17 votes

Gaming on Linux - LTT Daily Driver Challenge Finale

35 comments

  1. [19]
    Bullmaestro
    (edited )
    Link
    Told this story before on Reddit multiple times. Back in 2007, when I was in secondary school I had a friend with a mutual like of PC games. I also had my own somewhat underpowered Packard Bell PC...

    Told this story before on Reddit multiple times.

    Back in 2007, when I was in secondary school I had a friend with a mutual like of PC games. I also had my own somewhat underpowered Packard Bell PC which had a really weirdly partitioned 120GB hard drive. 20 gigs were reserved for the C:\ partition called "Programs", and the other 100 gigs were for the D:\ "Data" partition. It was a minor inconvenience that meant changing the install directory to the D:\ drive when installing new games at times.

    These days we've reconciled and have remained Facebook friends that barely interact with one another. But at one point our friendship fell apart for several reasons, one of these was that he used to be an arrogant dick who thought he was hot-shit with PCs. He continually goaded me into downloading Norton PartitionMagic and running it in an attempt to merge the two partitions. The result was a bricked Windows installation, and since I had no backup media, I was forced to wipe my PC and use Ubuntu Linux for a few months until I was able to source another copy of Windows XP.

    That several month experience soured my thoughts on Linux and the FOSS community for a very long time. Out of all the games I used to play, World of Warcraft was the only one I was able to successfully play with next to no problems, and even then the installation process was a pain in the arse. I had to copy the TOME files from each installation CD along with the installer executible from the very first CD then run it that way. Trying to run the installer directly from the CD would always fail after the second or third disc if I didn't do it this way.

    Some experiences with other games and apps I tried on Ubuntu:

    • RuneScape - The only other game that ran almost flawlessly because it's a Java applet, ofc it would. But there were rendering issues in some maps. I remember the third floor of the Stronghold of Security looking like shit.
    • Half Life 2 - Booted but ran at about 1 frame per second. Wine really couldn't play ball with DirectX 9 games that had no OpenGL support. Of course Valve ironically made all their games natively support Linux a decade later because they were worried that Windows 10 would lock them out of the market...
    • Steam - Most pages didn't render properly. This was also when Steam was a sluggish and ugly bag of shit even on Windows.
    • Counter Strike - Same experience as Half Life 2.
    • MapleStory - Wouldn't run due to GameGuard being incompatible with Linux. Also, the game's website was only compatible with Internet Explorer 6 at the time, because South Korea...
    • WarCraft III - This is a game that had Gold and Platinum status on Wine's AppDB. Game would often freeze or soft lock. Scrolling the camera with the mouse didn't work properly. On some versions of Wine, multiplayer wouldn't connect at all, requiring me to rollback to previous versions.

    Was definitely overjoyed when I finally switched back to Windows XP, because virtually everything about Linux just sucked for the end user. Most apps which you'd take for granted didn't work even through Wine and you often had to source shitty FOSS alternatives. Those were my thoughts, for instance, with having to use OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office, although AbiWord was actually a somewhat decent word processor that kept the look and feel of Word 2003.

    The more I hear about Linux these days, the more I'm tempted to make my next gaming rig a Linux one because I'm frankly disillusioned with Windows. But then there's videos like this one that just shatter my expectations of a somewhat decent experience and tell me that I'll have serious problems just running most games.

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      Akir
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I was very confused for a minute because Packard Bell went out of business in 2000. But apparently they were still a big brand in Europe for a while after. Words cannot express how terrible...

      I was very confused for a minute because Packard Bell went out of business in 2000. But apparently they were still a big brand in Europe for a while after.

      Words cannot express how terrible Windows used to be. Windows XP was well remembered because that was when Microsoft woke up to how broken things were and decided to actually address the huge issues they had with security and stability. Remember that big Sony Rootkit fiasco? It was only possible because Windows would just plain automatically run literally any program you put on a CD. The solution for 90% of windows problems would always amount to "reinstall Windows".

      That's basically why I have a lot more faith in Linux than anyone else does; I was using it way before Wine could run most Windows applications. I remember when Wine reached version 1.0, which IIRC was because they reached the goalpost of being 100% compatable with Microsoft Office 2003 - which was a very long way from being able to support video games. So I didn't use Windows applications, I used open-source applications. People constantly bitch about how they're designed, but for the most part if you take the time to actually learn how to use them they're just as capable as the more popular proprietary packages.

