Benjamin Schieder


2005 September 30

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:
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!
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.


Category: blog

Tags: TechSucks