You, Me and Eee

“You know what would be great?” said Jim, looking me square in the IM window. “Kittens the size of buildings?” I replied. “Yes, yes it would,” he wistfully responded before getting back to the point. “But also if you were to review the gaming capabilities of your all new Asus EEE.”

My DS got fat.

In my heart I knew he was right. But then the cold, harsh reality of my own massive incompetence struck home. That would involve… technology. “Can I get a man in?” I wondered to myself, Kieron somehow knowing this was my thought and smirking to himself at the innuendo, wherever he may have been. Now, I’m no fool – I’m not about to fill the 4GB of flash memory with Windows XP. Frankly, that would be too easy. I’m sticking with Linux here: FOR THE CHALLENGE.

I then thought to look on some forums to look for helpful guides to unlocking the EEE’s potential. Ha ha ha! As if Linux people would offer help to those who don’t already have a degree in Linux. “Run the deb .3fd file with a trivert culumbus modulator, xdrting it in the command line with the usual _)xx command definitions. If this causes an 88 X-PT error, simply reflash the hard drives with a standard lucu rebuff, and install Uruntee as usual…”

Then I thought about you.

Each and every one of you. I trust you in a way that’s frankly sexual, and I realised that if I were ever to be the man who could bring the world an interesting blog post about the EEE and games, I could only do it with your help. Fill my comments thread with your tips, links to excellent online guides written in English For The Terminally Useless, suggestions for games, and brilliant tweaks and tricks for, I don’t know, figuring out how to get at the KDE desktop that apparently is already installed but I’m buggered if I can find thanks to the Fisher Price interface. That sort of thing. Together, together we can literally create a post that over 15 people might read.

52 Comments

  1. malkav11 says:

    Boy, if someone knows how to get Linux gaming-and-user-friendly, I think I might have to have their children.

    Because as far as I can tell, it can’t be done. Unless you really like the open source games that you could be running on Windows for the most part anyway. I like the *idea* of Linux loads, but…the practice? yeah.

  2. NegativeZero says:

    sudo apt-get install nethack-console

    That’s what gaming in *nix is all about. Assuming that the EEE repositories have nethack. I hear they’re not very good as repositories go.

  3. ImperialCreed says:

    I’m still at a loss as to why you bought the thing. You already own a DS for heaven’s sake, if you need something small to play games on.

  4. Julian Calaby says:

    I seem to recall a fairly good port of ut2004 for Linux which didn’t need ….. *that* much skill to install. (command line use and instruction following) I still play it today.

    There’s also a port of q3a that I have installed and working, (however I did have to compile it from source …. not exactly newbie friendly)

    Debian (and probably Ubuntu) had quake2 as an installable package, which was very easy to set up, (select packages with the friendly interface, insert CD when asked) however it no longer works, and is not even available in the main repository anymore. Some of the other distributions have these (and many others) as part of the main repository, however there is very very little support if things go wrong)

    I believe there were a few other games with similar ports. (see link to icculus.org amongst other places)

    WINE (link to winehq.org) appears to be trying to narrow the gap by directly supporting Windows games (and other applications) under Linux, but catching up with the ever-changing (and mostly undocumented) windows APIs is close to impossible.

    PC game developers really need to be convinced to support Linux as a viable gaming platform. If nothing more than a Linux compatible version of Steam and Source were released, it would probably create enough momentum to get it more developers on board. Most games already have a PS3, xBox360, Wii, and PC ports. How much work is adding Linux to the list really going to create? (and if Linux (or MacOSX) is supported, (I believe) there’s not much work required to support the other too)

    However, at the end of the day, there’s probably too much work required, probably not enough profit, probably too little experience with OpenGL, (yes, that one, the industry standard) probably too much hassle, probably not enough market and probably not enough demand.

    I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  5. Julian Calaby says:

    Argh! my link broke: link to winehq.org

  6. NegativeZero says:

    The real problem is that the eee is not exactly high-powered. I doubt you’ll get ut2004 working well on it. Hell, I doubt you even have space to install it given that the machine only has 4gb storage.

