Originally Published: Wednesday, 21 February 2001 Author: IRC Staff
Published to: interact_articles_irc_recap/IRC Recap Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Bioware and Creature Labs discuss what's up with games for Linux

Earlier today we saw the Live! event entitled "Commercial Linux Games: Where are they?" unfold on IRC. For those of you who missed the event the link below will take you to the transcript. Be sure to check out the Live! Calendar for more upcoming events.

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Earlier today we saw the Live! event entitled "Commercial Linux Games: Where are they?" unfold on IRC. For those of you who missed the event the link below will take you to the transcript. Be sure to check out the Live! Calendar for more upcoming events.
Commercial Linux Games: Where are they?

This is an open discussion on Linux games and the commercial industry. We'll be discussing topics such as what the buyer wants and what the companies perceive they want. We'll also be discussing different aspects of the gaming world, looking at it from the frustration of the developer to issues with support. BioWare and Creature Labs are also going to be there to discuss why their latest games will be released for Linux.

10:53.29 <BioTrent> There seems to be a few of us, doesn't there.
10:53.32 <Wintersun> wow, we have quite a nice turn out from BioWare. Thank you for taking the time guys. :)
10:54.05 <BioTrent> No Problem
10:54.15 <siapash> No problem
10:54.17 <muks> http://www.neverwinternights.com/gallery.html looks beautiful ;)
10:54.20 <siapash> My first Live! event anyway
10:54.30 <BioTrent> Thanks for the plug
10:54.37 <siapash> <info> Please don't repeat.
10:54.40 <siapash> Hmm
10:54.47 <siapash> :)
10:56.56 <Wintersun> We'll be starting in about 5-10 minutes. We unfortunately ran into a problem when Ross, our moderator, had a small emergency to take care of.
10:57.04 <Wintersun> He'll be here as soon as he can.
10:57.16 <BioTrent> Gotta love small scale appliance fires
10:57.17 * BioDon slaps BioHoward around a bit with a large trout
10:57.28 <BioBrad> Oh no...here we go...
10:57.53 * siapash slaps BioDon around a bit with a large truck
10:58.07 <Wintersun> BioTrent: heh. not quite. He had to take his wife to work.
10:59.16 <muks> can i ask technical questions as well?
10:59.18 * muks runs
10:59.26 <siapash> muks: lol
11:00.01 <cle> mmmm. creeeeaaaatuuuures.
11:00.02 <Wintersun> Lisa_Clabs: And you would be from Creature Labs? :)
11:00.15 <Lisa_Clabs> That's me. Lisa de Araujo from Creature Labs
11:00.25 <BioTrent> Hello Lisa
11:00.31 <wolf_fire> Sorry i'm late folks!
11:00.33 <Lisa_Clabs> Hello Biodudes...
11:00.40 <BioScott> Hi Lisa, were you at game dev last year?
11:00.41 <Wintersun> perfect timing wolf_fire
11:00.44 <muks> Lisa_Clabs: welcome. any more coming from clabs?
11:00.52 <wolf_fire> had to take my wife to work and got hit with every single red light
11:01.02 <Lisa_Clabs> No. I was at the Interactive conference in LA however...
11:01.13 <BioScott> Sorry missed that one
11:01.16 <Lisa_Clabs> No, muks, no one else.
11:01.36 <BioBrad> Hey Lisa...I was at that conf...good talk you gave!
11:01.42 <wolf_fire> ok introductions ?
11:01.48 <Lisa_Clabs> Hi Brad! Thanks!
11:01.55 <Wintersun> yes, introductions would be good.
11:02.05 <Wintersun> Okay, I believe we're ready to start!
11:02.29 * muks gets his pencil and paper ready
11:02.32 <wolf_fire> Lisa is from Creature Labs, the producers and developers of the very famous games of the Creatures series
11:02.40 <wolf_fire> from the UK i might add
11:03.08 <Lisa_Clabs> Lisa de Araujo, marketing manager at Creature Labs, to be precise ;-)
11:03.15 <wolf_fire> our Bio friends are from Bioware, the producers of the Baldur's Gate series
11:03.28 <wolf_fire> BG being my most favorite of RPGs
11:03.39 <BioBrad> Brad Grier - BioWare Communications Manager - I do PR :-) - and we're in Canada
11:03.46 <BioTrent> I'm Trent Oster, Producer of Neverwinter Nights
11:04.07 <BioDon> Don Yakielashek, Assistant Lead Programmer on Neverwinter Nights
11:04.19 <BioHoward> I'm Howard Chung, programmer on Neverwinter Nights.
11:04.38 <BioScott> I'm Scott Greig the Lead programmer for Neverwinter Nights.
11:04.52 <wolf_fire> great! glad to meet you all
11:05.18 <wolf_fire> and glad for all of you from Creature Labs and Bioware to come be with us today!
11:05.34 <wolf_fire> now let's get some ground work together
11:05.54 <wolf_fire> Lisa, can you tell us about the forthcoming Creatures (3) for Linux?
11:06.38 <Lisa_Clabs> Well, we're actually still at the investigative stage of releasing C3 on Linux
11:07.07 <Lisa_Clabs> I'm hoping that this round table will assist us in making the final decision: how?
11:07.18 <wolf_fire> what have you discovered in your investgations so far if i might ask?
11:07.20 <Frapazoid> how?
11:07.42 <Lisa_Clabs> (Sorry, frap, got confused with myself)
11:08.00 <Lisa_Clabs> So far, porting to Linux hasn't been a problem...
