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Linux Magazine: Serious Games

Jul 01, 2000, 20:08 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Perlow)

"New Technologies AND a Handful of Companies are making Linux a Lot More Fun."

"The leader in Linux game development today is Loki Entertainment Software, of Tustin, CA. Founded in 1998 by former software licensing attorney Scott Draeker, Loki has developed its business model around porting successful Windows games to Linux. In May, Loki shipped the Linux port of Civilization: Call To Power, Activision's turn-based strategy game based on the series originally designed by the venerable gamemeister Sid Meir. Weighing in at over a half a million lines of C++, Civ: CTP was shipped to manufacturing only two weeks after the Windows version hit stores."

"Of course, porting a game to Linux is no trivial task. ... For example, Direct3D doesn't exist under Linux because it is tied directly into the Win32 API's and Microsoft has not opened it's specifications to other platforms. Since many popular games are based on the Direct3D API, this presents a serious challenge for companies like Loki."

"Fortunately for Loki, ID Software and other up-and-coming Linux game developers, the XFree86 Mesa/GLX project has already done a Linux clone of the OpenGL libraries, called Mesa. Mesa is not 100 percent compatible with OpenGL, as it was developed without SGI's assistance. But with the workstation-maker's recent Linux epiphany, SGI is now working with the Mesa team to certify it as true OpenGL, and several graphics card manufacturers are getting into the act of writing Linux-compatible drivers. Among them is Nvidia for their Riva TNT and TNT2 series of video cards, and Matrox which has received accolades from the Open Source community for publishing its G200 chip interfaces. Although the G200's 3D performance is widely considered to be mediocre compared to other graphics cards, the next generation G400 due out this fall is expected to be a formidable contender for top Linux 3D game card once the drivers are appropriately "tweaked", according to Enlightenment developer "Mandrake" (a.k.a. Geoff Harrison). Demand for the card is expected to be extremely high. It will initially be available only in very limited quantities, so Linux gamers looking for the latest and greatest 3D card for their systems should get their pre-orders in now."

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