Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

PC-BSD Day 26: Gaming under PC-BSD, part 1

Yesterday I was left with a system without a graphical interface. No doubt I could have fixed it by going into the xorg.conf file, but I took the easy route: a clean install. The next two days I will focus a bit more on the gaming experience under PC-BSD. I kept away from ports and packages and used only the available PBIs on the website. This means I also didn’t use the PBIs that yet have to be approved. My main focus is: (1) Will the PBIs run under this latest release of PC-BSD? and (2) Are the games running with a decent speed? My box is an AMD XP 2400+ with a nVidia N6200 256 Mb card (aperture set to 128 Mb) and 1 Gb RAM. Not exactly the latest model, but it should suffice for all of the tested games. I have tested most of the games before on a Sabayon Linux and an Ubuntu Linux box. For each game I will add some commercial lingo information. The screenshots are taken from the original websites.

Nexuiz

The first game I tested was Nexuiz . The game is described as:

Nexuiz is a 3d deathmatch game project, created online by a team of developers called Alientrap.

Once you launch the game you can set up your own player character. There are a few settings to please the tinkerers. When you press Join you get a list of available servers. Interestingly there is even a server for more novice players, which gives you a chance to develop your online skills. The PBI delivers Nexuiz 2.1 and most of the servers I tested returned the message that they were on version 2.3.

The local gameplay was good. It was fast and responsive. The online gameplay was a major disappointment. I only had a completely dark screen with some flashes here and there, mostly followed by a message that I had been fragged.

nexuiz

Action Cube

Action Cube is no longer called by that name but continues it’s life as Assault Cube. Some commercial lingo:

AssaultCube, formerly ActionCube, is a free first-person-shooter based on the game Cube. Set in a realistic looking environment, as far as that�s possible with this engine, while gameplay stays fast and arcade. This game is all about team oriented multiplayer fun.

AssaultCube runs on old hardware, with the correct settings you can run it on a P3 800Mhz gf2.

Thanks to the efficient networking code, AssaultCube requires very little bandwith, you can play it with a 56k modem internet connection.

You can go online with Action Cube as well, but don’t expect too much of it. Most of the servers reported that they used a different Cube protocol. When I was playing only one server allowed me access. The game wasn’t overly interesting and shooting with a bunch of cloned hooded guys with rifles becomes boring quickly. The online screenshots of Assault Cube are more promising, so maybe it’s a matter of waiting for the PBI update.

ac_shot_23

Warzone 2100

After playing with two first person shooters it was time for a change of pace. Warzone 2100 is a realtime strategy game in the tradition of Command & Conquer. Now that’s a challenge for any game developer. I spend many hours on the Tiberium games and the Dune Emperor game that uses the same engine. Warzone tries to take on another major title as well:

Warzone 2100 is a real-time strategy game, developed by Pumpkin Studios (Archived website) and published by Eidos-Interactive?.

Although comparable to Earth2150? in many significant aspects, it does contain some that are unique. These include various radar technologies, a greater focus on artillery and counter-battery technologies, more frequent in-game cinematic updates as gameplay progress, as well as a different vehicle design method. It was released in 1999 for both PC and Playstation.

3D realtime strategy on a future Earth.

Upon entering the game you land from your transport and establish your base. Here you conduct research, design and manufacture vehicles, build new structures and prepare your plans of global conquest. If the game goes badly you’ll end up fighting last ditch battles here to defend your base from enemy attacks.

Combat is frenetic, with extensive graphical effects and buildings giving rise to flying shrapnel and boulders. Within the game are many different structures and vehicles. From an initial Command Center, you then go on to build Resource Extractors to provide fuel for Power Generators, which in turn supply energy to Factories, Research Facilities and weapons emplacements to protect your base.

Now, the commercial lingo is impressive isn’t it? The game itself is less appealing when it comes to graphics. The gameplay is familiar and the sounds are environmental. Don’t try to play the tutorial, because it might crash on you. On PC-BSD the game isn’t stabile. It crashed on me and then it wouldn’t close the window.