      The world has changed since then. Computers are no longer thought of as things you should have to learn to use and people just want a basic iPhone-like experience. And that's kind of what I find to be annoying about this video series; not only does it not explain to the viewer how difficult it is to get to that point, it doesn't explain how unreasonable their goals actually are. The fact that Wine/Proton/DXVK work so well today is essentially a miracle; it exists because people have spent literally decades reverse-engineering hundreds of proprietary APIs and not only implementing the things that it does, but also reproducing bugs that real-world applications depend on. All the while those APIs are in a constant state of flux as they continue to be developed. And at the same time they also expect all of their hardware to work even though the people who make that hardware intentionally hide away the information that volunteers would need to get them to work. They don't realize that the things they want have been fought tooth and nail by corporations who have spent an uncountable amount of money, time, and effort into stopping it.

      I usually reserve my remarks though, because it's useless to argue about it; talking to people on the internet about these things is basically impossible because people tend to argue with their perceptions of a subgroup instead of an actual person. It's basically like trying to talk about politics.

      15 votes
      1. [3]
        DepartedPretzel
        Link Parent
        Why should we excuse poor user experiences? Why shouldn’t simplicity be the ideal personal computing experience? If a piece of software is less intuitive, whether open source or not, not everyone...

        People constantly bitch about how [open-source applications are] designed, but for the most part if you take the time to actually learn how to use them they're just as capable as the more popular proprietary packages.

        Computers are no longer thought of as things you should have to learn to use and people just want a basic iPhone-like experience.

        Why should we excuse poor user experiences? Why shouldn’t simplicity be the ideal personal computing experience?

        If a piece of software is less intuitive, whether open source or not, not everyone will be able to sit down and learn it, even if they’re willing. And when it comes to vital everyday tasks like education, job-seeking, and personal finances, a PC experience that “just works” isn’t just a niceity but a necessity. It’s essential for open source software to meet people where they are and not the other way.

        I don’t take issue with the rest of your comment but this point struck a nerve. I strongly agree that the majority of Linux’s woes are the consequence of monopolistic greed and profit-driven ignorance, facts that Linux critics forget. However, I find that difficult user experiences are also key issues in the open source space. For open source software to make a dent, it needs to be accessible.

        3 votes
        1. Akir
          Link Parent
          With all due respect I’d rather not go there. There are plenty of people who will disagree with me and no matter what I say nobody will change their mind. There is a lot that I could say but the...

          With all due respect I’d rather not go there. There are plenty of people who will disagree with me and no matter what I say nobody will change their mind. There is a lot that I could say but the topic is so huge that I would have to write a novel.

          5 votes
        2. Don_Camillo
          Link Parent
          i think its because the more degrees of (creative) control you want, the more complex needs to be the interface. and i say that from the perspective of a manual worker. I use lots of very simple...

          i think its because the more degrees of (creative) control you want, the more complex needs to be the interface. and i say that from the perspective of a manual worker.

          I use lots of very simple tools, so the control comes from my ability to actualy wield them. which takes a long time to aquire. whch just means all complexity lies within me and my skills.

          there are some complex machines that do things better and/or faster, and are intuitive as in there is one button. but they are very limited in what they can do.

          and there are some very complex machines that can do a lot more and faster/better, but because they do things differently than me, they need to know different things, so the interface gets very complex very fast.

          e.g. to work metall by hand is "easy" . look and feel it, and you know instantly with what and how to work it.
          machines that can only cut are "easy" you just tell the thickness and push a button.
          let it cut and bend by a machine, you need to tell the machine what kind of metall it is, exactly the thickness, and the exact dimensions, then you need to thell it exactly where to cut it and where to bend it etc. and it is still very limited in what it does, but the interface complexity grew exponential

          so there is obviously a tradeoff there and y think it translates well to computers. the more complex the interface the more power it can/should give you.

          we should strive for simplicity for simple tools, eg. email, browsing etc.
          but we should allow complexity where we need control eg. shell, design, tables, anything where learning something upfirst allows you to safe time or nerves later.

          2 votes
    2. [2]
      Don_Camillo
      Link Parent
      I'm a linux only gamer since the early proton times. things got good so fast its incredible. Outside of some/a lot newish AAA titles everything is running nearly flawless. for me as a mostly indie...

      I'm a linux only gamer since the early proton times. things got good so fast its incredible. Outside of some/a lot newish AAA titles everything is running nearly flawless.

      for me as a mostly indie and patient gamer (something i can advise everybody to get into) and linux veteran, the experience feels amazing, especially as i can use an OS for anything else that works so much better for me than any comercial alternative.

      if you gonna do it or thinking about, maybe starting with dual boot and give yourself time to transition (also advisable) buy linux supported hardware (e.g AMD, fuck nvidia for not opensourcing their drivers and making everything more difficult) get a feel for what distro works best for you.

      or dont and do what already works for you. if you dont have a ideological, monetary or "learing something" reason, save yourself time and trouble and go with what you know.

      ps. lots of games run actually smoother on linux ;-)

      6 votes
      1. Crespyl
        Link Parent
        This has been my experience as well, but, like you, I also have a pretty long history with Linux and know how to dig around and find information efficiently, as well as how to keep an eye out for...

