Crytek demos CryEngine for Linux at GDC

GDC 2014 — If you’ve been following the news lately, it’ll come as no surprise that Crytek is working on a Linux port of its game engine. At GDC today, I had a first-hand look at CryEngine running on Linux, and I was able to get some extra details from the Crytek folks on the scene.

The demo was running on an Ubuntu 12 system with an Nvidia graphics card. The Crytek guys said the engine is currently running with the equivalent of a DirectX 10 feature set, "give or take," but they’re working on DirectX 11 features (including hardware tessellation) and hope to get those implemented "as fast as possible." Linux versions of Crytek’s developer tools are still in the works, as well. They weren’t on display at GDC.

What about performance? I was told that, if one were to run the same build of the engine on both Linux and Windows, one would see equivalent speed on both platforms.

Having a Linux version of CryEngine will no doubt be a boon to Valve’s Linux-based SteamOS platform, not to mention the Steam machines based on it. That said, the Crytek guys to whom I spoke seemed to downplay the SteamOS connection. From what I understand, the studio’s work on an OpenGL version of the engine is mainly about getting broader platform support—that means not just SteamOS, but also vanilla Linux, OS X, and iOS.

Finally, I asked if, going forward, Crytek would roll out future CryEngine releases in parallel for Windows and Linux. I wasn’t given an explicit answer, but as I understand it, that does seem to be the plan.

Comments closed
    • Deanjo
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]What about performance? I was told that, if one were to run the same build of the engine on both Linux and Windows, one would see equivalent speed on both platforms.*** *** When used with nvidia or intel graphics [/quote<]

    • alloyD
    • 6 years ago

    As many have said before, the only reason I still keep a Windows box around is for games. If it wasn’t for that, I’d drop Windows SO fast.

      • End User
      • 6 years ago

      Bingo.

    • sweatshopking
    • 6 years ago

    You guys are so crazy. the bulk of the market will never move to linux for desktop. not 10 years ago, not now, not in 2 years.

      • who_me
      • 6 years ago

      I remember one guy that thought the iPhones were a joke. Guess the joke’s on him. You sound just like him.

      Hint: He’s been known to throw chairs when angered.

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        we will see. Linux is too fragmented. it’s not reliable. steamboxes MIGHT do ok for GAMES ONLY, as they’re a stable, single platform. I don’t see fedora, suse, Ubuntu, etc. becoming the normal desktop platform for people anytime soon.

          • flip-mode
          • 6 years ago

          Fragmented: yes. Not reliable: what the hell?

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            the kernel is great. that’s not the issue, but things constantly break on Linux, requiring CLI regularly. once they’re tweaked, setup and everything is perfect they’re not bad. but that’s a heck of a lot more work than most people are willing to do. A large part of it is driver issues, where they just don’t spend as much or any time making them, so I’ve encountered regular problems.
            I don’t consider it reliable enough to deploy for anyone that’s not quite tech savvy. Been down that road too many times. won’t deploy it again until a lot has changed.

            • Kurotetsu
            • 6 years ago

            You’re assuming the current setup process for desktop Linux would remain the same even with widespread mass market adoption. That’s a silly assumption to make (and already disproven).

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            you’re assuming desktops would remain the same. you’re assuming gravity will remain the same.
            people assume things. if they come out with a new idea, a new way of doing things, like android did, then people will pick it up. UNTIL THEY DO, WINDOWS WILL CONTINUE TO BE DOMINANT ON THE DESKTOP.

            • GrimDanfango
            • 6 years ago

            That’s sort of the point. There’s nothing inherantly wrong with Linux, and the only thing holding it back is not offering as smooth and managed an experience as Windows does currently.

            SteamOS is just one example of a Linux branch attempting to address that shortcoming, and they’re addressing it in a way that might actually prove effective – by getting the games industry to shift support, and thereby pressure vendors to offer better driver support – one of the key weaknesses of Linux desktop experiences to date.

            It might not come together, but I certainly don’t see that as a certainty based simply on what other unrelated Linux branches have achieved/failed to achieve in the past.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            i have no issues with this perspective. I just don’t think 2014 will be the year of the linux desktop, nor 15, 16.