11:08.24 <Lisa_Clabs> It's been a labour of love (as I like to say) of two of our lead progammers
11:08.50 <Lisa_Clabs> They did it in their spare time and simply presented it as fait accompli
11:09.06 <Lisa_Clabs> So, now we have a product, but no clear route to market.
11:09.25 <wolf_fire> i find the best programs are those that are "labors" of love
11:09.45 <Frapazoid> you could package it on the same cd as the windows version...
11:09.46 <wolf_fire> and the clear route we hope to find here today
11:10.09 <wolf_fire> Frap, please hold comments to the end or ask myself or one of the other moderators to comment
11:10.12 <Frapazoid> oh
11:10.15 <Frapazoid> sorry
11:10.17 <wolf_fire> np
11:10.38 <wolf_fire> Biodudes, how about a taste of NerverWinterNights?
11:10.50 <wolf_fire> what's up with yall there on the Linux side?
11:10.59 <Briareos> boo
11:11.12 <rnx> briareos, tesmako
11:11.18 <tesmako> rnx, Briareos
11:11.19 <BioTrent> Howard is the man on the NWN Linux side
11:11.38 <BioHoward> It's been going relatively smoothly.
11:11.49 * icculus is on the "Linux side", apperently.
11:11.57 <BioTrent> We decided from day one to port NWN to many different platforms
11:12.13 <BioTrent> Linux was a target platform for us from the start
11:12.14 <BioScott> We are pretty much doing parallel developement but the linux version is ussually running a few weeks behind.
11:12.42 <wolf_fire> what do you feel is causing the lag?
11:12.48 <Briareos> are you guys spending so much time on your platform layer that it matters?
11:13.00 * Briareos counts the #loki and #sdl'ers
11:13.13 <wolf_fire> Briareos: comments at the end please
11:13.24 <BioScott> When we get a stable build on the windows side we copy the source over and update the linux version.
11:13.34 <wolf_fire> or ask one of the moderators first
11:13.34 <terracon> you should go moderated now than
11:14.07 <siapash> sssssh
11:14.10 <siapash> :)
11:14.26 <BioScott> We usually don't have any real problems updating the linux version, but every now and then it reveils a problem that slipped past the windows version.
11:14.27 <wolf_fire> so basically you are writing the Windows coding first and then porting what you have
11:14.28 <muks> yes.. we are going moderated now. please /msg wolf_fire with your questions, etc.
11:14.39 <BioScott> Yes.
11:14.41 <BioTrent> Some of our early work was actually deon on Linux before it made it to the windows side
11:14.46 <BioDon> The majority of our code compiles on all platforms, so we just have to make updates when new platform specific things are added.
11:15.14 <wolf_fire> such as hardware interfaces i would assume
11:15.24 <BioScott> We spent a few months at the beginning of the project porting the framework over to all the platforms
11:16.11 <BioScott> Ussually it's just tracking down driver bugs and weird compatiblity issues within our own code.
11:16.28 <BioDon> S
11:16.42 <wolf_fire> so as developers, what do you see as the biggest problem in developing games for Linux (outside of the marketing issue and support)
11:17.42 <BioTrent> I would have to say a lack of interest on the publisher side in multiple platform development
11:17.56 <BioScott> In my personal opinion, I feel that the industry as a whole is unsure if porting to Linux actually sells significantly more copies.
11:18.27 <BioScott> Anyone want to comment on that?
11:18.51 <wolf_fire> msg me and i'll give you voice if you want to comment on that one
11:19.04 <Lisa_Clabs> For us, the decision to even consider Linux as a platform is so late on that many projects are already too far into development to help the process along.
11:19.30 <wolf_fire> go ahead hercT2
11:19.34 <BioDon> Yes, Lisa. If you have to do it at the end it becomes real hard to justify.
11:19.48 <Lisa_Clabs> And even harder to do!
11:19.48 <hercT2> What do you mean by significantly more copies?
11:20.13 <BioTrent> Yeah SCott, what do you mean?
11:20.17 <BioScott> We feel that linux user base is more significant than most publishers give them credit for. They may not buy a lot copies but they will certainly promote their favorate programs by word of mouth.
11:20.45 <wolf_fire> go ahead, Krelin
11:20.50 * hercT2 nods
11:21.11 <wolf_fire> does that answer your question, herc?
11:21.11 <_Krelin> I would tend to agree with BioScott on that... It's tough to get buy-in on Linux ports of games when the market seems so much smaller
11:21.12 <Lisa_Clabs> Publishers depend on past history...
11:21.13 <BioScott> What I mean is does the extra copies sold pay for the cost of porting the product?
11:21.28 <Lisa_Clabs> They're not known for their risk0taking!
11:21.40 <_Krelin> And it's nearly impossible if you've not engineered portability from the beginning.
11:21.48 <muks> the reason why linux games don't sell could be cause the windows version is already available by then, with data files, etc. and binaries for the linux version are often posted freely on the net. so a full packaged linux version may not sell so much (take Q3 for instance)
11:22.15 <Lisa_Clabs> We've found it's a vicious circle...
11:22.29 <BioTrent> With NWN we started from day one planning a multi-platform architecture, so porting is easier and cheaper for NWN
11:22.55 <Lisa_Clabs> Publishers don't want to publish Linux, stores don't have the demand. You can't even find Mac games on the shelves in the UK.
11:23.04 <wolf_fire> very smart Trent
11:23.10 <BioTrent> Porting a pure windows app would really be painful
11:23.19 <BioScott> I feel that the support that we have received from the Linux community has definitly made it worth while
11:23.26 <BioTrent> We just decided it made sense.
