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back to article The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?

Gamers' perception of Steam over the years has changed considerably. This digital distribution platform, which was developed by Valve, was met with derision when it launched back in 2004 – but jump forward 10 years and Steam is the coolest kid on the block. What self-respecting gamer doesn’t blow all their money on a Steam sale …

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still early days

but I predict greatness for this platform. Just need game developers on side, and driver devs to sort their crappy *nix drivers and we're laughing.

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Re: still early days

> sort their crappy *nix drivers and we're laughing

The Nvidia binary (non opensource) driver on Linux equals/beats Windows now - its only AMD drivers and opensource ones that are behind.

i.e - here are Windows 8.1 vs Ubuntu 14.04 benchmarks

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=nvidia_ubuntu14_win81&num=1

(hint - Windows loses nearly all tests)

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Re: still early days

Once I have Steam running all my games I'm off Windoze completely. The only thing left on my PC is Steam and my games. I do everything else on Kubuntu with ease.

I have 155 Steam games currently. As long as the newer ones work, I'm happy.

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Re: still early days

The big players have decent nix drivers. It's the other guys, like Broadcom, Realtek, Asus etc. that suck. You need more than just graphics drivers to run a machine ;)

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Pint

Steam Streaming

We're just dipping our toe into the following: A several years old gaming PC in the basement (i7=920, 6 GB, GTX280), running Steam under Ubuntu OS. It streams the Steam games over the LAN to any old non-gaming PC or laptop.

The goal is the physical convenience of a laptop, combined with the gaming performance of a huge tower.

We can't yet report on the results, but it's looking hopeful.

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Re: still early days

I don't know what he did here. I have the same BRIX platform running SteamOS and I have no graphics issues.

And out of my steam library of nearly 800 games more than 300 run natively on SteamOS. I'm currently play Metro: Last Light.

In my particular setup SteamOS makes a lot of sense. I have a beast of a gaming PC (i7 4970K, 2 X 780 Ti) in a rackmount chassis in the server room. Whatever isn't ported yet (and thats less and less everyday) I can stream at 4K!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: still early days

300+ games, for a platform that's not fully ready yet?? WTF are people complaining about?

The fanbois on here are getting worse... these forums are just full of people who'd rather spread FUD and bullshit about tech that isn't from their favourite company (usually MS).

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Re: still early days

They are OpenGL based benchmarks.

So until the majority of developer make games using OpenGL instead of DirectX, which platform OpenGL runs better on is kind of beside the point when it applies to a small number of big triple A games.

And studios aren't going to make the switch any time soon, the big reason they use DirectX is that it is much better documented and has a much bigger pool of talented developers with years of experience, which cant just be thrown away for the very small (from a commercial standpoint at least) benefits of OpenGL.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: still early days

DX is extremely platform limiting. The only reasons nowadays that you'd start something new on it is if you've already limited your past time and knowledge on it (like you said), or subsidised by Microsoft.

I used to be DX's biggest cheerleader. I did not know any better at the time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: still early days

Search another comment named "Directx is a load of horsesh..." right here on El Reg and you will find out you are not alone.

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Boffin

Re: still early days

Everything can and should be on OpenGL instead of DirectX. It used to be that everything was on OpenGL, it was sometime around the 2000s that some studios started using DirectX instead. But looking at the current PC gaming market, it seems everyone's switching back to OpenGL. And that's for full engine games; some use engines like Unreal that already do OpenGL on non-Windows platforms.

Goodbye Windows, and thanks for all the BSODs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: still early days

Except that OpenGL is older, more stable, and is the first step towards making cross-compatible games. And the reason that's starting to be a big deal again is because everyone who is not Microsoft exclusively supports OpenGL as a standard, including Sony and Nintendo, as well as Apple. iOS and Android both use OpenGL exclusively for games.

All using DirectX Graphics does now is limit you to Windows and the XBox.

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Re: still early days

Kubuntu user here also !

Of the major desktops KDE seems to be better for gaming than any Gnome3 based one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: still early days

"The Nvidia binary (non opensource) driver on Linux equals/beats Windows now - its only AMD drivers and opensource ones that are behind."

No it doesn't. Major pieces of support are still missing (e.g. Optimus).

Linux is about 5 years behind Windows in its support of modern hardware, that's a big gap to try and fill.

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Re: still early days

Hmm, maybe some games don't work here.

How about a count of approximate number of working games on various platforms?

Does the steambox beat anything using such a metric? In particular I'm curious as to how it might compare to the current Wii (which seems to be a bit of a fail) on such terms.

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Re: still early days

Game developers switching to OpenGL will benefit you even if you're determined to stick with Windows as your OS.

With OpenGL, the only thing that limits graphic features is the hardware support. If a game ships with the latest OpenGL 4.x graphical bells and whistles then you can use them so long as your hardware supports them. It doesn't matter if you're using Windows XP or Windows 8.1.

With DirectX, it doesn't matter if your hardware supports the DX12 features that the game ships with. If Microsoft won't release DX12 for your version of Windows then you're stuffed.

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Some suggestions

Serious Sam 3 and Metro Last Light are available on it, and are both top fun.

Metro Redux should be out on it soon, too.

I like the idea of SteamOS, but my Ubuntu+Steam box does me fine for now.

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Re: Some suggestions

My main gripe is that of my 280+ title Steam library, maybe 35 are available on *nix. That's an even worse percentage than the 55->18 quoted in the article.

To be fair the 35 was a year or so back, when I only had 250ish games and installed Steam on my Mint miniPC just to try it out. But it shows that I am, currently, still stuck with needing at least one Windows box if I want to play the vast majority of titles I've already bought. :(

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Re: Some suggestions

They have Civ 5, once you start playing that you'll have no time left for anything else anyway.

There are actually 600 games now in Linux Steam.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTc1NDI

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Re: Some suggestions

A lot of my recent purchases have (or will have) Linux ports, and the day is slowly approaching that I'll not need to factor a Windows license in to the cost of the next big upgrade.

Having said that, an awful lot of the Linux games on Steam are the indie devs (not necessarily a bad thing) and a lot less of the major publishers. I should probably fire up Steam on the Mint box again and see how much is now available, hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised :)

(Note: I've got no need of Civ5 because Destiny is due to be my next major time sink)

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Re: Some suggestions

I refuse to buy any game that isn't released on Linux these days, even though I do have a Win7 install with Steam on it. Which is not a very effective tactic.

I email the publishers contact email address/contact form explaining why I refuse to buy it, however, even though I could play it on the Windows side, which is probably more so.

My wallet is here, fuckers. Just give me an excuse to throw the contents at you.

Steven R

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Re: Some suggestions

My Ubuntu + Steam box runs games better than any other PC gaming system I have ever used.. Here games just work. The one that didn't work, it told me my video drivers were too old. They were - the card was 6 years old. I but an updated video card for $50 and poof! everyting works. I wish my Windows gaming experi\ence was this good.

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FerretGirl20?

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Yag

I sense a lot of steam friend request incoming...

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Can't wait for it !

Not before 2015, you say ? Well, okay then. I have a GB partition all ready for it on my PC.

Because of course I'll be using my PC.

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Re: Can't wait for it !

> I have a GB partition all ready for it

That could be an issue.

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Pff, silly me. A Terabit partition, obviously.

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That could also be an issue!

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Pff, silly me. A Terabit partition, obviously.

Ow ow ow. Having a major GOML moment here.

Why, when I were a lad...

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Never gonna replace windows

On other forums, especially ones with a less mature, more "I think numbers are a perfectly acceptable replacement for letters" type crowd, the same argument is always cropping up - SteamOS will never be a true contender for a console as it's Linux at heart, and only a small fraction (and certainly no new AAA titles) get released for it.

All these Steam Machines with ridiculous hardware and GTX780Ti cards just to play 5 year old indie games is daft.

It's an admirable effort, however it feels almost like false advertising, you'd be surprised by the amount of less well informed or tech savvy folks who assume SteamOS = Windows Steam standalone.

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Re: Never gonna replace windows

Those people clearly aren't well informed or tech savvy.

Anyway, as noted, Metro Redux will be out on them, and Cryengine has full support, the next Source engine, too.

You are spot on however, that it's a chicken and egg scenario - if they don't make games for it, no-one will use it. If they don't use it, no-one will make games for it!

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Linux

Re: Never gonna replace windows

When Valve first released Steam the only reason most people installed it was because it was necessary to run Half Life 2 (but oh how we grumbled, especially those of us still on dial-up).

Valve could do the same to drive uptake of SteamOS. Personally I can't see Half Life 3 (or L4D3 or whatever) being a Linux exclusive, but even a one week exclusive would drive a massive increase in users.

Also, just by releasing games on Linux Valve are helping the platform, whether it's passing bug fixes and performance enhancements upstream, or just raising the profile of penguin gaming. A lot of the most used game engines (eg Unity) make it pretty simple to export to Linux (and OSX) as well as Windows now.

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Re: Never gonna replace windows

>>and only a small fraction (and certainly no new AAA titles) get released for it.

Blah blah so much fail. There has been literally an explosion of games that are available for Linux since Steam came out. Now we're waiting for Van Helsing 1 to come out of beta, just heard Dead Island is about to come out. In September we're slated for Wasteland 2, Killing Floor 2, the new Gauntlet is coming out around there as well. Is Witcher 3 triple-a enough for you?

Why on earth would it 'replace' your windows gaming? At _most_ it would complement it, so what's the bitching about?

How about this, since the availability of titles available for Linux is just a small fraction, why don't you get off the comments and go play the remaining fraction of titles. That'll really show us Linux users!

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Re: Never gonna replace windows

> You are spot on however, that it's a chicken and egg scenario - if they don't make games for it, no-one will use it. If they don't use it, no-one will make games for it!

And also the next Unreal tech.

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Re: Never gonna replace windows

Whoa there fella calm down I've got nothing against Linux, and nothing against SteamOS.

Yes there has been an explosion of games...but not major titles. Dead Island and The Witcher being on Linux from launch is great, however those other games aren't AAA titles. As gamers they're coveted IPs and especially the older crowd will love them, but the gaming landscape isn't catered to us.

And about it complimenting your Windows machine, that doesn't make sense, anyone who has Windows has absolutely NO reason to boot into SteamOS - you have the full catalogue of titles at your disposal already, you don't need to go into SteamOS.

I understand you're passionate about Linux and that's fair enough, however you just sound like an out & out spoilt little brat with that last paragraph. I have nothing against Linux and would love to see it gain market support, but as it currently stands, and as stood for a long time, gaming on PCs means Windows above anything else.

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Re: Never gonna replace windows

Quote: "anyone who has Windows has absolutely NO reason to boot into SteamOS"

A lot of PC gamers are all about the framerates, if OpenGL gaming is faster under SteamOS than the same game under Windows (which seems to be the case from various tests I've seen), and as you automatically get access to all platforms supported when you buy a game, (i.e. you don't need to buy the game again), then I could see quite a few people setting up a dual/multi-boot rigs.

A lot of gamers are used to dual/multi boot anyway, i.e. Win 7 64 + Win XP 32 for those legacy games that don't play nice under 7 and/or 64bit.

Although I suspect the main use, would likely be something like an Intel NUC sat under the TV with SteamOS on it, and a Windows PC in another room, streaming to the NUC.

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Re: Never gonna replace windows

Look clearly you're not into Linux, which is fine. I'm not into cars for example, don't know a thing about them, don't care about them whatsoever either. Likewise for that same reason I don't expect someone who doesn't really care about Linux to know anything about it.

Yet whenever the topic of Linux gaming comes up on the reg there is no shortage of people disseminating as if they are the authority on the issue, when they've only substituted knowledge for an emotional decision of what the truth is. They don't care so they don't know but they have an opinion thus it must be truth. Infact a lot of people are openly hostile to the idea of gaming on Linux; You think I'm passionate about Linux, but you're wrong, I'm merely reacting defensively to the hostility.

What it usually all boils down to when you strip away all the superficial complaints is this: “You should not play games on Linux because there are more games for Windows than there are for Linux,” and while that discrepancy in quantity is absolutely a fact, it also absolutely misses the point which is; it doesn't matter one bit if there are two million games for Windows or twenty million, you're never going to play them all anyway.

So we have fewer titles, but we have an intense growth rate and a fair quality of the available titles, many of which are indeed contrary to your assertion major titles. You say gaming on PCs means Windows, but I've been gaming ever since I made the switch, and for me gaming on PCs means Linux.

The games I mentioned in the previous post are certainly not triple-a titles (apart from W3), and if you thought that's what I meant then I must have expressed myself poorly, I apologise for that, those games are merely ones that are just around the corner and games that I personally await with great eagerness to play, I used them as examples of what is currently going on, every month new games are revealed and it is a very exciting time to be a Linux gamer.

As for triple-a titles, there hasn't really been enough time to tell what's going to happen and if you hear anyone claiming otherwise, then you know they're full of it. I'll grant you that you could be correct and there won't be any Linux ports at launch of any upcoming triple-a titles, you could also very well be mistaken (I certainly hope you are).

What you should consider however is the list of engines available for Linux, some which have been finished porting this year, we have Linux games running on Unreal Engine 2 and UE 3. UE 4.1 is available now as well, and since Epic has previous experience with Linux it seems extremely likely that the new accompanying UT feature a Linux release. On the CryEngine side we have a triple-a title called “Homefront: The Revolution” which will feature same-day Linux launch. Another CryEngine game I'm really looking forward to is “Kingdom Come: Deliverance”, though I don't know if that one counts as triple-a, either way the combat system looks bloody brilliant. Unity is another very popular engine. Point is, there is so much going on -- too much to mention -- and so much available that triple-a just seems inevitable. Time will tell, not prophets of discontent.

Shoutout to S2 Games, Savage and HoN/Strife for life, more Ferraris for Maliken! Thank you guys for unwavering Linux support!

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Re: Never gonna replace windows

Given how closely the PS4 and XBone are hardware-wise, this may free up enough in-house developer resources to add Steam-OS to the mix.

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Pint

Re: Never gonna replace windows

The Qty *does* matter because high numbers improves that odds that they'll have the ones you want.

I don't actually watch 520 TV channels available from my provider, but several of the ones I *do* want are not available from the provider that offers "only" 260.

Number matter.

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Re: Never gonna replace windows

Sorry but that's a terrible comparison, you wouldn't buy 520 games only to be able to play a few. The whole business model of cable tv is to inundate you with extra channels that you really don't want but must pay for in order to get the one you do want, it's almost extortion.

If numbers are what matters to you for games, then I'd say you're more of a collector than a gamer. But that's ok, to each his own, there are plenty of Linux games and plenty^2 to be released, if that isn't enough for you that's also fine, noone is going to break into your house and replace your windows machine with a linux one.

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MJI
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Steam on Mint

Done it here and it was about 3/4s of the games.

UEFI worked fine.

Oh and of course the other boot was 7, the owners did not want 8 at any cost.

Games performance is fine on both OSes

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MJI
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Re: Steam on Mint

I see the MS shills are out in force,

So was I downvoted because someone did not want Windows 8 or because they dared to want dual boot?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Steam on Mint

Don't take it personally, if you talk negatively about any Microsoft product.. you'll get a few downies on you.

Let me demonstrate: "I don't like Notepad" (see the downvotes?)

I've been using Windows, professionally, long before these fanbois. It's my right to speak badly about them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Steam on Mint

Personally I am wondering if the MS Shills change their porn picture every time they change CEO.

After knocking one out to their picture of Steve or Bill, do they knock one out now to the new chap?

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Re: Steam on Mint

So was I downvoted because someone did not want Windows 8 or because they dared to want dual boot?

I'm guessing because someone didn't want Windows 8. The MS shills think that Windows 8 being refused by non-techies is heresy speak and does not exist at all.

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Re: Steam on Mint

> I've been using Windows, professionally, long before these fanbois.

I'm confused by the notion of "Windows fanbois" or "MS fanboys". Nobody's a "fan". I don't believe they exist. I use the products and will admit some of them are good but enthusiasm? That'd be like being a fan of British Gas or your local waste removal contractor. It's just a thing you use.

To be honest, I suspect this is why I get irritated by people who get all fanboy about linux or Google or Apple. You don't start internet flamewars about Powergen versus eon, do you?

Pathetic, really.

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No thanks

I've bought Minecraft, Don't Starve, and Kerbal Space Program straight from the sources, as I think they deserve full dosh for their games w/o a cut for a middleman.

I also read the Don't Starve & KSP forums, and the number of sob stories involving Steam is pretty high. Their games won't play or update without a lot of pain.

For me, when KSP releases an update, it's probably a hell of a lot easier to download and unpack a zip file than to deal with Steam.

I think they have a way to go.

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Re: No thanks

Steam is great for all those old games that come by for a few bucks in the sales and make you think: I should play that. I certainly wouldn't buy any big price games directly from steam.

When games are easily available directly from the source, I don't see the added benefit of steam.

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Re: No thanks

Didnt pay a penny to the steam sales this year.

Steam is getting overrun, by shitty developers building quarter of a game, releasing it and not doing anything else.

A few indie games is ok but the amount they now have is getting ridiculous, Please can we get a decent fully made game without built in DLC.

If you like me you will be looking forward to Toxikk, its worth googling :D

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Coat

Re: No thanks

I remember the days (and I mean sometimes days) of searching for a decent mirror for the latest countre-strike patch. When Steam came along with 1.6 it was both a blessing and a curse. No more malware infested click-lottery downloader sites - but also forced updates which could screw up offline lan gaming

Mines the one with the Steyr AUG in the pocket - not a Bullpup!

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