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[P]
Loki Games Experiences

By Inoshiro in Technology
Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 06:19:03 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

At LWCE, I had the good fortune to pick up a copy of Heroes 3 for Linux. I'd played and liked Heroes 2 for Windows before, as well as trying Heroes 3 for Windows once. When I recently upgraded my workstation to an Athlon 550 by way of motherboard swap, though, Windows had stopped working mysteriously. Not wanting to reinstall Windows again, and have to deal with resetting all the various bits and bobs that make my computing environment mine, I was very excited to see what Loki had done first hand.


I reformatted my / partition and installed Slackware 7.1 to clear out a year of trying various programs on my workstation. Within 20 minutes of inserting the bootable Slackware 7.1 CD, I was up and running with the new install. A quick mount of my homedir later, and I was ready to install Heroes 3.

dylang@shadowgate:~$ ls /cdrom
DEMOS/                   autorun.inf  hiscore.tar.gz  maps/        setup.sh
Heroes_III_Tutorial.pdf  bin/         icon.bmp        mp3/         win32/
README                   data/         icon.xpm        setup.data/

Upon running 'sudo setup.sh,' I was greated by a beautiful installer. The longest part of the druid installer was watching it copy the ~550mb of data files to my harddrive. I was really impressed to see such a professional setup -- it sure beat the RPMs I got on the IBM ViaVoice CD which I can't use without some major voodoo.

With everything installed, I ran Heroes. It loaded -- but so incredibly slowly that it was painful to watch. I could see each individual redraw. Plus, I couldn't get the game to run in true fullscreen mode. I went to www.lokigames.com, and checked over to the Heroes 3 page. They had an update to version 1.3.1 available (the CD comes with version 1.2). The 1.3.1 update's main benefit for me was a fullscreen mode that worked -- the entire screen was Heroes 3.

The game was still slow, though. I read the Heroes 3 FAQ, and found the section on graphics performance and the included readme file. "The 32-bit color support is currently a hack, so expect it to run MUCH slower than in 16-bit mode." I mailed Loki's support to see if they'd tell me more about it.

At the time, I was running the XFree 3.3.6 which comes with Slackware 7.1. The generic SVGA X server it comes with does not provide any form of decent acceleration on the TNT1 I use for 2D graphics. The support fellow, Mike Phillips, suggested I upgrade to XFree 4.0.1 or better. He also mentioned a few in-house benchmarks they'd done with various driver combinations. I decided the possible pain of an X upgrade was worth it for this game.

Historical note: Patrick Volkerding long ago laid out XFree in Slackware slightly different from the default that it is in other distributions. This meant that any compilations from source would be very painful, not to mention unmaintainable. Slackware's contrib dir still held the XFree 4.0.0 release. I then went to see what Linuxmafia.org had to offer. They had the packages I wanted for XFree 4.0.2. After removepkg all the XFree 3 packages, and installpkging the new ones, I generated a new config for X.

XFree 4 was much perkier. It felt like I'd had a complete computer upgrade! Then I loaded Heroes 3 -- WOW! The game's intro was perfectly smooth, and I no longer saw each gradient change when going into a view of my castles from the world map. I spent the next few hours just enjoying the game.

For the average user, being able to pop the CD in the drive, mount, run through the installer, and have a playable game within 5 minutes is important. One thing I have wished for when dealing with some software for Linux is an intelligent installer which doesn't leave me searching for binaries to run. Also, the Heroes 3 installer did not blindly drop off applinks for both KDE and Gnome -- it detected that only Gnome was installed, and place the appropriate applinks in the Gnome menu. Finally, if you ever decide to delete Heroes 3, it nicely keeps most of the data in /usr/local/games/Heroes3. The only thing not in the directory is the heroes3 binary, stored in /usr/local/bin. Two rm commands as root is all it takes to uninstall Heroes 3, although an uninstall option in the installer would be nice.

Since the initial speedbumps, I've only found one problem with Heroes 3 -- the save dialogs don't let you clear with ctrl+u, and don't have keyboard repeat (requiring many pokes of the backspace key). I reported this to Loki support, and a fix is going to be in the next upgrade patch. Every time I've mailed support, I've received a reply within 24 hours.

