Return to Part 1: Dumpster Diving
Continued from Part 22: Happy Hacking
If you look at the commercial Linux gaming catalogue at the turn of the millennium, in amongst all of the 3D shooters and strategic simulations being released, one glaring omission seems to have been the lack of any racing games. Loki Software never ported any to Linux, nor did any of the other porting houses. This left a void for the free gaming community to fill. One of the first be off to the races was Trophy, whose development started in March 2000.
The latest version of Trophy I can run from Red Hat Linux 7.3 is version 1.1.3 from before the game was ported to ClanLib 0.8 and beyond. To do this, I first had to grab the ClanLib-0.6.1-fr1.i386.rpm, ClanLib-sound-0.6.1-fr1.i386.rpm, and Hermes-1.3.2-fr3.i386.rpm pacakges from freshrpms. Even then, the included binary that came bundled with the 1.1.3 source tarball would still not load, as it was built against libstdc++5 which is too new.
This is the same problem I had when attempting to launch later versions of Cube, but since I could satisfy all the other build dependencies in this case, I was able to compile my own binary linked to my older version of glibc. To do this, all I had to do was run "make clean" followed by "make" in the trophy directory. This did mean I also had to install all of the ClanLib and Hermes development packages, which from freshrpms came to a whopping eleven packages in total.
Even then the game window still came up labelled as "Trophy 1.0.6" instead, but both the "Snake" and "Rally" tracks were present and correct, so I know I built the right version. Beyond that the only other bug I encountered was that I was unable to change the colour of my car using the arrow keys as the menu suggests, with the new game screen only seeming to allow me to input my name. That said, I am also unsure what the "Hall Of Fame" is even for at this point.
Trophy is a top down racer which distinguishes itself by having an emphasis on using extras such as vehicular combat to get ahead of your rivals. You can fire a machine gun at other cars by pressing the "x" key, drop bombs with the "c" key, and give yourself a turbo boost by holding down the "a" key. All of these are powered by collectibles found scattered about the track, right up until you finish the fifth and final lap. The result is a strong arcade feel without being a kart racer.
The graphics are appealing if a little compressed, with the tracks themselves being large for the time 1200x1200px bitmaps created in several layers through use of the GNU Image Manipulation Program. In fact, an entire track designer manual was written that goes over the process of building a track, all to encourage Trophy players to make a submit their own creations. This manual can still be read from the Trophy website hosted on SourceForge.
Work on Trophy advanced in fits in starts, with the latest 2.0.4 release from 2019 still depending on the ancient ClanLib 1.0 software development kit. But while Trophy ossified from a technical perspective over the last decade or so, the gameplay became deeply enriched starting with the 2.0.0 release. This was the first to feature a championship mode as well as a shop where you can buy vehicle upgrades and new cars, giving the money you collect a real purpose at long last.
With all of these additions in particular, Trophy reminds me very much of Mini-Car Racing as published by eGames, one of my brother's favourite games growing up. Whether this a coincidence or not is hard to say, as both games first released in the same year, but they do both have you race on the moon. Mini-Car Racing, incidentally, is also one of many older games which are far easier to get working with WINE than on modern versions of Windows today.
Looking at the TODO list included alongside Trophy shows that the similarities were planned to go even deeper than that, with the inclusion of oil slicks, rockets, and jump points on the tracks. All of which compounds the feeling that Trophy does still have a great deal of unfulfilled potential, with networked multiplayer also having been mooted at one point. There is a legacy here that would be great for someone to build upon, should the right contributor be found.
Which free and open source game projects take off and which stagnant often seems to be at the gift of chance, but at least here there is always the option that some new life can be breathed into them, if given enough interest. The same can even be said for what is to this day my mother's favourite computer game, a free software title which for most of the 2000s was one of the most lauded Linux games to ever be released for the platform.
Carrying on in Part 24: Mother Knows Best
Return to Part 1: Dumpster Diving