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gooberking: Historically I have agreed with the support issue, but the big problem is its being done, quite a bit. I don't know what those numbers are like, but if HB can wad 5 games together and average something like $8 then GOG has to feel some pressure when charging $10 for one of those games and offering you only one version.
If by "HB" you mean the Humble Indie Bundles, then you are really comparing apples and oranges. The price they have is determined by us, and way too many of us are cheapskates. If you were to try to buy any of those games at regular retail prices, you are looking at about $10 each, minimum, well in line with what GOG charges. Additionally, the HIB guys do not provide any after-sale support for the games, the devs/publishers handle that. Part of GOG's service is after sale support and while we can say "we're Linux users, we can handle the support ourselves", that's not how GOG operates.

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Future_Suture: The subject of not enough resources and wanting to provide a quality service at all times actually came up starting from here. Needless to say, apparently it's not as much effort as GOG likes to make it seem.
It's also no where near as simple as that. It's all fine and good to say "just give us a tarball", but with the current push for ease of use and expanding the userbase on Linux, that is not a sustainable method. Average users, those that are not Linux gurus, want simple to install packages (.deb, .rpm, etc.) that simply work on their system. GOG cannot provide that with a tar. They probably would have trouble providing that even using the common package types. GOG would need to provide each kind of package, as well as maintain several hardware setups to test both the packages and the games on, like they do with Windows. What used to be complicated enough with Windows (we still have games that don't work quite right yet) now becomes 2-3 times more complicated with Linux, depending on how many different package types GOG decides to provide. Things like system requirements on Linux are far more complicated than on Windows, you have library dependencies, fractured video driver support (ATI or Nvidia proprietary, open source Mesa/OGL, don't even get me started on Intel), even more fractured audio support (ugh... PulseAudio, OSS, ALSA)... then there are the problems things like Compiz or Unity on Ubuntu bring to the mix...and this is all assuming that GOG already has Linux literate staff ready to take on the challenge in the first place AND that they can obtain the licensing agreements to provide Linux packages. Just because certain games can be run on Linux in DOSBox or ScummVM does not mean that GOG can legally provide packages for Linux using those emulators.

EDIT - Epic ninja'd by TET!
Post edited June 10, 2012 by cogadh
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cogadh: EDIT - Epic ninja'd by TET!
:: wave ::

But you did bring up a good point I'd forgotten: I don't even know if we have the rights to sell games for Linux. How much would that cost? How long would that take to recoup?

Yeah, not simple at all.

THAT SAID: we know that some of you want it, and as you can tell from the fact that i was able to spout all of those questions off relatively quickly (despite losing my first draft at my reply thanks to the site hiccup an hour ago), we're thinking about it. No promises, though. Linux is, what, 1% of the market for desktop computers? That's a lot of work for a very small audience. It's still quite possible that, after evaluation, the answer will still be, "No, sorry, This will cost us more money than it makes."
Mr T, all fair points! It looks like Linux needs to be easier to support before native versions to become feasible.

What about providing the Winehq AppDB ratings for releases and providing links to the Wine project (with their permission) ?

Since you guys provide the games in the best available version (without DRM) many entries in the AppDB are for the GoG release of the game, and people often post how they got the game to work.
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nullzero: Mr T, all fair points! It looks like Linux needs to be easier to support before native versions to become feasible.

What about providing the Winehq AppDB ratings for releases and providing links to the Wine project (with their permission) ?

Since you guys provide the games in the best available version (without DRM) many entries in the AppDB are for the GoG release of the game, and people often post how they got the game to work.
I'm leery of providing a third-party's evaluation of a game's functionality on our website, because that starts us down a slippery slope:

"The website you linked to says that this game runs with no issues. It doesn't run for me. I want my money back."

