Kernel Impact on 3D Games

July 31st, 2007 by Crusader

There’s a followup article at KernelTrap relating a recent Linux kernel mailing list thread where benchmarking thenew Completely Fair Scheduler with various games was discussed:

From: Ingo Molnar [email blocked]
Subject: Re: [ck] Re: SD still better than CFS for 3d ?(was Re:2.6.23-rc1)

I regularly test native Linux games on CFS, and they all behavewell.


people are regularly testing 3D smoothness, and they find CFS good enough:

and that matches my experience as well (as limited as it may be). In general my impression is that CFS and SD are roughly on par when it comes to 3D smoothness.


Thanks Kenneth for the testing! I’ve created a graph out of yournumbers:

(it also includes the SD numbers you got with the turn-yield-into-NOPhack applied.)

DOSBox 0.71

July 31st, 2007 by Crusader

DOSBox version 0.71 has beenloosed upon the world; changes in the DOS emulator include bugfixes andthese new features:

  • Added a new recompiling cpu core which is easier to port!
  • Added a x86_64 and a mipsel_32 recompiling core.
  • Fixed hangups on certain platforms after long gameplay of severalgames.
  • Fixed several joystick bugs.
  • Improved cdrom support. (fixes for audio, iso and detection.)
  • Improved SVGA and VESA. (detection and display)
  • Fixed a few textmodes and improved ansi emulation a bit.
  • Fixed pcspeaker and certain types of soundeffects.
  • Added undocumented mousebackdoor.
  • Made mount and imgmount a bit easier to use. (ioctl by default,supportfor ~ and ~username, auto size guessing for images)
  • Fix a few compilation problems on various hosts and a general codecleanup.
  • Several small fixes that improve compatibility.

Download: [ ]

DropTeam 1.3.0

July 31st, 2007 by Crusader

A new build of the sci-fi tactical warfare sim DropTeam was madeavailable via the in-game updater. I haven’t located a changelog yet, butthere’s discussionhere.

Demo Download: []

IVAN Update?

July 31st, 2007 by Crusader

Today, I was made aware of Iter Vehemens adNecem, a roguelike that sounds amusing:

Fellow adventurer, turnback while you can! For here begins the roguelike Iter Vehemens ad Necem, aViolent Road to Death. If you choose to travel along it, you will dive intocountless exciting adventures to gain items of great magic, attain powerfulequipment made of mysterious materials, bathe in the blessings of mighty godsand recruit loyal allies of various shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, along theway you will also often be dangerously injured, poisoned, catch numerousdiseases, lose several limbs and transform into manifold different kinds ofpitiful creatures in the darkest depths of hostile dungeons. And, at the endof the road, you are bound to perish in a most gruesome and painful way. Don’tsay we didn’t warn you.

Unfortunately, it’s no longer activelymaintained, and the most recent source tree doesn’t appear to compile easilyunder Linux (on the AMD64 architecture at least). Is anyone aware of a successor project with a Linux port? Failingthat, what are your favorite roguelikes?

I suppose I could try updating the codebase to function on mysystem, but it’s very probably beyond my meager skills ;)

Screenshots: [ View] Download: [ ]

Dell Flexes

July 30th, 2007 by Crusader

PC manufacturer Dell will be expandingtheir line of Linux computers accordingto this reportfrom Reuters:

Mark Shuttleworth, who created a version of Linux software named Ubuntu, saidDell is happy with the demand it has seen for Linux PCs that were introducedin May.

Dell, the world’s second-largest PC maker after Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N:Quote, Profile, Research), now offers three consumer PCs that run UbuntuLinux.

“What’s been announced to date is not the full extent of what we will see overthe next couple of weeks and months,” Shuttleworth said an interview late onWednesday.

“There are additional offerings in the pipeline,” he said. Shuttleworthfounded Canonical Inc to provide support for Ubuntu Linux.

A Dell spokeswoman, Anne Camden, declined comment, saying the company does notdiscuss products in the pipeline.

She added that Dell was pleased with customer response to its Linux PCs. Shesaid Dell believed the bulk of the machines were sold to open-source softwareenthusiasts, while some first-time Linux users have purchased them aswell.

That said, Dell does have some gripes: Phoronixmentioned that Dell doesn’t find ATI’scurrent Linux drivers to be sufficient:

Dell wants to offer ATI Linux systems, but first the driver must be improvedfor the Linux platform (not necessarily open-source, but improved). Dellcurrently ships desktop Linux systems with Intel using their open-sourcedrivers as well as NVIDIA graphics processors under Linux.

Kernel Scheduling and Game Performance

July 30th, 2007 by Crusader

There’s been some Linux kernel developmentdrama over the past few weeks: the Completely Fair Scheduler is slated tobe introduced in Linux 2.6.23 over Con Kolivas’ Staircase Deadline scheduler,much to Kolivas’chagrin. The ensuing debate caused Linux creator Linus Torvalds to weigh in:

On Sat, 28 Jul 2007, Kasper Sandberg wrote:
> Im still not so keen about this, Ingo never did get CFS to match SD in
> smoothness for 3d applications, where my test subjects are quake(s),
> world of warcraft via wine, unreal tournament 2004. And this is despite
> many patches he sent me to try and tweak it.

