Whilst we’ve been basking in the warm glow of Valve’s Linux love-fest, ID has been heading in the opposite direction.
ID has historically been the one big name in PC gaming that has made an effort to support Linux. It has produced installers for past titles like Doom 3, Quake 4 and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. However, lately it has been slacking and has left Linux out in the cold with Rage and the upcoming Doom 4.
Phoronix has just published a post following comments from John Carmack at Quakecon suggesting that its efforts on Linux ports hasn’t produced any positive results.
Now during Carmack’s annual keynote at QuakeCon, he didn’t have anything good to say about Linux — the open-source operating system hasn’t produced positive results for them. “Linux development is another story altogether. Even though Valve is now actively pursuing the Linux market, iD has been there before, and just has not seen positive results. Remember how many past titles from iD actually ran on Linux, and for how long these were supported? John says that Linux development simply does not pay the bills. It creates goodwill among the Linux crowd, but that is about it.” – Phoronix
Right then, a couple of comments:
- When ID was producing Linux ports, Windows was still the better option. It was relatively open from a development point of view; there was no locked-down app store and there was no threat of a dreadful UI on the horizon. Linux was still struggling with an unpleasant UI and an over-reliance on the command line.
- ID hasn’t actually produced a good game for some time. Sure, they make great engines, but like Epic Games, the games themselves are nothing to write home about. Rage was an interesting idea, if a little too much like a pretty Borderlands, but a great game it wasn’t.
- ID’s linux ports were not easy for novices to install. Quake 4 required a well-hidden download, a command-line installation and a lot of Googling for me to install it. Someone with less patience or willpower will have struggled with that.
There’s no reason to believe that Steam will suffer the same problems. A Steam client delivered through the Ubuntu app store will be neat and painless and the games will actually be worth playing. Sorry if that sounds petty, but its true.