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Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer Part 35: The New Stories

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Return to Part 1: Dumpster Diving

Continued from Part 34: Abusing the System

Just like with the original Quake, it did not take long for established publishers to seek out new and aspiring game development talent to create third party expansion content for Quake II. The first out the gate was Juggernaut: The New Story For Quake II released by HeadGames Publishing in early 1998, soon to be followed by a number of other packs including Zaero developed by Team Evolve and published by our old friends at Macmillan Digital Publishing.

Like with the unofficial Quake expansions you need to copy the data directories over to your Quake II install, which Juggernaut complicates by hiding this behind an InstallShield installer. On Linux you can use the Unshield utility to extract the contents of the data1.cab file, but the file cases will be all over the place; not an issue under Windows, but a headache for case sensitive Linux systems. To save myself a migraine, I assembled a shell script that outputs the proper file name cases.

From there you can launch Quake II with the "+set game JUGFULL" parameter, although under Windows the STORY.AVI movie file will play in a separate window at launch, something that can be bettered on Linux by using MPlayer. Most expansion packs for Quake II rely on a separate library file to inject new game code, but Juggernaut instead functions as a base total conversion, with only the art and level assets being modified. The result is even more amateurish, but at least it is portable.

While not as awful as some bad faith reviewers have claimed, Juggernaut is a victim of its two month development time, with it suffering from the desire to be the first expansion to hit store shelves. The prevalence of unmodified Quake II assets in spite of the original setting betrays this, as well as in the rushed nature of some of the additions, with the new levels being linear with no marked secrets. This incongruity stops Juggernaut from reaching its full potential, but fun can still be had with it.

The opening Ice Caves make a poor introduction with the decision to start you with a Chaingun, inviting you to burn through all your bullets and be stuck with just the Blaster. Juggernaut does find its feet later on in the campaign after the Callistans invade Europa proper, even with the enemy counts rising to the levels seen in some slaughter maps. Neither expansion pack features original music, but both will play the Quake II CD-ROM tracks apart from on the "Living Quarters" map of Juggernaut.

 

Zaero, on the other hand, hews far closer to the official mission packs, with you taking the role of an elite pilot whose squadron gets stranded on Stroggos. Installing Zaero is much simpler, with the data folder being right there on the root of the CD-ROM, and formal Linux support even being offered through a library file included as part of the official zaero-1.1-2.zip patch archive; after that I just had to make the pak0.PAK file lowercase.

After launching with the "+set game zaero" parameter you would think it would be all plain sailing from here, but Zaero proved to be faultier than Juggernaut even was. Attempting to use the new Plasma Shield Generator causes the game to abort with a segmentation fault, which is not a huge problem as you never have to equip it, but it does make one of the recorded demo files segfault too. All of the other new additions seemed to function properly; that is, until I reached the final boss.

Something that the boss will sometimes fire will also trigger a segmentation fault, turning Zaero into a horror game where if you stare at the boss for too long the game will break. Cheese tactics can mitigate this, but Zaero also steals all of your equipment at the start of the boss level, and he can let loose an EMP Nuke when injured to disable your weapons for a spell. By exploiting the overhead pipes and crouching on stairs, not to mention a lot of save scumming, I did manage to scrape a win.

A lot of the new additions seem inspired by Duke Nukem 3D, with the introduction of laser tripwires and security camera feeds. There are also now turrets, which are at least less irksome than those in Ground Zero, and can often be disabled. All of the new enemies veer towards the obnoxious, with the Sentinels being powerful bullet sponges who seem to exist to compel you to use the IRED Devices and EMP Nukes to save on ammo; Zaero proves stingy with its arsenal for most of the campaign.

As expected both Juggernaut and Zaero produced the same sporadic lock ups I experienced with the rest of Quake II, although I did notice that they became far worse here when I cranked up the difficulty in Juggernaut and had more enemies spawning in. Say what you will about these expansions packs, they at least took more effort on the part of the publisher than just grabbing a bunch of freely distributed packages off the internet and burning them to a disc. Time to get out my shovel again.

