Monday, October 22, 2012

Featured Game: Nexuiz

This game rocks. 'Nuf said.
Year: 2005
Genre: First-person Shooter
Recommend: YES











If there is any doubt in your mind that open source games are fun, get rid of it. Nexuiz is an absolutely fantastic shooter with spectacular graphics, fast-paced gameplay, and low system requirements (by today's standard's, anyway). Don't get me wrong, though; Nexuiz can really stress even the mighty Radeon HD 7340 in top-of-the-line Brazos 2.0 netbooks. No matter what kind of netbook you have, Nexuiz is definitely worth your time.

What you'll need
Any netbook with 1 GB of RAM (512 MB for ION 2) can run Nexuiz. Make sure to balance the settings to match your graphics card's strengths and weaknesses. For example, the GMA 950 and 3150 don't have hardware transformation and lighting, so it would be smart to drop lighting and geometry to their minimums. Nexuiz really brings out the benefits of the Cedar Trail platform; I get playable framerates with geometry and texture detail maxed out at native resolution, despite Intel's horrid drivers.

Reviews and Awards
Nexuiz has been featured in numerous major tech magazines. In September 2006, PC Gamer included it in an article about the impact of free games. PC User put the game on its May 2008 and August 2009 cover disks. Maximum PC included the game in its March 2007 issue. Phoronix deemed the game "the best open source FPS we have played, with refined gameplay and graphics that take advantage of modern hardware." GameStop once held a PC gaming competition using Nexuiz.

Tips

IllFonic developed a game, also named Nexuiz,  released this year based on the original. Because the name is now licensed to IllFonic, the original Nexuiz developers created a fork named Xonotic. The game I'm featuring is referred to as Nexuiz Classic by IllFonic. Remember that now!
Sure, the graphics probably won't look like this on a netbook, but they're still gorgeous.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Featured Game: RollerCoaster Tycoon

For those who love money
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1d/Rct-box.jpgYear: 1999
Genre: Construction & Management Simulation
Recommend: YES


















I'm the kind of person who likes more than solely action-oriented games, e.g. first-person shooters. If you're anything like me, RollerCoaster Tycoon ought to be on your list of favorites. It's one of the most addictive constructive and management simulations ever, and, come on, who doesn't like making money, even it is virtual?

What you'll need
RCT is a 2D game from 1999. You can play it. Really, you can.
Reviews and Awards
RCT was a huge success because of its uber-realistic model of an amusement park, as well as its originality. GameSpot and IGN gave the game 8.6 and 8.5/10, respectively. Some negatives: There's no sandbox mode, the isometric viewpoint can sometimes be irritating, and you can't fast forward time. The theme park industry and roller coaster enthusiasts applauded the game for its realism.
Tips
I strongly encourage you to get your hands on the Corkscrew Folllies and Loopy Landscapes expansions packs. More rides, more lanscaping options, more music, more scenarios (much more challenging than the stock scenarios), more everything! How can you go wrong?
I have no idea why I can't take screenshots, so here's Wikipedia's.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Featured Game: AssaultCube

Free, optimized, awesome
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/fd/Logo_on-white.svg/2000px-Logo_on-white.svg.png
Year: 2006
Genre: First-person Shooter
Recommend: YES
Requested by NSDCars5





 
When I first heard about AssaultCube, I was impressed. A free shooter capable of multiplayer functionality on a 56k dialup connection? Meow. My positive opinion didn't change as I played on. On my desktop. See, Intel's ever-worthless GMA 3600 driver support crashes AC right before 3D rendering begins. That's annoying. Still, if you have a non-Cedar Trail netbook, this one's worth looking at.
 
What you'll need
AssaultCube, like the engine it's based off of, is cross-platform. Unlike Cube, AC is more advanced, but you can still run it on any netbook, provided that you have working drivers. I've seen a GMA 3150 netbook crank out 60 fps on medium settings on YouTube. Impressive!
 
Reviews and Awards

An editor at reloaded.org gave AC a 3.7/5 (users rated it 3.1) for its graphics, shooting action, and "lots of options." On the other hand, it is criticized for its lack of music and map diversity, among other things. Softpedia gave it 2 stars/5, much to the dismay of certain commenters. Users of SourceForge recommended the game 80% of the time.

Tips

If you're as frustrated with the current GMA 36x0 driver situation as I am, go here. This petition is intended for tablets, but Cedar Trail netbooks and Intel tablets use the same graphics core. If any positive change comes about from the petition, it will likely affect netbooks, too.

I can't get a screenshot, so Wikipedia comes to the rescue.
 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Featured Game: Cube

Doesn't feel like a true game
Year: 2001
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Recommend: YES
Honestly, Cube feels more like a tech demo than anything else. You won't find a polished interface like pretty much all commercial games out there. What Cube is really for is allowing game developers to experiment with level design on the fly and create their own shooters. But hey, if you want to shoot some trolls, more power to you.

 What you'll need
Any netbook will do. Since Cube's open source, you don't even have to be running Windows. Linux, Wii, even PocketPC users can play the game.
Reviews and Awards
LinuxDevCenter had a postive opinion of the Cube game/engine, saying, "It may be yet another first-person shooter engine, but Cube is one that the game mod community can use, without limitations, as the basis for their own creations." The Linux Game Tome awarded Cube with the first Happypenguin award for Best Free 3D Action Game. MacUpdate users rate the game 3.5/5 stars.
Tips
Gotta have native resolution? Dig into the Cube directory and pull up cube.bat in Notepad. It should say:
bin\cube.exe -w1024 -h600 %*
Use whichever resolution you like best.
The Odyssey, the biggest, most demanding, and most advanced map in Cube.