Apart from the commercial lingo Warzone is actually a nice RTS to play with. It takes some figuring out what you can do and how the tech tree works, but it’s a solid game.

warzone

Quake 3

I can be brief about the Quake 3 PBI. Either improve the description or remove it from the website. Once you launch the PBI you are notified that you need pak0.pk3 from the original disks. This should have been mentioned in the description. Now it was just a waste of my time.

Alien Arena

I gradually moved up to the larger downloads on the PBI website. As the size of the PBI grows I noticed it takes substantially longer for the install wizard to appear. In the mean time you don’t see, hear or notice anything. At first I thought the PBI was flawed or that I didn’t double-click enough. Then, after a long, long time I was asked for the root password. Twice. But the game is worth it.

Alien Arena is a first person shooter. Again the online gameplay is the most important feature.

Do you like fast paced deathmatch? How about rich, colorful, arcadelike atmospheres? How about…retro Sci Fi? Then you’re going to love what Alien Arena 2007 has in store for you! This game combines some of the very best aspects of such games as Quake III and Unreal Tournament and wraps them up with a retro alien theme, while adding tons of original ideas to make the game quite unique.

AA2K7 is the latest version of a freeware online deathmatch game that was first introduced to the public in October, 2004. Since that initial release, nearly every aspect of the game has been revamped, in fact, all of the content and code from the November 2005 release of Alien Arena 2006 has been redone as well. It’s like an entirely new game, and it may shock people just how much it has improved in less than a year’s time. With over 30 levels, seven modes of play, loads of mutators, built-in bots, 11 player characters, 9 weapons(with alt-fire modes), the game has an endless supply of replayability. With so many new features, AA2K7 is nearly an entirely new game when held in comparison to it’s predecessor. With the trials and tribulations of software development, endless hours of playing, gathering feedback, COR Entertainment has been able to not only fine tune and perfect it’s flagship game, but add completely new dimensions to it.

Using the CRX engine, which is based on the Id GPL source code, AA2K7 now includes modern effects such as real time vertex lighting and shadows, lensflares, light blooms, reflective water, textured particles, stainmaps, 32 bit color, shaders, fog, and much more. Built into the game is a easy to use server browser which allows the user to query information about each server. CRX features rewards systems, as well as colored player names, winner podiums, and weapons stats. The best thing about the CRX engine however, is it’s netcode and speed. Even on a modest system, you will get excellent framerates, and movement is still extremely smooth and fast, even on high ping servers.

Okay, I agree, that was a bit long for the commercial lingo, but in this case it’s straight on the ball. Alien Arena is a fascinating game with a great look and feel. I found it highly responsive and kept me busy for some time. It had some quirks when I moved from the local gameplay to the online gameplay (would report that I was already playing on another server). And I need some more practice as I was fragged a bit too quickly. The array of weapons is pretty interesting as well.

aa2007_8

More gaming will have to wait untill tomorrow.

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3 thoughts on “PC-BSD Day 26: Gaming under PC-BSD, part 1

  1. Warzone 2100 is an awesome game, but did you try the newest version? Because the old one died a while ago and is now superseeded by the Warzone 2100 Resurrection Project: http://wz2100.net/

  2. Hi Vincent. I tried the Warzone version that is available as PBI since that would be one of the first places a novice PC-BSD user is directed to. As far as I can tell this version is part of the Resurrection Project. At least, the link on the PBI page and your link both point to the same page. But it is a game that I want to play with some more, definitely.

  3. Re: Nexuiz, some online servers use standard levels and some extra levels too:

    If you had a completely *black* screen when playing online, you probably needed the correct level data on your machine, and the server was not set up to download it automatically (some are, some aren’t and you need libcurl installed for this).

    Grab the 35 map pack from the bottom of the Nexuiz downloads page and unzip it straight into the Nexuiz directory. The zip already has a “data” folder inside so this puts all the new levels in your data folder alongside the standard ones.

    Then try again. I hope it works, it’s an awesome game 😉

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