New builds and a rant about Linux users

Posted by
September 15th, 2012 9:10 am

Unnatural selection (my LD24 entry) was originally only a Unity webplayer game, but now has Windows and Mac standalone builds available – which may or may not mean that Linux users can get it to run under emulation.

Looking at comments left on a lot of the games I’ve been rating, I’m a little bit perplexed by the number of Linux users who post on games that don’t profess to support Linux, just to say that they can’t run the game under emulation on Linux – because it’s running on a framework/engine that is known not to work on Linux.

Well what did they expect?

Did they expect a solo indie dev in 48 hours to not only have written a complete game but also figured out how to overcome the limitations of XNA or the Unity web plugin? Or do Linux users just have a chip on their shoulders when it comes to games? 😉

15 Responses to “New builds and a rant about Linux users”

  1. dr_soda says:

    The same can be said of people who don’t have an Android who make the same comments on Android-only entries. In fairness though, the compo encourages people to report that they could not run an entry just so long as people remember not to rate the entry. It is a good thing to get a sense of how broad your reach is or is not and these reports can help with that.

    What makes me sad is how snide some people get when they encounter a build that they cannot hope to run.

    As for Linux/unity3d… did you know that the Unity 4 beta has a Native Linux export target? Also, there is the option to export for NaCl which will get you on the chrome store…. and theoretically onto Linux in the browser. I admit that I have not tried this yet, though.

  2. goffmog says:

    That’s right, good times ahead for Linux users (of which I am also one btw!) I can understand how it’s helpful to point out that a native Windows app doesn’t run in WINE on Linux but I really don’t see the point of saying “This game won’t run on Linux because it’s XNA, and XNA doesn’t work under WINE” one may as well say “This kitten will drown underwater, because kittens are mammals and mammals don’t have gills”

  3. Raptor85 says:

    leaving a comment like that is the only way to get it off your ratings list so you can rate more games, would you prefer everyone just commented “…” and said nothing instead? The way LD’s site works it’s basicly the only way to find more games to play (the search does NOT work, 90% of the results it comes back with are false positives), and yes i’ve complained about this EVERY year that we seriously seriously need some way to sort by platform.

    Besides, i find a lot of them helpful as a lot of the windows entries don’t point out they require XNA or some such, most non-unity or XNA windows games work just fine (a small number of unity ones, generally if they avoid directmusic or locking the mouse to the window) so if someone else has already tested it under WINE and it doesnt work I know to just skip it and play the next game.

  4. Jeremias says:

    Another problem is, that after you rated some games to increase the
    chance to get your constructive feedback by others, this chance
    decreases by one which can’t play your game (so he can remove it from
    the list of games he should rate). That a game doesn’t run on a specific platform
    is interesting, but in comparison to a game-related feedback not very
    useful and disappointing.

    There should be better options to filter games by platforms :/

    • Jedi says:

      I’ve always had the impression that the ratings count doesn’t increase unless the person leaves a rating. Is that not the case?

      • dr_soda says:

        It does increase. I can confirm this after LD23 in which I was rated about 60 times but half the comments were about how they could not play the game without an Android. I would watch the rating count increment by one for each such comment.

        • Dietrich Epp says:

          There’s a problem though, and if you didn’t increase the rating count for people who tried to play your game but failed, you’d end up with the front page clogged with entries that hardly anyone can play. If we assume that 80% of the folks out there can play any game that is Windows, HTML5, Flash, or JAR, then halfway through the contest the front page might be nothing but iOS, Android, Sega Master System, and Ruby/Python/Lua games that have a zillion dependencies.

          • dr_soda says:

            But because the site does increase the rating count, that means fewer people who legitimately might be able to play such a game will have the opportunity to because once you hit 100 coolness & 55 “ratings”, any further views you get are all down to dumb luck or your game going viral. You’ll never be back on anyone’s front page no matter whether they are capable of playing your game or not.

            I’m not suggesting that people who can’t play the games are wrong to get them off their own lists, and as far as I’m aware an N/A doesn’t harm your final score, so it’s at least fair in that regard.

  5. sorceress says:

    I’m a little bit perplexed by the number of Linux users who post on games that don’t profess to support Linux

    The reason why linux users do this is quite rational. The “play and rate” page is specially prepared for each user, and leaves out games that have already been played and rated by that user.

    Linux users will naturally want games they cannot play removed from their lists. So they post a comment on the games they cannot play, which has the desired effect.

    • goffmog says:

      Crazy that there’s no better way to filter by platform, but a good explanation! I hadn’t realised that.

      • tomhunt says:

        There really does need to be a better way of saying “I can’t run this because of X” that doesn’t have to involve clogging up a comments page full of complaints about not being able to run on X platform. A simple aggregation of these showing how many people couldn’t run because of X, Y, and Z would be sufficient and work better for both participants on both ends of the ratings system, IMHO.

  6. vilya says:

    I think you’re looking at this the wrong way: those comments are useful demographic information. Remember, these are people who came to the page wanting to play your game, but went away frustrated because they couldn’t. Each one of them represents a part of your potential market that you’ve cut off.

    I got the impression that you take your choice of tools as a given. Well if your tools are preventing you from reaching a significant portion of your audience, maybe you should re-evaluate that choice?

    • goffmog says:

      Not at all, my first game was written in C# and used SlimDX through .NET – and had a Windows installer! I realised from a lot of feedback that even significant numbers of Windows users had difficulty running my entry so my next two games were HTML5 based specifically because I wanted to reach more people. I’ve only switched to Unity because I can more rapidly develop 3D games on top of Unity than I can with WebGL – I’m well aware that I’ve dropped support for Linux for the time being.

      As for demographics, I get your point but in practice I don’t really think you can extrapolate anything useful from one or two comments from Linux users. It would be better if somebody ran a poll on which platforms were used by people rating entries and the data was available somewhere obvious that we could take it into account before choosing which platforms to target. At the moment I actually have better demographic data from the 100 or so entries I’ve seen/rated that tells me what I already knew, which is that web is the best platform to target.

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