Primal Carnage Dropping The GNU/Linux Port

Lukewarm Media, The developers of Primal Carnage The dinosaur FPS I’ve wrote about have decided to change engine.
Instead of the beautiful Unigine they have moved to the free as beer UDK (Unreal Development Kit).
As UDK doesn’t support GNU/Linux, and the UT3 port failed due to unknown reasons, a GNU/Linux port to Primal Carnage seems unlikely.
Lukewarm Media explain that the engine change was made due to the poor support of it’s developers Unigine Corp, but some people disagree.

Please note that the quotes are in no particular order

Lukewarm Media Announcement (From Mr.Veo ) :
Due to a change in engines, from Unigine to the UDK, Primal Carnage will not be available as a Linux game. This was never the original intention, but it is the one unfortunate side effect in the otherwise good decision to move the game to the UDK. Additional reasons will be provided in the posts below.

The first number of posts in this topic have been pulled from the UDK announcement topic, which had become overwhelmed by the Linux rage/debate. If anyone wishes to discuss the matter further (though there is little point in discussing it) do so here, and not there.

Thank you.

AshtonAndersen From Lukewarm Media wrote :
Making a game is not easy, especially if you have no funding or resources, we tried our very best to work with unigine, however unigine is a un-finished engine and stopped giving us support. We were having a lot of trouble trying to keep our team together as well as recruiting people who would be willing to learn that tool set. We switched to the UDK because it gives this game a greater opportunity and much bigger chance of success and gives us the option to port to psn / xbla and PC. As I have mentioned, we simply were not getting as much support from the linux fanbase to keep the project going on linux.

It was either we switch engines, or primal carnage never gets done. We decided to switch engine.

I’m very sorry but it’s not fair to be mad at us, you can blame unigine for not supporting our project.

But a Unigine Corp employee nicked binstream thinks differently :
Well, that’s something new to know. What about the following help from Unigine side:

* Full license for the engine free of charge
* Promotion of Primal Carnage on Unigine official booth at GDC (however, you claimed somewhere that it was YOUR booth :shock:)
* Tickets to GDC for Primal Carnage team
* Free DirectX 11 hardware for the team
* Industry contacts, including AMD and NVIDIA
* Linux publicity
* Donation for your hosting payments
* Detailed PC build reviews with improvement suggestions
* Direct support from our CTO

If this is called “not giving support” so I’m definitely missing something.

“I have nothing bad to say about Unigine. You guys have been great. it’s just not working out for us at this stage.” (c) Ashton Andersen, Tuesday 24 August 2010.

Since the engine IS finished at this stage, our engine team don’t introduce OilRush-related changes to the codebase at all, they are working on further technology improvement and customer feature requests.

Anyway UDK is a really nice solution, I wish the team good luck with releasing PC in time, you have really talented artists on board.

As Lukewarm Media are not experienced game developers, and most of their work till date were making mods for existing games this engine was “too hard for them”, UDK was built for FPS games, easier to master and free as beer.

Many GNU/Linux users contributed to Primal Carnage and now demanding (and getting) their money back – and rightly so.

rf2 wrote :
I asked [Ashton] personally in May/Early june about Linux support, because I had my doubts.
- We’re doing Linux 100%, [ashton] said.
- Yes it’s under control, [ashton] said.
- Linux is a very important market for us, [ashton] said.
[ashton's] responses made me donate, because I took your(ashton’s) word for it.

This announcement is basically a big FU and a kick to my face. I have no sympathy for the team, and I hope they utterly fail.

And I still want my money back!

But many Windows users still don’t get why the GNU/Linux users want their money back :
killer-rex :
“god your selfish u know that take away the money from the devs to make the game good job you people are acting childish”

linuxuser also comments :
They were totally cool with accepting donations and advertising Linux support while they knew there would be no Linux version. Thats deceptive to potential donators and customers.
They could have at least said there would be no more Linux version as soon as they decided to switch, but not revealed why at that time. It would have been much more courteous to us Linux users instead of falsely advertising a service they knew they weren’t going to provide
.”

Call it whatever you want, but the people asking for a refund donated specifically because of the Linux version.

The Linux users aren’t the ones to blame if the game doesn’t come out.
What if the roles were reversed and there would be no more Windows version. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t be at least a little bit ticked? Is it okay if they take your money then screw you over?

