Valve coaxes Linux to run Left 4 Dead 2 better than Windows 7 can

left4dead2

By on August 4, 2012 at 9:59 am

In a tech-heavy post on its still-new Linux blog, the team at Valve responsible for a potential Ubuntu-based Steam client dive into the details of porting Left 4 Dead 2 to the open-source OS family, with eye-opening results. On a fairly high-end gaming rig running Windows 7, Valve established a baseline performance of 270.6 FPS, but the Linux port managed to squeeze just a bit more juice out of the same hardware to run at 315 FPS. Well, after a an initial period of running at 6 FPS, but that’s just how porting works, apparently. The nitty-gritties are probably a bit too much for most of us on a Saturday morning, but Valve puts the increased performance down to the “underlying efficiency of the kernel and OpenGL”. It even took some of its new Linux sensibilities back to Windows and upped the FPS to 303. Most interesting.

Source: Valve Linux

22 comments (Leave your own)

Great to see progress is being made… perhaps in the future we no longer need to buy a gaming operating system…. looking forward to dumping Windows… though there’s still a while to go yet.

 

A correction is needed here. The source says the baseline for Windows 7 is 270.6 FPS, not 207.6 FPS.

 

Whoops! Typo. Thanks for the spot.

 

There’s a typo. It should be 270.6, not 207.6. 100fps increase would be crazy lol. Though they say after optimizations opengl on windows gives 303fps so it would seem the main difference in performance is from opengl vs dx rather than linux vs windows as 303 v 315 is a very minor % difference. Linux would look to be technically more efficient but it’s completely irrelevant in the real world.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Valve are still using DX9, not DX10/11 which was suppose to have killed off a lot of overhead (which Valve has identified as being the reason for differing performance). I would be interested in seeing what fps a properly coded DX11 version of L4D2 gives.

Also the question of whether it looks graphically identical comes to mind.

 

Beaten to typo, took too long editing. :p

 

I welcome our new penguin overlords, and hope they can get left 4 dead 2 to be uncensored in our fair country.

 

One thing I’m not entirely clear on is how well will Steam and more specifically L4D run on other distros of Linux? My knowledge of Linux isn’t extensive enough to understand but since Valve is focusing on optimising everything for Ubuntu (Including video card drivers from Nvidia, AMD & Intel), I just wonder if other distros (Such as Linux Mint) will reap the benefits of all this effort towards creating a more gaming compatible Ubuntu?

Alice Lynton:
Whoops! Typo. Thanks for the spot.

No worries.

 

Can I have an update to this article for clarification?

This is very misleading. Valve do not state which iteration of OpenGL that L4D2 has been used but it would seem stupidpants for Valve NOT to use the latest iteration (they are all made backwards compatible). Compare that to DirectX 9, which is a 2003 API, and suddenly this does not become a Linux versus Windows but Direct3D versus OpenGL, the latter of which is available on Windows as well.

At the end of the day, anti-Windows busibodies should not get too excited as this is a blow against devs not utilising current APIs as opposed to being a precedent for Linux gaming.

Not saying; just saying…

 

pinothyj:
This is very misleading. Valve do not state which iteration of OpenGL that L4D2 has been used but it would seem stupidpants for Valve NOT to use the latest iteration (they are all made backwards compatible).

They are using OpenGL 3.x, so no, they are not using the latest version.

Compare that to DirectX 9, which is a 2003 API, and suddenly this does not become a Linux versus Windows but Direct3D versus OpenGL, the latter of which is available on Windows as well.

At the end of the day, anti-Windows busibodies should not get too excited as this is a blow against devs not utilising current APIs as opposed to being a precedent for Linux gaming.

I don’t see anybody making this a Linux vs. Windows debate or even a Direct3D vs OpenGL debate. The final FPS scores were (as exe3 points out, above) 303 and 315 for Windows and Linux, respectively which is a completely negligable difference of 3.9%.

 

hmm, i never had any issues with windows, im happy to keep using it. Is linux that much different?!

 
GeneralHerpes.

korbain:
hmm, i never had any issues with windows, im happy to keep using it. Is linux that much different?!

Linux is a joke when it comes to gaming ATM. Always has been and always will be.

 

generalherpes: Linux is a joke when it comes to gaming ATM. Always has been and always will be.

Isn’t that the point?? Trying to make Linux *not suck*? Anyway, personally I wouldn’t touch linux with a 5.6m pole

 

linux is fine. it does what its sposed to do.

I think valve developing games for linux can only bring good things. At the very least they will help get graphics drivers improved as they deperatly need it! all in all i think it will be a good outcome. Iv said this before and ill say it again.. i wont have to restart as much anymore.

 

korbain,

It’s not necessarily that we have problems with windows. I got into linux because I wanted to try something different, and now I’ve really gotten to like it. That and I feel that diversity in the OS world is good and should be encouraged, just for the sake of consumers having a choice.

 

no surprises that linux can get more speed out of games compared to windows. i hope this is the beginning of the linux gaming revolution.

 

The only reason that Linux is 3.9% ahead of Windows was because the fixes and updates from Linux were back-ported to Windows.

Anyway, the point of the Valve Linux tests weren’t to show that Linux was better, in fact it was much worse in the beginning. Only after bug fixing and forcing the hardware vendors to do a better job of supporting their products did they get it to that level.

In other words, everyone gets better hardware and software performance because of their work, Linux, Mac and Windows alike.

 

I wonder if we will ever see game developers shift away from directX and move to opengl to better facilitate multi-platform development.

 

@Skitzor, well unfortunately one of the issues is that because M$ don’t like OpenGL as it’s competition for Direct3D so they made it hard for it to work in Windows Vista and 7. It took a while for OpenGL to start to come back driver wise in the newer windows.

RAGE was released recently and had huge issues with the drivers (Partly due to AMD and nVidia). OpenGL is great I love it to bits. I fully support the idea of having one rendering pipeline via OpenGL but many seem to think its better to have two. I’m not sure why that is as a lot of duplication is there and plus all the shader have to be in both HLSL and GLSL. One big headache.

 

This is a very good move for Valve (and consumers!).
You could argue about Windows vs Linux to the end of time, but at the end of the day, more options are always better. Better still, it’ll give hardware and software vendors a good kick up the butt in regards to multi-platform drivers and game support. Someone with enough funding and respect in the gaming industry had to make the first BIG move, hopefully more will now follow suit.

I’d also be interested in seeing if Valve will work with the WINE team. It’s unlikely many of the older games on Steam will be ported to Linux, so cooperation with WINE could quickly get a significant amount of the existing games catalogue functioning which can only be good for us :D

 

Anything above 200fps is really unnecessary and personally have concerns that if Valve really are going to linux route this means all their games will be stuck on DX9 tech..

 
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