With the support and packaging as they were, I look forward to buying more games from Loki. The experience was on par with the installshield setup of any Windows game I've had to deal with, and the game itself has been rock stable. I've played through most of the first campaign over the past week. I'm hoping I'll never have to boot Windows again to play games thanks to Loki :-)

You can download the Heroes 3 demo from the Loki Games demo page. The Lokigames mainpage is also annoyingly dependant on Javascript, but don't let that stop you :)

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Related Links
o www.lokiga mes.com
o Heroes 3 page
o Heroes 3 FAQ
o graphics performance
o Linuxmafia .org
o the packages I wanted
o Loki Games demo page
o Also by Inoshiro


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Loki Games Experiences | 41 comments (29 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
X and Slack (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by Moneo on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 12:17:12 PM EST

Just a note: X 4.0.1 packages can be gotten from contrib in the slackware-current tree (here). I used them on my Slack 7.1 machine and they work fine.


Propaganda plays the same role in a democracy as violence does in a dictatorship. -- Noam Chomsky

That's not the same. (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by Inoshiro on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 12:32:22 PM EST

I'm running Slack 7.1, which uses glibc2.1. The contrib dir of -current is built against glibc2.2. That's more of a kettle of fish than I want right now :p Plus, XF 4.0.2 is newer/more bugfixed that XF 4.0.1.



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Inoshiro! (3.25 / 4) (#10)
by regeya on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 01:08:52 PM EST

I'd like to thank you for writing this. I know it sounds corny and all, but I really wasn't wholly joking a while back when I stated that I felt that people tended to look at Rusty and INoshiro posts with a less critical eye. (I'd be willing to bet that if, say, I had posted it, it wouldn't have fared as well. :-) It's nice to see someone pointing out that no, installing/running games on a Linux box isn't that hard.

And on a more personal note, thanks for the heads-up about LinuxMafia having XFree4.0.2. I d/l'ed the appropriate packages right after I voted on the story. :-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

I had been wondering about Loki (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by Skippy on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 01:10:18 PM EST

I've heard some crappy things about their online store, but only good things about their company and products. Inoshiro's experience sounded pretty good until I got to the "just upgrade XFree" part. I do ok but I'm not sure upgrading XFree just to play a game is worth it. I could *probably* do it but it would be a lot of work for me as I'm not the Über-Geek that Inoshiro is.

Has anyone tried the Loki games on FreeBSD? I don't run linux as I was always getting confused by what I needed and where to get it (man I love the ports!). Thanks,

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

XFree 4 upgrades.. (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by Inoshiro on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 04:24:09 PM EST

It's really easy on Slackware. I just got a list of the Slack XF3 packages, 'cat xf3_list | xargs removepkg', then 'installpkg' for each of the 2 XF4 packages, XFree86-4.0.2-i386.tgz and XFree86-fonts-4.0.2.tgz.

Most distributions like Red Hat and Mandrake come with XF 4 already, and RPMs are supposed to be an easy way to upgrade. Debian also has it.

For FreeBSD, you'll need to pkg_delete your XF3 ones before using the ports tree to install XF4.

While my primary motivation for installing XF4 was to get better game performance, it also does a lot of other things: my general 2D graphics performance tripled -- Mozilla dailies are as fast in Linux as in Windows. Gnome's menus are snappy. I also gain Xinerama support :)



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Some thoughts (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by spacejack on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 01:13:40 PM EST

The only problem with Linux games is that they all lose money. The bottom line is that it costs more money to port than you can possibly expect to recoup.

Now some games (like Heroes3 for example; it sounds like a DirectDraw game) could be written for Loki's SDL (currently the coolest open-source project going). In which case, doing a port would be quite painless. (I dunno if SDL is quite "there" yet for a commercial Windoze release -- that's what I'm in the process of finding out -- it looks good though).

OTOH, games with cutting edge 3D graphics are always going to have a problem. OpenGL is great, but there just enough new features in DX8, combined with some low-level access that D3D provides that will keep a lot of developers hooked on it as opposed to OpenGL.

SDL's ace in the hole is the ability to develop on Linux & cross-compile for Win32 -- if you can be satisfied with DX5 features it supports and OpenGL. For the real pros (i.e., those selling AAA titles without the benefit of Carmack's celebrity & tech-savvy audience), this unfortunately isn't good enough yet -- using D3D will still make your game more accessible to more players because of its broader hardware support, and better integration with the OS.