And yet there are a few GNU/Linux who don’t want to refund their donation
b0uncyfr0 :
I for one donated ONLY because i saw the devs talking about linux support. Now to hear that linux has been tossed out is a big disspoaintment for me. Sure you have your reasons but stringing us along for months with “Something big is coming to the UDK!” which then changes to “Linux is dropped, sorry” is very cruel.

Some of you guys have to understand that some of us donated ONLY because of linux so venting out is with good reason. And i dont want to hear “ok use windwos then”. Well im sorry but i dont use windows and frankly never will.

Im not going to ask for my money back but im not supporting this game anymore. Its not your fault as some of you have said and it certainly isnt my fault so ill leave it at that.

If i were the devs, i would strongly look into getting a linux client from this new engine and delivering something. At the very least, TRY….and give someone back to all the nix community which jumped behind you when this game was announced.

Cybolic was mad that they didn’t check if it was possible to port UDK games to GNU/Linux before changing the engine and didn’t update their front page about the GNU/Linux version and donations :
I can understand if the developers don’t have the experience needed to support Linux or other reasons that ends in a situation where they can’t provide support for Linux – what I can’t understand is that this was apparently never even considered an issue, there was no attempt to try to support Linux themselves, no call for help from the community, not even the courtesy to post the news that Linux is no longer supported, and until today the website wasn’t even updated, still telling people that they could donate and that the game would support Linux.
Even now there is no mention of dropped Linux support on the main page. There’s a big donate button however, and a mention of the Unigine engine supporting Linux on the About page… guess it wouldn’t hurt them if a few more Linux users donated after reading misleading information?

“When exactly did you ask for help? You started by saying that Linux support wouldn’t happen, not that you needed help. As I said earlier, had you simply asked or even explained the situation (even just mentioned it) you would probably have received offers.”

AshtonAndersen From Lukewarm Media replys :
Ok, you made your point we should of been more clear about the linux situation. As it’s something we are still looking into at this time and you’re right, we should of made a proper announcement about it. As of right now we are doing the best we can, we are refunding all linux donators and I have apologized on the teams behalf all ready. I’m not sure what else you expect from us.

You do not need to continue being on these forums or supporting our project anymore as you made it very clear that you want us to fail, since in it seems that if the linux community can’t have this game then no one should. I give my apologies to you again sir and maybe one day UDK will support linux where we will be able to port our game over. Maybe you can help us do some research to find out how.

Danni who uses the unigine engine for his own game wrote an interesting comment that sums it all :
I have dealt with both the primal carnage and unigine teams and after thinking about this for a bit want to weigh in a bit.

Primal Carnage is a small team and relatively inexperienced. This will be their first title. I can’t believe that they were offering the Linux version with anything but the best of faith. I really can’t fathom why Primal Carnage had so much difficulty with support from Unigine I personally have found them one of the easiest companies to get tech support from. However I have noticed that some of the less technical members of my office have found things less easy and I did find them less responsive while they were doing the PS3 port was around the time that Primal Carnage did need help.

Unigine is also a young and small team and relatively inexperienced in their field. The engine itself is great. There are quite a few things that it does better than UDK. However the artist tools aren’t really up to the same standard, some subsystems are a bit buggy, and the render system is quite intricate and takes a bit of work to get your head around. Quite a few of the subsystems that come out of the box in UDK have to be handwritten in Unigine.

In the end I think it comes down to the fact that Primal Carnage don’t have the skillset to make unigine work for them. There are not a lot of people available with Unigine coding skills if they try to get somebody to get somebody into the team with the skills.

As for UDK being better, industry standard etc. I know a lot of programming teams who have used UDK and regretted it. It works well for some projects and not others. I imagine it will be a good fit for this game however.

To those complaining about the Linux users being angry. Do a little experiment for me
. Find a dog, give a bone – then take that bone away.

I’ve emailed the great GNU/Linux porter Ryan Gordon about the UDK and the UT3 issue, unfortunately he had no answers for me

LGN :
Will it be possible to port other UDK games to GNU/Linux ? if not, why ?
What about the next UDK released (UDK4 for example that is not came out yet) ?

Ryan :
UT3 taught me to never comment on anything that isn’t shipping right now. So, sorry, but I have no information about any possible or impossible UDK port.
LGN :
The real question is if it would be possible for you to port Primal Carnage to GNU/Linux or it’s hopeless ?
If there is a chance for you (or any other porter) to port a UDK game to Linux then we can still have hope, but if the problem is in the licensing and bureaucracy of the engine itself – then it’s a whole different issue.

