Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Chained No More, or, How I got WoW running perfectly in linux

The single largest reason I had a Windows (XP) installation on my main home PC was to play games. Everything else I needed or wanted to do I could do just as well or better in linux. I did not try making the final switch with Wine, Cedega, and related solutions for gaming until recently, however. Windows is annoying, slow, prone to crashes, and generally unproductive. So why be stuck with it for fun?

After deleting my Gordian knot of a Windows installation in a moment of rage and adding only Feisty Fawn back, I was forced to face just that question. Getting Wine installed is very simple.
sudo apt-get install wine
works just fine, in fact. All you have to do after that is run winecfg once, make sure OSS is set under Audio, tweak your resolution under Graphics, and that's about it. I recommend that you check the emulate a virtual desktop option, and uncheck the allow window manager to control windows option. Before I made the first change, I could not even see the Wine window when it launched.

Something else to note: After installation, there will be a .wine hidden folder in your home directory. In this, there is a folder called "drive_c". This is where Wine installs programs (in "Program Files", intuitively enough).

To install WoW, pop in the first CD, navigate to your CD drive, and run wine Installer.exe. This will load the familiar installer, and run as normal. When it prompts for CD 2, just switch the disks and press OK and likewise until done. After install is complete, start up the game. To do that, you must navigate to where WoW.exe lives, and run it with wine. You should also pass the "--opengl" option, as using DirectX is generally problematic, and not necessary. I made myself a handy alias:

alias wow='~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/WoW.exe -opengl'


Faster than a double click! You might be prompted to allow ActiveX controls when the Updater loads, which you should allow. (Wine installs it all for you, you just accept the option).

Now, depending on a whole legion of options, such as your graphics card, driver, the alignment of the celestial spheres, etc, you may encounter more and less graphical, sound, and performance issues when you first play. In my case, sound with OSS was fine, the app ran fine, and graphics were ok. Once I got playing, however, the graphics got slower, and were quite jerky in high traffic areas. There are several tutorials on what to tweak, but I found this one quite helpful. Once I performed the tweak with regedit, I was getting 80-90 FPS no problem (on a GeForce 6600 GT card no less), and 45-55 FPS with all the options on the highest setting. This is better than what I got in Windows!

Aside from running better, the other thing I love about running WoW in linux is that I can switch apps much faster. For example, if I have a browser open in my second monitor, all I have to do is... move my cursor over onto it. WoW does not mind, in fact does not even blink. I can immediately interact with the rest of my desktop. In Windows, I could not move my cursor out of WoW at all. I had to minimize it, then do whatever it is I wanted to do. No more chains!

[EDIT]: By popular demand, a few screenshots are in order!

WoW running on my Ubuntu Desktop, dual LCD setup, with fluxbox:


WoW in game shot from same system:

These were taken with my favorite screengrabber, ksnapshot. The last image is of my main, Temeluchus.

2 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Blunck said...

Can you post some screenshots?

July 31, 2007 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger by Immortal Curiosity said...

There ya go, Chris:-)

July 31, 2007 at 9:58 PM  

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