Linux users are often given the cold shoulder by gaming companies, and have to resort to running emulators to play most titles. There are however numerous examples of successful mainstream titles that have found a happy home with Linux gamers.
Perhaps the first recent title that will pop into the mind of Linux lovers is the upcoming Heroes of Newerth (HoN). The action RPG from S2 games was inspired by the wildly popular WarCraft 3 custom map, Defence of the Ancients, and is currently in beta testing. A Linux build supporting both 32 and 64 bit binaries is available.
Another action RPG from S2 Games – it is free to download and play, with an option to upgrade to a prime account for US$9.99 (±R75). The prime account gives the player the option to play as a battlefield commander, two additional inventory slots, and the ability to view statistics among other benefits. Currently has a 75/100 score on Metacritic.com.
Quake III has enjoyed Linux support forever, and now the popular and free browser-based version of the classic FPS has been updated with Linux support. Unfortunately, high latencies make this a moot point for local gamers.
True to id software form, the sequel to Quake II didn’t leave the Linux gamers hanging. Not a bad FPS by many accounts, it has a score of 81/100 on Metacritic.com.
The second multiplayer only FPS from id software, Enemy Territory was well received and currently sits with an 84/100 score on Metacritic.com. The game is set in the Quake 2 and Quake 4 universe, and has players joining either the alien Strogg or Human marines’ teams in a multiplayer battle.
This well received RPG saw a Linux port released in June 2003. The game is still highly playable despite its age, and is considered one of the best PC RPG’s based on 3rd Edition D&D rules. The game has a score of 91/100 on Metacritic.com.
This quirky title developed by a small UK based indie developer Introversion was well received, and it was released with native Linux support. The game is still popular to this day, with an updated version scheduled for release on Xbox Live. It has 84/100 on Metacritic.com. Unfortunately, the multiplayer version, Multiwinia, has no Linux port as of yet.
Another Introversion release, and self-described as “The world’s first genocide ‘em up.” The game involves global inter-continental warfare using a vast array of ballistic weaponry. The winner is the one who deals the most death, whilst taking the least casualties. Just like the real world. 84/100 on Metacritic.com.
Rounding off the offerings from Introversion is Uplink, the company’s first release. The game has players taking on the role of an Uplink agent, a super-hacker who can shift the delicate balance of global political and economic systems with a few strokes of the keys. 75/100 on Metacritic.com.
Keep the faith
Most of the older titles on this list can be picked up in discount bins for around R100.
The arrival of HoN and the announcement by id developer Timothee Besset that he will be overseeing a Linux build of the idTech 5 3D engine are both a huge boost for the Linux gaming community.
Discuss Linux gaming in the forums