Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gaming on Linux: The Time has Come.

If you're from Ubuntu feature requests, skip to paragraph 4.

One of the reasons for not moving to Linux that you hear a lot from windows users is that their games don't work on Linux. For the most part, this is true. Of course, there are always compatibility layers like wine or, ahem, cedega... But let us think for a moment: this is just another proprietary app dependency. Sure, it'd be nice if they made games for us, but we have the best kernel on earth, the best window compositing system, the best 3 browsers ... Heck, we even had better hardware support than vista for a while. What got us there? For the most part, not proprietary software dependency.

A short time ago, I surveyed the Linux gaming situation and was pleasantly surprised. We have unified. We have advanced. Through great projects like ioq3, crystal space, SDL, and opengl, we have, in my opinion, nearly caught up. You can play sauerbraten, tremulous, nexuiz, openarena, urban terror, and many others. What is lacking? Out of the box support for controllers. Let's face it: who has an open source gaming console? Yeah. Good job. So let us examine what a pc needs to catch up in full.

Out of the box controller/gamepad support. Do we have it? Kinda. But what if you want to use it? Tough. You have to go out and find the source for joy2key and joy2mouse, run a ./configure make sudo make install on it. Now, console users don't like terminals. I don't mind them, but before I knew what I was doing, I tried that and it didn't work. I probably didn't do it right... Anyway...

What we need is a way to simply plug in your gamepad, and be able to just use it. This involves binding keys and mouse movements in its simplest form. Heck, I like having a backup for my keyboard and mouse anyway. That binding needs to be integrated into the gamepad manager, and all of that needs to be included(optionally) with Ubuntu. If not the default Ubuntu, perhaps a new variant, like Ubuntu Full Circle? (I think that would be appropriate, next to the xbox 360 and nintendo revo--- wii. Best of all, you could install it on the ps3 --also, as an indicator that one of the last weaknesses of Linux... has caught up. The circle is complete. Once we were but the learners. Now we... are the masters. *I plead fair use*) -- help me refine my ideas.


Leo said...

It was so hard to make my joypad work. I had to plug it in and... well, that was about it ;)

Ethan Anderson said...