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Tag Archives: Linux

nogui.wordpress.com now boasts the all new Linux Gaming Corner. A Section of the site dedicated to gamers and gaming on the Linux platform. I’ll be adding views and reviews as well as tips and advice on how to get games running under Linux.

So, to kick things off, a quick review on one of my favourite indie games – VVVVVV.

VVVVVV is a charmingly retro 2D platform/puzzle game from award-winning independent game designer Terry Cavanagh

In the game, the player assumes the role of Captain Viridian who must search and rescue the lost crew of her ship after becoming stranded in an alternate dimension. In VVVVVV the player is not able to jump, and the player must flip gravity to fall up/down the screen in order to overcome obstacles.

The gravity flipping control mechanism which forms the core concept of the game becomes second nature after a short period.

You will die a lot playing this game (My completed game file has a death count of over 1000). The game allows for this by providing very frequent checkpoints (re-spawn points) and instant re-spawn upon dieing – (no last life or game-over). The death/re-spawn cycle allows you the practice needed to perfect the required twitch gaming reflexes needed in some of the games more fiendish sections

But, contrary to what you might think, In VVVVVV dieing repeatedly does not frustrate or infuriate. You feel as though you learned something from each death, or it got you one step closer to overcoming the challenge and reaching that next checkpoint. And when you do progress and reach that next checkpoint, the sense of achievement is extremely satisfying (for a game! :-))

Game play takes place in a free roaming map, that can be retraced, similar to Super Metroid. This allows the player the freedom to take their own approach- Undoubtedly, very few players would play through the game in the exact same order, as there are so many routes from A to B.

Getting around is aided by conveniently placed teleporters which will allow fast travel from one to any other. Which adds nicely to replay value – allowing players to quickly travel to unobtained trinkets or unexplored areas of the map.

Graphically, The game is heavily inspired by the 8-bit era, and is therefore duly simplistic. but the graphics are clear, concise and have charm, which is very appropriate for a game of this nature, and goes some way to proving that gameplay is what matters.

The music in VVVVVV, scored by Magnus Pålsson is fantastic. Again has a very retro feel, consisting entirely of chiptune, it sets the pace for the game very nicely, from slower exploration stages to high energy fast paced sections. Truthfully, I fire up VVVVVV and run it in the background just so I can listen to the music while working on my computer – that is how much I love the it!

In terms of longevity, the game can be completed in < 3hrs, however uncovering every last piece of the map will take longer, as will collecting all the trinkets (collectibles which reward the player with a jukebox facility on the ship), some of which are fiendishly hard to get.

In all a hugely enjoyable, quirky game that will have you hooked almost instantly.
If you can look past the old school look and feel of the game, an absolute gem is waiting to be discovered underneath, and with its low system requirements, will run on almost any computer.

Getting it running on Linux

Originally written in Flash, VVVVVV was ported to C++ and Linux binaries made officially available in both 32 and 64bit.

Running the game is simply a matter of extracting the archive and executing the script VVVVVV. Type ./VVVVVV at a terminal from that directory.

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The Raspberry Pi foundation is a registered UK charity working for the advancement of computer science in education in the UK and around the world.

They are currently developing a single board ARM based computer capable of running a full ARM linux distro – something a bit like a beagleboard.

Designed with the education market in mind. Raspberry Pi is aiming to produce a cheap, efficient and versatile computer with the aim of teaching programming to children, but expect the device to have many other uses in the developing and developed world

Two models will be available initially – Model A priced at $25 and Model B at $35 see specs below:

– 700MHz ARM11
– 128MB or 256MB of SDRAM
– OpenGL ES 2.0
– 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
– Composite and HDMI video output
– USB 2.0
– SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
– General-purpose I/O
– Optional integrated 2-port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller
– Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)

I can think of a number of uses for such a cheap and capable device and will follow this project with great interest! The device is expected to be available in November this year!

Check out www.raspberrypi.org for more information!

Being a gamer on linux can be a cold, unforgiving place. Sure, there is some great work being done in the opensource community to bring new games to linux and facilitate compatibility usually older Windows titles to linux, but often projects get abandoned or shelved and support can be lacking…

The commercial Indie game market however is a shining example of how linux compatibility can be for the benefit of all! developers and gamers alike!

And when the benevolent fellows over at The Humble Bundle get involved for the good of charity, it can only be a good thing.

The bundle allows gamers to purchase a collection of commercially available indie games for whatever price they see fit. choosing how to spread there donation between the devs who brought you the games, and charitable organisations. And whats best, all titles included in the bundle are Windows AND Linux compatible – and you are entitled to both formats, DRM free

The current bundle bundle – “The Frozen Synapse Bundle” includes Frozen Synapse (predictably), Spacechem, and Trauma – as well as the entire FrozenByte bundle, if you donate above the average amount.

All games are interesting and well worth playing! support indie developers and charity by playing games! Get it NOW! while you can – these bundles are made available to a limited time only.

The Frozen Synapse bundle will expire TODAY! GO! GET! NOW! QUICK!


Crunchbang fans around the world have been waiting for a new release since the last release based on Ubuntu 9.4 – well over a year ago.

Well, the wait is now over as Crunchbang moves into version 10, and with it, a move from Ubuntu to Debian sources. This is still a development release and work is still on going. Look out for the stable release in the near future.

As always, heed #!’s developers warning before installing:

“As always with CrunchBang, this release is not recommended for anyone who requires a stable system. Anyone who uses CrunchBang should be comfortable with occasional or even frequent breakage. Remember, CrunchBang Linux could make your computer go CRUNCH! BANG! :)”

Check out the official blog post for more info

The latest round in the Apple Vs Adobe scwabble has seen a press release published by Apple explaining their position. As they attempt to take a moral high ground, they come off sounding like total hypocrits!

