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Hi guys,

 

I'm a pretty heavy Linux user, but only really at the command line/server level, so I haven't actually ever played games in Linux (OK, I have... Sudoku on my Xubuntu box... but I digress.) Because we do a lot of work in Windows, I mostly just play games in Windows. ... and oddly enough, I'm probably really one of the only guys who uses Linux a lot in the office.

 

I've seen and received some concerns about how we're going to deliver Project Eternity on Linux, and how we'll do so in a DRM-free manner. I've read the debates about Steam, and that GOG doesn't support Linux, but I wanted to check in with you, the community, about ideas on how we can make sure to get you guys the format you'd like and expect.

 

I've seen a number of people bring up Desura, whom I've reached out to (and are quite nice guys, btw) but I have also heard that there may be some chicanery one needs to do in a VM to make the installer truly DRM-free, but I don't have much knowledge with that.

 

Question is, what would you guys like to see, and do you have experience with a non-Steam solution that would meet your expectations of having a DRM-free copy of the game? Would Desura fit the bill?

 

Thanks,

Darren

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OBSIDIAN ORDER OF ETERNITY - Officially sponsored most generously by Pierre and SD!

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Ideally, a GOG option would be great.  Barring that, I'd prefer my physical copy not be tethered to any particular distribution service.  A tarball would be excellent, though I can understand concerns that installation may be too confusing for the layman on his Obscurolinux distro.  I can hope that dependencies shouldn't be a big concern - Unity, maybe audio and video codecs (if not handled by unity).

 

Desura can of course be made an option for DRM-free (I've never used it, myself), but I'd prefer at least one of the two aformentioned be made available as well, especially if a VM is necessary (in such a case, I would break down and get the Steam version).

 

And thank you for giving us a voice on these concerns!

Edited by Pipyui

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Humble Store would be an option too. They take 5% which is pretty reasonable.

 

You can sell the Linux version from your website with a Widget to the Humble Bundle store.

 

People who choose linux could redeem their key via their Humble Bundle account and you'd be able to use a tarball installer which buyers would download through their Humble Bundle account.

 

I recently used Humble Bundle for Grim Dawn and it was a very simple process, although that was Windows/Steam they support Mac and Linux as well.

 

http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6593

 

Sometime next week we'll be taking down our "buy now" page in order to make a switch over to Humble Store. We're partnering with them for payment processing and distributing builds because, well, they're better at it than we are and can provide much requested payment options we can't, such as PayPal.

For anyone not familiar with Humble Store they're an indie distributor best known for the "Humble Bundle" deals they put together. There is no DRM involved and they aren't a service you sign into like Steam, just a place to buy and download games.

The other benefit is less distractions for us and time taken away from development since they'll be handling distribution and customer support for things like payment problems, missing keys, etc, that currently absorb some of our time and attention. They'll also be able to provide Steam keys, for those who want to play on Steam, when the times comes for that.

 

...

 

In the meantime, here is an interesting article on PA Report about Humble Store that provides more information.

 

http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/how-the-humble-store-may-challenge-steam-the-business-of-helping-indie

Edited by Sensuki
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I just registered as I'd like to add a vote for Humble Store.
 
I have multiple games on it and they come in multiple kind of packages so I guess they don't impose specific package formats on developers. I use Archlinux and I'll write my own PKGBUILD so I'll be happy with a simple tarball, like for instance, FTL, containing directly a folder with the game and its data and necessary libraries. It can be run directly from the folder so it's not really difficult for the less tech savy.
Otherwise, the Mojo installer that Double Fine uses for Psychonauts or Brutal Legend is not too bad because it can be unzipped to get its content (without running the installer). At least the one for Psychonauts can be run as a user and the game installs in home, creating shortcuts and all. Maybe it's easier for some people.
A deb is not bad either because it can be unpacked easily too.
As long as I can unpack (from the command line) and copy the files over, it's fine :) But first choice would be a simple tarball. And Humble Store can give multiple choices.

 

On Desura I have only Dungeons of Dredmor so I don't know if all games are distributed the same way, but I just downloaded a tarball from the webpage without using the Desura client.  So yes, it would be OK too, if it is not mandatory to use the client and its "features" such as auto-patching and achievements (if I wanted those I'd use Steam).

 

GOG would be nice too, but as they don't support Linux now, there is no way to know how they would do it. Would they package things with their own installer or more like Humble Store ? From what I have read, part of why they don't support Linux is because they want to be able to provide support for the games (not just post the tarball and let users deal with it).
 

