Loki Entertainment

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Loki Software, Inc.
IndustryVideo games
FoundedNovember 9, 1998 (1998-11-09)
FounderScott Draeker
DefunctJanuary 31, 2002 (2002-01-31)
Number of employees
Approx. 10[1] (2001)
Websitewww.lokigames.com at the Wayback Machine (archived May 26, 2002)

Loki Software, Inc. (Loki Entertainment) was an American video game developer based in Tustin, California, that ported several video games from Microsoft Windows to Linux. It took its name from the Norse deity Loki.[2] Although successful in its goal of bringing games to the Linux platform, the company folded in January 2002 after filing for bankruptcy.


Loki Software was founded on November 9, 1998, by Scott Draeker, a former lawyer who became interested in porting games to Linux after being introduced to the system through his work as a software licensing attorney. By December of that year Loki had gained the rights to produce a port of Activision's then-upcoming strategy game Civilization: Call to Power for Linux.[3][4][5] This was to become Loki's first actual product, with the game hitting stores in May 1999.[6] From there they gained contracts to port many other titles, such as Myth II: Soulblighter, Railroad Tycoon II, and Eric's Ultimate Solitaire.[7] Throughout the next two years up until its eventual closure the company would continue to bring more games to Linux.[8] After facing financial diificulties,[9] Loki filed for bankruptcy in August 2001.[10][11][1][12] The majority of the staff was laid off in January 2002 and Loki formally closed on January 31.[1][13]


Loki Software, although a commercial failure, is credited with the birth of the modern Linux game industry.[14] Loki developed several free software tools, such as the Loki installer (also known as Loki Setup), and supported the development of the Simple DirectMedia Layer. They also started the OpenAL audio library project (now being run by Creative Technology and Apple Inc.) and with id Software wrote GtkRadiant. These are still often credited as being the cornerstones of Linux game development.[15] They also worked on and extended several already developed tools, such as GCC and GDB.[16] The book Programming Linux Games written in the early 2000s by Loki intern John R. Hall explains the major APIs Loki used to produce Linux games.[17][18]

Loki also offered a start to many figures still in the Linux and gaming industries. Ryan C. Gordon (also known as icculus), a former employee of Loki, has been responsible for the Linux and Mac OS X ports of many commercial games after the demise of the company. Mike Phillips would help start Linux Game Publishing, which was itself founded in response to Loki's closure.[19] Nicholas Vining would go on to do some porting work and is currently the lead programmer at Gaslamp Games, which would later release their game Dungeons of Dredmor for Linux.[20][21] Sam Lantinga would also later join Blizzard Entertainment and found Galaxy Gameworks to commercially support the Simple DirectMedia Layer; he would later also join Valve's Linux team.[22]

Although many Loki ports are unsupported since Loki's closure, Linux Game Publishing managed to pick up the rights to MindRover and offer a supported and updated version of the game's Linux port. id Software picked up the support for the Linux release of Quake III Arena,[23] hiring Timothee Besset to maintain it; he would later also be responsible for porting some of id's later products to Linux.[24] Running with Scissors, to celebrate the release of the movie Postal in 2007 published a multiplayer only version of Postal 2, without the single player campaign.[25] In 2004 the source header files for Rune were released freely by Human Head Studios.[26] But so far no one has updated the Linux version of Rune, though the company stated that a game sequel is in the making, and delayed the development of Prey 2.[27]

Software contractor Frank C. Earl claimed in 2010 to hold the porting rights for the entire Myth series and says he will port it to Linux.[28] Kevin Bentley worked in 2009 on a Descent 3 patch for Linux,[29] which was re-released in 2014 on Steam by Rebecca Heineman, who got blessed source code access.[30] On October 16, 2011, Project Magma released a new version of Myth II: Soulblighter for Linux.[31][32]

Games published[edit]

Civilization: Call to Power was the first game ported by Loki
Postal Plus was the last game ported by Loki
Title Platforms
IA-32 PowerPC SPARC Alpha
Civilization: Call to Power Yes Yes Yes Yes
Descent 3 Yes No No No
Descent 3: Mercenary (expansion, as downloadable installer only) Yes No No No
Eric's Ultimate Solitaire Yes Yes Yes Yes
Heavy Gear II Yes No No No
Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.² Yes No No No
Heretic II Yes No No No
Heroes of Might and Magic III Yes Yes No No
Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns Yes No No No
MindRover Yes No No No
Myth II: Soulblighter Yes Yes No No
Postal Plus Yes No No No
Railroad Tycoon II Gold Edition Yes Yes No No
Quake III Arena Yes No No No
Rune Yes No No No
Rune: Halls of Valhalla (expansion) Yes No No No
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack[33] Yes Yes No Yes
Sim City 3000: Unlimited/World Edition Yes No No No
Soldier of Fortune Yes No No No
Tribes 2 Yes No No No
Unreal Tournament (as downloadable installer only) Yes No No No

