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Friday, February 13, 2009

Linux Gets Gooey on Friday The 13th

We have given out the last of the 10 free WOG downloads. Thank you to the bloggers who helped us make the point...there ARE Linux users who will support their developers. I am not at liberty to divulge the numbers but if you people knew the impact you made by supporting the 2DBoys, you would swallow your teeth. - h

It's been one of the loudest excuses I've heard for people not wanting to use Linux.

"Linux won't play my games."

Well first, that's not near as true as it was a short year ago. Second - if it is so, it's because the people that write the games don't think you are a market force worth investing in.

That, it seems, is changing as well.
Blogger Gedece brought this to my attention a while back and without his input, I would have not known about it.

Linux Community...Prepare to get Goo'ed.

Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel are Indie Game Developers. They've both spent some time "in the trenches" with companies such as EA...they made fairly good money and had steady work, but something ate at them...something uncomfortable and
nagging.

It wasn't the fairy dust and wind chime world they wanted to work in. Reality can suck...why make your living in it? Most of us have to. They don't...they write games.

And now they've written a game and ported it to Linux. This masterpiece has opened to rave reviews...and reviews by those who count.

82 percent of the people who play this game are likely to have stolen it. A twenty dollar game and they steal it. That's a shame. The World of Goo is a joyful, giggleful, and beautiful way to completely waste hours of your life. I know.

I'm not a gamer. I lack the dexterity to even tie my shoes correctly, thank Heaven for Velcro straps on my tennies. So when Kyle sent me a fully-licensed copy of TWOG to test, I wasn't exactly thrumming my fingers on the desk waiting for the download to complete. It was more out of needing to know what I was talking about than anything else that made me navigate to the "games" menu and click the entry.

It's a good thing I have a bit of discipline or I'd still be playing the game.

The Question.

It nagged me throughout the gameplay.

Why? Although a wildly successful game sales-wise, this 20 dollar bobble is still stolen without shame. Kyle and Ron refuse to chain their work with DRM or Regions. Why would you port this masterpiece to Linux? We are undoubtably the biggest Jack Benny-level cheapskates on the planet. Again, the question.

Why Linux?

Kyle Explains:

"We knew from the beginning that we wanted to make our game available to everyone, regardless of platform. We've also always had a secret desire to see the open ideas behind Linux take over. We met the guy who did our Linux port because he was a fan who created an open wiki for translating our game into a bunch of other languages. We were surprised - the language contributions from our community were of much higher quality than the translations we received from a paid translation service. They were so good, and fast, in fact, that we decided to use the community's translations for our European Wii release. They even helped us beta test each of the languages."
Yes, it is available for the Wii...and Mac and...

Linux.

With a smattering of Python and coding skills, I knew this undertaking wasn't easy. The genius behind the Linux Port is Maks Verver. He is the one responsible for the frame by frame marriage to the original Windows game. He has done some stunning work, and we didn't make it easy for him as will be discussed.

I asked Kyle about the technical problems involved in getting this done for us and I let him run with it. Some of his remarks strike home with us Linux Zealots but you have to remember, this is a guy who shoots straight...you cannot ask a question and then pout when the answers aren't what you want to hear.

Linux challenges (technical)

"There were a few small technical hurdles, but Maks is either a genius, or the port was not much trouble at all! One technical hurdle was with Pulse Audio, which apparently comes standard on major distros like Ubuntu. It introduces quite a bit of audio lag. This would be fine for most applications, but it's not good for games, where the goal is to build an extremely responsive system that feels snappy. We were able to work with it, and get the game feeling right, but it took a bit of effort. I realize I'll get shot for saying this, but in Windows, it just worked right away!"

"Also, and I've mentioned this before - Linux is created by too many smart opinionated people! There are a lot of very good ideas, but it can become difficult for developers to support all the different distro formats, bundles, audio/video systems. For linux to REALLY take over, it has to be easy for developers to make stuff, and easy for users to get stuff. It's one of those things where too many options can be suffocating, and ultimately hurt the cause."

Linux challenges (non-technical)

"Our blog stats tell us that only about 5% or less of our visitors are using a form of Linux, so we weren't sure if there would be much interest from the Linux community or not. Do Linux users play a lot of games? Maybe it's just a chicken and egg problem where Linux users would play more games if more people made their games available for Linux?
Our decision to make World of Goo available for Linux users was mostly out of principle - because games SHOULD be available for Linux! We just released it a few hours ago, so I suppose we'll find out soon if our decision made any business sense!"

*****This is an edit 72 hours after the fact. While I've been asked not to crow about numbers and specifics, let it be known that the "Linux Community" shattered one-day sales records for 2dBoy sales of World of Goo. You shattered it by 40% - h

Hurt the cause indeed. But there is something else that "hurts the cause" more than that.

