Digital distribution platform Steam is one of the greatest forces in PC gaming. They offer countless games for both Windows and Mac. Though their Mac catalog is smaller compared to the Windows catalog, it’s growing. The one operating system Valve hadn’t tackled with their service Steam, was Linux. That has now changed.
Valve has started a new blog dedicated to the development of their platform on Linux. “Avoid the rumors and speculations that multiply on the Web. Instead, come to the source – a blog where people who are interested in Linux and open source game development can get the latest information on Valve’s efforts in this arena.”, says the first post on the blog.
The blog states that Gabe Newell, head of Valve, had been interested in the possibility of moving Steam and the Source Engine to Linux. It continues, “At the time, the company was already using Linux by supporting Linux-based servers for Source-based games and also by maintaining several internal servers (running a 64-bit version of Ubuntu server) for various projects. In 2011, based on the success of those efforts and conversations in the hallway, we decided to take the next step and form a new team. At that time, the team only consisted of a few people whose main purpose was investigating the possibility of moving the Steam client and Left 4 Dead 2 over to Ubuntu.”
The most popular Linux distribution
The reason they picked Ubuntu is because they want to first work on a single distribution, as it reduces the variability of testing space and makes early iterations easier and faster. Another reason for picking Ubuntu is because it is one of the most popular distributions of Linux, and “has recognition with the general gaming and developer communities.”
The blog states that this doesn’t mean that Steam won’t make it to other distributions. They will look at supporting other distributions in the future based on the success of their efforts on Ubuntu.
Interest within Valve grew after they successfully ported Left 4 Dead 2, and as a result, their team and projects also grew.
Currently, Valve states that the main goal with the project is to have a fully-featured Steam client running on Ubuntu 12.04. “We’ve made good progress this year and now have the Steam client running on Ubuntu with all major features available.”
Since there isn’t much point to Steam if there aren’t any games, Valve also aims to have Left 4 Dead 2 ported to Ubuntu. This would test the game features of Steam, as well as the gameplay of Left 4 Dead 2 on Ubuntu. “Over the last few months, excellent progress has been made on several fronts and it now runs natively on Ubuntu 12.04.” Their aim now is to have the game running on Ubuntu as well as it does on Windows.
Valve will be posting more entries to their Linux blog as development of their platform on Linux continues.
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