LINUXGAMES

Transgaming to Publish WineX-Based Kohan Series

June 18th, 2002 by Crusader

Andrew Henderson sent in the following article:

Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns, Kohan: Ahriman’s Gift, and the Special AwardsEdition of Kohan will be published/maintained for the Linux platform byTransgaming. Timegate Studios (the developers of Kohan) announced this intheir June 2002 newsletter (which can be seen in HTML format athttp://www.icculus.org/~hendersa/newsletter.html). Also, a quick oneliner about this deal, as well as an image of the Kohan box, has appearedon the front page of the Transgaming web site.

As it stands now, Timegate is planning on having Transgaming make theLinux ports of these games dependant upon Transgaming’s WineX and Winelibtechnologies. This seemed rather odd to me, since there is a perfectlyspiffy Linux-native codebase for Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns that Lokideveloped. So, before I jumped to any conclusions, I e-mailed thebusiness manager of Timegate Studios in order to get some clarification onthe situation.

It was explained to me that the nature of the contract between TimegateStudios and Loki may not allow the Linux native codebase of Kohan torevert to Timegate after Loki’s bankruptcy. Before anyone jumps up andsays that the other Loki codebases has reverted back to the originators ofthe Win32 codebases, please remember that each contract was negotiated ona case-by-case basis and that the contracts were typically negotiated withpublishers, not with the studios themselves. The contract negotiated forKohan was between Loki and Timegate Studios directly, not through apublisher. Therefore, Loki could have possibly slipped in a clause or twothat states the Timegate would not receive the rights of the Linuxcodebase.

When faced with the prospect of porting Kohan to native Linux from theWin32 codebase AGAIN, I see why Transgaming would take the faster,non-native route. It’s also an opportunity for Transgaming to showcasetheir technology. At the very least, Kohan will once again be on theshelves and available for sale with Transgaming publishing the Kohantitles.

The only problem I see is that the lower-level routines in Kohanthat are pertaining to blitting and floating point asm calculations werehand-ported in order to maintain cross-platform network compatibility andoverall game speed. A blanket Winelib port would be a little on the slowside unless all that asm is ported once again. We’re talking about 20,000to 25,000 lines of asm, some of it self-modifying, plus some asm-levelmodifications to control the floating point control word. These are nottrivial things to implement and hand-tune.

As an aside, I’d be interested to see how Transgaming’s Winelib version ofKohan will do against the native port of Kohan that Loki created. Thebenchmarks of the two should be interesting to compare.

As to my own opinion on this issue, I’m torn. I’m glad to see TimeGate still interested and actively trying to support the Linux platform, but I’m saddened to see people who purchased the native Linux version of K:IS developed by Loki seemingly left in the lurch if they want to be able to play version 1.3.4. Moreover, it seems to violate TransGaming’s earlier promise not to impact existing native ports.

21 Responses to “Transgaming to Publish WineX-Based Kohan Series”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    let the flamewar begin!

  2. Ender Ryan Says:

    “it seems to violate TransGaming’s earlier promise not to impact existing native ports”

    Not really, considering that the Linux version of Kohan is dead in the water…

    But I guess that sucks a little for places like Tux Games that still sell it…

    Seems more like Loki’s (may they RIP) fault to me.

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. Anonymous Says:

    Will we have to buy Mandrake again to get this game too?

  5. diablo-d3 Says:

    http://icculus.org/cgi-bin/finger/finger.pl?user=theoddone33?listarchives=1
    Read the top three entries… I think he’s right in saying that basically TransGaming is full of shit, and we should be helping the Linux gaming community.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Why is it so hard to write portable games?

  7. clump Says:

    Im surprised LG didn’t cover WineX vs Debian of some days back:[br]
    http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2002/debian-devel-200205/msg02823.html

    [br]

    In a nutshell, WineX ‘bullied’ Debian into not packaging WineX.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I do not like Wine-X.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    To quote Transgaming CEO

    “The world changes (and the tech world changes at an incredible rate), and those that don’t adapt to work with an obviously superior way of doing things (provide the API & Runtime compatibility like Wine(X) does instead of porting everyone’s source over) are going to go out of business. You can hardly blame Transgaming for that, but rather the other companies that refuse to adapt.”

    http://www.transgaming.com/showthread.php?msg=6461&forum=372&thread=5778

    Transgaming people think that WineX is superior to usual porting. What does everybody else prefer?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    “It was explained to me that the nature of the contract between TimegateStudios and Loki may not allow the Linux native codebase of Kohan torevert to Timegate after Loki’s bankruptcy”

    That’s an interesting little statement – is Kohan for Linux (native port) now free for the taking? Because it certainly sounds that way.

    -Erwos

  11. Judecca Says:

    This is in direct competition of a native port.

    For those who said that Loki is dead, so this is no longer competition, I’d like you to consider the fact that timegate was approached by several individuals, including ex Loki employees wishing to maintain the current port. They were beaten out by Transgaming, likely because of licensing fees.

