"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Three games for the EEEPC

The EEEPC flexibility gives you, among many other things, also a reasonably good portable games machine. Speaking about gaming depends a lot on personal preferences, one could spend a lot of time playing simple games like solitaries, I'm going to speak about three near commercial quality open source games: Glest, Torcs and Vega Strike.

Installing all of these three games in EEEBuntu is quite easy: just matter of selecting them in the “add remove programs ...” utility. After installation ended all games needed only a little of manual configuration to adjust  them to EEEPC resolution.

Glest is a real-time strategy game, like “Ages of Empires”, where the player must control a little population and making it grow and defend against enemies.

It runs quite well on the EEEPC apart from control being a little difficult on a small mouse-pad. To adjust Glest to EEEPC resolution I edited its configuration file by typing
gedit .glest/glest.ini
and changing the following lines

Torcs is a open source race cars simulator.

After adapting it to EEEPC resolution by editing the proper configuration file:
gedit .torcs/config/screen.xml
then changing like this
<section name="Screen Properties">
<attnum name="x" val="1024"/>
<attnum name="y" val="600"/>
<attnum name="bpp" val="24"/>
<attstr name="fullscreen" in="yes,no" val="yes"/>
<attnum name="gamma" val="2"/>
<attnum name="window width" val="1024"/>
<attnum name="window height" val="600"/>
<attnum name="maximum refresh frequency" val="75"/>
<attstr name="video mode init" val="compatible"/>
I also had to reduce the visibility parameter in Torcs options to 40% in order to make it playable especially when displaying many cars.

Vega Strike
Vega Strike is a space combat simulator. It runs smooth enough on the EEEPC apart of some problem in rendering fonts.
In order to enable support for EEEPC resolution I edited the game configuration file
gedit .vegastrike-0.4.x/vegastrike.config

and changed the following lines
#cat Resolution 1600x1200 1280x1024 1024x768 1024x600 800x600 640x480 512x384
#set Resolution 1024x600
<!-- #800x600 -->
<var name="x_resolution" value="800"/>
<var name="y_resolution" value="600"/>
<!-- #end -->
<!-- #1024x600
<var name="x_resolution" value="1024"/>
<var name="y_resolution" value="600"/>
#end -->
<!-- #1024x768
<var name="x_resolution" value="1024"/>
<var name="y_resolution" value="768"/>
#end -->

More than gaming ...
As most of open source games all three games described can be widely customized and modified. Many mods are available on the 'net and more can be written with some effort. Installing these, or other open sources games, can so be a fun programming opportunity too.