Linux Gaming With Sabayon Gaming Edition DVD

One of the most common complaints I hear about Linux is that it’s just no good for gaming. Some complain about hardware support, others the lack of titles, others that it’s just too complicated. It’s true that Linux probably isn’t the first platform that comes to mind when I think about PC gaming, but some parts of that reputation are inaccurate or outdated. Sabayon Gaming DVD takes on that myth to see just what a Linux gaming system can do. It’s got a fast Gentoo base, built-in codecs and 3D driver support, Compiz, and many of the best games available for Linux. On top of the usual Gnome games, you get such titles as Neverball, Battle for Wesnoth, OpenArena, Tremulous, Warsow, Nexuiz, and Warzone 2100, all playable from the live DVD.

Getting Sabayon 5.1 Gaming DVD

You can get the ISO images from the Sabayon torrent tracker. With all the games, the Gaming DVD is much larger than the standard install DVD. Unfortunately, there’s no 64 bit version available.

On boot, you’ll be provided with several options. You can boot normally (with musical accompaniment) , without music, Media Center mode (XBMC), UMPC, or one of the installers. The remainder of this guide will assume you booted normally, with or without music.

The Games

Once booted you’ll be brought to a fairly normal Gnome desktop with a slick black theme.

There’s a good chance you’ll want to get right into the gaming. You’ll find them all in Gnome’s usual location, Applications -> Games. For those who are still waiting for their download to finish, here’s the complete list of games (not including the standard Gnome package).

  • Battle of Wesnoth
  • Foobillard
  • Freeciv
  • Frozen Bubble
  • GNOME Games
  • NeverBall
  • Nexuiz
  • OpenArena
  • Pingus
  • Pychess
  • Scorched 3D
  • Spring
  • Stepmania
  • Torcs
  • Tremulous
  • Warsow
  • Warzone 2100
  • Wormux
  • World of Goo (demo)

So far Sabayon has performed well on every game I’ve tried, even the heavier 3D games from a notoriously difficult Intel onboard video card. It would be nice if the Games menu, being so large, was split into submenus such as 2D and 3D or Standard and Sabayon or some such scheme, but I suppose it’s flat for standard Linux menu compatibility.

Package Management

As it’s based on Gentoo, Sabayon of course supports the portage package system, but they’ve also created a homegrown system called Entropy to handle binary packages, so you don’t always have to compile from source. It’s got dependency handling, awareness of multiple repositories, and it’s pretty apt-like in usage. Some of the common commands are:

equo update                  #Update package list
equo install (package name)  #Install a package
equo remove                  #Remove a package
equo search                  #Find a package

Conclusion

While the Linux gaming scene still has a long way to go before catching up to Windows or even Mac, there’s clearly some high quality stuff out there waiting to be played. With games like Battle of Wesnoth for strategy fans, Frozen Bubble and Neverball for arcade types, and certainly no shortage of first person shooters, the Sabayon Gaming DVD looks to be a great way to see what’s out there or just show your friends some of what Linux can do.