Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Remote control your Linux desktop from an Android phone!

I just recently came across this nifty little app that lets you turn you Android phone into a remote mouse of keyboard, and the best part is it works 100% on Linux!

First install this on your Android phone:

Now download and extract this zip file on your Linux desktop machine:
PRemotedroid server

Change into the directory of that you just unzipped and issue this command:

java -classpath bluecove-2.1.jar -classpath blucove-gpl-2.1.0.jar -jar PRemoteDroid-Server.jar

On your desktop you will see the app running in the taskbar, from this you can get the IP and password you will need to sync with your phone.
Set up the app on your phone with these details and under "Connections" you should see the connection you just set up. Long press on the icon to bring up a menu and choose "Use".

You should now be able to use your Android phone as a remote mouse and keyboard! Success!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

0 A.D. RTS Game

The title leaves much to be desired, but the game hits a sweet spot that has been neglected on Linux for a long time.

I'm not a fan of RTS, but every now and then I get the urge to manage my own country and hopefully live long enough not to ruin it!
Linux has been on the short end when it comes to native RTS games, there are only a handful of them around and a while ago I stumbled onto this little gem from Wildfire Games: 0 A.D.

Let me just start by saying the development on the game is spot on with timely releases and huge improvements with every other update. Since I began playing it last year it has come in leaps and bounds, especially the graphics of this game is impressive!
Quite recently they updated the in-game bots to a more challenging level, so that made the game a bit more realistic, however the AI is not that difficult to beat. It would be nice if the introduced a more advance bot in the future.

Multi-player is still not implemented, and you cannot change any settings off-hand, but hey, this is an Alpha release!

Game play is like every other RTS out there, you gather resources, build your base and attack. There are no unit and building upgrades to be had like the more modern RTS games (StarCraft 2, WarCraft, etc. for example) and the pace of the game is on the slower side, but this makes it perfect for the beginner to pick it up and start learning.
The only "upgrades" to your units can get is the special elite units that will increase damage, range, etc. of your normal units. I really can't tell if this makes a difference, just amass a large enough army and pummel the enemy is my usual strategy.

All this said, the game is still slated as an Alpha release, but what an Alpha this is! I just hope the project doesn't get abandoned and grows into a very fine game. Because of this it would be very unfair to criticize the game, so let me then just add a wish list of feature I hope they implement in future releases:

  • Unit grouping - assigning key numbers to unit groups would be very nice. Micro management without this is impossible.
  • Better bots to practice against - add a higher difficulty bot
  • Better notifications on units build, workers being idle and buildings complete
  • Notifications on units being attacked
Off the top of my head, this is the biggest features I would love to see added. If one is going to play this game at a competitive level then you really need those notifications to draw your attention while busy elsewhere on the map. I usually find myself with workers standing idle and no indication that they were finished building or working on a building. I have this eerie voice in the back of my head of a WarCraft troll shouting: "Jobs done!"

I enjoy the game, and for a challenge get three bots to gang up on you.

Here is some of the game play footage I slapped together of the latest release:

There you have it, a promising start and lets hope a successful game in the near future!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Team Fortress 2 free! and installing Steam on Linux

If you have Steam installed via WINE, then you should start it up immediately and download Team Fortress 2.

It is free to play and a lot of fun, it runs flawlessly in Linux.

Installing Steam on Linux. There is the easy way and then the way I prefer.

The easy way is to install PlayOnLinux and just follow the prompts once you start the application. This should install all the needed WINE applications and dependent packages.
Once you start PlayOnLinux you can now just choose for it to install Steam and everything should go without a hitch.

If you however find something missing or that WINE complains that something additional is needed, use winetricks to install what is missing. The biggest problem is usually the Tahoma font that is missing or not installed propely, so just install it with winetricks:

winetricks tahoma

Start up Steam and get your game on!

If you like the old school way to install Steam, then this is the way to go about it.

First install WINE, now this can be done by searching for it in your distro package manager, so I'm not going to cover this since it should be straight forward.
Just as a precaution start up winecfg once to create the registry and directories to get everything going.

Additional packages that you may need and find useful for other applications as well is cabextract and wine-Gecko. Search for them in your distro package manager and install it as well.

Next, download the Steam installer and issue the following command in the download directory and follow the instructions that follow:

wine start SteamInstall.msi

Again, once this is done install the Tahoma font with winetricks.

That should do it! Happy gaming!

Linux Mint

Just a quick update regarding Linux Mint.

I'm very pleased with the performance on the Netbook and have decided to convert all the remaining Ubuntu machines over to Linux Mint.

This signals the end of a rather shaky *buntu journey for me and frankly, I couldn't be happier.

Until next time.