Well then. Another week means another few games in review. If you read the last review then you would know we came upon a little diamond in the rough called Angry, Drunken Dwarves. But now, we deal with the next games on the list of Ubuntu & Open Source games. If you are unaware how to access these games then you may want to visit part 1 of these reviews.

But regardless of all that here we go!

Armagetron Advanced (Website)
From the get go this game had my attention just from the image in the installation screen:

In case you were living in a hole during the 80s, this game is inspired by the 1982 movie Tron.

It is basically a spawn of a game commonly known as Snake. Except, there’s pretty lights, sound, different game play modes and well, online playing experience. If you’ve ever enjoyed playing Nibbles while learning QBasic

(yes, Nibbles)

–then you should give it a shot. In case you aren’t up for multiplayer, there is also a single player experience. Here’s a screenshot that doesn’t do it much justice:

Overall, this game is well polished and quite a bit of fun. For more screenshots or info, check out the official site here.

Atlantik (Homepage)
This was another one that sounded like it would be something to kill time every once in a while:

“This is a KDE client for playing Monopoly-like boardgames on the monopd network.

It can play any board supported by the network server, including the classic Monopoly game, as well as the Atlantik game in which the property includes several major cities in North America and Europe.”

Well, alright. I’ve got a 25-30 minute block of time. Why not try it out? Let’s see here, we’ll try and get the list of servers first. Hopefully we’ll be able to find a game!

Okay… maybe not so much. Well, let’s see if there’s at least a dumb AI I can play against. Nope: no dice. At this point, I don’t have time to wait for a new game to start or for one of the 5+ people playing to bum rush a game I might host. The screen shots from the website looked promising:

But, it doesn’t look like there’s been any development since 2004. Wow, I can’t believe that was 4 years ago now. Should you feel like going along with the vision of the author, then there is also a designer for the game.

Alright, this one is a bit deceiving. By the description, I thought this was going to be a cool game:

“Atomix is a game designed for GNOME in which you have to build molecules, from simple inorganic to extremely complex organic ones, out of isolated atoms.”

However, I was quick to find out that this only partially the case. Although Atomix provides a bit of entertainment, it is very repetitive. There are 19 levels with no randomization options. Oh and when the description said isolated atoms, they just meant that they are located in a weird place on the map:

The game involves selecting an atom and moving it either vertically or horizontally. The atom moves along the board until it stops.

The object is to eventually make enough moves to create a pattern:

Each level is more and more difficult. However, if you get bored on a level, you can just skip it.

If you like this game or games of this nature, then I would highly consider a board game called Richochet Robots. It’s a similar game style in which you compete with people to ‘beat’ a map by coming up with a solution with the least number of moves. Here’s a pic to give you an idea:

Overall, I prefer the board game.

Attal (Homepage)… maybe their Sourcefourge site… nope, nothing there. Oh, here we go, sorta: Attal Lords of Doom Wiki.

Before you go loading this game, you should know that it is still in development. Also note that for some reason, the window it opens in, likes to hide its window decoration behind your top bar. Which, makes accessing any of the menus or closing the game a pain in the butt. I was unable to get a map or campaign, or really anything going so we’re going to have to rely on the screen shot I was able to find:

Nothing to see here. Doesn’t look like there will be anything to see in the near future either.

Balazar (Homepage)
This game is described as a funny adventure game. Unfortunately, playing the game did not produce any adventure, or fun for that matter. It may be that the version I had was bugged as I did not get any reactions when trying to interact with the various people-things, that I ran into as I was running around the bizarre world.

From the screen shots that I saw on their website here, it looks like the game might be fun if I could speak a different language, and if I could get it to work properly. Ultimately, I ended up following the suicide option the game offered more than once to try and get myself back on track.

I wouldn’t try to sink too much time into this one.

Well, that’s it for part 3 of the Ubuntu (open source) gaming review. If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my RSS feed and be sure to stay tuned for the Ubuntu (Open Source) Games Review – Part 4!


As a web developer I find myself challenged with code that is my own and the completely bastardized versions of things that people call code from others all the time. It’s part of the challenge I love and part of what makes me good at what I do.

Recently I was in the #php chatroom of the Ubuntu Servers in IRC and I found myself giving advice to someone looking to provide a shopping-cart like solution to his website. After talking to him for a while, the real problem came out. Apparently, there was a symbol that was appearing in the output file that was not allowing them to easily open it. So, rather than come up with a solution to change the file, they started to look for a ‘shopping cart’ solution.

Once he was convinced that it wasn’t that he needed a new solution, but a new look at his code, this is the conclusion of a long conversation with him:

me: craigbass1976, then start to learn to use and its search functionality.

craigbass1976: Ok, I’m going to go break more stuff. Thanks

me: craigbass1976, and go through the code. It’ll take time. But you’ll learn and understand simultaneously.

craigbass1976 (n=craig@*************************) has left ##php (“Leaving”)

me: Heh… sometimes people just need confidence to break stuff.

It’s amazing to find that people just need the confidence and the reassurance to go ‘break code’ that may cause their application to work properly.

So, the point of this post is:

It’s such an important lesson that I even decided to hit the caps lock key.

Breaking code is a huge lesson when it comes to learning how to write code. If you are afraid that you are going to break things, then that may curb you from stepping outside of your bounds. Don’t be afraid to push your limits when it comes to writing code. Use a complicated array in a weird way to find results associated to a weird database.

It’s important to push yourself.

I think that one of the biggest things that can help you is learning how to easily access the search engine of code language of your choice. First of all, this suggestion is for Firefox. Not Internet Explorer.

Here’s one of the tips that has helped me so much:
Setting Keyword Searches

Oh man. This allows you to type simple things in the browser and have it search the location of your choice.

Here’s an example:
Say I wanted to know what the function strstr() did in PHP. I can open Firefox and type in the location bar: php strstr and that’s it. It will immediately take me to here.

This can apply to whatever language you want. I use pgsql for when I am searching for PostgreSQL related things in a similar manner.

Here’s how simple it is.

  1. Go to the website of the language of your choice. In this case, we are going to use because it is the best database setup ever:
  2. If availabile: find the search box for the site and make sure you select the type of search you want. On some sites this will be selections such as “Function List” or “Online Documentation”. I personally prefer to select the most general search option to ensure the largest number of answers. In our example here, there isn’t a basic choice in the search box.

    Once you have selected your option, right click in the box and select “Add a Keyword for this Search…”:

  3. Now that you have selected the search box. This will bring up the “Add Bookmark” dialogue. Here, you can enter a Name for the search (in this case PostgreSQL Search) and the Keyword for this search (pgsql).
  4. Click on the “Add” button.
  5. Enjoy. Try entering the following into your address bar pgsql drop column and you will see that you will be brought to here. It’s as easy as:

Now you can easily access the search engine of the language of your choice and you can plow through code and easily search what it is you’re really looking for. Hopefully this will be helpful to those that are trying to learn how to write code or trying to learn a different language.

Ultimately though: this applies for anyone looking to ease their browsing experience.

Now that you have easy access to the documentation you need, you can go about breaking stuff. Start at the top of the code and work your way down. When you come to something you don’t understand, fire up your browser and start searching. Having the keyword search available at a whim will save you a ton of time. It will also allow you to minimize the time spent away from your code. The more you trudge, the further you’ll get. Eventually you’ll start to learn simple bits and pieces about the code in front of you and the results you see on the screen.

It will take time, but patience and perseverance will pay off in the end.

That’s it for now. If you enjoyed this post, then you should consider subscribing to my RSS feed.


Well everyone. It’s been quite a few days so I expect that you all are awaiting part 2 of the Ubuntu / Open Source game review. I apologize for the delay but my girlfriend, Bonnie has had a huge women’s policy event to plan for. The amount of work and dedication needed to help plan and organize an event of this nature is enormous and would take it’s toll upon anyone. So, I’ve done my best to be there for her. But, that aside: everything is now well.

So, without further adieu, here it is!

Last time we went over how to install games using the wonderful operating system known as Ubuntu. We also went over the first 3 games in the list of games that are easily accessible with the Ubuntu operating system: Abuse, Adonthell – Waste’s Edge and Airstrike.

Now that you know how easy it is to install the games, you can follow along with the next few games in the review:

AisleRiot Solitaire (Homepage)
While you may have played solitaire on Windows, you have never seen a solitaire program as flexible as this. There are a number of different card solitaire games to choose from. You can play games from Gay Gordons to Beleaguered Castle and enjoy everything in between. This is a very flexible and diversified solitaire card playing program.

