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Wine Software

Running Windows Games with WineX 387

GonzoJohn writes "Linux Orbit takes a look at TransGaming Technologies' WineX and puts it through its paces with eight different Windows games. In addition to reviewing: Diablo 2, Starcraft, LinksLS 1998 (Golf Simulation), Dungeon Keeper 2, Populous the Beginning, Black and White, Fallout 2 and Might and Magic 6 under WineX 2.1, we also give you some helpful tips to make your WineX gaming experience as pleasant as possible."
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Running Windows Games with WineX

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  • by ObviousGuy ( 578567 ) <> on Friday August 30, 2002 @08:52AM (#4169100) Homepage Journal
    Of the 8 games that I installed and tried to use with WineX 2.1, only half actually worked.

    So, use WineX and take your chances that the game will work (50/50), or dual boot the Windows that came with your computer.

    Also, the overhead of WineX must have been pretty serious. I was running Diablo2 and Starcraft on a PII 233 without a hitch.

    WineX - Not ready yet
    • Well my computers didn't come with Windows. I don't even have a licence to install a copy. Luckly I don't play many games at all, and consoles do it well enough when I get the urge one every few months.

      I can't get to the site to read the article. But I'm guessing the reviewer booted into Windows to install the games? That is one thing I find really lacking about Wine, and what keeps me from using it. It is just about impossible to install software under Wine. One has to boot into Windows do the install, then you can go back and use the software in Wine. Also in the review if there was a copy of Windows installed. Did the reviewer have WineX configured to make use of Windows DLLs, or just use the built in versions?
      • hmm, i just installed warcraft 3 from cd just fine. And no, i don't have any windows on my computer.

        I had to "get" 2 dll's somewhere though ...
      • No, the reviewer didn't dual boot. He installed everything under linux. I've never tried winex, but wine works great for me. As long as you read the docs, and check the FAQs when you're stuck, you should be fine. The app database on winehq is a great source of info, since quite a few people hang out there and post what tricks they needed to get certain apps running. And it seems to be getting better by the day.
      • The only major problems that I have had when installing games with WINE is due to the copy protected CDs. Many of them tend to puke out when using WineHQ's WINE. Transgaming apparently has some closed code (e.g. Safedisk) that they have licensed to alleviate that problem. That is at least what I have heard. I may be wrong.

        Older games and most standard Windows programs have always installed nicely for me though.
      • I'd rather disagree with you there about the installer. Yes, there are some known problems with the installer sometimes hanging at the end (but with the program installed), but I've actually once been forced to use Wine to install (and even run) a program that just wouldn't work under windows. My trusty old Kodak DC50 digital camera refused to install under my windows 98se, though I should admit it was a fairly crusty install at the time. So I installed it using wine, and everything worked fine. Indeed, if I remember correctly, even the program itself wasn't willing to work, and I believe I ended up even extracting the photos off the camera using wine as well.

        In any case, while the exact details are hazy, I can assure you that I have encountered circumstances where wine has even run the installer when windows has not, and I've not encountered any problems with installers under wine (though again, I should admit I've only attempted installing a few games). So don't be so quick to insult it, especially for a free program for a free OS to run games that normally require a $200 POS OS to run.
        • Excellent. I hadn't tried to use Wine for a while now because of my past experiences, and really not needing to run Windows applications.

          I wasn't trying to insult Wine, I was just stating a problem I had in the past. Just when I was switching from Windows to Linux it would have been useful to me, to still be able to use some of the applications I was used to. But I may have been better off for just going cold turkey and finding ways to do what I was doing before with just what was available to me.
    • by Mr.Ned ( 79679 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @09:38AM (#4169324)
      You're pretty unfairly ripping WineX. With a sample group of 8, statistics and percentages don't mean much. Check out Transgaming's list of games that work - it's pretty long. And the games they used aren't exactly new or anything - they use different versions of DirectX, and Transgaming has been working hard to provide wrappers for the _current_ version of DirectX, not the one from 3 years ago.

      What I find funny is that I can't run the original Fallout under Windows 2000, but can run it under Wine/WineX.
      • What I find funny is that I can't run the original Fallout under Windows 2000, but can run it under Wine/WineX.

