Arman's stuff
Wine, Ubuntu, and Star Craft

(Tue Nov 16 17:31:26 2010)

Extra computers = win; slow StarCraft = fail

Ok, so I'm still working on the extra computer I've built for the LAN party. I've squashed a few bugs, namely those having to do with the video card - but some bugs still exist, and annoying me to absolutely no end.

First and foremost is wine. Now, I like the fact that I can run Windows games in Linux; it's great, actually. On my main computer, StarCraft runs perfectly; no weird colors, not even any resolution issues. However, on my extra machines, StarCraft runs very, very slowly. I've tried all sorts of things, including and not limited to every thing mentioned on the StarCraft WineHQ page. What I want to know is, with requirements like this:
-Pentium 90 or better
-16 MB RAM
-80 MB free hard disk space
-2X CD-ROM drive (4X for cinematics)
-SVGA card (capable of 640x480 with 256 colors)
-a mouse
-a sound card

Why is it running so slowly on a machine with this:
-Pentium III 1.2Ghz
-512 MB RAM
-20 GB free hard drive
-52x CD-ROM drive (plus it runs from an ISO, so no CD access anyway)
-GeForce FX 5200
-a mouse
-a sound card

Now, the processor is approximately 13 times faster than the requirement. The video card is a 3D accelerated video card with 128 MB of RAM, as opposed to a basic SVGA card. I've got speed and capability out the wazzoo - and it runs very, very slow. Why? I don't buy the arguments I've seen; these bits could be blitted to full-motion video faster than that. Sigh... next, of course, is to determine exactly what I can do about it. I've gotten it to run just fine on my main desktop, and many many people around the world can also run it just fine. There has got to be a way. Growl...

Meanwhile, I've still got a few tricks to play. While it's not using 100% of its given processor, I might try the "nice -20" trick to give it a kick... after that, I'll try starting the X server in 8 bit color, though I doubt that's it. I'll also try a re-install, just to see if there is some entry I accidentally deleted or something. I don't want to throw in the towel, but I'm coming pretty close to it.

Other options:
-"still portraits (enable)" and "color cycling (disable)" in SC itself
-use PlayOnWine to install 0.9.14

I'm willing to go as far as installing multiple versions of a program (wine), and re-installing the entire OS if necessary, but I don't want to patch and recompile anything - for two reasons. First, it's not a real fix, and the next update will completely destroy it; second, because I've had terrible luck getting that kind of thing to work at all on two different machines. I want this to be an extra gaming machine - write once, give a tiny bit of write-access to certain directories, then lock the whole thing down.

Once I have these machines running the way I like, I'll make the files "untouchable" - read-only links to any required files, and the rest I'll re-copy on a reset. User directories will be scrubbed every time I reboot (or at least every time I run a script).

The second thing I'd like to try is multi-seat computers; one beefy computer with 2-4 mouse/keyboard/monitor sets is a lot more cost efficient than four complete computers - and a lot easier to haul around, too. Now I just need to find a bunch of cheap monitors!

Well, after staying up way too late, I found that PlayOnLinux did indeed fix it; well, it starts, anyway, and doesn't run horribly slow. Sound works, it goes fullscreen, and the colors are fine, so I'm happy. I should probably test multiplayer, but as it is, I'm happy with it.

Now on to testing multi-seat... hmm.

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This blag is tagged: Computer, Games, Kubuntu, Starcraft, Ubuntu, Wine, All