Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Game Input: Urban Terror

Type: FPS
Platforms: Windows, Mac & Linux
Open Source: Yes
Game Engine: GPL
Content: Proprietary
Played on: Linux
Site: UrbanTerror

This being my first FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) game overlook I'll keep it to a minimum.

From first glance I was impressed. For me it has just about every standard feature thrown in with a few unique ones. Lets start with the weapons. If you were to just pick up this game and run with it, you would have no limitations. All of the weapons are not "locked" in any way and readily available for your use. The weapons range from SMGs, Shotguns, Grenade Launcher, and Rifles. Plus there are accessories and extra items you can equip for battle. Some of those items would be a laser pointer, body armor, extra ammo, suppressor, and the list goes on. Don't get too excited, there isn't too many extras. I was a little turned off considering there is no use of the sights on the usual weapons, you are basically always firing from the hip. Although sniper rifles are the only acception. The maps are well consturcted and look great. You will find good particle effects, anlong with good music in some levels and the sounds effects arn't bad. Not to mention that there are plenty of user created maps as well. So expect to download a few here or there when connecting to a server. Some of the features I like is the fact that when you get shot and bleed, it can be fatal if left untreated. You are supplied bandages when you spawn. Which can be applied to yourself or other teammates. Also the wall jump and power slide is nifty. Comes in handy with some situations. I didn't experience a whole lot of lag, at least none I could really see. I would recommend UrbanTerro, it's fun, easy to set up, no registration required and Open Source. You can't beat that.

So go have fun and rack up some frags maggot!

Overall: Good title worth trying.

Error Problems with Windows and Linux

This is something I have noticed over the years. Windows and Linux are quite different when it comes to errors or problems with the Operating System.

First lets start with Linux. When it comes to problems with Linux, if something is wrong, a driver has an issue, or just an overall problem occurs, you tend to have to stop and fix the issue before continuing. I have noticed this trend from time to time with my experience with Linux

Now Windows on the other hand, is a little strange. People can have BSoDs (Blue Screen of Death) and little error messages that just pop up from time to time and people just find ways to work around the errors and not fix the issue. Then you notice the PC get slower, less responsive and finally at some point just grinds to a halt.

The way I see it is that if Linux has a problem, you have to take the time to stop and correct the issue. Where as for Windows, errors can be ignored and the Windows OS just slowly implodes on itself until you reach a point where it just doesn't function anymore. Like say Windows gets stuck in a vicious reboot loop. The PC reboots, loads windows and in the process of loading at the boot splash stage, it reboots again and again. I have seen it happen to a family member PC before in the past.

I thought it was funny but the family member didn't seem to agree.

Mint 9 (Moving from Gnome to Fluxbox)

Here recently I was unaware that Mint has released a different X11 interface versions of their distro. I wanted to move to Fluxbox for less resource consumption and was not sure how to do it beside just going with the standard Fluxbox package. So I asked on the "official" forums and got a good response. I would also like to point out Fluxbox has been around for some time. I was first introduced to it when using DSL. (Damn Small Linux)

Switching interfaces was (for me) with "Isadora", quite simple. As simple as pulling down the correct packages and installing them one at a time. I would like to thank the user "shane" on the forums for the help.

To get the packages from the Fluxbox edition to install, I was pointed to the following link. Fluxbox Packages

Forum conversation: Link

So if you would like to apply fluxbox you can either use the package manager to get the baseline version of Fluxbox or install the packages from the link above.

Keep in mind those packages worked for me and again I'm running Mint 9 Isadora 32-bit. So you may not get the same results. It's possible for something to, well, go wrong or maybe break something in the Gnome instillation as "shane" pointed out.


Linux CLI (Command Line Interface) Part 1

Hello everyone. For now I am just going to talk about the basics. This will be some basic commands you will find yourself using regularly. The CLI (Command Line Interface) is VERY powerful and should be leveraged. If you don't use it, well then it's time to make a change. =)

Ok the commands I will be covering are:
ls, cd, cp, mv, rm, rmdir, unzip, zip, clear, and the use of the &.