Money-losers? (2.00 / 1) (#26)
by Denor on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 02:40:56 PM EST

If I recall correctly, Quake III for linux actually made a profit. Not a huge profit, but a profit nontheless.

Of course, if you've seen something I haven't which is talking about other Loki titles, I'd be very interested in seeing it. I want linux gaming to take off, mainly for selfish reasons. If it's slowing, I want to stockpile :)


-Denor


[ Parent ]
SDL's Windows support.... (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by msphil on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 01:01:01 PM EST

Actually, SDL 1.1.x (current CVS, soon to be 1.2) supports features up through DirectX 7 -- although it works with DirectX 8.

However, it also can fall-back to GDI and/or really early versions of DirectX if necessary -- something that would otherwise require a great deal of shuffling on the part of the programmer to achieve.

For more information about SDL, see its home page: http://www.libsdl.org/

[ Parent ]

yup (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by spacejack on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 01:47:41 PM EST

But there are a few things lacking. Pixel Shaders in DX8 will probably be implemented in the next gen. of hardware.. dunno what OpenGL will do to accomodate this -- vendor-specific extensions most likely (yet theoretically still cross-platform mind you).

And then there are the app-switching/video ram management/child-window issues that D3D handles so much better.. not to mention frame-buffer access and the ability to work directly with texture pixel formats.

Unfortunately at this point, a lot of developers would say you're crazy to do OpenGL-only. So you either have to do both or save time & just go with D3D :/

We'll see what happens in the long run though. If MS runs out of new features to add to D3D and/or consumers stop upgrading and/or the hardware levels off, then the "standard" solutions will have a chance to catch up.

[ Parent ]
sdl and directx (none / 0) (#36)
by charliex on Wed Feb 21, 2001 at 04:46:04 AM EST

One thing though, DirectX isn't just a graphics library like SDL, especially DX8, its got lod, sound, music, net code etc etc.

Don't get me wrong I'm not knocking SDL, I like loki , I use openal in other projects, I'm just pointing out that SDL and DX8 are very very different, it will take a long time for SDL to catch up, and of course DX has a huge team attached to it and its constantly changing DX7 has been out for a few years, DX8 is already being shadowed.

OpenGL has suffered the same thing, I'm not knocking that either, I was one of the members of that open letter that went to MS a few years ago, I did the DOS/3dfx version of mesa, that helped start the linux version of mesa that david b. did (amongst others)

However with heroes theres not much DX in it really, more than was needed, it wasn't that well abstracted for cross platform work. So SDL would work pretty good for it, since it was primarily the graphics side it needed. Its an older game though, built on an even older technology, yes its had the engine ramped a few times, but it wasn't built ground up for DX7/8 etc.

Current games are beginning to rely heavily on the new feature sets of DX8, which will make it even harder to port them. Especially since dev cycles are getting shorter and so on.

Hopefully a mesa equivalent for DX will come along, maybe it will be SDL + others.

OpenPTC was(is) looking good too but i guess gaffer just got too busy. Though the scene seems to use it a lot.

I did do a partial port of heroes and a few others to ptc but didn't go to far with it ( mainly because I was just trying to determine how long it would take loki to port it )

I know MS aren't popular, and DX carries a lot of baggage from previous versions , but it is getting a lot better, and its really the only viable windows api around at the moment ( i mean viable in business terms, not purely technical )

anyway just thinking out loud, as i take a break from coding up a cross platform network library for windows, linux and mac =)


[ Parent ]
SDL is more than a gfx lib (none / 0) (#37)
by spacejack on Wed Feb 21, 2001 at 11:06:02 AM EST

One thing though, DirectX isn't just a graphics library like SDL, especially DX8, its got lod, sound, music, net code etc etc.

Um, actually SDL has software 2D graphics, including alpha blending, rle compression, hardware accelerated 2D, OpenGL setup utilities, including Voodoo setup, fullscreen setup, etc., a sound API, input, timing, threading.. it's a fully-fledged cross-platform replacement for DirectX. Not to mention all the additional "packages" for loading various types of gfx/sound files and a whole wack of extensions people have built and released as open-source.

OpenGL has suffered the same thing, I'm not knocking that either, I was one of the members of that open letter that went to MS a few years ago,

Hehe, so was I. So you got fed up with execute buffers I take it? :)

However with heroes theres not much DX in it really, more than was needed, it wasn't that well abstracted for cross platform work. So SDL would work pretty good for it, since it was primarily the graphics side it needed. Its an older game though, built on an even older technology, yes its had the engine ramped a few times, but it wasn't built ground up for DX7/8 etc.

