Get Your Game On - Running Windows Games in Linux
I've saved the most appropriate choice for last among the Windows-gaming options, so this section can end on an upbeat note. TransGaming's Cedega product (see Resources) is essentially a subscription service where you pay a monthly fee for access to the latest versions of the program in binary form, the ability to vote on the games that you would like to see prioritized and more. Because this product focuses on games and implementing the DirectX APIs and other Windows features heavily used by game programmers, the likelihood of a Windows game working under Cedega should be better than under the other options. However, it is not guaranteed.
I'll give the Point2Play interface a shot even though I tend to have hit-and-miss luck with it. On Fedora Core 4, my CD drive shows up as /media/cdrecorder, and even when a disk is mounted onto the system, Point2Play can't see it—even though running the built-in Point2Play tests says that my CD drive is fine. A quick ln -s /media/recorder /mnt/cdrom fixed that problem. However, the Install button still doesn't become visible, so I gave up. There's no other fixes listed in the documentation that I haven't already tried.
There's no Cedega to install the program directly without bothering with the extra GUI. To do so, I mount the CD (in this case, the first CD-ROM for World of Warcraft) and change to its base directory. Then I type cedega Installer.exe and immediately get hit with a stream of errors. Going to the TransGaming Forums and running keyword searches doesn't help, so I post a query; we'll see what comes of that. I had World of Warcraft working under Cedega and Fedora Core 3 so I know it's doable.
Instead, I'll try Diablo II. Point2Play still won't see the CD, so I go to /media/cdrecorder and type cedega install.exe to launch the installer, and it launches just fine. When it gets to the video tests, it recommends Direct3D: DirectDraw HAL, so it does pick up the 3-D functionality on the system. The game also launches fine, though if I run it in windowed mode, I can't click on any other windows or it crashes. Again, none of the potential fixes I find on the boards helps with this.
There is no perfect solution for playing Windows games under Linux. The best solution is to look and see whether a Linux binary is provided for the game, or to go find games that are written to play under Linux. Id Software and Epic Games both release Linux binaries for their games. Keep in mind that if you opt to use a solution such as Win4Lin or VMware, you have to own a valid copy of the Windows version you intend to use. Solutions such as WINE, CrossOver Office and Cedega implement the APIs without requiring the operating system to be installed.
Still, as you can see, there are many options if you are really determined to play a Windows game in Linux without having to dual-boot.
Resources for this article: /article/8640.
Dee-Ann LeBlanc is the award-winning author of 13 computer books (mostly focused on Linux) as well as an award-winning technical journalist with more than 200 articles behind her. Her latest book is Linux for Dummies, 6th Edition, and you can learn more about her at www.Dee-AnnLeBlanc.com.