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
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.
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.
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).