Yep, unless it used the D3D API directly, it should be pretty easy to port. Which is why people generally focus on the D3D/GL issue -- because that's the API that tends to "infect" your code the most. Which is the point of rooting for OpenGL -- no more wrappers! It's like writing a wrapper around the C++ standard library every time you wanted to write an app. Unfortunately, given the requirement to work as close to the hardware as possible, games dev. has been quite resistant to standardization in a lot of ways -- solutions that are good enough to filter text all day on a server are not going to keep a game running at 100fps :)

Current games are beginning to rely heavily on the new feature sets of DX8, which will make it even harder to port them. Especially since dev cycles are getting shorter and so on.

Yeah this is what I figured. I know from the comp.games.dev* groups that DX8 probably has even more pro supporters than OpenGL at this point. It just behaves itself better on MS boxes.. and there's little incentive for MS to do much beyond play Quake properly. That's the whole problem with OpenGL on Windoze -- it's only really been improved enough to play Quake ;)

But it all comes back to my original point.. there's little incentive to port in a lot of cases. You get a little lip service from the Linux community, maybe it's good if you want to let the public run their own servers, but otherwise, that's about it. There has to be a real reason to port.

Also, one has to be careful about what one believes on the internet -- though it's only 2% of the community, you'd think Linux were a critical end-user platform for all the hot air ;)

[ Parent ]
exactly (none / 0) (#38)
by charliex on Fri Feb 23, 2001 at 09:00:37 AM EST

Its more marketing opportunity than anything else (for VC's etc).

Theres still a lot more in DX8, granted theres more in SDL than i'd realized, but its still a ways behind, and its just getting better. I still enjoy programming in opengl but I can't persuade myself to evangelize it as much as I used too, its funny I had a big argument with alex st john at dreamworks a few years ago over DX vs OGL, and now DX is better, we've swapped places, though the bias is less, since they are both good.

A lot of stuff doesn't port so easily because it heavily uses a lot of types and structures from DX and its just a lot of legwork to move it over, a lot of programmers don't look ahead too far, especially when being pushed hard for the next deadline.

Yup, we currently support windows, mac, ce and unix, but the market share for everything but windows is <5% we do it for two reasons, two of out developers are ardent mac users, and as i said earlier marketing bumph.

I wish it were a bigger market portings one of my favourite things to do.

I saw a report today on IE it claimed around 88% of browser usage. I have a couple of DX and OpenGL apps running inside IE with ActiveX its a very cool thing, and IE has got secrect support for directX natively (it disappeared from the public eye once 5 went out of beta, don't know why).

I ported a little demo from mesa by david b. it runs in OpenGL under activex in an IE browser window. go here Once downloaded and installed, move the mouse over the top left of the window, its clickable too.

I have a few DX7 ones, but i'd like to do a few DX8 versions first before showing them off.

[ Parent ]

nifty (none / 0) (#39)
by spacejack on Sat Feb 24, 2001 at 04:51:14 PM EST

yeah, that's nifty seeing accelerated stuff in a browser. I saw some OpenGL Java demos on some site once that used IE to access OpenGL somehow.

I also looked at Wild Tangent a long time ago which was pretty neat. It passed my stress test by actually running on an old ATI Rage :)

I still dunno if there's ever going to be much of a market for web games as opposed to downloadable or store-bought ones.. at least for technically ambitious stuff. With ad revenue way down nowadays.. just not sure how anyone can make any money at it except as corporate sponsorship for hire stuff, which IME, doesn't pay all that well..

[ Parent ]
web games (none / 0) (#40)
by charliex on Sat Feb 24, 2001 at 11:54:14 PM EST

I hope there is going to be a market for web games, because I work for a company making them and the engines to drive them. Its not wildtangent though ( funny you mention them since its Alex St Johns baby, which isn't the reason I don't work for them, its seattle thats the reason )

I believe there an a number of opengl wrappers for java available.

That little demos written in C wrapped in an ActiveX control.