You realize that different people get different behaviour, don’t you?Maybe not.

People who think SD was “perfect” were simply ignoring reality. Sadly,that seemed to include Con too, which was one of the main reasons that Inever ended entertaining the notion of merging SD for very long at all:Con ended up arguing against people who reported problems, rather thantrying to work with them.


On Sat, 28 Jul 2007, Jonathan Jessup wrote:
> Linus, there is a complaint about the Linux kernel, this complaint is that
> the Linux kernel isn’t giving priorities to desktop interactivity and
> experience. The response on etc have shown that there is public
> demand for it too.

No, the response on only shows that there are a lot of armchaircomplainers around.

People are suggesting that you’d have a separate “desktop kernel”. That’sinsane. It also shows total ignorance of maintainership, and reality. AndI bet most of the people there haven’t tested _either_ scheduler, theyjust like making statements.

The fact is, I’ve _always_ considered the desktop to be the most importantpart. And I suspect that that actually is true for most kernel developers,because quite frankly, that’s what 99% of them ends up using. If a kerneldeveloper uses Windows for his day-to-day work, I sure as hell wouldn’twant to have him developing Linux. That has nothing to do with anythinganti-windows: but the whole “eat your own dogfood” is a very fundamentalthing, and somebody who doesn’t do that shouldn’t be allowed to be even_close_ to a compiler!

So the whole argument about how kernel developers think that the desktopisn’t important is totally made-up crap by Con, and then parrotted byosnews and other places.

The fact is, most kernel developers realize that Linux is used indifferent places, on different machines, and with different loads. Youcannot make _everybody_ happy, but you can try to do as good a job aspossible. And doing “as good a job as possible” very much includes notfocusing on any particular load.

And btw, “the desktop” isn’t actually one single load. It’s in fact a lotof very different loads, and different people want different things. Whatmakes the desktop so interesting is in fact that it shows more variedusage than any other niche – and no, 3D gaming isn’t “it”.

At any rate, CFS should perform better than the stock scheduler has; feel freeto share your experiences with either in the comments below!

17 Linux Games to Try

July 30th, 2007 by Crusader

A tech blog posted an article titled “Debunking Linux and its Relationship with Gaming“, which aims to dispelthe notion that there’s a lack of entertainment options on our platform ofchoice:

I have a list here of 17 games that I think every Linux user should give ashot to prove that it is quite a very adept gaming platform. I restricted myself to games that do not run on Wine, can be open orclosed source, and of course, run on Linux.

ATI Driver Dissection

July 30th, 2007 by Crusader

Phoronixhas posted a retrospective look at ATI’sLinux driver releases over the past 19 months, enumerating the features andbugfixes added with each revision.

Runes of Avalon

July 30th, 2007 by Crusader

Runes of Avalon, a puzzle gamewith astoryline(!), music, and particle effects, has been released for Linuxby Anawiki Games. There’s what I presumeis a demo available (I haven’t had a chance to try it just yet), and a retailversion that can be ordered online for $19.99 US.

Screenshots: [ View ]Download: [ ]

Battle for Wesnoth 1.2.6

July 29th, 2007 by Crusader

Version 1.2.6 of Battle for Wesnoth, a GPL’ed fantasy-themedturn-based strategy game, has been announced by the devs. The changelogincludes a fix for multiplayer desynchronization, so online players are highly encouraged to grab this new build.

Screenshots: [ View ]Download: [ ]

DigiBand 1.0

July 29th, 2007 by Crusader

DigiBand, a drum and guitar simulator,has reached version 1.0. Features:

  • Supports both GDA and DTX file formats using a “Prefered” option, which can be modified in the games settings.ini file.
  • Can Support up to 3 players Simutaneously!
  • Has a unique “Jukebox” mode which allows you to hear the songs notes before you play it, as well as other surprises.
  • Also supports theming for UI customization, and uses transparent PNG images, avi’s, mp3’s, and Cabbit Models for it’s UI system.
  • Saves your highscores with ‘maxcombo’ so you can clock how well you are doing.
  • Allows Multiple players, playing bass or guitar with a drum player to all have seperate difficulties and styles.
  • Sorts songs in a categorized “DDR” style interface, with slight adjustments for ease of use!
  • Uses the internal system clock to maintain audio to note synchronization thanks to SDL.
  • Allows users to sync up their songs on the fly. If it feels like you’re being rushed or delayed, just sync it up by pressing F11/F12.

Be aware that song loading is case-sensitive in Linux,and that there is no .xa file or MIDI support as of yet.

Screenshots: [ View ] Download:[ ]


July 29th, 2007 by Crusader

Intel is running a Game DemoContest to showcase projects that are threaded well or are geared towardslaptop use. Among them is Tilt-n-Roll,which allows gamers to manuever a sphere through a labryinth of their owndesign.

