Aspyr Media didn't have a hard time porting the game to Linux
Civilization V is now on the Linux platform and it looks like users are quite happy with the port, but it seems that the fact that a Mac OS X port was already in place played a big role.The porting process for Civilization V was done by Aspyr Media, a company that specializes in this kind of work. Making games run on Linux is a first for them, because the developers usually bring titles to Mac OS X from Windows or they are adapting consoles games for Windows.
Linux gamers were a little worried when they heard that a third-party company had been tasked with the port for this game. Most of them were hoping that Firaxis would do the job, but they might be a little tied up with the upcoming Civilization: Beyond Earth.
The game has been out for a few days now and all the fears have been levied. It runs smoothly on most computers and there are very few problems with it. One of the reasons for this stability is the fact that the Linux port is based on the DirectX 9 version of the game. Unfortunately, there is no indication that some of the features present in the DirectX 11 version of Civilization V will ever make it to Linux.
One of the developers from Apyr Media who worked on the port went to Reddit and answered a number of questions from the community, including some technical ones.
For example, someone asked if the game was likely to receive an update that will add DX10/DX11 graphical features on Linux. The developer didn't say no, but he was uncertain that it was possible. He explained that it was more likely that OpenCL support will be ported over from OS X to improve performance.
Another interesting point the developer underlined was that his work was made a lot easier by fact that a port for Mac OS X was already in place.
“We took the work that the Mac programmers did and made it run on Linux. The Mac guys made our work a lot easier, MacOS X is a lot closer to Linux than Windows is when it comes to APIs,” said the dev on Reddit.
This is actually good news, because it means that, whatever ports Apyr Media has already made, getting them over to Linux might become a common practice, at least until developers actually start to release the titles on all platforms at once.