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Linux Web Player?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by adshead, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. adshead

    adshead

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    Given that OTEE are strongly emphasising the possibilities for using Unity to create web based games, can we expect support for a web based player for Linux in the near future?

    Thesedays there seems to be more and more demand for PCs to be pre-installed with Linux, and whilst there may still be a low demand for a desktop based Unity player for Linux, I think a web based player would be popular.

    I am only interested in creating games that are truly cross-platform and the lack of a Linux player would, at the moment, stop me from using Unity.
     
  2. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    Near future? No, not likely... That's not to say you won't ever see a Linux player but you definitely won't see any such thing in the near future in particular. Obviously continued platform expansion is in our interest and Linux in particular seems to be the next desktop platform in line for consideration. But even without a Linux player we still see huge possibilities for web based games creation targeting Mac and Windows users as those are far and away the dominant platforms in use by online/casual game consumers.


    While it's true that the Linux user-base continues to grow I'm honestly a bit puzzled as to why you'd opt to ignore Unity for that reason alone. Unity is so powerful and robust and it lets you target the _vast_ majority of users (Mac/Win) that it seems odd (to me, your mileage may vary) that you'd choose to bypass everything it does for what is arguably the smallest game consumer segment out there*. If you don't mind sharing more of your thoughts I'd appreciate hearing why you are inclined to take such a strong stance in this situation.


    *Smallest doesn't imply it's not growing, it's just that as of today it's nowhere near as large as the Mac/Win user base for games.
     
  3. Jessy

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    It seems to me that Linux is the only OS not headed by arrogant jerks. I like it for several reasons, but I could never use it myself given the current state of things. I do hope that more decent people, like the OTEE guys, create things that work with Linux, so I can eventually make the switch.
     
  4. taumel

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    There must be a connection between *heads and linux. "adshead" asked for it like "madhead", ... i'm sure i missed some heads.
     

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  5. technicat

    technicat

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    I think an easy way to pose the issue of Linux support is, do you want to use Unity in lieu of Shockwave3D or Flash?

    I proposed a Unity-based project to a friend of mine who runs a web site - he liked Unity's capabilities (and I used to work with him on high-end CG tools), but the first time he tried to run my web demos was with Linux, and currently he is inclined to play it safe with Flash's cross-platform reach (Linux, and maybe mobile devices) and the fact that Flash isn't going away anytime soon. In particular, he's intrigued by Flash 3D possibilities such as:

    http://osflash.org/papervision3d

    From my perspective, I would love to try building an entire web site experience in Unity as people do with Flash, but with just Mac and Windows support, I just can't leave Linux users with a blank page. So I limit my projects to the type of embedded 3D web players that I would have used Shockwave for a few years ago, trying to make use of the physics engine and hardware-accelerated graphics that you don't get with Flash.
     
  6. adshead

    adshead

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    I'm not particularly a fan of Linux (I use windows by day and OS X at home) but if I am building things for the web then I just think it should be accessible by anyone using the web regardless of what operating system they use - particularly if I am accessing something in a browser that runs across all platforms (eg Firefox)

    And, if market size dictates the platforms supported I'm a bit puzzled why OTEE developed the Unity tool for OS X rather than windows? In doing so they have alienated the biggest market of game developers out there.

    We all have our platforms of choice - but I prefer to let the user decide their platform rather than my game dictating that to them.

    But I don't want to get into a flame war - I just wanted to know the answer to my original question, which I now have :)
     
  7. taumel

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    Reality bites you here...

    Flash in comparison is easy to port as there is simply no hardware acceleration. Linux and 3d is horrible (drivers, distributions, ...) if you're not only after some basic stuff. The time you have to invest to get this done right isn't worth the effort at this point. There are far more important things to be done first.

    But if you're after some kickass crossplatform engine (win, osx, ps3, Xbox360) you might want to check out some of these videos www.gametrailers.com/player/23179.html although you need some extra $ ;O)
     
  8. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    Historical reasons. OTEE was born a game company and the guys all preferred to use Macs, so the tool grew from there. Going forward we are most definitely interested in adding Windows authoring into the mix, we have a job listing posted on our site for a Windows GUI developer:

    Jobs at OTEE


    Believe me, I understand the desire to have the platform support be as broad as possible but Linux is still a finicky beast. As Taumel indicated, things 3D-related aren't quite so stable and clear and all times and it is still far and away the smallest user base (so the cost to benefit ratio isn't there just yet). But no matter what, as I said above, we are keen on exploring new platforms and so we'll keep Linux on the radar as part of our future plans if/when it becomes an appropriate move for us.
     
