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Posted

[font=georgia,serif][size=5][b]Valve cranks up Linux gaming, makes it faster than Windows[/b][/size][/font]

[font=georgia,serif]Valve's [url="http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/25/3186615/valve-gabe-newell-gaming-interface-windows-8-interview"]distaste for Windows 8[/url] has led the company to take on an increasing interest in Linux, and the new [url="http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/linux/faster-zombies/"][i]Valve Linux[/i][/url] blog shows that, with some work, the Source Engine actually runs faster on it than it does on Windows. The company used a testbed with an Intel i7 3930k, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680, and 32GB of RAM to pit [i]Left 4 Dead 2[/i] on Windows 7 against Ubuntu 12, and the results are rather interesting.[/font]

[font=georgia,serif]At first, Valve's Linux port of [i]Left 4 Dead 2[/i] ran at only 6 FPS on the i7 machine, but after tweaking the game to make effective use of the efficient characteristics of the Linux kernel and OpenGL, the Valve Linux team was able to eke out a much higher 315 FPS. Using the same machine running Windows 7 and Direct3D, the same game ran at 270.6 FPS, or roughly 14 percent slower.[/font]

[font=georgia,serif]After optimizing the Source Engine for the Linux platform, Valve wondered why OpenGL was outperforming Direct3D at a technical level. Their research found that, on the same hardware, there are "a few additional microseconds [of] overhead per batch in Direct3D which does not affect OpenGL," indicating that[url="http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/23/3177949/microsoft-windows-8-hardware-acceleration"] Direct3D[/url] may not be as efficient as Microsoft would like developers to believe. There are still challenges ahead for the Valve Linux team, however, as the state of Linux graphics card drivers is still a[url="http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/17/3092829/linus-torvalds-****-you-nvidia"] tumultuous affair[/url]. The team has yet to work with AMD and Nvidia, but collaboration with Intel's engineers[url="http://www.paranormal-entertainment.com/idr/blog/posts/2012-07-19T18:54:37Z-The_zombies_cometh/"] took place just last month[/url].[/font]

[b]Source:[/b] [url="http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/2/3214980/valves-source-engine-linux-opengl-direct3d"]The Verge[/url]

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Posted

Even though gaming on linux would be nice, not every company feels the same way about linux developing just because there isn't moolah$$ to be made there, compared to windows.

Also, stupid question but hey.. If linux is "open" wouldn't cracking/pirating be easier?

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[quote name='Draconian Guppy' timestamp='1343926358' post='595054237']
Also, stupid question but hey.. If linux is "open" wouldn't cracking/pirating be easier?
[/quote]

not really... you CAN run non-opensource programs in linux. There are plenty and games are among them. Piracy in Windows is as easy as in Linux, it comes with the demand.
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Posted

If companies jump on board with this like Valve is hoping and port their games over, could OS X and Linux really be the next gaming platform? I'll switch when all my games are supported, and Windows 7 is at end of life.

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Posted

This would be more interesting if they did this with a modern engine. But since this is valve we'll only get to see this "it's faster than windows" thing with the hideously outdated source engine.

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Well, the more support Linux gets, the more support my Macs get. I'll take OpenGL games over DirectX any day! (see Quake 3).

[quote name='Blackhearted' timestamp='1343927008' post='595054277']
This would be more interesting if they did this with a modern engine. But since this is valve we'll only get to see this "it's faster than windows" thing with the hideously outdated source engine.
[/quote]

What exactly is wrong with the Source engine out of curiosity? it still looks and performs great!
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[quote name='Terracotta' timestamp='1343926865' post='595054269']
If companies jump on board with this like Valve is hoping and port their games over, could OS X and Linux really be the next gaming platform? I'll switch when all my games are supported, and Windows 7 is at end of life.
[/quote]

No, there are people who will NEVER use anything but Windows, just look at any thread involving Linux or OS X, it always devolves to Windows fanboys bashing everything and anything not Windows, performance enhancements like mentioned here are of no concern to them.
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Posted

[quote name='Draconian Guppy' timestamp='1343926358' post='595054237']
Even though gaming on linux would be nice, not every company feels the same way about linux developing just because there isn't moolah$$ to be made there, compared to windows.