        This has been my experience as well, but, like you, I also have a pretty long history with Linux and know how to dig around and find information efficiently, as well as how to keep an eye out for compatibility issues when buying hardware. My taste in games also tends to lean towards older/indie games, open source stuff, or things with native ports, so Proton is usually really smooth for me. The tricky ones (as always) are the occasional multiplayer games my friends want me in on, some stuff from non-Steam stores (usually manageable once it's set up, but always a pain getting there), and of course anything with invasive anti-cheat.

        If I can find a report of anyone getting a game working with Proton, then I can usually feel confident enough picking it up and getting it running myself even outside of Steam; but I couldn't recommend it to someone who isn't at least a "power user" on Windows and used to doing things like, for example, downgrading a graphics driver version because of a regression in some game, or jumping through hoops to get some third party controller working properly (both things I've had to do in Windows in the past).

        It's definitely still a tinkerer's experience now, but it's constantly getting better, and if you're of the tinkering mindset and don't mind getting your hands dirty every now and again there's a lot to enjoy about the whole process, and (IMO) enough other benefits to Linux to make it a daily driver.

        Definitely can recommend the dual-boot route, just getting that set up for the first time is a good learning experience on its own, and once you get a taste of the workflow (and aesthetic) customization options you may find it hard to go back.

        6 votes
    3. vord
      Link Parent
      I will say if you survived using Ubuntu as a daily driver in 2007 for a few months, modern Linux is a breeze by comparison. I tried daily driving starting around 2005, but always ended up...

      I will say if you survived using Ubuntu as a daily driver in 2007 for a few months, modern Linux is a breeze by comparison. I tried daily driving starting around 2005, but always ended up reverting to the Windows partition after a month or less. That cycle continued about annually until 2019. I switched my primary laptop (not gaming rig) to Linux full-time then and now I actively resent when I have to do things on Windows, which is basically my multiplayer gaming and employer's computer.

      That said, you're probably still going to need to tinker.

      5 votes
    4. [10]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I definitely wouldn't recommend it as the OS for your dedicated gaming PC. I'd say it's in a decent spot for a computer that you mainly do other things with but wish to game occasionally without...

      I definitely wouldn't recommend it as the OS for your dedicated gaming PC. I'd say it's in a decent spot for a computer that you mainly do other things with but wish to game occasionally without restarting for a dual boot. For instance, if you just play a specific game, like path of exile or dota 2, then you won't have that many problems.

      As a complete gaming device, though, as the video highlights, there's a lot of sharp edges still, and the raw "% games compatible" is misleading because games aren't fungible things. Some games you want to play way more than other games. Some games you want to play at a specific time (namely, when other people are playing it).

      The extreme, but most complete solution is running a windows VM with GPU passthrough - although that requires TWO GPUs, one to use with Linux, one given to the VM, not an easy feat right now, and it still doesn't work with all games, because some games refuse to run in a VM for anti-cheat purposes.

      4 votes
      1. [9]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        And at that point, why not just use Windows on the gaming PC? Could even use WSL for stuff on Windows than you could VM passthrough on Linux, but if you want the least amount of complications,...

        The extreme, but most complete solution is running a windows VM with GPU passthrough

        And at that point, why not just use Windows on the gaming PC? Could even use WSL for stuff on Windows than you could VM passthrough on Linux, but if you want the least amount of complications, Linux ain't there yet.

        2 votes
        1. [8]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          I considered it for a bit 1-2 years ago when I was using a linux desktop as a daily driver. I didn't want to full time windows because it's just not very nice as a developer, WSL included. At the...

          I considered it for a bit 1-2 years ago when I was using a linux desktop as a daily driver. I didn't want to full time windows because it's just not very nice as a developer, WSL included. At the same time, dual booting was annoying because it requires really stark mode switching. If I had all my windows setup for writing code, then I really didn't want to destroy all that by restarting and switching to windows and vice versa.

          The actual solution ended up being that when the M1 macs came out I switched to that for my daily driver, and demoted the desktop to full time gaming console. I since wiped the linux partition to give more space to the windows partition since it's in Steam Big Picture 100% of the time now connected exclusively to my TV.

