LINUXGAMES

State of Loki @ LWN

April 19th, 2001 by Crusader

Loki Software president Scott Draeker spoke withLinux Weekly News to address community questions regarding their recent staffdepartures:

“The Linux market is still very small–much smaller than the Mac market,” said Loki co-founder and President Scott Draeker in an email interview with LWN.net. While the community as a whole has been very good to the company, and the press has offered high praise for their products and support, no one is making a fortune at the small California based company. “Some [people] have assumed that all the good news and good work we were doing meant that we had all become instant millionaires. Not a chance.”

In fact, Draeker says they aren’t even making money yet. Then again, that doesn’t mean they’re ready just yet to shut the doors to the business. “We’re in this for the long haul. We want to build a Linux gaming industry. That takes time and plenty of sweat and cash. And no, we are not profitable. But we aren’t going anywhere either.”

Finding cash has been a high priority for Draeker since last year. He says the company knew back in December that funding wasn’t becoming available and that employees were told about the situation. “We told them they were welcome to stay,” noted Draeker, “or start to look for other jobs. A number of people left over a period of 3 months. At that point most had gone about as far they could with the ups and downs associated with being a start up in a down market.” Now the company is running at break even levels. Says Draeker, “We’ve cut back to a size where we can sustain our operations exclusively from sales revenue. That said, we are still looking for funding partners.”

Scott also goes on to say that, with the help of such projects asOpenAL and the Simple DirectMedia Layer,Loki plans to branch out into other markets.

Furthermore, Loki has announced a new bulk discountprogram for Linux Users Groups. If you’re a member of your local LUG, make a point to let them know aboutthis promotion. Thanks to Rob Seace for the news.

8 Responses to “State of Loki @ LWN”

  1. karlos Says:

    I’d really like to see the commercial game market for Linux succeed. I’ve purchased a number of titles from them and am really impressed by the quality of the work.
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    I wish they would port a true RPG-style game like Balder’s Gate or Diablo, or maybe a fun arcade remake like Frogger 2, though (I’ve personally had by fill of first-person shooter games). I’m sure sooner or later a game that’s more my speed will show-up, though. :-)
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    -Karl

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Well, I like this. A frank appraisal of where things are at, and a promise not to go away. Hopefully the remaining programmers are of a similar mindset. Hopefully Linux can become a successfull game market before they _have_ to call it quits.

    Maybe I just need to do my part more… I’ve only bought one Loki game. Then again, I don’t have time to play _any_ games, so what can I say?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    IMHO, the Linux gaming market isn’t /that/ small; I’d be surprised if it wasn’t roughly on par with the MacOS market.
    The problem, however, is that Mac users don’t have an alternative to buying the Mac version, whereas most Linux users have- those who run IA32 hardware can dual-boot or use WINE. Since Win32 games are available earlier, and (most of the time) cheaper, many people choose the easy way out.
    Emulation was one of the things that killed OS/2; emulation and dual-booting will make it considerably harder for Linux businesses (they have little effect on Free software, though).

    Right now, I don’t see much of an alternative for Loki than to try to release before the Win32 version is available; but I doubt that’ll happen. Additional platform support for other hardware platforms that run Linux but can’t run Win32 probably wouldn’t make a significant change for a variety of reasons. What’s left? The only other thing I can think of would be to take advantage of some feature Linux has but Win32 hasn’t. That covers quite some ground, but little of it is relevant for gaming…

    Then again, they might just take older games and recycle them, adding new features not present before. There are many great classics which could be polished and released as Linux-only special editions…

    Any other ideas?

  4. Starbuck Zero Says:

    Long as Loki put games on my Linux box I’ll be happy. They are fighting for Linux to become gaming platform. So let’s get out there and support it like one. From sales the Linux marktet look small, but you can’t tell how big the market is because there ain’t many sales. Tuxgames are out of there first shipment of Tribes 2 before the damn thing got in. So we are doing something right… So let’s get out there and push even harder boys and girls!

