So, my name's Josh. My friends call me Cheese. I run twolofbees.com with my wonderful partner Miriam, where we hope that our artwork brings a smile or two to people's faces. I'm a Free Software enthusiast and have contributed code and graphics to Neverball. I run the Tasmanian Linux Users Group meetings in Launceston (Australia), and I was on the organising committee for linux.conf.au 2009. I've also given talks to OCLUG in Ottawa (Canada). I have six guitars, a keyboard, a flute, a harmonica, a set of bongos, and play all of them very badly. I tend to write about things in Long Winded Fashion when they excite me. Currently I'm excited about interviewing people working on projects relating to Free/Open Source communities. I've worked on several Half-Life mods in the past and have a couple of work-in-progress games that I'm hoping to find time to complete soon. My first computer was an Amiga 500, and I suffer heavily from Amiga Users Syndrome to this day. My kingdom for a line break.

Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Cheese Talks To Protektor (Part 2)

0 comments by Cheeseness on Sep 24th, 2011

Over the past few weeks, I've been interviewing Protektor (Tim Jung) for my "Cheese talks to"  interview site thingy, who has recently been appointed Linux Games Lead for Desura and is overseeing title acquisition for the upcoming Desura Linux client.  Below is a transcript of the interview available at Twolofbees.com

In part two, Protektor shares his thoughts on the Desura and Free Software communities. If you haven't already, make sure you check out part one.

In your recent post on the Desura blog, you mentioned your interest in seeing which community requested features will be implemented. What role do you see for community input, and what approaches do you expect to be using to handle that?

The community is the backbone of Desura. We value that community and their input in all areas. When making decisions on what needs to happen and in what order, we will be relying heavily on the want and needs of our community. Our aim is to be 100% transparent with our users, as well as the developers on the service. We don’t intend on hiding information, after all openness is the Linux way. The main challenge is managing users expectations, which is why we are not setting dates until we know it is ready. Plus it is beta, it is complex, so we want to ensure users know that when it does go live.


You mentioned managing user expectations. Can you expand on what specific issues you see needing attention?

There will be those gamers who are looking for the big name titles like Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament, Neverwinter Nights and others. Because we come from an indie background, and want to help indie developers get their product out there and develop their own big name, that is where our focus is at the moment. Of course we are contacting the major players as well, but making those games available is going to take time.

Our goal is to expand the Linux gaming ecosphere, by promoting independent developers who can help it grow.


What kind of response from the Desura/Linux community have you had so far? Are there any specific suggestions/feedback that stand out in your mind?

There has been a lot of good feedback from the community and developers. The Linux gaming community is anxious for the release, which will offer one stop shopping for Linux games. Linux developers are excited to have the exposure, and means of distribution provided by Desura. Developers and gamers are contacting us frequently to be sure they don't get left out when we release the beta. I think that is a sign that the community for both Linux, gamers and developers have a very strong interest in Desura and the Linux client.


Are there any features or characteristics of Desura that you feel match well with Linux as a platform and/or the Free Software community?

Desura is very responsive to the community and community driven, not unlike the Linux and free software communities. We are very committed to continuing to support and build those communities, while also building a strong community for those developers who wish to charge for their applications. We want feedback and input from all communities and like the aforementioned will use the feedback to develop an even better experience for our users. You will see many similarities in how Desura and Free Software communities work.


Where do you see Desura for Linux and the Desura platform/community as a whole in two years' time?

I see Desura becoming the place to release all your games on regardless of platform. Our Windows platform is already up and running. The Linux beta is about to be released, and we will be working on the Mac platform eventually, just taking it one step at a time. For developers it will be an easy way to make all versions of their games available in one shot. With developer approval users will be able to make one purchase that includes all three platforms.


What sort of impact do you imagine Desura's delivery of Free/Open Source titles might have on their development/user communities?

The more developers can communicate and get feedback from the community the better the game will be in the long run. Desura allows a close connection between developers and users. It is our hope that developers will take advantage of this feature to get the best possible input from users.


Given Desura's roots and its mod-friendly focus, in what ways do you think that a cross platform distribution framework might impact on mod development (when mod support is rolled out)?

