Croteam is an independent game developer founded in 1993 and is known for the Serious Sam game franchise. Their 1st puzzle game, The Talos Principle, is the 1st game that supported Vulkan, the next generation API based on AMD’s Mantle. Croteam is one of the many game developers that support cross-platform PC gaming and we decided to interview them so our fans and followers can know them and their awesome games better.
Back2Gaming: Can you share us a brief background about Croteam and its Linux team? Does any of you use Linux for their gaming PC’s at home? If yes, what distro?
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Croteam: We’ll be straight forward here – not many of us game on Linux. Some do, however, and it’s usually on the good ol’ Ubuntu that gets the job done.
Back2Gaming: What is the history on the company name and the company logo?
Croteam: There’s not much to say about that. We’re a Croatian team, so Croteam made sense. The logo is our twisted take on the Croatian checkerboard.
Back2Gaming: Aside from Valve’s push for Linux, what other reasons made Croteam decide to start porting games to Linux?
Croteam: The same thing that pushes us to work on any platform, really. We love seeing gamers on all platforms enjoy our games and that’s why we try our best to make an effort, no matter the size of the player base. Also, we love a challenge and developing games that work equally well on multiple platforms definitely can be challenging.
Back2Gaming: Do you find porting games to Linux easier now compared to 5 years ago? If yes, what factors made it so?
Croteam: Vulkan makes it easier. Also, we’ve upgraded our engine and made it so that it’s easy to make ports to all platforms of our interest. That allows us to achieve a lot without having to twist and bend our development process.
Back2Gaming: What are your criteria when deciding to bring a game on Linux? What is the hardest part in getting a game ported to Linux?
Croteam: If it makes sense, we’ll do it. Our engine already supports Linux, so why wouldn’t we. Hardest part? No such thing in our case.
Back2Gaming: What do you think is the biggest barrier to adoption of Linux for gaming? What can be done about it?
Croteam: The general lack of interest in playing video games on Linux would be the first barrier, and that is caused by the low number of regular users and the huge amount of fragmentation in the Linux community. Hopefully, that will change at some point, but that’s the case as of now.
Back2Gaming: According to the Steam Survey for July 2017, Linux only has 0.74% Steam market share. Do your sales figures agree with the Steam Survey result?
Croteam: We can’t really comment on sales at this point, sorry.
Back2Gaming: Even though in experimental stage, Vulkan showed big performance increase in The Talos Principle and in Serious Sam 3: BFE. Do you plan to use Vulkan in all of your upcoming Linux games? Why?
Croteam: We do. All our future releases will support Vulkan. We’re actually ditching OpenGL support and focusing completely on Vulkan for the very reason you mentioned in your question. Also, we believe Vulkan is the best low-level API out there, so it’s a no-brainer.
Back2Gaming: In February 14, 2013, Alen Ladavac was quoted by Valve “We’re huge fans of Linux. It’s like the indie OS – a perfect home for our indie game”. Will Croteam still consider a Linux port for Serious Sam 4 and other upcoming games? Why or why not?
Croteam: Of course. We’ll keep supporting Linux as well as any other platform we can. Sam 4 will be available on Linux, for the very reason we mentioned earlier – we believe everyone should be able to enjoy our games.
Back2Gaming: What is your stance on fighting piracy? Has Croteam ever considered releasing their games DRM-free?
Croteam: DRM’s are a necessity for us, but let’s not go any deeper with that talk. We’ve actually enjoyed making our iconic solutions. Not only were they fun to develop, it’s really fun watching people to react to them. Every now and then we get an inquiry about the “extremely fast unkillable red scorpion” in Serious Sam 3 and it always brings smiles to our faces.
Back2Gaming: AMD recently released AMDVLK, their open source Radeon Vulkan driver. Has Croteam done an internal testing comparing Vulkan performance of AMDVLK, RADV, and AMDGPU-PRO? What Vulkan driver will your upcoming games officially support?
Croteam: We haven’t really done much comparing of different drivers since that would require time and resources that we’d rather spend working the core stuff. That being said, we’ll support any driver that works, obviously.