          • GrimDanfango
          • 6 years ago

          This keeps getting repeated ad nauseam. Linux, the kernel, isn’t remotely fragmented, and is hugely reliable. That essentially IS Linux… what you see as fragmentation is third parties building on that common core to build OSes that are custom made for specific requirements or applications. Comparing “Linux” to “Windows” and deeming the former fragmented is missing the point.

          Sure, Fedora isn’t going to become the dominant desktop platform, because it was never designed to be, it’s tailored to be used as a professional workstation OS. Ubuntu might have done, but its own development has become a little fragmented over the years. Linux Mint is looking very promising. SteamOS is also looking very promising.
          …Android already *has* become the dominant platform within its intended market. How has this supposed fragmentation and unreliability of Linux affected Android?

          These are all distinct operating systems. The fact that they all exist, rather than one lumbering behemoth of a single operating system, does not constitute fragmentation. You think Android would be improved if its development was combined into the larger goals of all Linux branches, so that all Linux developers the world over could contribute to a single unified OS? I suspect it would end up a tad bloated for use on phones if it also included enterprise file server features.

          No, all existing branches of Linux aren’t about to simultaneously become the dominant home-user desktop platform. I don’t see why *one* of them couldn’t end up getting there though.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            I already had a reply defending the kernel when you wrote this.
            android has the poorest user satisfaction of any of the major mobile OS’. it also has FAR AND AWAY the largest marketing. it is also becoming quite fragmented. see nokia, amazon, google, potentially Samsung, etc. it’s hardly the same thing, anyway. there was nobody with 90% of the market while somebody moved in with a new product. it was a new market with 2 OS’s essentially, and one was cheap, and the other more expensive. it’s not the same situation.
            Tell me why, when examining windows vs Linux, as an average grandmother I should choose Linux. until they have a GOOD reason, it won’t take over. the 20$ OEM windows license isn’t a good reason.
            Mint is horrible. 7 installations on 7 different computers, using 7 different media copies and not one without issues. it’s garbage. it’s literally the worst distro going.
            dominant with “it’s intended market”? so…. all those guys making desktop versions aren’t intending for anyone to use them?

            • GrimDanfango
            • 6 years ago

            My point is that its irrelevant whether other branches of Linux give a good user experience. There’s nothing inherantly wrong with Linux itself, and SteamOS could have a reasonable shot at gaming dominance *if* they keep development focused and consistent, and get the GPU vendors onboard to make driver support more dependable.

            I’m not claiming that any branch of Linux currently offers a compelling reason to switch to it over Windows. I’m just claiming that there’s no reason why that needs to continue if a developer takes their branch of Linux in a promising direction.

            Most of Androids’ problems come from the layer of Googleness they’ve piled on top of it, with all the mandatory signing away of personal data, and the bloated storefront full of rip-off apps. How often does the OS itself suffer from driver issues, or instability, or require you to fiddle with config files or recompile anything? The OS itself gives a solid, reliable, entirely user-friendly experience, and it’s as much “Linux” as any other branch.

            Even talking of grandmothers… my 86-year-old grandmother doesn’t think too much of her Windows PC, but recently she’s actually started dropping hints about wanting a tablet.

            • DarkMikaru
            • 6 years ago

            The man has a point. Don’t get us wrong, we would all love to have a “true” alternative to Windows. I’m a Windows man by necessity not by choice if I’m being honest. Over the years I’ve seen numerous opportunities where Linux could of been ideal for deployment. Why not then? It’s sheer unpredictability! And before the flames start, let me explain.

            Let’s take 10 baseline PC’s with exactly the same configurations. Same Mobo, CPU, GPU, Ram…everything. After getting down to the last few machines, 2 to be exact, Ubuntu flat out refused to install. Remember, the first 8 were fine. Installed with the same DVD. Thinking the DVD may have been damaged somehow I created new ISO’s. 10.04, 12.04 & 13.04… not a single one worked. So, in order to rule out defective hardware I broke out Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit OEM. Guess what… installed with no problem, updated drivers, installed software…systems ran fine weeks. Having been satisfied the machines were fine I sent the Linux machines to our Dev Team & Windows 7 to our Data Entry team. All was good.

            Like the rest of you, this bothered me. What could I have done wrong? What was I missing? All the systems were created the same minus cases (whatever were cheapest at the time). So, over a weekend I took the machines home, broke out spare drives, installed Ubuntu again and got the same problem. Couldn’t get them to load to save my life. WTH!!

