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A legitimate case for including Mac and Linux support on launch


TheKrakenHerder
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So, as we all know, Max and Linux support will most likely not be included at launch, if at all. I think I speak for a lot of people here when I say that this is a mistake. I believe Take Two and Intercept are heavily underestimating the amount of players on these platforms, and will essentially screw over at least ⅓ of their playerbase, inherently making the game less popular since not everyone can afford a gaming PC. It’s also not a question of hardware either, the new Apple Silicon chips are incredibly powerful, and should be able to run KSP2 with ease. My M1 MacBook Air is able to run KSP smoothly with several graphics mods and many, MANY parts mods. Don’t underestimate Linux machines either, they used to be THE go-to for modded KSP. This is why I believe that, rather than putting resources into Xbox One and PS4 support, Intercept should refocus those resources towards Mac and Linux support at launch. We represent a much larger part of the playerbase than most people think.

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4 hours ago, TheKrakenHerder said:

at least ⅓ of their playerbase

I personally prefer Linux, for what it's worth, but this is probably not true. We don't have the stats for KSP, but we do have them for CKAN, and out of 133813 downloads of the latest release of CKAN, only 5176 were for the Linux packages, and 5223 for Mac. Both platforms together make up just 7.8% of the total, and that's probably higher than KSP itself given that the CKAN user base leans toward the more technical/expert (casual users are less likely to install mods).

4 hours ago, TheKrakenHerder said:

heavily underestimating the amount of players on these platforms

No estimating is needed. Whatever the true numbers are, Take Two already has them via Steam and the KSP Store's download stats and presumably considered them in making the platform support decisions.

Edited by HebaruSan
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39 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

We don't have the stats for KSP, but we do have them for CKAN, and out of 133813 downloads of the latest release of CKAN, only 5176 were for the Linux packages, and 5223 for Mac

Hmm. Given that you tell Debian (and Ubuntu) users to use the package archive at https://ksp-ckan.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/deb  and Arch Linux users to "Get ckan.exe and run it with Mono", I'd guess you underestimate the Linux downloads somewhat if you just count direct downloads from the Github release page.

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3 hours ago, RKunze said:

I'd guess you underestimate the Linux downloads somewhat

Granted, but by how much, though? Those users are the fraction-of-a-fraction that read and follow those instructions. Even if they make up fully half of CKAN's users on Linux, that still only brings Linux+Mac up to 11.2%, a far cry from ⅓ of the playerbase.

Edited by HebaruSan
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6 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

Granted, but by how much, though? Those users are the fraction-of-a-fraction that read and follow those instructions.

Don't know, of course, but I'd guess at least the Debian/Ubuntu crowd prefers the APT repository - way easier to stay up to date that way (By the way, I'm in your direct Linux download count for much of the same reason - to get automatic updates via package manager -because  I'm using the ckan-bin AUR package for Arch Linux , which in turn downloads the .deb from Github).

8 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

Even if they make up fully half of CKAN's users on Linux, that still only brings Linux+Mac up to 11.2%, still a far cry from ⅓ of the playerbase.

Definitely. And even 10% of the player base would be way more than for the average game...

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In the 4th feature video, there was a screenshot that was posted in the comments of that video that showed KSP 2 running on a Linux device, so we know that there is at least some compatibility. The only question left is if Mac, which is harder to make compatible, is worth the audience, which might be too small to actually make a Mac version. For my own sake, I hope there is a Mac version but it is the only major pc operating system not yet confirmed (I think the screenshot was in ubuntu(??) so maybe Debian is excluded, idk about how Linux operating systems differ)

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I really hope for a Linux support for KSP 2. I guess what really matters is whether KSP 2 will be mostly entertainment, or the next leap in aerospace technology.

I always remember this XKCD:

orbital_mechanics.png

And then I realize that this cartoon is several years old already. And then I start to wonder how many of SpaceX's and other space start-ups played KSP to really understand some basics of rocketry. I wouldn't be surprised if that number is high.

If KSP 2 wants to have a similar effect on the world, Linux support is mandatory. Among technology developers, Linux scores a much higher market share.

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My case against Mac is that for the price of a "capable" Mac laptop, you could have a MORE capable desktop PC.

