Is SteamOS even possible?

#1
So this is total speculation, but let's assume that SteamOS is a real thing.

Would it work? Don't most games require DirectX to run? Is it even legal/possible for Steam to make DirectX work on Linux or would they have to use something like Wine?

I dont think SteamOS would work if it relied on companies creating games to natively run on it (at least at the beginning) so it would have to be Valve making the Windows games run on their OS, and if that's a really huge challenge, then this is a total nonstarter
 
#9
For Source games? Yeah.

For Steam as a platform? Not in a major way. It would require other companies to put the effort in to port their games over to (probably) Linux.
 
#11
I think they can support ReactOS and their ReactX project as a legal clone of DirectX and get in control of OpenGL and give their insight and go with Linux.

Either way it is really expensive but probable.
 
#12
If I understand correctly, for left4dead2 they have a wrapper that transforms d3d calls into opengl ones, kind of what wine does, only more concentrated.


I swear I have read this. I believe is in the "left4dead2 from 4 fps to 300fps" slides that were going around last week.

They could offer apis for this, included with the steam apis in order to bring more developers to steam and make them more dependant of steam services.
 
#16
Too much of Steam's library is reliant on Windows and DirectX for an official Steam OS to ever happen. Expanded Linux support is wholly possible, though.
 
#17
Too much of Steam's library is reliant on Windows and DirectX for an official Steam OS to ever happen. Expanded Linux support is wholly possible, though.
You are thinking short term son. You need to look to the future, a thing Valve is always doing. Why do you think Valve is talking about new interfaces to interact with games.

Think 10, 20 years from now.
 
#19
Of course it is. Fork a linux distro, include Steam and walla you have SteamOS.

A money printing machine basically.
Without any games.

Steam is just a shell that launches games. Every single PC game is written for a Windows OS running on a x86 processor. Being able to run Steam on Linux or a Mac won't magically turn Windows games into Mac or Linux games.

A SteamOS could be done, but Valve would have no games to run on their newfangled OS.
 
#20
You are thinking short term son. You need to look to the future, a thing Valve is always doing. Why do you think Valve is talking about new interfaces to interact with games.

Think 10, 20 years from now.
I think it would take an unrealistically large and cohesive group of developers pull that off, but I also don't like to underestimate Valve.
 
#24
I think it's kinda funny that now, the SteamBox is confirmed, there's no thread about it. Yet there's a thread about SteamOS that is basically Steam Big Picture Mode.

Remember, SteamBox isn't a system developed by Valve, it's a certification program for hardware vendors which would like to put Steam on their set-top-boxes.
 
#25
Why do so many want as Steam OS? Doesn't fact OSX, Linux and Windows allow you to run it anyway you want enough? Buy console if you want your gaming machine to do nothing but run the manufacture OS the way they want.
 
#26
LOL, if you believe this, I'm just going to laugh. It's not like you switch a couple flags and all of a sudden a game works in OpenGL. It's pretty fundamental stuff you would have to change to take a game from complete DirectX reliance to working on OpenGL.
Thanks. I was under the impression that you Ctrl + F "DirectX" in a game's source code and replace it with "OpenGL".
 
#27
Why do so many want as Steam OS? Doesn't fact OSX, Linux and Windows allow you to run it anyway you want enough? Buy console if you want your gaming machine to do nothing but run the manufacture OS the way they want.
Its because the impending doom of Windows 8 is on its way.
 
#28
SteamOS would probably just be Linux with Valve branding
If I understand correctly, for left4dead2 they have a wrapper that transforms d3d calls into opengl ones, kind of what wine does, only more concentrated.


I swear I have read this. I believe is in the "left4dead2 from 4 fps to 300fps" slides that were going around last week.

They could offer apis for this, included with the steam apis in order to bring more developers to steam and make them more dependant of steam services.
I agree with this stuff. Ultimately I suspect the move to Linux will be like the move to MacOS, with developers having to do extra work to port their games to Mac/OpenGL. Hopefully graphics card drivers improve along with additional game support thanks to increased visibility and attention.