Not supporting someone who has labored on your behalf.

We have always said that "We support those who support us." Well, it's time for us to do just that. This game is gonna run you 20 bucks and will bring you or someone you purchase for, hours of joyful, giggleful entertainment.

You can see an earlier and much more insightful interview with these two here.

OK folks...we are almost to Christian Einfeldt's Digital Tipping Point. Others are recognizing we are here and we have money to spend...we are all not skinflints that would rather go without than spend a few bucks on ourselves.

Kyle and Ron have donated 10 games for us to give out. Blog about this great game or tell folks about it in your forums and send us a link...we will send the first ten that do so a license.

We now get the chance to do what we say we are going to do. It's been coming for a long time...now it's here. The "big boys" won't give us games...the little guys will. It's time to say thank you.

And just so you know...I just did. You can do the same here.










I'm putting this on the next HeliOS Project Computer we put out.

All-Righty Then





helios

42 comments:

Peter K said...

Yeah, it is nice to see the market moving towards us, GNU/Linux users. As always, nice blogpost! I hope the folks who'll get the game trough you will enjoy it :) It may be also time to edit the wikipedia article on the game...

Peter Kraus

Db0 said...

Blogged: Here's to reaching the Games for Linux tipping pointsphun

Anonymous said...

Completely agree to the bottom line, Ken. And it was nice that you showed the invoice as proof of your appreciation for their outstanding work. But you should leave out your personal info like street address and the likes for safety reasons... You never know when you're gonna find a weirdo stalking you! Ask Groklaw's PJ about it! ^_^

Blog of helios said...

@ anon

Point taken my friend but that same information is available on our business website at helios solutions...no worries.

I am not a licensed conceal/carry gun registrant in the state of Texas for no reason.

h

Adam said...

It's too bad I can't play it while I have compiz on, but I bought a copy! Woo!

Gedece said...

I've already bought this game, it was what I tried to make linux users do, so I had to do it myself.

In case you don't remember I started a campaign http://gedece.blogspot.com/2008/11/call-to-gnulinux-community.html

which you linked to (and I'm extremelly grateful for that)

Now that it's finally here,I'll play it :)

Anonymous said...

Just so the visitors here know, if you already bought the Windows version directly from 2Dboy's website, you can now download the Linux version free! Just visit the same download URL that they sent you via email when you originally purchased the game.

Thanks 2Dboy!

Blog of helios said...

@ gedece

It was your blog that inspired me to contact these guys...my sincere apologies for not remembering something so important. I am amending the blog to reflect this revelation. Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Glad to see this. I hope to be able to purchase soon.

Dany said...

It has been months that I was waiting for that game to come out on Linux. I'm so glad they finally did it. I will buy it for sure.

I found very interesting what they said about linux, Pulse Audio and they are right, if we want Linux to be more popular, we have to make Linux interesting for everyone. Somebody had always have a better idea but we should concentrate in improving what we have and not going on a different track. That was my 2 cents.

tshawn said...

I am so excited that Goo is out for Linux! I gave a shout out on my blog! I hope more games like this come out for Linux!

bigolewannabe said...

I hope the impending release of Qt under the LGPL would help in consolidating the number of API options available for things like sound and such that they were talking about.

GoatTuber said...

I bought this game back when I heard there would be a Linux version, but was a bit disappointed when I found out it wasn't available yet. I tried the Windows version under Wine, but after a few levels into the game it slowed to a crawl. I'm gonna have to grab the Linux version when I get home tonight. Thanks for the update.

^DJ_Link^ said...

I've posted quite some posts about world of goo
The latest : World of goo linux and all of them
world of goo tag

Justin said...

Here's my blog post!

http://gnimsh.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/world-of-goo-for-linux/

Blog of helios said...

Justin,

I have too many justin's in my address book and your email is not available on your blog. Email me at helios at fixedbylinux dott kommm and I will send you your link to the game.

h

einfeldt said...

Helios,

You are so correct about saying that the act of porting this game to Linux is a mini digital tipping point. Why do people go to parties? To see other people. Why do people skip some parties? Because they don't think that other people will show up.

We need to make Linux seem like a fun party. Games are fun. (At least good games). Hopefully, this game will be a fun game, and hopefully gamers will buy it for Linux.

Christian Einfeldt,
Producer, The Digital Tipping Point

Entar said...

Here's a blog post I made about World of Goo on linux...

http://entardev.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/world-of-goo-on-linux/

Frank said...