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The actual way of distribution does not matter to me, as long as:

it is not mandatory to use the client and its "features" such as auto-patching and achievements
 

 

That said, the Humble Store sounds good, or of course if gog ever decides to distribute Linux games as well, why not them. As for the physical copy (if there is one for Linux - I really don't recall the kickstarter packages and should be in bed now rather than being online... xD ), why not just distribute an archive accompanied by an installer shell script that also checks for dependencies and doubles for uninstall script as well? I've never played "bigger" games on Linux, so I wouldn't know if it's feasible in this context, but I've used the latter method for IBM DB2. It's sufficiently more convenient than doing it all by hand, and not as platform dependent as a deb package. Maybe rpm?

Edited by samm
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Citizen of a country with a racist, hypocritical majority

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As was briefly mentioned in this thread, the now defunct Loki Games struggled with this problem as well.  They created a series of tools for game setup.  There are install/uninstall and updating tools, with both command line and GUI interfaces.  As a user installing games I had good luck with them (I can still get them to work on recent versions of OpenSuSE).  I don't know how they work internally, although the game data seems to be stored as a compressed binary file.   These tools are open source and live on at icculus.

There is a similar and possibly related set of tools provided by Linux Installer for Linux Games, however, I know less about them as I have not used them.

-Alex

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Hi, newly registered slacker backer here~

 

I'll vote for Humble Bundle as well, I think it's a great distributor and have only had very good experiences with them so far. The Humble Store also allows for multiple widgets to sell different bundles (base game, game plus OST, etc).

As for the format of the download, I would either go with a tarball (no installation required, each user can set it however he/she wants) or Nixstaller (http://nixstaller.sourceforge.net/news.php, it manages a number of different package managers with a single .sh file, which means a great many distributions will be able to install the software flawlessly and manage it through the distribution's package manager as well, which is always very nice).

 

Cheers!

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Greetings,
as a linux backer with dislike of DRM in any form, nowadays I would support eg. tarballs and both (or any) listed options -- Desura and Humble Bundle store on your page, both having its pros. If you can maintain all the possibilities (GOG, Steam, Desura, HB...), that would be great.

On Desura, users can vote, write a review or a comment, add a mod, and so on. You have another way to reach an audience.  

From my personal experience, having Dungeons of Dredmor too and few other games from Desura (fedora dist.) -- you don't need VM to install games, only have to register and then download a purchased product eg. as a tarball from the page. If installed/updated through the client you don't need it for the launch (so no another layer?), and you can move installation folder (which probably look the same) anywhere else and play from there... So maybe any form of DRM in connection to the VM is on the developers decision?

 

A probably "desura" comment on ModDB:

http://www.moddb.com/forum/thread/is-desura-really-a-complete-drm-free

 

We have two ways to get your game, the first is the app which is easiest described as a "steam" like program. However all it does is download the games to your HDD and patch them for you. You can if you want copy that install and take it to another computer and it will run all the same without the app. The other way we have is just a direct download of the install files for all supported OS's. So Mac, Linux and Windows.

Sometimes we sell Steam keys and sometimes games supply their own DRM (cd key authing with their websites). I like to describe Desura as a DRM agnostic service, we do not have our own DRM but we allow simple DRM onto the service.

 

From the services point of view, I heard about some time delays with patch releases compare to the Steam. Sometimes for users it's not easy to distinguish whether an individual game is completelly DRM free. There are some rumors about a new version of the web store, so they may address this issue in the future... Or I guess you may clarify the DRM free info in the summary tab.

In time of release, personally I don't have problem to wait a little longer for prefered distr. channel, if needed. Or will do some testing of installation if you ask us.


One of the goals is the mod support (this and the linux version made me and maybe some others succumb to the Eternity). Do you plan this support with multiplatformity in mind -- eg. having easily editable/readable file-formats for everybody, or maybe in future if it occures to you to release some tools, would you make it multiplatform? It would be great too if anybody could download any mod and easily add it to the game regardless the platform (differ only by the installation folder paths). :) Sorry, if beeing offtopic too much.

 

Thank you for the possibility to voice opinions!

 

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I'm kinda late on this, but I'd still like to throw in my two cents.

Well, I for one prefer to have a simple tarball. While GOG and Desura and Steam and whatever are okay, I like doing things manually. I don't even like installers that much, because as long as they don't hook into my distributions' (Debian and Gentoo) package managers, they're only in my way leaving behind files everywhere.

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I see several options: Humble Store and Desura are both good and not contradict each other (albeit I have very little experience with Desura). And there is always one final way of self-distributing (not that it will be needed). As for GOG... well,, I commend their stubborness (or shall I say "firmness"?) regarding Linux support even for games which have native Linux support from developers. But I clearly see GOG can not be reasoned with because where is "ideology" there is no place for reason.