Download: [ ]


July 28th, 2007 by Marv

Name/Version: Angband 3.0.9
Summary: Angband is a free, single-player dungeon exploration game where you take the role of an adventurer, exploring a deep dungeon, fighting monsters, and acquiring the best weaponry you can, in preparation for a final battle with Morgoth, the Lord of Darkness.
Screenshots [ View ] Download [ Angband 3.0.9 ]

Name/Version: Hextris 0.9
Summary: Hextris is Tetris with stones made of hexagons. It is harder and more fun than standard Tetris.
Screenshots [ View ] Download [ Hextris 0.9 ]

Name/Version: irrlamb 0.0.4
Summary: irrlamb is a 3D game that probably involves a lot of physics and frustrating gameplay.
Download [ irrlamb 0.0.4 ]

Name/Version: Monster 1.2.2
Summary: Monster is a short NES/SNES style RPG.
Screenshots [ View ] Download [ Monster 1.2.2 ]

Name/Version: Risk
Summary: This is java version of the classic RISK board game, with a simple map format, network play, 1 player, hotseat, 5 user interfaces and many more features, it works in all OSs that run java 1.4 or higher.
Screenshots [ View ] Download [ Risk ]

Name/Version: Tennix 0.3.2
Summary: Tennix! is a SDL port of a simple two-player tennis game. It features simple image loading (with all game graphics being customizable by simply editing them with a graphics editor like The GIMP), sound effects, stadium audience sounds, and ball shadows.
Screenshots [ View ] Download [ Tennix 0.3.2 ]

Name/Version: Tower Toppler 1.1.3
Summary: The game is a reimplementation of the old game known as Tower Toppler or Nebulus. It was available for PC, Atari, C64. The author was J.M.Phillips and was published by Hewson software. I have seen the PC version on quite a few abandonware sites. But it is only a DOS version and uses ugly graphics
hots [ View ] Download [ Tower Toppler 1.1.3 ]

Name/Version: Tux Math Scrabble 0.4.2
Summary: Tux Math Scrabble is a math version of the popular board game for education. The game challenges young people to construct compound equations and consider multiple abstract possibilities.
Screenshots [ View ] Download [ Tux Math Scrabble 0.4.2 ]

Wine 0.9.42

July 28th, 2007 by Marv

Version 0.9.42 of Wine, the free implementation of Windows on Unix, has been released. This release includes the following new/changed items:

  • Support for activation contexts and side-by-side assemblies.
  • Many more gdiplus functions.
  • More messaging support in crypt32.dll.
  • Many HTTP protocol handling fixes.
  • Lots of bug fixes.

Download: [ Wine 0.9.42 ]

DropTeam Deal!

July 25th, 2007 by Crusader

I’ve never seen this site before, but Game du Jour is offering DropTeam, areal-time tactical sim set in the far future and developed by TBG Software, for $14.00 US (a 60% discount), but only for the next 6 hours. If you miss the sale, you can purchase the game from for $35 US. There’s also a demo available.

Adonthell 0.4

July 25th, 2007 by Crusader

A minimal alpha version ofAdonthell, a free software RPG project, is nowavailable. Version 0.4 is is targeted specifically at artists and developerswho might be interested in joining the project. The development roadmap can befound at

Download: []

Best of E3

July 25th, 2007 by Crusader

The nominees forthe 2007 Game Critics Awards have been announced, based their showings at E3 2007. Of note, id Software’s Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Best PCGame, Best Online Multiplayer Game) and Epic Games’ Unreal Tournament III (BestAction Game, Best Online Multiplayer Game) each received two nominations.

X3: Reunion Beta

July 24th, 2007 by Crusader

Linux Game Publishing sent in this press release today:

Following our announcement of the Special Edition version of X3: Reunion, we can now announce that the Beta Test is now acceptingapplications.To apply for the beta test please go to our Beta Test website.If, when the beta is opened, you have not been accepted onto the test, you may send us a valid receipt from any of our the resellers, and you will be allowed into this beta test.

X3: Reunion is a space combat simulator developed by Egosoft. X2: The Threat was previously ported to Linux by LGP and is also available for ordering.

Sandbox Gallery

July 24th, 2007 by Crusader

Platinum Arts let us know they’veposted a Sandbox gallerydemonstrating the cooperative editing game’s ease of use:

TheFor those not familiar with Platinum Arts Sandbox, it is the sandbox game thatis easy enough for kids to use but fun for everyone! Your imagination is thelimit as far as worlds you can create. Kids and adults alike are findingsandbox a fun and easy tool to make worlds quickly and easily in real time!

Head over to the Platinum Arts Sandbox Gallery to check out the newestaddition! Margaret, who is an 8 year old Sandbox wiz, now has some of herpictures posted! I have a copy of her map and I’ll be taking more pictures ofit and adding them to the gallery soon. Awesome job Meg, you rock!

Download: [ ]

SuperTuxKart 0.3

July 24th, 2007 by Crusader

The new 0.3 release of SuperTuxKart is now available. The most important new features for this open source racing game are highscore lists, fullscreen support, a new track, a new hexley kart, a bomb collectable, shortcut detection, improvements to the user interface, improved AI for computer controlled karts, and support for OpenAL.

Screenshots: [ View ] Download: [ ]

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