Emulator developer Tony Wasserka has announced that he is going to be joining Valve, to work on open-source graphics for Linux. As part of Valve’s general push to improving gaming on Linux, his first project is going to be working on the RADV Vulkan driver, an open-source driver project for AMD GPUs on Linux.
Wasserka has been a major contributor to the development of the leading Gamecube and Wii emulator, Dolphin, where he maintained the GPU subsystem and implemented a Direct3D 11 rendering engine. Dolphin is the gold standard for console emulation, offering the most compatible and robust emulation of games for these classic Nintendo systems, and it’s a fully open-source project.
Wasserka also founded the Citra emulator project, an emulator for Nintendo’s 3DS line of handheld systems, where he designed and implemented the GPU emulation core from scratch.
He has also contributed to the WINE project, the compatibility layer that Valve’s Proton is built on top of, allowing users on Linux to play Windows versions of games.
It’s not unusual to see Valve hire people based on their work on personal projects that relate to Valve’s operations, and this seems like a great pairing, where someone who clearly has a lot of passion for getting games to work on systems they were never really intended to work on, and a company that’s trying to improve the experience of gaming on Linux, and to make as many Windows games available to Linux users as possible.
Wasserka posted a tweet stating that he was looking for work back in June, and now just a month later he followed up to announce that he would be joining Valve.
Hey Twitter, any of you need a C++ expert on your team? 😉
• 10+ years with modern C++ (incl. C++17)
• I build low-level things: Drivers, kernels, compilers, emulators, …
• Public Speaker
• Berlin-only (or remote)https://t.co/vBFtb0Ves1
Please RT for exposure💪
— Tony Wasserka (@fail_cluez) June 26, 2020
Going forward I'll be working with Valve on improving the state of open-source graphics for Linux, starting with the RADV AMD driver! 🎉 https://t.co/YrZxwJumn1
— Tony Wasserka (@fail_cluez) July 28, 2020
It’s going to be interesting to see what changes might come in the future from this hiring decision. Might we see AMD graphics card get a boost on Linux with updated drivers? Might we see more games become playable on Linux through Valve’s Proton? Linux gaming is in a better position than it’s ever been before, in some cases even offering better performance than Windows, and that’s largely down to the combined work of Valve and the open-source development community. This hiring decision suggests that it’s something Valve is committed to in the long run, and hopefully, we’ll see the fruits of this move sometime in the not too distant future.