Sure, its easy to take a pop at flash… its bloated, buggy (on linux) and will eat into your system performace like no ones business. But with all that considered, it is responsible for a large amount of the matirial we consume online, and its not going away anytime soon.

But apples opening argument on its press release attempts to slam adobe for its lack of openness. Below I have quoted this section of the PR, as for no excerpts to be taken out of context.

    First, there’s “Open”.

    Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

    Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

    Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.

For Apple to try and take the stand as the ‘good guy’ in an openness and free speech argument is so asburd and hypocrytical that only a fanboy would be sucked in by this garbage.

We all know that the iPhone and iPad are the two most locked down and controlled devices ever brought to market. EVER. Apple control exactly what the hardware is cabable of, through their propriatory OS. Apple control exacly what software is available for the platform, through the app store application process. Apple control exactly how developers make software through their propriatary SDK (mac only) and licence agreement.

By reading the above exerpt, you can see that Apple conveniently ignores all the points i mention, and focuses on web standards, thus conveying Apple as an advocate of openess and free creativity on the web. They believe that web standards should be open, but they don’t believe in openness when it has ramifications to their business model and profits (like in the app store).

Next, Apple gives its self a nice pat on the back for WebKit rendering engine. The wording of this shows Apple in a very positive light to the uniformed.

Apple did not create WebKit. They pillaged the opensource project KHTML, developped by KDE for their Konqueror browser. Apple made a fork of KHTML and named it ‘WebKit’, yet Apple withheld their code, preventing further colaboration with KDE on the project, and violating the initial terms of the licence. Apple eventually open-sourced their code in 2005, but from their behaviour, it is clear that they are not avocates of openness, and will do whatever it takes for their own gain.

So, that beats down every argument put forth by Apple against Adobe in regard to openness. Apple are hypocrits. Steve Jobs is the lead hypocrit. Apple fans are deluded fanboys who follow blindly and accept anything they are told. Apple are denouncing a company for following the same business model as Apple themselves. and that is pure hypocracy.

Please leave a comment if you have an opinion on this.

Tinycore is a nimble 10mb linux distro that I reviewed a little while back. I have been using it on my EEE PC 900 for about 3 months. Over the course that course of time, I’ve learned a thing or two about TC’s extensions, and which are best suited to such a light weight, small distro

Three things I look for:

    1. Few dependencies – installing many apps, with many different dependencies will soon fatten up your system, try to use apps with few, or in some cases, no deps!

    2. Extension size – Pretty obvious, but any extention you install will add to the size of the route file system, and also occupy RAM (even if the app is not running). Therefore, sticking to smaller extensions makes good sense.

    3. Suitablity of ‘On Demand’ feature – When TC boots, it mounts every single extention you have in your ‘tce’ folder (type ‘fdisk -l’ in a console, and you’ll see what I mean. If you install an extension using ‘On Demand’ it will be downloaded from the repo, to your computer, but not mounted – it will only be mounted when you want to use it. Makes a lot of sense for exensions that you know you probably wont use very often (especially if they are large in size!).

So, considering the above I have made a list of worthy extensions. All available from the Appbrowser.

Essentials

OSS for sound, wirelesstools and wpasupplicant for WLAN, 915resolution for widescreen displays, zip/unzip, rar, curl, etc.

File manager – two serious contenders here.

Midnight Commander (mc.tcz) is an extremely light weight FM that runs from the console. 606kb in size, and just 2 deps. Makes light work of navigating files using the keyboard, but also has mouse support. On top of that has a built in text editor for editing scripts and config files. If you are comfortable in the console, this is the way to go.

Browser – again, two apps that i would consider

Dillo (dillo2.tcz) compliments TC in every way. small, lightening fast, offers good functionality, but doesnt support everything. The extension itself is just 1.6mb and has no dependencies!

Opera 9.64 (opera.tcz) Fastest of the full-featured browsers. You’ll be hard pressed to find a website that opera cant handle. The extension clocks in at 8mb with no deps. Opera also supports ‘minimal mode’ to save RAM, which strips out IRC, RSS and email functionality. Opera 10.10 is also available,but is significantly larger, at 11.6mb.

Video/music player

Mplayer-nodeps (Mplayer-nodeps.tcz) There are a few different Mplayer extensions in the repo. My reccomendation is Mplayer-nodeps. This is the command line version, lacking any GUI, as this will save you some space. Mplayer performs very well under TC, and as long as you brush up on the commands for mplayer, you’ll be fine. Nodeps version clocks in at 4.3mb, and of course there are no dependencies! Other versions require a graphical tool kit (GTK1 or GTK2). There is also a version for xorg users.

VLC (vlc.tcz) everyone loves VLC, and of course its availible here. Clocks in at a hefty 11.6mb, but will play practically any file. xorg reccomended by extension creator (eeek!). Depends on QT, amoung others.

System monitor

Conky (conky.tcz) Lightweight system monitor, displaying performace stats on the desktop. Just 116kb 2 deps its delightfully lightweight. A must have on any linux system!

Text editor

Beaver (beaver.tcz) Beaver is a handy text editor that I use everyday. Although not the most featurefull, supports some syntax highlighting, line numbering and auto indent. Only 135kb in size, but does depend on GTK1.

Office tools

Abiword/gnumeric (abiword.tcz, gnumeric.tcz) Two good apps for your office needs. allthough not as full-featured as openoffice, these clock in at a fraction of the size.

So, there it is, a small selection of usefull extentions that wont bog down your system!