11:23.46 <BioScott> This was one of the first technical decisions that we made on the project.
11:23.51 <Lisa_Clabs> So, Trent, do you do hybrid disks?
11:23.52 <_Krelin> Devel questions: 1) Have you guys used any open source libraries in developing NWN? If so, what? Have you encountered weirdness with the licensing issues? If not, why not? Would having a solid DirectX level library freely (and unencumbered) for Linux help?
11:24.04 <BioTrent> Our plans also hinge on all versions of the game working across operating systems
11:24.40 <BioScott> Our graphics system is based around OpenGL and we are currently looking at OpenAL for sound system.
11:24.44 <wolf_fire> good solid questions, Krelin
11:25.09 <BioTrent> Our plans to go multi-platform killed any thoughts of Direct X development quite early
11:25.53 <BioScott> OpenGl was a good choice because it works on all our target platforms. Of course the way we set up the graphics engine, we could port it to directx fairly easily if we had to.
11:26.13 <BioDon> Yes, DirectX locks you to Windows. Early on we prevented that problem.
11:26.25 <Briareos> No DirectPlay then?
11:26.41 <BioDon> No, we are using the standard socket library.
11:26.51 <Briareos> IS the level editor a separate binary?
11:26.58 <Briareos> If so, will it be available for Linux?
11:27.28 <BioTrent> Yes, the toolset is a seperate binary.
11:27.53 <BioTrent> We are building the tool in Borland ( Inprise now) C++ Builder
11:28.14 <BioTrent> They are talking about supporting Linux, we just haven't seen it yet
11:28.33 <gltron> I frequently discover hidden bugs in my own software when I try to run it on other platforms (win32 or macos). Wouldn't that alone almost justify multi-platform development?
11:28.37 <BioDon> Actually its Borland again. heh
11:29.19 <BioTrent> It does help. Anything even slightly fishy that works on one platform usually blows up on another
11:29.19 <BioDon> Gltron, yes when I ported to BeOS I found alot of bugs.
11:30.27 <Frapazoid> Do you use SDL?
11:30.38 <Frapazoid> either bioware or creature labs?
11:30.46 <CylentWolf> Ahhh I am glad my favorite game company and my favorite dev tools company is working together. Hello Trent, Don, and Brad. Hopefully I will see you at e3 this year. Here is my question...Kylix you going to use it or no?
11:31.05 <Lisa_Clabs> We use SDL, yes. For non-DirectX platforms, at least.
11:31.19 <Frapazoid> is that difficult to port between platforms with sdl?
11:31.31 * hercT2 waves (primary author of SDL)
11:31.38 <muks> heh
11:31.46 <_Krelin> How dramatically do you think multiplatform development has affected your schedule (in terms of actual ship-date, and cost)? (from Creatures or Bio)
11:32.01 <BioDon> We haven't looked at Kylix yet, but we are very interested in looking at he C++Builder version when its available.
11:32.07 <Lisa_Clabs> LOL. None at all. They did it in their spare time!
11:32.30 <Frapazoid> hercT2; well, then do you know? i'm just wondering.. I read it allows single source developement on all platforms
11:32.34 <Frapazoid> is that true?
11:32.37 <Crusader> Has Interplay stated they would allow all supported platform binaries to ship in-box? The reason I ask is that their is a traditional reticence for this, due to support reprecussions....
11:32.46 <Crusader> there rather
11:32.48 <CylentWolf> Will the linux version have climbing and swimming? :)
11:32.57 <BioTrent> Our cost so far has been farily low, just one guy a few hours here and there now.
11:33.20 <gltron> The 3d drivers situation is a horror under linux right now. Could you imagine your company helping to fund an equivalent for GLsetup for linux/Xfree86
11:33.35 <Frapazoid> now really, in my opinion...
11:33.39 <BioScott> It really hasn't cost any delays because we scheduled an additional programmer right from the begining. If we weren't porting the game wouldn't be out any sooner but it would have cost us slightly less.
11:33.50 <Frapazoid> X4.0.2 really goes a long way to solve many 3d problems
11:34.14 <BioTrent> Drivers usually the major issue on all platforms
11:34.47 <wolf_fire> it's a pertinent question since the dissolution of 3dfx however... OpenGL and the Voodoo series doesn't work so well and many games do not support Glide 3
11:34.48 <gltron> 'get the latest directx / glsetup' usually solved all my support headaches on win32
11:34.50 <BioTrent> Good drivers on non-windows platforms are less frequently released than windows drivers
11:34.55 <Frapazoid> of course, opengl isn't as widely supported as directx anyway
11:35.20 <Frapazoid> wolf_fire; that doesn't matter
11:35.28 <Frapazoid> wolf_fire; games don;t need to support glide
11:35.31 <wolf_fire> it does if you own a Voodoo3
11:35.37 <Frapazoid> no
11:35.40 <Frapazoid> i own a voodoo3
11:35.40 <wolf_fire> anyway, let's move on
11:35.58 <Frapazoid> they only need to support opengl on the new x4 drivers
11:36.22 <wolf_fire> Creature Labs, and Bioware: do you have any words of wisdom for any would be games developers out ther in the Linux genre?
11:36.29 <Lisa_Clabs> I'm interested to know if Bioware ships multiplatform CDs
11:36.41 <Crusader> Lisa_Clabs: same :)
11:36.47 <Crusader> hence the question, hehe
11:36.51 <wolf_fire> yes, a good question that too
11:37.09 <BioTrent> NWN is our first multiplatform title, so to date we haven't shipped a mulit platform CD
11:37.11 <Frapazoid> that would make the linux version much easier to find
11:37.13 <BioScott> We honestly don't know yet. It's pretty much up to our publisher.
