5 reasons why 2018 is an interesting year for Linux games


2018 is knocking on our door and it will bring many interesting things to the “Linux world”. Here are 5 reasons why 2018 can be a very interesting year for Linux gamers.

This has been a beautiful year for players using Linux, several releases, optimizations and more. Of course, the road is still long and there are many things that can be improved, but this is not necessarily bad, in the world of technology, constant improvement is the «law».

2018 will bring us many interesting things, let me list some reasons to be optimistic about the Gamer Linux world.

1 – Vulkan being used more

On March 3, 2015 I was making one of the first articles about Vulkan here on the blog. Practically 3 years after the first investments in the development of the new multiplatform graphics API, it is finally starting to be implemented in games.

The new version of Android already supports Vulkan and this year we had the first game to be released only with Vulkan on Linux, F1 2017.

In 2018 we will certainly have more projects using Vulkan and the more it is used, the more it tends to develop. With better use of the processing chip cores and being a high-quality way to produce games for all operating systems, including Linux, Windows, macOS and Android, we can expect good things to come from there next year.

2 – New Mesa Driver and AMD Drivers

Nvidia drivers should continue to receive improvements as usual. Currently «green cards» are the preference of Linux users due to their performance in games, however, we recently had a large amount of AMD code added to the Linux Kernel, which should improve the quality of the company’s hardware support.

The interview we did with Alfredo Heiss, AMD representative in Brazil, can give us a glimpse that good things are on the way:

Maybe next year we will be able to use AMD graphics hardware without any major problems.

3 – New Wine with support for DX11, DX12 and Vulkan

Although not ideal, many people use Wine to play games that are native to Windows on Linux. Currently games that run on DX9 and DX10 generally run smoothly on Linux through Wine, except for exceptions, however, newer games may need more recent versions of the Microsoft API.

Read too: Wine 3.0 RC1 released with support for DX11

With the new versions of Wine, in addition to support for the DX11, the DX12 should also be supported, but unlike what happens today, in a conversion to OpenGL, the DX12 would be converted to Vulkan.

With the arrival of Snap and Flatpak packages with greater strength, nothing prevents developers from creating closed packages with their games running on Wine, thus eliminating the need to port the game completely to Linux, changing binaries, configuration files and folder layout .

4 – Release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Like it or not, Ubuntu is expensive for Linux to the market mainstream, the arrival of the new version of long support, bringing with it Snap, Flatpak, Wayland technologies and using GNOME as standard should be a good thing, we can expect a bigger unit in the development for Linux.

GNOME is currently the standard desktop of the Linux world, I don’t have my preference on it myself, but yes, it is. Now Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian and openSUSE, which are the distros with the greatest commercial appeal today, use GNOME as an environment, some as standard, others as one of the main alternatives.

SteamOS, Valve’s system, under the hood also runs a GNOME, so game developers who currently focus on Ubuntu and SteamOS on Steam, will be able to develop practically unitary, which is good, as the market needs standards , like it or not.

5 – More support for Game Engines

There are more and more Engines that export multiplatform games, but some are especially important because they are part of the daily lives of several small and medium-sized game companies. As much as the triple A titles draw a lot of attention, most of the market is made up of medium and small games.

Unity Engine and Unreal Engine for example, greatly increased support for Linux this year, given the popularity of both, it is to be expected that we will have more games made with them for the penguin platform in 2018

Other factors

In addition to the items already mentioned, another factor that can influence companies looking at Linux in the gaming world is Microsoft itself.

With Windows 10 S, the company ended up giving an example of what they would like to happen in their ecosystem. Even for Windows security, only apps available on the Windows Store itself could be installed. As you may know, Microsoft itself is interested in selling games through its platform, in a way similar to what Google does through Android, the problem with this is that companies that have their own platforms, in order to maximize their profits, like Valve (Steam), EA (Origin), UbiSoft (Uplay) and so on, they didn’t like the idea very much, because this way they would have to share the profits with Microsoft.

Tim Sweeney of Epic Games, a company that developed games like Unreal Tornament, Fortinite and Gears of War, commented on how damaging this type of measure could end up being for developers, suggesting that a competing platform on the PC would be very welcome. .

Maybe (and only maybe) companies see this type of maneuver from Microsoft as an impetus for the need to place their games in order to serve the entire market, we have macOS for this, but Linux tends to be more accessible.

I don’t think there will be a drastic change in the market, most of these companies would certainly enter into some agreements with Microsoft over time, however, it is still a stumbling block if Microsoft decides that only Windows Apps Store can be installed on Windows, many developers will lose some of the freedom to distribute their software and causing a certain monopoly as well. As I always say, competition is always welcome, even to prevent things like this from happening.

To the next!