Fs2 open on Linux/Quickstart

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Revision as of 06:24, 9 August 2010 by IssMneur (talk | contribs) (Added note about non 32 bit rendering)
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Hi, Galemp here. If, like me, you're new to Linux and have no idea how to compile code, I have a quick startup guide here. You should at least be familiar with basic file management like moving and renaming files. I also assume that you have an administrator account. Make sure your video card drivers are working properly; other sources can assist you with this.

This guide was written using Ubuntu Linux 9.04. Note that EVERYTHING in Linux is case sensitive, so if your folder is named Games and you enter games it won't work. Also pay close attention to SPACES and DOTS. .fs2_open is not the same as fs2_open or fs2 open!

Part 1. Getting the game running. This assumes that you have access to a Windows installation of retail or GOG FS2, or otherwise have access to the original VPs. I copied mine from a mounted secondary hard drive that I boot Windows from.

  1. Copy the game data. If you're a Freespace modder, you install mods, or just like downloading new missions, it makes sense to put it in your Home folder. Create a new folder in your home directory, called Games, and a new folder in that called freespace2, and copy all .VP files in your original install folder there. If you have any mods installed, such as MediaVPs or FSPort, move those folders as well.
  2. Initial configuration. We're going to create a file that sets essential options for starting up Freespace. Browse to your home folder and press CTRL-H to unhide system files. Create a new folder called .fs2_open and inside that, create a plaintext file called fs2_open.ini. On the first line, put [Default] and on the second line put VideocardFs2open=OGL -(1024x768)x32 bit. You can change the first two parameters to your native screen resolution. Save and close it. Do not change from 32 bit unless told otherwise by a Support Ninja.
  3. Download the Linux binaries. This is the actual game executable. The latest stable version as of this writing (8 August 2010) is 3.6.12. If you'd like a newer build, or a specific one (such as a Wanderer, XT branch, or Inferno build) please see the Nightly Builds forum and pick the most recent Linux build. Unpack the executables to the same folder where you put the Freespace VPs.
  4. Run a test. Now let's see if Freespace will run. In your game directory, run the binary you've just downloaded. If you've done everything correctly, you should have Freespace 2 up and running on Linux! Congratulations! From here you should be able to experience the game just as it was when it was released, and play online using FS2Net.

Part 2. Getting mods to work. If you want to run mods, things get trickier. First, there are currently some issues with current builds not supporting mods; second, you'll want to install a launcher to switch between them. The Linux launcher, YAL, is non-portable, so we'll have to configure SVN (a tool for updating code databases) to download the latest code, configure it to work on your system, compile the code into a working executable, then move that to your Freespace directory. This is the most frustrating part of the whole process, but bear with me and we'll get through it. The Source Code Project team is working on an installer/launcher overhaul, so go bug them in the meantime.

  1. Install the fixed binary. For now, download and unpack [this build] into your Freespace directory. Or, try a build of your choosing.
  2. Install dependencies. Compiling the launcher requires a few external libraries to get going. We're going to install them as a super user (sudo) by using the get application command (apt-get.) Open Terminal under Applications > Accessories and enter this command: sudo apt-get install build-essential automake1.9 autoconf libreadline5-dev subversion You will need to enter your password when prompted.
  3. Download the launcher code. From Terminal, enter cd $HOME to navigate to your home folder, and enter mkdir yal to create a new folder named yal. This is where we'll put the code. Enter cd yal to navigate to that directory, then enter svn checkout svn://vega.livecd.pl/yal/trunk to download the latest launcher code.
  4. Compile the launcher code. Enter ./autogen.sh then make and in a moment it should compile a new binary. Move this to your Freespace directory by entering mv fs2_launcher $HOME/Games/freespace2.
  5. Test the launcher. Now you can try running the FS2 Launcher app in your Freespace 2 directory, choosing the fixed binary above and the mod of your choice. In all respects this should work like the Windows launcher, except that only a few tabs will be working.

Well, that worked for me. The_E and I are working on a script to automate some of this, so stay tuned.