The Unreal developers from Epic Games have expressed their support before for the Linux platform, but now they actually made it possible with the latest update for the Unreal Engine 4.
One of Linux’s problems in becoming a gaming platform is the lack of support from major game developers. With the exception of Valve with its Source engine, and a couple of smaller companies, nobody is really making triple A engines for the Linux platform.
Valve seems to have become the main driver behind gaming advancements and more and more companies are considering supporting Linux and SteamOS (the distribution developed by Valve and based on Debian). This new interest in the open source platform wouldn't have been possible without the Steam for Linux and the upcoming Steam Machines, the PC / Console hybrid that will arrive later this year.
“Folks have been asking about our early Linux efforts and support for Valve’s SteamOS and Steam Machines. We have good news for you! The 4.1 source code has initial support for running and packaging games for Linux and SteamOS. We love Linux!” said the developers from Epic about the Unreal Engine 4.1 update preview.
This means that game developers will be able to export their games for the Linux platform as well and that we’ll start to see numerous Unreal 4-based games in the next couple of years popping out everywhere.
“We really want to provide UE4 updates to everyone on a regular basis. Think of it as a continuous release plan. Our team has a great history of releasing frequent and high-quality engine updates. We addressed many issues from the initial release with last Tuesday’s hotfix, but this is just the beginning. You can expect to enjoy new content, code and improvements at any point in time,” also noted the Epic Games developers in the announcement.
Epic Games is not the only major company that shows an interest in the Linux platform. As it turns out, a few other major players are also making their intentions known. For example, Crytek has already announced that its CRYENGINE solution will support Linux development, and DICE and AMD are working on Mantle, a technology that should allow for better interaction between the video card and game by skipping Direct X. And these are just a few of the examples.
This work that’s being done by various studios is just the beginning, so you will have to be patient about games based on these engines. Nonetheless, they are coming and it’s just a matter of when, not if.