Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gaming on the move... Eee Styleee



Well, yes, you CAN play games under Linux but let's face it.. 99% of the best games are Windows (or even DOS) games. So, to use your Eee for games you really should install Windows and it needs to be XP as XP has the driver support. So, off to Eeeuser.com's wiki here for a guide to how to install XP on an Eee. I also recommend a large fast SD card as the Eee's 4gb flash drive isn't really big enough for games and you don't want to wear it out as well.

There is a list of games that have been tested at eeeuser.com so I knew Call of Duty would work but my favourite game had not been tested and when it was tested, it was reported as not working due to DirectX errors. The game, Red Faction, is a favourite as it is set on Mars (an interest of mine) and has a good plotline and was a first game where you could affect the landscape around you. No route to where you want to go? Blast one with explosives. No games supported that sort of thing when Red Faction was launched.

Red Faction also launched on PS2 and on Mac and spawned a sequel which I think was dull and uninteresting - no plot and no innovations. Red Faction 2 is on PC, Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube.

Anyway, onto gaming on the Eee. Call of Duty installs fine but requires editting the config.cfg file to use a custom resolution (800*480). It works well but better if you turn down the lighting effects and clock the Eee at 900mhz using Eeectrl.
Red Faction installs fine but barfs at 640*480 resolution with DirectX errors. It runs at 800*600 but isn't very playable as the screen scrolls whenever you need to access the other part that the Eee cannot display. Not good. I had a quick trip to my favourite Red Faction site, Levels4You and, after searching, posted a request for help with custom resolutions. I was pointed to a Res Hack tool which allowed you to select 320*240 and some other exotic screen resolutions but not 800*480. But viewing the executable file in Notepad showed me that it changes the registry to effect these new resolutions so all that was needed was to enter the resolution I wanted.

Note: when using this hack you should launch the game from the Red Faction launcher, not from RF. exe and also do NOT change or select a different resolution. The screen resolution will be shown as blank but leave it alone. The game runs fine in 800*480 at 900mhz but I get occasional pauses when the action gets going. I suspect it is down to my SD card's speed but basically, playable Red Faction heaven. I'm happy, Red Faction with a MS wireless laptop mouse and Call of Duty too

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