10 August, 2007

Worms play with guns

Why are worms involved in warfare?

I have found a game I can actually play under Wine! Yes, I know people say you can play heaps of games from wine, but I haven’t found that to be the case. Of all the CD programs I’ve tried, only three seem to work under wine. And one of them is a little classic—literally. Anyone who remembers the DOS game Worms, will be familiar with these little creatures from Team17 whose mission seems to be to annihilate everything and everyone else in sight, except for themselves of course. No screenshots, as I’m probably going to violate various licence agreements if I do.

Not a great taste in wine

You might ask why on earth I want to run such a game under wine when I could simply run it on Windows instead, and gain the benefits of running the game properly, on an operating system for which it was designed. I’ll explain why. I seem to use Windows about once every six months at the moment, if that. I use Linux for 99% (or more) of the time that I’m on the computer, and I don’t want to be tied to the Windows platform any more. Not that I have much choice, as most games are written for Windows first, and maybe Linux gets a thought in after that. I was familiar with Worms 2 and Worms World Party, having installed them under Windows at one stage, and watching while worms blew each other to bits with insane weaponry, and spouted totally corny lines I just had to laugh at. Just today, I was lamenting the fact I couldn’t get most of my other games running under Wine (nor, for that matter, the games that zoombuggy has collected - more on that later), because they wanted stuff that wine simply didn’t provide. And this was using the latest available wine sourcecode, so it’s not like I was not keeping up with the play. So, I decided to try out the copy of Worms 2 I had sitting up on the shelf, all unused and unplayed.

Awww. That’s a sad story.

Anyhow, I stuck the CD in and mounted it, and executed the installer—once I found it, that is. It did the normal thing that installers do, copied a bit of data on to the hard drive (don’t they all), and tried to display the README using write.exe, which I don’t actually have. Hey, that didn’t matter, the game was installed. When I ran it, Worms came up with all the relevant graphics, sound and action - so I’m stoked, as that’s one game that actually works.

You mentioned zoombuggy

Unfortunately, zoombuggy is not as fortunate as myself. For starters, she doesn’t have a CDROM drive, so she can’t install games even if she wanted to. Secondly, we’ve tried all of the games she owns under wine, but none of them want to work under anything but DOS or Windows. And because she doesn’t have a CDROM drive, most of them won’t run as they require the CD mounted before they’ll play. It’s beside the point that she doesn’t have a running Windows install at the moment, due to her having changed machines twice in the past 12 months.

Has she found any games she can play?

Yes, she has, though they are Linux games, of course. Suffice it to say that she enjoys them, and has a good time playing them. And with that, I’ll sign off.

07 August, 2007

Back to the Cube

It’s tiny, Dad!

Nearly a couple of months back, I wrote here about the big Rubik’s Revenge cube that I bought, and the normal Rubik’s Cube. Today, I finally bought the tiny one, for the sum total of only $12.95— quite cheap, really.

It’s tiny! Only three million combinationsSo far, I’ve already scrambled it, put it back together (that surprised me!), AND scrambled it again. It might only have three million combinations (hah. only he says), but it's proving slightly tricky to put it back to rights. As with its really big brother, the 4x4x4 Rubik’s Revenge, it came with its own Solutions Booklet. Most of the pages described what a face was, what colours were on the cube, and what was in the pamphlet. Of the 16 pages, only one page showed actual moves that could be used on the cube to swap pieces around or to rotate them. Yes, this cube only has three sets of moves that get used to solve it.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

Oh yes, and the obligatory marketing for more of the Rubik’s products. For example, until today, I was unaware that there was also a Rubik’s Tangram (14 tangram pieces, which can of course be combined into many clever diagrams. I don't (yet) think I’ll be buying this one, much as I like playing with tangrams. As an aside, there is a Gtk program called gtans which shows a variety of shapes to fill in using the pieces. Quite challenging for some people. Anyhow, I’m sure you’ve all seen some of the other products produced as part of the company.

Missing link puzzleI came across one a couple of weeks after I bought the Revenge. It was a darn sight simpler, known as the “Missing Link.” You’d think it was relatively simple, but there’s a slight twist to it. Isn’t there always? The twist is—you can’t move the two middle sections independently, as they’re fixed in place, though you can still slide tiles through them. So really, it’s like a reorganised “15” puzzle. It took me quite a few minutes, but I solved it. Better results than I get with normal 15-puzzles.

Tick tock, time’s a’ running out

One other puzzle that I already have from the Rubik’s family I forgot to mention is the Clock puzzle. It’s got two sides, and nine clock faces on each side, linked by cogs and sliding elements that make it just a bit more tricky than you’d normally expect.Clock puzzle Of course, the aim is to set all the clocks to 12 ’clock. Laughs can be had by seeing if you can set each clock from 1 through to 9—I haven’t found out if this can be done yet. According to the wikipedia page for the puzzle, it’s a lot easier than the other puzzles, purely because the clock faces are linked.


And with that said, I must thank the authors of the related wikipedia.org articles I used for this blog, and also my thanks go to the owner of the Missing Link picture.