Soldier of Fortune for Linux
Manufacturer: Raven Software
Price: $29.99 US
Reviewer: J. Neil Doane
Looking at the Soldier of Fortune box, I was initially struck by the number of warning labels visible, each proclaiming such things as “Violent Subject Matter” and “Animated Blood and Gore”. And who can forget “Low-Violence Installation Option Included”. Inside, the CD-case itself was also littered with these warnings; clearly, this game has some self-esteem issues. Without reading the manual, I loaded up the software, started the game and was met with the main menu screen. Yet even more warnings here (I was up to about nine at this point), including a scrolling text window at the bottom of the main menu whose message informed me of the game's “MA” rating and even how to access the parental controls in an appropriate menu. The net effect of all these warnings was perhaps the opposite of their intention; I felt a distinct urge to see what the heck these people were going on about.
I started up the first level. After a short introductory movie, I was in the thick of it, heading down a hallway to stop some terrorist bad guys and free their hostages. About three steps into the hall, the first bad guy swung out, leveling his pistol at me. I aimed the shotgun for a leg shot, hoping to be a nice guy. Boom! The shot cleanly REMOVED his leg and blew the detached portion a few feet behind him, leaving not only a bloody stump with an exposed femur and jetting arterial spray, but also producing a terrifically realistic scream of pain and agony from my would-be assassin as he slid to the floor clutching his bloody stump and literally moaning for a few moments before his virtual life ended. I leaned back away from the keyboard slightly with an audible, “whoa”. After a short pause, a slow grin crept across my lips. “This is going to be interesting.” Indeed it was.
The story for Soldier of Fortune is a sort of evil twist on the Rainbow Six story line. You're John Mullins, a mercenary of the highest caliber (no pun intended), who works on the darker side of the counter-terrorism world. You're on the team the good guys call when they want their dirty deeds done dirt cheap. The bad guys, a fanatical terrorist organization hell-bent on mass destruction, have seized some nukes. Soldier of Fortune takes you on a series of missions against this organization and its leader to recover or destroy the nukes before they can be used against the world. Each mission is worth a specified amount of money, payable upon successful completion and leads to the next mission in some way, perhaps giving clues about where the next mission should be, etc.
Unfortunately, as much as this description would seem to indicate that there is a fluid plot with specific goals, pieces to fit together and money to earn and accumulate, there really isn't. The plot itself is about as deep as a Dr. Seuss book and only randomly seems to interject coherent story line ties. The good news is that it's okay. It's a first-person shooter; we don't expect much of a plot, just a clear shot to the next bad guy and a general sense that we're getting somewhere. I admit, I kept waiting for the “hook” in the story line, the weird twist at the end that would have made it all the more interesting. When it did predictably arrive, it was a letdown, mainly because of the lack of plot development leading up to it. The aspect that you're getting paid for all this killing only enters into the game in the most tangential of ways, and no matter how much you make, you really don't get anything from the cash that you wouldn't get normally. You either win the mission and get the cash, or you play the mission until you win the mission and get the cash so you can continue to the next mission. Again, the good news is that once you start playing, the game is fun enough that you don't care.
Soldier of Fortune is, if nothing else, rather detailed in the blood-n-gore department. It uses Raven's proprietary rendering system, appropriately called GHOUL, to deliver what Raven calls “Bolt-on Gore”. Using GHOUL (which also provides a number of lighting, texture, network and modeling enhancements) Soldier of Fortune's programmers were able to create individual characters that can react differently based on weapon impacts in any of 26 discrete “Gore Zones”. Shoot someone in the foot, they hop around for a moment yelping in pain. Shoot someone in the throat, they grasp at their throat, gurgle, and fall to the floor. They don't always die, however. I walked around one room for five minutes trying to figure out where a soft slurping sound was coming from only to find that one of my targets was on the floor, alive, yet gurgling softly through a hole in his throat. Nice touch. You can even shoot the gun from someone's hands if your aim is good enough. Parents fear not; all the really nasty stuff in Soldier of Fortune can be controlled via the parental controls by disabling and password-protecting such things as Damage Skins, Blood, Death Animations, Dismembered Limbs (my favorite) and so-called Adult Textures (which mainly deals with the adult language used in the dialogue subtitles.)
Though the gory details are very cool, gamers expecting Rainbow Six-type combat reality are likely to be disappointed with the rather Quake-like feel of the rest of the game. Soldier of Fortune actually runs on a slightly hacked version of the Quake II engine, and you can feel some of that old blockiness in the game environment. However, Raven has done some really nice work in creating interesting levels, and some especially sick and twisted levels. Most levels are littered with the typical “unlikely FPS props” such as doors that open with the push of a big red button, first-aid boxes or conveniently located ventilation system crawl spaces. The feel of the game is a bit Duke Nukem-like (you'll see yourself twirling a gun on your finger casually as you walk along, for instance) and even at moderate levels of difficulty, the level of combat proficiency of the AI characters you fight could probably be eclipsed by that of a two-year-old in a temper tantrum. That said, all these aspects actually work in concert to make a first-person shooter that is, quite simply, incredibly fun to play.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Rogue Wave Software's Zend Server
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide