD we've been fed since the 80s.

    What constitutes "other stuff" doesn't matter so much. It doesn't matter what the license is. The same Lemming fear mongering will be directed at it.

    That's one of the most dissapointing aspects of using the monopoly product. All of that squandered potential.

  • It's not about games (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:45PM (#42035773) Journal

    I don't know the demographics, but it's really not games that's keeping me personally on Winders. I want Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Creative Suite (not freeware "alternatives", not fiddling around with Wine but those specific applications running natively on, hell, any Linux distro) and something reasonably like the full version of Nero. Give me those working well on Linux, and I will gladly leave Windows and never look back.

    If it's about content, let's port the prime content creators.

  • Re:Guild Wars 2 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cmdr_tofu ( 826352 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:21PM (#42036127) Homepage

    All I play is nethack and slashem (console mode) ;-)

  • by engun ( 1234934 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:35PM (#42036261)
    I don't think even that's the problem. I find that many things that work reasonably well in Windows and Mac OS X do not work properly on many Linux distributions. There may be understandable reasons for this, but in practical terms, it's a really big problem.

    For example, I have a docking station for my Lenovo X201. When I put my laptop on the docking station, it should automatically switch to the external display - at the correct resolution. When I open my laptop lid, it should activate both. When I boot up while docked and lid closed, only external display should come on at the correct resolution. About an year ago (which is when I tested last), it didn't do any of these things perfectly, It kept forgetting the resolution of the external display, and I had to keep readjusting it. Opening and closing the lid was a slow and unbearable affair.

    This is apart from the fact that the graphics are pretty sluggish, with occasional tearing etc. Scrolling and panning were also fairly slow. Intel drivers are correctly installed. The UI just doesn't have the polish and smoothness that Android, Windows and OS X do. The fonts are also pretty ugly by default, The buttons and layouts look squished or otherwise disproportionate. There are many many similar hiccups as the ones outlined above. As a point of comparison, I'll point out that I started using Mac OS X only recently, and have found it instantly more pleasant and intuitive to use, although I still find Windows to provide the most flexibility, especially when it comes to multi-monitor support.

    Android is a testament to the fact that fluid and beautiful desktops on Linux are entirely possible, on a range of hardware. I think KDE (my favourite) and Gnome just need to stop worrying about new features, and just polish their existing experience. Alternatively, maybe the trick to finally having Linux on the Desktop, is to have Android on the Desktop.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:36PM (#42036273)

    I had a comp setup for Lord of the Rings Online for my granddaughter to play on, and the latest release broke it. Turned out there was a bug in WINE that was found and fixed the next day, based on my report and others. However, the WINE developers were extremely arrogant, and accused me of slacking because I didn't have a full development environment and couldn't get the compiles to work correctly. Turned out to be an issue with multi-architecture setup under the current Ubuntu 64-bit release, trying to compile Wine for 32-bit use, which was required for LOTRO to work correctly. This was not a 10-minute fix. It took several days of work trying to get the Ubuntu system working under multi-arch, and I finally just gave up. How many days can you go telling a small child she can't play her game? So I installed Win8 and she's happy again. My office comp still runs Linux, but I refuse to recommend it for less-than-knowledgeable users.

  • Not a game (Score:4, Interesting)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:30AM (#42036717) Journal
    Not a game, but Microsoft OneNote. And it's not that it keeps me from using linux, but it does force me to keep a Windows partition that I'd rather do without.
  • Re:Microsoft Office (Score:4, Interesting)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @01:29AM (#42037095)

    Despite of all of the hype and gnashing of teeth, I have been able to do this with "other stuff" for over a decade. The idea that you can't use "other stuff" is just the same old mindless FUD we've been fed since the 80s.

    Is it? It's admittedly been a while since I checked, but does Libre/OpenOffice now include a decent equation editor that can export to PDF without looking like it passed through a cheese grater? Does it have conditional formatting that allows for more than three formats? Can that conditional formatting automatically scan the range of the data its being applied to and highlight outliers?

    Those are all essential tools for people doing serious work, and when I last checked OpenOffice (circa 2009), it had none of those features. Maybe they've made major strides over the past few years, in which please let me know so I can give them another try. But if not, then you need to learn that when users tell you that they need features X, Y, & Z, you should listen instead of dismissing their concerns as "mindless FUD".

  • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @01:32AM (#42037123)

    Not really, no. As Virtual Machine support becomes better and host machines become faster, it's *new* games that are a showstopper, not older games from 2+ years ago which can be run in a VM. But so far there's no VM that can properly run Borderlands 2, for example.
    Dual boot allows you to run only one operating system at a time, that doesn't work for me. With Windows as host OS and Linux as guest OS, I can suspend the guest and be gaming in 20 seconds. Compared to shutdown+restart+boot_the_other_OS procedure, it takes 1/20th of the time.
    Using dual-boot for gaming is like sex with an inflatable doll: by the time you finish inflating it, your boner turned into a wiener for a while already, you're tired and your mood is shitty.

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @01:57AM (#42037303)

    Turned out there was a bug in WINE that was found and fixed the next day, based on my report and others. However, the WINE developers were extremely arrogant, and accused me of slacking because I didn't have a full development environment and couldn't get the compiles to work correctly. Turned out to be an issue with multi-architecture setup under the current Ubuntu 64-bit release, trying to compile Wine for 32-bit use, which was required for LOTRO to work correctly. This was not a 10-minute fix. It took several days of work trying to get the Ubuntu system working under multi-arch, and I finally just gave up. How many days can you go telling a small child she can't play her game? So I installed Win8 and she's happy again. My office comp still runs Linux, but I refuse to recommend it for less-than-knowledgeable users.

    Ongoing breakage is a real problem with Wine. Wine needs to define a packaging system that installs an independent copy of Wine for each game. Let those that want to test the general purpose Wine continue to run their software in a system wide install. Let those that want a specific game/application to run install the version that is tweaked to run the specific application 100%.

    Users should be able to launch the installer, select the specific application that they want to install, and point to the Windows install files. What they should get is an application that just works. An application that has no connection to any other windows applications that are installed.

    If this is a concern, I would suggest paying the $35 or so a year to buy Crossover Linux [] which is exactly that.

    Codeweavers repackages WINE (they actually actively support WINE development - several WINE developers are actively employed at Codeweavers) to make it really simple to have specific environments for specific apps, and because you're paying for support, they're damn friendly as well.

    Had you used it, they probably would've got LOTRO working pretty damn fast with packages available easily.

    Yes, you can get WINE for free (and Codeweavers puts all their WINE changes back into the tree), but Codeweavers has made it really easy and simple to use.

    Not an employee, just someone who uses it and while apt-get'ing wine is easy and cheap, sometimes it helps to pay. And you're helping fund open-source development as well, never a bad thing. Even the WINE guys recommend them if you want paid support.

  • by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @03:45AM (#42037825) Homepage

    Well, these days, hardware support is a big one. I don't use Windows myself, but I had to help some friends reinstall Windows on an infected machine. It wouldn't even find drivers for the network card without network access and manual selection! When I popped in an Ubuntu memory stick, it detected everything. Even the fricking webcam was functional during the installation process.

    It's really amazing, considering that 7 years ago it was totally the other way around, you couldn't count on e.g. wireless cards working.

    That's one of the factors keeping me on Linux, I suppose. I bet if I tried to build a Windows gaming rig, I would be stuck in driver hell and/or end up with a half-broken, underperforming system.

  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @04:02AM (#42037911)

    So I installed Win8 and she's happy again. My office comp still runs Linux, but I refuse to recommend it for less-than-knowledgeable users.

    This assumes most users are quite knowledgeable about Windows already.

    You may consider me a troll here, but I've just got exposed to Windows again, and not having used it for over a decade (Win 98 was the last one I really used) I can say I'm quite inexperienced and unknowledgeable about Windows, while being quite knowledgeable about Linux and it's quirks and shortcomings.

    A week or two ago I bought a netbook, with Win7 starter on it. Oh my, what an experience. It was like my first steps in Linux, really, I don't have the feeling I'm really in control, know what I'm doing, or know what's going on. And it doesn't really appeal me, it feels like a big step back in time. I've used Windows before so I had some idea on how it works, but it's not easy.

    In the shop they changed the language for me from Chinese to English. For some reason this required a complete re-installation of Windows from the rescue partition, which took about 3/4 hours to complete. Just to change the language of the UI? Why can't you just do that upon login, so that different users have a different UI language on the same system?

    First of all in the shop they told me "HD is partitioned in two partitions, C and D". I think, cool, so user files go to D, and the system is on C. Well, no, the user files are on the C partition. In the shop I was about to ask something like "oh, so usr is mounted to D" when I realised that Windows doesn't do such things.

    So D was empty. What's the use of that? I don't know. It was convenient for me to install Linux on it, three flavours, just to test what works best on that netbook. I'd like to keep Windows, can come in handy.

    Back to Windows. It feels so incomplete, such a standard install. I wanted FF instead of IE, so had to hunt it down. I needed it to set up my WiFi printer, hunted down the drivers, and in the end got that working fine.

    If I need some piece of software, I have to start hunting. There is no central repository where you can download anything you could possibly need. E.g. I wanted to upgrade my phone, got a new OS image, which was in .7z format. Now I had to find 7z decompressor, and download it from some third-party site. I just have to trust all of them that this software is safe... at least a third-party repository has a case for keeping their content safe, these direct downloads have a case for adding viruses instead.

    The missus wants Chinese input. In a few clicks I had this enabled in Linux (Bodhi; a distro that I hadn't used before), in Windows I have no idea what to search for. I told her if she wants Windows with Chinese input she's on her own to install it, or just has to stick to Linux. She doesn't know how to install it either, so Linux it is.

    Some software that I now have installed every time I get asked "this software wants to make changes to your hard disk, allow?". What changes? I don't know. Why does it need special permission? Why all the time? What is it going to change? Which directory? An application should simply have access to the user's own files, and read access to system files, no more no less.

    Every time I connect my phone in USB mass storage mode, it starts to install drivers again. Why is that? I thought they were installed already? It is so irritating, and strange. I really wonder why it can't just retain the drivers it installed the previous time.

    Windows also has the habit of installing updates in the background, slowing down the whole system in the process, without asking or notifying this happens (while it's very good at giving lots of superfluous notifications elsewhere). I don't know how to change this.

    I miss simple tools like top, to see what's currently running. I have found a task list, the only way I know to get to this is via the ctrl-alt-del key combination, which also allows for reboot and so. Very str

  • by devent ( 1627873 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @04:54AM (#42038161) Homepage

    You could also flip the question around and ask what Linux stuff is keeping you from using Windows?

    That would be many many items on my list.
    First of all would be KDE.

    Then all the stuff where Windows sucks ass. For example with my Globe G3 stick: in Linux I plug the stick in and in 3 seconds I can connect using the network manager in KDE. In Windows I have first to wait until this stupid Globe Application have started, which takes about 20 seconds. Then it needs to discover the stick which takes another 20 seconds. Now I can connect.

    SSH in Linux is just plain simple: just enter ssh-add anywhere in a terminal and it works. In Windows you need this stupid GUI for that.

    Konsole and Yakuage as terminals. I am a Java developer and I use Git and Maven. In Linux console interface is just plain simple: F12 and I have a terminal in Yakuage. F4 and I have a terminal in the current directory in Dolphin. In Windows I travel back to 1990 to good old DOS times.

    Speed: In Linux I have nothing that holds me back. The system is 99,999% idle and all resources are used to my applications. In Windows the hard disk rattles all the time. For what? I don't know (no I don't have virus).

    In Linux I can use my encrypted RAID10 (3 hard disks, 1.5TB) that I can connect to USB and watch my movies or do my backup. Windows does not known anything about dm-raid, LUKS, LVM or ext4.

    Windows is for me just a toy system. Good enough to run my games. But nothing more.

    I play currently: Torchlight 2 and Tropico IV.

  • Roguelikes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bhaak1 ( 219906 ) * <> on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @05:29AM (#42038321) Homepage

    Vanilla NetHack hasn't had a release since 2003 but there have been several forks of it, one I did myself (look at my sig).

    Considering the "far better roguelikes" that's something just asking for a flame war but I guess he thinks about ToME4 [] or Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup [].

    ToME4's root go back a long time, originally an Angband variant but the 4th version separated completely from that heritage and created vast amounts of original content that makes Skyrim look like a coffee-break activity.

    Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is sort of an Anti-NetHack, trying to avoid many of the design mistake NetHack had. Like the needs for spoilers, that different races play the same in the long run, grinding, or that the game doesn't stay challenging after a certain point.

    DCSS and ToME4 are big games but in the last years there has been a trend to develop smaller roguelikes. Like DoomRL [] which is exactly what its title says or roguelikes for mobile devices like 100Rogues [] and POWDER [].

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly