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'Linux vs Windows' Challenge: Phoronix Tests Popular Games (phoronix.com) 141

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Larabel at Phoronix has combined their new results from intensive Linux/Windows performance testing for popular games on Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA graphics cards, and at different resolutions. "This makes it easy to see the Linux vs. Windows performance overall or for games where the Linux ports are simply rubbish and performing like crap compared to the native Windows game." The games tested included Xonotic, Tomb Raider, Grid Autosport, Dota 2, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, F1 2015, and Company of Heroes 2 -- and the results were surprising.

Xonotic v0.8 outperformed Windows with a NVIDIA card, but "The poor Xonotic performance on Linux with the Intel driver was one of the biggest surprises from yesterday's article. It's not anything we've seen with the other drivers." And while testing on the Source 2 engine revealed that Valve's Dota 2 "is a quality Linux port," most of the other results were disappointing -- regardless of the graphics card and driver. "Tomb Raider on Linux performs much worse than the Windows build regardless of your driver/graphics card... Shadow of Mordor's relative Linux performance is more decent than many other Linux games albeit still isn't running at the same speeds as the Windows games..."

The article concludes with a note of optimism. "Hopefully in due time with the next generation of games making use of Vulkan...we'll see better performance relative to Windows." Have Slashdot readers seen any performance issues while playing games on Linux?
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'Linux vs Windows' Challenge: Phoronix Tests Popular Games

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  • port Tomb Raider to Linux? I'm not saying it's not cool and all, but I just can't imagine enough of a market for it. Shot across the bow to Microsoft over UWP maybe? From what I could tell that was what SteamOS was all about (and why Valve let it fizzel after the Windows Store bombed in Win8)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      As far as my limited understanding goes: OSX ports of games involve building against many of the (open source) components included in Linux distro's. So when doing an OSX port, a Linux port is 'low hanging fruit'. Some studios may take advantage of that to do a Linux port as well. Or not... depending on title, game engine, sales, in-house developer expertise, etc etc.

      The market for OSX games is small compared to Windows games, but still significant and considerably bigger than Linux gaming. So in a way,

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Sunday June 26, 2016 @02:32PM (#52393989)

      I can't speak for the Tomb Raider devs, but I can at least give you my general impressions from the industry.

      It's a small market, certainly, and inroads remain slow. Most high profile game developers, or at least the ones I've previously worked for, never even gave it a second thought. I think that's slowing changing, although certainly not as fast as in the indie scene. My impression is that a lot of indie game devs (my own included) focus on Linux precisely because the AAA studios don't seem to care about it, so it's a more untapped market. It takes fewer sales to make an indie game profitable, so we can afford to take the time to support that platform. When your budget is tens of millions (or hundreds in the largest case these days), you have to focus on the largest market for the biggest return.

      Another factor is that many large studios have in-house engines or heavily modified commercial engines, or else rely on a large number of 3rd party technologies. Developing your own Linux port is expensive, and if you're using 3rd party software, unless Linux is fully supported, a port is much less likely. Indie devs, on the other hand, are very likely to be using vanilla Unity or Unreal, which have native Linux support.

      I'm probably a bit unique for indies in that I'm using a custom engine, but am still planning complete Win/UWP/Mac/Linux support, doing all the ports the hard way (only Linux remaining now). Once your engine is done, though, it's just a matter of QA and update costs, so I'm counting on that long tail to make the initial investment worthwhile.

      • Offtopic but I have to ask...
        Does your engine, by any chance, offer the development infrastructure for supporting space-based 3D games?

        • No, it's a 2D tile-based engine. Normal commercial engines can handle typical 3D scenarios, but I had some very specific ideas about how I wanted my tile-based games to work, and none of the commercial engines worked the way I had envisioned.

          Unless you've got some very specific requirements that make it impractical, or unless you're a *very* large company that can afford to write your own engine, it's generally a better idea to use a commercial game engine.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday June 26, 2016 @03:33PM (#52394283) Homepage

        It's a small market, certainly, and inroads remain slow. Most high profile game developers, or at least the ones I've previously worked for, never even gave it a second thought. I think that's slowing changing, although certainly not as fast as in the indie scene.

        A good question is still: Why? According to Steam's survey [steampowered.com] 95.42% run Windows, 3.60% Mac and 0.84% Linux - not sure where the last 0.14% went. The number of Linux gamers is not budging, it's the same hardcore 1% that's used it on the desktop for the last decade. Unless Valve starts to get serious about Steam Machines and Linux I really don't see much of a business case...

        • A sale is still a sale and as long as the porting efforts costs less than what you can sell you have a net profit and for some smaller companies that can be the difference between make it or break it. And to increase your income by 0.84% is not to be frowned upon if the actual number of sales is high enough.
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      If there is no extra effort involved involved in targeting beyond checking a radio button in their build system that says "Linux target" (which is about how much effort is required for some game engines to make s Linux port), what do they have to lose by doing that?
  • I'm not worried about performance, so much as the games. I have Mint 17.3 on most of my PCs, and I can't play Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3, and GTAV. Bring the games, the performance will fallow.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday June 26, 2016 @01:47PM (#52393793) Journal
    Leave games, take high performance engineering analysis done by CAD/CAM design analysis tools. There is this leading company which became the leading company by acquiring many different physics simulation companies. And the acquisitions include pure-linux shops, pure-windows shops and some mixed. Their fluid mechanics tools come from what used to be a pure linux shop. It simply rocks in linux AND windows. Well done system, it would even catch access violations, clean up the sub systems and continue without crashing. Graphics would simply rock. It would take a fluid mechanics simulation being done on 128 node cluster and render the pressure contours on a remote work station. Fully scriptable too! Very good performance in windows and liunux. On the other side a geometry processing tool comes from a pure windows shop. This tool has the precision of Parametric Technolgies CAD engine and the flexibility of blender like UI. Slicker than Exxon-Valdez in Prince William Sound! But the damned thing does not even run on Linux. Their electronics analysis tools come from what used to be a unix shop, that went to Windows with Mainwin porting, then some sort hybrid of mainwin, kernel mode, console apps behind a reasonably good UI (unlimited undo/redo, complete parametric sweep with two levels of distributed processing!). Works reasonably well in Linux but even users who solve in linux postprocess in windows.

    Moral of the story: develop in linux and port to Windows, you could compete with native windows apps. Develop in windows and port to linux, you would be lucky if it just runs.

    • Leave games, take high performance engineering analysis done by CAD/CAM design analysis tools.

      What I meant to say was: Ignore the things that matter to people who play games, instead look at this completely irrelevant thing over here.

      Ultimately it doesn't matter who's fault poor performance is, just that the performance is poor. Telling people to do without something they want seems to have been the major marketing point of Linux since the 90s. It hasn't worked so far, maybe it would be better if effort was spent improving the ports.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        The performance has to be acceptable to someone that just wants to have fun. That may even include actual Windows users.

        "inferior" can cover a lot of ground both in terms of "fitness" and the available software library.

      • The game system is limited mostly by graphics and rendering. In CAD and physics simulation graphics play a smaller role and the matrix solvers and physics solvers and the mesh generators take bulk of the CPU time and development load. If you can't port a CAD application well, there is no hope for games. That is what I mean by saying "Leave games, ..."
    • There is this leading company which became the leading company by acquiring many different physics simulation companies.

      Which software is that, and which industry (aerospace, mechanical, AEC)? I work for a company that makes BIM software (that isn't Revit) and would be interested in a best-in-class physics library.

  • > Have Slashdot readers seen any performance issues while playing games on Linux?

    Which games? Most games for Linux are Indies and Linux runs them just fine.

    Under Linux you won't be able to play the native versions of Overwatch, Doom 4, Quantum Break, or any version of GTA, CoD, Battlefield, Colin McRay Rally, Crysis, Deus Ex, FarCry, Hitman, Mafia etc. etc. etc.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually I have played the first three Far Crys, Mafia 1 and 2, several Gta games, and Deus Ex. I ran them with Wine. Sadly I can't play Fallout 4 but most others do work.

    • Re:Q n A (Score:5, Interesting)

      by a_n_d_e_r_s ( 136412 ) on Sunday June 26, 2016 @03:33PM (#52394281) Homepage Journal

      This is the games currently played on steam:
      Current Max today
      646,219 1,099,697 Dota 2
      525,059 535,298 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
      71,194 71,655 ARK: Survival Evolved
      70,252 70,252 Sid Meier's Civilization V
      65,985 66,079 Football Manager 2016
      62,039 64,762 Team Fortress 2
      57,520 57,795 Garry's Mod
      54,727 55,830 Rocket League
      54,280 60,794 Grand Theft Auto V
      45,628 45,628 Arma 3

      Only the last 3 games is not availble for Linux. Top-7 of those games are available for Linux gamers.
      So most of the game you call top-tiered are not among the most played games.
        And the gamers today play alot of a bit older and more popular games.

      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) *

        Unfortunately quoting the top played Steam games for the day does not really say what you think/want it to say. Of those top seven games, four share the same game engine (CS:GO, DoTA2, Gary's Mod, and TF2) and honestly can be looked at as mods for HL2. So your "Top 10" list is really a "Top 7" list. Of those seven games only a little better than half are available for Linux.

        The second problem with those numbers is availability for Linux does not give any information about the number of those players running

        • Calling five out of seven "only a little better than half" is rather misleading.

          You really have no place to call out "grossly misleading figures".

      • by Baki ( 72515 )

        Steam also runs well enough under Wine, many windows-only Steam games work well, with same frame rates.

        E.g. for Trackmania 2, I get exactly the same frame rate in Linux, using nvidia, as native under Windows.

    • The only one I have had performance issues with is Firewatch. I have had stability issues with several others though, like Tomb Raider, Psychonaughts, and Among the Sleep.
      There are also ones that work flawlessly like everything from Valve, FTL, Torchlight II, Robocraft(awesome game in case you haven't tried it, and free), Kerbal Space Program(had some rough spots for a while, but working great now), and Bastion.
  • I've got Win 8.1 and Linux in a dualboot setup on my computer and have been playing Dota 2 on both OSes. Performance on Linux has been on par with Windows and since the latest couple of patches I've seen the Linux client run even a few frames faster on average than the Windows one. On most other games the performance on Linux has been really problematic, though. The only other game I've seen run on my Linux perfectly is Natural Selection 2. The devs of NS2 have really put a lot of effort in developing the game further even though it's been over four years since its release.

    • I think the performance of those other games are lower due to them often being written specifically for DX9/10/11 and porting those to OpenGL would require a complete rewrite if performance would be equal and since the market is so much lower they simply "make it work" with some slight tuning around the corners. Still I must say that even if Tomb Raider (2013) is much slower on Linux than on Windows I still got an enjoyable framerate out of it (didn't experience any slowdown that broke the gameplay).
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday June 26, 2016 @03:07PM (#52394169)

    The problem is support for gaming hardware.

    There is no gaming culture on Linux. At least not yet. And this is why few makers of gaming hardware bother to produce drivers for their devices. And those where such drivers exist, they're usually not on par with the drivers for Windows. From input devices like flight sticks, steering wheels and high resolution mice to output devices like 7.1 audio cards and headphones. Either they don't work at all or you can at best get a token support out of it.

    Would you like playing F1 2005 if the force feedback on your wheel doesn't work? How much fun is playing a FPS game when the audio is reduced to a half baked stereo output that doesn't give you any information about the attacker's location?

    Performance only starts becoming an issue once you actually want to play the game on that system.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Sunday June 26, 2016 @06:25PM (#52395083) Homepage

    If you haven't played it you're missing out. Although Minsta-Hook is not my cup of tea, if you love flying around like Spiderman with a insta kill laser in your hand this is for you. Xon has Vehicles, Jet Packs and Overkill Mod too. My fav since its mine is my Shotgun only server Called Mofo with a Shogtun. With wall jumping and crazy pushback force from the bullets to make your enemies fly back fast and die while hitting a wall :) or just fly back off the map and of course die....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, anyone who hasn't played Xonotic isn't missing out. It's not that it's a bad game, it's just that it has almost no player base. Where I live for example (Australia) there are ZERO players in the evening, the prime time for gaming. I'm not sure what was the last time I've seen Australian servers with anyone playing. Even ignoring local servers, the total player count at any given time isn't much to talk about.

      It ain't just Xonotic which has this problem. Red Eclipse has no player base, Warsow has no play

      • Well the player base is Eurocentric which does suck but.... Also the game is quite playable with high ping. I use to cap quite often on the EAC Minsta server with 180 ping.

      • Open Arena has two uses : to check that your OpenGL works (because glxgears is too fast) and to fill precious available space on the / partition (your system gets at least semi-unusable if it's filled up)

        It's also a warning about how gaming on an AZERTY keyboard can suck if the devs didn't plan or test for it.
        It's semi-useful if you have access to a small LAN of old desktops and want to play some Free deathmatch on it while wishing you had real Quake 3.

  • 'Nobody' cares about gaming on Linux (statistically - I know a few companies do), so the drivers are always going to be lagging and the ports are mostly going to be half-hearted, and Vulkan won't fix that. Probably the biggest issue is a lack of something like Direct X to make things easy - being Linux, there are multiple competing standards for it.

    It's why all my servers are Linux but the gaming machine is Windows. When I want to play a game, I just want it to work without messing with WINE configs or havi

    • by eWarz ( 610883 )
      On the contrary, I am aching beyond all belief for Linux to have awesome game support. Just because you posted this, I demand that you cease using Linux for all eternity! You must also cease using Windows as well.
  • by Smiddi ( 1241326 ) on Monday June 27, 2016 @12:08AM (#52396501)
    This is awesome news. I cant wait to run games on Linux that were released in 2006.
  • I'm in the same boat with others, The game I play the most is 7 Days to Die. Being based on Unity, it actually runs better on my Linux installation than it did on my old Win7.

    Linux gaming is definitely becoming more of a reality especially due to Valve pushing the Steam Machine. Even though that's not gaining much traction, it is ushering in games that support, or are developed for Linux. Half of my 400 Steam games are SteamOS/Linux compatible, and that ratio seems to be growing.

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