using Linux - Fun and games with Linux

Loki Software (www.lokigames.com) has won popular support among Linux users, little wonder considering the company is dedicated to porting all the popular Windows-based games to Linux. Familiar titles such as Quake and Sim City are available for Linux through Loki Soft-ware, which in turn has agreements with the original game designers such as Maxis and Raven. The Linux versions retain all the features of their Windows counterparts.

Requirements

All the Loki games run natively on Linux and as such do not require any type of Windows emulator or application server. However, before you rush out and buy a swag of games for some summer fun, make sure you have a full MESA/OpenGL-compliant 3D video card (visit www.opengl.org for further details), or the games will run too slowly to play. See below for graphics chips supported by OpenGL.

The general Linux system requirement you need to run the games is a minimum of kernel 2.2.x, GlibC 2.1 and version 3.3.5 of XFree86 - all recent distributions ship with at least this configuration. A Pentium II processor and 64MB of RAM are also recommended, as is a hefty amount of hard disk space (ranging from a few hundred megabytes up to 1GB, depending on the game and the components you install).

Installation

Installing the games is quite easy and only involves mounting the CD while in X Windows and executing the following installation script:

$ sh setup.sh

After this, the graphical installer will have you playing in a matter of minutes. If you intend to install the game in a directory other than your home directory (or any other directory you have permission to write to), make sure you are logged in as root when you execute the setup script. The games also have an uninstall script that allows you to remove them easily.

What's available?

Three recent titles released by Loki include Descent3, Soldier of Fortune and Sim City 3000 Unlimited.

Descent3 is a space flight simulation and battle game that has the look and feel of a three-dimensional first-person shooter. Features include a choice of three different fighter ships, improved visual effects, indoor/outdoor scenery, custom level creation and multiplayer support via a network. Although there are five levels of difficulty, you will still need to be on the ball, as the artificial intelligence of your enemies has been significantly improved.

A more intense first-person shooter game is Soldier of Fortune. The first page of the manual gives a clear warning that the product contains violent content, so you know it's not for the faint-hearted. Your character is John Mullins, a retired war veteran who is now a mercenary. Your mission is to defeat a terrorist group which has stolen nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union. If you have experience with the popular Quake series, then making the transition to Soldier of Fortune should be relatively straightforward. Full multi-"player options are also included.

For those of you less inclined to battle out a first-person shooter, Sim City 3000 Unlimited is certainly worth a try. This strategic modelling and simulation game puts you in command of your own city, in which you can build roads, zone land and implement utilities such as power and water. You will even need to consider safety aspects such as a police force and fire brigade. That's right! It's the Sim City we all know and love, but with better graphics, a more intuitive interface and many more possibilities for your cityscape. Best of all, you no longer need to leave your Linux box to get into it.

Game demos

As part of the games round-up this month, we have included demo versions of Quake 3 and Descent3 for Linux on the cover CD. Running the game demos will be the ideal way to determine if your system is configured correctly. See the Loki Software Web site for links to demos in its range of games. In addition to the Loki games, we have included other games for Linux to give you a taste of what is available.

Graphics chips supported by OpenGL

3Dfx Voodoo series

Matrox G200 and G400

NVIDIA RIVA TNT, TNT2 and GeForce 256

ATI Rage Pro

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