  7. Masked Dave says:

    “probably too little experience with OpenGL, (yes, that one, the industry standard)”

    hehe, I love Linux geeks. They’re so cute with all their little ideologies.

  8. Hump says:

    Buy a windows appropriate notebook you socialist bastards…..

  9. Julian Calaby says:

    Quite

  10. Ben Hazell says:

    I can’t help, but I want you to triumph.
    I need you to triumph.

    I’ve got an Eee on order and I was hoping to try and get Defcon going on it, as I mentioned elsewhere.

    Care to share any other impressions of the Eee?

  11. DJ says:

    Apparently you can get the SCUMM libraries running in happy-go-lucky mode in the Eee’s Linux distro, but I have to admit the whole XP thing just attracted me too much not to stick it on me Eee. Lazy I know…

    But then I also can’t be buggered to figure out how to get Peggle running in Linux.

    It’s also made me get very into my retro stuff – Supercars 2 remake anyone?

  12. Mike says:

    I’ll have you know I’m currently using XP on my EEE right now. It feels entirely ‘windows appropriate’ to me. When I’m trundling up north on the train tomorrow, playing SCUMM games while watching a DIVX file, I’m sure it’ll feel even more so.

    It’s a lovely little machine regardless of which OS you choose, though only one of them allows you to play Peggle in its full glory.

  13. Mike says:

    Incidentally, I think Dave might just be me turned inside out like one of those reversible jumpers.

  14. Premium User Badge

    John Walker says:

    I should add that I bought it out of a combination of a gadget haze and something I could use for work, on planes, trains, etc, rather than lugging about my 4 ton laptop.

    Making it do games is then of course obligatory.

  15. DJ says:

    Can I be the fluffy side of the jumper?

  16. ConstyXIV says:

    DEFCON runs beautifully once you turn off the “smooth lines” option. So does anything Quake3-based, like OpenArena and WolfET. I’ve yet to try my actual Q3A disc (bought the linux version by mistake) though. Gaming on the Eee is a lot easier if you ditch the installed Xandros derivative for Ubuntu though, since Ubuntu has an awful lot of OSS and free games in their repositories (besides the large and helpful Ubuntu community)

  17. Premium User Badge

    John Walker says:

    ConstyXIV – I’d LOVE to put a regular Ubuntu on there, but I’ve yet to find instructions for someone who wasn’t born into the Linux community. Do you know of a guide for idiots?

  18. Premium User Badge

    John Walker says:

    Now why didn’t any of you link me to this?

    link to laptopmag.com

  19. ConstyXIV says:

    @John Walker:

    This is the easiest “1-stop” way to get Ubuntu on the eee:
    link to wiki.eeeuser.com
    It’s not brain-dead easy, but it’s easier than how I did it. If you need help/advice/prayers, I’m usually on irc.freenode.net sometime between 10AM-10PM EST, either PM me directly (ConstyXIV) or join #eeepc and try to get my attention.

  20. Isaac says:

    Puzzle Pirates works just fine under Linux! They’ve even got installation instructions hidden somewhere on their forums so a Linux n00b like me could get it to run.

  21. ConstyXIV says:

    @Issac:

    But it doesn’t fit on 800×480. *sobs*

  22. Jae Armstrong says:

    I have a couple of friends who are fairly hardline… er… Linuxers? Linuxists?

    Anyway, I’m all but certain they use their Linux-based PCs for PC gaming, although with what set-up and with what sort of success I can’t really say. I’ve had a deep seated hatred for command line interfaces ever since I was seven years old and trying to make Sim City 2000 work under Windows 3.1.

    But I’ll try and get some useful information out of them at a more civilised hour. Possibly even get them to comment here directly.

    Oh, and there’s an entire forum dedicated to making EVE run under Linux, if you want to try that.

    N.b. Yes, I know DOS is not Linux and, yes, I know there are GUIs for Linux and, yes-

    Ah, haud yer wheest.

