Basic Linux Gaming Information

Basic Linux Gaming Information

There isn't much you need to know to run most of the X Window-based games that come with Red Hat Linux. The following sections describe basic information about Linux gaming.

Where to get information on Linux gaming

To find news on the latest games available for Linux, as well as links to download sites, go to some of the several Web sites available. Here are a few to get you started:

  • TransGaming Technologies ( — This company's mission is to bring games from other platforms to Linux.

  • The Linux Game Tome ( — This site features a database of descriptions and reviews of tons of games that run in Linux. You can do keyword searches for games listed at this site. The site also includes links to where you can get the different games, as well as links to other gaming sites.

  • ( — This site can give you some very good insight into the state of Linux gaming. There are links to HOW-TOs and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), as well as forums for discussing Linux games. There are also links to Web sites that have information on a particular game you are interested in.

  • id Software ( — Go to the id Software site for information on Linux demo versions for Quake, Unreal Tournament, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

  • Loki Entertainment Software ( — Loki provided ports of best-selling games to Linux, but went out of business in 2001. Its products included Linux versions of Civilization: Call to Power, Myth II: Soulblighter, SimCity 3000, Railroad Tycoon II, and Quake III Arena. The Loki Demo Launcher is still available to see demo versions of these games, and some boxed sets are available for very little money.

  • Tux Games ( — If you are ready to purchase a game, the Tux Games Web site is dedicated to the sale of Linux games. Besides offering Linux gaming news and products, the site lists its top-selling games and includes notices of games that are soon to be released.

  • Linux Gamers' FAQ ( — This FAQ contains a wealth of information about free and commercial Linux games. It lists gaming companies that have ported their games to Linux, tells where to get Linux games, and answers queries related to common Linux gaming problems.

If the idea of developing your own games interests you, try the Linux Game Development Center (

Getting started with Linux gaming

How you get started with Linux gaming depends on how serious you are about it. If all you want to do is play a few games to pass the time, you can find plenty of diverting X Window games that come with Linux. If you want to play more powerful commercial games, you can choose from:

  • Games for Microsoft Windows (WineX) — Many of the most popular commercial games created to run on Microsoft operating systems will run in Linux using WineX. To get RPM versions of WineX, you must sign up for a WineX subscription at

  • Games for Linux (id Software and others) — Certain popular games have Linux versions available. Most notably, id Software offers its Unreal Tournament 2003, DOOM, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein in Linux versions.

Games are still available from the now defunct company Loki Software, Inc. I just purchased Myth II: Soulblighter and Heretic II for Linux over the Internet for a few dollars.

Choosing a video card for gaming

Because high-end games place extraordinary demands on your video hardware, choosing a good video card and configuring it properly is one of the keys to ensuring a good gaming experience. Although basic video card configuration is covered in Chapter 3, for advanced gaming you may need to go beyond what a low-end card can do for you.

One feature that many games may require of your video card is Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI). Whether you are running the games using WineX or natively in Linux, to play demanding games in Linux you need a card that supports DRI to do hardware acceleration. Here is a list of video cards that support DRI from the DRI project site (

  • 3dfx — Although 3dfx Interactive, Inc. is no longer in business, you can still find 3dfx cards that support DRI. In particular, the Voodoo (3, 4, and 5) and Banshee chip sets have drivers that support DRI. Voodoo 5 cards support 16 and 24 bpp. Scan Line Interleaving (SLI), where two or more 3D processors work in parallel (to result in higher frame rates), is not supported for 3dfx cards.

  • 3Dlabs — Graphics cards containing the MX/Gamma chipset from 3Dlabs have drivers available that support DRI in Linux.

  • ATI Technologies — Chipsets from ATI Technologies that support DRI include the Mach64 (Rage Pro), Radeon 7X00 (R100), Radeon 2 / 8500 (R200), and Rage 128 (Standard, Pro, Mobility). Cards based on these chip sets include All-in-Wonder 128, Rage Fury, Rage Magnum, Xpert 99, Xpert 128, and Xpert 2000.

  • Intel — Supported video chipsets from Intel include the i810 (e, e2, and -dc100), i815 and i815e.

  • Matrox — The Matrox chipsets that have drivers that support DRI include the G200, G400, and G450. Cards that use these chips include the Millennium G450, Millennium G400, Millennium G200, and Mystique G200.

  • NVIDIA — Cards from NVIDIA are not supported by DRI because NVIDIA has not released hardware specifications to DRI developers. However, NVIDIA cards work for most Linux games. To get NVIDIA drivers, which are produced by NVIDIA but are not open source drivers, you must download them from the NVIDIA Web site. From the NVIDIA Web site (, click the download button and follow the instructions for downloading and installing the correct drivers for your card on Red Hat Linux systems. RPM packages are available.

To find out whether DRI is working on your current video card, type the following:

$ glxinfo | grep rendering
direct rendering: Yes

This example shows that direct rendering is supported. If it were not supported, the output would say No instead of Yes.

Part IV: Red Hat Linux Network and Server Setup