    However one should also consider what Andrew said. Perhaps the legality of it restricts them from using Loki’s code at all, making it useless.

    I’d rather see this in the hands of a company like LGP, or any of the individual’s who approached. Even if they only had the current Win32 codebase. A native source port would be much better than a Transgaming binary port.

    Unfortunately, even though Transgaming may have access to the source, it is very unlikely they will use it. The Sims was not even compiled with winelib, it simply comes with a version of wine, and a shell script.

    It will be months of work to get it to compile with GCC, even using winelib. Especially considering the assembly Andrew mentioned. Likely they’ll just use a windows binary with a wine wrapper, as they did previously.

    Many people complain that they have to buy a title for windows and linux, now transgaming wants us to buy a title which we already have for linux, soon to be available in their online web-store.

    I’d rather the linux version stay at 1.3.1 forever than buy another copy, and support the redundancy of this transgaming move.

    Andrew is right however, the assembly will probably choke on this emulation layer, and we’ll be able to compare performance side by side.

    As an aside, I applaud Timegate for continuing to support the Linux platform, however I don’t think they made the right decision.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    what really needs to happen is that game companies develope and use cross-platform compatible APIs

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Imagine what a perfect WineX would do to Linux gaming? It’d delete the line between linux and windows games. Companies would write windows games, say “we don’t support Linux BUT WE HAVE REPORTS OF IT RUNNING IN WINEX”, and that would mean that forever the DirectX API would be used for pretty damn well everything. Why? Because what’s the point of using SDL when WineX works perfectly? What’s the point of using any cross form API when you’ve got it figured out at another area?

    If WineX ever is perfected, it is the end of Linux gaming as we know it. All our purchases would be labeled as Windows purchases, and the companies wouldn’t care to support us because we’ve BOUGHT the product knowing it said “FOR WINDOWS” on it..

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Where is it? Ryan! Stop eating your grandma’s pasta sauce and ship it already!

  15. simcon Says:

    What Linux needs is an open source killer game (app) that isn’t made available to Win32 users. This will then draw attention to Linux/Gaming and encourage people to install Linux and experience it’s many rewarding features. I believe that the talent exists in the community to achieve this and on fruition would be immensely enjoyable for developers and users alike.

    It is true that many people do not even know that there is another OS out there and that MS = PC = computing. This needs to change if you want native Linux commercial games. Don’t expect companies to operate like iD Software as they are in a very unique position.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    roflmao.

    Uhm, why don’t they just keep their shitty win32 software on Microsoft Windows? I simply don’t run win32 feces on my Linux system. It is pointless to install the most stable operating system in the world and run insecure and unstable win32 software as suid root. Damn you all. Damn you all to hell. I’ll never install that Transgaming dog shit and it is digusting and arrogant to boast about running poorly designed and poorly implemented software of a far-inferior operating system; on a Linux operating system.

    You people need to get your heads out of EACH-OTHERS anul orifices and think for a minute between dives. Maybe you should all take a breath mint or two while you’re at it. I remember a proverb that spoils the situation…

    …not that we should, but we could…

  17. Anonymous Says:

    My vision for gaming on GNU/Linux, is to have more open-source games, developed and maintained by the linux community. If you want to join my vision, please feel free to drop by my website, http://www.vogelvision.com

    Let the vision begin.

  18. zakk Says:

    http://www.timedoctor.org/images/tdobananim4468x60.gif

  19. clump Says:

    WineX kids, you here?
    Haiku now I must write it
    Because I can’t sleep.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    The only valid argument against wine and winex is that somehow, they could prevent linux port to happen. And now, it’s a linux game compagny which has prevented a linux port and left the developper of the game with no better solutions than to use winelibs.
    Meanwhile, a linux port of freespace2 was done quickly on icculus, based on directx code. I tried it with the demo and it works flawlessly, but crashed with full version. Anyway, in a short amount of time, they did it.
    This leads me to think, that many games could be ported easylly by editors who wants to enlarge their users base, while for some, winex would be a better way to go. There is room for both.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Guys, the ports *will* be native, just like the Sims port is a native Linux binary. Transgaming has a product/technology to more or less let them recompile Windows code on Linux – it simply provides an abstraction API. This makes DirectX no different than using a scene-graph API over OpenGL (sort of).

    In short, no, it’s not as good as a full port using OpenGL + SDL or whatever, because there is still abstraction.

    But, the publishers *are* noticing Linux, *are* having a “port” made to Linux versus just a Windows version, etc. They are simply short-cutting the recoding and using an abstraction *API*. They are making an effort for a Linux version – they could just say “Buy the Windows version and run it in WineX,” but instead they are making a version just for us. Be happy. ^_^ It’s a _start_, and we can’t expect to jump from nothing to “all the way.”

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