        That's funny. I picked up the Fallout/Fallout2 CD pack (only $10!) just a few months ago, and it ran fine on my Win2k box (with the exception of installing, which you have to do manually []). Don't know if there was a difference between this and the originals, though.

    • I disagree with the overhead statement. Some software seems to run more snappily, others less.

      For example, Windows menuy widgets seem to operate much more slowly, but I've played Starcraft on the same machine in both WINE and Windows NT, and if Starcraft wasn't faster in WINE, it was at least as fast (admittedly, WinNT's DirectX probably wasn't as tweaked as newer releases, but even so...).

      I just wanna see Close Combat work fully...sigh.
    • take your chances that the game will work (50/50)

      Actually, the chances are much better than that, if you first consult TransGaming's database. The games that worked were rated four or five (on a five-point scale). The games that didn't work were rated lower, if they were rated at all.

      If you have a large game collection, then you may find that WineX runs even less than half your games. However, TransGaming focuses on good, popular games, and the database is fairly accurate.

    • Windows didn't come with my computer.
  • by fatwreckfan ( 322865 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @08:56AM (#4169116)
    ...but the farthest I got with WineX was getting Warcraft 3 to install. After that, nothing.

    Now, I wasn't using their membership-based binary release though, but still, why should I go through the hell of manually editing config files and removing the cinematics from my game when I could just reboot?

  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    ...if it can't run GTA3 *perfectly*, I'll stick with Windows for my silly wastes of time. :P
  • I just dont want to see anybody dissing on Wine for not supporting more games. If Microsoft loosened up their grip on the DirectX code it would make matters better. How can they possibly call it "Trustworthy Computing" if you or I cannot even look at the source. Do they mean that I should be Trusting Them worthy of writing my code? Just my 2 cents.
  • Interesting stuff. Reminds me of some informal tests I did on my Mac OS system running the PC hardware environment emulator Virtual PC. []

    What I don't get from the article is why performance and compatibility is so poor, given that WINE is a virtual machine, according to its circular acronym ("WINE Is Not an Emulator"). Sounds like WINE doesn't link very well to the existing native hardware.

    Based on these results I would suspect greater compatibility in Virtual PC (Windows or Macintosh version), although these emulators don't officially support many games since graphics acceleration isn't available in these games. Most of them should run in VPC, but slowly.

    There must be a common link to all the games that don't run in WINE. I know that video acceleration isn't required for Diablo 2--so that's probably a starting point.
    • " given that WINE is a virtual machine, according to its circular acronym ("WINE Is Not an Emulator")"

      The maintainer of WINE refers to it as an emulator.

      It is indeed an emulator. Even the kernel cousin [] for it refers to it as an emulator.

    • Virtual PC and VMWARE are virtual machines, WINE isn't.

      It's a partial re-implementation of win32 and related API's. The approach of the former requires a licensed copy of Windows, the latter does not.

      The reason some things do not work is that you have to implement more than just the documented externals.
      • The reason some things do not work is that you have to implement more than just the documented externals.

        This is partly true, but not the whole story. Yes, there have been times when either MS bugs have to be reproduced and emulated, or undocumented behavior discovered. However, this really isn't the cause of most incompatibilities.

        First, the WINE team is limited -- hardly as many man-hours per weak as the Windows team at MS. So they take a, as they put it, "product-driven" approach. They take a specific program, and implement just enough to get it working properly. Few programs use (or will use for several years) WinXP-specific features, because it would limit their potential market. Same goes for Win2k-specific features. So the WINE guys don't bother with emulating those. Also, less crucial and rarely used fuctions are often just stubs, meaning that software that uses lots of esoteric options/functions is much more likely not to work.

        Last of all, rarely used chunks of Win32 are simply ignored. I believe that there is basically no CryptoAPI support, for instance, because implementing CryptoAPI would be a significant amount of work, and very, very few programs would actually use it.
      • The reason some things do not work is that you have to implement more than just the documented externals.

        There's finding out what's not documented, reverse-engineering how it really works, and implementing that.

        Then there's finding out what's documented, reverse-engineering how it really works, and implementing that.

    • Wine is not a virtual machine. It is a reimplimentaion of the Windows APIs. It doesn't emulate PC hardware. It uses the local x86 processor to run the Windows binary, looking for calls to the Windows API and then translates that call into something approate for the local machine.