  9. taumel

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    I wonder why this position (Windows GUI programmer) hasn't filled out already as it has been around for quite some time now...
     
  10. Jessy

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    Obviously, nobody who uses Windows cares about having a decent GUI. :)
     
  11. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    We've been too held up with Unity 2.0 to do much about this, but we have some excellent candidates lined up.
     
  12. bronxbomber92

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    Didn't Joachim start the engine on his own in highschool? I'm guessing he was on a Mac when he started. That probably influenced why OTEE chose Macs as well.
     
  13. David-Helgason

    David-Helgason

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    We chose Macs because we loved them, and then Unity was heavily influenced by the Mac philosophy of making things useful in as nice way as possible.

    Things go in circles like that :)

    d.
     
  14. Zeemvel

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    Hi, I happen to be a Linux user. Web games are pretty much the only games I play, but I do play them quite often between compiles. They're really addicting.
    Flash luckily supports Linux, so virtually all web games are playable to me.
    Why doesn't Unity follow that trend?

    I sincerely hope that one day you will.

    And if this is taken one step further and the player gets made open source, the games will suddenly become playable on almost every platform to which someone is willing to compile it to, such as cellphones, PDA, handheld gaming consoles, .....
     
  15. Proto

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    I received a user complaint on a website I was working on a while back, which sent me straight to my server logs. It would be great to say that I could justify the additional planning, development and testing to accommodate the bloke, but it wasn't viable given time and testing budget constraints.

    Unless they are so 733t they are sliping by undetected, they have not been interested in anything my clients sell in any quantity that could be considered a target ("paying") market. This does match the available market research which indicates that Linux users have no dress sense, smell funny and always wear unfashionable glasses.

    In closing, if they're so tight they won't fork out for a more fashionable operating system, there's little sense in trying to sell them shiny bl1ng ;-);
     
  16. aaronsullivan

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    @Proto: only, he was discussing web-based games which are often ad-supported. Plus, Linux is flashier every day. At this time, however, I don't really support spreading out the support further.
     
  17. Zeemvel

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    What is Unity then for you: you speak about nothing but sales. Is Unity a tool that allows gamers to play games in their browser, or is it a thing meant to make money so that linux is excluded because it makes no money in your opinion? In the first case, would be nice to support the Linux gamers. In the last case: I hope that your money bringers will prove Linux to be a viable target. More Linux gamers in browser = more ad revenues.
     
  18. Proto

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    I try to impose limitations on technology targets that are weighed against expected return for the client. As an example of what I mean: if a particular client has no business requirement for developing a Linux market for their site then Linux planning, dev and *especially* Linux testing become low priorities. For web projects server logs help ballpark the expected return (could be measured in customer goodwill, traffic generated ad revenue, sales etc) of a particular market subgroup. I find that comparing cost of implementation with expected return helps me be objective and decide whether I should be supporting customer choice of platform and browser. I also find it helps me cost and scope projects more effectively.

    Actually while I'm on the subject of platform testing vs cost I have a question for Unity web game devs... Will your test plans be identical for Windows and Mac with Unity browser-based games? To what extent can you assume common interpretation in the Unity Player and does this reduce your testing requirements?
     
  19. MrPopper

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    As a long time GNU/Linux user, I think Unity is a very “pretty” platform. Though outside of my mild disappointment in not being able to play “a” (one) game that requires Unity...I'd say it's impact is of little to no consequence to the GNU/Linux community. Support for GNU/Linux or not, ultimately Unity is just one more platform in an already crowded market. I'll wait to see which platforms win wider adoption before I start crying about lackluster GNU/Linux support. I do have a question in the mean time; At which point do you see end users becoming fed up with having an infinite number of plug-ins and players installed on their system just to get access to content? Has that possibility even entered into calculations regarding the long term sustainability of your application?
     
  20. AngryAnt

    AngryAnt

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    Cheerful. Do you have anything constructive to add?
     
  21. jashan

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    I got something - had been mentioned before on these forums, but I thought it might be good to link to it from this context:

    Unity on Linux, First Screenshots

    While I certainly don't desperately need Linux support for Unity (and also see other priorities), when it's there, it will be greatly appreciated. And I guess once there is a Linux player, creating a Web player should be quite within reach ;-)
     
  22. polytropoi

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    After installing one that actually enables realtime 3D content in the browser, and for which worthwhile content actually exists...

    nobody's on your lawn, dude.
     