In addition to the published titles, there is also an unfinished port of Deus Ex. The later update of Deus Ex for Microsoft Windows features the OpenGL driver for the Unreal Engine from Loki Software's Linux port. This makes the title more compatible with Wine.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Loki's Draeker: If I had to do it over, I'd create Linux native games NewsForge, January 24, 2002
  2. ^ Loki Entertainment Software -- When's the IPO? Archived March 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Linux Today, April 12, 1999
  3. ^ Powell, Dennis E. (April 9, 2002). "Loki: A promising plan gone terribly wrong". LinuxAndMain. Archived from the original on April 18, 2002. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  4. ^ Interview: Scott Draeker and Sam Latinga, Loki Entertainment Linux Journal, August 1, 1999
  5. ^ Wired Staff (February 1, 2000). "He Finds Open Source Fair Game". Wired. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Civilization: Call to Power for Linux Ships Linux Today, May 7, 1999
  7. ^ Loki releases three more games for Linux IDG News Service, May 18, 1999
  8. ^ Loki Retrospective LinuxGames, August 13, 2001
  9. ^ Powell, Dennis E. (April 9, 2002). "Loki: A promising plan gone terribly wrong". linuxandmain.com. Archived from the original on April 18, 2002. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  10. ^ Founder, Creditors Differ as to Loki's Future Course Archived February 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Linux Today, August 17, 2001
  11. ^ Linux game publisher runs out of funds Archived February 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Geek.com (August 14, 2001)
  12. ^ "icculus.org headlines". www.icculus.org. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  13. ^ Keefer, John (March 31, 2006). "GameSpy Retro: Developer Origins, Page 2 of 19". GameSpy. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007.
  14. ^ Lynch, Jim (September 7, 2016). "Remembering Loki's Linux games from the '90s". InfoWorld. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  15. ^ Does Ragnarok for Loki Spell Doom for Linux Games? Archived August 29, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, IT World, February 28, 2002 (Article by Eric Foster-Johnson)
  16. ^ An Interview with Loki Games' Scott Draeker O'Reilly Media, March 3, 2000 (Article by J. S. Kelly)
  17. ^ Warren, Rich (February 15, 2002). "Programming Linux Games: A Book Review". Linux Journal. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  18. ^ "In Memoriam: John R. Hall". Linux Journal. September 23, 2005. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  19. ^ Interview with LGP's Mike Phillips LinuxHardware.org, June 16, 2003
  20. ^ Classic Roguelike : Dungeons of Dredmor Is Coming To GNU/Linux Soon Archived December 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Linux Gaming News, July 19, 2010
  21. ^ Coming Soon: Dungeons of Dredmor Archived October 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine LinuxGames, October 24, 2010
  22. ^ Valve Picks Up Another All-Star Linux Developer Phoronix, July 14, 2012
  23. ^ Quake 3 Arena takes Linux by force Archived October 22, 2018, at the Wayback Machine LinuxWorld, December 3, 2001
  24. ^ Interview with id Software's Timothee Besset LinuxGames, August 22, 2004
  25. ^ "Download Postal 2: Share the Pain Linux 1409.2". softpedia. June 13, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  26. ^ "Human Head Studios releases Rune Headers!". humanhead.com. September 28, 2004. Archived from the original on October 13, 2004. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  27. ^ Source: Human Head hasn't worked on Prey 2 since November retrieved from shacknews.com (04-19-2012)
  28. ^ Post by Frank "Svartalf" Earl
  29. ^ Descent3 1.5 Patch Development update on YouTube (2009)
  30. ^ OldeSkuul on facebook.com (2014)
  31. ^ Myth 2 for Linux Redux Archived October 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine on linuxgames.com
  32. ^ Myth II v1.7.2 for Linux
  33. ^ Plant, Emmett (October 9, 2000). "Loki: In The Trenches". linux.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2011.

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