Non-Desktop Linux Games?

December 31st, 2009 by Crusader

A reader asks:

Why do you thing we are not seeing a lot more applications/games crossover from the android side? Do you think it is the difficulty factor. It is just not android too, you also see those table top arcade units that have linux cores. Where are these games?

Is the market just that small that it would not make sense to try create regular linux clients for their apps/games?

Just wondering.

Not owning an Android-based phone, I’ve been wondering lately myself what game titles were available, how they were licensed, and so on. Anyone care to comment?


6 Responses to “Non-Desktop Linux Games?”

  1. jiero Says:


    FOSS solution may result in SuperPower dominate large developer group because of high overhead and resource requirement for single product.

    To Max profit, closed source is better and android is good platform to distribute Property Software for it’s not GNU/Linux, for which Andorid differentiate from other modern/popular Linux distributions.

  2. Trizt Says:

    Andrios uses Java as the main language for it’s apps, depending on some Google Java libs, in theory it would be possible to run those games in which ever operating system which supports Java and had modified Google Java libs to handle the hardware (I would guess mainly keyboard support, but possibly other hardware support may be needed).

    We have Maemo too, which is a real GNU/Linux, which I think most Linux fans would prefer over the Java/Linux from OHA.

  3. mobile1up Says:

    another alternative is moblin ( – there will be some portable devices soon; it currently supports netbooks, but it is something to watch and it is a complete Linux environment, not like Android; which is typically a Java based solution (although there is a native sdk)

    our linux games work on moblin out of the box.

    // Aaron Ardiri
    Mobile 1UP

  4. Svartalf Says:

    Actually, Trizt is right and wrong.

    1) Yes, Android uses “java” for it’s main language- but it’s not using a Java JVM.
    2) With the native code API you can build a “library” that comprises the game and is wrappered by a smidge of Dalvik bytecode.

    And this only speaks to Android phones, it doesn’t get into Maemo, WebOS, or Bada phones- each of which have differing ground rules for applications. The closest to native would be Maemo devices like the Nokia N9XX series phones. The next closest would probably be the WebOS or Bada (I’m thinking Bada is closer right at the moment, but until I lay hands on an API and a sim environment, I won’t know…). However, while the ground rules change for the app’s main body, the bulk of the code [i][b]seems[/b][/i] to be very similar so far…so far…

    As for what is/isn’t possible right at the moment and what is available, I will make the following observations:

    The app store seems to feature PopCap/MumboJumbo clones right at the moment. That’s because it’s pretty easy to accomplish a pretty slick looking Bejeweled type game and their ilk with Dalvik right at the moment.

    This is not to say that someone couldn’t produce a full-on 3D game for the Android. Anything Donut based or later with an OMAP3 or similar should be able to do 3D games out of box as it’s part of the spec to support OpenGL ES 1.1 (Donut) or 2.0 (Eclair) out of box on the hardware that supports these APIs (Droid??). This translates into prospects of things like TribalTrouble or Bang! Howdy being made available for phones that the vendor went to the trouble to license the rights to the ES driver stack on the phone’s hardware. From off-the-cuff observations of the two “hot” phones from Verizon (in anticipation of doing an eventual upgrade when my upgrade date comes due…) it seems that at least Motorola and HTC have licensed the driver stacks for the 3D hardware on their respective phones. Nokia has definitely licensed it for the N9XX series and the Pandora handheld is also going to stir up things there a bit. I know of at least one studio targeting Android and Maemo phones as well as the Pandora for a next year release of their title in that space- and more being contemplated as WebOS and possibly Bada as the info for doing the native type application info becomes available.

  5. Svartalf Says:

    Hey, Aaron! Good to see you here. Even better to hear you’ve got Linux versions of your games on the way. :-D

    They look every bit as good as the games and game engines you did for the Palm back a while back.

  6. ThoreauHD Says:

    I have the nexus one. They haven’t released the sdk yet to developers. But it is linux with linux permission and with access to root.

    My kernel version for instance is:


    Flash 10.1 will be released by the end of the month. All those apps on the iPhone that are “illegal” or costs you money are free here. PC internet bridging for instance. Maps, voice activated everything, music, etc.

    The three issues at this time is that some people are reporting 3G is not the preferred/default connection due to a driver issue. Next is the touch response gets jittery after 30-60 minutes. And third the microphone stops working. These are all software related and THC/google are working on a patch.

    Basically the same growing pains as the iphone when it came out, only you aren’t boxed into iphone crap with at&t as your overlord.

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