It should make it clear to mod developers that they will get more users/players if they support all the different platforms, given that it will be so easy for people to install mods, once the mods are on Desura. It would only take a few simple clicks to install, setup and be able to play a mod. People would be more likely to install and check out mods if it only took a few clicks to get it running. It would be to everyone's advantage to support Desura and to support all the platforms.


You've been using Linux for over fifteen years now. Are there any people in the Free Software community and Linux gaming circles that you look up to or are inspired by?

There are a lot of people I could list, but here is the short list.

Short answer Linus Torvalds. He is about the development and stays out of the politics of open source. He manages Linux very well.

Ryan (Icculus) Gordon. He is a phenomenal porter and he cranks out ports like no one else I know.

I don’t necessarily agree with Richard Stalman, but he has done a lot for the open source community over the years, and he is very consistent in his views about open source, and for that I must mention him.


Xpander: Will users be able to choose a location for installed games? *

No, they will automatically be installed under Desura.


Mimness: Many Linux users have been running Steam under Wine for some time. We are excited by the idea of a native game delivery platform, but our existing games libraries and friends lists are likely to be keeping us on Steam for some time. Will Desura for Linux have any features to help those of us spread across two platforms? *

It is a difficult one, because while Steam exposes some information via API’s and supports OAuth, everything else is locked down. Our belief is that you should be able to “buy once and play anywhere” so if there is ever a way for portability between services we will implement it, as we want to make Desura as open as possible. We’ve done some work in this area already, for example if you buy a Windows game you also own the Linux version and vice versa. Same applies to the Humble Indie Bundle, if you have activated any of those on Desura, you will find all of these games on your account when you next login. We intend on continuing to do this and encourage people to get on board and tell their friends to get on board, as the service will only get better as a result.


Flibitijibibo: Have you seen any support specifically from developers, not just users? *

Yes, we have seen quite a bit of support, and they are excited to see a Linux distribution platform and they see it as a way to sell more games. For some developers it is a matter of users not even knowing they exist. Being a part of a central distribution will give them more visibility.

This concludes part two of my interview with Protektor. In part three, we'll be discussing what kind of impact the Desura Linux client might have on the Desura and Free Software communities. Don't forget to check out part one.

Questions marked with an asterisk (*) have been submitted by community members/friends/people who are not me.

Report abuse Cheese Talks To Protektor (Part 1)

0 comments by Cheeseness on Sep 21st, 2011

Over the past few weeks, I've been interviewing Protektor (Tim Jung) for my "Cheese talks to"  interview site thingy, who has recently been appointed Linux Games Lead for Desura and is overseeing title acquisition for the upcoming Desura Linux client.  Below is a transcript of the interview available at Twolofbees.com

In this three part interview, Protektor shares his thoughts on Linux title scouting, community interaction and how Desura's Linux client might impact on Linux as a desktop platform.

How long have you been a member of the Desura community?

I became a member of Desura in April of 2011, when the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle came out. The Desura community is great and I have enjoyed being a member.


How did you come about landing the role of "Linux Games Lead", and can you sum up what that entails?

I started emailing Desura to encourage them to do the Linux version of the client. I sent them a huge list of Linux games that have the potential to sell if deals can be worked out with the developers. Desura was already working on the Linux client, and the founder, Scott Reismanis asked me to be the Linux Games Lead. It is my job to assist developers in the packaging of their Linux games for the Desura platform, or if the developer chooses, I can simply do it for them. My second responsibility is to recruit Linux game developers to offer their games for sale through Desura.


Can you give a rundown on a typical exchange you might have with a game developer when trying to convince them to release a game on Desura for Linux?

Needless to say I am going to point out the benefits of offering their games on Desura. Those benefits include providing one stop shopping for both Windows and Linux platforms, and eventually Mac as well. Developers can focus on developing and use Desura to interact more closely with their customers. We manage the sales for a very reasonable cost to the developer. When downloaded from Desura, games are set to auto install, and updates will also be auto installed for games purchased from Desura.


