Users of platforms other than Windows have always felt like second-class citizens when it comes to gaming. Hardware and software issues forced gamers to stick to Windows when they wanted their dose of guns, cars and the occasional babe. Graphic cards had drivers only for Windows, and lesser users were stuck with poor graphics. Even if you didn't mind playing without the eye-candy on, most games required DirectX 8 or higher.
It's better now, though. Both NVIDIA and ATI have released Linux drivers for the GeForce 8800 and Radeon series cards respectively. Game developers have started using OpenGL, an open source 3D graphics API, which is compatible across most platforms. More graphics cards are now compatible with OpenGL.
All this has contributed to increased attention to gaming on non-Windows platforms. Many developers have opened up the source code for commercial games (Quake 3 is a good example). Linux ports of commercial games like Quake 3, Doom, Neverwinter Nights, and Unreal Tournament have been released by the developers, while third-party companies have ported many Windows games to Linux. In addition, some open source projects have aimed at remaking classic proprietary games into open source or free versions (such as FreeCiv, a remake of Civilization II, while OpenTTD is inspired by Transport Tycoon Deluxe).
Here, we've picked 10 games from diverse genres: FPS, RTS, Simulation, Racing, RPG. Some are free, some are paid. All of them run on at least Windows and Linux. May the strategising, shooting, and non-blinking of eyes begin-but remember to eat and sleep!
A FPS deathmatch game based on the very popular Cube, Sauerbraten is strictly for the trigger-happy: shoot, duck, and then shoot some more! It's a free and open source.
Frankly, the game has no storyline. You are plonked into the middle of a map: choose from Jungle, Factory, Shade, and many other options. Grab those guns, ammo packs, and rocket launchers lying around-and start shooting at critters that swarm from all around. Your enemies look like they came straight out the dreams of a darkly disturbed teenager-misshapen trolls and human-headed tyrannosaurs who go by names like Slith and Rattamata. Depending on the skill level, the gameplay becomes more fast and furious.
The AI is dumb: your enemies will be drawn to you like moths to a flame, and they sell their lives cheap without even sidestepping your shots. Stand still and you are apt to be slaughtered. Use cover wisely-some environments provide ample cover while others are virtually empty spaces.
For the masochistic: monsters keep kicking your body after you've died-bug or feature?
Fans of the FPS deathmatch genre will find Sauerbraten right up their alley. The game can be played in single-player, multiplayer, and online modes with either human players or bots.
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
June 6, 1944. Operation Overlord. While the world waited with bated breath, the biggest armada of ships in history descended on the beaches of Normandy to free Europe from the Nazis. Operation Overlord and the subsequent operations would not have been possible without the spies and saboteurs who risked torture and death to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines.
The bloody SchÃ¼tze has seen you. Shoot!
Now if you're a WWII freak, teenaged or not, you will like this game-because you actually get play an officer. (Stay away from the game if you'd rather be a RottenfÃ¼hrer!) To be precise, you play Lt Mike Powell from the American Office of Strategic Services. Your aim is to infiltrate German military installations and carry out activities like sabotage and intelligence gathering. You would also have to occasionally liaise with other covert officers to advance your objectives.
The game emphasises realism-all the weapons, vehicles, aircraft, and scenery look straight out of WWII. Powered by the Quake 3 engine, the sceneries are highly detailed and rendered in 3D. Both single-player and multiplayer modes are available.
With the tutorial in the beginning, you get to familiarise yourself with your weapons and the controls. Each mission starts off with a briefing; at this point you are outfitted with some weapons. You can also pick up stuff from fallen soldiers. On some missions, you get to wear a German uniform. Missions range from blasting sea-facing guns in North Africa to infiltrating U-boat bases in Norway. Whee!
You get a good dose of history while you're enjoying the game… yes, it's that detailed.
EA Games' MoH: AA was released in 2002- 2003, and retails at $17.45.
Rating : 8/10