Linux Game Publishing

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Linux Game Publishing, Ltd.
Type Limited company
Industry Video games
Founded October 15, 2001
Headquarters Nottingham, UK
Key people Clive Crous, CEO (2012 - Present)
Michael Simms, Founder and LGP Business Adviser (CEO: 2001 - 2012)
Frank C. Earl, Senior Developer
Website www.linuxgamepublishing.com

Linux Game Publishing (sometimes also referred to as LGP) is a software company based in Nottingham in England. It ports, publishes and sells video games running on Linux operating systems. As well as porting games, LGP also sponsors the development of Grapple, a free software network library for games. As well as acting as a Linux game porter in of themselves, they also function as a publisher for other Linux game developers and porters.

History[edit]

2001-2012[edit]

Creatures: Internet Edition was the first game published by LGP

The company was founded on October 15, 2001 by Michael Simms when the similarly oriented Loki Software filed for bankruptcy.[1] Simms had previously founded the Tux Games retailer a few years earlier, and the collapse of Loki would have gravely affected his available stock. Linux Game Publishing had initially tried to pick up the support rights to many of Loki's titles, but in the end it was only able to acquire the rights to MindRover: The Europa Project. It was able, however, to independently pick up the publishing rights to Creatures: Internet Edition as well as the rights to the port of Majesty: Gold Edition which was previously being developed by Tribsoft.[2][3] Empowered by the addition of former Loki employee Mike Phillips, LGP released its first title on December 21, 2001.[4] In 2002 Ryan C. Gordon (a.k.a icculus, former Loki Software) started porting the puzzle game Candy Cruncher to Linux and he was looking for beta testers. The first Linux version of Candy Cruncher was released in 2002 by Pyrogon (an indie game company founded by former employee of 3dfx and id Software Brian Hook) as a digital download.[5] LGP took interest in publishing Pyrogon games on physical CDs, and in September 10, 2002, LGP and Pyrogon announced a publishing partnership for Pyrogon's Linux titles.[6] Upon learning about the release of Postal 2 in 2003, Ryan decided to contact the developer behind it wondering if they would be interested in him making a port of the game to Linux. Loki had previously ported the original Postal to Linux, and he was interested in keeping the franchise compatible.[7] Running With Scissors agreed, and the finished port was shipped on February 14, 2005, with LGP initially handling the publishing of the Linux version.[8] In 2003 Hyperion Entertainment and Metropolis Software have extended their existing license agreement for Gorky 17. Linux gaming developers Steven Fuller and Joe Tennies joined to the Hyperion Entertainment game development team and they ported Gorky 17 to Linux, which three years later was published by LGP.[9]

Shadowgrounds Survivor is the latest game published by LGP

David Hedbor, founder and main programmer of Eon Games - an independent game development company specializing in creating games for desktop computers and handheld devices,[10] ported NingPo MahJong and Hyperspace Delivery Boy! to Linux, which later were published by LGP.[11] (the first version of NingPo Mah Jong for Linux, however, was released in 2003 by Pyrogon only as digital download).[12] Eon Games stopped development and porting of games for Linux and other platforms in 2005 (and later closed in 2010).[13] In 2003 LGP began working with Epic Interactive, a German company specializing in porting and publishing games to alternative platforms.[14] Epic Interactive ported Knights and Merchants: The Shattered Kingdom and Software Tycoon to Linux.[15] In 2005 Epic Interactive has changed its name to Runesoft Entertainment.[16] In 2005 Czech development studio Mindware Studios released the Linux demo of Cold War.[17] Cold war was first LGP game published on DVD disc. LGP gained the publishing rights to several other game titles including Soul Ride, as well as Disciples II: Dark Prophecy. The latter has been described by Michael Simms as "LGP’s DNF" and "the game that refused to be ported" and has been said to have been the cause of several resignations from the company, including that of aforementioned employee Mike Phillips.[18] It has still, alongside another long delayed game Bandits: Phoenix Rising, yet to be released.[19][20]

In 2005, LGP has announced the opening of their beta test for Linux version of X2: The Threat.[21]

On March 13, 2008 Finnish game company Frozenbyte announced a partnership with Linux specialist IGIOS Ltd to port and release Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor on the Linux platform.[22] Both ports were later published by LGP, and LGP was actively involved in developing the Shadowgrounds Survivor port alongside IGIOS.

