Rythie's Blog

Technology and stuff

Games on Linux

Just before the New Year I upgraded my home pc, before then it was a fairly old system with Celeron 300a (overclocked to 450Mhz), 384Mb of memory and GeForce 2mx graphics card. This system was quite old old processor wise therefore wasn't suitable for the latest games and so I hadn't played any in it in while. The upgraded machine now has a Althon 64 3200+ processor,1GB memory and a GeForce 6600GT graphics card. With this system being able again to play modern games I thought I'd try a few out. There was one small problem though, I don't have windows installed and haven't done for quite some time now. I knew that id software has a soft spot for Linux and I've run Quake 2 and 3 on my system before and I have received Quake 4 for Christmas, also I know that Doom 3 and Unreal Tournament are available for Linux, but all these games are fairly similar to the quake games which doesn't give me much of a variety things to games to play.

So I thought if I want to play some more games I need some way of playing the games that are available for windows for which there are loads. First, I thought about installing windows on my PC, however this seemed to present a few problems. I would have to reorganize my hard disk to make space or buy another one. The colossal amount of viruses and worms targeted at windows would cause me to have to spend hours configuring and installing updates, a firewall, spyware detection and virus detection so the system would be safe enough to play games online. Also the the general hassle of having to reboot to play games and then reboot again to actually use the system to do anything else would be quite frustrating. Also the cost of the Windows licence, at £62 for the OEM version of XP Home, is not insignificant. So suffice to say I wasn't keen on this approach.

I'd heard about this thing called Cedega, made by a company called Transgaming, which I had known as wineX but never used. It is a fork of the wine project which aims to implement the functionality of the windows dlls on Linux OSes. The cedega fork of wine focuses on games only. I downloaded a timedemo of the program and loaded up 'Far Cry' which came on a DVD with my graphics card, to my absolute surprise this worked without any modifications using the installer that was on the DVD. Other game demos seem to work such as Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 and Colin McRae Rally 2004, though for some reason the full game of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 (which I got for £2), which doesn't work. There is a Wiki for Cedega which lists 222 games in the category of working, including 39 which are officially supported by Transgaming. So overall I quite impressed with the system since when you are playing the games you wouldn't generally know that they were running on their non native platform.

The Cedega product is available on a subscription bases for £3 a month and they have votes to determine which games will get the developer's attention the most and therefore be supported in forthcoming releases. The future looks bright with Apple now switching to Intel it seems that there will be many more subscribers to Cedega and therefore more games which are supported.