And Apple themself want you to entirely forget about any attempt of making their operating systems run on hardware you didn't buy from them.

So, my question is, when buying a Mac, I'm paying a premium. What in the product is that premium being used for? Clearly it's not the performance of the product. And I'm not much interested in looks beyond what that means for the functionality.

Thin power cords aren't stylish, they're failure-prone.

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8 hours ago, SciMan said:

My case against Mac is that for the price of a "capable" Mac laptop, you could have a MORE capable desktop PC.

And Apple themself want you to entirely forget about any attempt of making their operating systems run on hardware you didn't buy from them.

So, my question is, when buying a Mac, I'm paying a premium. What in the product is that premium being used for? Clearly it's not the performance of the product. And I'm not much interested in looks beyond what that means for the functionality.

Thin power cords aren't stylish, they're failure-prone.

not exactly a convincing argument if most of the audience aren't traditional game players so own machines for other reasons. 

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7 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

For those people who run Linux or Mac systems...is there a specific reason you can't emulate Windows at least long enough until support is there for your OS of choice?  No, it isn't perfect.  But at least it gets you playing, right?

I’d be more than willing to do that as long as I could play the game, but it would be infinitely better to have it on my computer’s native OS. Additionally, Mac is so anti-compatibility that with newer computers you can’t even run x86 windows anymore, and ARM windows kinda sucks for games, as it lacks some libraries and features that are commonly used for games. 
 

 

8 hours ago, SciMan said:

My case against Mac is that for the price of a "capable" Mac laptop, you could have a MORE capable desktop PC.

And Apple themself want you to entirely forget about any attempt of making their operating systems run on hardware you didn't buy from them.

So, my question is, when buying a Mac, I'm paying a premium. What in the product is that premium being used for? Clearly it's not the performance of the product. And I'm not much interested in looks beyond what that means for the functionality.

Thin power cords aren't stylish, they're failure-prone.

Is this an argument against having Mac support or just a rant against Mac? Whether the computers are good or not should have no bearing on whether people who have them should have support for their operating systems. Apple being a horrible company doesn’t mean that all the people that bought their products shouldn’t be able to play this game. This doesn’t drive people away from Mac (the goal I think you were attempting to achieve), this prevents people from enjoying KSP. 

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Now an argument for Linux is that its just another operation system. Making an Linux version might well be an test for running on another OS who will help making the console versions. 
The main problem with mac is that they are moving to their own CPU design, the M1 who have good performance and has low power use is not an x86 compatible CPU.
Has an feeling Apple ignored games here knowing that all others than the Switch uses x86. 

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8 hours ago, t_v said:

Is this an argument against having Mac support or just a rant against Mac?

This is an argument against Mac support, as it is my belief that the Mac that most people can actually afford (around the $2,000 USD price point) is not well suited for playing KSP, let alone KSP 2 which will naturally have higher system requirements than the older game.

However, if you took it as a rant against Mac, it's that too I guess. Good luck fixing the thing when it breaks. Oh wait, they don't want you to do that either, and in fact they do quite a lot to make sure you have a really hard time getting the schematics for it so you can actually have an idea of what parts you even need to fix it. Oh and you better know how to do really fine detail soldering, because unlike a regular desktop computer there's probably next to nothing that's actually socketed, instead everything's soldered, and did I mention it takes special equipment to solder many of the packages that those chips come in?
Designed to be thrown away. I really don't like that.

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1 hour ago, SciMan said:

This is an argument against Mac support, as it is my belief that the Mac that most people can actually afford (around the $2,000 USD price point) is not well suited for playing KSP, let alone KSP 2 which will naturally have higher system requirements than the older game.

However, if you took it as a rant against Mac, it's that too I guess. Good luck fixing the thing when it breaks. Oh wait, they don't want you to do that either, and in fact they do quite a lot to make sure you have a really hard time getting the schematics for it so you can actually have an idea of what parts you even need to fix it. Oh and you better know how to do really fine detail soldering, because unlike a regular desktop computer there's probably next to nothing that's actually socketed, instead everything's soldered, and did I mention it takes special equipment to solder many of the packages that those chips come in?
Designed to be thrown away. I really don't like that.