          7 votes
          1. [7]
            babypuncher
            Link Parent
            I hear this sentiment a lot and I struggle to understand it. I use Windows and Linux frequently, and do most of my software development on Windows. Windows is the best place to be to write Windows...

            I didn't want to full time windows because it's just not very nice as a developer

            I hear this sentiment a lot and I struggle to understand it. I use Windows and Linux frequently, and do most of my software development on Windows. Windows is the best place to be to write Windows software or anything else using Microsoft technologies (.NET). Linux is the best place to develop Linux software. Neither feels particularly better suited for software development in a general sense, only for specific use cases.

            3 votes
            1. [6]
              stu2b50
              Link Parent
              Part of it is that I, like many other people, learned at university specifically with *nix based OSes, and it's just comfort. But there are other, real factors, although certainly if you're making...

              Part of it is that I, like many other people, learned at university specifically with *nix based OSes, and it's just comfort. But there are other, real factors, although certainly if you're making windows GUI applications or PC games for that matter, developing on the native platform is best.

              For one, I just hate the windows directory system and how it's organized as compared to the usual structure of unix directories. I also prefer the permissions system on *nix much more.

              For a long time Microsoft let the terminal side of Windows stay in disarray. Many windows feature for a long time were second class to do on a terminal, not to mention the old dos inherited system was just terribly lacking in modern features on its own compared to bash or zsh. Since then, the creation of powershell patches those holes but in practice I find it difficult to adjust to.

              Windows also did not have the culture that the Unix philosophy promoted, namely that of many independent small applications that communicated to each other via stdin and stdout. In practice in modern times how well that scales is a bit iffy, but there's no question that it provides an extremely easy way to interface with things that does not require the other developer to explicitly provide an API. This can be seen in powershell design, where many of what would be the duties of small BSD or GNU implementations of Unix standards are owned by the shell and are shell functions.

              This is probably the biggest single hiccup - it's just pain to use a terminal on windows. Microsoft is actively working on it, to their credit, with a new terminal emulator that doesn't look like garbage from the 80s, a package manager they might have stolen from someone, and powershell, from what I hear at least, is powerful.

              Windows is also the black sheep of the broader developer community - it tends to get things late, if at all. An example is pytorch, which gained windows support far later than either linux or macos, and only that patch was submitted by a lone Chinese developer who needed it. There's a reason VSCode, a Microsoft product, screenshots in the release notes are all in macos - the entire VSCode team uses macs!

              I suppose part of it as well is that Linux (and to a lesser extent the BSD variants - genuinely is used in prod, though) is just much bigger than windows as a developer target these days.

              7 votes
              1. [5]
                babypuncher
                Link Parent
                The terminal complaints are interesting. It's never been a problem for me, because all the tools I've needed to use have competently designed GUIs. I spend 8 hours a day developing software in...

                The terminal complaints are interesting. It's never been a problem for me, because all the tools I've needed to use have competently designed GUIs. I spend 8 hours a day developing software in Visual Studio, and maybe need to do something in a terminal once a month or less. It was never a focus for Windows, so it made sense that the feature was barebones for so long. conhost.exe did not start feeling inadequate to me until WSL came along.

                A lot of the frustration described here sounds to me like someone used to the *nix way of doing things coming to Windows and experiencing a lot of friction. I experienced the same thing when I started to use Linux and found that GUI tools were generally 2nd class citizens, and that to do a lot of things I wanted required learning an entirely different way to use a computer.

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  vord
                  Link Parent
                  I'm not doubting your use case, but my life has been largely the opposite. Most GUIs are no more intuitive than a CLI tool, just different. The only reason most seem well designed is due to...

                  It's never been a problem for me, because all the tools I've needed to use have competently designed GUIs.

                  I'm not doubting your use case, but my life has been largely the opposite. Most GUIs are no more intuitive than a CLI tool, just different. The only reason most seem well designed is due to familiarity and practice.

                  My most charitable stance on GUIs is that they optimize the first-use speed. CLI's optimize the 10th+ use. For most tools, that makes CLIs better, if only becuse they scale with my WPM instead of my precision mouse movements.

                  Further evidence: The fastest way to use a GUI is to stop using the GUI and start using hotkeys. At which point, for text-based stuff like word processing or programming, you might as well be using emacs.

                  5 votes
                  1. [2]
                    babypuncher
                    Link Parent
                    I think this can be true for software you actually use frequently enough to memorize how to use it in its entirety. Many CLI tools I use, I use infrequently enough that I need to consult...

