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

winecfg

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
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\BioWare\NWN\Neverwinter]
"Location"="n:\\\"
EOF

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!

/KhaaL

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: http://bugs.winehq.org/show_bug.cgi?id=9193#c15. ("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.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Paul's test configuration

Just a short description, I'll modify it later in detail.

Software:
Gentoo Linux 2006.1
Xorg 7.3
wine 0.9.59
nvidia binary driver 169.12
kernel 2.6.22

Hardware:
AMD64 X2 3800+
Abit KN9 motherboard
Nvidia 8800GTS 320MB
2GB DDR2 RAM 800MHz

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Icewind Dale I. - 1st post

Currently I'm playing this title. It's one of those famous Black Isle games. Beautiful painted 2D graphics with AD&D set of rules in the Forgotten Realms.

I've stumbled upon it in a hypermarket's PC game shelf in the form of a 3 in 1 game set of Icewind Dale / Heart of Winter expansion and Icewind Dale 2 for about $12 which I counted as a bargain for such a cool combo. I jumped in and pushed the box between two packs of mineral water.

I was counting on it to work under Linux as previously I had messed with Baldur's Gate and wine some years ago. And I was right. It installed flawlessly with latest vanilla wine 0.9.52, I had to run not even winecfg. Of small importance but a bonus was that the base game was recorded in 1 DVD format. Symlinking the automounted /media/ICEWIND directory under dos devices of ~/.wine directory was a key thing to run it.

There's a small configuration tool sitting in the game's directory which gives many possibilities of configuration regarding game play and graphics too. One advice I can give you is to experiment with the resolution (I set it to 1024x768) and try to find out which gives the nicest interface experience. In some of the higher resolutions you may get magnified buttons and such. Look at my screenshot, it looks good I think. :-) The 1280 resolution had bigger buttons and not so nice UI compared to the 1024x768, although the higher resolution the bigger part of the levels you'll see. My compromise is to use 1024x768 on my 1280x1024 19" monitor. (I've added a screen shot with the "too big buttons" mode.)

If you have Heart of Winter expansion and patch set installed you'll have an option to use OpenGL rendering mode. It results in a much nicer fog of view effect yet I experienced crashes when quick saving rooting in the GL libraries of nvidia driver. So I go with normal engine settings.

So far the game is rather enjoyable. I have to root out some evil presence around Ten Towns and the Spine of The World. I set up a party of 3. Two multi class fighters (dwarf cleric, elven thief) and a gnome illusionist. They are around raw level 6-7 now. I'm deep in the game and experienced no crash at all after I found the right settings. There seems to be some minor lags with the sound system as far as I can tell it. When speaking with people sometimes the loading of the dialog takes some seconds.

All in all I much enjoy playing the game. You can have it for a few coins maybe around your location and the 2D graphics made in 2000 are just really nicely done. This game got nice reviews around the net, e.g. gamespot.com gave it a score of 8.6. If I'll finally finish it with no Linux related problems I'll recommend it for sure for the Linux gamers.

Purpose of this all

This is a blog to share the experience of playing different role playing games for PC (well, other architectures may happen) under the famous Linux operating system.

For all of my computer activity which spans now over some years and decades I've been playing RPGs many times starting with old C64 ones till reaching the PC era of DOS games and later the Windows ones. Now as time passed I've become a notorious Linux user too and prefer to use it as my main operating system. Yet I'm trying to play my favorite newer or older games without switching to the Windows OS. This may or may not succeed at times. I choose to write about the success stories here, I hope there'll be some to share... ;-)

This way we hope to help those Linux users who are RPG fans with pointing out the possible alternative games and showing how we cope with them. The blog was started as a single man effort yet it's started to grow into something bigger when KhaaL joined. Hope we'll get a good work done here. Let's discover that Linux is for gaming! ;-)