Comparison of Free Games for Linux

Linux-gamers.net has a great comparison of free software shooters on Linux.

There have been many free software first-person shooters (FPS) projects over the years, from modded Doom and Quake engines to enhance the existing games (ezQuake, EGL, ZDoom), to free art packs such as OpenQuartz or OpenArena. In 2002, along came Cube, a single and multiplayer FPS based on its own engine, including artwork, maps, models and an ingame map editor. In the freeware (and Linux compatible!) world a little-known game called Legends, a Tribes-inspired game, appeared yet remained closed-source. Filling the FPS gap in the open-source world has usually been left up to commercial companies who release their games with Linux support (i.e. Doom3, Unreal Tournament 2004, Loki Software’s work) or freeware games produced by commercial studios(i.e. America’s Army, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory) or simply running Windows games run via wine. In the last few years a few built-from-scratch community-based FPS projects, most built on the GPLed Quake engines, have popped up, among them are Tremulous, Alien Arena, Nexuiz, and War§ow. Some have kept their art assets under a closed license (War§ow), while others have also released their art under an OSS license (Nexuiz), I consider both categories free software since well, software refers to programs, code and procedures, not artwork. For this comparison, we’ll take a look at active, robust and community-developed free software shooters. Most released free software shooters are designed for multiplayer, a logical step for a game developed in an online community, however most also feature a bot-based single-player mode. While others have compared such games before, this feature seeks to be a little more thorough and go a step further, ranking the following seven games: Alien Arena, Nexuiz, OpenArena, Sauerbraten, Tremulous, War§ow, and World of Padman. In ranking these games, gameplay, design, innovation and presentation (in that order) will be held as primary criteria.

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Gaming on Linux

I’ve always been the guy my friends and family turn to with computer questions. I’ve also always been the guy my computer literate friends turn to with Linux questions.

“Why do you use Linux?”

“What’s wrong with Windows?”

“Should I use Linux?”

Though the answers to these questions can seem mundane and overused, I always find myself answering the “Should I use Linux?” question with one simple answer: “Not if you want to play games. Stick with Windows.”

Sure, there are plenty of Linux games out there, as well as some decent emulators that allow you to run Windows Direct-X style games on the Linux desktop. But the true fact of the matter is that Microsoft dominates the PC desktop gaming market. When the majority of PC game developers decide on making a game, my guess is that Linux is far down the list of worries, if not completely non-existent.

Why?

One obvious answer is money. C.R.E.A.M. Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Dolla dolla bills y’all. However you put it – Money makes the world go round big time commercial developers listen. The simple fact is that there’s just not a big enough market in the Linux industry for commercial game developers to spend time, money, and resources on developing on a OS platform that they don’t see dollar signs in. The majority of Linux users advocate the use and distribution of free software, so what Linux user would pay thirty dollars for a game?

So what do we have to do in order to have our cake Linux and eat it play our best-selling games too?

When will I be able to answer “Yes you should use Linux” without hesitation?