As a follow-up to yesterdays discussion and news about The Sims on Linux, I got an email from Gavriel State, TransGaming’s CEO and CTO. TransGaming provides a distribution of Linux to the masses that contains a modified version of some Open Source software called Wine (they call their solution WineX). Wine allows you to run Windows applications under Linux, much like you run Windows apps under VirtualPC on the Mac. TransGaming (a Canadian company) is providing this package to people that don’t want to get all techy with Linux and just install something with the click of a button as it were. From the website:

WineX includes a new implementation of the Microsoft DirectX® multimedia APIs, including Direct3D – the core graphics system most Windows games use for hardware accelerated 3D. This allows many Windows games to run straight out of the box, and in many cases without a significant performance penalty. We are able to achieve this by mapping hardware-accelerated DirectX calls to equivalent calls to Linux native APIs such as OpenGL, which are similarly accelerated.

The email he sent me asked a few details about my involvement with Maxis and The Sims and explained how they were packaging up The Sims with their latest release:

…Finally, as far as our use of Wine to port the game goes, we’ve structured things so that as far as the end user is concerned, they don’t even know that Wine is there. When they buy the Mandrake Linux gaming edition, they simply choose to install The Sims, and they get a nice icon on their desktop to launch the game. Couldn’t be simpler.

Personally I wouldn’t call it a port. You’re still running over another layer of emulation but sounds pretty good to me if you’re looking for an alternative to Windows but still want to play The Sims. You can get some more info about The Sims running on Linux here, which includes some screenshots of it running on their distribution using Mandrake. I’m not sure if Maxis will support a setup like this though so caveat emptor.