UPDATE (18th Nov, 2011): As many commenters have noted, my hardware was less than ideal to try out the best games. There were challenges in installing the right driver, and this was also a bottleneck as I've described in the article. Gaming in Linux environments is quite formidable already, going by the comments.
Cahilig.net has listed a comprehensive 100 “best free and high quality” games that run on Linux, but will all of them be gratifying if you’re running Ubuntu 11.10?
I have my misgivings.
I’ve been a fan of vehicle simulation and racing games during my days as a Microsoft Windows user, and decided to try out some of the offerings that are talked about on that link and other forums.
My Oneiric Ocelot runs on an AMD Athlon X2 2.5 GHz processor, with a 2 GB RAM and an Nvidia GeForce7050PV graphics card.
Overall, my Ubuntu gaming excitement was overshadowed by accompanying problems.
1) Extreme Tux Racer
This is a basic but interesting game that involves a penguin that you need to maneuver through snow covered land, sliding past trees and craggy rocks. Points are scored by gathering herrings spread along the course. The game works pretty well for me, but I'm more inclined towards vehicles than penguins that can fly!
2) The Open Racing Car Simulator
This game has fairly decent graphics, but I ran into stability issues on my machine.
3) Tile Racer
The developers have surely done a great job here creating realistic roads and the surrounding vegetation. The long jumps boost the fun, although they're unrealistic. This game is far from easy to master, but probably won’t be ignored by some car simulation enthusiasts. Performance issues arising from my errant graphics device driver cast a shadow over this impressive game.
Flightgear has received widespread acclaim as a great open source flight simulator software that combines the entertainment of flying with concepts in aerodynamics, and is taken seriously by flying enthusiasts. The simulator runs with a keyboard and mouse lag on my machine, though. Hearing from others' experiences, this is a fine application if you can get it to run.
This was the biggest download of all five I tried, a total of 1.5 GB, and costs $30 for the full version. This flight simulator promises to carefully replicate the flying experience for anyone who loves the thrill of being airborne. The reviews on the Internet seem to suggest this is a stunning aircraft simulation, and perhaps even superior to Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X thanks to it’s implementation of the blade element theory that is aimed at making the feel highly realistic.
X-plane didn't get a fair review from me, given the dated hardware that I run. However, going by user reviews, this is certainly a fine software to consider for aviation enthusiasts!
Games on Microsoft Windows
The experiences were different from the days I ran my top favorites on the same hardware – Need for Speed and Microsoft Flight Simulator X – on the Windows XP and Windows 7 operating systems. They ran flawlessly and were truly breathtaking, not least because of the highly stable GUIs that made for extremely reliable foundations for resource-intensive applications. I could actually feel myself as being a part of the sequences that unfolded, without worrying the least bit about the hardware and software that made this possible.
Linux Gaming Ahead
The powerful Microsoft Direct X collection of APIs that forms the basis of most gaming on Windows is one of the key factors that makes a difference.
There’s rarely a shortage of drivers for the latest hardware manufactured for high-end gaming on Windows.
But in the case of Ubuntu 11.10, there are certain question marks.
Game developers have indeed painstakingly worked on the Linux experience, but do they need to do more? Should something more be done about the drivers for graphics cards? Should the general lack of robustness and stability from the new Unity interface be addressed?
One of the key challenges while trying out games on my system was getting the right driver installed.
Attempting to install the recommended proprietary driver software would result in an error message:
When I downloaded the driver from Nvidia's website, I couldn't build it since the kernel was built with an older version of gcc.
I've talked about the frustration with the kernel version in the article on upgrading to Ubuntu 11.10.
There are Great Games Out there!
If you’re an Ubuntu user, there surely are thousands of games to choose. Many of these games show considerable promise in terms of quality and apparently have loads of excitement in store.
However, gaming may not be completely hassle-free in a Linux environment and you might need to tackle some issues.
What are your thoughts about gaming in Linux, especially the recent versions of Ubuntu?
Check Out Our Other Articles too!
- Looking for Alternatives to Unity in Ubuntu 11.10: LXDE and XFCE
- Upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10, and a pleasant user interface greets you. Does the good news end there?
- Configuration Settings and Shortcuts for Unity Desktop in Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) - Efficiency Boosters
- Five Reasons to Adopt Linux, Today!