Jul 012011
 

Duke Nukem Forever

Well, I spent real money and actually bought a game recently.  And it was Duke Nukem Forever.  I played the original Dukes and Duke 3D when I was younger.  It was a lot of fun, and took the FPS genre a little farther, with destroy-able worlds, humour, and fun weapons.

I haven’t played many FPSes since then, played through Doom 3 single player, and a bit of the Unreal Tournament Series with a focus on multiplayer and some more realistic shooters.  I was hoping that Duke Nukem Forever (DNF) would bring back good old days of funny gameplay in a very interactive world with crazy weapons and exploration based gameplay.  Boy, was I disappointed.

DNF was not much fun to play.  The level design was very linear, with a focus on pre-programmed areas of massive combat.  Duke was only allowed to carry two weapons (only two weapons!  This is freaken Duke Nukem!) and there wasn’t much exploration at all.  Also, the boss battles were very, very, very repetitive.  The game was also very short.  I gave multiplayer a try, but it doesn’t seem all that good yet either.

All that said, when it wasn’t offensive, it was kind of funny, and the graphics, music and sounds were pretty good.  If I were you, and you were interested, pick it up on the cheap, and hope the modding community can pump out some good levels.

Flatout

To contrast that experience, I found Flatout from Good Old Games for the low, low price of $3.  All games from GOG are DRM free, and available online for download right after you purchase them.

The $3 for Flatout was the best $3 I’ve ever spent.  Flatout is an excellent racing game with several modes and bonus modes such as darts and bowling.  Where you eject your driver through the windshield to try and score points.

I even dusted off the old game pad and hooked it up to play.

If you like racing games, I would highly recommend this title.

Oct 312010
 

Hello Folks,
Long time and no posting. I’ve been quite busy. So here are some updates:

Updates

MCPM

I’m currently completing a Masters Certificate in Project Management. It is a four month course that prepares you to be a professional project manager. It has been an interesting experience. The skills I’ve learned so far have already been put to good use both at work, and with my business on the side.

Project Work

My company has been awarded a contract to develop a Document Management System, as well as install servers and software to support this system. Work will be starting next week, and I will have very little free time to work on anything else during this. 🙁 But, it will be a great experience and our first big project!

Server Hosting

In the last month or so, the company I had a VPS with http://www.webserve.ca (BBB Rating: C – 121 Complaints) was constantly attacked and hacked by outsiders. No matter what lengths I go to, somehow, someone was on the server sending mail and doing bad things. It seems that the company does very little intrusion detection, and the way in which the server was compromised, I suspect that the virtual hosts were actually the source. After 12 hour downtime with no answer from their 24/7 support, I decided to return to my former web host (http://www.canadianwebhosting.com BBB Rating: A+ – 0 complaints). Although more expensive, their support has been fantastic, and quality/value of service is good.

Software Plans

That last piece is a great segue into my software plan section. During my migration, I had to move my database (obviously). That experience has pushed me to develop a script that dumps commands to recreate all of your users and all of your grants in the event that you have to migrate your mysql database. By running this script, you will get all of the code you need to recreate all of your users and grants. Coupled with a mysql dump, you should be able to quickly copy an entire database! Hopefully I will find some time in the next few months to write the code.

I’m also planning to write a simple script that will aggregate our logwatch reports from our 15 servers into a single daily report. Instead of the default function, which is to email, the logwatch report will be scp’ed to a central server, and then a script will go over all of the reports, and put something together for all of the servers. I’ll make this available once it is written.

Gaming

I’ve been playing a bit of Civilization 5 lately. It is an ok game, but I find it is still very rough around the edges. Lots of bugs, incomplete features, and terrible AI. Although I really do enjoy the new combat engine.

I’ve also been playing a bit of Urban Terror. A free realistic FPS available for Linux.

Software

I’ve also run across a few nice software packages that I’d like to recommend:
Adminer: A great PHP script that you can upload to your site, and gain phpmyadmin type access to your databases. Supports a number of database types. Allows you to execute queries, create databases, backup databases and just browse your tables. It is a single file, so there is no installation, and I intend to use it for some light DB admin work.

Firewall Builder: I was looking for a program to help me manage iptables on linux. I’ve run firestarter in the past, but that is a gui app, and I wanted to configure the firewall for a server with no gui. I ran across Firewall Builder and gave it a try. It is dually licensed as commercial for Windows and Mac users and free for Linux users. Being a Linux user, I jumped at it to give it a try.

The interface is a bit daunting for the first time user, I strongly recommend you watch the intro video (and hopefully you already know what a firewall does. ;)) This program lets you use drag and drop to configure rules for your firewall. It creates the rules in a custom format, and then compiles them into a number of different formats for various firewall programs and devices. It even goes a step further and lets you remotely install the firewall on the remote servers. A very nice touch.

I’ve only tried iptables configuration so far, but it ran very well. I intend to use it for all of our servers, and put the configuration files under revision management. So I can manage all versions of our firewall configs from a single box.

That’s all for now.

Apr 052010
 

In one of my many Linux Game RSS feeds, I ran across an announcement for L++. This is a multiplayer version of the old Lemmings game. Lemmings is a puzzle game where you have to guide your no-brain lemmings from the entrance, to the exit.

L++ has all of the original single player content, plus a lot of extra player created content. It has a built in level editor (which I found wasn’t super easy to use) and 8 player network multiplayer.

It is quite surprising how fun multiplayer lemmings could be. If you are a lemmings fan, and have a friend or two, I’d highly recommend giving this a try.

