Please Forgive Me!

I’ve got some bad news for Linux users that I was hoping I wouldn’t have to announce – I’ve tried everything I can think of, but I can’t get a version of VVVVVV working on Linux. I’m out of ideas and it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Believe me, I’m as annoyed about this as I’m sure you are.

Flash is supposed to be cross platform, so I was under the impression that making a standalone Linux version just involved making a flash projector on Linux (like it did on a Mac). That’s not the case – I was horrified to discover on the day of the release that the Linux version was completely broken; it wasn’t displaying the graphics properly, and it didn’t take any keyboard input at all.

Since the launch I’ve optimistically tried everything I could to get it working, but VVVVVV is a flash game, and I’m completely at the mercy of how well flash works in Linux. I had some success using different versions of the standalone player, and I tried making changes to the game to hopefully work around the various problems I was having. The closest I got was by making an AIR version of the game and running it with the new (still in beta) version of AIR 2.0 – and that still had serious problems. The game had an audio lag of a couple of seconds, ran very slowly in fullscreen and worst of all, randomly called KeyUp events when you were holding down a key, which completely breaks the game’s controls.

I’m… disappointed that Flash support on Linux isn’t better than it is, but there’s nothing I can do.

There is at least some consolation, though – VVVVVV seems to work very well on Linux through Wine, at least in a window. With the patch I’ve been working on, I’m going to make the game a bit more Wine friendly by having it start in windowed mode. edit: WAIT FOR THE PATCH!

As well as that, I’ve also been looking into making an online version of the game available too which should work better (since the flash browser plug in on linux seems to be a lot better than the standalone version, for whatever reason). More on that in the next few days.

In any case, I’ll keep trying – hopefully a newer version of the Linux flash standalone player comes along at some point to fix these issues. I wish there was more I could do 🙁


42 Comments so far

  1. CjEggett on January 22nd, 2010

    Sorry to hear this! Any other platform ports planned?


  2. InfiniteAlec on January 22nd, 2010

    Sorry to hear that. :'(

  3. Joe Larson on January 22nd, 2010

    Ooh, that doesn’t bode well for ASCIIpOrtal’s browser based version. I thought that’d solve all my compatibility issues. Shoulda realized.

    Ah well. Gonna do it anyways.

  4. X-0ut on January 22nd, 2010

    Terry, try and pop into #ludumdare, theres some people here that might be able to help.

  5. Antony_256 on January 22nd, 2010

    Thanks for trying 🙂

  6. Paul Harrison on January 22nd, 2010

    Are you using 64 bit or 32 bit Linux? 32 bit is far more mature, and there are significant graphical issues that only occur in 64 bit. Some only in 64 bit with Nvidia cards and Compiz on.

    While this sucks for me as a 64 bit user, at least the 32s could get some play 🙂

  7. tremby on January 22nd, 2010

    The demo worked absolutely perfectly for me in Firefox on Linux.

    Why not just provide a SWF file and some HTML to wrap it in, making the game area however big the browser window is? I don’t need a launcher and it doesn’t have to be a single self-contained file. It’d look a bit homebrew but hey — it is homebrew.

  8. Terry on January 22nd, 2010

    @ Paul – I’m using 32 bit. Is 64 bit even worse?

    @ tremby – I’m going to do that (more or less) with the online version!

  9. Kyle on January 22nd, 2010

    Amanita Design (Machinarium, Samorost) has had success with Linux and Flash. I notice that with Samorost2 they wrap the SWF in HTML, but it works. Maybe I’m comparing apples to oranges, but at least you’ve given it an earnest try.

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease. At least Linux is getting a shout-out.


  10. PsySal on January 22nd, 2010

    Well you gave it an honest shot. Actually the thing to do might be bug adobe about the standalone player. One possible avenue of bugging them might be through the forums for the beta version of their Eclipse plugin, Flex Builder. It comes with a standalone player, but that player seems to be crap compared to the regular flash player and is cause of me not wanting to do flash development.

    Really, Flash needs to be open. Period.

    If Flash were an open standard, Adobe would have no concerns about being overwhelmed by a rival, closed platform like Silverlight. It wouldn’t affect their ability to sell related products, that I can see. Sigh… Adobe is the real reason VVVVVV won’t work on Linux.

  11. Anonymous on January 23rd, 2010

    That KeyUp thing sounds very much like the problems I had playing “Run Around The World”, another Flixel game. Since it relies on holding in the up arrow key to stay in the air, it was totally unplayable. This was even when playing it in the browser plugin.

    In addition to that, I don’t think I’ve had truly low-latency sound from linux on flash *from an interactive application* in years. Actually, I’m not sure I ever have. But streaming video sites such as youtube work fine; it’s only interactive flash apps that have laggy sound. It’s not usually as bad as 1s latency, but it’s always there.