  23. andrew says:

    I ran ubuntu linux for almost 2 years on a LG laptop awhile back and didn’t have any major problems installing or running games etc. but then again I also ran Solaris X86 on a 486 PC and used to have Irix boxes back in the day so you get the idea… the suggestions for icculus and wine are good ideas, and I might also add that if you were running Ubuntu, the forum geeks for it are truly excellent and answer questions quickly. Anyway, wine is free and works but I found for games it’s rather useless and requires multiple hacks to get it to run, on the other hand you could also google:
    Cedega
    and download that. Cedega is rather nice for games. Several freeware open source FPSes exist, there was one I remember that was a kinda you create the game type of thing, but I’ll be damned if I can remember it, Windows has a weird amnesia effect on me, despite 10 years of various unix distros 2 weeks with windows will erase all terminal skills, perl knowledge will dwindle, ability to install libraries will wither, and then when u go back… what am I talking about anyway? I’m lost… I think ok yeah ok… ok

  24. ishkamiel says:

    Most id software games have official linux clients, and since the quake3 source was open sourced (or something) there are many quake3 based games freely available (that is, without the need to own a copy of quake3). NWN also has a linux client, and probably other games. The 4GB of space are quite limiting when it comes to commerical games though…

    As for wine and cedega, they often are quite a hassle to use, and in my experience seldom offer flawless functionallity, introducing all kinds of graphical glitches and such alike. To be fair though, haven’t really tried them much lately, just installed windows for my gaming needs.

    One thing I do know is that Steam, and more importantly Peggle runs under wine. This guide helped me install steam, and peggle probably just worked after that, or perhaps took some good old trial and error config via winecfg, don’t remember…

  25. Kjakan says:

    I think your best bet would be DosBox with some old classics of your own choice. DosBox should be in the repository of several linux distributions.

  26. Matt says:

    I haven’t tried it on the EEE yet, but znes worked fine for me on ubuntu(as well as kubuntu, and archlinux, as I recall). I mean, there’s really no skill to using it…in fact its just a matter of getting your hands on it and some games. Obviously you won’t be able to play anything new, but if you can’t find something to keep you entertained in the entire library of snes games I’m not entirely sure you deserve your eee. =)

  27. Piratepete says:

    Oooh its an iddy biddy PC.

    (sorry thats about as helpful as I can be on linux)

    bloody hell thats cheap tho innit £220!!

  28. AbyssUK says:

    Using the power of wine (Wine is not an emulator) http://www.winehq.com you can play bookworm adventures/ most popcap games perfectly! Wine also does WoW etc.. and has got pretty dam good recently.

    ScummVM also has a linux build.. so monkey island etc is as easy as pie. Also as mentioned DOSBOX is awesome for old pcgames.. also 16bit console emulation is easy enough.

    Also Urban terror / anything quake3 based might be worth a shot. Although I don’t know if the EEE has opengl capabilities….

    If your so inclined, you can mail me perhaps, I’ll try talk you through a few installs, or even better setup a VNC so I can do the installs remotely :P

    Also link to forum.eeeuser.com

  29. AbyssUK says:

    Oh and even better :-

    link to wiki.eeeuser.com

  30. Tim says:

    Cedega is the most trouble free way of running windows games under linux. It’s most certainly not trouble free though. I’ve used it to run Guildwars, but it’s not very well supported. Other games have a 5 star rating for compatibility, I think WoW does.

    Neverwinter nights has a very good native linux client I used to use.

    Very few windows games run in linux as well as they do in windows. Which is to be expected really. Part of that is also because the graphics drivers in linux still aren’t up to the same standard as the windows ones (especially the ATI cards).

    Maybe one day microsoft will port DirectX to linux and developers will make their games multiplatform? Yeah right…

    It’s interesting though, there’s predictions that super cheap laptops like the Eee will be the way of the future, and most of them will run linux because the hardware is so cheap windows would nearly double the price. Eventually if there’s enough of them, maybe developers will start to make their casual titles multiplatform using SDL (for example).