As for formats: I find simple elegance in "*.tar.xz" archives. Every installer is a program and, as such, it adds probability of not running due to missing dependencies, wrong libraries versions etc... It is not uncommon when installer fails to run but the game itself is just fine. But for newbies archives can be a little harsh. So there is always Nixstaller, Mojo setup and others. As it was stated earlier, Humble Store supports multiple download options for different versions of OS-es (i686, x86_64).

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Ideally,  a .deb repo, a .deb from the Humble Bundle people, or even a tar.gz.

I am not so fond of Desura.

If you want my love choose something that will let me update it with my regular package manager instead of having to manually download or use a 3rd party app.

 

I've got a bunch of games from Humble Bundles so sans the native package manager option, it's probably best.

Edited by khango

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Ideally,  a .deb repo, a .deb from the Humble Bundle people, or even a tar.gz.

 

I am not so fond of Desura.

If you want my love choose something that will let me update it with my regular package manager instead of having to manually download or use a 3rd party app.

 

I've got a bunch of games from Humble Bundles so sans the native package manager option, it's probably best.

 

Unfortunately supporting Linux through a repo would mean either have to support all Linux distributions or focus on some and leave some out. For example if you support it through a .deb package structure and using a repo, Debian users would be best served but others would have to manually download, adapt and repackage the .deb for their distribution (I use Slackware, so I'd have to repackage the .deb in a compatible format).

I think the best solution would be Nixstaller (I linked it in my previous post) as it can support different distributions using a single file: during the installation process (done using a GUI, which means user friendly) the user is asked if the package should be installed using the distro's package manager; if so, Nixstaller will create and install the correct package - I know it supports Debian-like and Slackware packages, I'm fairly certain it also supports .rpm and others. That way if you try to install it again the installer will pick up you have an older version and update it instead. The downside is you'd have to manually download the .sh file again with every update and run it by hand, but I do believe this is the most friendly option taking into consideration multiple distributions.

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Ideally,  a .deb repo, a .deb from the Humble Bundle people, or even a tar.gz.

 

I am not so fond of Desura.

If you want my love choose something that will let me update it with my regular package manager instead of having to manually download or use a 3rd party app.

 

I've got a bunch of games from Humble Bundles so sans the native package manager option, it's probably best.

 

Unfortunately supporting Linux through a repo would mean either have to support all Linux distributions or focus on some and leave some out. For example if you support it through a .deb package structure and using a repo, Debian users would be best served but others would have to manually download, adapt and repackage the .deb for their distribution (I use Slackware, so I'd have to repackage the .deb in a compatible format).

I think the best solution would be Nixstaller (I linked it in my previous post) as it can support different distributions using a single file: during the installation process (done using a GUI, which means user friendly) the user is asked if the package should be installed using the distro's package manager; if so, Nixstaller will create and install the correct package - I know it supports Debian-like and Slackware packages, I'm fairly certain it also supports .rpm and others. That way if you try to install it again the installer will pick up you have an older version and update it instead. The downside is you'd have to manually download the .sh file again with every update and run it by hand, but I do believe this is the most friendly option taking into consideration multiple distributions.

 

 

Steam distributes a deb and those who don't like repack. But I get your point. Obviously I'm being a Debian/Ubuntu/Mint/etc-centric jerk to some extent. However, Debian-based distros are probably 80% plus of people who use Linux on the desktop. And it sure would be nice to have automatic updates of some sort.

 

But like I said, I can live with Humble Bundle and a Tar gz or nixstaller or something. Though doesn't the existence of nixstaller itself suggest that you could use a similar tool to pre-generate the packages for various distros?

Edited by khango

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Yes, I certainly see your point. I think the two major options would be .deb plus repo (upside: updating, downside: not compatible with 100% of the distributions) and Nixstaller (upside: larger compatibility, downside: no automatic updating). Plus of course a simple tarball.

Nothing stops us from hoping for multiple choices tho - it's not uncommon (from what I've seen with games in the Humble Store) to come as tarball, .deb, .rpm and Nixstaller all the same time. That way everybody can manage the game however they like.

 

In the end I'll be ok with whatever they decide, as long as the software won't be tied to a specific distribution (for example Steam distributes a .deb - which is fine - but it also makes use of scripts to resolve dependencies that are based on Ubuntu's package manager - which isn't fine, as it won't work on other distributions without tinkering with the files, repackaging alone won't suffice).

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You can release it on Steam and make it DRM-free, no different than releasing it on Desura and making it DRM-free:

 

 

"To clarify: There isn't any Steam DRM in the ArtRage 4 build for Steam, you can run it directly from a shortcut if you create one (Steam does not need to be running). - Art Rage 4 dev

 

and

 

List of DRM-Dree Games on Steam: http://www.gog.com/forum/general/list_of_drmfree_games_on_steam/page1

 

While you're at it, please also make the Windows Steam version DRM-free.