  23. arranmc182

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    Well until Unity goes true Cross Platform no stupid web developer would use it i think Shock Wave and Flash will be around for a long time where as i could see Unity gone in the next 5 years and i know i wouldn't care if that happened as what i have seem from Unity on other platforms its lack luster and does not offer anything truly new to the idea of web based content
     
  24. polytropoi

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    :D

    "...no stupid web developer would use it..." so true! :p
     
  25. codepunk1

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    Considering the fact that Unity uses a great deal of open source software to even function I feel that it should be a moral obligation to support at least linux clients. I am not constrained by platforms, love my mac but love linux more because it makes all things possible, no handcuffs. If it is not a huge porting effort and I could not imagine that it would be since a great deal of the base originated from linux systems I would love to see a linux client released.
     
  26. AmazingRuss

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    If there were a single Linux distro, I'd support the idea of a port. As things stand, however, supporting even the main distros and all the front ends and browsers people run on them would be a massive time sink for little return.

    I'd rather see the resources spent improving Unity on the existing platforms or a port to another console.
     
  27. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    That's right, only the smart ones will. Thanks for playing. :p


    Please, step back and seriously think about this, and when doing so remember we're here as a business just like y'all are (we with tools, you with games). Making a business decision that will run up costs without carefully thinking about the end result on revenue is a risky proposition, "moral obligations" won't pay the bills. ;)

    At some point the lines will cross, and even without being a profit increasing move directly it may rise up and on to the to-do list, but for now that hasn't happened.


    +1 and that supports my claim above that "moral obligations" aren't what's important here so much as sane business decisions to ensure a healthy company, tool and player platform. With multiple distributions to support and zero dollars in additional direct sales* revenue (we're talking the player being ported, not authoring), it's a difficult proposition.

    *Yes, there would be some potential revenue from license sales due to Linux support but the numbers there would be so low that we're not yet ready to absorb the cost. At some point the overall cost to us will become acceptable but that hasn't happened yet.
     
  28. Atalargo

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    You don't have to provide distribution specific package, only a binary installer is ok (or with source is better) .Distributions themselves build the specific packages if packagers wants to.
    (FlashPlayer or FlexBuilder only provide a binary installer common for all linux platforms, and some distributions provides specific package for the flashplayer.)
    Your reason is only a bad excuse...
     
  29. AmazingRuss

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    Maybe a better excuse is to avoid the cheerful and friendly linux community :D
     
  30. ryanzec

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    Maybe it I just because I don't have a ton of linux experience but I never saw something on linux where there was just one binary installer that work on every distro magically.

    Until Linux becomes more standardized like Mac or Windows, I don't see the time investment into get the web player working and making sure it continues to work will be worthwhile for UT.
     
  31. eedok

    eedok

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    it'd be nice even if it was just applicable to like Ubuntu(x86)/Firefox, once one version is made it makes it easier for hackers to do their magic and have it working in other distros/browsers

    I'd rather see a Linux headless server though, as renting a Linux server is like 30% cheaper than a Windows one and like 80% cheaper than an OSX one, that and my experience with Windows/OSX as a server isn't that much whereas with Linux I'm at home on the server.
     
  32. AmazingRuss

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    I'd vote for the headless linux server as well. That would be 6 flavors of awesome.
     
  33. eedok

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  34. phly95

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    Hey! Mac OS is UNIX based OS and so is Linux so why can't it be for Linux? Can you at least make compatible with crossover and wine? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? :?
     
  35. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    Because OS X is very different from Linux. Both of them being based on Unix isn't particularly relevant...it's not like Unity is a simple command-line tool.

    --Eric
     
  36. HiggyB

    HiggyB

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    +1

    And please use the search abilities the forum or Google offers and you'll see that folks have already made headway with Crossover/Wine (although if you go that route you're in unsupported territory so have fun but know that you're on your own).
     
  37. Game_Ender

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    I am sorry, but you don't know what you are talking, its very relevant. I have done a fair amount of cross platform development, including with 3D graphics. The difficulty in porting from Mac to Linux is much less then Mac to Win32. The unity team has already made the jump of abstracting out the platform specific parts of there system, which is the big leap. They have also done this for a wide variety of platforms (Wii, Windows, Mac, iPhone) which indicates they have a particularly modular underlying architecture and build system.