Ryan :
I don’t have any answers for any given title, or the UDK itself.
Seriously, I don’t talk about Unreal at all anymore.

Ryan didn’t say a definite “No” at least, so maybe some other game porter (Frank Earl, if you are reading this – please consider the possibility to port this game to our beloved platform) could try and port Primal Carnage to GNU/Linux.
Although UT3 port failed I suspect it wasn’t a technological issue but a license/bureaucracy related (the port was almost finished waiting for it’s release if you recall).

Thanks Christian Dannie Storgaard aka Cybolic for letting me know about this issue.

Links
Primal Carnage
Primal Carnage on LGN Post 1
Primal Carnage on LGN Post 2
Lukewarm Media Thread About GNU/Linux Support For Primal Carnage
Unigine
UDK

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14 Comments

  1. Maxim Bardin October 5, 2010 12:40 am 

    You misunderstood me…
    I know UT3 is not coming to GNU/Linux, and I’m not saying that UDK will come to GNU/Linux.
    What I did say is that Ryan didn’t comment (nor denied) the possibility of other UDK based game to be ported to GNU/Linux.
    That alone might worth a try checking the possibility to port Primal Carnage to GNU/Linux.

    I’m not saying it’s possibly or not – but checking this option is something worth looking into.

  2. Holger October 5, 2010 1:29 pm 

    Hi Maxim,

    thanks for your article !

    I guess this pretty much sums up the issues surrounding Primal Carnage.

    What gets a bit lost I guess are three things:
    1) No one beside the dev team of Primal Carnage can tell us the additional amout of work required to finish Primal Carnage using unigine vs. the saved amout of work when using UDK for PC. Of course it’s not good if they find out that they do not have the skills / resources to use unigine for PC. Esp. after investing some serious amout of time.

    I do not want to the defend the dev team. Simply try to understand their motivation.

    The following video is in german but you can clearly see how powerful the ingame editor is for the new crytec engine:
    http://video.golem.de/desktop-applikationen/3586/gdce-2010-interview-mit-sean-tracy-ueber-den-cryengine-3-editor-sandbox.html

    Imagine doing the same things with an external level editor which requires you to compile your work prior checking out the results (Quake level editing any1 ?).

    I can imagine that something like this for unigine would be a killer feature and that Primal Carnage would still be using unigine with such editing tools

    Communication and style of communication of course was less than optimal.

    2) UDK does not provide an OpenGL renderer. As the feature set states:
    “Multiple API (DirectX 9 / DirectX 10 / DirectX 11) bullet_clear render”

    For Linux users this translates to: Either WINEs D3D-to-OpenGL-wrapper can handle our stuff or forget about Linux….
    At least for a plain Windows-centric UDK version.

    As Epic why they dropped Linux support after sucessful titles (UT99, UT2k3, UT2k4). Write petitions. And so on.
    I guess that is the best approach to get Primal Carnage on Linux. I strongly doubt that Lukewarm Media will do anything after releasing Primal Carnage to port it to Linux. Just my 2 cents….

    3) The general situation for Linux as gaming platform is neither good, nor does it likely look to change sooner.
    Some things like opensource 3D drivers with low performance and not up2date feature sets do not make the situation better.
    Do not get me wrong. I am an Linux user in the first place. I have two Linux workstations (one with WinXP dual boot) and run opensource radeon drivers for my HD4670. I like to play games as often as possible under Linux (Amnesia for example) but on the other hand I am pracmatic:
    When I can buy games such as FEAR2 or Crysis Warhead for 10€ and they run under Windows only…so what ? Will I blame anyone that they didn’t have ported FEAR2 or Crysis Warhead and sold it 2 years after the Windows release for 40 bucks ? No, I will simply look if the games runs reasonable under WINE or simply boot up WinXP.

    Face it: In the modern, shareholder value driver game development there is no place for Linux anymore. Only smaller independent companies do so and they often will not be able to afford so.

    I would rather like to see time being invested in either a better working WINE or a broader support for hardware virtualisation which lets me use my graphic adapter into a KVM with native windows drivers.

    Best regards,
    Holger

  3. Maxim Bardin October 5, 2010 2:21 pm 

    Hello Holger and thanks for taking the effort to post such a long reply.

