"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
"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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