GNU/Linux: do we have games at all? (Searching games)
Some good games for GNU/Linux
...and how to use wine in order to play some non linux-native games
first published at searchlores in February 2008 - work in fieri)
The aim of this small section is to help my own three kids and the many GNU/Linux user
that began to dispair after having
the extremely poor quality of most "linux games" (see the poor linux gamescape
below). In fact we will divide the list of hopefully good games into two sections:
a (unfortunately quite short) list of native (or ported to)
linux games and another, a tag longer, list of good windows games you can run through wine (once wine has been correctly configured).
The poor gamescape of GNU/Linux
What is a good game? It is a program you will use for YEARS, not for a couple of weeks. It must have
a deep strategical and tactical content. It must offer (almost) infinite variations. It must be
clever. Least AND last, the better the graphic, the better the experience. Unfortunately, this order
of priorities has been completely -and perversely- reversed on the marketplace. Games are sold for
their frills and graphic splendour, the game engines themselves are so poor (and often so buggy) that
after a couple of days users lose any interest. This is exemplified by the dire gamescape of almost
all consoles: first person shooters, almost all of them, but with prima-rate graphic, almost all
Note also the total absence of games with in-built EDITORS in most consoles. An editor that allows users to
implement their own ideas is the sine qua non for the longevity of a game. When thousand
people write their own scenarios or mods, you get a huge base of supporters and the game survives
the short market "pitch".
But most "frills" games rely only on graphic, and have no depth
Yet graphic is so unimportant that we can see many happily playing -in 2008!-
awful prehistoric "gwbasic" games, or simple java games, on their GSMs (granted:
most of such unwashed also "buy" ringtones and happily exchange -at high connection price-
useless MMSs... and since we are by GSM zombies:
Why would anyone in the world
want to "rotate wallpapers" on
his GSM defies my comprehension).
Back to games. Truth is that there are not many games that deserve to be played.
Here a completely personal (YMMV: additions and suggestions -and critics- are welcome)
short list of "long term" games, some of them
quite old, that you should find, because you could, and probably will, play them
for some years:
Note that there's no first person shooter whatsoever in my list, they are all the same game anyway:
have played Quake or Openarena, you have played them all.
the very old "Ultima" series, the first RPG with a good thought story behind. Still a marvel
to play, even
if graphically quite obsolete. Seek its "Serpent Isle" episode.
the quite old "Steel panthers" series, still a tactical and strategical little marvel.
This game was among the first to initiate the "editor for the masses" trend.
What a bliss
-isn't it- to reconstruct yourself Avigdor Kahalani's stand in the Golan or to
play -say- a fictious Danemark attack against Ireland?
the fantastic, a little less old, "Combat Mission" series: CMBO, CMBB and CMAK (especially CMBB, the best
of the trilogy). Combat Mission has a very good editor as well.
This tactical (and strategical) simulation
can be played and enjoyed immediately, yet hides a huge learning curve,
necessary to fully appreciate its depths.
To the above list we could add
Fact is, as we will see below, that GNU/Linux
still offers very few satisfying games. I mean: games à la "tux racer" are a joke
can advice such things as "good games for linux" without blushing goes completely beyond me).
- a good chess game (for instance fritz7, easy to find on the web)
a good flight simulator (xplane and Flightgear that run native in GNU/Linux,
could both become a good
flight simulator, but for the moment the bare fact is that microsoft has indeed
in flight simulators since the cro-magnon times, and it shows)
a good train simulator. Here you'll have to use wine, coz there's nothing for linux native.
Both Kuju's (ts and rs) and Auran's (trainz2004
and trainz 2006) games have been
released only for windows.
a good RPG (role playing game, neverwinternights is still the best, but oblivion isn't that bad
- and finally a
good poker/casino game for skill improving.
Wine, a windows "non emulator" (wine is
not an emulator) comes to the rescue and
allows us to play some good games until we'll have enough "critical mass" to
compel the game producers to reserve to the growing mass of GNU/Linux
users the attention they should reserve to their own future.
Good native (or ported to) linux games
A short list I am afraid (additions and suggestions -and critics- are welcome):
RPG: Neverwinternights: Very good (maybe the best) RPG on earth.
FPS: Quake 4 and Openarena (which is Quake 3): good first person shooters
if you like to first person shoot. Quake4 will need a strong box, else it won't run.
If it starts in spanish,
as it does when first installed in GNU/Linux,
modify the /q4base/Quake4Config.cfg and substitute "spanish" with
"english" (or "german" or "italian", or whatever).
Flightgear and x-plane: Flightgear is a rough-edged flight simulator. But at least is improving
all the time. X-plane is a commercial attempt and they pretend you "buy" parts of it, but at least
is a native linux game.
According to ~S~ Kane, FreeCIV (free Civilization) and
FreeCOL (free Colonization) should
be mentioned: "I lost more time of my life in the civ and col variants than nearly any other game"
Eboard for chess it's worth a mention
as well: works with local engines like gnuchess and other xboard protocols
and over the free internet chess server. I still prefer Fritz7 through wine, though.
A short list I am afraid (additions and suggestions -and critics- are welcome):
Well, let's see: train simulators, rail simulators, some strategy/tactic, RPGs, even FPSs, and chess and cards...
after all the list we had prepared above is quite fullfilled
through linux native games and through wine-enabled games. Unfortunately Combat Mission
and flight simulator 2004 and X (i.e. flight simulator 9 and 10)
do not run through the current version of wine... but soon or later they will!
Train simulators: Auran's TRS2004 and Auran's TSR2006 both run perfectly on GNU/Linux
through wine (leave plenty of resolution and screen space for them, configuring
winecfg DO NOT "emulate a virtual desktop").
Fantastic games, both. To these you can add (if you still manage to
find it) the small edition of
JTTraindriver, a lovely reconstruction of the
branch of the
Great Western Railway (yes, the image is from JOWETT's), with stops at Minehead, Dunster, Blue Anchor, Washford, Watchet,
Williton, Stogumber, Crowcombe, Bishops Lydeard and Norton, where there's a junction to
the main line in direction Taunton if eastbound and in direction Milverton if westbound.
The advantage with JTTrainDriver is that you don't even need to install it: just copy
the subdirectory direct from windows and launch the executable through wine.
Strategy & Tactic: "Steel panthers" engine has been released to
Matrix games, that produces SPMBT and SPWAW2.
But only version 8.20 of Steel Panthers world at war
can run on Linux through wine without patching the mouse's cursor, because you
can launch it through MECH.EXE.
SPMBT (Steel Panthers
Main Battle Tank) and all other versions of Spwaw need the patch, else you wont be
able to see your cursor once you play them.
Fritz 7: A very powerful chess engine, with a deep database and all the paraphernalia you
might wish. This relatively older (but complete) version 7 is quite easy
to find on the web, it's almost "abandonedware", since fritz has currently reached the
'overkill' version 11, that speaks a lot, but that for the rest noone
You can install
Fitz 7 (or just copy all the directories inside your GNU/Linux partition) and play it through wine.
Hoyle casino 2006. A good cards/roulette game. Runs perfectly using wine.
Use it to improve your poker skills :-)
In winecfg fix the sound problems using BOTH the ALSA and the OSS drivers, if
in doubt, drop ALSA and keep OSS.
RPG: Oblivion, a decent and recent RPG, runs perfectly through wine. Give it plenty of resolution
and screen space.
The really nice thing with GNU/Linux is that it improves al the time!
(c) 3rd Millennium: [fravia+], all rights reserved, reversed, revealed and