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.
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 )
* 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 :
“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
“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
“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) ?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.