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By Christopher Poirier
Yup, you read that right. According to Linux guru and writer Michael Larabel of the Phoronix.com , Valve is diving right into hardcore Linux game development. In a recent interview with Valve’s Managing Director of Video Game Development Gabe Newell, Michael uncovered the dream plan for the Linux gamer’s Holy Grail: Native Linux gameplay. In short, Valve is going all in on Linux development and this is huge.
So why is this a big deal? Well, Linux users have been waiting a long time on native gameplay and this is the first glimmer of hope offered by a major development studio in some time. For those new to Linux, users have to use emulators or other utilities to play most games on their systems. Even when running games in an emulated or pass-through type environment, most games still don’t function as well as if they were running in a native environment. This chokes system resources and ultimately defeats the purpose of running a lean Linux implementation like Ubuntu in the first place. (For a great run down on Ubuntu check out Meet Ubuntu by our very own Ant Pruitt .) Though no one truly knows how many Linux users there are, it would appear Valve’s interest lies in supporting the open source community by bringing their platform to the table. It doesn’t hurt to also be the first major gaming development house to do so.
With Valve throwing dedicated professionals at this long-standing problem Linux fans can finally expect to see some significant changes. This fall, Valve will beta test a single title that uses their Source engine for proof of concept. Once a stable environment of the Source engine has been fielded and tested, Valve will move on to a bigger challenge: building an entire gaming client. That’s right, not only will Valve bring their Source engine to the masses on Linux, they also plan to bring their entire Steam client to Linux as well.
(Left 4 Dead 2 Running native on Ubuntu. Photo Credit: Michael Larabel, Phoronix.com)
This is huge for Linux users and gamers. While I received no official response from Valve, this is the first time a major game developer is finally taking up the Linux banner and committing the appropriate resources to make something happen. Michael got to look behind the curtain on the ongoing Linux development at Valve and we’ll all benefit from it. To see the full interview and to get a hardcore Linux user’s perspective check out Michael’s full post on his website Phononix .
Thanks for sharing this, Christopher!