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Resources for Linux Game Developers

Hello tuxedo giants,

With the help of Raven67854 (co-host of the Offtopical Podcast and fellow gamedev) I compiled a list of resources for Linux Game Developers. It covers topics such as Streamers and Youtubers, using Unity, Services (people porting or offering porting services) and more. I’m hoping that with this resource list I can aid other game devs that are bringing their games to Linux OR give a bit more of a nudge to those who are on the fence about doing it! It’s not a complete, exhaustive list, but it should help getting you started on the journey! We need more native games on the platform, now more than ever!

Unity for Linux Developers

I published an article on this blog a few months ago about using Unity on Linux in 2019 and I was quite rough with it. For my last two projects, Farm Life and Space Mercs, I’ve been using Unity exclusively – the 2018 edition and it’s been wonderful. Marc (mdiluz) reached out to me after the article and pointed out some problems with my approach towards Unity’s “Stable” builds and the fact that the one I should use is the “experimental” 2018 version and let me say, it’s a huge difference. I will rebute the previous article soon enough but until then here’s where to get the latest Unity Hub version together with my overview on the situation!

  • Download Unit Hub 1.6.0 for Linux from here: https://forum.unity.com/threads/unity-hub-v-1-6-0-is-now-available.640792/
  • Install the 2018.4.0f1 official release version
  • 2019.1.2f1 seems to have problems with built-in packages like TextMesh Pro and the LWRP. All the errors you get on start require you to remove all the packages installed by default. I’m looking to upgrade my projects from 2018 to 2019 and I’ll update this bullet list with an article on what I did soon!

Unity 2018 is mostly stable for me with little to no crashes and really decent performance, at least compared to the 2017 version. I’ve used it to port Farm Life to linux and exclusively to work on Space Mercs with little to no problems. There are a few issues tho’, like trying to close Unity windows which requires a lot of fiddling with the mouse. But overall the performance is almost on par with the Windows counterpart. Note one thing: It does not ship with MonoDevelop or any other text editor. I recommend doing the following:

  • Download Visual Studio Code from here: https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/setup/linux
    • They have .deb, .rpm, snap packages and even a repo to use!
  • Install the .NET Core SDK on your distribution based on the article here: https://dotnet.microsoft.com/download/linux-package-manager/ubuntu18-10/sdk-current
    • There are guides for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu 18.10 to 14.04 (19.04 is not covered yet and there are a few problems with getting it to work on 19.04 due to missing packages – to be fixed soon), Debian 9, Fedora 27 and 28, CentOS, OpenSUse and SLES! Should cover most of your needs!
  • Open up the Unity editor and go into Edit -> Preferences -> External Tools tab
    • From External Script Editor click the drop down menu and select browse. Navigate to your the binary for Visual Studio Code and select it
      • if you don’t know where the binary for Visual Studio Code is located, open up a terminal and do: which code
      • normally it should be under /usr/bin/code
    • Create a new script inside Unity’s Project Browser and double click on it. VSCode should pop-up and work properly!

Unity seems to have really picked-up the pace with development and with the 2019 edition reaching preview status Linux is really close to becoming a first class citizen. I can, finally, wholeheartedly recommend it!

Porting your games to Linux

Linux needs more native games! I love Proton and what Valve are doing with it but using Proton doesn’t guarantee full support and games working on it at this point can break in the future with updates and due to middleware support (see the EAC scandal). I’ll say it, Proton is amazing, but native support is better! Depending on the technology your game is based on, porting to Linux can be as simple as outputting a build for it with the click of a button (Unity) to just compiling it on Linux directly. In other cases you really need to dive deep into the code and change quite a few things. Luckily, there are many solutions and services to aid you here – including hiring someone who specializes on that! We’ll start with this.

At this point in time I know of a few developers who specialize in this and, with my interactions with them, can recommend them for this task:

  • Ethan Lee
    • Website: http://www.flibitijibibo.com
    • References: Super Hexagon, Capsized, Rogue Legacy! Active developer on FNA and Proton!
  • Timothee Besset
    • Website: https://about.me/TimotheeBesset
    • Refferences: RocketLeague, Quake Live – mostly unreal engine from what I gathered.

As for known studios, there are quite a few you could reach out to! There’s Aspyr Media (Civilization VI, Start Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Geometry Wars, Broderlands 2), Feral Interactive (DiRT 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hitman, Deus Ex), Abstraction Games ( Danganronpa ), RuneSoft (Ankh).