    For what it’s worth, the beta version worked fine on my Linux computer (of course with slightly laggy sound, but I’m used to that).

    Thanks for giving it a shot, and I’m glad you’re considering the online version.

  12. Christopher Armstrong on January 23rd, 2010

    Oops, I forgot to fill out my name in that last comment. That was me 🙂

  13. Mass on January 23rd, 2010

    Well, thanks for giving it a serious try.

    I bought the game, and would like a Linux native copy, but I will find a Win system for this game. I’m disappointed in Adobe for their lame Linux support. Any chance for a game using the Java runtime?

  14. Xander on January 23rd, 2010

    Thank you sincerely for trying so hard. I was holding out to buy the game in Linux form, but I guess I’ll go with WINE.

    And yeah, screw Adobe and their dodgy Flash on Linux support.

  15. Anonymous on January 23rd, 2010

    For your next game, consider using QT or a game library based off it. Develop it once, instant cross platform. Much more native code than Flash, so, you can get more performance if you need it (for effects and filters and whatever). Also, you won’t have to worry about people ripping the swf file and posting your beta to certain sites.

  16. Juri on January 23rd, 2010

    Ouch, that’s a disapointment, but we (linux users) all knew, what a pain flash is on our systems. I truly hate it.

    I bought the game based on that premise and I’m really sad that it’ll probably not happen anymore.

    I know, making games with flash is easy and all, but might I beg you, to invest the extra time, and code your next games in something else, even if it’s java? Lot’s of game programmers are doing really well, making their ware cross-platform and all. I think the effort is worth it.

  17. Anonymous on January 23rd, 2010

    That’s disappointing, but considering Adobe’s effort with Linux Flash, it’s probably just the way it’s going to be. Not that it’d ever be supported for my platform of choice (FreeBSD), so as I’m content on running Windows on dualboot, it isn’t a problem.

    So don’t worry. At least for me, running the game is no sweat in any case, and I’m content on you at least putting in effort on trying to support us who aren’t Windows advocates. I appreciate it.

    Also, Terry I bought the game roughly 10 minutes ago. I’m one of the guys who found the game out via the leaked 4chan beta. Without it, I’d never have heard of it. And now you have my money.

  18. Vehka on January 24th, 2010

    This is sad news indeed. After playing the demo on Kongregate (which worked well in my Ubuntu), I was really looking forward to the full version. Maybe I’ll give the Wine version a shot.

    Thanks for trying to support Linux, in any case!

  19. Circle on January 25th, 2010

    Mmmm. This game looks fantastic. Though, it seems a bit short. I plan to purchase the game once a Linux version pops up.

    (<3 the music)

  20. Anonymous on January 25th, 2010

    When are you planning on realeasing an update? Surely a version without the fullscreen mode could be released pretty soon?


  21. Terry on January 25th, 2010

    yes, very soon!

  22. Anonymous on January 25th, 2010

    Online version would be a very good choice for Linux’s point of view, as stand-alone application would depend on various libraries that need 32 or 64 bit versions installed and will break eventually. At least I would like to have a browser version, as it would work on every platform on which flash works.

  23. Ugly American on January 26th, 2010

    Using Flash also means you’re locked out of most phones.

    Just something for everyone to consider moving forward.

  24. Anonymous on January 26th, 2010

    Won’t flash 10.1 will be available on android, webos and win mobile in a month or so?

  25. Anonymous on January 26th, 2010

    @ Ugly American So how many native Windows or OS X applications do you run on your phone normally? I thought so.

  26. Byproduct on January 27th, 2010

    Nokia N900 has had Flash since its release. VVVVVV demo on Kongregate works, and it’s very playable too, thanks to the simple controls!

    Unfortunately, it’s kind of choppy as are all flash apps that are embedded into large web pages. With a fullscreen option it would probably run very smoothly, but the demo doesn’t have such an option.

  27. zacH on January 27th, 2010

    Blah. That’s disappointing. Not your fault, though.

    I guess I’ll download the Windows version at some point, since I paid and all. Thanks for trying.

  28. Dave on January 27th, 2010

    I put you on notcot! Love the game keep on trucking!

    NOTCOT link –

  29. Hodge on January 28th, 2010

    Just tried the Kongregate demo with the standalone Linux Flash player and it seemed to work fine, though it froze when I tried it fullscreen. Both controls and sound worked fine, though. I’m on 64-bit, too. Do the problems only occur when you try to make a projector?

    Will also re-iterate the sentiment that Adobe’s Linux support is *very* partially-rectummed… which is a shame as the Flex/Air stuff is really interesting.

    Thanks for trying… maybe all us Linux peeps should bombard Adobe with feature requests :).