                    CLI's optimize the 10th+ use. For most tools, that makes CLIs better

                    I think this can be true for software you actually use frequently enough to memorize how to use it in its entirety. Many CLI tools I use, I use infrequently enough that I need to consult documentation and look at examples every time I whip them out. This is generally fine for pretty simple "*nix philosophy" tools like tar that do only one or two things, but it makes more complex software like ffmpeg incredibly annoying to work with.

                    I think that a well designed GUI can still be just as good as a CLI without imposing that learning curve. I'm a big fan of GUIs that can optionally be navigated with keyboard shortcuts. This is especially the case for complex professional software like an IDE or video editing suite.

                    5 votes
                    1. vord
                      Link Parent
                      I do generally agree. Very complex things like ffmpeg always strike me as tools that should be integrated as part of a script rather than one-offs, the way you would a library in other languages....

                      I do generally agree. Very complex things like ffmpeg always strike me as tools that should be integrated as part of a script rather than one-offs, the way you would a library in other languages.

                      I use the CLI tools daily, but even then I still look a lot up. The tldr pages are amazing for this.

                      4 votes
                2. stu2b50
                  Link Parent
                  The unix philosophy with regards to applications and how they communicate is extra powerful for programmers, however, which is part of why for everything other than windows GUI applications and...

                  The unix philosophy with regards to applications and how they communicate is extra powerful for programmers, however, which is part of why for everything other than windows GUI applications and games, *nix OSes are, statistically, the favored platforms.

                  Part of it is extensibility - it's really, really easy for small CLI apps to talk to each other in a mature terminal with good piping semantics. Piping things into grep, formatting with awk, piping into other programs - those allow for extremely powerful automation, not to mention creating ad-hoc utilities, by putting together lego pieces.

                  Secondly, CLI apps are just the easiest thing for developers to output - and as a result, on *nixes, you have a neverending family of newer, better utilities. Things like ripgrep, fzf, etc. are great. CLIs are the most raw connection between business logic and the outside. I have many small applications and shebanged scripts myself that fit perfectly into the world of piping unix inputs in and out that exists.

                  That's not to say I don't use GUIs - work indoctrinated me into the jetbrains suite, but they don't replace the terminal as the most direct interface to a program a human can have.

                  4 votes
    5. lou
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      That's a great story, thank you for that. I've been using Linux almost exclusively for the past 6 years. It's probably no coincidence that I became a console gamer in that period. What many Linux...

      That's a great story, thank you for that.

      I've been using Linux almost exclusively for the past 6 years. It's probably no coincidence that I became a console gamer in that period. What many Linux users don't understand is that being good enough for games is not nearly enough. If you can't live without Linux on your main computer (because it really is pretty awesome), than yeah, you'll be very satisfied by a huge amount of games that will run flawlessly. But many people expect it to match your experience on Windows, including but not limited to hardware which only truly support Windows and maybe macOS (things like gamer mouses, controllers, programable keyboards, RGB, whatever).

      Most companies (including marketplaces other than Steam) will only support Linux if it becomes popular, while Linux will only become hugely popular with their support. It's a chicken and egg situation. Linuxers are enthused because Linux is much better, while regular users can't fail to notice the glass half empty. That might change with a lot of money and much less fragmentation, but that'd probably make the current userbase unhappy in many ways.

      I don't think that's ever gonna change. If you love Linux, you'll only see it get better. If you don't, especially if you're a gamer, there'll be always something missing.

      2 votes
  2. [7]
    inwardpath
    (edited )
    Link
    As with most, this is a discussion that requires nuance. Desktop Linux today is light years ahead of where it was even 5-10 years ago. Gaming is in the best place it has been- but even with...

    As with most, this is a discussion that requires nuance. Desktop Linux today is light years ahead of where it was even 5-10 years ago. Gaming is in the best place it has been- but even with ProtonDB and all, it still has a long way to go. Though- it all depends on which games you play. I have a large library of games I'm slowly working through, and I don't want to deal with the hurdles Linux will inevitably hurl into that process. So for now, I stick with Windows. I have considered dual booting but haven't brought myself to go that far yet. Not to mention, there's various software (like Affinity Photo) that is still not really usable on Linux and no, the Linux alternatives are not good enough for me.

    I definitely understand (and have) the desire to ditch Windows and go Linux full-time for my desktop PC, but even now, it's just not there yet. I am not willing to make the required trade-offs. If you can- that is awesome and more power to you. I also agree with the video that often, software and game developers have very little incentive to create things for Linux. As one dev in the video explained- Linux users were 0.1% of sales and 20% of support tickets. Ouch. Add on top of that companies that release poor hardware drivers, or none at all, and there's just a number of things keeping Linux's adoption inertia low. Some of the things that even make Linux great (choices, options, distros, etc) may unfortunately disincentivize developers and some users away from Linux too. It's a complicated situation.

