X Window Games

X Window Games

The X Window System created a great opportunity for games in Red Hat Linux and other UNIX systems to become graphical-based rather than character-based. So, instead of having little character symbols representing robots and arrows, the games could actually show pictures of little robots and arrows.

A lot of diverting games come with Red Hat Fedora and run in X. Unless otherwise noted, all of the X games described in this section are free. Also, the GNOME and KDE environments that come on the CDs (described in Chapter 3) each have a set of games associated with it.

GNOME games

The GNOME games consist of some old card games and a bunch of games that look suspiciously like games you would find on Windows systems. If you are afraid of losing your favorite desktop diversion (such as Solitaire, FreeCell, and Minesweeper) when you leave Windows, have no fear. You can find many of them under GNOME games.

Table 7-1 lists the games available by selecting Games from the Red Hat menu. In this release, many KDE games (shown in Table 7-2) are also on this menu.

Table 7-1: GNOME Games



AisleRiot (solitaire)

Lets you select from among 28 different solitaire card games.


Gnuchess game in X. (Runs the xboard and gnuchess commands.)

Chromium Configuration

Set options such as skill level, screen size, and sound for Chromium.


Deliver supplies to troops in battle in this action game.


A popular solitaire card game.

Freeciv (Isometric tileset)

In this strategy game, you try to lead your civilization to extinguish all others. (Uses Isometric tileset to represent cities, oceans, and other terrain.)

Freeciv Server (new game)

Server program needed to play Freeciv.


Board game where you flip over circles to consume enemy pieces.


Match five colored balls in a row to score points.


Drop balls to beat the game at making four in a row.


Steer a worm around the screen while avoiding walls.

GNOME Robots

Later version of Gnobots, which includes movable junk heaps.


Minesweeper clone. Click on safe spaces and avoid the bombs.

GNOME Stones

Move around a cave, collect diamonds, and avoid rocks.

GNOME Tetravex

Tetravex clone. Move blocks so that numbers on each side align.


Move pieces around to allow one piece to escape.


Yahtzee clone. Roll dice to fill in categories.


Flip black and white chips to maneuver past the opponent.


Navigate a spaceship through an asteroid field.


Classic oriental tile game.


Eliminate clusters of balls for high score.

Tux Racer

Steer a penguin as he races down a hill on his belly.

KDE games

If you install KDE, there are a bunch of games in the kdegames package. If you did not install the KDE desktop, you can install the kdegames package separately from CD #2. To see the KDE games (along with some GNOME games) on the Red Hat menu, select Games, then choose the game you want. The games available in KDE are listed by category in Table 7-2.

Table 7-2: Games for the KDE Desktop



Arcade Games


Destroy asteroids in the classic arcade game.


Add walls to block in bouncing balls.

KFoul Eggs

Squish eggs in this Tetris-like game.


Click color groups to erase blocks in this adaptation of Clickomania.


Play a round of virtual golf.


Tetris clone. Try to fill in lines of blocks as they drop down.


Tetris with smiley faces.


Race your snake around a maze.


Fire at another spaceship as you spin around a planet.


Snake-style race game.



Play this Monopoly-like game against other players on the network.


Online version of backgammon.


Sink the opponent's battleship in this online version of the board game.


Find hidden balls by shooting rays.


Move game pieces to push opponents' pieces off the board.


Classic oriental tile game.


Flip game pieces to outmaneuver the opponent.


Tile game similar to Mahjongg.


Drop colored pieces to get 4-in-a-row.



Choose from nine different solitaire card games.


Video poker clone. Play five-card draw, choosing which cards to hold and which to throw

Lieutenant Skat

Play the card game Skat.


Play four blackjack hands against a dealer.

Tactics and Strategy

KJumping Cube

Click squares to increase numbers and take over adjacent squares.


Move pieces to create different chemical compounds.


Expand your interstellar empire in this multiplayer game.

Kolor Lines

Move marbles to form five-in-a-row and score points.


Minesweeper clone. Click safe spaces and avoid the bombs.


The Japanese warehouse keeper game.


Erase game pieces to score points.

The games on the KDE menu range from diverting to quite challenging. If you are used to playing games in Windows, KMines and Patience will seem like old favorites. KAsteroids and KPoker are good for the mindless game category. For a mental challenge (it's harder than it looks), try KSokoban. For a challenging multiuser game on the GNOME menu, try Freeciv. For chess enthusiasts, there is Chess (xboard version of gnuchess).

The following sections describe a couple of the more interesting games that come with Red Hat Linux. First is the xboard game and some related chess programs. Next is a description of Freeciv.