    1. Actually the Primal Carnage developers said that they are making no progress with the unigine engine and if they continued using it their project will never be finished.
    I’m not saying that Unigine is bad, it’s just hard to use by unprofessional team, specially a team that most of their previous projects were mods (and with that I’m not saying that Lukewarm Media are bad either, they just need more experience).
    UDK on the other hand is much easier to use (so I understand from their words).

    2. While the chances to get Primal Carnage on GNU/Linux are slim, a good idea would be that a game porter will look into the possibility to port it to GNU/Linux – as I’ve said I’m NOT saying it’s possible or not, but I’m also not a GNU/Linux game porter.
    Petitions rarely work.

    3. Actually I think and feel that the GNU/Linux gaming business is going better and better each year.
    This year we had more releases than 3 years ago, and the situation is improving a lot.
    While our supporters are manly the indies, the quality of their titles increased over the years.
    Developing a GNU/Linux client does not mean that the Windows version should be delayed.
    There were many games in which the GNU/Linux version came out weeks – months and even years after the Windows version – so I really don’t understand why people give this example as to why not port a game to GNU/Linux.

    We can wait, but get the game done for our beloved platform.

    And except a very few old titles from GoG I never buy a Windows game without a NATIVE GNU/Linux client, supporting those who do not support us does us no good.
    On the other hand I often buy GNU/Linux games I am not very interested in (and that I don’t play more then a few hours) just to support the developers.

    Best Wishes,
    Maxim.

  4. Noctrine October 5, 2010 10:25 pm 

    IIRC Binstream is the Unigine CEO.

  5. Holger October 6, 2010 9:36 am 

    Hello Maxim,

    >I’m not saying that Unigine is bad, it’s
    >just hard to use by unprofessional team,
    >specially a team that most of their previous
    >projects were mods
    Did you check out the video link I posted ?
    I guess this is the kind of tools which people need to create lots of high quality content in short times. Look, things have dramatically changed since the beginning of 3D shooters. In doom times I was makeing a lot of custom levels myself. I guess until Quake2, Sin, Halflife etc. it was somewhat easy possible to create a game with 16-20 hrs playtime in a relative short time. Today the amount of work required to build a high quality game (e.g. any of the MOH or COD parts, Bioshock, Dead Space, Crysis) nearly equals those of a smaller movie. Many top titles had even a higher budget than many TV productions.

    Even for a “budget” title like Primal Carnage people are expecting high quality content. At least I do. I would not buy a title that has dinosaurs as in the first Turok or which look like a good HL2 mod. I would expect dinosaurs as those in Jurassic Park (ok, to a somewhat lower degree of details) but I guess you get the picture. Now, if unigine provides tools which are not “up to industry standard” (as the one guy over in the PC forum mentioned) this simply translates for me to: you have to do additional work to get the job done. May be even to a degree which requires additional skills which you do not have.

    I guess that is what happened. If you have additional funding (which AFAIK Lukewarm Media does not have) this can be equaled by either investing time to learn the addtional skills or buy someone with the additional skills. Without those options you might want to look out for an engine with more enhanced toolset. To me it is as simple as this.

    >While the chances to get Primal Carnage on GNU/Linux
    >are slim, a good idea would be that a game porter will
    >look into the possibility to port it to GNU/Linux
    Agreed but one game porter (a very “famous” one) already looked into porting an Unreal3-engine based title to Linux (UT3) and technically it worked (there were screenshots) but in the end there was no release. From a logical standpoint it makes not a lot sense to me if the same or another game porter looks at this. It is rather logical to talk to Epic about adding at least and OpenGL renderer to their UDK. A Linux version would be even better but to my best knowledge the renderer is the most critical aspect (beside copy protection) which influences if a Windows game runs fine under WINE. Also title with OpenGL renderer always mean a lower amount of work to be done in order to do a Linux port. Just my 2 cents….as I am no game porter as well.

    >Petitions rarely work.
    If you think like this in the first place then the petition has lost its purpose even before you started it ;)

    >here were many games in which the GNU/Linux version came out
    >…even years after the Windows version – so I really don’t
    >understand why people give this example as to why not port a
    >game to GNU/Linux.
    Well at least I give those as examples because this shows how many “blockbuster” are treated by their original publisher:
    The title is first released for Windows / consoles. After a while (usually up to a year) you can either get those titles as part of a gaming magazine, the software pyramid (as it is called here in Germany) or from ebay. Mostly the price hovers around 10€.

