Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Warzone 2100

So the time has come to give you a review of a strategy game, so brace yourself, get the strategy guides and let blow this joint!

Upon starting the game it looks a bit on the lean side and with only a 20Mb download it doesn't sound too promising.

You setup your display, sound and whatnot and then click the single player campaign. It starts of and the tempo is very slow, so slow that I would think most players would discard the game right there and then, but keep at it, unlock new tech, fight more enemies, it will slowly pick up pace and sooner or later you will be hard pressed to keep everything under control!

This game reminded me allot of the earlier Red Alert games, the GFX is not mind blowing, but it is not that bad either. As strategy games go your only objective is to build a stronger and better army by unlocking different tech upgrades through artifacts that you discover or take over from the enemy. There is very little resource gathering to be done, in fact you only need to build a power plant and oil dereks and that is that. As far as I could figure out after 2 weeks of playing it there is no way to really boost your energy so that it doesn't run out in later missions, a constant nuisance when faced with annihilation and no more tanks can be produced since there is no more or very little power. Secret? Don't just throw your army at the enemy, fight smartly and sparingly and constantly upgrade your forces and repair them for that day of reckoning!

You start out with only your worker trucks and a basic machine gun tank, however as you progress you can unlock the most awesome hovercraft tanks and even cyborgs!

So in short, build your base, research a lot of tech, build your army, strengthen your base and kill the enemy, that about sums it up...

The longer you play the more fun it becomes since you very quickly realize that the enemy is always a tech step ahead of you, showing you what you could expect on the next artifact upgrade, what exactly is the ultimate weapon of this game? Ask me in a few months time since it gets almost impossible in the latter stages to complete the missions!

Quite a punch for a 20Mb download!
Great fun!

Build up that base!

And finally you will have your research center, command center, factory and power plant, now lets fight!

See that plume of smoke above one of the tanks? Evidence of a skirmish! Truck also on it's way to build an oil derek.

ATTACK!

Whoa! Transport missions, cool! Just keep and eye on that mission timer, the transport can only carry 10 units at a time and it takes some time for the reinforcements to arrive!

Badda BOOM! Another one bites the dust! Yup, you saw it, your tanks can gather experience and rank making them, well, leet?

Do not neglect those base defenses! Some surprise party might land nearby and give you a whoopin!

Homepage:
http://wz2100.net/

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Google Earth & Darfur Crisis

I just got this little snippet from a forum I visit and it is quite the example of what Google Earth can be used for!

If you have Google Earth, search for Darfur and zoom in on it. See al those flames? Those are villages destroyed and burned down. Click on of the flames and download additional information.

You will be greeted with testimonials, photos and more info on the conflict that ravished the country. Pretty grim, but what a way to bring news to our doorstep!

I applaud Google for this and I sincerely hope that this kind of "news telling" will really catch on and awaken the general public to what is really going on in the world outside their office or home!

Monday, July 16, 2007

World of Padman

The next game I'm playing is WOP (World Of Padman) and it is a shining example of what Open Source games can be!

This is one of those FPS games you find yourself asking: "Why in the world did they not make this commercial??"

The game oozes style and being a Quake 3 mod the GFX side of things are very well covered. It's even got an intro video! All the bells and whistles!

There are plenty of game types to keep you occupied and happy, from the free-for-all to all sorts of team based assignments.
The game play is again fast (not as fast as Nexuiz though) but the maps are HUGE so it is easy to run around not getting a kill cause you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The weapons are, I think, what makes this game fun!
From a psycho duck melee weapon to the sweetest sniper water blaster! There are only 2 weapons that I can quickly think of that uses conventional ammo, the rest are either water balloons, paint ball guns or some giant water pistol.

Have a look here for some screenshots of the weapons.

Have a browse through the site and take a look at some other screenshots on offer there, I took a couple but the homepage has far better looking screenshots!

I would rate this game very highly and I would venture to say that it will be a hit with all FPS players at any lan party, or to just get a quick frag against a couple of bots...

The game is available for Windows, Linux and Mac, so what are you waiting for??? Get it, try it and fall in love with it!

Stunning environment! If all Open Source games looked like this...

Ooooh, get that armour, you gonna need it!

One of the weapons, the paint ball gun, the equivalent of the machine gun!

What?! Me loosing?! NOOoooo

Close one... dodge those bullets sonny!

Stock up on the ammo, it runs out quite fast when you are at war!

BADDA BOOM!! Betty making herself heard!

Yup, you get special weapons, like these killer ducks send out to hunt me down...

Zey hallo to mine zpecial zniper scope!

Some links:
Website:
http://padworld.myexp.de

Download page:
http://padworld.myexp.de/index.php?files

Online Forum:
http://forum.worldofpadman.com/

I leave you with one last comment:
http://padworld.myexp.de/index.php?files=movies

The manual and intro video, enjoy!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Nexuiz!

For obvious reasons I'm going to steer clear of the commercial games and give you a taste of a few open source games and what better one to kick things off than Nexuiz!

Nexuiz is a very fast passed FPS game with bot and multi player support. The bots are a huge plus since not all people like to play online (like me) and they are very clever and at higher levels can give you quite a nasty hiding!

