What do first-person shooters
Heretic II and Soldier of Fortune have in common? Aside from
being developed by Raven Software, they both run on multiple
operating systems. That's right; gamers get the choice to run
these top-notch games on either Windows or Linux.
Games are nothing new to Linux. Other popular titles like Quake
III Arena, Tribes 2, Unreal Tournament, Deus Ex, and even Rune
all support the alternate O/S that is Linux. With past Raven
titles proving terrific and more people giving Linux a try,
what realistically are the chances that Raven and LucasArts
will decide to port Jedi Knight II to Linux? One would think
that with the current technology, it looks to be good.
In 3D performance, Linux holds up against Windows with the latest
drivers from 3D manufacturers. Anyone who has administered a
dedicated server on a Linux machine knows the surplus of advantages
a Linux box has. Finally, what negative aspects come from extending
the Jedi Knight II community further? With the modified Quake
III engine, everything is in place for a Linux flavor or Jedi
Knight II. Let's hope the Penguins get to play as well.
This leads us to our first mailbag question: Why do you think
LucasArts and Raven should or should not port Jedi Knight II
So what did everyone think?
Unfortunately, due to the excessive number of e-mails we received,
we could not post everyone's comments; however, we did try to
show a broad spectrum of what was sent in. Below, you can read
what our readers thought on the subject. We left all the comments
as they were, and we placed them in the order they were received..
Reader thought's are in italics, while our staff replies
are in red.
"They should include the Linux version in the box."
Simple, quick, and to-the-point.
William Lauf writes: "No,
I do not believe that Jedi Knight II should be made for Linux,
because what happened to LucasArts supporting Mac? The last
Mac LucasArts game was Racer and us Mac fans would like it if
JKII was made for Mac."
So I guess you didn't purchase Escape
from Monkey Island? In the past, many LucasArts projects have
been ported to the Mac. I'm willing to bet JKII will be as well.
of JediNights.com writes:
"Linux has become more widespread and used throughout the
computing industry, so why make Jedi Knight II only for Windows?
Hopefully RavenSoft will not be prejudice to other OS and make
the fantastic looking sequal to Jedi Knight available for all
While we agree it would be great to have
JKII featued on multiple OS's, I doubt Raven is being "prejudice"
if they don't port the game.
writes: "The more games that are available to linux,
the more seriously it will be taken as a viable platform. In
fact, that goes for any commercial product. The linux community
may not be huge but it's growing and it takes products such
as games, etc... for it to grow even more. Another reason to
port the game is for servers. If there is a server only port,
linux users like myself will not be run a server. The servers
will only be run by isps which rarely have the best servers
due to the lack of good mods, maps, etc... The isp servers are
rather dull most of the time. However, if there is a client
and server port, users like myself will be more willing to run
good dedicated servers that have more attention payed to them.
Besides, what linux dork can resist a starwars game? None of
So you think it would be worth LucasArts/Raven's
time to release a port to a growing community?
Paul Kiela writes:
"Honestly, it would be nice to see a major player like
LucasArts embrace the Linux community. Moreover, it would be
a nice break from the regular fare of first person shooters
available today. Quake3, Unreal Tourney, and Tribes2 all have
their place, but I can't seem to get msyelf into any of these
games as much as I imagine I would JK2. In any event, I probably
won't go out of my way to purchase the Windows version -- that
not being a threat, but a fact -- and I imagine that many other
Linux enthusiasts would agree. Depending on how well Tribes
2 sells, it may be an incentive to show LucasArts that there
is yet a (mostly) untapped and un-monopolized profit resource
in Linux gamers.
Of course it isn't all fun. If such a port should appear, I
imagine I'd never be able to gain access to my machine again,
as my wife would probably be at the game for the next while..
There goes any hope of productivity :)"
Heh, I think many people would fall
in that same situation ;)
PJ_Hooker writes: "A
server for Linux would be great, but I'd really like to see
a client as well. Linux is growing at a rapid pace and is quickly
becoming a loyal gaming market.