I did a wizard for Visual C++ that generates the basic things needed to create such a control, it generates all the same stuff as the normal activex wizard, but it adds all the things needed to run opengl in it. I keep thinking about realising it if theres interest. Trouble is you need a certificate for activex controls if you want to load them from the web and most people to see them


[ Parent ]
re: web games (none / 0) (#41)
by spacejack on Mon Feb 26, 2001 at 09:46:06 AM EST

Hehe, well I didn't mean to be too discouraging. My experience is largely out of the sponsorship/promo/ad world (by necessity -- I live in Toronto and there isn't much in the way of game dev here but there's a hell of a lot of advertising). The problem with this route (at least in my limited experience) is that the clients are cheap and don't understand games very well. That said, I did a few Java projects that went really well and were pretty fun (here). I also did a couple others that bordered on nightmarish due to client interference, too much design-by-committee, ignorance of technical constraints, leaving approvals to the last minute, etc., etc. Thankfully though, in 2000 I got a telecommuting game gig and got to work on 'bleeding edge' PC stuff again which was fun.

If you're doing your own site though and want to get ad revenue then it might work out better for you. Actually there could be some interesting ways to mix in the necessary evils of advertising with the entertainment if you have total control of the thing. Stuff like OpenGL in a browser mixed with all the backend tech could make for some cool new genres. Flash is getting pretty cool too, with its built-in authoring capabilites, stability and wide support although the limitations of its renderer can be a drag. I think I'd leverage the online/dynamic potential of a web game it for all it's worth if I wanted to keep something steady going (that's why I like k5.. good, uh, research :) Give me a shout if you're looking for any help :)

[ Parent ]
My experience (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by k5er on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 01:56:17 PM EST

I have gotten every game at Lokigames.com to work fine except Quake III. Heroes ran beutifully. I am running Redhat 7.0. My hardware is as follows: Asus A7V, Duron 650 o/c to 875, Abit Siluro Geforce II mx. I downloaded the latest drivers from Nvida, installed them. Then had to manually configure xf86config in /etc/X11/ so that it knew to use the "nvidia" driver as opposed to the "nv" driver. After that it was blazing fast. Before I did this, the game flickered and sucked. Also, no other game worked from Loki untill after I had done this. However, for any newbie on Linux that has no clue how to install drivers and games. This can be a tedious and frustrating task. I wouldn't jump to conclusions about the games sucking. Its just that your box has to be configured properly and that can be a pain in the ass.
Long live k5, down with CNN.
Oh yeah (3.50 / 2) (#14)
by k5er on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 01:57:46 PM EST

I forgot, I also installed Xfree86 4.0.1
Long live k5, down with CNN.
[ Parent ]
just a question (4.00 / 2) (#17)
by SEAL on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 05:29:38 PM EST

I've used various Linux distributions over the years, but I've yet to try XFree86 4.0.x. Lately I've been tinkering with networking more than anything else, so it hasn't been a big deal to me. But I'd like to start playing around with Loki's API.

My Linux install is pretty stale - a heavily patched RH 6.0. So if I want to just wipe everything and start from scratch, which distribution (e.g. Debian, Redhat, whatever) -- would be quickest to get up and running? In particular, I want XFree86 4.0.x, a 2.4 kernel, and a fairly current version of glibc. Any recommendations?

I have a Pentium 2, and an nVidia GeForce 1.

Disclaimer: I'm not looking for a distribution war - I just want some pros and cons of each. Thanks :)

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
A Slackware-user point of view :) (5.00 / 4) (#18)
by Inoshiro on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 05:46:32 PM EST

I'm probably biased, but here's what I know about Slackware, Mandrake, and Debian.

Slackware will install in around 15 minutes. You'll probably tweak /etc for 5-10 minutes afterwards (depending on skill level). The /etc/rc.d/ structure is easy to jump into. 2.2.16 is the provided kernel with Slack 7.1, but 2.4 will compile and install cleanly under it. It comes with glibc 2.1.3, the latest glibc 2.1 tree. SDL compiles and install within a few seconds for me on it (there are also Linuxmafia packages, and rpm2tgz and installpkg will install most rpms). You'll want to download the packages from Linuxmafia for XF4.0.2 -- just don't install any of XF3 during the install sequence :-)

I've never installed Mandrake, so I don't know what it's like that way. It has a pretty boot sequence, and comes with RPMs for XFree 3.3.6 and 4.0.1 (doing a quick look at the 7.2 download edition CD I was given at LWE which I've not gotten around to throwing on a testing box). Since it's RPM based, there's no extra rpm -> something else step. Although you might be bitten by the fact that RPMs encode dependencies by package name, which means that even if a bunch of distributions share the same RPM capabilties, and base features, RPMs produced on one won't work without forcing --nodeps on another. I've no idea how cleanly 2.4 would go onto Mandrake. I've heard bad things about compiling things from source on it.