Good job on the game gents. I just tried out the demo. Pretty cute. While It's not something I'd buy for myself, I'll show it to the wife..

F

Shannon VanWagner said...

Nice post Helios!! You say the words that need to be said!!

I just bought a copy of the World of Goo,and I look forward to the good things this great game is going to do for the Linux gaming market in general.

Go Freedom!!
Go GNU/Linux!!
Shannon VanWagner
http://humans-enabled.com

troya said...

World of Goo Linux version!

ps. I'm in a lucky ten? (sorry, but english is not my native language)

Trent Petronaitis said...

blogged: http://blog.trinest.com/?p=195

Steve said...

So, I blogged : http://stevenixon.blogspot.com/2009/02/world-of-goo-released-for-linux.html

I'll blog some more once I've played it.

Don't need the free license, (even if I'm within the top ten) as I've bought it and will continue to buy it for friends. $20 to support gaming on Linux, no probs. When the stats come out, I hope the 82% is just those windows lot, and the Linux brigade have more scruples!

Nait said...

Here is my blog in two languages http://naicik.blogspot.com/ . Even if I don't get game for free I think that you deserve some advertisement for realigns this game for Linux. Great job guys
My nick is naicik and im at gmail dot com

Nait said...

lol i mean releasing not realigns. I should be more careful with Firefox dictionary next time;)

Yoon Kit said...

Here's my blogpost to spread the love!

http://yoonkit.blogspot.com/2009/02/world-of-goo-and-it-tastes-goooood-in.html

yk.

theboomboomcars said...

It's too bad I can't play it while I have compiz on,

I have compiz enabled and it plays just fine. Did you try it?

This is a great game, I bought it for my Wii and for my computer.

Lakin Wecker said...

I already own the game for the Wii (in other words no need for a free copy). I will (eventually) buy it for linux to support the port. Thanks so much for doing this!

http://www.abetterkindofangry.com/2009/02/world-of-goo-linux.html

Pharaoh Atem said...

I blogged about it: World of Goo on Linux!

Lukáš 'Spike' Polívka said...

Well, I haven't really blogged about WoG, but I've made an annoucement on popular Czech Linux community server: World of Goo pro Linux.

There have been some positive responses in the comments so far, but some folks had problems with 64bit systems - native 64bit World of Goo build would be most welcome!

www.trailbrain.com said...

Not sure if you've got a copy yet, but I've blogged twice about this thing. It's awesome! (might ruin my valentine's though)

http://trailbrain.com/reprise/?p=127

&

http://jake.roeckerfam.com/?p=733

John said...

Heard about it a few months ago I think, and have been waiting for the Linux version. Many thanks for the heads up.

Just bought it, and have already finished the first world. Who says us penguins don't buy stuff!

Blog of helios said...

Hey guys and gurlz,

I am stuck working and many of you have free licensed copies of WOG coming to you for blogging about it. Let me get this day behind me and I will get you your links immediately. Sorry for the delay.

Kn

hotblack said...

Interesting read. One technical aspect that didn't seemed to be covered was the renderer. As far as I know Kyle and Ron originally wrote WoG in Direct X. The Mac and Linux versions on the other hand use OpenGL, the Wii version can likely be included here too. I think the guy who did the Mac port also rewrote the renderer.

It would be interesting to delve into how portable the original code was and how much the ports to the other 3 platforms leant on each other. I wonder if this is something 2dBoy would be up for?

Blog of helios said...

screenshots were taken from an Ubuntu Ultimate 2.0 machine.

Anonymous said...

Seems like WoG is getting a lot of publicity. :)

Let the power of the Linux community resound. :)

Dread Knight said...

The funny thing is that the binary for windows works just fine in linux using Wine :D

Pharaoh Atem said...

Yeah, but Wine has some serious issues when Xorg is running with a compositor. Most Linux games, even though they advise turning off Compiz or Kwin4, will work absolutely perfectly while those compositors are running.

Blog of helios said...

pending two people contacting us with their email addresses, we have given away all 10 games for bloggers participating on this news story. Our sincerest thanks to those who did blogs and made this story a success. I am betting the 2DBoys echo those sentiments exactly.

h

kyle said...

I sure hope the Frictional guys will do an interview with you, Ken. The Penumbra series deserves, and their next game, The Unknown, deserve more attention.

Blog of helios said...

I am getting ready to put out an interview with them now...should hit the blog next week.

h

Anonymous said...

Originally I didn't purchase or "acquire" the Linux version simply because I already purchased it on WiiWare. Now with the choose your own price promotion, I bought another copy ($5 or $25 total). Playing with a mouse instead of the WiiRemote changes the game for the better. Great game, thanks for the port to Linux.