NOTE: Keep in mine "everything" in the command like "IS" case sensitive. So if a file or folder is capital, you must do the same when using commands.

ls: List directory

"ls" is like dir in windows it shows you the contents of a directory. Can you use dir ? Yes you can but it won't give you as much detail. "ls" has extra parameters that give you more detailed results (almost all programs do) but we wont get into that right now.

cd: Change Directory "cd [directory path]"

"cd" allows you to change from one directoy to another. Keep in mind that in Windows you change directories with a \ "backslash". Linux is not the same, we use a / "forwardslash" here, so be sure to keep that in mind. If you are changing to a directory that is already in your current location you don't need a / in front of the directory name. You only need to include it if you are coming from the root directory. (aka the beginning of the file system, not the root directory as in /root) Kind of like starting at C: in windows. You start there and then move to Documents and Settings or Windows directories.

mv: Move "mv [file or folder] [destination location]"

"mv" allows you to move files and directories to other locations. In order to use it you have to include the source file/folder and then the destination location. So say you wanted to move your family.jpg picture file from your "Home" directory to your "Picture" directory. To use the mv command it would look like this, "mv family.jpg Pictures/". So "family.jpg" being the file name and "Pictures/" being the destination. Notice there is no / before the "Picture" Directory and no path before the file name. That is because you are already in the location of both the file and directory.

rm: Remove "rm [filepath]"

"rm" grants you the ability to remove a file. Just files, there is a different command to remove folders, which we will get to in a bit. in order to remove a file you must use the rm command followed by the path to the unwanted file. An example would be "rm /home/user01/file.txt" or if you are in the current director where the file is located it would look like "rm file.txt" Simple no ?

rmdir: Remove Directory "rmdir [target directory]"

"rmdir" works similar to the rm command. One thing you need to be aware of is that if you are removing a directory say "rmdir /home/user01/Folder", Folder being the directory you wish to remove, it MUST be empty in order for the removal to be successful. Just an FYI.

zip: Zip archive program "zip -[0-9] [archive name] [file(s) to add]"

"zip" is a good way to combine files into an archive to either save space or just make things less cluttered. If you wanted to create and archive for a file called "myvideo.avi" it would look like this "zip -9 myzipfile.zip myvideo.avi". The "myzipfile.zip" is what you want to call your archive, and the file following that field are the file(s) you with to compress or store into a zip archive. Now notice the -9, what that means is to use the best compression possible. Using a -1 through -9 determines the compression strength. 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. If you choose to not compress at all you would use the -0 parameter to simple store the file(s).

unzip: Unzip a .zip archive "unzip [archive name] [specific file (optional)]"

"unzip" is quite easy to use. If you have a zip file you wish to uncompress/unpack there are a few ways to do it. A simple "unzip myzipfile.zip" will uncompress/extract its contents to your current directory. If the file contains say more then one file and you only want to extract a few files or just one it would look like the following, "unzip myzipfile.zip textfile01.txt". So say instead of extracting the files textfile01.txt through textfile08.txt it will only extract textfile01.txt

clear: Clear Screen

"clear" as for this command there is not much to it. Simply type "clear" in the command line and press Return and it will clear the screen give you a fresh terminal.

Other tips: The ampersand "&" function

You can launch your programs from a terminal window. Say you would like to launch the VLC Media Player. If you simply type "vlc" into a terminal and press return, it will launch the program. However, that terminal can not be use because it's focus is running the "vlc" program. An if you close the terminal it will close "vlc". So what can you do ? If you add an ampersand "&" after a program it will cause the program to run in the background and you get your terminal back. So the command should look like this "vlc &". It's that simple.

Well that about wraps up "Part 1" on using the Linux CLI. I will go into more depth about other programs and parameters in the next installment. So take care everyone, I hope this had helped you.

And always embrace the power of the CLI!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Linux Mint Release "Julia" 10 RC is Here!

Welcome Mint 10! I have had "such!" a wonderful experience with 9. It has been a wonderful experience. So I am happy to say that 10 (Julia) is here.

Some of its new features are:

"The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 10 RC. Linux Mint 10 comes with updated software and brings refinements and new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use: the Welcome screen will now give you the opportunity to install the missing multimedia codecs and to upgrade to the DVD edition; the menu highlights your newly installed applications and makes them easier to find; available applications are easy to find too - the menu is aware of what's available in your repositories so you can search for software and install packages without opening the software manager; the Software Manager gives you a nicer browsing experience" -From: Distrowatch.com Link

If some of you have yet to give Mint a try I would highly recommend it. Oh and for Fluxbox lovers out there be sure to take a look at the "Special" Fluxbox edition of 9. I am not sure if a Flux edition of 10 is out currently considering 10 is still in the RC stage.