In December 2008, LGP released X3: Reunion and X3: Reunion Special Edition, which were first games using copy protection and new installer written to use the GTK2 toolkit and support for using XDG menus.[23]

In December 2008, LGP launched PenguinPlay, a new website for Linux gamers, allowing matchmaking for multiplayer games, and social networking.[24]

In June 2009 they began offering downloadable games and game rentals.[25]

In August 2009 they grudgingly dropped support for all PowerPC games, stating that "demand for PPC versions of LGP games has been almost non existant".[26]

On August 10, 2009 Michael Simms confirmed that LGP is working on an original simple game based on Sudoku.[27]

In September 2009 Shadowgrounds (first LGP game available in Finnish language) and Shadowgrounds Survivor were finally released, the latter becoming the first commercial game for Linux using the Nvidia PhysX middleware.[28] In late December 2010 IGIOS Linux team founded new Finnish company Alternative Games, which is focus upon porting games to Linux as well as to Mac OS X .[29] Later they will also be ported Linux version of Trine for Frozenbyte without Linux Game Publishing.[30]

In late September 2010 the Linux Game Publishing server suffered a massive hard drive failure which took down all of their online infrastructure, including related websites such as Tux Games and The Linux Game Tome.[31] Various other unforeseen issues caused the recovery not to take place until late November, with partial service being restored on November 23, 2010,[32] with full recovery not being made until December 8, 2010.[33] They have since stated that work is going well on their current project, and that they have a working build of it in internal alpha testing.[34]

2012–present[edit]

On January 31, 2012, after over a decade with the company, Michael Simms announced in a blog post, that he was stepping down as CEO, saying "you can’t continue on a high energy rampage for 10 years without something breaking", and handing over control to Clive Crous, citing his "unrestrained enthusiasm for Linux gaming" as his primary qualification.[35] Since August 2012, LGP was started selling their games in stores like Desura, Gameolith and Ubuntu Software Center.[36] However first information about LGP games in USC were show up on Canonical blog two years before.[37] In 2012 they shut down PenguinPlay website.[38]

Games published[edit]

Supported[edit]

Title Genre Date of Release Available Languages Developer Porter Publisher
Creatures: Internet Edition Simulation December 21, 2001 Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish Creature Labs Creature Labs Linux Game Publishing
MindRover: The Europa Project Strategy December 13, 2002 English CogniToy Loki Software/Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Candy Cruncher Puzzle February 6, 2003 English Pyrogon Ryan C. Gordon Linux Game Publishing
Majesty: Gold Edition Real-time strategy April 15, 2003 English Cyberlore Studios Tribsoft/Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
NingPo MahJong Puzzle January 21, 2004 English Pyrogon Eon Games Linux Game Publishing
Hyperspace Delivery Boy! Puzzle/Action May 10, 2004 English Monkeystone Games Eon Games Linux Game Publishing
Software Tycoon Simulation January 10, 2005 English, German destraX Entertainment Software GbR RuneSoft Linux Game Publishing
Postal²: Share The Pain First-person shooter February 4, 2005 English Running with Scissors Ryan C. Gordon Linux Game Publishing
Soul Ride Sports June 24, 2005 English Slingshot Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Gorky 17 Tactical RPG June 15, 2006 English, German, Spanish, French (Text Only) Metropolis Software Hyperion Entertainment Linux Game Publishing
Cold War Stealth August 4, 2006 English, German, French, Russian, Spanish (text only), Italian (text only), Polish (text only), Czech (text only) Mindware Studios Mindware Studios Linux Game Publishing
Knights and Merchants: The Shattered Kingdom Real-time strategy March 13, 2007 English, German, Spanish, French Joymania Entertainment RuneSoft/Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Ballistics Racing June 7, 2007 English Grin Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Jets'n'Guns Shoot 'em up January 29, 2009 English RakeInGrass RakeInGrass/Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Sacred: Gold Edition Action role-playing April 9, 2009 English Ascaron Entertainment Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Shadowgrounds Shooter September 16, 2009 English, Finnish Frozenbyte IGIOS/Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Shadowgrounds Survivor Shooter September 18, 2009 English, Finnish Frozenbyte IGIOS/Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing

Unsupported[edit]

Title Genre Date of Release Available Languages Developer Porter Publisher
X2: The Threat Space simulation May 30, 2006 English, German, French, Italian Egosoft Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
X3: Reunion Space simulation December 5, 2008 English, German, French, Italian (text only) Egosoft Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
X3: Reunion - Special Edition Space simulation December 5, 2008 English, German, French, Italian (text only) Egosoft Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing

Upcoming[edit]

Title Genre Date of Release Available Languages Developer Porter Publisher
Unknown Title (Original LGP game)[39] Puzzle in development since 2009 ? Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Bandits: Phoenix Rising Racing in development since 2003 English Grin Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing
Disciples II: Dark Prophecy Turn-based strategy in development since 2002 English Strategy First Linux Game Publishing Linux Game Publishing

Copy protection[edit]

Linux Game Publishing employs a simple form of digital rights management similar to that employed by Games for Windows – Live. Upon the first run of the game, the user is prompted for a license key, alongside their LGP user name and password.[40]

Some features includes:[41]

  • LGP copy protection does not require internet connection to install or play the game.
  • This system does not require user to keep the disc inside the CD drive while playing games.

This system enables users to install the game on multiple systems (as there is not a limited number of activations), while also discouraging sharing by noting that any user who has access to the owner's LGP account credentials could potentially lock the owner out of their own game.

Games published[edit]

Currently, LGP has published nine games that contain their DRM technology:

Title DRM
Box version Digital version
Ballistics No None
Ballistics (r2) None Yes
Jets'n'Guns Yes Yes
Majesty Gold No None
Majesty Gold (r2) Yes Yes
Sacred: Gold Edition Yes Yes
Shadowgrounds Yes Yes
Shadowgrounds Survivor Yes Yes
X2: The Threat No None
X2: The Threat (r2) None Yes
X3: Reunion Yes Yes
X3: Reunion - Special Edition Yes None

Owners of a game license can transfer the license to someone else, download a replacement disc image and allow people to see that the license is valid if they buy your game. Owners can retrieve lost keys and forgotten passwords. Buyers can check to see if they are buying a game with a valid license.[42]

Open source projects[edit]

They also created several patches for OpenPlay, that fix broken Linux support, bring some functionalities that are present in DirectPlay.[43] LGP sponsors the development of Grapple, a free software network library for games. They work on other open source projects such as SDL or OpenAL.[44] LGP worked on GPL’d the Soul Ride engine at SourceForge.[45] Michael Simms also claims that LGP avoids publishing games similar to popular open source video games.[46]

Canceled and unreleased projects[edit]

LGP canceled Angry-Pixel project, which was sponsor the creation of a new company for the development of games for Linux.[47] A Linux client of World of Warcraft was developed, and negotiations with Linux Game Publishing were under way until Blizzard Entertainment cancelled the project without warning or explanation, even though it was functionally complete and ready to go.[48][49]

The game Tzar: The Burden of the Crown was considered by Linux Game Publishing to be ported to Linux, but it was rejected due to concerns within the company about its gameplay and after hearing negative comments about the game from the Linux gaming community.[50]

On February 6, 2003 LGP released Candy Cruncher to Linux running on computers with Sparc processors, but two years later they removed this information from their website without explanation.[51]