Carrying on in Part 36: Entertainment for X Windows

Return to Part 1: Dumpster Diving 

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
author picture
Hamish Paul Wilson is a free software developer, game critic, amateur writer, cattle rancher, shepherd, and beekeeper living in rural Alberta, Canada. He is an advocate of both DRM free native Linux gaming and the free software movement alongside his other causes, and further information can be found at his icculus.org homepage where he lists everything he is currently involved in: http://icculus.org/~hamish
See more from me
11 comments
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StoneColdSpider Nov 14, 2023
Really nice article as per usual Hamish.....

You brought back a lot of memories today......
I remember playing Juggernaut back in the day....... I also remember preferring to playing Malice for the original Quake......
slaapliedje Nov 14, 2023
Ha, I decided to go back and try and figure out which graphics card you have in your build. As I was reading your first article I noticed your comment about nvidia. I actually remember nvidia originally had the nvidia-glx, which is what utah-glx started being based upon... it is also why nvidia has historically had better opengl support over anyone else (with maybe the exception of SGI, back in the day. By 2000, nvidia support was part of utah-glx.

I still find it amazing that Mesa started on the Amiga.
Lanz Nov 14, 2023
The base Quake 2 game is so much better than the unofficial expansions that you're better off just playing through it again. The official expansions, however, packed in a quality level that's about 80% as good as what id released.
Hamish Nov 14, 2023
Further links and resources can be found on the official website:
https://icculus.org/~hamish/retro/part35.html

Quoting: LanzThe base Quake 2 game is so much better than the unofficial expansions that you're better off just playing through it again. The official expansions, however, packed in a quality level that's about 80% as good as what id released.
I don't know, as time goes on, I am finding myself drawn more and more to these flawed old games. There is a certain charm to them, and you learn more about the time period by playing these than you would by just sticking to the touchstone releases that everyone already remembers.
TheSHEEEP Nov 14, 2023
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Quoting: Hamishtwo month development time
Hamish Nov 14, 2023
Well, in 1998 that did not seem quite so fast, but yeah. Daikatana was pilloried for taking around four years to develop, and now that would be considered a reasonable turnaround.


Last edited by Hamish on 14 November 2023 at 4:21 pm UTC
gbudny Nov 15, 2023
Thank you for the article.

Do you remember the name of this Linux library?

Quoteformal Linux support even being offered through a library file included as part of the official zaero-1.1-2.zip patch archive

Did you find any information in a Readme file or instructions about Linux?
slaapliedje Nov 15, 2023
Quoting: HamishFurther links and resources can be found on the official website:
https://icculus.org/~hamish/retro/part35.html

Quoting: LanzThe base Quake 2 game is so much better than the unofficial expansions that you're better off just playing through it again. The official expansions, however, packed in a quality level that's about 80% as good as what id released.
I don't know, as time goes on, I am finding myself drawn more and more to these flawed old games. There is a certain charm to them, and you learn more about the time period by playing these than you would by just sticking to the touchstone releases that everyone already remembers.
The key enjoyment I get out of the older games is the massive amount of variety there was. Modern gaming has basically (at least for a long while) slipped into a standard of a few genres. Like every year there is a new CoD, or unreal based game. Then the churn of RTS, which are mostly all the same outside of maybe art, and sometimes some cool tech trees. Game companies have become far more risk averse.

Back in the 80s up through the early 2000s, really before video games broke into the culture in a massive way, there were far more ideas thrown out into the world. Check out some of the odd games like Cosmic Tunnels, or In Search of the Most Amazing Thing. Storm Master was another odd one.

Fortunately, with the 'indie' developers, there are a lot more risk takers out there for the odd game style here and there, and some of them are very successful!

Sometimes the flawed games (as long as the flaws weren't game breaking... thanks Bethesda) are some of the best!
Hamish Nov 15, 2023
Quoting: gbudnyDo you remember the name of this Linux library? ... Did you find any information in a Readme file or instructions about Linux?
"gamei386.so - New game code for Linux (Compiled on Redhat 5.1)" - readme-1.1.txt

They also released the source code for the game library in the zaero-src-1.1-2.zip archive. Hence this:
https://github.com/yquake2/zaero
TheSHEEEP Nov 16, 2023
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Whenever I start a deep dive into the different quake sources, clients and their interdependencies...


Seriously, though, it makes you wonder how many variations of these are out there that barely anyone even knows about.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 16 November 2023 at 6:54 am UTC
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