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Crytek embraces Linux and SteamOS

Valve's Steam Machine consoles are getting a shot in the arm from Crytek, which has promised native Linux support in its latest game engine.

The fourth-generation CryEngine is being used in several upcoming games, including EvolveHomefront 2 and Star Citizen. It also powers the Xbox One launch title Ryse: Son of Rome. CryEngine's newfound Linux support doesn't necessarily mean these games are coming to Valve's Steam Machines, but it could allow for Linux ports in the future.

As Ars Technica points out, Crytek's announcement doesn't mention Linux support for the older CryEngine 3. Roughly 30 games are currently using the older engine, including Crytek's popular first-person shooter series Crysis and a handful of indie titles. A job posting from last year did hint at Linux support for CryEngine 3, though this could have been an error.

Crytek plans to show off CryEngine's Linux support during the Game Developers Conference next week. It'll be interesting to see if any other publishers or developers make commitments to Linux and SteamOS at the conference. So far, most major publishers have skipped Linux, through the platform has seen growing support from indie developers.

Valve itself is trying to quicken the pace of Linux support by open-sourcing its Direct3D to OpenGL transition layer, which the company has used for its own games that run on the Source engine. According to ExtremeTech , the source code could lead to more Linux support among game engines, thereby enabling more SteamOS games. But because the code works only with Direct3D 9, rather than the newer Direct3D 10 or 11, it would come in handy mostly for porting older games to Valve's platform.

For games that don't support Linux, Steam Machines will allow in-home streaming from another PC over a local network. This is not an ideal solution, given that it requires a speedy home network and a second computer, but it'll have to suffice until more SteamOS support materializes. The first Steam Machines will launch sometime this year.

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