    That’s the only way I can see gaming coming to linux as a platform. DirectX would need to be less important. That’s the case for most casual games, but it’s a while off yet before mainstream titles take that route.

  31. AndrewA says:

    Linux has a big problem when it gets to supporting games. It’s the fact that porting a game to linux is very costly and the linux userbase that wants to play your game, and doesn’t have windows, and wants to pay for it amounts to about 6 people. On top of that the different distro’s are always slightly different in some undefinable yet important ways. Then releases are not always backwards compatible , so theres a huge support nightmare. Few companys wants to get invovled in that. If you release a game on 360 or PS3 you can garuntee that everyone of your users is using an identical setup.

    I run kunbuntu at work, the 64 bit version on my 64bit PC, unfortunatly theres no flash player for 64bit linux so it’s entirely useless for my development needs. :( (yes there is now a 64bit flash player but it’s garbage) I’m pretty sure i’ve angered some Linux god as it took almost a year for a driver for my video card to appear as well.

  32. Sam says:

    I’ve been playing everything in The Orange Box on a computer which only has Linux (Ubuntu, to be precise), and have had very few problems. This includes Peggle Extreme, so there!

    (As for DirectX vs OpenGL and the snarky comment above about “linux people and their ideologies”: I’d note that the Playstation 3 uses OpenGL ES for it’s graphics API, and hence it’s not like there isn’t a drive for people to learn OpenGL in the games programming world.)

  33. King A says:

    As for DirectX vs OpenGL and the snarky comment above about “linux people and their ideologies”: I’d note that the Playstation 3 uses OpenGL ES for it’s graphics API, and hence it’s not like there isn’t a drive for people to learn OpenGL in the games programming world.

    Except that there is free Sony provided software that lets you dance far far away from the world of OpenGL into a lovely world of PSSG objects and such like. In fact I know that we (in the past year) deliberately stripped all openGL support from our cross platform game libraries to reduce support complexity and user confusion.

  34. Sam says:

    Really? I’ve done some programming with OpenGL, and I have to say that it seemed reasonably usable for what I wanted to do (not games programming, but data visualisation of 3d magnetic spin fields).
    Does this mean that your cross-platform libraries actually link to different APIs for different platforms, then, rather than trying to leverage a common interface?

  35. I_still_love_Okami says:

    I trust you in a way that’s frankly sexual

    Thank god. And I allways thought I was kinda weird, because I’ve got this huge boy crush going on for RPS and like to cuddle my laptop whenever I read your articles.

    My mom says that’s a sin and that I’m going to burn in hell for touching myself while reading Kieron’s reviews or John’s features. But now I know that this kind of thing is absolutely natural and normal. So I don’t really feel bad anymore for having hidden my mom in all these places around town. It wasn’t my fault, she tried to take RPS away from me.

    Should’ve seen it coming.

    Can I marry all of you?

  36. Jim Rossignol says:

    I believe we’re already betrothed.

  37. Hugo says:

    As most people know, Wolf:ET runs on Linux, as does a crossplatform mod for it: True Combat: Elite. link to truecombatelite.net

    Whilst TC:E doesn’t give realism on a ARMA level, it has ironsights, no crosshair, HDR lighting, and the ability to climb chain-link fences and other such obstacles.

    Oh, it’s a modern-day counter-terror FPS, sans bunny hopping and a few other things.

  38. Andrew Doull says:

    I second Orange Box and using Wine. You can take the safe option and buy CrossOver Office from Code Weavers, which makes the Wine install that much easier as well as funding the core Wine developer(s). I’d suspect based on system specs for the Eee PC that you’d get HL1/2 working okay in 640×480. I’ve run it successfully on a standard MacBook with reasonable performance.

    And Red Orchestra works as well…

  39. Matt KIbbler says:

    I think that you can run the open source version of Transport Tycoon Deluxe on Linux; it mentions Debian/Ubuntu i386, which I think is some sort of Linux voodoo.