            I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again. We all WANT to love Linux so badly. We do. But problems like that are inexcusable. If I could find that the hardware was faulty is one thing. But just random “nope, not gonna install cause I don’t wanna” or my favorite “busy box error” just won’t cut it. I’d love to save that $100 bucks for better computing hardware versus handing it over to Microsoft. But until these random issues are ironed out, Linux at home for the masses will be a pipe dream. Cause I can tell you right now, my family calls me enough as it is for Windows 7 questions. God help me if it were Linux.

            • just brew it!
            • 6 years ago

            UEFI BIOS by any chance? If you don’t enable legacy BIOS support strange things can happen. Booting Linux in UEFI mode is definitely possible, but the installation does not always go smoothly. Sometimes you need to manually move a couple of files around in the UEFI boot partition to get things going.

            (Given what a clusterfun UEFI is to begin with, quite frankly I’m not surprised there are issues…)

            • DarkMikaru
            • 6 years ago

            Agreed! After having navigated those initial issues, again, those first 8 ran beautifully. Matter of fact they are still toiling away today. I guess my issue with Linux is that, were I building 10 Windows 7 / 8 machines every single one would of been perfect from the get go. No randomness at all. Clean / New build usually points to faulty hardware should that be the case.

            If you are curious.. here are the specs.

            AMD FX-4170 Quad Core 4.2Ghz
            Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P AM3+
            Patriot Viper 16GB 1866 (8 x 2) NEWEGG INVOICE SHOWS 65.99…. WE WISH!!!!
            WD Blue 500GB 7200rpm HDD
            Asus ENGTX550 TI GDDR5 Video Card
            Antec Earthwatts 380w PSU

            Dev Team was quite pleased with the performance and actually surprised many of them who were Intel faithfuls. Not the fastest machines around, but definitely solid little work stations for minimal cost. Anyway, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write Linux off. I’m rooting for it. But it still needs more polish before I give it the thumbs up for everyday builds.

            • HisDivineOrder
            • 6 years ago

            Not to mention that if you consider Linux fragmented because multiple OS’s are doing multiple things with it as a base, then what do you think of Windows? The Windows OS kernel was used for Windows Phone 8, Xbox One, Windows RT, and Windows 8/8.1. Most of those devices cannot run the same apps/applications/programs as the other.

            What is that, if not fragmented?

            Most of those OS’s have a GUI that is fundamentally different in some often startling ways. They look vaguely the same, but seem designed by different teams with different intepretations of what “metro” means to them, which inherently means less consistency and more disparity.

            What is that, if not fragmented?

            Looking at Windows 8 for desktops and then complaining that generic Linux is fragmented because multiple companies are using it to make multiple products (ie., Android, SteamOS, Linux Mint, Fedora, Ubuntu) is ignoring that you should be comparing any ONE of the variants to Windows 8 that actually compete with Windows 8. Android compares to Windows Phone. SteamOS compares to …Xbox One, I guess. Etc.

            I’d say across different branches, Linux maintains superior compatibility with its applications than the different Windows out there based on the Windows 8 kernel. Microsoft seems content to have you buying the same programs over and over, one for each disparate version of their Windows 8 kernel.

            • cygnus1
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<] Linux, the kernel, isn't remotely fragmented, [/quote<] But that's the rub. When you talk about Linux displacing Windows, you're not talking about the kernel, you're talking about 'Linux, the OS'. And 'Linux, the OS' is hugely fragments and half baked from a desktop standpoint. It is not manageable from an enterprise perspective like Windows is. And if you don't agree with that sentence then you don't understand what 'manageable for an enterprise' means.

          • just brew it!
          • 6 years ago

          I’ll grant you the “fragmented” part, though things are better than they used to be and continue to improve.

          As far as reliability goes, I beg to differ. As long as you stay off the bleeding edge distros (IOW stick with Ubuntu LTS, RHEL, SLES, Debian Stable, or one of their derivatives), reliability is better than any version of Windows prior to Windows 7.

            • yokem55
            • 6 years ago

            And what fragmentation there is has been substantially mitigated by the work Valve has done with the Steam Runtime package – [url<]https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-runtime[/url<] Any distro that can run that runtime, can run any game that targets it.