It seems, if we linked to AppDB, we end up with the worst of both worlds: unhappy customers and a support/test team that is wholly unprepared to deal with any issues that may arise. Not to mention publishers coming to us and saying, "It looks an awful lot like you're telling people that your game is supported in Linux. This is funny, because you aren't paying us for Linux distro rights."
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TheEnigmaticT: Of course, we could just release a client, sell the games, and figure that you can sort the rest out yourself--I'm sure some businesses may even consider that a successful business model--but that's not really the GOG way of doing business. ;)
I for one am willing to sort that business out and view it as a privileged perk. Sort of a "we are selling windows versions, but here is an extra JIC its useful to you." However, I can appreciate the bind that it places upon the support as Linux is a bit like the wild west and people tend to look to the people they purchased from to "fix it. Fix it now."

I would like the Developers to take the support issue, but again, a lot of people like to come to the guy they gave their money to for answers, and GOG does try to put forth the image of "we have taken care of all the tough stuff for you."

On the other hand, while you speak well of the number of issues that Linux has with standardization, I'm not entirely convinced it is as complicated in practice as it might look like up front, if for no other reason than its getting done quite a lot. I could be wrong and GOG's standards have a lot to say about what is and isn't acceptable.

Personally, I'm not worried about getting Specialized DOSbox installers for old games. I feel this is more a pressing issue going forward as more and more newer games GOG is selling have active, linux/mac ports that are currently being supported by the game creators. Difficulties aside there is something to be said for the idea that selling new games means selling new games, and a lot of these indi titles are being sold with sexier OS options. You may soon be in a "bad spot," either way. Then again perhaps not, we like to talk but there really aren't enough of us to screw you over.


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nullzero: Mr T, all fair points! It looks like Linux needs to be easier to support before native versions to become feasible.

What about providing the Winehq AppDB ratings for releases and providing links to the Wine project (with their permission) ?

Since you guys provide the games in the best available version (without DRM) many entries in the AppDB are for the GoG release of the game, and people often post how they got the game to work.
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TheEnigmaticT: I'm leery of providing a third-party's evaluation of a game's functionality on our website, because that starts us down a slippery slope:

"The website you linked to says that this game runs with no issues. It doesn't run for me. I want my money back."

It seems, if we linked to AppDB, we end up with the worst of both worlds: unhappy customers and a support/test team that is wholly unprepared to deal with any issues that may arise. Not to mention publishers coming to us and saying, "It looks an awful lot like you're telling people that your game is supported in Linux. This is funny, because you aren't paying us for Linux distro rights."
I have to agree here. The appDB is not reliable at all. We all know about it and can recommend it on our own, but it is way, way to out of date across the board. And GOG doesn't need to imply it is an accurate measure for people to make purchasing decisions on.

I honestly think they need to nuke the whole thing and force people to start over because I think people see that something worked 3 -5 years ago and think it will work now, or even worse that they see it didn't work before so now nobody bothers to challenge the report.
Post edited June 10, 2012 by gooberking
TheEnigmaticT: Thanks for such detailed feedback and valid points! I agree about the AppDB being not entirely reliable, and thus putting extra burden to your support in case someone relies on it and in the end fails.

But regarding the difficulty of general testing and support I agree with gooberking more. May be you can minimize the effort somehow. For example limit the number of hardware configurations and drivers that you test against, warn in advance that support for quirky Linux issues is limited, direct to game developers and so on. I understand that you want to provide the same level of quality in support for all platforms, but it may be unnecessary at least at this point.

It's a two way street - the more Linux audience will grow, the more efforts you can pour in support. But as of now, "as is" option is probably better than no option. But that's something you decide for yourself of course, i.e. how it affects your company image, overall appreciation and etc. My bet is, loosely supported Linux options will be appreciated more, than no options at all in hope of perfect support in some abstract future. Also, because there could always be a fallback option of using the Windows release with Wine, assuming that the game considers Linux and Windows versions as the same release.

And as an example of QA / support models, let's say Mozilla has so called "tiers". Tier 1 platforms go through most testing and support, Tier 2 get less, some tiers are purely community supported altogether. This model works quite well, and is more flexible than "all or nothing" in practice. Those who use less supported tiers are taking their risks to use them.
Post edited June 10, 2012 by shmerl
I liked the Fallout on Raspberry Pi support joke more ;)
Post edited June 10, 2012 by shmerl
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TheEnigmaticT: /snip
So since most of these objections don't apply to selling games on the Mac (except the rights to sell them to that platform maybe) that means you'll be doing so soon, right? RIGHT?