    It frustrates me to see so many responses to this video series that boil down to "just do X" or "use a different distro" or something similar. Those kinds of responses miss the point. There's a certain subset of Linux users that just can't seem to come to terms with the fact that everyday users operate differently than they do. Even some of us techy people are like those everyday users- some of us just want a system that works. Not one we have to waste time fighting to get working. I've always been passionate about the idea of understanding, empathizing with, and empowering non-savvy users to use and enjoy technology, so it bothers me to often see condescension towards them, or unrealistic expectations of them.

    In the meantime, I use Linux on laptops (since I don't game there anyway, or at most, very few/easy to run games) and other machines I use for various side projects. Someday, maybe I'll reach the point where I can abandon Windows with tolerable trade-offs, but that is not today.

    6 votes
    1. [6]
      arghdos
      Link Parent
      As a counter-point: https://tildes.net/~comp/yxv/despite_having_just_5_8_sales_over_38_of_bug_reports_for_the_game_%CE%B4v_rings_of_saturn_come_from#comment-6uzh Not all bug reports are created equal

      Linux users were 0.1% of sales and 20% of support tickets

      As a counter-point:

      https://tildes.net/~comp/yxv/despite_having_just_5_8_sales_over_38_of_bug_reports_for_the_game_%CE%B4v_rings_of_saturn_come_from#comment-6uzh

      Not all bug reports are created equal

      13 votes
      1. [2]
        Wes
        Link Parent
        That claim was later retracted anyway.

        That claim was later retracted anyway.

        As a follow up to this, I've been told by those actually involved with Linux stuff that this wasn't true. I probably just stopped paying attention to Linux issues at a time when everything was broken. 🙄

        4 votes
      2. [3]
        inwardpath
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Point taken (definitely something to consider- some linux user feedback may prove more useful than others), though a slight counter-point to this, IMHO would be that support ticket ≠ bug report...

        Point taken (definitely something to consider- some linux user feedback may prove more useful than others), though a slight counter-point to this, IMHO would be that support ticketbug report

        The source I was talking about only mentions support tickets, not bug reports specifically.

        Edit: I had no idea this game was such a "special case" as comments below seem to outline, so maybe this is an outlier. An odd choice for LTT to reference, then. I hadn't dug this far, and apparently LTT didn't either

        2 votes
        1. mtset
          Link Parent
          As /u/undu points out, Planetary Annihilation is... well, frankly, it's a shit game. I was and am a gigantic fan of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander, to which PA is a "spiritual...

          As /u/undu points out, Planetary Annihilation is... well, frankly, it's a shit game. I was and am a gigantic fan of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander, to which PA is a "spiritual successor," and I was personal friends with a former PA dev at Uber named Joshua Day (who is actually an incredible engineer, for the record). My entire friend group in high school played SC:FA, and then PA, almost religiously when it came out, and I still play a lot of Forged Alliance Forever (which, for the record, runs flawlessly under WINE.)

          From the day it came out, Planetary Annihilation was a buggy mess. Whether on Linux, where I exclusively ran it, or on Windows, where all my friends ran it, it would crash almost at random, or due to the following (non-comprehensive) list of circumstances:

          • building a unit while zoomed too far in
          • building a unit while zoomed too far out
          • having too many units fire at once (because projectiles are physically models and this caused allocations in the internal slab allocator to fail)
          • having more than five nuclear missiles in the air at once (because the animations for nuclear missiles were preallocated, and this could sometimes cause allocations to fail)
          • opening the server browser
          • joining a game when your internet connection was unstable
          • being in a game where one or more players' internet connections were unstable
          • joining a game when one or more players had the game minimized (because the netcode also paused when the physics paused. lmao)

          I encountered almost all of these issues one or more times, in addition to several others. I reported the majority of them, except the ones (like those due to other peoples' connections) which I couldn't reproduce. None of my friends ever reported a bug or crash, except Max whose internet was utterly garbage and thus could not play at all for several months.

          This is (in my opinion) because they are used to proprietary software bug trackers, where you get no response for months and then are either told "it's fixed now, closed" with no chance to test that prediction, or "won'tfix, closed", or nothing at all. I, on the other hand, am used to projects where I a) have some personal relationship with developers, even if it's just following them on Twitter, and b) there is transparency in the process.

