Linux games are a dead-end business... NOT!

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by GolfHacker, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. arcadetown

    Moderator Original Member

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    Similar to Mac versus PC for developers. Developers can get direct exposure on Linux sites so they'll get a higher % of direct sales from it. However in the larger market it would probably provide a tiny % of sales and questionable if worth the effort. I suspect it would even be lower % than Mac as our internal stats show Linux users are just 0.2% compared to Mac being approx 1 - 2%.
     
  2. Ryan Clark

    Indie Author

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    Just wanted to add our experiences to the thread, though we've also posted them elsewhere.

    We get about 2 to 3% of our sales from our Linux versions. Not a huge result, but definitely worth the extra week or so of effort to get the Linux versions running. I also suspect that we get the occasional "sympathy sale" from people who use Windows for gaming but Linux for everything else, and buy our Windows version in part because they want to support developers who make Linux games.

    As Brian said, Linux sites are fairly easy to get exposure on... it's like a mini version of the Mac market. This will get you an easy spike of Linux sales at the start, but things always taper off after that and Windows sales will tend to predominate.
     
  3. Pallav Nawani

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    Well, it matches my experience, and I've been selling RiotBall for 2 Years now...
    Congratulations to you if your game is selling well on Linux. I will note though, that your game is the type of game that linuxers like (a action platformer), and does not disprove my earlier statement.
     
  4. Bad Sector

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    So, it's a nice thing that i make my games in Linux and then port them to Windows :).

    Although doing a proper Linux release is more than simply compiling a Linux executable.
     
  5. GBGames

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    I'd actually like to see such information collected somewhere. I'm currently researching what is needed, and as said above, the information isn't all in one place or consistent. gpwiki would be one such place, I think.
     
  6. Bad Sector

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    Well, first of all you'll need to read and understand the linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard. This says what goes where, etc. But to make it easier, for commercial games you probably want to place them in /opt/your_game. However the correct thing to do is to break the game's files into "binary", "crossplatform data", "platform specific data", "configuration", etc and put them in the correct directories (usually inside /usr/local, because the convention goes that anything in there is managed by the user and everything else is managed by the distro's package system).

    Then, you'll need to figure out how to create an installation system. Creating .run files (self-extracting and installing, based on shell scripting) is explained here. This script should extract itself into a subdit /tmp where an installation program gets compiled (you can use Gtk2 and Glade to build the installation program, it doesn't have to be anything fancy) and executed. This will handle the game's installation process (that is, copying the files to the correct locations :).

    Another issue you want to take care of, is shortcut creation. You need to detect which windowmanager or desktop environment the user has and create shortcuts for this. You should create shortcuts for at least KDE and GNOME, but WindowMaker and FVWM (or whatever is the name) are quite popular too. Do not create desktop shortcuts, no matter how tempting it may be. Both KDE and GNOME use the ".desktop" subdirectory for the user's desktop and both use different shortcut formats, so creating a KDE shortcut won't work in GNOME and vice versa. Many distros install both desktops by default and this is the configuration you should expect in a newbie's system.

    Also note that Debian, especially, has a "menu system" which is a simple tree structure for programs with a "games" entry. You should put a shortcut there if the installer is ran from Debian because it makes the shortcut in almost every menu system, windowmanager and desktop environment used.
     
  7. GBGames

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    Ok, let's put it on the wiki! Otherwise, it is just another forum to search through to find the information. B-)
     

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