As we go about “realizing” our New Year’s resolutions were maybe just a bit too stringent, I’m going review the top five games in Linux. Once the great downfall of the platform, gaming can now only be considered a strength, in the hopes you take up this guilty pleasure and wait for 2010 before you give up on gaming. May I present the premier Linux gaming software with the best from each genre.
This FPS (first-person shooter) game is portable on all main operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac) and is built using the Quake engine.
Players choose between two races: aliens and humans. Both have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and both are opposing teams on the same map. Whilst uncommon for an FPS, Tremulous allows you to build working structures that serve many functions, the most important being “respawning,” whereby if a player is killed, he reappears at a respawn site. Kills for your race earn you credits. For humans, this means better weapons or upgrades; for aliens, kills enable them to evolve into more powerful beings, the most powerful being the “Tyrant”. The objective behind the game is to not only kill all players of the opposing team (i.e. race) but also to destroy their “respawning” site(s), so that they can’t reappear. With an average of 400 users online at a time, there won’t be a moment left in the day to regret the amount of time you spent playing.
According to SourceForge statistics the game has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times as of 16/10/2008. It was also voted Player’s Choice Standalone Game Of The Year in the Mod Of The Year 2006 competition.
Like all great software, it’s open source and can be readily made available to you from the follow link: http://tremulous.net/
Meaning “roast meat” in German, this C++ written FPS runs on the main operating systems (Windows, Macs and Linux) and is built using the rendering engine Cube 2, for those of you who aren’t keen followers of the Quake movement (as with Tremulous). The main distinction to make between Tremulous and Sauerbraten is the ability to edit the geometry of the map ingame. Coupled with an emphasis on 6-directional gameplay, this dynamic is going to keep you hooked. It supports both Singleplayer and Multiplayer modes, and the latter of the two offers three possible gameplays: Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, and Capture (whereby teams fight over certain areas of the map). For the Singleplayer mode, there is plenty to keep you busy, unlike in Tremulous. You have the option to play scenarios split into episodes, Deathmatches with bots ganging up on you, and the game even goes so far as to provide levels where you can fight in slow-motion.
MacWorld UK gave it four out of five stars, whereas Games For Windows: The Official Magazine mentioned it in Issue 3 with the reference “perfect for both stingy and creative gamers alike.” But now for an organization whose opinion matters… Phoronix, a purely Linux-orientated hardware and software reviews gave it a positive rating due to “several enchancements to its underlying “Cube 2″ engine”.
Like all great software, it’s open source and can be readily made available to you from the follow link: http://sauerbraten.org/
Warzone 2100 (Strategy)
If you liked StarCraft, you’ll love this. The “3-D cross-platform real-time strategy” denotation doesn’t do justice to this once-proprietary program. This game is highly customizable, allowing everything from a wide array of camera angles, to the ability to customize drive systems (e.g. wheels/track) of your units. Warzone 2100 follows an episodic gameplay structure, following a sequence of scenerios whereby you have a time limit to complete the objectives stated using construction, upgrading, recruitment, etc. for the availability of the manpower required for the task. The latest stable version was released January 12, 2009.
Warzone 2100, once developed for the PlayStation (rating of 76%) and Windows, is now praised by the likes of IGN and Gamespot, which had the following to say about the game:
“Warzone 2100′s highly navigatable 3D engine, unique campaign structure, and multiplayer gameplay should please most real-time strategy fans”.
Like all great software, it’s open source and can be readily made available to you from the follow link: http://wz2100.net/
This Spanish game, developed using Glest Advanced Engine, is basically a cross between Tremulous and Warzone 2100. It imitates the 3-D, real-time strategy idea of Warzone 2100 but with a medieval theme. It mimics Tremulous in that there are two opposing factions, Magic and Tech, both with their own strengths and weaknesses, both fighting each other on the same map. The Tech team is composed of conventional warriors with medieval weapons at their disposals, with their own unique set of units, buildings and upgrades. The Magic team is targeted at more experienced users where most of their army is “morphed” or “summoned.” Whilst lacking close combat skill, it makes up for it in brute power and versatility. For those of you who loved StarCraft on Windows – this is the game for you.
Like all great software, it’s open source and can be readily made available to you from the follow link: http://glest.wikia.com/wiki/GetGlest
For those among us who miss hearing the upbeat music of Level 1 SuperMario, may I present SuperTux. It’s the classic side-scrolling adventure game we all played in our childhood, only now, instead of Mario you have “Tux”, the penguin mascot of Linux. With “Penny” captured by bad guys, it’s up to Tux to rescue her.
Receiving Game Of The Month award by HappyPenguin.Org when it first came out, SuperTux went on to celebrate eight version updates and the SuperTux Development Team and Blizzard Entertainment are eagerly working to bring you Supertux 2. The beta release reiteration of SuperTux really brings back memories of SuperMario with multiple “Worlds”, a variety of monsters and a complimentary, childlike plot.
I hope these referrals introduce more users to the variety of games on the Linux platform. While much remains to be accomplished, we can at least revel in the progress made up to 2009, and look forward to what this year will bring for us.
By Mihai Marcas