On June 24, 2005 LGP released Soul Ride to Linux running on computers with Alpha and Sparc processors.[52]

On August 30, 2005 Linux Game Publishing cancelled a contract to publish the Linux version of Northland which is the third game in the Cultures real-time strategy series, because technical issues with the game that Runesoft, who were doing the development work on the port, could not resolve to their satisfaction. However on January 25, 2006 Runesoft released Northland for Linux, but the multiplayer mode is still not supported.[53]

LGP grudgingly dropped support for five PowerPC games.:[54]

  • Candy Cruncher (PowerPC)
  • Gorky 17 (PowerPC)
  • Majesty Gold (PowerPC)
  • NingPo MahJong (PowerPC)
  • Soul Ride (PowerPC)

Since 2004 Frank C. Earl (also known as svartalf) worked on PowerPC and Athlon64 versions of Ballistics and Soul Ride, but these versions of the games were never released.[55] However he prepared demo version of Soul Ride for Linux x86_64 for GDC 2003, but this demo is not publicly available. [56] Svartalf was also the lead developer of Disciples II: Dark Prophecy and he worked on PowerPC and x86-64 versions of Disciples II, but work on the game still ended and LGP stopped working on games for PowerPC.[57] However, LGP is still working on Disciples II x86-32.[58]

PenguinPlay was a website for Linux gamers, allowing matchmaking for multiplayer games, and social networking.[59] LGP added PenguinPlay lobby for six games:

  • Ballistics
  • Candy Cruncher
  • Jets'n'Guns
  • Knights and Merchants: The Shattered Kingdom
  • Majesty Gold
  • Sacred: Gold Edition

On October 2012 they inform their customers that license agreement with Egosoft for X2 and X3 (including Special Edition) has expired and are no longer able to offer these titles to new customers.[60]

LGP still did not release demo version of Sacred: Gold and patch 1.08 for Linux version of MindRover: The Europa Project

