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Would you be interested in an open, moddable gaming console?


Thaidog
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I am posting here because I want to find out how many people would be interested in a open platform for gaming that supported the freedom to build your own system, mod it for your purposes (think MythTV) and run your games on a system that is faster than anything else on the same hardware?

Basically I have project that I am working on based on Gentoo Linux with a specialized kernel that will run games faster than any Windows system on the exact same hardware. To give you an idea the system will run Q3 at close to 400 fps with beta drivers where Vista Ultimate is running around 300fps. In fact, the system will run Q3 Windows version on Wine faster than Vista or XP can. We are testing on single core hardware to get a better idea of how good our kernel is scaling.

The advantages are also monetary. You don't have to buy an expensive console or a closed source OS to get a really fast system to play your games on.

I already have some pretty big developers interested and pitching in on the project, but I want to know what the hardcore gamers think :) Obviously the code has other applications, but I see the gaming market as a prime candidate for a new type of gaming model.. let's face it, Microsoft let everybody down with Vista and the economy is bad and getting worse... why wait for something years off from MS when you can get something better free?

Anybody interested?

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So you'd be aiming this at the current Windows gaming market?

You'd be using wine or another popular wrapper for the emulation?

Do you currently have a project homepage?

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The homepage will be www.gentellinux.com. I have not had time for any real marketing yet. But that is the domain I have and I will have it up in a few weeks or so. I need to finish getting some brand names copyrighted and whatnot. I prefer to spend my time developing instead of marketing. The kernel build that is specifically for gaming is being called "GameOS" right now. I have a white-paper on the development platform also, but I am reluctant to publish it off the bat because I don't want the Secret Sauce stolen yet ;) But if you are an interested developer or want to contribute in any way we can certainly let you in on it!

As for the Windows market, yes... I think now is a good time to push the idea that you can move to Linux and loose nothing. Obviously games that are ported to Linux will run faster but game on wine so far are performing extremely well.

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In theory this would work,

From previous experiences this can go horribly wrong.

When you introduce this make sure this is designed for games and nothing else (Supported)

Then you have the mental image of a free alternative to Cedega etc

Of this is just my personal opinion,

I'd be happy to have another OS residing on my machine dedicated to games without the hassle of manually going through a larger amount of fuss with Wine.

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In theory this would work,

From previous experiences this can go horribly wrong.

When you introduce this make sure this is designed for games and nothing else (Supported)

That is the idea. Obviously some variable have to be somewhat frozen in order to control things off the bat. For instance we are looking to support Intel and nVidia as the major hardware in the system, but since it's Gentoo you can customize all you want! Supporting these guys first means we do things right with all the low level stuff. We also are running tests with the Killer Nic beta driver for Linux and PhysX drivers also. (PhysX drivers will soon be out for the Cuda chips)

So really we are interested in supporting the gaming hardware first because we want the fastest systems possible. somebody like TransGaming may end up working well, but that is pay for play software. The base system will come with a wrapper to install closed source drivers once the system is up... can't really do it any other way in the US or we'd do it exactly like Sabayon does it.

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Most games are backwards compatible with Directx 9 so just stick with that until Wine has library support for Directx10,

I'm presuming you have a valid Windows license in use so stick with that.

If you don't pay for a product (indirectly & directly) don't complain about features which take massive amounts of time to implement.

Suggest them!

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This is going to sound totally crazy but bear with me it's a rough idea of one project I had an Idea for after some chatting on www.Hak5.org/live

Yes I want to be just such a system sort of like the Pandora Linux Gaming Hand held. I love the Idea and will probably being doing some good old fashioned Hackware hacking. Probably before I get to some of my Software hacking projects. I have started a Totem pole system for Prioritizing this list of Projects. I've got alot going on in my head nuff said. Here are some examples of Ideas of have gotten hope you like them.

1.) Hack an Xbox 360 to run pretty much w.e code I want it to run.

2.) Do the same but with a Wii. (Much easier than Xbox 360)

3.) Do it to the PS3 ( Should be the Easiest to do since you can make it have Linux by Installing it as another OS.)

4.) Create a Totally FOSS Gaming Console

>>>>>>> Directed at Hardware Hackers with Some really nice Hardware:

_ Inside of it will be some Custom Hardware to play around & Write code on.

$$$$$ I would try to make it not too expensive at least the first mock up of it.

>>>>>>> I would put Built in Wifi with An External detachable antenna on it.

& Finnally It could double as a Hakbox that would be hard to trace because it would use Custom hardware/ or Modded Hardware to have little or no digital footprint. Also I'm thinking it should not have any devices attached to it with Manufacturer ID's because then anyone could tag it and ban it from connecting to the internet

I think it ought to look a very small Eee box Turned into a Laptop almost. It might need detachable LCD screens such that you can make it look less conspicuous

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Not sure how that relates directly to this thread,

Seems like a public todo list which I didn't need to here about.

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Right now we're really not worried about the DirectX/wine side of things. Since there are companies that handle just that and we are not trying to compete with them. What we are trying to do is make a gaming kernel that will work on any AMD or Intel system and is faster than anything else out there for gaming, workstation and supercomputer applications.

FYI we did some more tests this morning on graphics only. We are getting ~499fps on Linux while about 290fps on Vista Ultimate.

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You just have to be carefull in how you market this "new platform". Gos was shitty, but it managed to push out cheap computer, the problem? Many people returned them because they didnt know it was a windows system and they couldnt install their dancing ladies to the desktop. It sounds great, but steam is starting to port their engine to linux as this is posted so you will have competition. Compatibility is an issue to, Quake is just one game, are all windows games going to work the same? AND if so are there different methods of installing...where windows dumps files in System32 and Program files, will this dump them in the actual linux file system or is it all installed via wine? Very interesting, would love more info on it and how it works, without giving away the Secret Sauce of course.

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You just have to be carefull in how you market this "new platform". Gos was shitty, but it managed to push out cheap computer, the problem? Many people returned them because they didnt know it was a windows system and they couldnt install their dancing ladies to the desktop. It sounds great, but steam is starting to port their engine to linux as this is posted so you will have competition. Compatibility is an issue to, Quake is just one game, are all windows games going to work the same? AND if so are there different methods of installing...where windows dumps files in System32 and Program files, will this dump them in the actual linux file system or is it all installed via wine? Very interesting, would love more info on it and how it works, without giving away the Secret Sauce of course.

We have not given out any code as of yet.. but we are considering it. We want a *free* alternative for the masses that we make easy to set up. That, as you point out, is the main problem people face when trying out wine based solutions. We are working hard to make it easy to use as a PS3. You boot the system and insert a disk and the game menu pops up. That is the simplicity we are after for the system. We want to make it easy, so that people only have to reboot and, boom, they have a stupid fast gaming rig... or even no dual boot.

To me it seems that the world would have been on Linux a long time ago had they only been able to play the games they wanted easily. That is really what has kept Micosoft alive... and now they've slapt all those loyal gamers in the face with Vista... no hardware audio without a hack, only OS to have DX10 because they want your money... and now the econmy is crashing and people can't spend that kind of money. So Vista flopped. If we can get a system to the masses that plays games faster, on wine, that's free I think it's something to consider.

Q3, btw is only for testing, The system plays any Linux game or anything that Wine will run. Q3 is a cpu bound game that shows best how our kernel code is preforming. That is the only reason we mention it.

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