Originally Published: Tuesday, 30 January 2001 Author: Jeff Mrochuk
Published to: enhance_articles_games/General Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Come Join Us

Loki games have been around for more than two years, but there's a problem. According to this article by Jeff Mrochuk, while Linux games are advanced and fun for most gamers who've tried them, low sales are still a problem for Loki. Does the average Linux user want to play games on his favorite system? Is he willing to pay for them? So far, the answer is discouraging for those in the business of designing great games.

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In August of 1998 a company called Loki Entertainment Software was formed, amid much rejoicing. The company had a dream of mass produced Linux gaming. For the most part, the company has succeeded.

Loki's success brought 11 released games, with four more coming, but there is still a snag.

There's a problem In Linux gaming, and it's not the companies that are bringing us the games. Its not the hardware support either. It's not the distributor, or the stores that refuse to carry the products. It's us, the Linux gamers.

We took Loki on a date, and Loki responded in a big way. And we didn't even buy Loki flowers.

Loki has been bringing us stellar games. The Linux ports have often been more bug-free than their originals. The problem is that the community is not giving back. It's not that we aren't trying, the answer is really in the numbers. The Linux community is small, the gaming portion only a tiny piece of that. Unlike the Windows gaming community, sales are not a guarantee.

Loki has also done great things for the open source part of this OS, including their projects like OpenAL, the first true 3D audio library for Linux; SDL, a complete multi-media develpment; API, a multiplatform set of C libraries and headers that can handle all input and output for a game; SMPEG, an mpeg video/audio player, and much more. Loki's Setup was also a big step in the right direction. It provides a standard graphical, and console, setup program for all of their games, which can be adapted to any other piece of software.

Often software companies having difficulty gaining a strong user base are putting out less-than-great products. With the Internet, word of popular games spreads like wildfire.

Unfortunately for Loki, despite their great quality, they have to fight a lot to get their products known. This has to change. The community needs to shine to improve Loki's sales. Gaming is something every Linux user should try. Unless you do, you'll never know if you'll like it! A lot of us spend hours hacking away at code on our Linux machines. Nothing relieves stress faster than a fast paced rocket battle. If everyone who read Slashdot bought a Loki game, we would be in a very different situation now. Basically we have to spread the wealth, turn on others to games so we can really build a foundation. PC gaming was a big time struggle to start as well, as back then, most eight-bit consoles out performed the newest PCs, and had a much bigger fan base. Now it's our turn.

Four of Loki's programmers have left the company, within the last two weeks. Where are they going? To bigger and better things, and I wish the best of luck to them all. I knew a few of them and I know they will do well. Yes, this leaves Loki short handed, but it is by no means the end. I hope one day fine programmers will be packing their bags to join Loki, one of those bigger and better things.

Loki is not the only fine gaming company for Linux, but at the moment they are the most significant. They currently have a much larger product line than the other companies, but our support should spread to all the companies, both those who port, and those who develop and port. The latter are definitely significant. We have to show those Windows developers that we are out here, and we will support their products on our OS of choice.

Grab a pixelated weapon of choice, and come join the mob. If you have not given any of the fine Loki games a shot, I urge you to pick one up. Quake 3: Arena, Unreal Tournament, Soldier of Fortune, and lots more. RPGs your bag? Try Myth II: Soulblighter, or Heroes III. How about your God games, try your luck at Civilization: Call to Power, SimCity 3000, or Railroad Tycoon II. Or you can go pre-order your copy of Tribes 2, Heavy Metal: FAKK2, Mindrover, or any of their other upcoming games.

Remember, no one ever got anywhere without a little help from their friends.

Jeff Mrochuk

Related links:
Loki's HomePage
Loki's Product Page
Loki's Open Source Development Page

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