Ryan C. Gordon

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Ryan C. Gordon giving a talk at the SouthEast LinuxFest on June 13, 2009

Ryan C. Gordon, also known as icculus, is a former Loki Software employee who is now responsible for icculus.org, which hosts many Loki Software projects as well as several new projects created by himself and others. He has also created ports of commercial software products to the Linux and Mac OS X platforms.

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  • If I'm the only one pushing Linux gaming, we have a serious problem. I'm happy for the contributions I've made, but I would be happier to know that Linux gaming can continue if I get hit by a bus. There are others out there doing what I do. You should interview them too.
  • I find if you're targeting Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X right from the start, your code will probably work anywhere else that you might try it later... Writing code that is cross-platform from the start requires more discipline, but I find it is worth the effort.
  • I happen to like the "feel" of OpenGL more, which isn't something I can explain well to those that aren't programmers, but I don't think it matters much at this point which API one chooses. More or less, you have feature parity between both APIs, both have made a handful of design mistakes, and both do a few things in slightly more pleasant ways than the other. Of course, the unforgivable thing about Direct3D is that it only works on Windows. If it was truly cross-platform, though, I wouldn't really object to using it. But since you write OpenGL almost everywhere, and Direct3D almost nowhere, it seems like a false choice to me.
  • I think [Wine] will be, at a minimum, incredibly useful to archeology, like DosBox has been for playing Wing Commander. Certainly it has been known to save the day with modern titles, too. But to have it as the agreed-upon way to how you play video games on Linux is completely unacceptable for several reasons, both technical and moral.
  • I can find lots of examples where a game won't make you rich, but I can't find a reasonable case where a Linux port doesn't have at least a small, positive return on investment.
  • I found I loved playing Serious Sam (it really captured the feel of the original Doom!), and hated working a cash register, so I wrote to the only email address I could find for Croteam (one of their artists!), and talked them into letting me do a Linux port. From there, I had some luck and started collecting other work... Now I do this sort of thing full time. I've touched pretty much every major game engine of the last decade, and worked with a lot of games.
  • What does NOT work best for anyone, though, is being forced to keep a Windows partition around just to play video games. The best operating system for playing games is the one that lets you keep your word processor, instant messenger, email, and music player open in the background while you play. The worst is the one that will force you to shut all that down just to screw around for a few minutes.
  • Q3A is probably one of my favorite codebases to have had the honor to work with. There’s just so many places where you get these “holy shit, that’s a brilliant idea” moments. I don’t know what Doom 3 looks like under the hood, but Quake 3 was a real marvel of engineering as much as anything else.
  • What I do for a living is somewhat like mercenary prostitution... I spend a lot of energy trying to find games to bring to alternate platforms, like Linux and MacOS, and in my free time, I work on various open source projects, and other freebies like that... so I guess I'm a hooker with a heart of gold, sorta.
  • Slackware was great in that it did the one thing I want my distro to do more than anything, and that's stay the hell out of my way... Gentoo basically stays the hell out of your way... and Portage goes a long way to basically do exactly what you'd have done on Slackware without having to do it manually... maybe I'm getting greedy in my old age, but I don't want to compile my packages anymore.
  • Video games are sexy. People need to be aware that GNU/Linux is more than just something to drive your webservers... A lot of people (myself included) feel that video games are a major factor in getting GNU/Linux to the masses. I can't count the number of people that have said, "Thanks for porting [GAME X]! It was the only reason I kept a Windows partition around!"
  • The simple fact is that code quality tends to improve as you move between platforms... non-obvious bugs on Windows become VERY obvious in the Linux port and vice versa, and thus get fixed. So even the Windows gamers will win in all of this.

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