First attempt at getting games to work

I had installed Ubuntu successfully, without trouble. I had navigated my way through installing graphics (three times before giving up and installing Envy) and I had done some minor customisation of backdrop and theme appearance through System > Preferences > Appearance. I was ready to test the waters of Linux Gaming.

I had heard of Wine before, which is well known as, effectively, a Windows Emulator. It picks up any Windows applications you try to run in Linux, and runs them for you, acting as a sort of buffer between Linux and the Windows program. However, unsurprisingly, they do not have access to any useful Windows code, so a lot of guessing and trial and error is involved. Neveretheless, they’ve had a few years to get it right, and it’s supposed to be pretty good now. You can find the website here:

http://www.winehq.org/

I installed Wine through the Synaptic package manager, put in my game CD (World of Warcraft) and clicked the ‘setup.exe’ from Nautilus. Wine picked it up very happily, and proceeded to start the install. I was thrilled. Then it got to the point where I had to run the game to start updating. Disaster! I was only able to see a quarter of the screen, not enough to log in and start updating, and certainly not enough to play the game!

I looked around, on the web, in the forums, and on the #wine-hq IRC channel. I received no response, no information, and no luck. I didn’t try for very long, because a friend had recommended a program called ‘Cedega’, and a few other people mentioned it as well. It is a variant of Wine that specialises in Games, where Wine supports Windows applications in general. The website is here:

http://www.cedega.com

The drawback is that Cedega is not free. You have to pay a subscription of 25 (currency of choice) for 6 months, effectively for support. And I will grant you, the support is good. It needed to be, because when I tried to open WoW in Cedega, I had the same problem with the quarter screen.

WoW problems with Cedega

WoW problems with Cedega

I also tried installing Knights of the Old Republic II (KOTORII). That hit the problem that the KOTORII launcher has an ‘auto-detect hardware’ settings chooser. So once I’d installed it, I couldn’t play the game, because it couldn’t detect my Windows Graphic card driver. Because I don’t have one. I’m in Linux.

I tried a couple of things, starting the game directly without going via the launcher, fiddling with the Cedega settings, but in the end I gave up and went to the #cedega channel. I ended up with the devoted attention of a lovely Cedega employee who really did everything in his power to help me. Full marks for effort. We started on WoW, playing with a few settings, before deciding that perhaps the problem was that I was trying to run off a Wine install, instead of installing properly from Cedega. So I deleted the WoW directory I’d made and started again. Still didn’t work. Then we tried some more settings, and finally discovered that it does work if I select ‘XRandR’ instead of ‘XVidMode’. The nice transgamer employee who was helping me however did not seem to be completely happy with this, and felt that the real problem might be caused by my graphics card. Especially after he heard it was installed with Envy.

He talked me (again) through installing the manual driver, but couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t stick. He then decided that I should uninstall (almost) anything I could find in Synaptic that had anything to do with NVIDIA. Unfortunately, it seems this includes quite a lot of my motherboard functionality, and what resulted was my first reinstall…

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