11:37.20 <muks> if there were new features you'd wish in hardware, what would they be?
11:37.29 <Lisa_Clabs> Shoot. Doesn't help me much ;-)
11:37.55 <BioTrent> We chatted with a few Blizzard fellows briefly about the Mac/PC Hybrid for Diablo II, but so far we are just planning.
11:38.02 <Crusader> ok, thanks
11:38.11 <BioTrent> Our goal is one CD, one box
11:38.23 <madcat`> terminus shipped on a multi-platform cd
11:38.26 <Lisa_Clabs> Do you have any alternative plans for marketing the Linux version?
11:38.28 <Crusader> What about support?
11:38.35 <madcat`> it had windows, mac, and linux on the same cd
11:38.36 <BioDon> Here's a question. Are linux users less demanding for technical support?
11:38.57 <Crusader> I think the loki QA guys here could answer that
11:38.58 <Crusader> hehe
11:39.07 <Crusader> yoda?
11:39.10 <Judecca-> No loki QA here
11:39.12 <wolf_fire> i find that personally, i do my research more as a LInux user than as a Windows user
11:39.25 <Judecca-> Oh missed yoda
11:39.29 * Crusader pokes yoda
11:39.31 <Crusader> wake up
11:39.35 <Lisa_Clabs> We're making a few assumptions about that...
11:39.38 <BioTrent> We are making an effort to do extra marketing on the Linux side
11:39.44 <BioDon> PC publishers are not set up to handle linux support.
11:39.47 <Crusader> BioTrent: that's great to hear
11:39.59 <Lisa_Clabs> We find that Creatures appeals to a more technically 'clued up' user...
11:40.00 <Frapazoid> that's great...
11:40.07 <gltron> BioBon: most linux users are used to trying hard themselves first
11:40.14 <BioBrad> Lisa, the Linux marketing plan is a component of the overall NWN marketing plan, but Linux is identified as a significant target market, and is being addressed as such.
11:40.19 <yoda> one sec, reading buffer
11:40.19 <Frapazoid> on the sc3k offical webpage, you will NEVER see linux mentioned anywhere
11:40.36 <Lisa_Clabs> and often this means they 'fiddle' with the game and the scripting...
11:40.40 <CylentWolf> Question: Will the game be finished before the c++ version of Kylix comes out or are you planning on using that all along?
11:41.05 <Lisa_Clabs> we've found our developer network helps a huge amount with support issues as a result and hope the same would work for Linux...
11:41.33 <Lisa_Clabs> we have always done most of our own customer support
11:41.45 <yoda> tech support is pretty demanding for linux
11:41.57 <BioDon> The announcement of Kylix was a surprise for us and happened after we started the toolset. We are waiting to see how it works for us.
11:42.08 <Frapazoid> yes, but as previously mentioned, most linux users help each other or support themselves
11:42.17 <yoda> the users are more demanding and less satisified with solutions that are beyond the companies control
11:42.28 <heimdall> Speaking as Loki Support, I would say that the "clueless" users are less frequent -- but clueful users are often *more* demanding on the service that is expected.
11:42.36 <wolf_fire> for the moment direct voice requests to Wintersun, i have to ummm... attend to ... things
11:42.42 <CylentWolf> Don: has there been anything that you wanted in the toolset that was a real hassle to port over to linux?
11:42.56 <Judecca-> I can moderate as well, if needed
11:43.06 <BioTrent> We spend a fair amount of effort doing project support
11:43.14 <Lisa_Clabs> heimdall, I can definitely believe that! Our users are demanding, but they're also willing to help each other.
11:43.25 <BioTrent> With four different platforms this is going to be an issue
11:43.38 <Frapazoid> 4?
11:43.47 <Frapazoid> are you supporting beos, too?
11:43.54 <Crusader> yep
11:43.55 <BioTrent> NWN is going to Windows, Linux, Beos and Mac
11:43.59 <heimdall> Fortunately, our users are also very very good about helping each other. Community forums (such as newsgroups) are, frankly, a necessity.
11:44.01 <muks> osx?
11:44.02 <yoda> one of the most difficult things we have to deal with are users who either a) want their games to run on their older libraries and aren't willing to change, or b) don't understand that drivers are in a constant state of development, and may or may not be working at any given time
11:44.29 <Lisa_Clabs> I understand that BeOS, Mac and Linux are pretty close anyway.
11:44.31 <yoda> older == libc5, for instance
11:44.35 <Frapazoid> the driver and software developement sometimes seems too fast
11:44.59 <BioTrent> Porting is the hardest for the first platform, after that it gets easier
11:45.00 <Frapazoid> of course, the 3d driver developement on my card has pretty much stopped
11:45.11 <BioHoward> We're working on carbonizing NWN to get it to run under OS X.
11:45.17 <Lisa_Clabs> heimdall, cool. That's one weight off my mind, at least.
11:45.40 <BioTrent> I'd have to agree about the user groups
11:45.55 <BioTrent> Enlisting people who play the game to aid in support is invaluable
11:46.00 <yoda> yes, it is
11:46.15 <muks> BioHoward: the various bsd flavours and linux.. are there many things to take care of among these platforms? do games port well among these?
11:46.15 <Frapazoid> user groups are a must..
11:46.25 <wolf_fire> ok i'm back
11:46.30 <Lisa_Clabs> Especially with complex, in-depth games.