The second part first, you are absolutely correct. I'm pretty sure no one on these forums is a blind Mac fan-person, and so the debate over whether they are good computers made by a good company is not one that will change anyone's opinion. For the first part, you seem to be treating Macs sort of like consoles, which I think you were also against supporting. Essentially, the argument is that "if the average person's computer with [x] operating system (be it macOS, xbox, playstation, etc) is going to have a hard time running KSP 2 (debatable when looking at the newer chips and other factors) then support for that operating system should be dropped because it is an investment for less return than only releasing to operating systems where the average computer is powerful enough." Okay, so playing some devil's advocate, most people using windows have laptops that can barely run Chrome, let alone a game. Does that disqualify windows as an operating system? In my opinion, no. The audience for verbal space program should be anyone who wants to buy it, whether their computer is powerful enough or not. This drives sales and is good for the company because more people will buy the game on more platforms, if you want to look at it from an economics perspective. The only factor that goes into determining support for an operating system is whether it will increase profit, and in all of these cases it will, even on the small linux community. So, before taking your justified hatred of a company and turning it against the consumer, just realize that the decision has probably already been made to include Mac, as it will increase profits and it will not take too much extra time. You are not the only one waiting, everyone else here is also waiting. Have some patience and allow the minority of people here who use Mac and Linux (because they are both the topic of the discussion) to have their game, even if it means you have to wait a bit longer. 

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17 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

For those people who run Linux or Mac systems...is there a specific reason you can't emulate Windows at least long enough until support is there for your OS of choice?

I already dual boot for games (and in fact I'm in Windows right now), but I just feel more comfortable using GNOME Shell than Windows. I will probably buy and use KSP2 for Windows, but I would love to play it alongside GNOME's Overview, nice desktop alerts from my calendar, completely native Unix shell/terminal functionality, a good package management system, drivers that don't randomly move all my open windows when I turn off my monitors, easy display of the outdoor temperature and multiple international clocks, etc.

1 hour ago, SciMan said:

Good luck fixing the thing when it breaks. Oh wait, they don't want you to do that either, and in fact they do quite a lot to make sure you have a really hard time getting the schematics for it so you can actually have an idea of what parts you even need to fix it.

With respect to this argument, Windows:Mac:hardware :: Linux:Windows:software. When something goes wrong in GNOME, I can investigate it and send a pull request upstream to fix it (so far just some minor fixes for the help app, the video editor, and Mahjongg, plus some other things I use that aren't officially part of GNOME). On Windows, my options are to search for workarounds, switch to a different application, or give up.

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Ah the age-old Mac v PC discussion. A lot of companies (like the one I work for) run on macs because historically they last longer and have fewer issues that require reformatting and maintenance. You’re paying a premium for longevity and reliability, not outright horsepower. The hassle of having software and hardware issues interrupt workflow is way more expensive than the machines. I also personally hate windows UI, but thats a personal preference. 
 

None of that is really relevant to this this discussion though. The biggest reason I think they’d be wise to include mac support is that is KSP always has and therefore has built up a devoted following among mac users, and it would be a shame to lose them. Emulators work for some games but not others, and come with performance taxes and hard to resolve bugs. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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@t_v

Well to be honest, your argument about Windows being disqualified as an operating system to support doesn't quite hit its target, and I do think that Linux should be supported.

The reason your argument misses the point is that I wasn't comparing versus the average example of a Windows/Linux PC, a console, or a Mac PC/Laptop. I can't do that, it would be apples and oranges.

What I was getting at is this:

With consoles, the hardware configuration is firmly established to be "exactly this configuration", and therefore by the very nature of doing that you can do quite a lot of code optimization because the hardware that is running the OS (and the games) is always the same.

For a very CPU-demanding game like Kerbal Space Program (because of all the physics calculations and the tendency to have vessels have high part counts), a console's hardware (even tho it's the same architecture as some Windows/Linux PC's) is likely not quite up to the task, or will have significant limitations that must be kept in mind.
I'm not saying that a console could not be made that WOULD be sufficiently powerful to run KSP on it at a similar level to many people that play it on PC, but I AM saying that the current consoles on the market are not good enough for it.
Well, PS4/XBONE for sure aren't good enough, PS5/XBSX might be good enough to handle it with some settings related to the physics tweaked.