Twitter user @hardpenguin13 maintains a Github repo with a more comprehensive list of Studios and Developers porting games to Linux!

For resources, here’s a compiled list of articles and videos that can help you get started!

  • Building for Linux the smart way [Article – Leszek Godlewski]
  • Game Development with SDL2 [Video – Ryan C. Gordon, Slides ]
  • Getting Started with Linux Game Development [Video, Ryan C. Gordon, Slides]
  • Porting to Linux at Linux Conf Australia [Video – Cheeseness, Slides]
  • Linux/SteamOS Game Development [Video – Ethan Lee, Slides]
  • Cheeseness talking with Ethan [Article – interview style! Good resources and points of view on technology to use]

List of Linux Gamecasters/YouTubers

First thing’s first, the reason this list was compiled. Besides, the wonderful linux news website, GamingOnLinux I did not know other places or people (Influencers. let’s call them that) with whom to speak to put more eyeballs on my latest project. As such I reached out to Raven67854 to see if he can aid me. And he did, so be sure to thank him dearly on twitter. This is a list of Linux streamers and youtubers that can put some eyeballs on your game after you brought it to Linux!

JakeJw93 
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Jakejw93
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jakejw93

Xpander69
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Xpander666
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Xpander69
Mastadon: https://mastodon.social/@xpander69

Snowdreike
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/snowdreike
Twitter: https://twitter.com/snowdreike

HexDSL
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/hexdsl/
Mastadon: https://linuxrocks.online/@HexDSL

Eegee
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EtherealGaming1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/egee_irl

Penguin Recordings
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/PenguinRecordings
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sabunator

GamingTux
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GTuxTV
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gtuxtv

Holarse
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/holarse
Twitter: https://twitter.com/holarse

Gotbletu
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/gotbletu/

Linux4UnMe
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Linux4UnMe/

sneekylinux
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/sneekylinux
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sneekylinux

quidsup
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/quidsup
Twitter: https://twitter.com/quidsup

Ghost67Linux
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCglkWuyZDppWD2BVsyI4r3A

ChrisTitusTech
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/homergfunk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/christitustech

SwitchedToLinux
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoryWpk4QVYKFCJul9KBdyw
Twitter: https://twitter.com/switchedtolinux

GasGregor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DasGregor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DasGregor

JoeCollins
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BadEditPro
Website: https://www.ezeelinux.com/

DistroTube
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVls1GmFKf6WlTraIb_IaJg
Mastadon: https://mastodon.technology/@distrotube

Bryan Lunduke
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BryanLunduke
Website: http://www.lunduke.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BryanLunduke
Mastadon: https://social.librem.one/@lunduke

TheLinuxGamer
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/tuxreviews
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thelinuxgamer
Mastadon: https://social.librem.one/@gbryant

GamingOnLinux
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GamingOnLinuxcom
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gamingonlinux
Mastadon: https://mastodon.social/@gamingonlinux
Website: https://www.gamingonlinux.com/

Level1Tech
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/teksyndicate
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Level1Techs
Website: https://www.level1techs.com/

The Linux Experiment
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5UAwBUum7CPN5buc-_N1Fw
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thelinuxexp

Linux4Poets
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChAZdofPrVJ4i2aXbLm_V3Q

KyLinux Cast
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC30WrT9v3qc4UCmDtIyH3ww

InfinitelyGalactic
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/InfinitelyGalactic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ingalactic

DwangoAC
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dwangoAC
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrTASBot

ChrisWereDigital
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAPR27YUyxmgwm3Wc2WSHLw
Mastadon: https://linuxrocks.online/@ChrisWere

Destination Linux
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWJUSpXVHTaHErtGWC5qPlQ
Website: https://destinationlinux.org/

Linux Gamecast
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/linuxgamecast
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VennStone
Website: https://linuxgamecast.com/

We opted to include public means of contact in the form of twitter/mastadon or their website’s contact form instead of providing a list of e-mails that can be used to spam them.

I hope this list is going to help you get started with bringing more games to Linux! Like I said in the begining – we can never have too many native games! As for me, I hope you are all aware of my Linux 1st Initiative and methodology behind my games. You can help support this initiative by becoming a patreon subscriber, and get some amazing Linux games in the process!

Good luck Giants!

 

 

 

 

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Farm Life launches on Linux on April 23rd

Hello Giants!