11:46.36 <Frapazoid> if you use them, use the pop3 news servers
11:46.41 <Frapazoid> like loki does
11:47.07 <Frapazoid> web based newsgroups (from my experience) tend work pretty poorly
11:47.15 <BioHoward> So far we've been developing under Red Hat.
11:47.32 <Lisa_Clabs> I've heard about 50/50 on the newsgroup issue, Frap.
11:48.01 <Crusader> I prefer NNTP, but that's just me
11:48.01 <BioTrent> We like to set up and maintain a project specfic message board system
11:48.32 <madcat`> have you tested under any other linux flavour other then red hat?
11:48.33 <Frapazoid> Crusader; that may be what i'm talking about.. i have no idea what the system is called
11:48.40 <Crusader> usenet
11:48.57 <Judecca-> Anyway
11:49.21 <Lisa_Clabs> Obviously, 'old hats' prefer NNTP, but newbies like web forums. We run both.
11:49.26 <BioHoward> Not yet.
11:49.51 <Frapazoid> old hats?
11:49.52 <wolf_fire> where do you see happening with Linux support under kernel 2.4 and XFree 4.x?
11:50.00 <wolf_fire> s/where/what
11:50.08 <sabrewulf> Bioware/Clabs: Reading all this talk about developing the same game and then redoing it to work on another platform has made me thing, why not just let another developer do the port, such as LokiGames? I assume this would speed up development, am I incorrect ?
11:50.17 <sabrewulf> s/thing/think
11:50.35 <BioTrent> I hope with the release of 2.4 things improve massively
11:50.39 <muks> BioBrad: <offtopic> if you use redhat 7 as your distro, make sure you upgrade to glibc 2.2 atleast. anyway, things compiled under redhat 7 won't run under other distros, unless they are upgraded to glibc 2.2 as well.
11:50.39 <Lisa_Clabs> Lots of games do this!
11:51.13 <BioDon> Sabrewulf, by doing it ourselves we can do it concurrently. Using a third party company would require the code to be in a finished state.
11:51.19 <BioScott> During the development of the game, the code changes too fast for an external developer to port it for you.
11:51.20 <madcat`> isnt that supposed to be glibc 2.1?
11:51.28 <Lisa_Clabs> Developing or even porting has associated costs, but it's not the real problem.
11:51.32 <Frapazoid> lots of people have 2.1 right now
11:51.42 <Frapazoid> the transition isn't quite done yet to 2.2 ;)
11:51.44 <BioTrent> We decided to build the multi-platform expertise in-house as opposed to sourcing it out
11:51.45 <sabrewulf> BioDon: net necessarily, cooperative development is easily possible, think CVS. :)
11:51.51 <Judecca-> BioDon: Thats not exactly true, Loki is developing Kohan and Tribes 2 along with their respective companies
11:51.52 <BioScott> After the game is complete it may require ten times the amount of time to port than if it was done concurrently
11:51.55 <Lisa_Clabs> The real problem is getting the game into the market somehow, whether to re-coup the costs or to simply help the Linux cause.
11:52.26 <wolf_fire> yes, let us move along to marketing and publishing issues
11:52.57 <wolf_fire> what are the current plans in place for marketing C3 and NWN?
11:53.20 <Lisa_Clabs> We're not there at all yet. We don't have a way of distributing it...
11:53.21 <Frapazoid> the linux version should be marketed at least as much as the windows version. i have seen companies act as if they want to hide linux support
11:53.36 <BioTrent> Our marketing plans are pretty much the same as any other project.
11:54.07 <Lisa_Clabs> We've already manufactured C3 on windows and need to decide how and where to distribute a Linux version.
11:54.16 <gltron> are you planning anything special to keep linux users from buying the win32 version, if that happens to be released earlier?
11:54.23 <Frapazoid> Lisa_Clabs; on the windows disk, of course!
11:54.28 <wolf_fire> i will say one thing about games and buyers/customers: seeing is believing, out of sight out of mind... i've never ordered a game online in my life
11:54.41 <Lisa_Clabs> Already cut the disks, Frap! Too late.
11:54.47 <BioTrent> Publishers don't have hard data on the number of Linux users, so they are reluctant to spend marketing money on a "hypothetical" audience
11:54.52 <Frapazoid> Lisa_Clabs; if it is in a seperate package, some retailers may decide not to sell the linux version
11:54.59 <Frapazoid> and then it would be difficult to find
11:55.21 <Lisa_Clabs> They have past history. Last year, Linux games were worth... oops, let me get the spread sheet. BRB
11:55.48 <gltron> If I buy the linux version, can I download the win32 binaries?
11:56.14 * wolf_fire hugs his dual monitors... anyway... the real question is how to get Linux games past wary retailers and publishers
11:56.38 <wolf_fire> what can we as Linux gamers do to make that happen?
11:56.41 <Frapazoid> yes... multiplatform disk are a great method, but it seems to be too late for that
11:56.42 <Lisa_Clabs> Windows games sold 2,985,431
11:56.44 <wolf_fire> hi Mark
11:56.50 <BioTrent> With NWN you will need a CD to play, if you have the windows version and then download the BeOs version you can play, just not concurrently
11:56.51 <Lisa_Clabs> ...units in Jan, 1999...
11:56.53 <BioDon> Wolf, that requires a industry wide attitude change. No easy solution is there.
11:57.23 <wolf_fire> sorry Mark :) there you goe
11:57.25 <wolf_fire> go
11:57.25 <Frapazoid> if linux games sell well online, retailers may consider stocking them in stores
11:57.34 <Lisa_Clabs> Compare that with 33579 for Mac and 355 for Linux
11:57.40 <Frapazoid> 355?