Plus, because of the "gated community" approach to the software running on these consoles, mod support is almost impossible, and since mod support is one of the crucial pillars supporting Kerbal Space Program, that's another reason to not support initially releasing KSP 2 on consoles at all.

These two reasons are why I don't think consoles are worth supporting. The version of KSP that we got for consoles is pretty bad compared to the PC/Linux version, you can't do much at all in it because the computing hardware in those consoles simply can't keep up.

With Mac laptops and PC's, the situation is mostly the same as a console, except you have maybe a few hardware options you can select from when ordering it.
However, unlike a Windows/Linux PC, and unlike ALL Laptops, field upgrading a Mac laptop or PC is largely impossible, or at least you MUST use parts ONLY from Apple, else the thing won't work or will have tons of bugs. And even if you DO want to upgrade it, and have the money to pay for it (which will cost more than you'd have to pay to do a similar upgrade on a Windows/Linux PC), the upgrades that are available for a Mac PC or Laptop aren't for the parts that are crucial to game performance (GPU and CPU), instead they're things like adding more of the same speed of RAM (which only matters if you don't have enough), or things like switching to an SSD (or larger/faster SSD if it already has one).
Since games don't really care about those things beyond meeting the minimum requirements, these upgrades don't make much of any difference to performance in games (OK switching from an HDD to an SSD will likely significantly speed up loading times, but that's not a real performance increase that would allow you to build vessels with higher part count while maintaining a similar framerate).

Unlike consoles, with Mac PC's and laptops you could probably get KSP running on a Mac to support mods, but again that depends on how locked down Apple wants the operating system to be (which could change with the new M1 chips coming out).

The hardware constraints are why I think that KSP 2 should not release on Mac operating systems, at least not to start off with. Maybe later, but right now I'm trying to advocate for decisions that will lead to the minimum amount of "distractions" to finishing the core KSP 2 game itself, and supporting additional platforms on launch day is something that I would indeed consider to potentially be a distraction unless the market for it is large indeed (and I mean like fully 1/8 or more of total KSP 1 sales were from that platform, which I'm almost certain excludes Mac, and maybe even Linux).

 

The reason that Linux and Windows are operating systems for which I DO fully support launch-day compatibility is quite simple.

You're not "locked to one or a few hardware configurations" like you are with consoles or Mac PC's (and all laptops regardless of operating system).
Therefore, you're not constrained by what the manufacturers of your computer considered to be "affordable by most people" which they do so they can sell a lot of them.

You're free to spend as much money on your computer as you want, which lets you do something with a Linux/Windows desktop PC that you can't do with any other type of computer.
You can BUY performance, without having to change the operating system radically to support it.

Will most people that own a PC buy the performance needed to run KSP? Probably not, because like you said, most PC's out there have barely enough performance to run even a web browser competently.

However, the stat that I'm interested isn't the "Average PC", instead it's the "Average 'high performance' PC". That's a whole different thing.
Most "High performance PC's" built in the last 2-3 years should be more than able to run KSP 2 sufficiently.
At least, that's what I expect the hardware requirements to reflect.

 

With all consoles, you're stuck to a given level of hardware performance. You get what you get, you can't improve it or else it's no longer that console.

With Mac's, it's similar. You're stuck to a given level of CPU/GPU performance. You get what you get, because the parts are electronically keyed to each other so that only a very specific part or small range of parts is compatible (which is done by Apple so that they can be the sole supplier of compatible parts, and therefore charge you an exorbitant rate for upgrades).

With Windows and Linux, the only limiting factors are your personal financial situation, and the global availability of parts. Those two factors can also be leveraged against each other to make up for shortcomings in either one. If you're on a tight budget, you can choose a less capable but more available part. If you need as much performance as possible, you can spend more for better parts, even if those parts aren't as common.
The thing to keep in mind is that Windows and Linux are FLEXIBLE in the hardware that they support. This gives people who want to play KSP 2 on those operating systems a wide leeway in deciding how well they want the game to run or look.

