Linux games have always been one of the goals of free software. If game developers could only be persuaded to develop for Linux, the daydream goes, the operating system would start to gain serious market share. The last few years have lent hope to the dream, but the progress remains slow -- so slow, in fact, that its realization is starting to look questionable.
The first large scale effort to sell Linux games commercially was Loki Software, which ported games like Civilization and Railway Tycoon around the turn of the millennium. It quickly failed financially, leaving Linux gaming largely to minor free-license games like Pysol and Tux Racer, and to efforts to run Windows games using WINE.
Microsoft is spending $2.5 billion to acquire Mojang, the company behind the game Minecraft. Minecraft is one of the major games played on the Microsoft gaming platform Xbox. No wonder Microsoft is interested. Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks. It began with creating barricades to ward off nocturnal monsters but people started developing various imaginative things as the game evolved. Minecraft can be a game of adventures or to relax. You can buy the game for $26.95.
Valve's Pierre-Loup A. Griffais has begun publicly listing known issues with AMD's Catalyst Linux graphics support.
Via this Steam Community discussion page, known issues with the AMD Linux graphics support as it pertains to SteamOS are listed. The page is to be updated as Valve discovers more issues.
The issues listed right now include black/flickering screen when full-screen mode is enabled for certain games, lower performance compared to desktop distributions, and crackling sound over HDMI. Of course, already in the comments are many Linux gamers chiming in with their AMD Linux graphics troubles.
While we routinely carry out Ultra HD (4K) Linux graphics/gaming benchmarks at Phoronix, it's generally been conducted with the proprietary NVIDIA and AMD graphics drivers since the open-source drivers traditionally have had a challenge on performance even at 1080p. However, thanks to the maturing open-source Radeon driver stack, it's possible with higher-end AMD graphics processors with the latest open-source Linux driver code to begin running at the 4K UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160.
You might be surprised to learn that outside of work, bringing up three children and a dog and writing about Linux that I try to find time for other hobbies such as being a navigator at classic car rallies and playing old computer games.
This article looks at the options available for potential retrogamers using a fairly standard Linux Mint or Ubuntu setup.
There are already specialist Linux distributions available for playing computer games such as Puppy Arcade. If you just want to play games casually then running a whole distribution to do so might seem a bit overkill.