Saturday, October 28, 2017

Unreal Tournament 3 for Modern Linux

Unreal Tournament 3, the successor to Unreal Tournament 2004, was intended to have a Linux release, but that was late arriving. The Linux installer is on Disc3.

The game runs quite well in WINE, PlayOnLinux and Crossover.


RESOURCES

UT3 Linux Install HOWTO

UT3 Linux Server HOWTO


Installing cheat on Mageia6

Tecmint recently ran an article about a new way to obtain information about an application using cheat, an open-source interactive cheat-sheet  application. What the application does is provide a means of showing examples for a command. If none exist in the cheat database, cheat creates a blank cheat file in that name and opens it in a text editor of your choice so that you may add examples.

Instructions for installing it on "Linux Systems" assumes that "Linux" means "Debian" or "Redhat". Please read the article linked above and follow the installation instructions below to install cheat on Mageia6.

Mageia6 offers the choice of Python version 2 and Python version 3. Since cheat uses version 2, we'll be installing the version 2 python files. Python will already be installed on Mageia6, but if it is not, install it.

Install Python
# urpmi python

Install Pip
# urpmi python-pip

Install the dependencies for cheat
# urpmi python-docopt python-pygments

Install Git
# urpmi git

Clone the Git repository of cheat.
# git clone https://github.com/chrisallenlane/cheat.git

Change to the cheat directory and run setup.py.
# cd cheat
# python setup.py install

Check to see if cheat was installed correctly.
# cheat -v
cheat 2.2.1

Follow the article's instructions for setting environmental variables and adding autocompletion.

Monday, October 09, 2017

HOWTO Install Word Perfect 5.1, a DOS Application, using Crossover

Codeweaver's Crossover, now at version 17, does an excellent job of making most MS Windows applications run reliably on a modern Linux installation.

But what if you have an old DOS-based game or application? Crossover doesn't do DOS in a way that enables it to run these old DOS applications and the smart money is on installing and using DOSBox as a native Linux application and running those apps from there. Using it is pretty straightforward, but you must read the documentation to get started.

But if you just installed the native Linux version of DOSBox you would miss out on several very nice features of Crossover such as easily accessing the apps from your desktop menu, and being able to archive and restore the DOS application. You can do all of this without Crossover, but if you use Crossover for Windows apps, it would be nice to use Crossover with DOS apps.

Fortunately, Crossover does offer and easy way to install the Windows version of DOSBox, You can also add DOSShell v1.9 by Loonies Software, a GUI wrapper for running installed DOS apps.

Create a crossover bottle for DOSBox. Just select DOXBox as one of the application, Crossover downloads and installs itWhen completed, one of the menu options is DOSBox 0.74 Options. A right-click and "Open" displays the configuration file for DOSBox. Don't make any changes except to add at the very bottom the following:

mount c /~/.cxoffice/drive_c

This command will tell DOSBox to treat the drive_c directory in your DOSBox bottle as the default C:\ drive.

I always preferred my DOS CD-ROM drive to be labeled R:\ and you can do this from the WINE Configuration menu selection. The window will open and you can select Drives. Add drive R:\ with the Add button. Select it and change its Path to /dev/sr0 and now you CD/DVD disc drive will appear to DOSBox as R:\. Creating virtual drives of any other directory is easy and very convenient.

Once all that is done, you have a working DOSBox that automounts the Crossover bottle's C:\ drive, can access any CDROMs you have as well as any other directory you choose to configure as a virtual drive.

To install WordPerfect 5.1 all I needed to do was launch the DOSBox bottle and change the directory to the virtual drive I had configured to hold all the installation files and run INSTALL.EXE which handles everything else. The installation was a fairly lengthy and elaborate process. I remember those days.

I did run into a hiccup during the installation when I was told I had run out of "file handles". I'll do some detective work and be back when I solve that issue.

RESOURCES

Codeweaver's Crossover

DOSBox

DOS Applications

History of Programs Included With Different
 Versions of DOS

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Trouble Finding Your Linux Game Libraries?

Some Linux games, especially the older Linux games, are installed with the versions of libraries that they need. The problem arises when the specific libraries are unknown to your system and the game won't launch.

The old Loki game installers attempted to fix this with some shell scripting. Maybe that works, maybe it doesn't. Here's an easy way to fix this problem.

First, we use a kernel utility, ldd, to see what shared libraries the binary expects to see.

$ ldd /full/patch/to/application/binary

You will get a list of libraries needed and a clear indication of whether they are present or not.

Trick #1

Assuming your system reports them missing, but you can see them in the directory where you installed the game, rather than fix the script that launches the game, we'll simply tell the system where to look.

Become root, and change directory to /etc/ldd.so.conf.d. Once there, create a file, name_of_game.conf and in that file enter 
/full/path/to/the/game/libraries.

Run the ldconfig utility,

# ldconfig

And the magic is done.

It's also possible to manually export the path every time you need to launch the game and/or put it in your .bashprofile or .bashrc, but the method outlined above solves the problem for every user of the system.

Trick #2

Some older games just require old version of libraries that must be compiled against older kernel versions. Where do we find those? We can look to the Loki Compatibility Libraries.

Download the libraries and install them in /usr/local/lib/loki.

Then, as detailed above, add loki.conf to /etc/ldd.so.conf.d and run ldconfig.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Hexen on Modern Linux


There is a Linux binary housed at Hexen II: Hammer of Thyrion. It is in the Mageia repositories and can be installed using urpmi. The binary gets installed in /usr/bin and the rest of the game files and documents can be found in /user/games/hexen2.

I have not yet experienced Hexen2 since I don't have the retail version. The installer only installs the game engine, so I've purchased an original game CD from eBay.


