Linux Games

May 21, 2007


I promised an entry about my adventures with games and Linux, so I figured I should get on it.  I have had some interesting times.


Just to recap, I was attempting to use Crossover Office to port some of my games to a machine running Mepis 6.06.  My 30 day trial ran out and I wish I had something positive to report.  Age of Empires never did get running or even installed. 


A suggestion was made to quit whining about trying to run Windows games and try running games more native to Linux.  What a wonderful idea!


So I went looking for some Linux games that I might like.  Glest 2.0 looked very promising, but I never found a binary for it.  If you’re going to ask me to compile code, you should first have me perform exploratory brain surgery on you.  It would be just as painless.  I actually did find a somewhat fun RTS game called Bos wars.  And it is fun and runs very nicely…on Windows.


Somehow I got turned on to a game called Stepmania, and am looking forward to gaming myself into better shape.  This game has actually been pretty cool to play…in Windows.


In both of the above cases, the downfall is the installation process.  You simply can not install a game or program as easily in Linux as you can in Windows.  When you load a program into windows, you click the executable and it works.  When clicking it in Linux, that is not necessarily true.  I did consult various boards and support forums, and found lots of other people were asking about how to get Stepmania working and they either didn’t get answers or they were not answered in proper English.  Not that my Linux system would run it anyway, since there’s some problem with the video driver not rendering in 3D or something.


The trick seems to be to find something in a distro repository and then letting the package manager handle the installation.  And this is how I found an inferior substitute for Stepmania called Pydance.  I’ll give it a try, but it simply is not as rich as its other open source cousin.  However it does work and the Stepmania song library will work with some amount of effort.


So this makes me wonder: are there any games that would work better in Linux than Windows? 


One major attraction of a Linux system is that it seems to use less resources than the Windows counterpart.  I don’t need 256 mb RAM to have a decent system for surfing on the internet, doing email or writing a letter or two and listening to some podcasts.  I’m trying to figure out why the games are so lame. 


With more and more games being done online, this whole issue may become moot, anyway as those seem to be more willing to indulge different platforms.


In the meantime, I won’t be giving up my Windows machine any time soon.  At the same time, I do want to move a Linux machine in just to see if I can find enough uses for having one around to save an old crate from a landfill.





  1. Alright, I’m going to counter everything I’ve said before. This post was damn funny. I’m particularly fond of the statement “What a wonderful idea.” (I believe I, and others like me, may have provided the inspiration that caused said response.)

    256MB of RAM is nice until you try to find half decent presentation software (OpenOffice.org or KPresenter – the only solution is Powerpoint under WINE, use PDFs, or something completely unsuited to the task). I hate presentation software, and think it shouldn’t be used, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t expected to be used far too often. 256MB of RAM is nice under Windows too – in fact, with the exception of distros like Puppy and Vector, which I personally dislike, 256MB is less on Linux than Windows [XP].

    BSDs are better for Landfill systems. Between NetBSD, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD; and with support for binary packages AND source compilations…

    I agree installing software from a third-party sucks. Still, you are on Puppy, which has a small userbase. For one, even the fact that a binary will run [whether it crashes or not] is an amazing thing – prior to the industry standardizing on ELF, there were competing formats…

    But I also now think that the entire community is moving the wrong way. They should be moving in the direction GoboLinux is taking. That of one directory per program per version. A single binary could be made for all distributions, updated periodically, with library dependencies filled in by the package manager.

    GoboLinux also offers my other favourite thing, that of binary and source distribution, all together. Linux proves it’s resiliency in that when many are wrong, one may still be right. [GoboLinux has one big flaw, and that’s an incredibly small userbase; GoboLinux with the userbase of Gentoo would be an amazing system to behold.]

    Gaming is hit and miss, but in general reports seem positive once things are up and running. I can’t play games, I have an ATI graphics card, the closed-source drivers just keep messing up, and the open-source drivers crash the system – even Magic SysRq doesn’t respond – when I attempt anything GL at all. So, I just use VESA. Funny thing is that even this won’t make me leave Gentoo/Linux. But people with nVidia and/or Intel cards seem to get better performance on Linux than Windows, even with some DirectX games running through a reinterpretation library. Personally, I’m hoping for something useful out of the AMD+ATi merger, and the promise of opening [portions] of their drivers.

  2. This particular machine was an 860 Mhz P3 with 350 RAM and running Mepis 6.0…using the Ubuntu repositories, so userbase is not an issue here. But giving Puppy 2.15 isn’t a bad idea since I do fancy having a leaner system.

    But really, it DID seem like a wonderful idea at the time!


  3. I think that everyone wishes it could just work nicely. Eh, whatever. Better than Vista, from my experience. (I view Vista like the FreeBSD 3 series – it’s worse than the prior, but it’s a necessary evolution.)

    As for GLEST, don’t you just love the Debian [and often inherited by Ubuntu] policy of no non-free software? Debian is a great academic distribution. I still prefer Gentoo over Debian any day. And Kate, Slackware, Arch, Gobo, FreeBSD, and NetBSD also [over Debian]. On a good day, I prefer Mandriva over Debian too. [Bad days are when I am reminded of why I hate RPM.]

    The Distribution hierarchy of greatness goes (from best to worst):
    Gentoo, FreeBSD, Arch, GoboLinux, NetBSD, Mandriva, KateOS, Ubuntu, Slackware, Zenwalk, Debian, RedHat, SuSE, VectorLinux.

    FreeBSD would be better than Gentoo, but for Crossover and Cedega only working most of the time on Linux. NetBSD would be better if it had ACL support. Some rankings {Gobo +4, KateOS +1} are increased due to potential. Ease of installation is not a factor compared to ease of maintenance. Personal opinion.

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