Mauriat Miranda     mjmwired

Quake 4 for Linux

Linux gaming for the most part is non existent. There are a handful of games, but for all the bells and whistles that the gaming industry puts forth, not much of it makes it to Linux. Activision is a good exception to this, I’ve followed their gaming engines since Quake II in the late 90’s. It was with the release of Quake III, a fully native Linux version was available. A full featured FPS (first person shooter) that was a commercial release really showed off the potential of Linux gaming. Activision has designed their gaming engines such that ports to other operating systems (Linux, MacOS, Nintendo, etc.) should be much easier. Which is in their best interest money-wise – Licensing!!! Many games, Caste Wolfenstein, Elite Force and Doom 3 to name a few have all been released as such.

Quake 4 was released only 2 days ago (Oct 18) and the Linux installer is already available. The best thing about this deployment method is that if you buy the Windows version, the the Linux installer is available for download and uses the data files from your Quake 4 windows CD’s. Basically 2 for the price of one. Id Software and Activision really get a thumbs up for open minded design.

Now if only the rest of the gaming industry could follow suit. But for a incredibly small Linux gaming market and for the relatively higher development costs and minimal returns, I seriously doubt that Linux games will improve any where in near future.

Posted in: Gaming, Linux,


  • Jeff Schiller on October 21, 2005 - 10:10 AM

    Typical chicken-and-egg problem, I guess. It would be great if companies would be bolder in this direction. I have a question, are there any technical hurdles for making games for both OSes that have all the bells and whistles? Are things like video, audio and game controller drivers still the long pole?

    I guess you need some serious hobbiest gamers to come up with some games JUST for Linux to drive people over in that direction a little, but with all the capital behind Windows (and to a lesser extent, MacOS) deployments that hardly seems likely.

    Nice google ads for this entry though ;)

  • Mauriat on October 21, 2005 - 01:13 PM

    For bells and whistles its really the 3rd parties and the hardware manufacturers - I would guess. For example sound card manufacturers design “sound schemes” and other settings for gaming, similiar “per game” options exist for video card manufacturers. It is tough when even basic things aren’t across the board functional or easy to setup (5.1 anyone?). Worse yet is the peripheral market, most joysticks and super-feature controls don’t have driver support in Linux and the games. … On a development level it is far easier for game companies to produce stuff for DirectX which does the video, sound, input and networking in the API - all in one place. Linux still depends on multiple different components and among all of them, gaming has never been an emphasis.

  • anirudh on November 2, 2005 - 12:00 AM

    Of course, you realize that 99.9% of the actual gaming community is not going to use anything other than windows for playing games. Probably not even Macs, as windows is way too easy and gives you all the time you need to play the game instead of wasting time setting each individual option like GL, display parameters, sound etc. etc.
    However, I believe the reason that q4’s been released for linux is not for gamers, but for game servers. I have been an ardent fan of q3, and the most reliable servers I’ve known all used to run linux. What’s more, it’s not just q4 which’s got a linux port - two of the other most popular multiplayer-based games out there, CounterStrike and Warcraft, also have linux ports. One of the said servers had four games running on different ports on the same machine and was up 250+ days before a reboot.
    So I dont think gaming pre se in lniux is going to progress much beyond chess or tetris, but the qualities of linux that make it the primary choice for a server will prompt game manufacturers to come up with game ports for their games.
    Oh yeah, one more nitpick as a linux fan - I’m outraged at the fact that the linux version came out a FULL TWO DAYS after the windows version - they should have been released simultaneously :)

  • Mauriat on November 2, 2005 - 09:09 AM

    To anirudh: You really have re-emphasized what I have always beleived. The ultimate role of Linux will be the server.

  • Kalreg on November 13, 2005 - 06:18 PM

    I could not disagree more for full system optimization an OS such as linux has the potential features to get those extra bits of frame rate increases and flexibility in use. I loath booting windoze for playing games mainly because one cannot turn enough services off.

    Imagine, put the DVD in your drive boot the machine and it is straight into Quake 4. Only nessicary services are started; not using a firewire device with the game why have the system know firewire exists, don’t need a print driver then for the system ‘what’s a printer?’. No background clock widget or backdrop. When done hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and eject the DVD.

    I hope I am being clear and for all I know Quake has need of a printer driver for screen captures or something. There is flexibility in the Linux environment that will attract the power gamers who want that last little bit of performance. Unfortunately the tools are not at that stage fully. Fortunately it should not be to far off.

  • Mauriat on November 13, 2005 - 07:19 PM

    To Kalreg: Technically you do have a point, but practically speaking the configuration you describe will not attract “power gamers” if only 5% of their games work natively. … And power gamers do configure their computer - their Windows computer. I seriously doubt they would enjoy configuring something as complex as Linux for games. … And even if you don’t turn off many services, Windows games still run with good enough performance that I seriously doubt it bothers gamers as a whole.