After much tweaking and testing using OpenGL, the initial 6fps (frames per second) displayed on the first installations of L4D2 on Linux, have yielded a massive gain peaking at 315fps!
Valve, shocked and downright impressed, applied the same tweaks to a Windows installation run under DirectX but could only manage 270fps on the same hardware.
OpenGL is a standard specification that defines a multi-platform API used for producing graphics. DirectX is another such graphics based API, but for Microsoft platforms only.
Valve credits the impressive frame rate over the Microsoft installation, run under Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit, to less overhead and simply that it runs cleaner. Further tweaking to the DirectX API could not achieve as impressive results.
Though the numbers indicate quite a fair difference in performance there are arguments and no real answer for the question of “how many frames per second can the human see”. I would imagine that given similar display hardware, to distinguish between 315 and 270fps would be near on impossible.
Still, that won’t stop the “numbers” people that insist that raw numbers define performance rather than user experience, and this could be the start of another Microsoft vs. the World argument.
If this trend continues, and if this practise will carry on over into other ported games, I could definitely see a bright future for Linux gaming. Hardcore gamers don’t spend 3 months wages to surf the net quicker or modify documents and if there’s a frame per second gain to be had, you can guarantee that some dip a toe in the water to see what all the fuss is about.