Chess games

Chess was one of the first games played on computer systems. While the game hasn't changed over the years, the way it's played on computers has. The set of chess programs that come with Red Hat Linux lets you play against the computer (in text or graphical modes), have the computer play against itself, or replay stored chess games. You can even play chess against other users on the Internet using Internet Chess Servers (ICS).

The xboard program is an X-based chess game that provides a graphical interface for gnuchess. GNU Chess (represented by the gnuchess package) describes itself as a communal chess program. It has had many contributors, and it seeks to advance a "more open and friendly environment of sharing" among the chess community. With xboard, you can move graphical pieces with your mouse. To play against the computer, click Games ? More Games ?Chess from the Red Hat menu, then start by just moving a piece with your mouse. While in the xboard window, select Mode ? Two Machines to have the computer play itself. Select File ? Load Game to load a game in Portable Game Notation (PGN). Figure 7-1 shows the xboard window with a "Two Machines" game in progress.

Click To expand
Figure 7-1: In the xboard window, you can set xgame to either play against the computer or to replay saved games.

You can use xboard to play online against others by connecting an xboard session to an Internet Chess Server (ICS). To start xboard as an interface to an ICS, either click Extras ? Games ? Chess or type the following command line:

$ xboard -ics -icshost name

In this example, name should be replaced by the name of the ICS host (see the list of hosts below). In ICS mode, you can just watch games, play against other users, or replay games that have finished. The ICS host acts as a gathering place for enthusiasts who want to play chess against others on the Internet, watch games, participate in tournaments, or just meet chess people. Here are ICS host computers you can connect to by substituting name above with the address shown below:

  • Internet Chess Club: ICC (chessclub.com)

  • Chess.net (chess.net)

  • Free Internet Chess Server (freechess.org)


With Freeciv, you create a civilization that challenges competing civilizations for world dominance. The version of Freeciv that comes with Red Hat Linux contains both client software (to play the game) and server software (to connect players together). You can connect to your server and try the game yourself or (with a network connection) play against up to 14 others on the Internet.

You can start Freeciv from the Red Hat menu (as a non-root user) by clicking Games ? More Games ? FreeCiv (Isometric tile set). If Freeciv doesn't start, try starting it from a Terminal window by typing:

$ civ &

Figure 7-2 shows the two windows that appear when you start Freeciv. The Connect to Freeciv Server window contains your user name, host name, and port number. The Freeciv window is where you play the game.

Click To expand
Figure 7-2: Play Freeciv to build civilizations and compete against others.

If Freeciv won't start, one reason may be because you are logged in as root. You must be logged in as a regular user to run the civ command.

Starting Freeciv

You can play a few games by yourself, if you like, to get to know the game before you play against others on the network. The following procedure describes how to start your first practice Freeciv game.

  1. Start Freeciv from the Red Hat menu (Games ? More Games ? FreeCiv, or type civ&).

    The Freeciv windows appear, as shown in Figure 7-2.

  2. From a Terminal window, start the Freeciv server by typing:

    $ civserver
    This is the server for Freeciv version 1.13.0
    You can learn a lot about Freeciv at http://www.freeciv.org/
    2: Now accepting new client connections.
    For introductory help, type 'help'.
  3. Click Connect from the Connect to Freeciv Server window.

  4. From the server prompt, type the following:

    > start
    Starting game.
    2: Loading rulesets

    A "What Nation Will You Be?" window appears on the client, as shown in Figure 7-3.

    Click To expand
    Figure 7-3: Choose a nation to begin Freeciv.

  5. After you start Freeciv from the server prompt, choose a nation, the name of a leader, your sex, and the style of the city, and then click OK. At this point, you are ready to return to the Freeciv window.

Beginning with Freeciv

Check out the Freeciv window. Here are things you should know when you are starting. (You can find more help at the Freeciv site: www.freeciv.org.)

  • Click the Help button for topical information on many different subjects that will be useful to you as you play.

  • The world (by default) is 80 x 50 squares, with 11 x 8 squares visible at a time.

  • The active square contains an icon of the active unit (flashing alternatively with the square's terrain).

  • Some squares contain special resources. Press and hold the middle mouse button for information on what special resources a square contains. (With a two-button mouse, hold the Ctrl key and click the right mouse button.) Try this a few times to get a feel for the land around you. This action also identifies any units on the terrain, as well as statistics for the unit.

  • To see the world outside of your 11 x 8 viewing area, click the scroll bars outside of the map. At first the world outside will be black. As units are added, areas closer to those units will be visible. (Press the letter c to return to the active part of your map.)

  • An overview map is in the upper-left corner of the Freeciv window. As the world becomes more civilized, this provides a good way to get an overview of what is going on. Right-click a spot on the overview map to have your viewport centered there.