Also, stupid question but hey.. If linux is "open" wouldn't cracking/pirating be easier?
[/quote]

1. Companies should be looking linux as an opportunity to make money in the future. Sure windows has marketshare now, and is obviously the best for immediate profits, but linux has a lot of potential to make them money in the future. If more companies do what valve is doing, linux has a very real chance to take off. Its the only way to get past this chicken and egg scenerio of "We don't support linux because it doesn't have marketshare" and "Linux has low marketshare because companies don't support it"

2. I doubt linux would have any effect on the prevalence of piracy, windows games area already cracked day 1, and drm has proven to be ineffective in the first place. The real way to combat piracy is to provide a convenient service to your customers and make high quality games. If you don't treat customers like criminals, they will be more likely to buy the games.
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Posted

Same specs as my machine :D Valve knows quality.

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Technically using Linux doesn't make it faster, OpenGL does.
It is good Valve are pushing Steam to Linux but i don't see many developers porting their games over to Linux, unless it is easy and cost effective for them.

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[quote name='CPressland' timestamp='1343927048' post='595054279']
Well, the more support Linux gets, the more support my Macs get. I'll take OpenGL games over DirectX any day! (see Quake 3).



What exactly is wrong with the Source engine out of curiosity? it still looks and performs great!
[/quote]

You aren't forced to buy new games because it's incompatible with older versions, while Source is constantly updated without the forced upgrade or forcing you to purchase your games all over again

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Posted

source engine is pretty amazing... even amazing for the year that was created. it still looks pretty good and they can optimize it if they want to... but anyway, linux is capable of running unreal engine games for example, that's a most up-to-date base for comparing. osx is also capable of running such games and afterall, osx and linux are both derivated from the same thing, so they're more equal than it seems

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Posted

Is the visual quality identical?

I have a sneaky suspicion that for more advanced engines, like Frostbite 2.0, D3D will win. I am all for linux gaming, but right now Windows dominates that.

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As long as they'll keep developing games for Windows machines, I could care less.
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I'd like to see what "thenetavenger" has to say about this. He always claims on the front pages that Direct3D is superior to OpenGL. I guess this goes to show he couldn't be more wrong.

Linux and OpenGL are more than capable at competing against Microsoft's Direct3D. In fact, from every test I've seen, Doom3 also runs faster using OpenGL too. Not only that, but developers can target a much broader set of platforms with OpenGL (Linux, OS X, Android, iOS, and more).
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Posted

I like some actual evidence of this. as all my experience shows that the linux kernel is not more efficient than the NT kernel(the NT kernel is newer tech with some stuff that the linux kernel should have had but doesn't). and OpenGL I've never on any system see perform better than D3D. I've seen it perform more stable with illegal meshes(basically handling more error before crashing and burning) but not outperforming.

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[quote name='Lingwo' timestamp='1343927158' post='595054293']
Technically using Linux doesn't make it faster, OpenGL does.
It is good Valve are pushing Steam to Linux but i don't see many developers porting their games over to Linux, unless it is easy and cost effective for them.
[/quote]

It's Linux and the Linux OpenGL implementation that is faster.

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Posted

I guess they changed something like

for(int i=0; i<1000000; i++)

into

for(int i=0; i<100; i++)

Oh it's faster! The system which is going to compete with our market is a sh*t!

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Posted

Personally I think its waste of money for valve, unless they are building their one console then it would make sense for them to optimize for Linux.

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[quote name='Lingwo' timestamp='1343927158' post='595054293']
Technically using Linux doesn't make it faster, OpenGL does.
It is good Valve are pushing Steam to Linux but i don't see many developers porting their games over to Linux, unless it is easy and cost effective for them.
[/quote]

Except the blog post specifically mentions that the Linux version ran faster than the Windows OpenGL version. They then improved the Windows OpenGL code and sped that up as well, but it's still not quite as fast as Linux .

[quote name='Valve Linux Blog']
After this work, Left 4 Dead 2 is running at 315 FPS on Linux. That the Linux version runs faster than the Windows version (270.6) seems a little counter-intuitive, given the greater amount of time we have spent on the Windows version. However, it does speak to the underlying efficiency of the kernel and OpenGL. Interestingly, in the process of working with hardware vendors we also sped up the OpenGL implementation on Windows. Left 4 Dead 2 is now running at 303.4 FPS with that configuration
[/quote]

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[quote name='ObiWanToby' timestamp='1343927255' post='595054303']
Is the visual quality identical?

I have a sneaky suspicion that for more advanced engines, like Frostbite 2.0, D3D will win. I am all for linux gaming, but right now Windows dominates that.
[/quote]

it's not easy to tell.. i'm pretty sure that the game studio can "choose" in which API the game will be smoother.. depends on the work for each one upon the game dev...

