Linux Gaming

A number of games come as part of the Ubuntu distribution, and they are divided into three distinct camps: KDE games, GNOME games, and X games. Our favorites are Planet Penguin Racer and Torc (see Figure 13.1), but there are a few others for you to choose from. The best part, of course, is trying each one and seeing what you think. Many other free games are available across the Web, so go to Google and see what you come up with.

Figure 13.1. Sliding around corners in the high-speed Torc.

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Figure 13.1. Sliding around corners in the high-speed Torc.

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However, games for Linux do not stop therea few versions of popular Windows-based games are being ported across to the Linux platform, including DOOM 3, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Quake 4. These three popular games have native Linux support and in some cases can run at similar, if not better, speeds than their Windows counterparts. There's even an emulator available that enables you to play classic adventure games natively under Linux.

Finally, an implementation of the Wine code, formerly called WineX but now called Cedega, is optimized especially for games. This uses application interfaces to make Windows games believe they are running on a Windows platform and not a Linux platform. Bear in mind that Wine stands for wine is not an emulator, so do not start thinking of it as suchthe community can get quite touchy about it!

A major gripe of Linux users has been the difficulty involved in getting modern 3D graphics cards to work. Thankfully, both ATI and Nvidia support Linux, albeit by using closed-source drivers. This means that Ubuntu does not ship with native 3D drivers for either graphics card. It is fairly easy to get a hold of these drivers and install them using either synaptic or apt.

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