11:57.41 <BioTrent> Ouch
11:57.48 <Frapazoid> when?
11:57.54 <Lisa_Clabs> Yeah, sorry guys.
11:58.03 <Frapazoid> is that the total games sold for linux?
11:58.04 <wolf_fire> Don, but how can we actually help change attitudes?
11:58.15 <gltron> BioTrent: CD checks won't work under linux. What are you planning for that?
11:58.19 <Lisa_Clabs> Yes, according to NPD
11:58.31 <Frapazoid> 4 of those are mine :)
11:58.48 <Lisa_Clabs> There's also 3500 multi-platform, so hopefully there's some Linux in there!
11:58.50 <BioTrent> We don't CD check. It's a server-based key validation system
11:58.55 <Frapazoid> oh
11:58.58 <wolf_fire> 2 are mine from the local EB, but that was all they sold
11:59.25 <Lisa_Clabs> It probably doesn't include data from the independants
11:59.33 <Mark_CLabs> Do they get the games in especially for you wolf-fire - or are they on the shelves already?
11:59.50 <Frapazoid> during what time period were these 355 games solde?
12:00.07 <BioTrent> Our goal with NWN linux was to get the game to the broadest market possible, so the sales numbers don't really scare me.
12:00.08 <Frapazoid> (the e after sold was a typing error)
12:00.16 <wolf_fire> Mark_CLabs: in both cases i saw them on the shelf and bought them
12:00.19 <Lisa_Clabs> The month of January, 2000 (sorry, not 1999 like I said earlier)
12:00.34 <Mark_CLabs> excellent - it's nice to see someone has them on the shelves
12:00.40 <BioTrent> If there is one really good Linux user who runs a good server for NWN it increases the value of the game for everyone
12:00.44 <Lisa_Clabs> Trent, I agree and we really want Linux users to play Creaturess...
12:01.02 <Lisa_Clabs> so, we're not scared so much as hog-tied :-)
12:01.12 <BioDon> There is a very large Linux userbase, commercial developers should be able to sell well.
12:01.20 <Frapazoid> i have wanted creatures before i got linux
12:01.33 <Frapazoid> i couldn't find it... i guess i just forgot about it until now
12:01.39 <wolf_fire> about the only thing that the local EB sells now is Mandrake and RH, which i won't touch since i just download dists... i think what is going on is that retailers are tryinhg to sell linux distributions, see non-existant sales and equate that with no games sales
12:01.39 <Lisa_Clabs> Eventually, but we need to convince the publishers that, despite the ugly numbers
12:02.03 <Mark_CLabs> I think the online sales point was a good one - if the number of sales can be seen to be increasing then the publishers will see that it's not such a risk anymore ...
12:02.47 <Mark_CLabs> ... if online sales figures were more visible that could well help.
12:02.50 <BioDon> One question I've always had, is what percentage of the Linux population purchases alot of software?
12:03.02 <Lisa_Clabs> BRB. Mark's pretty marketing-savvy for a dev guy ;-)
12:03.02 <BioTrent> I guess that is our only real hope for greater Linux publisher and retail support
12:03.13 <wolf_fire> i think so too, Mark, but ilike i said, most gamers i know are a "buy on sight" type
12:03.30 <BioTrent> True
12:03.41 <BioDon> Wolf, true. I am a big impulse buyer.
12:03.46 <sabrewulf> Has anyone compared online Windows game sales vs. instore Windows games' sales? Do they compare? Is this relevdant(sp?) data to the selling of Linux games online?
12:03.49 <wolf_fire> Don: the only Linux software i will buy are games, the rest have free equivs or i don't need it
12:04.07 <Mark_CLabs> very true - unless you can build up the 'buzz' and people hear about it and want to buy it - I'm sure it's very similar with NVW :-)
12:04.08 <sabrewulf> And if so, should this data be used to put Linux games into stores?
12:04.18 <BioTrent> I think as a whole on-line sales haven't materialized to the levels everyone expected
12:04.32 <BioTrent> Hope fully this changes
12:04.41 <BioTrent> Damn space bar
12:04.46 <BioTrent> Grrr
12:04.49 <wolf_fire> heh, the impulse buyer again
12:04.55 <BioScott> How many games do people buy for Linux that they wouldn't buy if there were only available for windows?
12:05.09 <wolf_fire> also you must realize that demos play a HUGE role in helping decide what games they want
12:05.15 <Judecca-> BioScott: I never buy windows games myself, no use for them
12:05.23 <wolf_fire> ie playing it at a firend's house or downloading the demo
12:06.19 <wolf_fire> had a comment: most gamers I know are underage, and thus don't usually buy things online. It's a lot easier for someone 14-17 to walk to their local computer store to pick up a game than to borrow a credit card and order it online. The biggest problem with Linux games is the lack of retail availability.
12:06.23 <Mark_CLabs> demos are important - we've never found a satisfactory way of getting across the scope of Creatures within a limited space such as a demo though!
12:06.39 <wolf_fire> very true, Mark
12:06.56 <wolf_fire> same with BG2, the first level was an entire CD
12:06.59 <BioTrent> True, demos can be a bit difficult
12:07.11 <BioTrent> WE like big data
12:07.30 <wolf_fire> BUT, that's what sold me on buying BG2 and i bought it the month it came out
12:07.38 <BioTrent> Woohoo
12:07.50 <BioTrent> Glad to hear it
12:08.02 <wolf_fire> too bad there isn't a Linux version, lol
12:08.09 <wolf_fire> anyway
12:08.26 <BioTrent> What we need to do is put effort into getting Linux demos out there
12:08.33 <BioTrent> for people to try
12:08.47 <wolf_fire> are there any other comments or solutions for marketing Linux games in a Windows dominated industry?
