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PCLinuxOS Supergamer DVD

PCLinuxOS Supergamer DVD

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TuxMachines Article

I spent my entire Friday and half my Saturday in the SuperGamer-1 livedvd. I'm not a avid gamer as the definition goes, but I certainly love my 'shoot 'em ups'. Gaming in Linux is much easier of late than it once was. Not too long ago it took someone with a rudimentary knowledge of coding (or inhuman persistance) to get some of those ports to work. These last days it's become easier to game in Linux than in Windows. Now all that's required is booting a dvd.

The SuperGamer-1 is a modification of the famous and well respected PCLinuxOS distribution optimized for gaming. It includes 3d acceleration drivers, the underlying pclos system, and several nice games (or demos). It was originally based on P91 and it is still so today. Much of the everyday software included on the disk/iso is beginning to grow a little long in the tooth, but Darin, the shy and quiet developer, states, "this is completely pclinuxos with a few tweaks and can be updated to P92 levels at the very least. The supergamer is completely compatible with all the updates and normal mirrors are used in synaptic...it will update completely to all the new stuff. I will be doing some testing to see how compatible taking the base supergamer up to P93 levels will be." And of course, being based on PCLinuxOS, the infallible harddrive installer we all know and love is also included, as well as the PCLinuxOS Control Center and Synaptic.

Some of the included software includes:

  • 3D games: america's army, cube, doom 3, enemy territory, legends, nexuiz, privateer, quake 4, soldier of fortune, ufo: alien invasion, ut2004, wesnoth
  • Arcade: BzFlag, chromium, 3d pinball, frozen bubble, neverball, neverput, penguin racer, supertux, tuxkart
  • Cards: Pysol
  • Strategy: Foobillards
  • Kernel: 2.6.13amd64op-smp squash 3 with source and stripped source installed
  • Office: Open Office 2
  • Misc: Xorg 6.8.2, gcc 3.3.1, firefox 1.0.7, and kde 3.4.3.



Perhaps you've noticed the distinctive theme running throughout these screenshots. The dragon theme was conceived by Darin's wife, and created by a talented and perceptive gentleman known as Masta. Darin referred to him "as a genius with how he understands what I try to say in e-mails and puts them into drawings." The theme starts at the boot up screen, runs thru the boot, and lasts throughout the desktop experience. As you can see the icons are customized to correspond superbly and the color scheme matches the haunting wallpaper perfectly. The login background and splash deviate slightly but are no less unique and are quite pretty as well.



But why a gamers version of an already complete, stable, and supported distro? Darin states, "well really it was from a lot of people who asked for something like this..I had the knowledge to remaster so I just started adding games and the game base grew with ideas from members. Actually I did this for fun. It kinda caught on and people wanted this thing...this has surprised me with the amount of interest in this as anyone can do it really if they wanted to learn how to remaster."

As you can see from the list above, the menu contains many nice choices. It starts with some of the more common Linux games you may have encountered in other distros or repositories such as chromium, penguin racer, or frozen bubble. In testing these offerings, we found not one problem. They all opened and played as designed, with the exception of Privateer that looped through the introductory scene several times (until I escaped) and never did actually start the game. In fact, they even performed very well from the livedvd.



The wonderful performance didn't end with the smaller less demanding games. No. I was quite pleasantly surprized at the performance of the larger 3D games notorious for their system demands. For example, while playing the Doom3 and Quake4 demos, action was instantaneous and rarely was a delay encountered. Although the default settings for the two previously mentioned games are set rather low, I cranked up the details and suffered no distinguishable performance loss. In the screenshots below, the first shot depicts some of the graphics at lower quality settings. Notice the poor shading on the characters face? The second shot is medium quality and the last is higher. The game became rather dark with the last adjustment, but this is no reflection on PCLOS Supergamer. I just mentioned it as a point of interest and to explain the dark screenshots.


Being from the same artists, Quake4 suffered the same dark atmosphere at higher qualities. Thus most of my screenshots didn't turn out well, as they rendered even darker than they appeared during gameplay. However, the game itself was extremely fun and performance from the livedvd was amazing.


The demo of Soldier of Fortune is another included. This game is about 6 years old now and the graphics were less than contemporary at the time of its release, although I think the concepts were modern. However, the gameplay is as fun now as it was then. One of the reasons SoF follows me around from install to install is its low demand and great performance (and being able to blow someone's head completely off). It is still fun after all these years. I guess I still play through Soldier of Fortune about once a year. I'm not fast enough to catch the best action in screenshots (such as someone's decapitated body just before it starts to fall to the floor). In fact, I want to go on record right now as stating I'm a much better shot (and duck) when not trying to capture screenshots. Laughing out loud


America's Army is also included. I never played this game very much as it seems to move along too slow for my tastes. I never quite made it out of training. Another factor is I'm not much of an online gamer and prefer single player mode. Although I did find one interesting aspect of America's Army while testing Supergamer of which I hadn't known previously. In the third shot you can see what happens if you shoot your drill instructor in the face with an M-16. That is a depiction of yourself in Leavenworth Prison. This is all there is. I left it on for quite a while to see if they'd come feed me or take me to bust rock. But nope, you sit there being tortured by a neighbor's harmonica until you [hit] escape and restart the mission.


Legends is another online only game. It looked like a exciting environment and had some pretty scenary. I suspect this would be great fun with some actual opponents to shoot.


Cube and nexuiz are also included. Cube has a single player mode, although I personally haven't had much luck with it. Seems I run out of ammo and get killed before I get too far along. In yet another demonstration of my amazing abilities, I couldn't figure out how to get screenshots in those games. So, while looking for docs, I just leeched these from their sites. Although, I can testify that they are very representational of my actual gameplay experience. Laughing out loud



There is a lot more on this 3.6 gig iso than I have mentioned here. It's a wonderful idea and a great convenience. If you'd like a nice gaming platform, I can recommend the PCLOS SuperGamer-1 system. It retains all the advantages of PCLinuxOS while adding optimizations and software to get the user off to a running start. The demos allow one to easily test the games on their computers and just as easily install them. With supergamer, you'll know the operating system is ready. Even if one doesn't own or wish to own the premuim games, the demos still offer hours of fun. The free gpl'd games are a convenience and again, you'll know your system is ready for about any game you wish to add.

The Supergamer-1 dvd performed very well. I had no stability issues and lag was very minimal. Only after long periods of inactivity or loading a new gaming level did I experience delays while the dvd was spun and accessed. Hardware detection was spot-on with, just to name a few, the net connection, graphics and sound automagically enabled. It was a completely enjoyable experience and I can't find anything to complain about, (except for Privateer).


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