Edited by Delicieuxz

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It is actually completely different than on Desura. While a game released on Steam, if the developers choose so, can be launched without Steam open and possibly have no copy protection whatsoever, a Steam release will still be tied to the Steam software for installation, which means I can't download and manage the game myself but will always have to go through the Steam software. This also means I can't download a Windows version when on Linux (or a Linux version when on Windows), which means I'm not free to have access to the software however I want regardless of operating system and software.

Desura, while offering a software which (I believe) behaves similar to Steam's, also offer the possibility of downloading the installer directly from the website; I can then download the version I want without needing to install any additional software (no proprietary client needed) and without having to access the service through a certain OS instead of my OS of choice.

While the ability to access any version of the software regardless of the OS may seem trivial, it still matters in practice to some (I keep all my digital purchases - all DRM-free - available offline for both Linux and Windows, since I use Linux as my desktop OS but I have to have WIndows on my laptop) and the inability of doing so is clearly a restriction of one's freedom in relation to how a user can access and use the software he/she paid for. For some (and I agree), this still counts as a form of DRM since it's the client (in this case, Steam's) that decides what I can access, where and when.

 

That said, I agree that the Steam copy can be shipped without copy protection; I personally see no reason not to release on Steam either with or without copy protection, but for a true DRM-free release there must be another service through which to access and download the game. The ability to choose the service from which to access one's copy of the game can be nothing but a good thing, as it gives the user the freedom to decide what he/she wants and what he/she wants to avoid (for example: Steam's auto-update and social functions vs ability to access the software in a full DRM-free way, see above).

 

I mention this here because, despite you not suggesting to use Steam as the only distributor (and I sincerely hope you won't see this post as an attack - it was not intended to be so, it was just meant to focus the attention on the differences between Steam's "copy-protection-free" vs "DRM-free" as I see it), I strongly feel a full DRM-free copy should be available and more importantly that the user should be able to choose to which service he prefers to submit to to access it.

For reference, there is a topic (which I did not follow) about Steam and DRM  here: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61354-drm-free-option-why-not-just-make-all-steam-copies-drm-free/

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I mention this here because, despite you not suggesting to use Steam as the only distributor (and I sincerely hope you won't see this post as an attack - it was not intended to be so, it was just meant to focus the attention on the differences between Steam's "copy-protection-free" vs "DRM-free" as I see it), I strongly feel a full DRM-free copy should be available and more importantly that the user should be able to choose to which service he prefers to submit to to access it.

For reference, there is a topic (which I did not follow) about Steam and DRM  here: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61354-drm-free-option-why-not-just-make-all-steam-copies-drm-free/

 

I don't suggest that there only be a Steam release, I'd like to see it available wherever people would like to buy it from. I'd just like to see the Steam version have no unnecessary restrictions, particularly when Obsidian show that they are not in favour of those restrictions, themselves.

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I don't suggest that there only be a Steam release, I'd like to see it available wherever people would like to buy it from. I'd just like to see the Steam version have no unnecessary restrictions, particularly when Obsidian show that they are not in favour of those restrictions, themselves.

 

 

You find me in agreement here. From what I know, the only downside (from a Steam user's perspective) would be the loss of the Steamwork functionalities, as without Steamwork there is no copy protection but also no achievements, no cloud-saving and no social features. In my opinion is an acceptable loss, but I also don't plan to get my copy on Steam so..

I trust Obsidian will have a better understanding of the Steam market than I do and be able to make an informed call there, supporting DRM-free releases at the same time.

 

PS: as I mentioned, I knew you weren't suggesting a Steam-only access, I simply wanted to address the reasons why a DRM-free Desura release and a copy-protection-free Steam release aren't the same, as I thought it relevant to the topic.

I'm sorry if I came off as pedantic, it's just a matter I see as very important.

Anyway, I'm done hijacking the thread..! :D

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A bit late but for me I'd prefer the tarball option.  For those that want them Steam, Desura, et al can be options; but they're nothing I want involved in the process.  A tarball may not do all the install work for you but I feel that's probably the closet Linux equivalent to a disk/dl with the game files and a setup.exe file like the windows folks will have available.


The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck is the day they make a vacuum cleaner.

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Huzzah!  I will now no longer need worry about choosing between single-platform-only and DRM through Steam!  Great news!

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Ah, that's great :D Now let's see if gog will be the Linux distribution platform, or possible *one of* the Linux distribution platforms, used for PoE :)

Edited by samm
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Citizen of a country with a racist, hypocritical majority

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