The game is a mix between Quake3 and UT2004 with the gfx a bit more on the Quake side (not as good as UT2004) and the gameplay is explosive!

You run around the map collecting guns and munition and frag the one that comes in sight, but imagine Quake3 at twice the pace...

You have your campaign mode (more like a "see how far up the ladder you can go") and the usual instant action (bots) and multiplayer options.
Once you played this and head on out for a quick UT2004 death match it will feel like you are playing a RTS instead of a FPS. At first this will probably frustrate the n00bs, but as you skill improve it is non-stop trigger happy action.

The trick is to time your action so that you can get to a weapon, because see, once you picked up a weapon it disappears from the map for a while (like the ammo, adrenalin, etc. on UT2004). So if you are not fast of the trigger and cannot find a weapon fast, you are pretty much cannon fodder!

Once I got the feel for the game I swore off the sissy games like CS and UT2004. This will keep you busy and well entertained for quite a while!

Nexuiz Homepage

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gaming on Linux

Is Linux ready for us gamers?

To for ever clear up the issue of gaming on Linux and answer a few questions gamers might have on the ability of Linux as a gaming platform.

We quite frequently hear that people want to convert to Linux, but gaming is stopping them.
Now to be blunt, most developing houses do not even bother to support Linux and there are only a handful of them that bother to make their games available for Linux. The most noted of these games are the Quake and Unreal Tournament series of games which all work out of the box on Linux.
I have lanned a few times with my Linux UT2004 and there is absolutely nothing holding you back.

Sadly this is one of the exceptions and we really wished more devs would see Linux as an alternative platform with much more users than Apple Mac.

So if you are a hardcore competitive gamer then Linux is not for you, unless your game is available for Linux.

This brings us to the next question, what then is available on Linux?
Seeing there is so little commercial games (with out of the box support) available, what then will I be able to play?

Here there are two options, go for open source games, or go with an emulator like Wine/Cedega to get your favorite game working.

To quickly look at the latter, Wine is the open source emulator/wrapper that tries and help you running all sorts of Windows apps on Linux, while Cedega is more geared for the gaming market.
To use Cedega you will have to pay a fee (annual or monthly depending on your needs), but included in this fee is not only the app, but step by step instructions on getting your favorite game working, and if you struggle, the opportunity to have a very large community at your disposal to help you out.
The reason they charge is because they licensed some of the directX code with Windows and this is why they have much more success with games than Wine, so if you are serious about gaming then this is your choice. They have a HUGE list of supported commercial games.

Wine on the other hand is a hit-and-miss situation. There are a few popular games that work well under it, but they do not go out of their way to add more support for any specific game since Wine is intended for a far greater audience. You do get enough articles on the web on how to get your more favorite games running, but this is usually uncharted waters and if you fail, you are most of the times on your own.
The way about going to use Wine is to use the forum of the distro you chose. They will be the best equipped to help you and you will then KNOW if a game will be able to run in your distro or not.

The last alternative is to use open source games!
Now it is no secret that I am an advocate for open source, so I'll dwell a bit on this section since it is usually not a well covered topic in even the Linux community.

There is a plus and minus to the open source gaming industry, so lets get the negative out of the way and then concentrate on the positive.

Negative:
* Usually the GFX are not up to par
* Many stale projects (lack of funds, devs, interest, etc.)
* Usually not widely supported

The gfx side of things are usually the biggest hurdle any open source project needs to overcome. Good coders are not good artists and to get the right people involved in a project is the biggest challenge of the open source community. There are the exceptions like Americas Army, but even this game looks a bit pale compared to Doom3 and HL2.

Stale projects abound in the industry, a game is not as popular as one would have hoped, the dev lost interest, lack of money to support it and a million other factors can sink a well sailing ship. Go to http://happypenguin.org/ and see how many dead and stale projects there are. Now the whole philosophy behind open source is that anyone can then take over the project or incorporate a few stale ones into something glorious, but sadly that seldom happens.

Because a game does not enjoy a wide audience you get the above result and this is where we as Linux users must do our bid to keep the games we like alive. I have nothing against commercial games, I too have the entire UT series and a couple other titles, but it is essential that we realize that without our support (playing) the games there is no point in developing them. Tune into Linux gaming forums, listen to what seems to be exciting and up your alley and support that game. Register on the boards and make yourself count, this will not only encourage the devs but will help investors to sift the gems from the chaff.

Now the positive:
The positive is that there is literately millions of titles to choose from!
Besides the exciting wide choice it will almost always work on most platforms, Linux, Windows and Mac so you could always arrange it so that at the next lan after fragging each other with CS gets old, to install an open source title and let them all have a go at it!

As of late the open source community has had a boom in the gaming section with titles like Nexuiz, Sauerbraten/Cube2, the porting of popular commercial games (like Doom3) and the likes.

So, to wrap things up, is Linux ready for gaming?
Yes
Is it fit for MY gaming needs?
Well if you are only a recreational gamer, then yes.

Now in the next couple of weeks we will be looking at a few open source games and I'll then give you my humble opinion and a few games to go try out!

Until next time, happy gaming!

Enjoy some videos after reading the blog!

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