Saturday, April 16, 2011

Angry Birds Angry with Linux?

If you have been reading here for awhile then you may know that I am a bit of a gamer still. Even though as time progresses more games are being created natively for Linux, there are still a good deal of games that are written in DirectX so they require a Microsoft operating system (or Wine) to play.

Not everything is written using Direct X however, in fact a good deal of games are being written with OpenGL support. Something that really irks me however is when a company creates a game in OpenGL (See Blizzard and Valve) to run on Mac OSX, but at the same time refuses to support the Linux operating system.

Unless you have been living with your head under a smart-phone-free rock for the last couple of years no doubt you have heard of the smash hit game "Angry Birds".

Angry Birds takes the operating system discrimination I mentioned above to the next level.

Angry Birds works on iOS, Maemo, Android, and Windows - yet they refuse to make a general Linux installer. Now I could see if they only had an Android client why there might be some hold up, but the game runs on Maemo - which is a full Linux OS. Thats right - the game already compiles and runs on an ARM Linux platform. If the pile of FOS applications that have been ported to the N900 are any indication this means that getting the code to run on an x86 or 64bit version of Linux is just a recompile away. Yet still no Linux client for Angry Birds!

I've contact Rovio (the company that makes Angry Birds) asking if they have any plans for a Linux desktop client, but I received a fairly standard response:

"We do intend to develop versions of Angry Birds to all relevant devices out there. News like this are announced at Rovio’s web pages or in a newsletter. In most cases we will not publish any release dates for the updates before they are ready and available. This is to make sure we can finalize the updates without external time pressure and because we do not want to give dates that we cannot always guarantee we will hit."

Their generic response about "devices" makes me wonder if they even read my email.

Do you think we will ever see non-open source developers stop ignoring my platform of choice or is Linux forever doom to obscurity?

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. I have the same issue with the college I am attending. We study Linux, we have to pass Linux courses to be able to pass our overall course of study, but they don't support Linux in the IT department! I use Linux on the desktop and laptop but getting information on how to log into the VPN isn't given.

    Another thing that bothers me is this, installed on all the computers in the school there are both MS Office and OpenOffice, but we have to hand in our assignments in .doc format and if .odt is given, we are told full out that we will receive an F on the assignment.

  2. I wonder if the GPL is an issue?

  3. You have an itch, you just don't know how to scratch it. The problem, in part, lies with you. You have to be willing to bypass the developers by locating or developing an alternative to their software. Here is an alternative to Angry Birds that plays well on a Flash (or Gnash?) enabled browser on Linux:

  4. Fair points about Angry Birds and Linux yet two things trouble me, firstly I've only played it on my HTC desire and wonder how well the experience would translate to my Linux desktop with a keyboard and mouse, and secondly - its not exactly a game which we haven't seen in some incarnation before.

    Whilst I think games (and all software) should be multi-platform,I don't believe Angry Birds would be the example to use for any campaign and dare I say it, for me, its no big deal that is it doesn't have a native Linux binary.

    Ive the opportunity to get Angry Birds on the PS3 - I'm not interested.

    Whilst the response you received from the devs does look generic, it means nothing anyway - just look at the original comments at WP7 when it was alleged they "borrowed" Angry Birds IP.

    Kind regards.

  5. I agree with this tread but I suggest a different approach. This game is fun but pretty simple, just need a small physics engine. Why not create "Angry Penguins"? And instead of some levels have a level editor. You can create a level by specifying the penguins you start with and setting the type of blocks and mobs. Instead of pork lets go with beef and beat cows. Hmm I might start up a Google code project for it but Im not a programmer.

  6. Or just write your own engine which can use the resources from Angry Birds and call it something like "Furious Crows".

    Then ship it with some half baked textures that results in various crows attacking wooden houses with blue goats. Use the same directory structure as Angry birds so that people could easily figure out how to replace them.

    Play your cards right and Rovio might even buy the ownership of your engine for a few bucks.

  7. thumbs up for "Furious Crows"... :) :)

  8. verbs matter: "angry" - "furious" GIGO.

  9. LOL @ "Furious Cows" - BNL had that one first. (Tiny Little Song)

  10. I hope game devs are slowly waking up. The "Humble Forozenbyte Bundle" shows there's a lot to gain by supporting Linux. 1/4 of the sales are to Linux cutomers.. and the pay 3 times as much as Windows users ($12 compared to the $3-4 Windows users pay). If you break that down that means that the Linux earnings alltogether are more than the earnings from Windows users!

  11. Or how about buying World of Goo, Penny Arcade's Precipice of Darkness, or Machinarium games (ok perhaps there are more current examples) or many of the other high quality games that DO support Linux.

  12. Jeff,

    Have you seen this?

    Will probably work on Bodhi. Nice distro, by the way.

  13. So what I'm hearing is "instead of getting Angry Birds, let's build a second-rate clone." This is the reason why Linux isn't being pushed into and by the mainstream. If your apps are clones, then so is the rest - in the eyes of casual PC users: The majority of people who own a PC. This needs to stop and moe focus is getting companies with wallets to support your platform and they won't. Why? Because everyone else is playing Angry Birds and I have to play Mean Penguins.

  14. @djohnston Yes I know it runs via Wine. Wine is a bandied to a much larger issue.

    @Ben Exactly.

  15. I am not sure about developers. BUT YES .. i've played angrybirds and would LLLLOVVVE to be playing something like it on my desktop. Wish you luck for the project .

  16. on you can play angry bird for free and you can play other apps

  17. Originally Posted by CsG_kieran_2 View Post
    That sounds like a great idea.... just don't get sued lol

    Thats an idea we should create an app store like the one found on the ipod/ipad but for small games... that is if people are here to put the work in, not to mention that it could be good for attracting windows/mac users just a thought that will probably not catch on

  18. why dont some developers create there own angry birds for linux which is open source and free