            • DarkMikaru
            • 6 years ago

            I’d love to agree with you on this. I partly do. But, Linux I give it a chance and every time it takes a crap on my neck lol.

            Sigh.. someday Linux, someday….

      • just brew it!
      • 6 years ago

      I agree the bulk of the desktop market will never move. But Valve has a shot (albeit a bit of a long one) at getting a chunk of the GAMING market to move.

      • ermo
      • 6 years ago

      Hm. In light of recent developments, I think that between them, Ubuntu, Steam OS and ChromeOS might have a decent shot at rivalling the adoption of OS X, actually. But that’s obviously not the bulk of the market.

      For Linux on the desktop to work for non-CS types, there needs to be a defacto platform with decent API stability promises (Ubuntu LTS likely fits that bill) which also has a functional app store (Ubuntu has one) and an SDK (Ubuntu is building a Qt-based one as I understand it). And then there’s the obvious benefit of sharing the plumbing layer (in the form of systemd) with the wider Linux ecosystem. There’s still printers, of course, but since Apple now owns the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS), that subsystem is in decent hands.

      With SteamOS, it’s not as much desktop Linux as (couch-) gaming Linux, where valve will take care of the app store and the API stability promises on top of a relatively stable Debian base (again with systemd once jessie lands).

      With ChromeOS, Google controls the hardware and the distribution, which means that the driver issues are taken care of by Google and its manufacturing partners. And since the platform is designed to be a cloud-terminal of sorts, the API and the SDK is simply HTML, CSS and JS via Google Chrome, which means that it evolves with the (browser-) platform.

      • slowriot
      • 6 years ago

      What does bulk mean? Does it mean greater than 50% of the market? Why would that be the goal? I don’t see “Linux” as the desktop of choice for the majority of people by the end of 2014, or 2015, or 2016 or possibly ever. What I do expect is to see a significant portion of the desktop PC market transition to a Linux distro. To me that could just mean 5-7% of desktops by the end of 2015. That’s a realistic goal, something on parity with what OSX has now. That would be a huge change from the current situation.

      I might be one of those crazy people you’re referring. Though I’m in good company with Valve, Epic, Crytek, Unity, and so forth. We must all be crazy (Or, you just threw out a crazy unreasonable goal out there that could never been met. Companies like Valve are not expecting the “bulk” of users to move, 2-3% of desktop market share in a year would be a success).

      “Year of the Linux Desktop” has always been silly. It’s a concept that is totally out of the media industry. Its never been the realistic goal of the companies with financial interests in the Linux desktop.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      Well you can’t say Windows 8/8.1 has exactly exploded in adoption. Recent months have been pretty flat in terms of growth despite XP going EOL. XP still has 3x the share of 8/8.1 combined and nearly all of 8.1s adoption has been from 8 -> 8.1 in place upgrades.

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        What does 8 have to do with it? it’s still larger than osx and Linux combined. people buy computers less. c’est la vie.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    Somewhere, a Microsoft executive is weeping.

      • echo_seven
      • 6 years ago

      I wonder how many Microsoft employees are Linux developers in their free time …. (they can do that, right?)

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        lots develop at work….

          • the
          • 6 years ago

          [url=http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/top-five-linux-contributor-microsoft/9254<]And while on the clock.[/url<]

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 6 years ago

    MSFT is the abusive lover we’ll all go back to after it makes concessions and promises to change. Linux is a temporary distraction that will get left in the dark.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 6 years ago

      Linux is the hottie that gets the old missus to start giving a damn again.

        • [TR]
        • 6 years ago

        The sad reality is that you didn’t go out with Linux because it was hot. You went out with it because it was available and you needed a distraction as much as a wake-up call for the old missus.

        PS: I’d rather not think on the implication of Android=Linux in this scenario…

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        wut? once this new “hottie” requires you to look for every single library in town 100x when ever you want to do anything you’ll dump her ass.

          • just brew it!
          • 6 years ago

          A big part of the point of SteamOS is that Valve will do that for you.

    • khands
    • 6 years ago

    I didn’t think we’d see this kind of support for Steamboxes till after they launched.

      • genericbrand
      • 6 years ago

      Steam boxes are becoming a force to deal with. It’s surprising that a number of game development engines are starting to support it and I’m glad to see it happening.

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