    They use a Linux supported scripting system (Mono), sound system (FMOD), video codec (Theora), graphics API (OpenGL), physics engine (PhysX), browser (Firefox) and compiler (GCC). So besides the basic system and system library issues, that leaves X11 input issues and GLX integration.

    I am not saying its not going to be a lot of work to get those things working on Linux, but I am going to guess that a single Linux developer with X11 and OpenGL experience could handle the port in probably 3-6 months. Of course as was implied earlier is that $25k - $50k worth of labor really worth it for 1% of the global browser market share? Only the Unity team can answer that.

    On thing I will appreciate is the irony of using Mono, a project meant to bring a proprietary runtime to Linux, to create a proprietary game engine which does not run on Linux.

    (Note I am speaking of the player here, not the authoring tools)
     
  38. Game_Ender

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    Before anyone wonders, I am not just some random Linux troll. I came across PuzzleBloom, wanted to play on my main Linux machine and wound up in this thread.
     
  39. Mars Attacks

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    Just to re-light up the fire, our company (game developing) was trying to offer virtual walks inside buildings with the web-player.

    But the fact the web-player doesn't work in Linux is a pain in the ass. We can't offer a "Mac and PC" service (with Unity, I mean).

    Maybe there's no many people that wants to play games in Linux (which isn't true, anyways), but I bet almost everybody uses to run a navigator, and make use of your game engine for whatever other reason than games.

    If you're so worry about return, why don't you make an open funding collect from the Linux community in order to make this damn port for once? Put your price and let us show if we deserve it!
     
  40. Dreamora

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    There is no "make it once", as you will likely want to play more than 3.0 only games.

    and that without the various distributions and updates to kernel close libraries etc breaking it for your users with no way to change it
     
  41. kakapo

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    that it is a big problem to support all the linux distributions is hugely exaggerated most of the time. some people talk like they are independent incompatible operating systems.

    take blender for example. it's absolutely no problem to download a blender linux binary and run the same binary on any linux distribution you want.
     
  42. Dreamora

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    Blender depends a lot of python though, that makes it, as long as the required python version is on the distribution, pretty independent of many thing.

    Also it would be new to me that blender uses the high end graphical features. it even runs with the open source drivers which is something that you can skip right away with something like unity likely
     
  43. kakapo

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    blender supports GLSL shaders in the viewport if you mean that by high end graphics features. no problem either...

    blender contains most libraries it needs (blender 2.5 even contains python so no problem with different python versions anymore) so it avoids the dependency issues that can happen if you rely on libraries that come with the linux distribution. many linux programs do this like blender. it's really not the big deal many people make of it.
     
  44. Dreamora

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    Including all libraries naturally would solve quite a bit (aside of errorous drivers or inofficial drivers etc)

    Though isn't that exactly against Linux design principles actually? not having the same lib X times present on the system.
     
  45. kakapo

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    yes, open source people like to have every library in one place and no duplication but i wouldn't really say that this is against the design of linux.

    it's not different with other operating systems.

    unity always includes mono and doesn't rely on the installed .net runtime the operating system comes with either.
     
  46. Dreamora

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    Yepp a lot of unity is hard integrated anyway, the only dynamic thing floating around is mono.

    One major problem though would remain on linux: you need to have the rights to install software to even install the webplayer wouldn't you?
    Don't think there is any way to otherwise install userwide application for usage by the browsers on the system. (unlike the standalone player which does not require any installation)
     
  47. Mars Attacks

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    Flash Player doesn't need to have any special rights; if you are root, you will be able to install it for every users. In other case, you will install it for your user only. Just as in windows.

    By the way, I've just seen in the main Unity web (in the Free Section: http://unity3d.com/#freeunity) this text:
    "Get Unity for free and start creating Web PC Mac games right now".

    As I've said before, that's not true (I'm on a PC and unfortunately Unity has no web player -nor stand alone- for Linux), so I suggest webmasters to remove this misleading advertising until developers do their developments.
     
  48. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    It's well understood that PC = Windows. "Hi, I'm a Mac." "And I'm a PC." It's not misleading in any way.

    --Eric
     
  49. Dreamora

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    Also the requirements for player and editor make it clear where it runs.
     
  50. KHopcraft

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    You are mainly right, as when people say pc they usually refer to windows. But technically you are completely wrong, as PC stands for personal computer, which is anything from a calculator to... well... something better.