Debian's install process is perhaps the hardest of the three, lacking the VESA framebuffer setup of Mandrake (back of CD sleave :)), or the ncurses install of Slackware. If dselect doesn't know what terminal you're on (like it didn't when I installed it on my Sparc), you're going to be stuck apt-get install ing a lot of basic packages that aren't included in the base part of Debian. If you have an internet connection, you should be able to upgrade to the unstable branch, where they have things like XF4. 2.4 should compile and install cleanly. Debs are generally provided by the friendly user community, although they tend to be behind compared to RPMs. Compiling is fairly easy on Debian if you have the proper libraries and headers installed.

It's really up to you which you choose. Whichever distribution you are more familiar with. As long as you keep a decent sized / and a separate /home directory for all your data, you can even install several distributions with the same settings to see what they are like. And you also get an easy base partition to blow away once upgrading from your original install becomes more work than just doing a fresh base install (note: this applies to Windows too, as you tend to need to reinstall it every 6-12 months anyways.. Linux nicely provides a way to separate user prefs from /etc, versus the Windows Registry which makes such user pref saving nearly impossible).



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Mandrake 7.2 and Kernel 2.4 (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by Miniluv on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 10:04:37 PM EST

As some people here know, I hate linux. Yet, I run linux in a dualboot on my current workstation, and I run Mandrake for the simple fact it was the only thing I could find which allowed me to put XFree 4.x in during the initial install without an upgrade or a secondary installation.

The first thing I did after installing the box was download the 2.4 tar.gz from kernel.org, then did a nice make xconfig. I quickly setup my standard kernel config file, smp support and the other stuff I enjoy having in a kernel, and cleanly built 2.4. I've since only booted into a 2.4 system, without a single problem.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Debian is *not* hard to install... (none / 0) (#28)
by Killio on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 10:45:11 AM EST

I don't know what experience you have with Debian, but I put a potato (Debian 2.2) dualboot on this box last month, and it was extremely easy. There is a graphical-ish install (ncurses-like, I think. I'm not sure, I'm a newbie). apt-getting packages is far easier than installing RPMs (type 'apt-get install foo', wait a few seconds and its done.)

The only problem I had was with LILO, and that was because I was trying to put Linux on /dev/hdd, so I had to move it to the primary IDE channel. I don't know why people say Debian is hard.

---
Moo!

[ Parent ]

Simple (none / 0) (#34)
by Inoshiro on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 02:55:53 PM EST

apt-get may be easier than rpms, but you have to figure out what magic names work. Slackware's installpkg tool is much easier. No magic list of names you have to figure out.

Debian's install works fine until your terminal is not properly recognized. Then it doesn't work at all, and there's no obvious way to fall back to a purely text installer.



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Glad you asked =) (none / 0) (#22)
by CrayDrygu on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 12:53:50 AM EST

I'm a SuSE nut, have been ever since I picked up version 6.4 over a year ago.

The install is very nice...helps to know a bit about what you're doing beforehand, but that goes for pretty much every linux distro, and you appear to know what you're doing anyway. The default installs are a little generous, so you may have to spend some time unchecking things, but overall it's a very good setup program. Also, it's RPM-based, so it's fairly easy to go back and (un)install things later.

The new version 7.1, which is hitting stores rougly nowish, comes with your choice of kernel 2.2.18 or 2.4, XFree 4.0.2, and glibc 2.2.

The "personal" edition comes with three CDs and costs about $30. The "professional" version includes 7 CDs of linuxy goodness, but costs $70.

[ Parent ]

Hold your horses (none / 0) (#23)
by mcelrath on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 01:17:01 AM EST

As Redhat 6.2 (or a heavily patched 6.0) is the most stable linux I've seen in a long time, I'd stick with it as long as possible. A number of key pieces of software are at or near the dot-0 stage right now, and need some time to stabilize. This includes XFree86 4.0, glibc 2.2, gcc 3.0, linux 2.4.0, gnome 1.4, and probably a few others. If you're willing to wait a few months before upgrading, you'll have a nice stable system, and maybe even be able to throw a stable mozilla into the mix.