EDIT: Oh and that "wide range of hardware support" is also why the drivers in Windows behave oddly from time to time. There's simply too many different potential hardware configurations, it results in a nearly infinite amount of edge cases where things work "almost the way they should, but not quite", so there's simply not enough time in the day for Microsoft to make exceptions for all of them, so some of them fall thru the cracks. If they did manage that gargantuan task, it would take them 20 years or more to make a new version of the operating system, and you'd have at least minor updates every week if not more frequently. You should be grateful that Microsoft allows third party hardware manufacturers to author drivers, at least that reduces the workload to a point where it can start to be tackled, but even then some things will still fall thru the cracks.
END EDIT

You just can't do that with consoles, or Mac PC's and laptops. And that's why I don't think they're worth supporting (at least at launch).

Edited by SciMan
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Thanks for the clarification! Once again, correct me if I’m wrong but the big gist of your argument is that because windows/Linux are more flexible for the end user, they should be supported and not inflexible systems like Mac or console. This goes away from the performance issues, as while you consider it, you also value 

48 minutes ago, SciMan said:

a wide leeway in deciding how well they want the game to run or look.

I also value the same thing, and I appreciate Linux for providing that flexibility (one of the reasons I run Linux on modular hardware as well).  But for me, neither average performance (a dead argument b/c you talked about not being “interested in” that stat) nor flexibility should dictate whether a plaform gets support. The question is “is the average ‘high performance’ pc able to run KSP 2 in this operating system” which is yes for all operating systems in question, and “is the hassle of making new code worth it?” Which is hopefully the debate. To be honest, the devs don’t care about the exact hardware of a user most of the time, they care if they have to rewrite code or use different libraries due to said hardware and OS. If you want to rant about hardware companies, go to their forums and bash on nvidia for making their gpus differently so that games can’t run on some cards or something. We get it, macs and consoles are worse for developers than modular hardware or prebuilt running windows. Just drop the hardware part because we know that if it is not too much of a hassle and KSP can run on devices, the devs will support it. Now, we can argue if it is too much of a hassle for the target audience, which is still unresolved from the start of this the thread. In any case, I’m going to reiterate that it does not matter what your preference is to include it or not, because the decision has 100% for sure already been made. 

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On 12/18/2021 at 2:03 PM, TLTay said:

Maybe they took the funds that would have been allocated to a mac/linux release and instead allocated it to both the outgoing and incoming console generations, which is a much larger potential audience.

 I don't know, alot of people might hear that console controls are bad.

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  • 3 months later...
On 12/18/2021 at 10:43 AM, TheKrakenHerder said:

Don’t underestimate Linux machines either

I recently passed my macunder Linux after 15 years. works better now, except graphic card driver problems -- not a big one, though.

Anyway, if there's no Linux or Mac version at launch, and no source code to compile, I'll stay on KSP1.

I think that every game should be able to download as a source code so we can compile it ourselves, so the devs don't need to worry about which systems they do binaries and which systems they don't, and so there won't be a time when the game will no longer be able to run on the latest computers.

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1 hour ago, Nazalassa said:

 

I think that every game should be able to download as a source code so we can compile it ourselves,

O.o

That would completely destroy the market.  

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On 12/18/2021 at 10:43 AM, TheKrakenHerder said:

So, as we all know, Max and Linux support will most likely not be included at launch, if at all. I think I speak for a lot of people here when I say that this is a mistake. I believe Take Two and Intercept are heavily underestimating the amount of players on these platforms, and will essentially screw over at least ⅓ of their playerbase, inherently making the game less popular since not everyone can afford a gaming PC. It’s also not a question of hardware either, the new Apple Silicon chips are incredibly powerful, and should be able to run KSP2 with ease. My M1 MacBook Air is able to run KSP smoothly with several graphics mods and many, MANY parts mods. Don’t underestimate Linux machines either, they used to be THE go-to for modded KSP. This is why I believe that, rather than putting resources into Xbox One and PS4 support, Intercept should refocus those resources towards Mac and Linux support at launch. We represent a much larger part of the playerbase than most people think.

but why are you so sadistic to use mac or pc with linux to play? anyway, i looked at some statistics online, i can't find ANYTHING that indicates that the players from windows are less than those on mac or linux, where did you see this thing? also consider that in addition to PC, KSP 2 will also be released on console, let's say that DEVs have other problems about bringing KSP 2 to 3 different platforms already ...

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