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Founder, Creditors Differ as to Loki's Future Course Linux Today, August 17, 2001 (Article by Dennis E. Powell)
  2. ^ LGP History pt 1: How LGP came to be Linux Game Publishing Blog, May 15, 2009 (Article by Michael Simms)
  3. ^ Majesty, Tribsoft, and LGP LinuxGames, January 3, 2002
  4. ^ LGP History pt 2: The Early Days Linux Game Publishing Blog, June 23, 2009 (Article by Michael Simms)
  5. ^ Call for Candy Cruncher Beta Testers LinuxGames, February 13, 2002
  6. ^ Linux Game Publishing and Pyrogon Announcement LinuxGames, September 10, 2002
  7. ^ Interview with Ryan Gordon: Postal2, Unreal & Mac Gaming Macologist, November 10. 2004
  8. ^ Postal 2 for Linux now shipping! icculus.org, February 14, 2005
  9. ^ Hyperion and Metropolis announce AmigaOS 4 version of Gorky 17 Hyperion Entertainment, December 25, 2003
  10. ^ About Eon Games
  11. ^ Hyperspace Delivery Boy Port LinuxGames, September 6, 2002
  12. ^ Pyrogon Releases NingPo LinuxGames, April 18, 2003
  13. ^ Eon Games January 7, 2010
  14. ^ (Three) New Titles from LGP LinuxGames, November 7, 2003
  15. ^ Software Tycoon Available LinuxGames, January 10, 2005
  16. ^ E.P.I.C. Interactive Becomes Runesoft Entertainment LinuxGames, June 8, 2005
  17. ^ Cold War Linux Demo Released March 11, 2005
  18. ^ LGP History pt 3: The long haul Linux Game Publishing Blog, August 25, 2009 (Article by Michael Simms)
  19. ^ Bandits: Phoenix Rising Proceeds On Linux Phoronix, February 15, 2008 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  20. ^ Bandits: Phoenix Rising Finally Gets A New Beta Phoronix, March 07, 2009 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  21. ^ LGP Opens Beta Test for X2 Slashdot, October 2, 2005
  22. ^ Shadowgrounds Survivor headed to Linux LinuxGames, March 14, 2008
  23. ^ Has A New Linux Game Installer Phoronix, February 26, 2008 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  24. ^ PenguinPlay! LinuxGames, January 2, 2009
  25. ^ LGP Gets Into Game Downloading, Rentals Phoronix, June 2, 2009 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  26. ^ PPC support officially being discontinued for all LGP titles Linux Game Publishing Blog, August 5, 2009 (Article by Michael Simms)
  27. ^ Bringing Windows games to Linux TechRadar, August 10, 2009 (Interview by Graham Morrison)
  28. ^ Shadowgrounds: Survivor Proceeds On Linux Phoronix, February 18, 2009 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  29. ^ Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor for Mac OS X Frozenbyte Forum, May 6, 2011
  30. ^ Alternative Games Is All About Linux Gaming Phoronix, December 14, 2010 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  31. ^ LGP Has Been Down For A Month And A Half Phoronix, November 18, 2010 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  32. ^ LGP Is Partially Back Online; More Unforeseen Issues Phoronix, November 23, 2010 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  33. ^ Linux Game Publishing Is Back Online Phoronix, December 08, 2010 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  34. ^ Linux Game Publishing...are alive? Gaming on Linux, May 4, 2011 (Article by Liam Dawe)
  35. ^ Linux Game Publishing...the return? Gaming on Linux, January 31, 2012 (Article by Liam Dawe)
  36. ^ Linux Game Publishing Adds 'Sacred Gold' RPG to Ubuntu Software Center Ubuntu Vibes, August 31, 2012
  37. ^ Canonical announces strong ISV and open source ecosystem support for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Canonical Blog, April 27, 2010
  38. ^ Linux Game Publishing Shuts Down PenguinPlay Phoronix February 24, 2013
  39. ^ Bringing Windows games to Linux TechRadar, August 10, 2009 (Interview by Graham Morrison)
  40. ^ LGP Introduces Linux Game Copy Protection, Rentals Phoronix, June 23, 2008 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  41. ^ Linux Game Copy Protection Linux Game Publishing
  42. ^ Linux Game Publishing Key Server website
  43. ^ Ballistics Advogato Svartalf Blog, September 28, 2003
  44. ^ Open source projects Linux Game Publishing
  45. ^ LGP Announces Three New Titles LinuxGames, January 5, 2003
  46. ^ Linux Game Publishing: Interview with Michael Simms Linux Gazette, March 6, 2005
  47. ^ Angry Pixels The Linux Game Tome
  48. ^ Blizzard Still Has a World of Warcraft Linux Client Phoronix, January 25, 2011 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  49. ^ Linux Game Publishing: Interview with Michael Simms Linux Gazette, March 6, 2005
  50. ^ Tzar related posts LinuxGames
  51. ^ Candy Cruncher Linux Sparc Linux Game Publishing Products, September 9, 2005
  52. ^ Linux Game Publishing: Interview with Michael Simms Linux Gazette, March 6, 2005
  53. ^ Linux Game Publishing Cancels Northland LinuxGames, August 30, 2005
  54. ^ PPC support officially being discontinued for all LGP titles Linux Game Publishing Blog, August 5, 2009 (Article by Michael Simms)
  55. ^ Frank C. Earl resume Earl Consulting Services
  56. ^ [1] Paradox Interactive Forums, December 9 , 2009
  57. ^ Peddling the Penguin: Linux Gaming A Presentation for GDC 2004 (Presentation by Frank Earl)
  58. ^ Greetings Fellow Linux Gamers Linux Game Publishing Blog, February 4, 2012 (Article by Clive Crous)
  59. ^ PenguinPlay! LinuxGames, January 2, 2009
  60. ^ X2 & X3 Linux Game Publishing Blog, October 6, 2012 (Article by Clive Crous)

External links[edit]