There is not a magic bullet aside from Wine though (which may well be part of the plan since I think i saw it mentioned on something Steam-related).
 

kenta

Has no PEINS
#29
Windows Embedded is a thing. For quite a while I've wondered if it's possible to get games running on an embedded machine, given appropriate storage/cpu/gpu. Would love to see someone attempt it or hear from someone who did
 
#30
Embedded Windows is a thing. For quite a while I've wondered if it's possible to get games running on an embedded machine, given appropriate storage/cpu/gpu. Would love to see someone attempt it or hear from someone who did
Sure, just depends on what memory/CPU/GPU etc. you have, and you could presumably do embedded XP or Linux or whatever. Consoles and handhelds are just embedded systems with custom hardware and software, right? :p
 

kenta

Has no PEINS
#31
Sure, just depends on what memory/CPU/GPU etc. you have, and you could presumably do embedded XP or Linux or whatever. Consoles and handhelds are just embedded systems with custom hardware and software, right? :p
Yeah that's what I'm talking about. I have to imagine it's possible to get a relatively beefy embedded system going, have it boot into Steam Big Picture Mode, and pack in common Windows drivers for the games to use. I'd imagine Valve would/could/should take the extra step to "certify" each game to be able to run on the machines, but then we're getting into the hairy QA junk that people go to Steam to avoid. Tough call
 
#32
Windows Embedded is a thing. For quite a while I've wondered if it's possible to get games running on an embedded machine, given appropriate storage/cpu/gpu. Would love to see someone attempt it or hear from someone who did
Arcade game platforms have been doing that for years now and are mostly just a pc with embedded winxp. Steam on Windows embedded should be possible, since you still can install additional stuff that games might require.
 
#34
You are thinking short term son. You need to look to the future, a thing Valve is always doing. Why do you think Valve is talking about new interfaces to interact with games.

Think 10, 20 years from now.
Need to be ready for that Half Life 3 release.

If I understand correctly, for left4dead2 they have a wrapper that transforms d3d calls into opengl ones, kind of what wine does, only more concentrated.


I swear I have read this. I believe is in the "left4dead2 from 4 fps to 300fps" slides that were going around last week.

They could offer apis for this, included with the steam apis in order to bring more developers to steam and make them more dependant of steam services.
TBF on the same hardware windows did like 290fps or something close.
 
#42
Valve is currently hard at work writing a DirectX to OpenGL abstraction layer which translates DirectX code into calls which OpenGL can understand, kinda similar to wine, but much more focused of a project. Since Newell has stated that he is trying to get others to support Linux, it doesn't take much of an imagination to believe that Valve intends on releasing the code for their abstraction layer which they've used for the source engine, and give it away for free for other developers to use. Provided that the project is mature, this would presumably make porting games to linux much easier for developer if they only have to re-write the most frequently used directx calls.

Of course when Steam comes out for linux, the vast majority of the steam library won't be compatible, but last I heard, they were planning on having ~90 ready for launch, I believe, which isn't too bad of a number. This will hopefully accelerate Linux support, and considering how vocal Linux users have been to get the countless numbers of kickstarter games to support linux, there should be a decent amount of linux-compatible steam games in the future. Nothing to make windows users start an exodus, but it should be a fairly viable alternative if your favourite games are supported.

Once steam for Linux matures, I imagine the community would task themselves with making a steam-oriented distribution of linux in order to try and make a more appliance-like (or console-like) device paired with Steam big picture mode. Something along the lines of what the OpenELEC project does for XBMC.

Whether Valve decides to release an official "SteamOS" or not remains to be seen, but I would imagine that we'd at least get something along those lines unofficially.
 
#43
Without any games.

Steam is just a shell that launches games. Every single PC game is written for a Windows OS running on a x86 processor. Being able to run Steam on Linux or a Mac won't magically turn Windows games into Mac or Linux games.

A SteamOS could be done, but Valve would have no games to run on their newfangled OS.
Well, every single Windows game is written for a Windows OS.

Every single Linux game is written for a Linux OS and every single Mac game is written for a Mac.

They're all PCs.

You make it sound like there's nothing to play on anything except Windows, and that's not really true.
 
#44
It's possible, but doing so would basically mean Valve was creating a console, and well, that sort of project would probably be doomed to failure or niche status.
 
#46
PS3 and Wii do use modified versions of OpenGL, but a SteamOS pretty much makes developers learn another very specific API without allowing the performance optimizations of a unified hardware platform. That's also on top of the fact that Valve would then have to maintain their own API. Regardless, DirectX is pulling ahead in capabilities, and we'll probably really start to see that next gen.
 

Andrex

ὁ αἴσχιστος παῖς εἶ
#50
Steam on Linux isn't important. The games have to support Linux, too.
"Not important" probably isn't the term is use for Steam on Linux. But yes, the games library needs to be built, which I'm confident it will going forward (see: humble bundles.) Linux Steam is the necessary first step for any kind of meaningful kind of Linux gaming library, and for that it is very important and even somewhat historical.