          As it turned out, my friends were right; PA was the former case, Uber was a callous and uncaring company, and nobody ever got useful insight into why these bugs happened. In addition, I'm pretty sure a lot of my bug reports, which did affect my friends on Windows, were ignored because my platform was marked as "low priority".

          In the end, Uber pulled the rug on their early adopters anyway; rather than finish their commitments to their Kickstarter backers and Early Access users, they decided to finish the game - and provide bug fixes! - only through the TITANS DLC, which cost like a whole new game. Eventually, after a significant outcry from existing fans, this was reduced by 90% for existing players, but it was still shady as fuck. Nowadays, with the newly-formed PA company, things are a lot better, but the time these tweets refer to was long before that improvement.

          So, yeah, it annoys me a lot when people bring up this super sleazy company in the context of bug reports. They are in no way representative of the industry or software engineering best practices.

          9 votes
        2. undu
          Link Parent
          Planetary Annihilation used to have a whole web browser embedded into the game to render the UI with the middleware Coherent UI (google's chrome twin, chromium, to be exact). This was the source...

          Planetary Annihilation used to have a whole web browser embedded into the game to render the UI with the middleware Coherent UI (google's chrome twin, chromium, to be exact). This was the source of most of these problems: browsers are extremely complex pieces of software (comparable to whole Operating Systems) and an unending source of bugs, especially when trying to go multiplatform.

          This is to say that Planetary Annihilation is a special case and not representative of the experience of most ports.

          5 votes
  3. [4]
    DeFaced
    Link
    I’ve always been a huge supporter of Linux. The idea that the OS running on my pc is open source and free from corporate hands for the most part is a refreshing feeling. When I use my Linux...

    I’ve always been a huge supporter of Linux. The idea that the OS running on my pc is open source and free from corporate hands for the most part is a refreshing feeling. When I use my Linux install my computer feels like it’s mine, it feels like something I’ve genuinely built because it is, when I boot into windows it feels like an OS someone else wants me to use, like it’s no longer mine, because it’s just not. I’ve got nothing but respect for Microsoft and what they’ve done recently in the pc gaming space, but my computer will always be a dual boot system, because if it’s not then it just doesn’t feel like it’s mine. Gaming is the last big hurdle Linux realistically needs to turn the tides and shift the status quo. All of the pieces are in place for the first time: Vulkan, valve support, proton, lutris, heroic launcher, mesa drivers getting updates from valve, steam deck. It’s all there, the stars are finally aligning it just needs that last push. I truly hope the steam deck shows there’s a market for Linux, because I can’t think of a better use-case to support the platform than the steam deck.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      Pistos
      Link Parent
      Wellll.... I'll provide the counter point that there are still a few niche industries or areas of interest where commercial offerings on Windows and Mac are better than the open source...

      Gaming is the last big hurdle Linux realistically needs to turn the tides and shift the status quo

      Wellll.... I'll provide the counter point that there are still a few niche industries or areas of interest where commercial offerings on Windows and Mac are better than the open source alternatives. In particular:

      • image editing (Photoshop -- I use GIMP whenever I can, but it isn't on par yet with PS)
      • video editing (though the Linux offerings are getting better)
      • audio and music editing/production (though I do love ardour, and it does everything I expect it to)
      • CAD

      But I'm rooting for the developers (and companies) that are working to tip these scales.

      1 vote
      1. DeFaced
        Link Parent
        I’m not worried about image editing or video editing as most people will just pick up a Mac for that kind of work, and ardour is a very powerful DAC, as for CAD, I can tell you CAD is not...

        I’m not worried about image editing or video editing as most people will just pick up a Mac for that kind of work, and ardour is a very powerful DAC, as for CAD, I can tell you CAD is not something that would realistically be pushed for home usage. Gaming is a massive market and a huge portion of personal computing. Are there other problems that need resolved? Yes, but tapping into a massive market like gaming will start shifting the outlook towards multiple pc platforms.

        2 votes
  4. Pistos
    Link
    I have not watched the OP video. I have read some of the comments on this post here, though, so I thought I'd chime in with my own experience / data points: I am not an extreme gamer by any...

    I have not watched the OP video. I have read some of the comments on this post here, though, so I thought I'd chime in with my own experience / data points:

    I am not an extreme gamer by any stretch. I don't download/buy a new game every week. However, while my PC is not a dedicated gaming rig, it's not a poor gaming PC either. I'd say it's above average, in fact. (Radeon RX 580, Ryzen 7 3700X). I would say that I'm very satisfied with my "gaming on Linux" experience. Can I play any Windows game I want? No, not at all. But neither would I say I can only play some tiny fraction of Windows games. Of games that I've been interested in, it easily feels like at least half are playable on Linux. I have some 80 games in my Steam library, collected over the course of maybe a year and a half. If you shift the question/statement to specifically "Steam gaming on Linux", I'd say that the experience is very good. Valve has done and continues to do a lot of great work for Linux gaming by way of Steam and Proton. (See https://www.protondb.com/, where several thousand games are reported as working with Proton.)