:P

No worries GOG, I can ... (sniff) ... port it myself ... (sniff) ... :)

But in all seriousness thanks for the post on the trials and tribulations supporting more OSes than Windows! It's nice to see GOG engaging on the issue with the community. I actually agree with most your points, although I'm curious:

Do you guys do support on the newer games? You don't just hand support off to the devs/publishers who are still supporting those games themselves?
Post edited June 10, 2012 by crazy_dave
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TheEnigmaticT: /snip
Thank you for such detailed replies on this subject!

Two things are obvious:
1. You guys have already thought about this subject in detail.
2. Other operating support is far from trivial for a wide range of reasons.

I see your point regarding Wine's AppDB.
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TheEnigmaticT: Or if FreeBSD removes a driver from the kernel that we depend upon in order to run some games?
Well that'd only matter if you were supporting BSD.
Having an unsupported (community supported) download of a native Linux/Mac version as an extra for some games would be very nice. Of course only if it doesn't cause extra costs and you already have the publishing rights.

A recent example of a game (not currently sold by GOG) that does not work with wine, but runs very well in the native version is Bastion. Just having the Linux version would be great for these cases.

But having the choice between great old/new games (Wheel of Time!) coming to GOG and getting Linux support, I'd rather chose more games. :-)
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crazy_dave: So since most of these objections don't apply to selling games on the Mac (except the rights to sell them to that platform maybe) that means you'll be doing so soon, right? RIGHT?

Do you guys do support on the newer games? You don't just hand support off to the devs/publishers who are still supporting those games themselves?
Well, the question in this thread was specific to Linux. The same objections that come up with Linux come up with Mac, albeit at a somewhat reduced scale. Just as we've not announced anything about Linux support (although, as you can tell, we've been considering it), we're not announcing anything about Mac either.

And yes, we provide support for newer games, too. Having a problem with Grimrock? Feel free to ask the guys on Support. They'll help you out. ;)
Post edited June 11, 2012 by TheEnigmaticT
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crazy_dave: So since most of these objections don't apply to selling games on the Mac (except the rights to sell them to that platform maybe) that means you'll be doing so soon, right? RIGHT?

Do you guys do support on the newer games? You don't just hand support off to the devs/publishers who are still supporting those games themselves?
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TheEnigmaticT: Well, the question in this thread was specific to Mac OS. The same objections that come up with Mac come up with Windows, albeit at a somewhat reduced scale. Just as we've not announced anything about Linux support (although, as you can tell, we've been considering it), we're not announcing anything about Mac either.
I think maybe you flipped a couple of the OSes around :) Fixed:
Well, the question in this thread was specific to Linux. The same objections that come up with Linux come up with Mac, albeit at a somewhat reduced scale. Just as we've not announced anything about Linux support (although, as you can tell, we've been considering it), we're not announcing anything about Mac either.
Just for clarity, I was kidding in my post with the "right, RIGHT?" - as in while of course I'd love to see my platform of choice officially supported and hope that one day Linux and OSX are indeed so, I am content with GOG's current model and to port the game myself if possible. However, it does mean that I will buy indie/newer games elsewhere as they can offer the Mac versions, which is unfortunate because in many instances I'd like to buy from GOG for the Mac. :/

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TheEnigmaticT: And yes, we provide support for newer games, too. Having a problem with Grimrock? Feel free to ask the guys on Support. They'll help you out. ;)
Huh ... interesting - I would have figured you guys would've left the new game support to the devs, very cool that you've decided to support them as well
Post edited June 11, 2012 by crazy_dave
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crazy_dave: I think maybe you flipped a couple of the OSes around :) Fixed:
Gadzooks! I should drink my morning tea before writing replies.
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crazy_dave: I think maybe you flipped a couple of the OSes around :) Fixed:
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TheEnigmaticT: Gadzooks! I should drink my morning tea before writing replies.
No worries I'm sitting here with a runny nose and my head stuffed up - nor am I morning person, so I understand :)
Post edited June 11, 2012 by crazy_dave