[color=#000000][font=sans-serif][size=3]
In general, Direct3D is designed to virtualize 3D hardware interfaces. Direct3D frees the game programmer from accommodating the graphics hardware. OpenGL, on the other hand, is designed to be a 3D hardware-accelerated rendering system that may be emulated in software. These two APIs are fundamentally designed under two separate modes of thought.[/size][/font][/color][color=#000000][font=sans-serif][size=3]
As such, there are functional differences in how the two APIs work. Direct3D expects the application to manage hardware resources; OpenGL makes the implementation do it. This tradeoff for OpenGL decreases difficulty in developing for the API, while at the same time increasing the complexity of creating an implementation (or driver) that performs well. With Direct3D, the developer must manage hardware resources independently; however, the implementation is simpler, and developers have the flexibility to allocate resources in the most efficient way possible for their application.[/size][/font][/color][color=#000000][font=sans-serif][size=3]
Until about 2005, another functional difference between the APIs was the way they handled rendering to textures. The Direct3D method (SetRenderTarget()) is convenient, while prior versions of OpenGL required manipulating pixel buffers (P-buffers). This was cumbersome and risky: if the programmer's codepath was different from that anticipated by the driver maker, the code would have fallen back to software rendering, causing a substantial performance drop. However, widespread support for the "frame buffer objects" extension, which provided an OpenGL equivalent of the Direct3D method, successfully addressed this shortcoming, and the "render target" feature of OpenGL brought OpenGL up to par with Direct3D in this respect.[/size][/font][/color][color=#000000][font=sans-serif][size=3]
Outside of a few minor functional differences which have mostly been addressed over the years, the two APIs provide nearly the same level of function. Hardware and software makers generally respond rapidly to changes in [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirectX"]DirectX[/url], e.g. pixel processor and [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shader"]shader[/url] requirements in DirectX 9 to [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_processor"]stream processors[/url] in DirectX 10, while new features in [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenGL"]OpenGL[/url] are mainly implemented first by vendors and afterward retroactively applied to the standard.[/size][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=sans-serif][size=3]
[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_OpenGL_and_Direct3D"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_OpenGL_and_Direct3D[/url][/size][/font][/color]

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Posted

One gripe about OpenGL I have is the texture quality in games, they always seem to be more smudgy and unrealistic compared to its DirectX counterpart. Anyone remember the Rage megatexture fiasco. Actually everything from ID software after quake 3 looks horrid.

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[quote name='CPressland' timestamp='1343927048' post='595054279']
Well, the more support Linux gets, the more support my Macs get. I'll take OpenGL games over DirectX any day! (see Quake 3).



What exactly is wrong with the Source engine out of curiosity? it still looks and performs great!
[/quote]

Of course it performs great. It's something like 8 years old and relatively simplistic on the visuals front(from what i've seen) compared to games of other, more modern engines. It'd be kind of hard for it not to perform well on everything including your toaster.

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[quote name='ObiWanToby' timestamp='1343927255' post='595054303']
Is the visual quality identical?

I have a sneaky suspicion that for more advanced engines, like Frostbite 2.0, D3D will win. I am all for linux gaming, but right now Windows dominates that.
[/quote]

OpenGL isn't any less powerful than D3D, its just that D3D is easier to develop for.

[quote name='The Laughing Man' timestamp='1343927665' post='595054327']
One gripe about OpenGL I have is the texture quality in games, they always seem to be more smudgy and unrealistic compared to its DirectX counterpart. Anyone remember the Rage megatexture fiasco. Actually everything from ID software after quake 3 looks horrid.
[/quote]

That's just because ID has been a joke lately, not because of opengl :rolleyes:
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[quote name='Terracotta' timestamp='1343926865' post='595054269']
If companies jump on board with this like Valve is hoping and port their games over, could OS X and Linux really be the next gaming platform? I'll switch when all my games are supported, and Windows 7 is at end of life.
[/quote]I don't think OSX and Linux will become the "next" gaming OSes, I just think that PC gaming will shift from Windows only to true multi platform (which is good for everyone...except MS)

[quote name='The Laughing Man' timestamp='1343927665' post='595054327']
One gripe about OpenGL I have is the texture quality in games, they always seem to be more smudgy and unrealistic compared to its DirectX counterpart. Anyone remember the Rage megatexture fiasco. Actually everything from ID software after quake 3 looks horrid.
[/quote]If large companies like Valve get behind OpenGL, development will speed up and OpenGL will become more competitive with DirectX

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