    P.S: Stop crying and Tux it in, the war isn’t over!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    You’ve probably seen this already, but you can buy a boatload of old loki games for $10 at http://www.ebgames.com. I just bought quake3, descent3, and railroad tycoon2. quake3 rocks, but I have yet to install the other two.

    Thanks Loki, for making things so easy to install, all the work you’ve done on open source products, and for doing more than your part to make Linux more popular. I think it’s time to save my family from windoze, and Loki was one of those who made it that way. Since I’m not a coder, I’ll do my part by buying. :)

  6. Anonymous Says:

    How about some different types of games? I’m sick of FPS gams. I’d like a race car game, a motorcycle race game, a football game, a soccer game like fifa, or something like that. FPS games are so old. I’m sick of them. Getting a final fantasy game in linux would certainly kick ass too.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Despite the future of Loki (great I hope), I must commend them on what they’ve already done (as well as others). Erased my windows partition, why? Because it’s not needed anymore… I’ve got Quake III, Heretic II, Descent 3, SOF, Heavy Gear II, Shogo, Unreal Tournament, Terminus, Quake I & II of course, Doom I & II, Kingpin, Heretic, Hexen, Wolfenstein off the top of my head… that’s 13 of the biggest PC games ever… Since I first started using linux a few years ago… its gotten soooo much better. I would also like to see a Madden 2001, or NHL or FIFA, etc. BUT I am happy with what I have, and will dye of happiness when RUNE is released… (the only thing I miss about Win98, but that’s what work is for). My hat is off to Loki, and I think I might even purchase the RPGs and stuff that I don’t like just to support them… yeah I’m a fruit but what do you expect from someone obsessed with Guns N Roses, Linux, and Murphy’s Irish Stout?

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I’m not so worried about the number of game ports, but whether there will be a market for all those ports. If the ports sell well, it’s profitable and there will be more ports. It doesn’t yet help too much if a small bunch of zealots buy all the games that are available (although I guess Loki survives on that ;) – we need the big masses to buy a Linux game every now and then. Some thoughts on how to make that happen:
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    One tactic is to get multiplatform releases in the same box. Like they did for Terminus, http://www.funky-penguin.co.uk/index.php?zone=articles&id=25 . This can be a good idea from the game company point of view, because it offers advantages for marketing, distribution, etc. This would mean we get a simultaneous release, and also recognition in the Windows gaming community, because Windows players will be aware of the existence of a Linux port. I think Loki is against this tactic for their own business reasons, though.
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    For gaming to grow, one needs a relatively smoothly functioning desktop system. We have come a long way with Linux, with distros like SuSE 7.1, where ideally installing 3d means just clicking on the checkbox that you want it in the install proggy. (Well yeah I know this doesn’t always work, so we’re only halfway there ;)
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    We have technical readiness and a selection of commercial products, but we also need marketing. This is best done by the community – write to forums and gaming magazines. Arrange demonstrations with your local LUG, and form alliances with Windows gamers to throw LAN parties. (Yeah, Windows gamers are potential Linux gamers ;)
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    Hardcore gamers might want to stay away from Linux because a limited number of titles, but on the other hand, they might want to support it because it makes the most reliable gaming OS in the long run (maybe apart from console), and it’s great for running your game servers and your home network. Reliability is the prime reason why I support Linux as my sole gaming platform. I considered myself a hard-core gamer in 98, and it really pissed me off when I couldn’t get my favourite, Battlezone to work with Windows. It wasn’t the only game that had problems. What’s the point of spending $50 on a game if you can’t get it work?
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    As for games like BG I or BG II, I see little reason for porting – the effort is the same, yet they are old games and the market would be smaller. I think one should concentrate on titles like BG III and Master of Orion III, which won’t be released for a while, so they still have the time to release a Linux port not long after the Windows version.
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    Varis – http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/

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