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Gaming with Ubuntu

Could someone please help me with the following query.

So... Whats the actual state of play (or not) concerning playing games and more specifically the driver support.

I have Goggled around and some people are complaining about drivers not working from both companies. things like " Yea that will work with an Nvidia card but my ATI Pc cant even get the game started.

Some of you may know that im looking into this for my daughter, to stop her killing windows all the time.
There is a requirement to play games such as The Sims and Need for Speed and possibly Track Mania Nations.

Also some technical help or a link to a good how to guide would be useful. I know of the existence of Wine, and believe there are other applications/ways to go about it ?

So if anyone with any experience with these specific games or just some guidance on what to do or where to look could assist i would be grateful


Mactronix :)
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  1. Best answer
    The state of linux gaming for new games and video cards can be hit or miss right now. Older games/video cards would have better compatibility/stability though.

    You can probably check out the Wine Application Database to get some sense of game compatibility:

    As for drivers, Ubuntu supported drivers from the Additional Drivers/Hardware Drivers app I think is usually a couple of versions behind the latest Nvdia drivers. I don't have experience with ATI drivers yet but I would guess that this would be the case too.

    You can install these drivers by going to System->Administration->Additional Drivers (or "Hardware Drivers" I think in older Ubuntu versions)
    more info:

    You can also download and install the drivers directly from Nvidia/ATI although Ubuntu compatibility/stability is not always 100% guaranteed and you are more likely to run into problems (eg when a kernel update comes up)

    (If you post your video card specs, someone might be able to point you to a more specific direction)

    As for running the games, besides Wine, you could probably also lookat Cedega and PlayOnLinux

  2. Thanks for the links i will give it a go and see what works best.

    The idea is that i install what she wants on it now and learn a few of the ropes and then i can show her.
    I have discussed it with others and i think i may well end up dual booting it with XP like i now have my W7 machine dual booting.
    That way if there are any major issues she can just game on Windows and do everything else, facebook office stuff etc on Ubuntu.


    Mactronix :)
  3. - ATI drivers are absolute garbage
    - The older the game, the higher chance of compatibility
    - The more popular the game, the higher chance of compatibility
    - Not everything will work. Those that do work may or may not work properly

    If you're curious about the state of said game, do a search here:

    There are compatibility ratings from other users on each of the program/game pages.
  4. I think you are right to stick with Windows for the gaming side of things. Not many publishers produce Linux versions of games and although there are methods to run some Windows programs on Linux it's not going to be as satisfactory as using the original OS.

    The games scene is currently Linux's weak spot (or some might consider it a strength!).
  5. +1 for ATI drivers in linux being buggy and plain terrible. Nividia may be closed source drivers, which make many linux people unhappy; me I'm pleased that they're even taking an interest in the OS.

    If her computer is appropriately powerful then you may even choose to run windows xp in a virtual machine using virtualbox. That way you can have snapshots and harddisk images stored that you can delete one she 'buggered up' and you just start from a clean install in seconds. I'm playing around with virtualization more and more instead of dual booting.

    There are other alternatives to wine:

    Towards the bottom of the page there is some info, as well as

    Codeweavers forked the wine trunk several years ago and has worked alongside and in compliment to wine. They are a commercial solution however, and may or may not have compatibility with the games you listed.
  6. If your daughter is not a hardcore gamer, you can maybe try installing linux specific games

    If the Ubuntu Software Center, there should be a category for games. You can search for them and skim through the titles to see if any of them are of interest

    They're probably not as good as mainstream games like The Sims or Need For Speed. But I did see some decent looking games on there. I've also read some good reviews on some of them.

    This way you won't have to mess with wine and compatibility issues
  7. Best answer selected by mactronix.
  8. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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