This week RootGamer interviewed Mathieu Comandon, an open-source fanatic, software engineer and core developer of ‘Lutris‘. Lutris is an open gaming platform for GNU/Linux. It aims at supporting as many games as possible thanks to emulators and providing a simple and reliable experience when installing games.
What is the motivation for you to develop ‘Lutris‘?
Mathieu: Linux games have always been a bit troublesome to install and configure. Much more than Windows for example. I saw the need for a tool that would ease things up. I started Lutris when I abandoned the idea of contributing to PlayOnLinux. It’s a great project but wasn’t comfortable with the code base mixing bash and Python and I wanted a tool that would allow many more games than PoL does: Native games, Windows games, Playstation, Super Nintendo, Gamecube, arcade, Atari 2600 … If it can run on Linux, it should be supported by Lutris.
Do you develop Lutris all alone?
Mathieu: The team is really small sadly. I’m the only core developer and there’s one regular contributor who helps testing things, improving the UI, giving feedback and all sort of useful things. Also, I was very pleased with the Arch Linux community: when I asked them to delete an obsolete package from their AUR repos, I got 2 new packages (stable and git) almost instantly. Since then a couple Arch users are staying on the IRC channel (#lutris on Freenode). These contributions are already awesome, but I’d really appreciate some help on the development, it feels a bit lonely right now
What features are you currently working on?
Mathieu: I’m currently working on better integration with Steam. Things like switching from Steam Linux to Steam Wine, syncing your Steam library into Lutris and installing game data from Steam for games (such as Unreal Tournament, the Quake series, …) that are native but aren’t available on Steam Linux and providing usable installers. These features are almost ready and should be released soon. After that, I’ll be working on setting up Personal Game Archives where you can keep all the files required to install a game on a storage device you have under control, which would allow you to reinstall games on all of your machines. It’s like what Steam does but it doesn’t rely on any 3rd party service, not even lutris.net. This feature should also handle game saves.
Where do you see room for improvement??
Mathieu: In the future, I’d like to have better controller support (there’s already xboxdrv support but it’s very experimental and doesn’t have a GUI). More game runners (emulators and any program that run games) support. Integration with the TOSEC database (ideally, lutris could provide support for every single game in the TOSEC database and there’s thousands of them). I also plan putting some social features such as adding a friends list (with chat) and the ability to organize multiplayer gaming events
What is your ultimate goal with Lutris?
Mathieu: The ultimate goal is to provide support for every game ever released, as long as it can run on Linux. This often requires to patch some emulators that haven’t been updated in years. Lutris isn’t just about the GTK client and the website, it’s also about the game runners and maintaining them in a healthy state.
How may the community contribute the Lutris project?
Mathieu: Like I said before, the contributions are made from a quite small number of people. However, that’s understandable because Lutris hasn’t yet reached the maturity of a tool such as PlayOnLinux. With the rise of gaming on Linux coming from Steam, the new features and more stability, I hope to see more and more people contributing. Most parts of Lutris are not very complicated and it’s written in Python, I think it’s quite easy to contribute to this project. It’s also possible to contribute by writing installers for games. The syntax is quite straight forward and uses the YAML formatting. Everything needed in order to write installers should be available on the website (on the new installer form) but if it’s not clear please notify me or use existing installers as an example. I plan adding a web UI to help creating installers, making this even easier.
The game management tool ‘Lutris‘ is exclusive to Linux