Are there any Linux native titles that will be on Desura that you can mention at the moment?

We have a number of developers under contract.
The catalog currently includes:


Can you describe (if it's appropriate) the milestones leading up to the release of the Linux client. Are there lessons learned from the Windows launch that have been helpful in avoiding pitfalls in development of the Linux client?

Keith (Platima) here, I thought I'd respond to this one as it's more about the development process itself than the games. I personally wasn't around for the Windows development as I only joined the team this year, but as far as porting an existing application to a new platform goes I'd always recommend to design and document the program with cross-platform in mind from day one. Luckily a fair bit of this was already in place with Desura which made things a little easier. It's of course always best to support cross-platform from the start. Not doing so is like trying to eat your steak with a spoon when there's a perfectly good knife there for you to use, and just as difficult too.


When looking at prospective titles, what sort of things are taken into account? Are there any special considerations taken for Linux titles?

Well first and foremost we want the game to be able to run bug-free on as many platforms as possible. So for Linux that will mean the game runs on newer distros (hopefully in 32bit and 64bit mode). Beyond that we consider all games using the same criteria that is currently being used for Windows games. Does it fit the Desura community, ease of game play, popularity, quality of graphics etc. Of course we will be looking at demand for the game as well.


Do you think that there is a demand for older Linux native games that are now harder to find (eg: anything published by Loki games)?

There probably is a demand for the older games, but in the case of Loki acquiring the necessary source code/rights could take an extended period of time to research who actually owns the code, and then the rights for distribution. The short answer is I don’t see Loki games being a part of our catalogue in the near future.


Will you be looking at Free/Open Source games as potential titles to be delivered via Desura? Will the selection/approval process differ from the process for proprietary/closed source titles?

In terms of Open Source or free games we will be using the same criteria, however instead of considering purchase demand, it will be a question of the Desura community wanting to download and play the game. The more likely that is the more likely a release, as we only have time to do a few releases a day at the moment so we have to be selective.

There are many good games in many genres available on Linux. We hope we will be able showcase some of the lesser known but still very good games available on the Linux platform. We want our users to know that there is thriving market of games for the Linux Desktop just as there is for Windows or Mac.


If you could choose one game to magically (we all know it doesn't work like that!) support Linux tomorrow, what would it be and why?

Personally the one game title currently I would love to see magically appear for Linux would be "Deus Ex: Human Revolution". I have been a fan of the series, and the cyberpunk genre in general, for years. I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but the reviews for it have been good and it looks great. I would love to see it happen, but somehow I doubt that Edios and Square/Enix are sitting in their offices thinking if they should port it to Linux or not.

If we just wanted to talk most popular games that were more likely, it would end up being The Sims series, Guild Wars and then the Battlefield series. I assume those would be big sellers for Desura if they were available, given the numbers they have sold for Windows/Mac. Personally, I love Guild Wars and the Battlefield series and I used to play both of them with some regularity.

For the big publishers it is always a numbers game. If it costs them X to port the game to Linux knowing it will earn them Y, we just need to make Y a much bigger number than X and it’ll happen. It’s a challenge and one we don’t expect to solve overnight, but with the Linux gaming communities support we aim to make it happen one game at a time.


Meklu: How is packaging of the Desura Linux client likely to be handled? *

Initially we are only distributing the self-installer as a single binary compressed in a tar.gz, however we are looking at doing a MojoSetup style installer and distributing .deb packages as things settle down a bit. This will hopefully lead to us being able to get Desura into the Ubuntu Software Center, and other repositories.


Meklu: Are you able to give a rough estimate of how long it will take to add mod support? Where does this fit within the Linux client roadmap? *

Mod support isn't something that we're looking at right now, but of course it is a feature on our minds. I couldn't begin to estimate how long it will take, as there are a lot of factors that would have to be taken into account, and more research will need to be done. We have initially launched without mod support as the complexities in Linux far outweigh those in Windows.

That's it for part one. In part two, we'll look at matters relating to the Desura and Free Software communities. Keep an eye out for it within the next couple of days.
Questions marked with an asterisk (*) have been submitted by community members/friends/people who are not me.