Unreal Tournament 3 Linux Status

For those of you who are not subscribed to the mailing list, here’s the email verbaitim from Ryan Gordon, the man behind the curtain who is responsible for the Linux port of UT3 Linux server and client binary distribution… which still hasn’t happened yet – but they will be available “as soon as possible.”

The most interesting piece (in my opinion) is that he believes that it can be determined what the cause for delays in the final release of the Linux server by comparing the binaries. I better brush up on my assembly.

In other news, Tyler in chilly Wisconsin won my copy of UT3 Collector’s Edition. Congrats bud, it’s in the mail. 🙂

I’m going to answer a few emails here, but I haven’t got anything to
announce at the moment. I also haven’t read most of this mailing list in
the past week or so; I don’t need to be reminded that people are still
waiting for Linux binaries. You’ll get them as soon as possible, honest.

> Questions:

(I don’t speak for Epic, and have no real insight into why technical
decisions were made. But here are my best insights.)

> Why did Epic choose GameSpy this time?

My guesses would be a) because the master server was a huge pain from
ut2003 onward (and maybe as far back as Unreal 1), and b) GameSpy gives
them cross-platform tech roughly analogous to Xbox Live or Games For
Windows Live.

This is about more than just getting a list of servers. There’s a lot
more competition for a baseline feature set nowadays. The fact that
Valve added “achievements” to the Steam version of The Orange Box titles
suggests that this competition is only going to get more fierce. If I
were you, I’d go figure out who the major competitors are, and get the
login name you like on their services before someone else takes it. 🙂

> Why did Epic choose Bink for videos? (Even the load screens!)

Almost every game you’ll see on a console uses a prerendered movie for
load screens (including static copyright text, like ut3 does).

Partially because it’s quick to throw in contractually-obligated logos:
usually there’s a prebuilt movie from these companies they just have to
convert to Bink. Also, it’s probably easier to put a movie together in a
movie making tool, than make the equivalent set of pixels light up in
the engine…especially since, say, Intel Corporation doesn’t keep
people with UE3 mapmaking experience around to make logos.

Also, rendering a movie is dirt cheap from a CPU viewpoint; lots of
games show them because Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo won’t certify your game
if the load time is more than X seconds…but the stopwatch doesn’t
start until all the logos are displayed. Many games show the movies on
one thread, and then use this extra time to load the game on another. I
don’t know if UT3 does this, but lots and lots of Unreal licensees have
done just that.

Also, darn near every UE2 licensee tends to license Bink, and uses the
same piece of third-party code off the Unreal Developer Network to
integrate it, so it probably made sense to just do the integration in
the official UE3 codebase, since Epic would still get bug reports from
it anyhow.

> As for PhysX I won’t comment.

It’s amazing to me how much hatred there is towards Ageia…I wonder if
that’s just spillover from ut200x’s MathEngine contracts.

Then again, there’s a lot of hate towards every piece of middleware,
depending on what a given forum’s personal conspiracy theory is. Someone
posted a petition on this mailing list about removing GameSpy. You don’t
have to _like_ GameSpy, and I’ve certainly had my problems with them in
the past, but I don’t think it’s fair to play Kangaroo Court with them
when there’s really no actual evidence that they are the problem.

Likewise for Ageia.

Likewise for Bink.

> Lots of other routine middleware floating around in there too probably.

I have no doubt that people will compare the final binaries with the
beta demo server for differences. It’ll be interesting to see if the
incorrect parties will amend their petitions and apologize to those they


Thanks for the updates Ryan, you’re the man – behind the curtain.