Linux #11 - Gaming in Linux

By Pete | @kingpetey | 13 Nov 2002

Gaming in Linux is still somewhat behind Gaming in the rest of the world and if your hoping to be able to play all your games for Windows in Linux then you may have a small struggle ahead of you. However one company is helping to make things easier for Linux Gaming. Transgaming produce a program called WineX that is a more advanced version of the Windows emulator Wine that has been specially written for gaming. Though the site does require you to pay $5 a month in order to use the program, this is because certain files are copyrighted.

However you can download a free version and compile it yourself, this gives you OpenGL drivers which are an alternative to DirectX that can be used to play games just the same as Direct3D would. Transgaming currently doesn't support all games but a lot of the big titles are supported including Civ3, Diablo 2, Max Payne, GTA3 and The Sims.

I full list can be found here Some newer games you may find come with Linux installers with them, for instance I brought a copy of UT2003 a few weeks ago and found that on the third CD there was a Linux installer, I did have a few problems with mounting and dismounting drives but this wasn't too hard to get around.

Once installed the game played as well as it did in Windows, which is a massive step forward for me in Linux gaming. You can also buy a seperate Gaming pack for Mandrake Linux, this comes with games like The Sims and uses Transgamings technology in order to work. Hopefully more games will come with Linux installations in the near future.

AltaVista relaunches site

By Pete | @kingpetey | 13 Nov 2002

The search engine AltaVista this week relaunched its site with a new more simple and easy to use interface that is trying to help bring back visitors it has lost in recent years. Millions of visitors have left AltaVista to use its rivals sites that include Google and Yahoo. AltaVista have seen a 62% fall in visitors from 16million to 6 million in the last few years but the company is hopeful that the site can attract many of its past visitors back to the site with its new look and enhanced features. We tried the new AltaVista against Google to try to find key parts of the ImAFish site. ImAFish gets many hits from Google mainly looking for Xbot mainly. I first searched for ImAFish on both engines, Google came up with about 5 pages worth of links to a number of ImAFish's page and sites that mention ImAFish.

When I searched AltaVista I only found 3 results for ImAFish, 2 being the homepage and another being another site with reference to ImAFish. I searched for a number of other features from ImAFish on Google and AltaVista including Xbot and Comedy, both times Google came up with more results but Altavista did come up with the correct results for ImAFish it even gave the handy tool of translating ImAFish into other languages.

Though the new AltaVista looks a lot more up to date and is even more easier to use its still not as powerful search wise then it is compared to Google. Some people do like not having as many search results as it takes them less time to search them but most do prefer to have a number of options to look through until your get the results that you want. I think AltaVista still has as way to go before it can become better then its rivals and take back the visitors it has lost over the past few years.

Xbox Outsells Gamecube

By Pete | @kingpetey | 11 Nov 2002

This month sees the Xbox taking over the GameCube in sales, Xboxes sales jumped by 42% to 10,371 in the past week according to sales analysts Chart Track. It means Microsoft's gaming system has taken a small lead over the Nintendo?s, with 233,503 XBoxes sold in the Britain compared to 230,876 GameCubes.

However Sony?s Playstation 2 still remains the market leader with almost 3million sales in the UK. The Playstation 2 is now the oldest console out of the 3 best sellers but is still continuing to sell more then its rivals. While the Xbox and GameCube only have a few best selling games such as Halo and Mario the Playstation 2 has had lots of best selling games including the best game of last year, Grand Theft Auto 3 and its follow up GTA ? Vice City that was launched last week.

The game GTA ? Vice City has already sold out in many shops for the PS2 but has caused a lot of controversy because of its gangster like content and excessive killing sprees ? a must have game basically. Vice City builds on the features of its predecessor with such items as motorbikes and helicopters. The game also features the sound tracks from over 10 well-known artists and is set to take best game of the year again. Australia has already told take 2, the producers of Vice City to remove scenes with prostitutes from the game in order to comply with their rules.


By Pete | @kingpetey | 08 Nov 2002

I'm back from holiday and its time for another update to my world known column. After spending a week in Tunisia I'm glad to be back home, I had a good time though the Tunisians do get annoying. For those of you that don't know about Tunisia it is a country on North Africa that is in a pre broadband era at the moment though they do have Internet access.

I spent a week in a 4star hotel in the city of Sousse. The food was very nice and the hotel was very good too and most of the 'locals' were nice however it was annoying having to tip them for everything you do especially when they hover around and ask for money.

I got the distinct impression they were trying to get as much money out of us as possible, though this is most peoples goal the Tunisians didn't seem to do this with any respect or hide the fact that they wanted to rip us off.

Another thing I found really annoying is all the hassle they gave you especially when walking round the town, though we are told that they do this to everyone and it was part of the culture it seemed they only ever approached westerners perhaps cause we may have had more money. Though I tried my hardest to look German in the hope they may not pester me I could not make myself look moody enough.

As for the site I want to thank everyone for filling in the questionnaires (I now have almost 30) and I want to thank Steph for writing the articles while I was away and thanks to the columnists who updated their columns while I was away.

Tablet PC

By Pete | @kingpetey | 08 Nov 2002

Microsoft has finally unveiled its Tablet PC that hopes to make massive changes in the way we use computers in the next few years. The Startrek look alike ?pad? uses a smart screen and a special pen to simulate the effect of writing onto paper. The tablet pc can also have a keyboard and can be used as a normal Windows pc.

Other companies such as Apple and IBM have tried similar ideas but have failed, Microsoft hopes to succeed where they failed with better hardware and an improved version of XP.

The tablet pc will be distributed by a number of companies including Fujitsu, Toshiba, Acer, Hewlett Packard and Research Machines. The Tablet will come in two forms at launch. One looks like an ordinary laptop but its screen swivels round and flips over to let people write on it like a traditional paper notepad. The other type has its smart screen separate from the rest of the laptop and only takes keyboard input united with a base station.

The tablet pc will allow you to wonder around your office connected to your network with new Bluetooth technology. Both versions let you write notes on the screen as shown below.

The tablet pc is ideal for places where a laptop is not convenient such as in hospitals and while on field sites. The Tablet PC also comes with 25 new emoticons designed by the people behind Wallace and Gromit.

However all of this comes at a price and the Tablet PCs are set to go on the market at around ?2000 which makes them a lot more expensive then a normal laptop or a PDA. The price should fall with time making the Tablet PC an affordable option for many people.