Companies and Technologies that will affect the future of gaming on Linux

I note, via a recent Wine Weekly Newsletter, that “at LinuxGames there’s an interview with Ryan Gordon about the state of Linux gaming and what technologies on the horizon will be important. Ryan has been doing ports of programs to Linux and MacOS X for over a decade now. Going all the way back to the games ported by Loki, Ryan has probably been responsible for more commercial applications being ported to Linux than anyone else.” Definitely worth a read; here are the highlights (10 is the highest importance; 1 the lowest)…

Microsoft: 1
“The real threat to Linux adoption is Apple, not Microsoft. If you didn’t know, now you know.”

Wine, Cedega, CrossOver, etc.: 2
“I think they’ll always be around, and as long as Windows is dominant, they’ll definitely have a use […] But if you can only use it for a handful of apps, I’m not sure it justifies the man-years of development going into them. It seems like implementing the entire win32 API to run iTunes is a long way around just to be able to buy stuff from the iTunes Store. That’s just my opinion, though. People talk about Wine and company like it’s going to kill Linux, but I just don’t see that happening.”

Linux Game Publishing: 3
“I don’t see Tux Games building an empire. […] I think we need more ports on the same disc as the Windows version, or freely downloadable for use with the Windows retail disc…it’s a serious problem not being able to get the product to consumers trivially […] If everyone moves to the Steam/iTunes/whatever model of consuming content, it’s possible they could really thrive, but I think physical distribution is always going to be an albatross around Michael Simms’s [LGP’s CEO] neck.”

Google: somewhere in the range of 4-6
“They’ve definitely been enthusiastic about Linux versions of their desktop apps–heck, they paid me to port some of them–but with the exception of companies they acquired, like Keyhole for Google Earth, they just simply don’t DO many desktop apps. There is some belief that they’ll deliver the world into a new era of AJAX’d web 2.0 applications, and while I’m down with that, I’m not sure that actually helps Linux…if it doesn’t matter what desktop you run Firefox on, why change desktops?”

OpenAL: 7
“last year I would have said 3…a novelty that has a small fanbase that like the API and a majority of developers treating it like OpenGL vs. Direct3D…it’s what “everyone else” uses, but it’s not something they care deeply about on Windows [until] Windows Vista remov[ed] hardware acceleration from DirectSound […] I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes the defacto standard for game audio on Windows, and thus everywhere else, too.”

id Software + Epic MegaGames + Valve: 8
“[they] supply the tech that powers most triple-A titles, and that’s not likely to change in the next 5 years.”

SDL: 8
“It’s already the defacto standard for game development on Linux […] I don’t see it going away.”

OpenGL: 10
“Everything will be using it sooner than later, even things that don’t know they are, much like how Quartz turned out on the Mac. Even SDL hides OpenGL behind the basic 2D video interfaces in the next major version.”

And regarding the present and near-future of gaming in Linux: “The problem recently is that we’ve been going through a dry spell, so everything seems a little bleak right now […] there’s not much going on while people are preparing next-gen titles on next-gen tech. I expect 2008 will blow up again like 2003 did.”

Bonus Link: Game Emulation In Linux

A common complaint about Linux is that there is a general lack of games. When emulation is brought into the picture though, it opens up a huge world of gaming possibilities. In this article, we will be looking into what emulation is, installing a gamepad and taking a look at a selection of emulators for different consoles.

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