      Maybe now you understand why performance and compatibility is so poor? Really in some cases the Windows applications run faster under Wine than Windows, but that isn't always true.

      Virtual PC on the other hand actually emulates a all the PC hardware. Then a copy of Windows runs on that emulated hardware. Totally different from what Wine is doing. The reason it is slow is the emulated video card may not have 3D support so all DirectX stuff gets software rendered.

      Wine actually does it's best to impliment the Direct3D calls as OpenGL calls.
    • Wine is not a virtual machine. It is a library that translates Win32 calls to native Linux calls. VMWare is a virtual machine- A PC Emulator for the PC. Virtual PC is an x86 PC Emulator for the Mac.
  • Short Term (Score:3, Insightful)

    by den_erpel ( 140080 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @09:05AM (#4169173) Homepage Journal

    I actually am pretty biassed towards WineX. OK, in the short term, it will help a number of people that are running Linux and want to play a particular game.

    Unfortunately, WineX will in the long term halt or slow down development of games running native in Linux. Why would a gaming company put money in porting it, Linux users _can_ play their game.

    The skills of the people running Linux might well be their undoing, ...

    Mainly for this reason, I mainly buy _linux_ native games (Quake 1 and 3 and Kohan). Unfortunately, ID decided not to release a Linux version of Wolfenstein anymore, but the binary was downloadable from the net (unfortunately or fortnutely, one needed the wine to run the Windows-only installer from the CD).
    • Unfortunately, WineX will in the long term halt or slow down development of games running native in Linux. Why would a gaming company put money in porting it, Linux users _can_ play their game.

      No. I disagree. One point you've missed which dominates, which Microsoft most definitely have not missed is that a lot of people get the OS that can play their games. They won't install an OS that cannot play their games.

      The more Linux can play the same games that Windows can play, the more people will install it on the desktop. The more installations there are, the more incentive there is for people to write games to run under it, or solely under it.

      Besides, even if every game ever only runs under Wine, you shouldn't forget we're leaving the stage where performance is the most critical part of a system. I've seen the benchmarks with 200+ frames per second under Quake III on the current top end systems, minor percentage differences in performance are going to be far less relevant from here on in. Working/not working is always relevant though.

      • Interesting then that many (admittedly old) games no longer run under Win2k/xp. In fact if you're hankering for a fix of Commander Keen, Scorched Earth, or any of the other old DOS classics you're prtty much SOL unless you still have an old Win9x or earlier parition hanging around and you don't have any important unsupported hardware (sound cards!) in your system. I've known people who keep old DOS boxes around (486s or early Pentiums) just to play old games.

        • If it's Scorched Earth you're looking for, you might want to try Scorched Earth 2000 []. It's a java-based implementation of the old game. You can play with up to eight colleagues, er, I mean, friends.

          The link may be slow, so be patient.
    • You seem to be forgetting the fact that the majority of developers are not porting and do not have plans to port their games to Linux.

      So, you can remain on your moral high-horse and only play Linux native games. Or, you can use Wine-X and have access to many more games than will ever be ported to Linux.

      It's a choice between an advocacy that most people don't understand or access to the majority of computer entertainment available. Take your pick.
    • I agree completely.

      That's why I will buy (read - support the company that developed it) any Linux native game that's worth a rats ass.

      I bought Quake III for linux, and Wolf for linux. I'm waiting for some more good FPS to be released for native linux clients.

    • No, I think that instead, you'll see things like the following begin to appear on the box-ends:

      System Requirements
      Pentium or Athlon 700Mhz
      3D Video Card with 32MB RAM
      256MB RAM
      Microsoft Windows 98 / 2000 / XP
      Transgaming WineX 2.5

      If WineX becomes popular enough, the game developers will make certain that their games work with it before they ship. This would wrest control away, not towards Microsoft. WineX could be the tool that breaks the trend. Of course, don't expect and Microsoft-branded games to do this; but I wouldn't be surprised if 3rd party developers take a look at WineX and think to themseleves "hmm, it would only take an extra month to certify my game with this and then all the Linux/BSD crowds could buy my game".
  • What about running MS "Combat Flight Simulator"? I found getting all my drivers just right was the very devil before CFS2 would run.

    And, IMHO, CFS/CFS2 is the only reason to run Windows, period! (Although my son would add "Medal of Honor" and "Silent Hunter II").
  • by LordYUK ( 552359 ) <> on Friday August 30, 2002 @09:08AM (#4169190)
    Sheesh, I can't even get the damn thing to run on WinXP and they've got it on Linux!!! What's next, Linux on my Playstation???

  • Hey, does anyone know if .NET is going to eventually encompass new versions of DirectX?

    That would be sweet - assuming other implementations (Mono, etc) could implement, I wouldn't be "stuck" on a windows box anymore... the sad thing is, Windows 2000/xp is actually decent enough that I don't mind anymore...

    Course, I don't plan on gaming on the PC anymore - consoles are more fun now that I actually work in front of a PC all day. When I get home, I'd rather fire up the gamecube these days.
  • True Linux Gaming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RailGunner ( 554645 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @09:33AM (#4169301) Journal
    WineX is a very well done piece of technology, but I have to agree with an earlier post that said that if WineX really takes off, that there won't be any reason to port / develop games for Linux. For the short term, it's great. For long term, it's not enough. Companies want to sell as many copies of their games as possible, and the best way to do that is to target the vast majority of users, who unfortunately at this point are running a flavor of Windows.

    The way I see it, one or both of the following scenarios needs to happen before we see a lot of Linux games - and we'll see more Linux games as the installed base gets larger.

    Scenario 1: AOL/Linux. Seriously. As soon as the millions of AOL sheep get a new version of AOL that uses Linux, many of them will switch. There's countless numbers of people who buy the latest "whiz-bang" PC and all they use it for is Web / Email, and maybe an occasional game. The Operating System to them is irrelevant, they just want to email their friends and family. Many of them already think that they're just running AOL, and that AOL = internet. The game market for this crowd isn't as large as it could be, but it still changes the "numbers" of the installed base.

    Scenario 2: The next killer game is Linux only. What would happen if say... Doom 3, or something similar, was Linux only? And what would happen if in the box with the game, was a Linux distribution? Given that I have an installation of Windows 98SE to play games on at home, how many people would be willing to install Linux in order to play Doom 3? I'd suggest there would be a lot. Or, what about a Linux Distro that just booted from CD, effectively treating your PC like a high powered console when you want to play a game?

    Once one or both of these happens, then the installed user base gets larger and companies are going to be willing to eat the up front development costs to produce a game. And there will be a cost, as not every Windows developer has ever run g++ to build something, but in the long run it becomes much cheaper to develop on Linux then it does paying the MS tax over and over again. Even if Linux can get 40% of home users, then companies will be willing to develop native games. And then, WineX will be around to support old games, while the new stuff will run natively.

    • They think all linux users expect free stuffs. If we change that attitude, and don't whine about games not going open source, then we may have a chance.
    • I suspect that if AOL was ported to a PDA, people would be quite happy (smaller computer, same functionality), and AOL would avoid the must-run-on-Windows-so-we-must-suck-up-to-MS issue.
    • As always, the fringe will lead the crowd.

      Lets say that all games work with wine and lots of people have converted over to linux. There will always ALWAYS be the tweakers/hardcore gamers out there who want the best. These are the people that would pay to get linux binaries of a game vs. just using it in wine. (and before you say no one will do that, i plan on doing it when NWN comes out, and i know of a few other people going to do that too.) It might be slow growth, but game companies will see that there is money in making native linux binaries. More people will go out and buy their cool "made for linux" games at compusa (remember, we have a huge install base now). And as more people buy stuff the cheaper it gets. Will we ever see 100% native linux games? eventually, but it will take a long time. Will we get games that have linux binaries? yes, just look at id who will always make a linux binairy for proof.
      • ...and the best will be running a software designed for Windows, tweaked for Windows (because that's where 90%+ of the users are) *under* Windows.

        Or were you only counting linux-zealots looking for the best *running on Linux*? Kinda big difference.

    • What would happen if say... Doom 3, or something similar, was Linux only?

      Well, in this specific case, it would probably mean the id software would go out of business, if you think most people would give up the ability to play every other game just to get Doom 3, you grossly mis-estimate id software's influence.

  • re: ms directx (Score:2, Insightful)

    by exspecto ( 513607 )
    "If Microsoft loosened up their grip on the DirectX code it would make matters better."

    this is a commom mistake that people make.

    the point isnt MS letting directx specs out, its that people continue to use this piece of shit api. use SDL []

    if you use sdl, your game is portable (or at least easier to emulate with things like Wine). be smart, dont use directx
  • PEOPLE PLEASE... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ( 450073 ) <[xanadu] [at] []> on Friday August 30, 2002 @10:08AM (#4169526) Homepage Journal
    Read the page [] over at Transgaming for your favorite game before speculating on what works and what doesn't.

    I am a Transgaming subscriber and I play several games with WineX (however I still have yet to get HL/CS working worth a damn on my machine, but I don't play it much anyway, so I haven't put much effort into it).
  • I could be wrong....but if you want to play WINDOWS games, why don't you just run windows? I've been saying it for years, choose the right tool for the right job. For me its hard to beleive that Linux should run on _EVERYTHING_. At this point in time I can not see a good reason why my home gameing machine should be a linux machine, the games were designed for WINDOWS, i'll run them on WINDOWS.

    To me trying to run Windows games on Linux is trying to put a screw in with a hammer. Sure it will kinda work some times, but why not just use a screwdriver?

    Every Linux zelot hate Microsoft, and many Linux zelots are trying to make Linux just like i missing some thing here?
    • Perhaps because there are people out there who use Linux as their primairy desktop OS and don't want to shutdown all apps and reboot to Windows just to play a game?
      Really, you could have figured that out yourself.
  • My 2 cents. I was using Pentium III 600 Mhz with 512 MB of RAM, GeForce 2 Pro, SB Live Platininum, and Red Hat Linux v7.2. I checked this WineX. Here's what I noticed:

    1. D2X with the latest version was very slow (less than 10 FPS at 800x600).

    2. Some of the sound enhancement were disabled like EAX.

    3. Sometimes clicking on shortcut doesn't give me D2 screen, just my desktop. Running from terminal works.

    I wasn't impressed and will continue to play Windows only games in Windows. Q3A and RTCW are installed in Linux since they have Linux ports.
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @11:07AM (#4169921) Journal
    How's THAT for an eye-catching headline? :-)

    Seriously, though. You go out, you buy a WINDOWS game, you spend ages trying to get it running under Linux/Wine, and what happens? The developer sees huge sales for Windows-only games. Result? They keep making games for Windows, and you have to keep playing with Wine.

    A much better solution would be games under Linux of course. As a useful intermediate though, how about this idea: Everyone who plays a game through Wine should write to the developer and explain to them that they'd much rather the game was written for Linux in the first place. A thousand letters (or ten thousand) is hard to completely ignore.
    • heh, good idea. My solution has always been to warez the games, and only buy the games that have native linux drivers. However, your idea will only really work on the big selling games. Most smaller shops only produce a few games, and don't have the money to try linux porting, of course Starcraft 2 on linux would be a VERY nice thing.
    • SO, when you register the game, make sure you register with the registration card, not online.

      Then, VERY VISIBLY, where they ask you what version of Windows you are running, SCRATCH THEM ALL OUT and write in "Wine Under Linux".

      That way, the companies get some feedback that, dispite their best efforts to deny it, there actually IS a market segment out there that
      1. Will pay for games
      2. Runs them under Linux (or BSD or whatever...)
      3. Will go to GREAT LENGTHS to do so.

      That's why I registered my new Sony DV camcorder - because I could write in that I was using it with a Linux machine (thanks to Kino). That's why I am going to register my new Casio BZX201 watch - the software to update the contact data runs very nicely under Wine (although I may try to get a programming guide out of them and make a proper applet for it.)

      Just DON'T register with the game's online registration program - it will ask Wine what version of Windows it is, and Wine will (needfully) lie and say it is whatever version of Windows you have it faking, and the company will NOT get the feedback you want them to get.

      (OT: don't let your browswer lie and say it is IE when it isn't - if the damn web page won't work with Moz|Galeon|Konq|..., screw them. I wonder how many of the 96% of the browsers that claim to be IE are really not...)
  • What about Minesweeper and Solitaire?
  • The most popular online action game in the world: Counterstrike. A Linux native version of Half Life that supports mods would be the best, but WINE(X) that installs and supports all the latest CS and HL updates would satisfy a large percentage of all our gaming needs.


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