|By Joe Barr||
|April 9, 2003 12:00 AM EDT||
(LinuxWorld) I was surprised at the amount of "friendly fire" I took as a result of my last Linux-gaming article, which was about BioWare's betas of Neverwinter Nights for Linux. Some of the core group at Icculus.org maybe most of them were furious at me for one reason or another.
Some felt I had been too harsh with Epic Games when I wrote about Unreal Tournament 2003. Others said I was paranoid for suggesting Microsoft might be using exclusionary terms in its contracts with game publishers. Some said I shouldn't have even brought up the question, because even if my suspicions proved to be right, it was "just business." Still others raged against me without citing specifics, saying only that I was too clueless for them to even bother explaining it.
Fearing that there may have been some validity in that last item, I've been hanging around all the gaming channels I can find on irc.freenode.net over the past week or so, trying to learn more about the Linux gaming scene. I'm definitely still persona non grata with some, but others are starting to accept me on friendlier terms. One thing I've learned is that the fault line over which the scene sits the thing that makes it such a volatile and dangerous place for clueless journalists like me to visit has little to do with me. It's more about game-players and developers from the world of Windows and proprietary software coming into direct contact with the great unwashed hordes who love open-source and free software.
Putting aside my natural distrust of Microsoft's business practices, there really are other things to consider as explanations for why Linux games continue to be afterthoughts. Things like ports of games previously released for Windows. Things that usually require Linux users to buy the Windows version to run the game on Linux.
Some say there simply aren't enough Linux gamers to make it worthwhile for big game companies to publish Linux games that stand on their own. Those that hold this position maintain that Linux folk are lucky to get anything at all, afterthought or not. It's just too small a market. Another view is that however many Linux users/game-players there may be, they are just not willing to buy software. They say Linux users believe everything should be free (as in beer) and shun everything else.
Some may wonder, as I do, exactly why such an insignificant market of die-hard, penny-pinching geeks engenders as much interest among game-publishers, game-developers and game-players as it does. As huge as the gaming industry is, and as small a percentage of Linux desktops as there are to sell to, something doesn't add up. For example, Slashdot reports that at the recent LinuxWorld conference in New York, the Icculus.org booth "was the darling of LinuxWorld (Conference and Expo). Their booth drew more traffic per square foot than any other display."
Ryan "Icculus" Gordon seems to be the man in the center of the storm. Gordon worked at Loki Games before it went bankrupt. Now the site he hosts, Icculus.org, has become central to Linux gaming. While working at Loki, Gordon ported such well-known titles as Descent 3, Kohan, Unreal Tournament and Quake 3, among others. He doesn't seem to have slowed down any since Loki's demise.
Gordon makes his living as a contract programmer. He also does, helps with, or simply supports the porting and enhancement of games that have been open-sourced by their original publishers. Duke Nukem 3D is a recent example. A few days after the source code was opened by 3DRealms, a Linux port was available on the Icculus site. While the code for Duke Nukem 3D is now open, you still need to buy a copy of the proprietary version in order to be able to play the Linux version.
Over the weekend, word spread of Gordon's latest endeavor: the port of the popular new ARUSH Entertainment/Groove Games first-person shooter called Devastation. It's been less than a month since Devastation went gold, so the Linux faithful won't have to wait long to be able to play this one on their home turf.
You might think with the flurry of activity following the opening of Duke Nukem 3D and starting to work on Devastation that Gordon is a busy guy. You don't know the half of it. He is also at work on ports of Medal of Honor Allied Assault: Spearhead from Electronic Arts, Serious Sam 1 and Serious Sam 2 from Croteam, and America's Army from the U. S. Army.
Linux Game Publishing is a new forceThat's not all of what's going on. A new force called Linux Game Publishing has appeared on the Linux gaming scene, cranking out projects as well. LGP is hard at work on a number of ports, including Ballistics from Xicat, Bandits: Phoenix Rising from PAN Vision, Disciples II: Dark Prophesy from Strategy First and Majesty Gold from Infogrames. Already available from LGP are Candy Cruncher, Mindrover and Creatures Internet Edition. Majesty Gold has gone gold and will be here in a matter of days.
Of course, there are some who are not happy just to port games from other platforms to Linux. They want to write games for Linux in the first place. The LGP has helped to form Angry Pixels to do just that. They have put together a team of developers and are looking for musicians and artists to join them as well. Keep an eye on Angry Pixels; they could become yet another major force in Linux gaming.
I asked Mike Phillips, lead programmer at LGP, what he thought of Linux's game scene today and how he thinks it may have changed over the last year or so. He said:
Two years ago, it was clear that the eggs were all in one basket, and it was starting to unravel. Although several solid releases were still ahead of Loki, the bulk of the developers had already left, and it was becoming clear that no new titles were forthcoming. Tribsoft and Hyperion were becoming quiet, and retailers were dropping Linux games as if they never existed.
One year ago, Loki folded, and it looked like the life had gone out of Linux gaming. In fact, it really was looking like dual-booting was the only reasonable gaming choice.
Today, however, it looks very promising. It reminds me a lot of the heady days of late 1999, but with a much more diverse development base.
Ryan "icculus" Gordon, one of the Loki alumni, is doing a great job on his contracts and seems to be doing a good job of covering the FPS arena (Unreal Tournament 2003; Serious Sam, First and Second Encounter; Medal of Honor: Allied Assault; Devastation). Bioware's AAA title Neverwinter Nights released the client, id has promised Doom 3. And there have been rumblings of others...
And, of course, we (Linux Game Publishing) have quite a few titles in the pipeline. It feels like this time, the user base is better positioned and there is a wider range of offerings available.
That's how it looks to my eyes as well. There is a healthy interest and vitality in the Linux gaming community today that wasn't there previously. While LGP and Icculus.org are the two primary players, they aren't alone. Some ports, such as BioWare's Neverwinter Nights, are done in-house by the publishing company. Apex-development is another example. They are including Linux as one of the supported platforms for Payback. The game is described as gangster warfare, with attitude.
What about my suspicion that Microsoft is doing business the same way they always have, forcing exclusionary terms into its deals with game developers? I don't know. I still have the suspicion. I asked both Epic Games and BioWare if they have any contracts with anyone that limit or curtail the ability to port games to Linux or to promote games ported to Linux. The fact that neither company responded to my questions does nothing to dispel my suspicion.
On the other hand, it also seems clear to me that even if Microsoft is behaving badly in this regard and we won't know whether or not that's the case until the next antitrust trial it doesn't seem to be doing them much good. The buzz around Linux gaming has never been louder. There are more top-quality games available today than ever before, and the pipeline is filled with more jewels to come.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Dec. 1, 2015 06:30 AM EST Reads: 513
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 620
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 359
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Dec. 1, 2015 04:45 AM EST Reads: 458
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 469
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 470
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
Dec. 1, 2015 01:15 AM EST Reads: 125
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Nov. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EST Reads: 115
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 30, 2015 03:15 PM EST Reads: 250
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 30, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 496
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 375
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 439
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 441
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 30, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 542
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 30, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 346
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 30, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 468
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:30 AM EST Reads: 361
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 304
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 513
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 30, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 574