Untitled Linux Show #32 - Opinions on Gaming (on Linux)

Interesting show, guys - thank you very much! Just came here to share two possibly uncommon perspectives onto the linux in gaming topic:

A) I know that he has a lot of (enthusiast but then also seemingly rather consumer-level) followers, but why does Linus’ view on linux for gaming matter so much to the panel? I mean, his exploration into the subject was borked by his own incompetency or, ok, let’s call it simply bad luck. He is producing an entertainment channel with tech as subject. His videos will likely be most successful if they are entertaining. A glorification of linux would have been much less spicy and made him a much bigger target for anyone who is (even) less interested to handle tech carefully (which he does not) and work themselves into it (which I am not sure about). His contribution appeared as an entertaining take on “how I failed at linux” - entertaining and great for his channel. But for gaming on linux? For making an actual assessment of the status quo which excludes his clumsines? So why bother?

B) “Gaming” is not equal to “Gaming” - there are many different shapes and forms. Not only enthusiast, modders, esports, and casual. Sadly, gaming has taken an evolution or devolution (depending on your individual perspective) from gaming being fairly difficult to achieve on a 90s PC. It took information, careful configuration, a little praying, and then maybe it worked at 15 FPS, but then there was a tweak you could do with your GPU and you managed to pull out 17 FPS. The game itself was brutally hard, rather glitchy, never got patched, it ran slow, you needed quite the machine. But you still had fun, had your imagination challenged, and lost yourself in it for the afternoon and night . That used to be gaming, act 1.

Then came the internet and, slightly later, Steam. There was no effort in getting the disc or installing it - most of it was taken care of. Sweet, if a bit boring for the technically inclined. Now the game would have to achieve the same level of excitement as the previous game did after having wrangled it into the machine by loading your CDROM driver into “high memory”. Some managed, some did not. But the games got more and more updates. Which led to some games being shipped just as unfinished, but likely with a better conscious. Gaming, act 2.

Finally, we have Steam and fifty other game stores, getting games is a breeze, updates keep coming in like the data pipes are broken in the apartment above, never to be fixed. Consoles have finally picked up and there is the advent of game streaming. Apple has taught everyone the value of ecosystems, profitability of rounded corners (visually and figuratively), and … dumbing everything down to the status of an appliance. Everyone and their grandmother games now. Which means that most action adventures have to have dumbed down functions like glowing loot or controller-enabled UI schemes. It’s the candycrushification of what used to be interesting, challenging, and hard to get behind. Changes that make the original PC gamer cringe in … acceptance. Gaming, act 3.

Enter gaming on linux. All of a sudden, playing a game feels like the 90s again. Just with more modern games on better hardware. And the occasional, lovely, simple-to-install-and-run experience. But often, you have to work for getting that piece of software to run on your machine. Wrangle your Nvidia, lambast your Lutris, tickle some settings. You can make it run better or worse. It’s not all the same. If you’re not at all interested or talented, you will likely fail. But if you indeed are enthusiastic about not only watching some digital pop corn on your screen, but actually understand how you can make the thing run on your machine if it does not, then linux is your jam.

Gaming on linux should not need to be about dumbing it down as far as humanly possible so that the least technically inclined person on the planet will manage to spend thousands on software each year. What Linus found out was that gaming on linux will not be the focus of a multi billion industry any time soon. May I add in the all caps my American uncle taught me to use so well: AND THANK GOD FOR THAT! At least to me, Gaming is about tinkering and playing as much “with” the game as “in” the game.

Not everything is a market. It’s ok for niches to remain niches. There’s something to be said for acquired tastes, especially in technology. If we could not do that, the whole world would be entirely, invariably, and with no option of choice run by Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, for ever. Cause getting too big and market-dominating is not a crime - not even a problem - it’s the dream come true. Sure, it might find Linus approval, but what a bland world.

I know Liunx gaming can be an little behind what’s offered on Windows and Mac OS. So emulation is Linux gaming’s cash cow right now. Since most mame only Linux’s like puppy arcade will not allow kubi and web bowering. I’m afreid your suck with something like Ubuntu if you what an Linux mame box that can surf the web and host thing’s like plex.