    You can find it here, my love: http://www.openttd.org

    You might also want to slip this classic into PCG if you fancy a raise and critical acclaim of your peers (plus much sex from ladies).

  40. Chris says:

    Can you connect USB devices like a hard drive?

    I second the fellow who mentioned emulation. I wonder if it can run PlayStation games?

  41. DeckerEgo says:

    Don’t forget the Introversion games. I imagine Uplink and mayhaps Darwinia and Defcon should run suitably. Uplink on the EEEEEEEEEe should be great fun.

  42. ArchAngelQ says:

    I gotta say, it’s old, but it’s perfect for this sort of machine: Starcraft running with Wine. Warcraft 3 if it’s got the guts for it. If it does work for starcraft, that’d make it the ultimate mini-lan party box :)

  43. Jocho says:

    I’ve got a few friends who are a lot into Linux, as well, so I’ve had to ask them for a lot of help while installing Ubuntu. But I think I know how it’s done now:

    First, there are CDs containing ubuntu. You can order it for free from here: link to shipit.ubuntu.com
    To install ubuntu, begin with inserting the disc *before* windows starts (or just insert it and reboot the computer). That should lauch ubuntu from the disc.
    Then, press the “install”-buttons, and follow the instructions. These are quite easy to the 5th step of 6, where you’ll have to divide your hard drive (called “allocate memory”) into something called “partitions”. The two new partitions (one is ubuntus hard drive space, the other is pretty advanced stuff but is apparently needed) should be “mounted” into some sort of link, where one has to be at the “\”-directory. If I seem unclear, it’s because I don’t remember perfectly, but as you guys are british and all you’re more likely to understand then a studying Swede.

    Anyway, ubuntu should install now. When it’s done, you can remove the disc, and the next time you’re computer starts, you’ll be able to choose what operative system to choose in case this is the second or more operating system you’ve installed.

    I hope this made it clear. It doesn’t explain EEE, but it explains how to install ubuntu. =)

  44. Binni says:

    ScummVM and Exult (Ultima VII) both work on Linux. Other emulators are a good bet as well.

  45. Goldstein says:

    Does this mean one of you will be assigned the unenviable duty of Linux gaming coverage?

  46. Freelancepolice says:

    I wish to purchase an eee so a proper article would go down like a roast dinner on a cold sunday afternoon

  47. Driadan says:

    Although you have a lot of games in linux, most of them are not quite good (there are a few nice exceptions)

    ID releases his games a few weeks/months later than the win version, so you can play all of the Quakes (including the quake wars, I believe) and a lot of mods for them (World of Padman, openarena, …)

    Introversion also releases for linux: darwinia, uplink and defcon.

    There were a company called Loki which used to create installers for some games like Tribes 2, the company closed long ago but searching could get you the installers (you still need to have bought the game)

    Some indie games also have their linux version (I don’t recall one right now :( )

    You can run XMame for a lot of arcade videogames, or ScummVM for all that lucasart fun adventures.

    And then you have Wine and Cedega, depending on the game it runs better in one or the other so you’ll have to check in their websites. I only have wine but I have played to portal, wow and guildwars with it (a few problems from time to time but with a good performance for a game intended to be played under win)

    About the linux games I like xkoules and zangband (a variant of angband which is similar to nethack).

    And for the linux questions you have, you’ll need to be a bit more specific. I don’t own a EEE (I accept donations ;) ), but usually most of the things are the same. Anyway, If you need help, just post or email your questions ;)

  48. GibletHead2000 says:

    I’ll second openttd (link to openttd.org)

    You might get the ATITD linux client running on it? (link to atitd.com)

    Freeciv (link to freeciv.wikia.com) is also very much in active development.

    Also, there’s frozen bubble and tuxracer. Despite being open source, the latter still isn’t any fun at all.

    I suspect it doesn’t do 3d games very well… But maybe it’ll run quake3?

  49. Garreett says:

    link to youtube.com It can run Oblivion. :O