Many tools are already created by Loki for free use such as
SDL, smpeg, the GUI installer, and the GUI AutoUpdate tool.
Also, other games have already been ported to Linux with excellent
performance and stability. Of note are Quake III Arena and Unreal
Tournament which offer crucial gaming engines already ported
successfully to Linux.
Linux has a strong, techinical user base which has proven repeatedly
to help significantly with beta testing and support. The Linux
community is practiced in troubleshooting and setting up its
own support structures. Surely, this is of benefit to any company
considering a port.
Linux is certainly an excellent operating system. However, for
it to become more successful, it is crucial to have the support
of large software developers and hardware manufacturers. By
porting software to Linux, the developer can participate in
the Linux community and create a loyal market share that will
not only purchase the current project, but will also look forward
to the purchase of future products."
Some great points; a game utilizing the
Star Wars license could have great effects on an OS like Linux.
wrhodes writes: "We desparately
need a Linux port of Jedi Knight II. Why? So we can run servers,
of course! Another reason why? So those of us who don't run
Win32 OSes can run the actual game.
The first Tribes was hugely popular. It was a good game, and
had a very long run. But it wasn't as popular as any in the
Quake series. I believe this is because of Quake's popularity,
but I also believe that this was due to the lack of a Linux
client/server for Tribes (and the availability of a Linux port
for Quake I/II/III). If there had been a Linux Tribes port,
people would still be playing it (witness the recent port of
SiN, which I'm going to buy tomorrow). But the first Tribes
is gone forever now.
In the wake of Tribes comes Tribes2, and this time Linux users
on both the client and server ends of the equation are getting
in on the action. I play T2 on a remotely located T2 server
I run. Both machines run Linux. Running Linux as the server
platform has more advantages over Windows than I care to list.
Remote administration, greater configurability, better uptimes/performance,
and better security are all among them. Using Linux as a desktop
OS has all those advantages and more (chiefly free apps).
If you have a copy of Tribes2, look through the server browser
list for a bit. Notice all the penguins in that list. I haven't
counted, but it's a large percentage (especially for a "non-mainstream"
OS like Linux). Ask the folks who run linuxgames.com for anonymous
traffic stats. There are a lot of Linux gamers out there. The
Linux client forum in Tribes2 is active as well. The DRI mailing
lists are very busy. Loki has done fairly well for itself.
More Linux gamers exist than one would otherwise suspect. Many
of them dual boot, and many of them don't like to. Now that
other apps are coming into theirown, users can finally remove
Windows and use Linux as a full-time desktop OS. I've been Windows-free
for months, and I can't tell you how refreshing it has been.
Online FPS games are highly server dependant. The folks running
those servers tend to gravitate towards a "server OS" like Linux.
It's a natural fit. So for an online game to last, the servers
must be around for as long as possible. This means Linux. T2
will be around for a long time indeed. I believe this is because
of the Linux port. Your chances of Jedi Knight II having a long
life are greatly increased as long as a Linux port is in the
A port would be very welcome."
Games like Tribes2 and Half-life do have
a significant amount of their servers running on Linux. From
personal gaming experience, I usually find the linux servers
to be more stable simply for the fact that you know it will
be a dedicated machine (i.e. Half-Life.)
James Monroe of Raven
Software writes: "When using the quake3 engine, it is
very easy to keep Linux compatibility. Raven doesn't port the
games themselves (Heretic 2 was done by Loki), but they did
release the Linux dedicated server for Elite Force. Even then,
a fan actually built the binary since Raven doesn't do Linux.
So, if one were to extrapolate to Jedi Knight II base on Elite
Force, there will be a Windows version, a Mac port, and a Linux
Disclaimer: These are my thoughts alone. Any attempt to extrapolate
them to any other entity immediately renders them void and will
then probably explode.
So unless Raven lets Loki do a JKII port,
it looks likes we may already have our answer.
