Saturday, January 9, 2010

Eschalon Book I - Intel VGA + the AMD64 hack with lib32 nvidia driver

You can find the details about "Eschalon Book I" in my other post. This short post is about how I could make it work stable on my intel-vga (gma 965) chip. First of all by default it crashes on my 64-bit linux very often. There's a way to prevent this. I had to use the nvidia driver's and The 32-bit compatibility version in my case, as I'm on a 64-bit system. But this caused trouble with other 32-bit binary native games or those run with wine. So I had to install back the normal mesa libgl library. But there's a way to make work both at the same time!

First I installed the lib32 nvidia libraries. Copied the files of the nvidia version GL from opt/lib32/usr/lib/ to my game's directory creating an ./nvidia directory there. After that I updated back to the normal lib32-libgl of my distro. That way the Eschalon game is still crashing, but other 32-bit games work. But the trick comes just after that: I've created a new shell script that overrides the default library path with the backed up ./nvidia directory, and starts the game with the Nvidia version of libGL. The script looks like this in my Eschalon game directory:

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=./nvidia ./Eschalon\ Book\ I

That's all! :) After that by some heavenly luck, the game still works with the xorg-intel-vga but the nvidia libGL. Strange, isn't it? Nvidia driver version: 190.53. Mesa 7.7. Intel driver version: 2.10. That might change with later versions rendering this useless - right now it works on my machine. If you have a different experience or the same with trying this please leave a comment. Thanks!

The following files are copied into the ./nvidia dir:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eschalon Book I - native client

`This piece of nice classical revival game called Eschalon - well, I've spot it on long time ago. At first I felt urge to check it, as I'm a big fan of classic RPG genre especially reviving it in modern, better usable, innovated form. Eschalon is turning back to the good old traditions and brings it in a 2D graphical with a unique ruleset and semi-turn based movement/combat. (If you knew how King's Bounty worked, something like HoMM probably - one movement of you means one movement of the other entities - you know how Eschalon works.)

Now the good news (and old news as it is not a recent release) is that Eschalon comes with native Linux client!! Not a common thing, but luckily the engine Basilisk Games used for this game is OpenGL based and Linux compatible as well so it was a good thing they decided to sell and support it. These facts together made it a sure-buy for me - just as I'll buy the Eschalon Book II which is in the works already.

So you have a world to wander around, an interesting new skill/combat system, dialogs and all the classic fun -- and a nicely drawn, classic-resembling style but with appropriate resolution (well 800x600 isnt too high, but I think it's okay) and good looking palette. Well, to tell something negative , the story's starting isn't too innovative tho', you start with wiped out memory...meh, what a surprise. :)

Hardware. My experience with its hardware compatibility regarding Intel was a bit hectic for a while, and it's still so, but improved much with the enhancement of the Linux intel driver. Latest release of the intel vga driver (xf86-video-intel on arch, or 2.10 officially :-)) brings just enough performance to play it in low-detail mode which means a bit (~15%) smaller area of view. The officially supported GPUs are okay: my nvidia desktop runs it perfectly fast. I bet AMD/ATi cards does the same.
Well, well, I'm quite happy about this latest intel driver release - I can play this game on my laptop now - very few openGL games manage to be playable. :)

EDIT: I was too quick to draw conclusion - it's playable but not too stable with Intel GPU and linux driver. :/ I can play it for say 10-20 minutes but then a crash might happen. Eh, I will stick to my nvidia desktop.

EDIT2: I'm not sure if this is really correct to do, but hey... seems like if you have an Intel card with 64 bit Linux you have a chance to run the game stable at last! Found this thread on basilisk games forum, so I thought I will give it a chance, installed lib32-nvidia-utils. This one removes the lib32-libgl which is kind of ugly. But that made the game doesnt crash 1 out of 2 tries at startup and inside the game looks stable so far! :D So now my hope is back again to play it on my Intel. Will report again if this ends up a bad lead again. So far it works under Arch Linux 64 bit. (Check screenshot what arch's pacman package manager does when I did that.)

EDIT3: Okay, looks like lib32-nvidia-utils has an ugly impact on running Windows games with bin32-wine and intel vga, which is no surprise. So looks like it's not a good solution - I have to choose, play Eschalon or use wine. Well, seems like I'll just have to reinstall lib32-libgl when I'm done with Eschalon.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Icewind Dale - 2nd Post - intel vga, 64-bit Linux

Recently I've revisited Icewind Dale part I., after a while. I was facing trouble starting the game copied from a previous installation to my new Arch Linux desktop. I was forced to reinstall, but this time I decided to install it on my laptop to make it easier to access whenever I feel so.

So the configuration of the laptop is something like a dual core Intel 64-bit with Intel GMA 965 driven by a freshly updated Arch Linux distro. The installation went nice with all the expansions (plus the Lure Master free to download expansion) along with the No-CD patch for the 1.43. This time I didnt even have to bother with symlinking devices. Just used Winecfg to add the CDROM as a drive - today's wine is handling these things very nicely, even the automounted devices.

To make things more interesting I'm running this on an AMD64 architecture. I have to use bin32-wine and lib32 packages to be able to run the 32 bit Windows executable. The wine is version 1.1.35 - it's important, because with a previous version it didnt want to start with GLX error, or another wine version crashed upon pressing Okay in the character generation's background story editor pane.