  • The menu bar contains buttons you can use to play the game. The Game menu lets you change settings and options, view player data, view messages, and clear your log. The Kingdom menu lets you change tax rates, find cities, and start revolutions. The View menu lets you place a grid on the map or center the view. The Orders menu is where you choose the items you build and the actions you take. The Reports menu lets you display reports related to cities, military, trade, and science, as well as other special reports.

  • A summary of the economy of your civilization appears under the overview map. Information includes number of people, current year, money in the treasury, and percent of money distributed to tax, luxury, and science.

  • Ten icons below the overview information represent how money is divided between luxuries (an entertainer), research (a researcher), and taxes (a tax collector). Essentially, these icons represent how much of your resources are placed into improving each of those attributes of your community.

  • When you have made all your moves for a turn, click Turn Done. Next to that, a lightbulb indicates the progress of your research (increasing at each turn). A sun icon starts clear, but becomes brighter from pollution to warn of possible global warming. A government symbol indicates that you begin with a despotic government. The last icon tells you how much time is left in a turn.

The Unit box shows information about your current unit. You begin with two Settlers units and one Explorer unit.

Building your civilization

Start building your civilization. Here are things to try, as suggested by the Freeciv manual:

  • To change the distribution of money, choose Kingdom ? Tax Rates. Move the slider bars to redistribute the percentage of assets assigned to luxury, research, and taxes. Try increasing research and reducing taxes to start off.

  • Change the current unit to be a settler as follows: click the stack of units on the map and click one of the Settlers from the menu that appears.

  • Begin building a city by clicking on Orders ? Build City. When prompted, type a name for the city and click OK. The window that appears shows information about the city. It starts with one happy citizen, represented by a single icon (more citizens will appear as the game progresses).

  • The Food, Prod, and Trade lines reflect the raw productivity statistics for the city. The first number shows how much is being produced, the second (in parens) shows the surplus above what is needed to support the units. The Gold, Luxury, and Science lines indicate the city's trade output. Granary numbers show how much food is stored and the size of the food store. The pollution level begins at zero.

  • The Units at this point are not yet supported by a city (so nothing appears under Supported Units). When Units require support, they will be assigned to cities, and they will draw on city resources. Units present appear under that heading.

  • The map area shown consists of 21 squares that make up the city. The number 1 indicates the size of the city. The number 211 reflects the production of food, manufacturing production, and trade, respectively. The number 210 shows where the city's citizen is working and the results of the work.

  • The Phalanx line shows that the city can build a Phalanx and that it will take 20 production points to produce. Click Change to view other units the city could produce, select one you want to build, and click Change. Below that is a list of your current buildings (of which you have only a Palace to start out).

  • Close the city window by clicking on Close.

Exploring your world

To begin exploring, move the Settler.

  1. Using the numeric keypad, press the 9 key three times to begin exploring. You can move the explorer up to three times per turn. You begin to see more of the world.

  2. When the next unit (the Settler) begins blinking, move it one square in another direction. Click Turn Done. Information for the city will be updated.

  3. Click the City to see the city window. Notice that information about the city has been updated. In particular, you should see food storage increase. Close the city window.

  4. Continue exploring and build a road. With the explorer flashing, use the numeric keypad to move it another three sections. When the settler begins blinking, press r to build a road. A small R appears on the square to remind you that the Settler is busy building a road. Click Turn Done.

Using more controls and actions

Now that you have some understanding of the controls and actions, the game can begin taking a lot of different directions. Here are a few things that may happen next and things you can do:

  • After you take a turn, the computer gets a chance to play as well. As it plays, its actions are reported to you. You can make decisions on what to do about those actions. Choose Game ? Message Options. The Message options window appears, containing a listing of different kinds of messages that can come from the server and how they will be presented to you.

  • As you explore, you will run into other explorers and eventually other civilizations. Continue exploring by selecting different directions on your numeric keypad.

  • Continue to move the Settler one square at a time, once it has finished creating the road. (The Settler will blink again when it is available.) Click Turn Done.

  • At this point, you should see a message that your city has finished building Warriors. When buildings and units are complete, you should usually check out what has happened. Click the message associated with the city, then click Popup City. The city window appears, showing you that it has additional population. The food storage may appear empty, but the new citizens are working to increase the food and trade. You may see an additional warrior unit.

  • A science advisory may also appear at this point to let you choose your city's research goals. Click Change and select Writing as your new research goal. You can then select a different long-term goal as well. Click Close when you are done.

  • If your new Warrior is now blinking, press s to assign sentry mode to the Warrior.

You should be familiar with some of the actions of Freeciv at this point. To learn some basic strategies for playing the game, choose Help ? Help Playing.

Part IV: Red Hat Linux Network and Server Setup