    Thanks to Proton, the landscape of Linux gaming is light years ahead of what it used to be, say, 5 to 7 years ago.

    5 votes
  5. [3]
    nothis
    Link
    I want Linux gaming being a thing so badly but I just look at the trend line and where it should end up and it's just not gonna happen unless "the Linux community" (which Linux enthusiasts remind...

    I want Linux gaming being a thing so badly but I just look at the trend line and where it should end up and it's just not gonna happen unless "the Linux community" (which Linux enthusiasts remind me doesn't actually exist as a homogeneous group which, in return, might or might not be part of the problem) significantly changes the way they think about the problem.

    This is not something that can be solved by a million band-aids. This needs to be an effort in unifying the technical foundation of every aspect involved, from driver support to basic Linux UX work to version compatibility.

    There's things like emulating Direct X which might actually be a problem of sheer work load but it seems they often shoot themselves in the foot with absolutely unnecessary stuff. Like the gazillionth way a controller driver can be set up (and fail) or even perfectly working software that gets hindered by a poorly labeled GUI button that just confuses people. While these things seem trivial/boring compared to the under-the-hood engineering of a project like Wine, they are ultimately the true interface through which people use the software. And it seems very little priority is given to making this 100% painless.

    2 votes
    1. mtset
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      As @vord says, it's not that Rather, doing so is hard, particularly because Nvidia directly hampers developer's efforts to do so. Whereas Microsoft, a multi-billion dollar company, gets free...

      As @vord says, it's not that

      it seems very little priority is given to making this 100% painless.

      Rather, doing so is hard, particularly because Nvidia directly hampers developer's efforts to do so. Whereas Microsoft, a multi-billion dollar company, gets free development effort from Nvidia, the volunteers and few paid engineers who work on GPU driver integration on the Linux desktop get literally the opposite. You'll note that this is simply not an issue at all with contemporary AMD cards.

      EDIT: Also, it's worth remembering that installing GPU drivers on Windows is no breeze either. I have a GTX 1080, not a cutting-edge card, but updating the drivers on my Windows install a week or so ago caused the machine to stop booting until I uninstalled them from Safe Mode and reinstalled them...

      7 votes
    2. vord
      Link Parent
      It's 100% true that "the Linux community" doesn't exist as a cohesive group. Outside of the big companies, it's very anarchistic and you've basically just got a bunch of people doing whatever they...

      It's 100% true that "the Linux community" doesn't exist as a cohesive group. Outside of the big companies, it's very anarchistic and you've basically just got a bunch of people doing whatever they want. There will never be version compatibility, because the operating system is the sum of its parts, not just the kernel. And that's part of what makes it great. Because everything is mostly giant clusters of open source code, anybody can glom them together in any way they wish....and it'll mostly work. That is the miracle that open source brings to the table.

      But driver issues? That really comes down to manufacturer support. NVIDIA is the worst offender there, they actively refuse to make changes which would integrate their driver better into the ecosystem. AMD has been open sourcing their drivers, putting them directly in the kernel. By doing so, all those "installing proprietary driver" problems disappear.

      You want good controls for your RGB lighting? Gotta push the manufacturers to open-source their drivers. Or at the very least, provide good documentation on how to write them. Not everyone who can code a driver can also reverse engineer hardware.

      And it seems very little priority is given to making this 100% painless

      No, just that the work is eternal and impossible. I have a recent issue where my 3d card isn't detected by some games unless I flip my monitor to 59hz and then back to 60hz. Except that issue is on Windows 10. I've never had anything like that on Linux.

      4 votes
  6. weystrom
    Link
    Yeah it's just not there, I've tried multiple times. Some titles run perfectly, but some are just completely broken, or lose too much performance. I think running a VM with GPU passed through is...

    Yeah it's just not there, I've tried multiple times. Some titles run perfectly, but some are just completely broken, or lose too much performance.

    I think running a VM with GPU passed through is the best of the both worlds. You get a fully working system for daily life on iGPU and then when you want to game you spin up the VM with the "big" GPU.

    After spending some time setting it up, I can highly recommend this solution. Check out r/vfio for more information and guides.

    1 vote