James Hills has sent a press release announcing that A Tale in the Desert, a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from eGenesis, will launch on 15 February 2003 with a native Linux client alongside the Windows client. It is reported to be the first MMORPG to launch with a native client for Linux, and is most certainly the first Linux game to feature hot polygonal chicks in what appears to be ancient Egyptian garb. Like other MMORPGs, ATitD allows you to control a character with stats and an inventory. Unlike the rest, however, there is no combat. Instead you complete tasks (called “tests”), manage a network of businesses, and become reknowned for creating great works. They compare this style to the gamplay of Illuminati and Diplomacy. The game involves a story, which is revealed as you play, and when the story ends, so does the game. The client will be downloadable before the launch of the service on the 15th, and provides a free trial period of 24 hours of online activity or a month of service (whichever comes first). After that time, you’ll have to pony up $13.95 per month to keep playing.
It is worth noting that the game will require a 3D accelerator. I’ve not seen anything yet on how well it works under Linux with the various cards available.
But wait, there’s more! The online service is provided by a cluster of nine commodity PCs running Red Hat 8 and the LGPLed library Cal3D was extended by eGenesis during the creation of ATitD to include tangent space calculations (for environment-mapped bump-mapping). Their new version is called eCal3D. Other Linux tools used for the port were The GIMP, zlib, libpng, and (unsurprisingly) gcc.