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BZFlag and TORCS

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 15 Feb 2005


In the recent past, we've covered some of the fun games that there are to play on Linux. One of the fun ones that I discussed in my review was BZFlag. Since that review, I was delighted to find an upgrade with much more visual coolness. The newest version is available for download here. Once you've downloaded it, you can learn how to install the RPM file from this guide.

The menus are about the same, though I did not compare every menu option side-by-side with the old version. However, the screenshots below should illustrate what I did see:

Me blowing up blawncat:

More of the nice detail offered by BZFlag:

An entire map from a high perch:

The thing I love about this game is that there is no artificial intelligence. You play against real people. This keeps everything interesting and challenging. Even in Unreal Tournament, with 16 bots set to 'godlike', eventually it gets monotonous and predictable. This is not the case with BZFlag. It's fun, has cool maps, and there's always someone ready and able to blow your tank to bits.

If you want to come use me as target practice, I can sometimes be found on as 'morris.'


Another great form of entertainment is a racing game called TORCS. This one should be available right from YAST; no download necessary. This is another well-done game at a very affordable price: free. When you run it, you get a small menu:

The first thing you should do is create yourself a player. So click on CONFIGURE PLAYERS. A new screen appears. In the PLAYERS box, select the first slot. Give your player a name, select a category and vehicle, transmission, and level of driving experience. If you'd like the vehicle to automatically back up when necessary, set AUTO REVERSE to 'yes.' Here's what my player looks like:

When you are satisfied with your settings, click ACCEPT. This takes you back to the main menu. Click RACE. This takes you to another menu:

Click QUICK RACE. Ironically enough, this takes you to the QUICK RACE menu:

Click CONFIGURE to set up the race:

I like this track, so that's what I'll pick. Click ACCEPT to go to the next screen. The players listed in the SELECTED box are the ones that will be in the race. Make sure your player is in this box. The ones I have listed seem to be the harder ones to race against:

When you have your drivers all set up, click ACCEPT to go to the next screen:

You can either select a distance or a number of laps. Here, we'll just set it to 8 laps. Click ACCEPT to return back to the QUICK RACE menu. Now, select NEW RACE. The racetrack loads, and the race begins:

I like how the sun and shadows adapt to the contours of the cars and raceway throughout the race. With all of the different drivers and tracks, there are quite a lot of options with this game. It's sure to keep you busy for quite a while.


There are many great games for Linux, a handful of which have been featured in the Cool Solutions Web site. Look at the first results of this search of the site. You'll find several great game reviews. Is Linux a gaming platform? You bet.

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