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Viewing articles by Hamish
Hamish Paul Wilson is a free software developer, game critic, amateur writer, and farm labourer living in rural Alberta, Canada. He is an advocate of both DRM free Linux gaming and the free software movement alongside his other causes, and more information on him can be found at his icculus.org homepage where he lists everything he is currently involved in: http://icculus.org/~hamish

Find me in these places:

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 18: Run Away and Join the Circus

By Hamish,
Although being sold for Windows, I found a listing for a physical copy of the free game Circus Linux! as published by Alten8. At first I figured it would just be another keep case in my collection with "Linux" on the cover, but with the source code included, I decided it would be trivial to also build the game for Linux.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 17: The Llama Master

By Hamish,
While first person shooters dominated the Linux gaming scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was still more than a place for the venerable strategy genre, with Ubi Soft entering the fray thanks to the work of Linux friendly Philos Laboratories.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 16: We Are All Doomed

By Hamish,
The most appealing aspect of my QDI Advance 5/133 motherboard is its inclusion of AGP, PCI, and ISA expansion slots. By having both dedicated MIDI and 3D acceleration hardware I can dip my toes into two different eras of gaming. As for the actual MIDI tracks produced, well, they have personality at least.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 15: Square Cubed

By Hamish,
John Carmack's generosity in releasing his older source code resulted in a proliferation of free first person shooters in the 2000s, but Dutch programmer Wouter van Oortmerssen rejected this path to forge Cube based in the same "just for fun" spirit with which Linus Torvalds first began work on the Linux kernel.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 14: Return to Na Pali

By Hamish,
One of the selling points of Unreal Tournament pitched to the modding scene by Epic Games was its ability to load assets from the original Unreal into the new engine. After a few years this snowballed into a concerted community effort to make the entire Unreal single player mode playable from within its own sequel.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 13: Looks Almost Unreal

By Hamish,
It is rare for Linux to see support from both sides of an industry battle, but that is exactly where we were with the release of Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament. With both games aiming to package the full breadth of the online multiplayer shooter experience into a standalone title, the competition between the two was fierce.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 12: In Tremendous Pain

By Hamish,
In 1998 developer Raven Software acquired the rights to Soldier of Fortune to make a video game inspired by the mercenary magazine of the same name. The plan was the make a realistic tactical shooter, with consultant John Mullins brought in to add both his insights and likeness to the project.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 11: Forgotten Heresies

By Hamish,
Almost from the very start Raven Software and id Software had a symbiotic relationship. Given the Linux friendly atmosphere at id, it is no surprise that some of that would start to rub off on Raven, culminating in Loki Software negotiating to make a port of Heretic II.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 10: For I Have Sinned

By Hamish,
At heart XEvil is a basic deathmatch, but it is the anarchic elements that keep it entertaining. There is no reason XEvil has to die a death, other than its modern obscurity. Another with the talent could revive XEvil and bring all of its features back home again.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 9: Ancient Archaeology

By Hamish,
After the demise of Loki Software, one of their former employees found himself forced to work behind a cash register for a living. Desperate to get back to porting games, he found the email address of an artist working for the Croatian developer Croteam, creators of the game Serious Sam.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 8: Shovelware with a Penguin

By Hamish,
After completing all of the boxed Quake games for Linux, I was left with indecision. So if I could not settle on a single game to play, why not try one hundred? Made for a time of slow internet speeds and limited storage, these kinds of retail collections allowed users to explore hundreds of freeware and shareware titles from the comfort of a single CD-ROM.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 7: The Arena Eternal

By Hamish,
The bedrock of almost all the LAN parties played in my household, Quake III Arena also became a trusty reliable for when I felt the urge for a casual bot match. Whenever I felt the need for a fresh Linux installation, Quake III Arena always became the first game I would reinstall. This had as much to do with the game's technical achievements as my fondness for the gunplay.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 6: A Lone Marine Battled

By Hamish,
In the same vein as Quake: The Offering, the next game in the series got a similar treatment for Linux with Quake II: Colossus from Macmillan Digital Publishing, containing Quake II as well as it's two mission packs The Reckoning and Ground Zero.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 5: Quaking in My Boots

By Hamish,
Dave Taylor can be credited with kickstarting the commercial Linux gaming industry with his ports of the games Doom and Abuse. Before leaving id Software he also graced us with a Linux port of Quake, which was later taken by Macmillan Digital Publishing to form the basis of their retail Quake: The Offering package.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 4: Installing Red Hat Linux 7.3

By Hamish,
I had some grief installing Red Hat Linux 7.3 but with persistence I was able to get it installed. In terms of compatibility though Valhalla proved to be far superior, so I decided to stick with it and focus on improving other parts of the system instead.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 3: Installing Red Hat Linux 9

By Hamish,
My first choice was to run Red Hat Linux 9, for the arbitrary reason that it was the final release of the once dominant distribution and the second to feature the delightful Bluecurve desktop theme for both Gnome and KDE. I knew then that I was cutting things a bit close, but I still found myself disappointed with the outcome.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 2: Selecting a Graphics Card

By Hamish,
Linux graphics support is still remarkably similar to how it was 20 years ago, even with all the progress that has been made in the years since. By the time of Red Hat Linux 9 the Direct Rendering Infrastructure or DRI was firmly in place in Mesa and offered 3D support for a wide number of cards.

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 1: Dumpster Diving

By Hamish,
Older computing hardware is getting harder and harder to find. What would have been given away just five or ten years ago can now often only be found for inflated prices. So when I noticed an interesting looking beige box ready to be recycled at my local dump, I did not hesitate to rescue it in order to see what was inside.

A look at the Penumbra Collection on Linux with Mesa in 2020

By Hamish,
The Penumbra Collection is always going to hold a special place in my heart. It pains me to see, in spite of the still excellent support that Frictional Games gives to our platform, that the state of the Penumbra Collection for a number of Linux users has become such a mess.

The sad case of Unreal Engine 1 on Mesa and Linux in 2020

By Hamish,
Community support for Unreal Tournament was able to breath some new life into the game, even with the limitations of the closed binary. By 2018 however the game was no longer launching for Mesa users. For an engine with such a pedigree on Linux this outcome is still disappointing.
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