Alien Arena (Homepage)
Version 6.10 of this game has gotten a lot of attention from different publications (read as here and here, and so on). Even though it offers different types of gameplay such as CTF (capture the flag) and AOA (all out assault), it really doesn’t deliver anything spec-tickley-taculour. I’m just being honest from a game playing point of view. While the graphics are pretty well done and scale well for better systems more than some other games, Alien Arena just doesn’t pack enough unidentified flying punch to make it extremely worthwhile. Here’s a screenshot of one of the aliens about to be creamed:

Ultimately, if you are looking for some open source multiplayer action that is akin to other FPS games, then maybe Alien Arena is for you. However, don’t expect to find anything extraordinary from this well designed FPS.

Overall, I would say that Alien Arena is good if you are looking to play some medium to fast paced first person shooter type games. But if you’re looking for the game that will blow your socks off, Alien Arena is not for you.

Anagramarama (Homepage)
If you couldn’t tell from the name, this game is all about anagrams. As such, this is a game for those who are fond of coming up with words given a set of letters (think Boggle). The game itself is pretty small and doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles. However, the sound that it makes when you have an incorrect answer is exceptionally annoying. There aren’t really any options for the game so you just play as hard as your lexicon of a brain will let you.

Also, if you have ever been a fan of the popular Yahoo game Text Twist, then this game will be right up your alley. However, this author prefers the Yahoo version in this case.

As you can see by the screen shot, there’s nothing new here:

However, if you like word games and you want to waste a few minutes, this game might be for you.

Angry, Drunken Dwarves (angrydd) (Homepage)
Well, this one happens to be a revamp, but it’s pretty damned fun and it’s got loads of originality. One of the first things you’ll notice about this game is the description that is given for the installation of the game. Here’s an excerpt:

“In Angry, Drunken Dwarves, you are an angry, drunken dwarf. Why are you so angry? Who knows. But you’ve decided to take your aggression out on other dwarves, by dropping gems on their heads. Lots of gems.”

If you’ve ever played Dr. Mario or Super Puzzle Fighter, then you will probably like this game. It even allows for two player action if you are using a USB game pad or if you don’t mind getting cozy with your opponent on the same keyboard. Like I said though, the originality of the game is sorta what gives it some flare. Just as an example. Here’s the mug of one of the characters: Ogi Hammeraxe.

Here’s a great excerpt from his description:

“He once punched this other dwarf in the face just for laughing after he accidentally rhymed while explaining the function of he hammer.”

The different dwarves drop different types of crystals on their opponents when they get combinations.

I wish the originality and graphics would have worked their way into the gameplay however as it is a bit drab. Not to mention the fact that the “original music” is tolerable at best. Here’s a screen of that gameplay:

Match colors to make big gems. Make the gems go boom. Other guy gets gems dropped on their screen. Rinse, repeat.

However, in comparison, here is it’s competitor Super Puzzle Fighter:

The use of animated characters with the voice acting (albeit somewhat annoying voice acting) adds enough flare to make this game more worthwhile. Hopefully we’ll see more in a later release of angrydd.

Akhart (Homepage)
Okay, so this isn’t really a game per say, but more of a framework for those interested in developing games… in 2003. Since it was part of the menu of games that were possible to install, I decided to give it a try. I loaded up the game and adventurously clicked on the ‘Histoire’ menu button to find out a bit about the game. Okay, there’s a world, some people… oh god:

“They where [sic] the owners of a powerful yet wise knowledge.”

Yea, I pretty much stopped reading there.

I clicked on the Options button… no luck there. Hmmm… how about the Multi button? Nope, nothing there. Okay, single player here I come. The arrow keys move you forward, not backward, and you can turn. Oh, and the mousewheel works. That’s about it here folks. It’s also worth mentioning that it is a HUGE resource hog on my humble laptop. Here’s a screen shot of all its wonder:

Yes, I tried clicking on the NPC(?) next to me to see if anything happened. No, nothing did. I don’t think anyone will be writing a game using this framework anytime soon. But, who knows?

Well there we have it. That’s it for part 2 of the Ubuntu (Open Source) game review. Subscribe to my RSS feed and check out the Ubuntu (Open Source) Games Review – Part 3!