|OLS 2001 coverage||
DirectX and Wine
Gavriel gave some background on Wine and Win32. Wine is not really an emulator per se, it is a clean room re-implementation of the Win32 API with a Win32 program loader. Wine does not require an instantiation of the Windows platform to be loaded; that can be done, but it tends to create problems. Windows binaries can be run directly under Wine.
The Winelib SDK was discussed. Windows apps can be recompiled under GCC to create an ELF executable. The process tends to be difficult due to the many differences between the two environments.
Some background was given on DirectX. DirectX is really a marketing term used to describe a number of different APIs, each with several versions. DirectX APIs support graphics in 2D, 3D, and support sound and user input functions. The DirectX version 7 APIs are commonly used by modern games, and that is the version that is being developed for under Wine. The Direct3D project translates DirectX graphics functionality to OpenGL, which works under the X window system as well as other platforms.
Many details were discussed concerning remapping API calls and dealing with different color systems and coordinate interpretations. This is where the bulk of the work is being done.
TransGaming Technologies is trying a fairly unique business model, they are selling subscriptions, and paying customers get to vote on where the company should focus its attention. If you want support for a particular game, get a subscription and cast your vote.
During the question session after the talk, one person asked how TransGaming Technologies can possibly keep up with the ever-moving target of new DirectX API versions. Gavriel answered that the majority of game manufacturers have the same problem, and a large number of games are released under a small number of Direct X versions.
Another person asked about copy protection, which is common on game software. Copy protection schemes embedded into some games can make them unable to run under Wine, though some of the copy protection issues have been worked around. Cooperation from game vendors is another possibility here, but the Linux market remains fairly small, so getting attention could be difficult.
An impressive graphical demo was run at the end of the talk,
the 3Dmark 2000 windows gaming benchmark ran through with a lot of
flashy 3D visuals. Sound, unfortunately was not working, although
that appeared to be a problem with the laptop.
Gavriel improvised sound effectss with the microphone.
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