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Benjamin Schieder

[TECHSUCKS] ON LINUX GAMES

2005 September 30 | 0 comments

Okay, so recently I got my nvidia drivers back working after half a year that I didn't even miss hardware acceleration. I went to the happypenguin to look for a nice game using OpenGL that I could play as a timewaster.
After stumbling through the obligatory heap of first person shooters (does anyone really play these things? No, I mean really?) I found a nice game called Neverball.
This piece of software is a catastrophe. It is also in very good company in each regard I'm going to mention.


Installation? How?


Okay, I admit this is a rare one. But not one that should be allowed to be missing in a 1.0 or greater release!

I have yet to find out how to install Neverball anywhere else than into the directory where it was compiled in.
How do these guys think a distribution is able to ship it?
By patching it like crazy? Sure that's a way, but it stinks.
By shipping the source and compiling it on installation? See above.


Config tool


Okay, every half-assed game in the commercial/freeware/shareware world can do this. Why can't the F/OSS world do this? I'll tell you what I mean in simple words:
DON'T GO INTO FULLSCREEN MODE UNLESS BEING TOLD SO!
See, before trying games on my nice, clean desktop PC I install them on my laptop. This laptop has this evil little Intel graphics chip which sadly isn't tunable. Blame Intel for not providing useful specs. So all I can have is a 1400x1050 resolution. And that's only if I hack /dev/mem. Screw it.
So what happens if this "fine game" wants to go into 640x480 fullscreen mode? You have one guess!
*BEEP*
Exactly, the whole screen just freaks out. Complete with 45 degree tilt and everything. Switching to a console and killing the game doesn't fix anything. So what to do? Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to kill the X server.
Welcome to the "Brave GNU World".
So, why would a game do so? Surely not because the graphics libraries are too difficult to switch between window and fullscreen. Even bare OpenGL does this by calling a single function. So I blame lazy developers.
And no, editing a config in your home directory is not an option! Why? Because it doesn't exist before I run the game the first time. If such a config file doesn't exist, run a config tool which uses a widely available toolkit. SDL and wxwidgets come to mind. These are even cross-platform! So no, I won't take any excuses for being lazy.

EOF

Category: blog

Tags: TechSucks


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