RESOURCES

Hexen II Wikipedia

Hexen Wiki

Doomworld Wiki

Hexen II: Hammer of Thyrion

Linux-x86

Linux-AMD64

Install HOWTO

Hexen II Linux Demo

Saturday, September 02, 2017

nVidia Triple-head Display

What with the price of older-but-decent video cards and monitors being very reasonable, I decided to move from the dual-head display I have been using in various forms for the past 15 years to triple-head. I was currently running dual-head using a single vNidia 9800GT card and two monitors. I added a second vNidia 9800GT and a third Samsung SyncMaster 930b 17" monitor which was attached to the new video card.

After some aggravation, I got it working, except that the Google-Chrome browser goes wonky in the display, but Firefox and other apps seem to be unaffected. If you want to see the wonky behavior, a video is available. As it was, it was mostly unusable for daily work and completely useless for games.

After much tweaking and swearing, I chose the path of least resistance and purchased a newer video card that would work out-of-the-box with three monitors, a 4GB nVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

There's a lot of help with this setup when using MS Windows as well as special external hardware that accomplishes it. For Linux, it was necessary to get a single head working with the nVidia driver, then use nvidia-settings to configure all three heads. Also. many of these multi-monitor setups used for gaming are used with wide-screen displays. That seems a little excessive to me, but that may be in my future if I have the extra cash.

As a result, the display performs flawlessly across three heads, but I need to learn the widescreen tweaks for my older video games. I can do that with information from the PC Gaming Wiki, an excellent site for the underlying details of PC games.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Converting Game CDs to DVDs

Once you start installing MS-Windows games into a Linux OS, you run into some difficulties. One is that sometimes your game has multiple CDs (this was before DVD drives were ubiquitous) and for whatever reason you cannot get the installer to allow you to eject the CD. Or, fumbling through six install CDs to install the game, plus patches and updates, plus search for no-cd cracks and hi-res textures or game mods. It's possible to place all that on a DVD to make our installation less painful.

File Forums is a community that deals with creating game backups and CD/DVD Conversions. It's a friendly community with an easy registration and it offers a wealth of information about the nuts and bolts of how game installers work. Go ahead and join now so the following links will work for you.

What we want for this discussion is the PC Games-CD/DVD Conversions forum. There, user Joe Forster has listed links for applications needed for editing the databases for game installers. Download those applications. There are three versions of Orca, which is the GUI editor for editing game install databases. These are MS-Windows apps of course, and I will need to get them working in Codeweaver's Crossover.

Install Orca.msi into a new Windows 7 bottle using WINE, PlayOnLinux or Crossover; I choose Crossover. Since there is no crosstie file for this to tell WINE what extra applications are needed to run this program, we need to do some detective work. After the installation of Orca, and using that bottle, select "Run Command" to run Orca.exe;  tick the "Create log file" box, then run the application and the app will fail to launch. Now check the log file and you will see that it can't find mfc4u.dll. It is part of Visual Studio Service Pack 6 (that package contains asycfilt.dll, atl.dll, comcat.dll, mfc42.dll, mfc42u.dll, msvcirt.dll, msvcp60.dll, msvcrt.dll, oleaut32.dll, olepro32.dll and stdole2.tlb in case you need any of those), so install that. It's also easy enough to find a download of that file on the Internet. If you do, just place it in the windows/system32 directory of the Orca bottle and Orca now runs!

In the thread about Orca, there are links to apps that will convert .reg entries into an Inno script. Inno Setup is a free (source code available) installer for MS-Windows applications. Being free, you can use it to create your own installer and distribute legal software to your friends, or you can create custom installations of your games that include all the extra files you like. For Linux, you can create functionally the same thing with makeself.

There are some interesting tools for "splitting" archives so that they may fit the size of the medium. One such tool is UltraARC. That page provides links to download the application.

Now to start using some of these tools. I have the 6CD version of Call of Duty 2. It would be nice to have this on a single DVD. Looking in the Games Converted Index I found the link to the conversion recipe for COD2. It seems there are 2 ways, one way combines the install disks, the second makes an installer from the installed and patched game. Let's do the first way.

From the more detailed directions from the forum and adjusted for Linux, we proceed:

1. Create a temporary directory in your home directory with a specific name.
$ mkdir ~/cod2

2. Beginning with CD6 and continuing in reverse order, copy the files from the CD to the temporary directory allowing them to be overwritten if need be.

3. Change permissions on ~/cod2/ to change it from read-only to be as accessible as possible. It will become read-only again when you burn the DVD.

$ chmod 777 ~/cod2/COD2.msi

4. Install Orca as directed above.

5. Launch Orca from its Crossover bottle, then navigate to ~/cod2 and click on COD2.msi  to open it in Orca.

Scroll down to "media" in the left-hand pane and click on it. In the right pane, click on the second row and delete it and do likewise for all rows except the first so that all that is left is the media named COD2CD1 which will be the Volume ID of the DVD we will create.

5. Create a directory to contain all your updates, patches, mods and so on so they will be handy when you install the game. You can find "no-cd" patches at GameCopyWorld. Just  get the version that matches the version of the game as updated (or not, as long as they match).

6. Burn the contents of ~/cod2 to a DVD with the label "cod2".

$ growisofs -Z /dev/sr0 -r -J -V COD2CD1 /home/username/cod2

It works nicely.

RESOURCES

There is another site that can provide useful information. CD-2-DVD is dedicated to converting CD-based games to DVD and offers the necessary software to do that.

Another useful application is the open-source Regshot that can compare a snapshot of the Windows Registry before and after installing an application, so you can see what is changed. It might be possible to use the files generated with the meld application, an excellent application to compare two or more text files. It is also available for MS-Windows.

Ran into a problem.