Update: I just went to the site, and they currently have taken the download off as they remove some of the copyrighted content that was in the game. You can read more here: http://lplusplus.co.cc/topic.php?topic=16. Oddly enough, I only downloaded the windows version as that was the machine I was on when I decided to try this. I guess I’ll have to wait with you to give it a try.

Jan 182009
 

I’ve recently come across a game that I’m becoming quite a fan of.  CS2D is an overhead shooter that is modeled after the popular Counter Strike mod of Half Life.  Back in the day, I used to play the 3D mod of Half Life, but I have not played it recently.

I’m a big fan of this game because of its simple and fun game play.  If you have some non-hardcore gamers, they will probably get a kick out of the quick and addictive gameplay. It is also seamlessly cross platform with all of my Windows and Mac friends playing along too.  And it also has a simple to use map editor that allows the creative juices to flow.  This will be a brief tutorial on how to use triggers to create doors that open, and breakable glass.

Using the in game editor to make a map is a piece of cake.  Some of the more advanced stuff can be a bit tricky though.  I’m working on a map where the Counter Terriorists must escort a VIP from a brick residence to a boat anchored just off shore.  However, a group of Terrorists have found the location first, and are able to begin some fortifications of the ship with the goal of preventing the VIPs escape.  I wanted to make the building a little more realistic by adding a window, and a door or two.

  1. Create the map
  2. Place your floor terrain where you want the door to be
  3. Go to the Entity menu, (the bulb with the points coming out of it) and select ‘Func_DynWall’
  4. Place it, and edit the entry by right clicking or double clicking.
  5. Change the Tile/Frame # to the number of the tile that you want to appear when the door is closed.
  6. Give the DynWall a unique name
  7. Elsewhere on your map, you want to create the button to open the door. From the entity menu, place a ‘Trigger_Use’ entity and edit it.
  8. Select the button type, and where you want it to appear, and who should be allowed to use it.
  9. Then, for the Trigger box, type in the name of your door (if you have multiple doors opened by a single trigger, separate them with commas)

Once you test this map out, you should now have open-able and close-able doors.

To create breakable glass, do the following:

  1. Place some terrain that looks like a window
  2. Add an entity that is ‘Env_Breakable’
  3. Edit this entity, and give the wall/glass some health, and determine which material you want to make it of.

You can test the map, and you should now be able to break the glass and walk through it once it is broken.

I may post some other map tricks in the future.

NOTE: Bots don’t handle glass/doors well.  If the is no clear path between their start and their objective, they will not realize that doors/glass is a viable alternative and will NOT actually move.  Keep this in mind if designing offline maps.

Attachment: Bridge Test map for Fiid who commented below.

Oct 212008
 

We recently played the round robin portion of the Wiitastic Cup of Hockey. This is a hockey tournament played using NHL 2K9 for the Wii.

It was a fun afternoon for all. There were some fantastic performances by some players through out the tournament. Stefan racked up the most goals, while I gave up the fewest. However, the best performance by far was by Miikka “Jesus” Kiprusoff. Jon had a gem in goal, stopping awesome shot after shot. However, he could not carry the team alone, and the Flames were sunk by their lack of scoring.

There were some inconsistencies regarding the rules for some of the games, but fortunately that didn’t generate any problems. Here are the results following the round robin:

Player Wins Losses Goals For Goals Against
Thomas (Pens) 3 0 10 6
Robert (Sens) 2 1 10 7
Stefan (Habs) 1 2 11 15
Jon (Flames) 0 3 4 7

The playoffs will be played using a Page Playoff system. Here is the layout:

Wiitastic Hockey Page Playoff

Oct 032008
 

ASCII Sector is a space trading game written completely using ASCII graphics. It is available from www.asciisector.net. There are Windows and Linux versions. This is a post I made on the forum over there explaining how I got this to run in a 64bit environment.

Hello All, I thought I would tell you a story of how I got this running on my 64bit Ubuntu (since I didn’t at a glance see anything tho help me out with this).

First, I’m running a 64bit install of Mythbuntu that I converted to a regular Ubuntu desktop a few months after the install.

I downloaded and installed ASCII Sector as described in the instructions. When I ran the file, I would get the error:
bash: ./asciisec: No such file or directory

Of course, this made no sense since I was at the location of the file. I made sure I had libsdl and libsdl mixer installed, but that didn’t help. So I went browsing around, and found a post that said that this error was common when running 32bit apps on a 64bit install, and than installing the 32bit libraries would help. So I ran this command:
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

This installed the libraries for me, and when I ran it, I no longer got that error (Yah!) I got this one instead (boo):
./asciisec: error while loading shared libraries: libsmpeg-0.4.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

So, I used Synaptic to ensure that I had libsmpeg installed and I did. So, I did an strace on the process to see where it was looking for the file. Then I ran the find command to see where it was:
sudo find / -name "libsmpeg*"
And it wasn’t looking where it was located. So I tried to create a symlink to a path it was looking in, but that didn’t work either. I got this error:
./asciisec: error while loading shared libraries: libsmpeg-0.4.so.0: wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS64

So I was back to the drawing board.

I did more searching, and came across a ubuntu 64bit gaming post referring to the getlibs application that installs 32bit compatible libs on 64 bit system. Here is that post: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=662770&page=6 I downloaded getlibs from here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=474790 installed it, and then ran this command:
getlibs -l libsmpeg-0.4.so.0
The program works similar to apt-get and downloaded the library and installed it. Then I ran asciisec and I was in the game. (real Yah!) I didn’t actually get to play it yet, but I imagine it will work fine now that it is all loaded up.

I’ve played a little bit, and it is a pretty fun game. I hope to make some quests for it in the future.