    Then company XY takes the effort to port the title to Linux (Sacred or Knights and Merchants – just to name two titles). Two years after the initial release we have an overpriced title (e.g. 40€) for Linux which will be most likely only bought by enthusiasts with a big wallet. Now company XY will cry that game development for Linux is not valuable. It’s a pretty common scenario and sometimes reminds me as if a student for business studies is making the strategic planning for those companies.

    Smaller indie developers (just think of world of goo or Amnesia) on the other hand often develop their titles for multiple platforms and show that it works to release at the same time for mutiple platforms.

    Medium to bigger development studios often get their money from a bigger publisher. Thus to a certain degree they are under control of this publisher. If using Linux as gaming platform as well means a risk to delay the title on Windows the publisher will do pretty much everything to avoid a release on Linux. Which leads to my first paragraph on describing a high quality set of development tools :)

    Give people a free engine (unigine ?) with high quality tools as shown for the cryengine3 and my best bet is that we will see more titles on Linux.

    >And except a very few old titles from GoG I never
    >buy a Windows game without a NATIVE GNU/Linux client,
    >supporting those who do not support us does us no good.
    Agreed, it does us Linux gamers no good but being on a
    budget and still an avid gamer I am somewhat of an egoist. ;-(

    >On the other hand I often buy GNU/Linux games I
    >am not very interested in (and that I don’t play
    >more then a few hours) just to support the developers.
    I sometimes do so as well if there are special deals (Humble bundle or the Amnesia discount related to this).

    Best regards,
    Holger

  6. LinuxFTW October 9, 2010 4:19 am 

    I hope their project meets a fiery death!!!! what a let down…. M$ is behind this i know it.

  7. yet_another_linux_fanboy December 22, 2010 1:55 pm 

    @LinuxFTW
    To much haters like you exist in linux community. Time to grow up.

  8. Maxim Bardin December 22, 2010 7:36 pm 

    Sorry for making the wrong impression.
    I do not hate, I’m just very disappointed about this issue – but I can understand their move to UDK.

  9. yet_another_linux_fanboy December 23, 2010 7:18 pm 

    @Maxim
    I adressed it to LinuxFTW, and i understand this disappointment but the unfortunate truth is that linux community is in no position to demand anything or throw some threats.
    Lukewarm’s move may be not quite acceptable for many linux users but i still think some of them should change their attitudes. If they really fill cheated, they probably will be able to show what they think about this , by downloading the game from torrents and play it on wine … and they should be appreciative that wine exists ;)
    Anyway, the game is not even released yet and time will tell it is a really playable one or not.
    sorry for my english.

  10. Steven June 9, 2012 4:55 pm 

    Sorry but its true Linux does not give much support , my company also dropped Linux from our software. The reason was Linux gave poor support and many hardware issues which for the average user these few issue overwhelm them, the Ubuntu forums was also unable to solve the problems so in the end Linux support got dropped.

    Users that contacted support was a bit upset but the support gave them information they need in order to get our software working user windows and mac.

  11. Maxim Bardin June 9, 2012 5:42 pm 

    I’m also sorry that you do not know how to program and how to make a cross platform software.
    There are many who do, and the Humble Indie Bundle shows it.

  12. Steven June 14, 2012 12:20 pm 

    Well the programing is not my job in the company, but there is more reason for it and maybe i should have mention that sorry ;), other issues such as marketing with Linux would not be worth the time.

    For instance my company found that 7% of users are running Linux(a bit surprised to see it that high), now take into account that profit has to be created. An minimum profit is normally around 30%. With only 7% of user’s being Linux we do not expect each user to buy our software so you have to be realistic, if we got 25% of them 7% users we would just about reach even. So in order for it to work we would have to rush the product which can causes problems, and the cost of software/hardware/support is not even taken into account here.

    Linux would not give us a good return, its sad but true.

    That is just the top of the surface, the rabbit hole goes even deeper,

  13. Maxim Bardin June 14, 2012 12:30 pm 

    A few years ago I had an interview with Koen from Koonsolo : http://linuxgamingnews.org/2009/09/04/interview-with-koen-from-koonsolo/
    He said that if you develop for cross platform from the start, then the development doesn’t cost much more, and you get a much more stable product.
    Also the sales were very good from Linux and MacOS in his case.

    I suggest you to read that interview.

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