So to sum it up, even the weak Intel GMA 965 is able to handle things in 1024x768 with latest xf86-video-intel driver 2.9.1 and 1.7.3. I did switch off some of the effects tho' to make it run smoother - a bit of a shame for a video chip from 2007, isn't it? Well, that's what you can expect from Intel vga, it's not for gaming certainly. Still this time it's a 'go' situation, it works well for a game made in 2001 + wine from 2009. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Knights of the Chalice

This one is a recently released D&D RPG featuring very nice and challanging tactical combat plus very old school style graphics, 2D pixel art. It's classic and for those who are fond of those old times. The game features 3 classes to choose from (knight, cleric, wizard), is turn and party based. It has a lot of hours of gameplay in it, and for me it brings back the feeling of the DOS game Dark Sun. I'm already playing it for hours under Linux with latest wine, my party is level 6. So far no major problems with it except that there's no music (which is not a major thing IMO, it's midi music and for me it gets boring after a while too (tested it under Windows too :P)).
So far I have been able to play it with binary nvidia driver + wine. Intel driver didnt work well on my laptop (had to set backbuffer for OffScreenRendering in regedit to make it start, but it was way too slow!) So requirement is wine + nvidia (or probably ati) video card.

Monday, April 7, 2008

NWN 2 + 0.9.59 update

I've recently updated my wine to the latest version 0.9.59 and I'm glad to say that NWN2 mini-map and map problem is now fixed! I'm still playing it in a very slow pace as I've very little time for it. (I've also checked Icewind Dale if it is still working fine with the new version of wine and luckily it is.) Kudos for the wine developers! :)

PS.: I sadly see that the link to the guide for nwn2 installing is now broken. Here goes a copy of it: guide. Another important detail may be that I've patched the game to 1111153 without problems but haven't tried any newer updates yet.

UPDATE (13 Nov 2008): Trying to use with wine 1.1.18, result: no longer works! It tells me no usable D3D device could be detected, so I can't run the game with that version.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Neverwinter Nights 1 premium modules

The beauty called Neverwinter Nights changed the RPG genre radically in its time. While it may not be as revolutionary today, the content avaible for it is still unmatched and even though the beauty has grown old it still provides lots of entertaining, intruiges and adventure.

Some of you may have bought the diamond edition and managed to install it in linux (if you haven't, go here!). With that box comes the kingmaker, whitch's wake and shadowguard premium modules. While I personally think that kingmaker is the only one that stands out in quality, there's other modules such as darkness over daggerford that's free and on par with kingmaker in quality.

(The way to install them is also mentioned in the thread mentioned earlier.)

First, you'll need a fresh install of wine. You do that by removing the current directory, and that's done by typing the following command in the console:

rm -fr ~/.wine

But you can also create a seperate directory with wineprefixcreate... For the sake of simplicity, we'll stick with the method that'll wipe your wine folder off your harddrives face and save the wineprefixcreate for a later post (it DEMANDS a whole post soley for it!).

After removing your old wine directory you'll have to replace it. that's done by simply running


You don't have to make any changes since we only want it to recreate the ~/.wine folder.

Now we're closing to the finale! From the console, change the folder to your NWN folder - it's the one with nwnmain in it - and run the following command:

ln -s $PWD $HOME/.wine/dosdevices/n\:

That will create a drive called n: in wine which will point to your NWN folder. Besides that, we'll need to put in the registery entries NWN needs in order to install itself or other modules:

cat <<> nwn.reg

Now that the registery entry is created, lets merge it with wines registery!

regedit nwn.reg

And afterwards you might want to delete nwn.reg just to be tidy;

rm nwn.reg

Now you can install any premium or free module of your choosing by simply running the install file through wine. Congratulations! You've just pro-longed the life of your NWN
copy by 500%*!

*The numer is by no means scientefically accurate.

TIPS: You could run NWN in a windowed mode, if you like to keep an eye on your inbox or brag about your advances to your friends on chat. That is done by opening nwn.ini in your NWN folder, go to [Display Options] and alter (or add if it dosen't exist). AllowWindowedMode=1

Go ahead, make it wobbly with compiz-fusion while you're at it!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Neverwinter Nights 2

Neverwinter Nights 2 is another game of BioWare second in the Neverwinter Nights series. It's with D&D rules and the story plays in the Forgotten Realms near Neverwinter. It has decent 3D graphics, requires a strong GPU/CPU combo to play. Using this guide I could install and play NWN2 with wine 0.9.52 plus the additional native dlls of Windows (devenum, dxdiagn, d3dx9_30, imm32, ms vc80 dlls and such) and a little registry tailoring with wine's regedit. Tested it for some couple of hours, configuring 3D options and playing. Works good so far, slower than in Windows although but only a few drawbacks in the graphics with the similar look. One major problem is the small map is not working as you can see it on the shots. I will modify this post later if more things turn out. I have installed Mask of The Betrayer expansion and am playing it - as I've already finished the original one (under Windows).

I could easily patch the game in offline mode to the latest NWN2 final patch set. I only had to download the update zip files (around 240 MB). Combats and such work with good speed. I had to switch shadows off, bloom on, water reflections off, water refraction on. Without these I had some problems with the shaders of the game. Turning shadows off means a large cut on GPU stress and it made the game rather playable with medium look distance in 1280x1024 with my configuration.

I've found an open bug in wine's bug tracker. There's a workaround for non displaying maps in outdoor area: ("Pressing ALT-ENTER twice...") No luck with indoor though.

The installation of the expansion was pretty straightforward without any errors. To apply the latest patches I had to rename the nwn2_pcx1_*.zip files to nwn2_pc_*.zip to make it work with the offline installation. I've started the campaign with my good old wizard/pale master combination, level 18. Playing the expansion I have not met any critical bug yet. I've patched the game to the latest expansion patch available. One mediocre problem I've found is the rest option getting stuck. I had to restart the game to be able to rest. (I remember that this happened once in plain NWN2 under Windows too.) This occurred only once so far in a gaming of 4-5 hours. Also going to the shadow plane once resulted in the gray shader blocking the view from above. (Restarting the game helped.) So far that's about the expansion.