Jon Ratcliff writes: "Linux
game performance -has- caught up with Windows, I don't care
what anyone says; Quake3 and Unreal Tournament actually run
better and are more stable (a big factor) on my Linux system
than they are on my Windows system. The reason a lot of people
still run Windows is simply because there are so few games out
there that run in Linux. Any other applications I need, from
word processors to development tools (I'm a programmer by trade),
are all readily available and of good quality in Linux. However,
I also like to play games in my freetime and there are just
so few high-quality games for Linux and it is truly the only
reason I maintain a Windows system. This is also true of every
one of my friends who also use Linux; I can't tell you how many
times I've heard (and said myself), "If they had more games
for Linux, I would be running Linux exclusively."
Anyway, I believe the game performance is there and since JKII
is based upon the Quake3 Engine, or so I've read, I definately
see it performing well under Linux because Quake3 flies for
me (and I have a lowly p2-450 and other outdated hardware).
The more big titles like this one that have ports to Linux,
the more we'll see other people, who are afraid to test the
waters, follow suit."
If you ever want to benchmark your results
for us, we'd love to post 'em.
Frank Earl, Utah-GLX
3D driver project developer, writes: "It would be an excellent
thing, in my opinion. In fact, it'd allow me to play the game
on my preferred OS.
I, largely speaking, do not purchase programs for Windows- let
alone games for it.
I will buy any game, fairly priced, that is worth bothering
with if it's ported to/written for Linux. JK II looks like it
might fall under that category if the reviews are right and
the company that does the port prices it somewhere near what
the Windows version sells for right now."
We got so many e-mails like this...
Erik Nordström writes:
"Linux gaming really suffers from the fact that single player
games are ported to Linux long after the windows version was
released. I would pick the Linux version instead of the Windows
version any day if available on the shelf from day one of the
release. Jedi Knight II would be such a title. Games like Deus
Ex, Rune, SoF, Heretic II and Heavy Metal FAKK 2 are all good
games and I would have bought the Linux version if I hadn't
already played the Windows version. Those Linux ports weren't
even announced when the Windows version came, so there was no
reason to hold back and wait for a Linux release. The sooner
a JKII Linux port is announced, the better!"
That is yet another problem companies
face when shipping multiple versions. I personally would love
to have a Linux copy of Jedi Knight II, but I know that I wouldn't
wait an extra week if the Windows version was already in stores.
writes: "To Raven Software: I recently bought Soldier of Fortune
and Heretic 2 for Linux, even though I had the Windows version
of Soldier of Fortune already. Then I finally nuked my Windows
partition :) Thats how much I liked the game, I went out and
bought another copy. Not to mention the fact that SOF runs smoother
(at higher resolutions) than the Windows versions under Linux.
I plan to support Raven and Loki and will buy every title that
they release for Linux (that interests me).
To LucasArts: I have bought many games from you over the years
(when I used Windows), including Monkey Island 1,2,3, Star Wars:
Racer, etc. I finally got sick of Windows crashing all the time,
so I ditched it. The hardest part was giving up some of your
games. If they are released for Linux, I will definitely by
Hehe, here's one loyal customer.
John Bloom writes: "If
they port JK2 to Linux I would sell my blood and/or kidneys,
liver, lung etc to get money to buy it. I want to play the game
that much. The Original Jedi Knight game was the biggest reason
I avoided switching fully to Linux from a dualboot setup for
as long as I did. In my mind JK1 is still the fps that I am
most nostalgic for and also the one with the best online play.
So to keep it short I *will* buy JK2 if it is realeased on Linux,
but not if its released only on Windows. haunting whispery voice:
If you port it, they will buy..."
Thanks for the imagery ;) That whispery
voice should be today's motto.
Jon Warren writes: "I
won't buy the game unless I can play it on Linux. My last Windows
game is Everquest. anything else must run on Linux to get my
So basically your way or no way, *whip
crackling in the background*