  30. T_U on January 28th, 2010

    The great Machinarium uses flash too… And the Linux version works “OK” though it is very slow here in fullscreen – I had to play in windowed mode.

    There is definitely something wrong with Flash & Linux. I wonder who / what is really at fault but there result is so 🙂

  31. T_U on January 28th, 2010

    BTW, it’s great you tried anyway 🙂

  32. Bwakathaboom on January 28th, 2010

    Have you tried MDM Zinc? It’s a Flash projector and they have a plug-in that exports to Linux. You have to compile from Windows or Mac, though and it’s a bit pricey.

  33. Terry on January 28th, 2010

    I looked into that too – Zinc just wraps around the flash player and adds a bit of functionality, it doesn’t actually improve on the Linux player at all.

  34. Weeble on January 28th, 2010

    So sad to hear it; thanks for trying!

    I’ve observed quite a lot of Flash games that are broken for me on Linux due – I assume – to those KeyUp events you mention. For anyone else experiencing that problem when playing Flash games, I do have an only-slightly-awkward workaround: turn off autorepeat while you’re playing. In Ubuntu I do that by going to System->Preferences->Keyboard and unchecking “Key presses repeat when key is held down”.

    (PS – From a quick check with xev, I think this may be an X-Windows thing. When keys are auto-repeating it sends key-ups and key-downs and I can’t see how to distinguish an autorepeat key-up from a genuine key-up. Also, here’s someone having the same problem in Java: )

  35. Weeble on January 28th, 2010

    Sorry to double-post. I read up on the autorepeat stuff a bit more and it looks like a native application would just use XkbSetDetectableAutorepeat to get autorepeat behaviour like Windows (i.e. multiple KeyDowns but only one KeyUp). I guess somebody needs to tell that to Adobe.

  36. VVVVVV » F!XMBR on January 28th, 2010

    […] sofort, das Spiel ist für Windows und den Mac zu haben, die Linux-Version bereitet den Machern noch ein paar Kopfschmerzen.  Ich kann das Spiel nur empfehlen – solch feine Indie-Perlen sollten unbedingt […]

  37. Linux jurpo mulukku on January 29th, 2010

    WAAT… I has OpenSuse 64x in 2 of my computers. I have flash 10 installed from repo and I use compiz on both computers with nvidia graphix card. I have been playing this game for couple hours now and it works perfectly!!!!!!!!! tried this at school in windows today and it looked just the same as in linux.

  38. toivo on January 31st, 2010

    My problem to get it running (wine under ubuntu64) was that the game wants to start in fullscreen mode, which doesn’t work.

    Here’s how I got it to work:
    * Dual boot to windows, run the game and change to windowed mode.
    * Copy the flash cache files stored by the game from windows to the appropriate place under wine. The fullscreen/windowed mode setting is stored in there somewhere!

    (Check out: Local Shared Object on wikipedia for the appropriate place.
    To find the %APPDATA% directory under wine:
    wine cmd
    echo %APPDATA%

    The game seems to run perfectly under wine, now that I got it into windowed mode!

  39. Anonymous on February 1st, 2010

    How about a release date for a patch? I still don’t get what’s taking so long for a patch just to disable full screen.

  40. Mungo on February 6th, 2010

    The demo worked absolutely perfectly for me in Firefox on Linux.

  41. Marco Nadal on March 3rd, 2010

    The reason your game doesn’t work on Linux is that there is no such thing as “Linux”.

    There are a large number of vendors that package open source code into distributions. They are all different from each other. Also, they update every 6 months for no apparent benefit to anyone.

    If you are having problems with Flash, it’s up to the vendor to fix it, not Adobe. Neither your distro vendor nor You paid Adobe for support.

    What makes you think Adobe owes you anything?

    If Linux were a “standard”, there would be one sound library, one window manager, one display system etc. and all devs could compile their app to work on all standard-compliant Linux systems.

    There really is no way to write a (non-trivial) app and have it work across distros.
    The whole “tinker with it until it works” approach is kinda the point. If you want a system that just works, you’d buy a game console (zero hassle, no freedom), or a Windows PC (some hassle, freedom to run 1,000s of OSS).

  42. JP on March 27th, 2010

    Marco, your random rancor towards Linux is puzzling. Users of Windows didn’t pay Adobe anything for support either.

    Linux is a complex amalgam, but with its support of multiple APIs, multiple versions and commitment to backward compatibility, Windows is closer to it than to Mac.

    There are definitely several platforms in which you can write apps that work across multiple OSes, let alone Linux distros, though I’d be curious to hear your definition of “non-trivial”. Is World of Goo not industrial strength enough for you?

    In short, why the hate almost a month after this thread died?

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