Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Humbly submitted, for your consideration

So the game I mentioned in yesterday's KDE upgrade post was Bit-Blot's Aquaria – the stand out success (for me) of last year's Humble Indie Bundle. It's a gorgeous underwater exploration and adventure game, with intuitive, learn-as-you-go controls and a commitment to immersive detail on par with Ultima VII. There's a rich backstory, a cool magic system, companions, even cooking.

The Humble Bundle itself is a pack of awesome, DRM-free, multi-platform games with pay-what-you-will pricing. The proceeds are divided (at your discretion) among charities (EFF and Child's Play,) the games' makers, and Humble. The current bundle looks very fun, but there are only 6 days left to grab it, so act fast if you're interested.

This year's big draw seems to be Braid, a clever little time-manipulation side scroller about dysfunctional relationships. Only problem -- it didn't want to run on openSUSE for me. Run from the command line, it complained:
Game Startup Error: Unable to set up graphics.
Reason: Missing required OpenGL extension.

To help fix this problem make sure you are running the newest version of your video drivers.
Lastly, you could try running this game with the -windowed command-line option.
The ubuntu folks, who always seem to crack these problems first, tracked the issue down to missing S3 texture compression support – disabled in the open source drivers because it's patented (further details if you're interesed). Their simple solution (where patent law allows) is to install driconf and re-enable S3, as described here.

Since driconf isn't in the standard openSUSE repositories, you can grab it from the build service. Mine didn't work out of the box, though – it was looking in the wrong place for the python module. So, I edited /usr/bin/driconf and added the line:
sys.path.append("/usr/lib64/driconf/")
which is where I found the file driconf.py. Then, if I were in a country where patent law allowed, I could run driconf, go to the Image Quality tab, and enable S3TC, and Braid would run like a charm. If I were not in a country where patent law allowed, I'd suggest giving Osmos a try, an addictive physics-based osmosis game. Haven't checked out the others yet, but will when I have some down-time.

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