Gaming...

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Gaming...

Postby Locuust on Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:55 pm

Years ago (in highschool) I played around with Linux. But I've always been a gamer and thus was reluctant to make the switch permanent (I know there has been strides made with projects such as wine). Over the years doing IT work I've tried to make use of a distro or two for database or file serving but would always run into an issue with custom/industry specific software. Anyhow.. the point is I finally have taken the time to start dual booting at the persistence of my dad (who of course recommended mint). At first the only thing I found my self booting into windows for was work access and the occasional game.

On my morning commute this morning I was considering the reasons why more commercial developers hadn't taken the Linux plunge and had an idea. Rather then take the brute force approach and porting I'm wondering if the problem could be side stepped through virtualization. For lack of a better term create a Virtual Game Console. The idea being that you create a virtual standard set of hardware in the virtual machine much like a regular game console. The real trick would be creating a virtual GPU abstraction for whatever hardware the host had underneath. There obviously would have to be some minimum requirements for the virtual console to work and probably some sort of certification process for the hardware but I thought what console manufacturer wouldn't like the idea of foregoing the hardware (that's usually sold at a loss).

If you build it they will come?

With such a foundation in place would commercial game developers use it? Probably not. You'd still have to have some middleware and tools. That's where the Sega and Atari's of the world (companies who once sold their own hardware) might be inclined to build out the necessary tools for developers.

Yeah I know what I'm suggesting isn't even running games on linux persay.. It's really just a stepping stone.

Of course someone is probably going to school me on how this has either already been tried or is currently in the works /shrug.

I guess it boils down to true cross platform gaming without having to retool with every change in software or hardware. At least in theory...

I mean come on we need *something* to use the x4, x6, x8 core processors for.. :P
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Re: Gaming...

Postby Death Dream on Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:45 pm

From what you said you just described OpenGL to a degree. DirectX vs OpenGL has always been there and OpenGL at a time was better than Direct X. But as time passed Direct X got better, and now is better than OpenGL. OpenGL has a long way to go till they can actually pass Direct X, but with Microsoft backing Direct X (their program) it could be a long time. OpenGL 3 did not pass Direct X and they still have a ways to go.

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Re: Gaming...

Postby Locuust on Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:12 pm

Yeah it's unfortunate in a way that OpenGL wasn't able fully catch up to DirectX this go around. The article I read recently made it seem that the problem is that they continue to try to be something to everyone. The highend CAD guys are resisting the removal of older parts of the API. Having done a little programming myself I can relate to that. No one likes to have things pulled from out beneath their code base. At any rate it sounds like OpenGL needs a code forking.

Anyhow what I was talking about wasn't a graphics API.. a layer of abstraction.. a bridge if you will. Basically any guest OS inside this Virtual Console would see a modern GPU. However it would be a piece of code that would act as an intermediary between the guest OS and the host OS's graphics driver. This would obviously add some latency but my hope is that it's not insurmountable. This graphics bridge would have to be rewritten for each host OS the Virtual Console was ported to and would most likely have to have some closed source objects provided by the GPU manufacturers. But the interfaces and minimum hardware specs would be have to be a agreed upon standard.

I guess what I'm suggesting might be heresy to some. In the end this software would allow the game developers to use whatever tools, OS, DRM, etc they want inside this little Virtual sandbox that has a minimum level of performance and feature set. All without requiring you to run a specific host OS, load rootkit enabled DRM, or claim that we're not playing nice and stealing their toys.. because we have our sandbox and they have theirs. I've read that what made the original Playstation so popular with game developers was developer support and choice of tools. If you build them something that gives them both...

Anyway.. at the end of the day I'm not sure if the technical hurdles on this are even possible to get around.. it's just about giving them a common platform to build upon while at the same time taking the choice of OS out of the question. Linux, Mac, Windose, whatever.. means more market share for them and one more checkbox on the reasons why to try linux because no one would be able to claim that there are no games. Yes I've ignored the question of OS in the virtual machine itself but why wouldn't a sega give away their software stack for free/cheap if it meant royalties? Mind you there's nothing that says the community couldn't come up with their own gaming distro with an updated version of OpenGL.

Maybe I'm just dreaming ;)
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