Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

PC-BSD Day 23: Installing PC-BSD 1.4 final and a first look at the games

Today I started with a final attempt to install PC-BSD on a physical hard drive. This disk I know is good and has been working up to this day without so much as a hickup. Sadly, again I was confronted with error messages and no PC-BSD install. Not a good start and a major disappointment considering I must have installed dozens of Windows, Linux, BeOS and QNX versions on this collection of hard drives. Since I did not see an outcry of complaints in the forums about this problem it must be on my end. Maybe PC-BSD doesn’t like the swappable hard drives, maybe there is another conflict. At this time I wanted to call it quits with the physical install and finish this series with the virtual install only.

PC-BSD in all it’s glory

Then there was Gustavo’s suggestion. Maybe it were the aperture settings for the graphics card. I have a nVida N6200 256 Mb card. Following the suggestion I went to the BIOS and changed it to 128 Mb and AGP 2x instead of 4x. After that it was a matter of selecting the proper nVidia driver and there it was: the PC-BSD desktop from a physical hard drive.

One of the first things I tested was Compiz Fusion. I’m a sucker for eye candy and though I don’t want to have it enabled all the time, it does make working with the computer more pleasant. Compiz Fusion simply worked. The rotating cube was there and all the effects. I selected on of the included Emerald themes and the desktop looks amazing now.

Gaming under PC-BSD

This solution makes it possible to write something about gaming under PC-BSD. The ports collection reveals an interesting collection of games, most of which should be familiar to the Linux gamer. There is the set for the casual gamer like the various Tetris clones, card games and some arcade racers. My personal favorite Neverwinter Nights is also there. It isn’ t a native version but the Linux version. This can be done by using Linux Binary Compatibility (chapter 10 of the FreeBSD handbook).

What other games makes use of LBC to run under PC-BSD? I found America’s Army, Darwinia, Defcon, Doom, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Quake III and Unreal Tournament. Just like under Linux First Person Shooters appear to be supported the best. There are Free-BSD ports for Alien Arena, Open Arena, Sauerbraten and Nexuiz. You want to play your favorite shooter with some friends, but also want to run a FreeBSD server? It should be possible considering the string of Halflife server packages or Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force packages. Add FlightGear, TORCS and Boswars to the mix and you have a fairly complete gaming environment to spend a few hours. And I thought I was fragged for not having a physical install. Good thing the community was there to come to the rescue.

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