Redhat 7.0 is a nightmare of bugs. My linux box(es) have recently gone from 6-month+ uptimes to < 1 week uptimes because various things crash (X 4.0 and usb in particular). This is probably due to the recent or approaching dot-0 status of the above software, and will be true for any distribution. Meanwhile my RedHat 6.1 laptop hasn't needed a reboot in months.

The unfortunate thing is that if you really want to run games, you've got no choice but to go for X 4.0, weird drivers (nvidia, ugh), and glibc 2.2. :(

--Bob
1^2=1; (-1)^2=1; 1^2=(-1)^2; 1=-1; 2=0; 1=0.
[ Parent ]

believe me I understand (none / 0) (#27)
by SEAL on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 02:05:48 AM EST

This is part of my dilemma. I have a couple friends who swear by Debian, but in my experience, Debian is ALWAYS behind on software releases. I remember Debian was still using gnome 0.3 when gnome was officially at 1.0 (bleh).

I am a game developer, using Windows 2000 at work, of course. I'm not really afraid of using bleeding edge Linux stuff at home - this is my desktop machine, not a router. So I can live with a crash here and there. About the only thing I really -do not- want to mess with is glibc... been through that nightmare once and I will not do it again.

At this point I'm not really impressed with any of the distributions, although I haven't checked out suse yet so maybe I'll see if it fits my needs. I do have a soft spot in my heart for Slackware, although they too are very slow to release new stuff.

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]
Loki Update/Demos/Uninstall (none / 0) (#29)
by zander on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 12:55:51 PM EST

Yes a quick note to let you know that Loki has recently introduced a number of useful applications:

Loki Update
Loki Demos
Loki Uninstall

They interact in various ways - the Loki demo launcher uses Loki update to retrieve and install demos and the uninstaller to delete them at a later time. Its a very nice program - even graphically; for each game installed, it displays a small image of the game's retail box along with information and a set of title dependant options - i.e. if the demo is playable, you can configure and run it, if its a trailer, it allows you to view it ...

A number of games have been updated to allow making use of the update utility for product patches or to allow the uninstaller to properly remove them. Loki update is smart about detecting the installed version of a game and automatically downloads and installs product patches.

I haven't used the uninstaller yet, mainly because the games get installed to their respective directories - including the game binary. Loki setup installs a symlink to a a directory of your choice, preferably one that is in your path.

From your article it seems that you install and run games as root - I really wouldn't do that ...

You thought wrong. (none / 0) (#33)
by Inoshiro on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 02:53:47 PM EST

I simply ran the installer as root so that it would be able to install into the default directory. I do everything as my own account.



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Uninstalling Heroes 3 (2.00 / 1) (#30)
by msphil on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 12:57:56 PM EST

Not only does the game get plopped in /usr/local/games/Heroes3/ (by default), but there is a handy uninstall script left behind, which will uninstall the game -- including the handful of files which aren't -- e.g. the KDE/GNOME menu entries, and the symbolic link in a binary path of your choice.

And, starting with the next patch, it's handled through loki_uninstall, which is a handy front-end for uninstalling games and components of Loki's games.

Yeah, Heroes III rocks OK (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by jonabbey on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 08:03:13 PM EST

I actually installed it over the weekend, myself, then proceeded to spend a couple of very late nights playing through the first couple of scenarios. It's an interesting little game, sort of a throw-back to the time before real-time strategy games hit the scene. Closer to Civilization than to WarCraft.

I had absolutely no problems installing or running it, although I had already upgraded my heavily patched RedHat 6.0 box with XFree86 4.0.1 and the NVidia driver.

One thing I've noticed is that fewer and fewer modern versions of various pieces of software come with RH 6 compatible RPM's.. it seems like a lot of software packagers assume you're going to be working from a RH 7 base, and write up their dependencies along those lines.

Makes me happy that Loki tends to pack as many library dependencies into their game install directories as possible. I'd hate to think what would happen if every time I went to install a new game I had to risk destabilizing a lot of system libraries that many programs used.


Ganymede, a GPL'ed metadirectory for UNIX and friends.
Loki Games Experiences | 41 comments (29 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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