A Gamedev's Transition to Linux

Hey everyone. I’m starting this topic for my Linux transition adventure. This one will be from the perspective of a game developer and the specific challenges arising from that.

So first a little prologue: I already have some server Linux experience. I currently have a homelab PC set up that hosts things like my Unifi network controller, a Perforce and a Gitlab source control server. Other than that I also have a Raspberry Pi that acts as a Pi-hole. I also have been combining Linux and Windows for a while using WSL so that I can use tools like grep.

Yesterday I made my first step into the Linux desktop world. I perform a fresh reinstall of Windows every 2-3 years to fix any incremental errors and the time has come again. When I reinstalled Windows I decided to also install a Linux distro as a dual boot.

I decided to go with Pop!_OS, it appears to be the best choice for a gamer/game developer as it comes with a focus on out-of-the-box support for graphics cards (including Nvidia’s which I have).

I was also curious to how far Linux has come for game developers, a thing that has been historically difficult due to the chicken-and-egg problem. I’m happy to say we are almost there! The game engine I’ve been using for my recent projects (Unreal Engine 4) has Linux support. The only thing I’m still waiting on is my IDE of choice: Jetbrains Rider. While Rider is a cross-platform IDE, their version for Unreal Engine is currently still in preview and only available for Windows and MacOS.

Once this is taken care off I can start to fully transition my development machine to Linux. For the time being I’ll keep Windows around for the games that are not supported on Linux, I prefer the native experience over emulating via wine.

Will update when new developments come!


Looking forward to it. I have a side interest in the Unreal engine on Linux for use as a simulator for robotics work.

It feels like a lot of the various pieces are nearly working… They just don’t always work together out of the box. Ideally, I would like a Linux-based simulator running on a mid to high-end consumer graphics card which would generate the sensor data for autonomous vehicles. Then, various single board computers running ROS could connect to the simulator and compete to help developers test interesting algorithms.

I am really hoping that Intel gains some traction with their graphics solutions to disrupt the current two main player systems in graphics. Man, it feels weird to think of Intel as the underdog in a battle against entrenched competetors.