12:09.06 <wolf_fire> i would have to agree with that, Trent, whole heartedly
12:09.10 <Lisa_Clabs> Buy online!
12:09.12 <BioTrent> I think in the past Linux hasn't really been acknowledged as a gaming OS
12:09.25 <BioTrent> Which is a shame
12:09.49 <Frapazoid> People should have no more difficulty discovering a linux version than windows
12:09.54 <BioTrent> If perceptions could change the market could become larger
12:10.11 <Frapazoid> it should be mentioned in plain site on the official page, system requirement etc.
12:10.18 <wolf_fire> not all of us have credit cards, Lisa, most games are actually bought by minors that can't legally have a cc
12:10.29 * Frapazoid fits into that catagory
12:10.41 <BioDon> From a publisher standpoint, I think they require sales figures. Its the only thing that will convince them.
12:10.51 <Lisa_Clabs> Yep, it's a problem, but small developers like us find there's almost no other way...
12:10.59 <Mark_CLabs> The nature of many games though is becoming more 'linuxy' in nature if not in platform though. Things like Creatures and NVW actively encourage user participation more than the visual 'game'. People write tools, objects, stories etc and this is emerging in more and more games. I think Linux users need these aspects in a game to make it a worthwhile purchase.
12:11.32 <Frapazoid> I am developing a game, and one problem i have had, other than being the only person on the project, is selling it
12:11.34 <CylentWolf> Question: Being that linux can be run on a toaster, is there any difficulty in finding the recommended system? Will it vary that much from a WinOS system?
12:11.34 <Lisa_Clabs> One possible solution (or at least a contributing factor)...
12:11.57 <Frapazoid> publishing it i think would probably be a difficult part, along with advertising
12:12.09 <Lisa_Clabs> may be the move to DVD style boxes. With more space onthe shelves, perhaps there will be more space for variety...
12:12.29 <Lisa_Clabs> something sorely lacking in games shops in the UK, certainly.
12:12.48 <Frapazoid> how would i get a game of mine published?
12:12.55 <Lisa_Clabs> But that's a longshot.
12:13.00 <wolf_fire> perhaps for those that can't past publishers: buying on line and then downloading the game (for those games smaller than one CD) would help small companies or those just starting out?
12:13.08 <Mark_CLabs> If you want it in the shops Frapazoid you have to approach a publisher and make a deal
12:13.16 <Lisa_Clabs> Hopefully, wolf_fire.
12:13.17 <Mark_CLabs> ... easier said than done thougyh :-)
12:13.18 <BioTrent> Ultimately the retailers will dictate whether Linux games are viable
12:13.19 <Frapazoid> at least online
12:13.24 <Frapazoid> online would be a good start
12:13.33 <Frapazoid> or maby not...
12:13.57 <Frapazoid> BioTrent; sad, but true
12:14.04 <wolf_fire> ISO images like most distributions come on... buy it, download it, (and if you have a burner) burn it to CD
12:14.09 <Lisa_Clabs> Yes, and the retailers are not very brave or forward-thinking, either, in general.
12:14.18 <Mark_CLabs> Burn-your-own booths have started to appear in the UK - that strikes me as a fantastic way for a shop to increase its stock with less risk
12:14.25 <Frapazoid> i am considering making it a download game
12:14.27 <wolf_fire> if not you can loopback mount on linux :)
12:14.45 <Frapazoid> the user buys a password and userid, which gives them access to download it along with any patchs
12:15.00 <wolf_fire> that's a wonderful idea, Mark, if you can get quality CD blanks
12:15.13 <Judecca-> BioWare: You're likely familiar with Wine. Some Infinity engine games have been known to, or are close to, running under Linux using it. How do you guys feel about this? Gamers generally like it, but it may make developers less likely to port. Any thoughts?
12:15.18 <Frapazoid> of course, not everyone has dsl or some equivalint, so people with 56k modems would have lots of trouble with that
12:15.48 <Mark_CLabs> Basically you choose from a menu the title you want - and 5 mins later it's burnt you a CD and manual. Cool kit :-)
12:15.48 <Frapazoid> wine is very difficult to use... and most software does not work in it
12:15.56 <Frapazoid> simlife doesn't work in wine
12:16.12 <Judecca-> offtopic
12:16.14 <Frapazoid> how people deal with running half-life in wine is a mystery to me
12:16.32 <wolf_fire> ok, we have 15 minutes left, how about some closing comments from Bioware and CL
12:16.32 <BioTrent> I'd be scared of running BG under an emulation package
12:16.56 <BioScott> BG wasn't written with porting in mind, so there are lot of windowisms in it. If it is working on Wine, then I am very impressed with Wine.
12:16.58 <BioTrent> I'd much rahter have us port the game and ensure the end user gets the experience we meant them to have
12:16.59 <Judecca-> BioTrent: I've run icewind dale successfully. And wine isn't actually emulation
12:17.07 <CylentWolf> Don: has there been anything that you wanted in the toolset that was a real hassle to port over to linux?
12:17.12 <CylentWolf> Question: Being that linux can be run on a toaster, is there any difficulty in finding the recommended system? Will it vary that much from a WinOS system?
12:17.16 <Judecca-> BioTrent: A much better choice :)
12:18.04 <Mark_CLabs> Closing remark? Buy Linux games! Developers need money, publishers and retail like to see things sold - only with a visible market will it expand to the scope of the Windows game market.