Five months ago I’ve setup the Bearded Giant Store as a mean of distributing my games to the world without having to worry about spreading my resources too thin on 3rd party platforms and stores. It’s also back then that I wrote the Linux 1st Initiative – the driving force behind this website existence, and made public my desire to have Linux as a 1st class citizen on this website. At the end of the manifesto I also mentioned that I’m interested in bringing more games to Linux as a platform and now, just five months later, that part of the initiative bore fruit!

Why bring a premium Match 3 to Linux?

When most people think of premium games they don’t usually think of Match 3 or casual games so when I announced I’m porting and publishing a game in the aformentioned genres some eyebrows were raised. Honestly there are multiple reasons for partnering with RVL Games and bringing Farm Life to Linux but here’s my favorite one:

Linux as a platform is growing! We know that from Steam’s Hardware reports, from the amount of Help and Hello posts (mostly titled with “Migrated”) on reddit and heck, even Linux Tech Tips started paying more and more attention to Linux. As more and more people jump on the platform and we get some growth so does the variation in taste and types of games. What I’m saying is that amongst new users there are those who love and want casual games and if we, as a platform, can’t fulfill their needs they might just go away. So if you ask me why I’m porting and publishing Farm Life well, here it is: There are barely any quality Match 3 games for the platform and a demand for them might start popping up soon! Heck it looks to me like an underserved niche.

Besides, if the game performs well (and in time it should), I might get some more work porting and bringing new titles to the platform from developers who otherwise would not have it on their radar. In case of RVL Games this is a good tryout and if they like it they might bring more of their catalogue of games here (not necessarily to the BGG Store) . We keep looking at Triple A studios and asking them to bring their big titles over but what about the smaller guys and their audience?

The Linux 1st Initiative doesn’t just mean that I’m exclusively making games for Linux and that’s that. It’s about putting Linux first and doing my best to help it grow. In exchange for that I hope to make a decent amount of revenue to keep me going for as long as possible. Hopefully till there will be no more need for me to do this but hopefully longer.

Farm Life - aunt linda's farmWhat’s up with Farm Life?

The port is done. Last RC is being tested on the Bearded Giant discord server but things are looking sweet. I know from the Steam Hardware survey that there are a lot of low to mid-end machines on Linux so part of my tasks during the porting process was optimizing the game for those machines. The lowest spec I tested the game on is my NAS machine with a Intel J1800 CPU and Integrated Graphics at a smooth 40+ FPS. In order to make sure the game runs on low spec hardware and with Farm Life being a unity game I had to play around with a ton of things ranging from Unity Terrain support, particle effects, shaders and more. It wasn’t as hard to port as it is to make a new game but it did have it’s challenges. Heck I even used my experience in designing match 3 games from my time at Mobility-Games to update some levels a bit for those of you playing through the classic mode of the game.

And the game is great. When I signed with RVL Games I knew they had tons of experience designing casual games but I did not expect to enjoy Farm Life so much. The levels are fun but the storyline and the minor details on the Farm Area of the game are amazing. When I refer to the game as a Premium experience I don’t mean that it just doesn’t have In-App Purchases. I mean the whole package is premium. From the characters and their bios to the birds flying around and the cars stopping near the farm with a subtle halt that imitates a cartoon car braking.

I’m actually happy the original developer decided to take a risk with me and my little store as I believe many will benefit from the game being here (in terms of satisfaction). I really hope the game does well on Linux as that might mean more developers like RVL Games might join the fray (again, not necessarily on the Bearded Giant Store – any new game natively brought to Linux is a WIN for ALL OF US).

So when is the game coming out you ask? On Tuesday, April 23rd. Sometimes at noon in Europe. I want to celebrate the launch with a beverage in my hand and my cats will likely kill me if I start drinking before 5 PM. It’s going to cost you 6.99$ and you’ll get around 10+ hours of fun (likely more if you don’t just skip through the story) and working fullscreen support (learned my lesson with Ebony Spire thank you very much). Ogh and building up the farm is pretty fun. The game looks great, in my opinion at least.

So join me in discord for any last minute drama that’s normally bound to happen with my releases. Worst case you’ll just see Sheo pestering me about something non-essential and get a laugh out of that. Or in case socializing on the new mass-appeal discount-irc discussion system isn’t for you drop us a follow on the Store’s Twitter page to stay up to date. Or just refresh your browser every 10 seconds like I did for the Dragon Age Origins launch a decade ago (no really, I almost broke a keyboard back then waiting for it to launch).

P.S. Some screens from the game