Top tips for new Linux game developers

Top tips for new Linux game developers
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

March 20th 2014 at 2:05PM

Ryan Gordon offers advice on making games for the OS

Linux expert Ryan Gordon has had years of experience developing games for the platform, porting some of the biggest franchises around, including the likes of Unreal Tournament and Serious Sam.

With so much knowledge of the OS, he offers some tips for developers trying to get to grips with Linux for the first time.

"If you're starting from scratch, use SDL 2.0. It'll save your life," he explains. "If you're coming from Windows to Linux, port your game to SDL first, then port your game to OpenGL. Now you've done the bulk of the hardest work without even downloading a copy of Linux.

"Be wary of middleware. There's lot of good middleware out there, but you just have to make sure you can get a Linux port of it (and, ideally, at no extra cost for the platform). Sometimes there's no official Linux support, but source code is available, which is often just as good.

"Everyone has an unshakable opinion about their developer tools - myself included - but if you're nervous about losing Visual Studio, QtCreator is worth a look. Most of the key bindings are identical, so you'll have the benefit of muscle memory. Also, it's a decent graphical debugger even if you don't use the rest of the IDE it offers.

"The videos Valve just released from Steam Dev Days (two of them from me) have some really good discussions about OpenGL, SDL, and Linux development, and are worth watching."

You can find videos from Valve's Steam Dev Days here.

You can read our full feature with comment from Valve, Unity, Leadwerks and the Linux Foundation, here.