12:18.15 <wolf_fire> one comment, Frap
12:18.54 <Frapazoid> if creatures was released, when would it be available for sail?
12:18.59 <Frapazoid> and what is bg?
12:19.03 <Lisa_Clabs> I guess my comment is that Linux is obviously a great platform that's growing fast. I think games at retail will happen, but it will be a slow process. I guess we need to be patient and keep up the buzz!
12:19.04 <Frapazoid> oops.. sell
12:19.09 <wolf_fire> one question, tarzeau
12:19.23 * CylentWolf waves
12:19.34 <BioTrent> In closing I'd like to thank everyone for attending and I'd have to agree with Mark and say that voting with you wallet is the best way to push Linux games
12:19.49 <Lisa_Clabs> Frap, totally don't know. If we had a viable route to the shelves it would be ready in a month. Without one, it's wait and hope.
12:19.53 <Crusader> thanks for the interest in supporting the platform
12:20.03 <Crusader> it's more than most developers/publishers are willing to do :)
12:20.06 <Lisa_Clabs> Thanks for inviting us!
12:20.30 <BioDon> CylentWolf, System requirements under Linux will be similar to Windows.
12:20.36 <wolf_fire> in closing i would like to thank all 3 companies here today and our independant developers as well, it's been a wonderful eye opener
12:20.37 <BioTrent> Nice to see other developers out there on the Linux front
12:21.20 <Wintersun> Thank you everyone for coming and participating today.
12:21.23 <BioDon> Thanks guys, time to fill by tummy.
12:21.34 <Lisa_Clabs> Bye!
12:21.38 <Frapazoid> bye
12:21.45 <BioHoward> Thanks for having us and thanks to everyone for coming out.
12:21.46 * CylentWolf waves
12:21.47 <wolf_fire> bye Lisa, and biodudes
12:21.48 <tarzeau> would anybody be interested in helping me port jumpbump to linux (and add network play)? http://www.brainchilddesign.com/games/jumpnbump/index.html
12:21.51 <wolf_fire> and Mark too :)
12:21.55 <BioBrad> Thanks all, for allowing us the opportunity to drop by and listen...it's nice being able to hear from the community - directly. Keep it up!
12:22.22 <gltron> let's just play free open source games...
12:22.28 <Judecca-> Thanks to everyone
12:22.28 <cle> oh, bother.
12:22.32 <gltron> :-)
12:22.36 * wolf_fire coughs
12:22.58 <Mongoose> hhmm...
12:23.21 <wolf_fire> for those that missed it all, there will be logs posted at a later date
12:23.38 <CylentWolf> wolf: when?
12:23.44 <Wintersun> hadess: you just missed the event. :)
12:23.46 <Frapazoid> opensource games work, but if games are sold, the developers can afford to hire programmers full time and can buy better hardware for testing and developement
12:23.53 <tarzeau> gltron that's what i do
12:23.54 <hadess> Wintersun: damn work !
12:23.59 <Frapazoid> which is why my game wil not be oss
12:24.05 <Frapazoid> not immediatly
12:24.20 <tarzeau> if there are gamedevelopers, nobody is interested in porting a really cool game?
12:24.33 <Frapazoid> ?
12:24.33 <sabrewulf> tarzeau: read messages
12:24.37 <Wintersun> hadess: Sorry. A transcript will be up within the next couple of days and then we'll also have a follow-up article about it.
12:24.38 <wolf_fire> you will have to ask Wintersun, CylentWolf, that's her department
12:24.43 <Frapazoid> i'm developing my game for linux first
12:24.52 <Frapazoid> i may port to fbsd and windows
12:24.58 <wolf_fire> there will be articles generated from this discussion tho
12:25.05 <hadess> Wintersun: thanks, i'll try to be here next time ...
12:25.06 <CylentWolf> Wintersun: when will the logs be posted? I missed the first 15 minutes
12:25.06 <icculus> tarzeau: what is your game?
12:25.09 * Dazman can get full logs probably. )
12:25.18 <gltron> tarzeau: not if it has asm code in it :-)
12:25.25 <sabrewulf> tarzeau: me me ! i'm in !
12:25.29 <Wintersun> CylentWolf: I'll have them up on the front page of Linux.com in the next couple of days.
12:25.33 <icculus> Asm can be ported.
12:25.35 <CylentWolf> cool
12:25.35 <tarzeau> icculus: it's not my game, but it's a free game (i host all levels for it, it's c/c++) and source is ther ->
12:25.35 <CylentWolf> thx
12:25.46 <tarzeau> http://www.brainchilddesign.com/games/jumpnbump/index.html
12:25.48 <Frapazoid> i plan to have some asm
12:25.58 <tarzeau> it's really the best game so addictive easy to play, complete familyfun
12:26.02 <Frapazoid> but, it will have alternate c modules for non-x86 platforms
12:26.07 <CylentWolf> well thanks guys its been fun
12:26.19 <Frapazoid> well bye
12:26.21 <tarzeau> get the addition levels from -> http://jumpbump.mine.nu/cgi-bin/jb.sh (i could help in gfx/sound code)
12:28.05 <icculus> tarzeau: that actually looks pretty
12:28.14 <icculus> (pretty cool.)
12:28.16 <tarzeau> icculus: did you ever play it? 4player damned funny
12:28.25 <tarzeau> icculus: the game is only 350k the source max. 200k
12:28.32 <icculus> Never even heard of it before.
12:28.38 <tarzeau> icculus: if we could do network play... oh well it would get world-domination




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