Originally Published: Thursday, 28 June 2001 Author: Jeff Mrochuk
Published to: enhance_articles_games/General Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

Locating Free Demos of Commercial Games for Linux

Linux.com correspondent Jeff Mrochuk takes us on a tour of free demonstration versions of commercial games available on the Internet for your Linux system. Playing these demos is a great way to burn through some free time, as well as get a great taste of what level commercial gaming on Linux has reached.

A lot of Linux users I talk to don't buy games. The first argument against it: there are plenty of free alternatives. Although there are some good free alternatives, the quality is often lacking compared to the commercial products. The second reason they give for not buring games is that they don't think they will find anything they like. Well, let's see if I can't help everyone out with the second problem.

The following is a guide to the Demos of various commercial games. These demos give you a chance to see (and usually play) a portion of the game, before you spend your hard earned dollar. They also give you a chance to see that most Open Source games, as great as they are, can't compare to commercial games.

Loki Entertainment

Loki has a great demo system, and a great many games.

Software you need:

Download and run the files:

You can do this as root or as a user, but as a user you need to have write permission where you'd like to install (/usr/local/ and /usr/local/bin by default). Also note all future updating should be done by the same user.

$ sh loki_update-full-1.0.10-x86.run
$ sh loki_uninstall-1.0b.run
$ sh loki_demos-full-1.0e-x86.run

Then make sure loki_update is the newest version, by running:

$ loki_update loki_update

And follow the on screen interface. This can be done in X or console, but I recommend X.

Next run loki_update, and select the `Loki Demo Pack`. You can also select any other Loki software you have installed. You should get a screen like this:

All of the Demos are playable except those labeled (MPEG movie), which are just video previews of the game. Last I've checked that's 13 playable demos. Not only will it keep you busy, but it will also let you see which games you like. The ones that say 3D required need a working OpenGL, or Mesa setup.

Here's a quick rundown:

Soldier of Fortune - First person shooter (Careful, its pretty violent)
Rune - 3rd person Viking action game. Great fun.
Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire - Sci-Fi Turn based world domination game, from those who brought you Civilization.
SimCity 3000 - Who hasn't heard of SimCity? City building simulator.
Railroad Tycoon 2 - If you've ever wanted to rule the Railroad industry? Well if you have, this is the game.
Myth II: Soulblighter - Overhead, party based strategy game. For fantasy lovers.
Heroes of Might and Magic III - More strategy, more fantasy.
Heretic II - 3rd person sequel to an old classic. Fast paced action.
Heavy Gear II - Combat in giant machines, more fighting, but at a slightly slower pace.
Eric's Ultimate Solitaire - You're probably not going to find anything to exciting here. But if cards are your thing, check it out.
Descent 3 - Indoor space ship combat, fully free movement.
Civilization: Call to Power - More turn based world domination, this time starting way before BC.
Mindrover - Make your own robot, then get it to win various competitions. Nothing else like it.
Tribes 2 - MPEG movie. A little teaser of the final game.
Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns - Another MPEG Movie.

Loki Update will download and install any demo you select for you. Then run

$ loki_demos

To configure each game, and pick which you want to play. You'll get a screen like this:

Just pick the box at the bottom, and click play.

That should take you through most of Loki's Software lineup. They're the biggest, but they aren't the only game in town.

id Software

Quake 3: Arena Loki no longer handles this port. The demo is available at


Quake 3: Arena is an arena based deathmatch game. Duke it out with heavy weapons against computer controlled bots, or on the internet.

It comes in a .sh file. Install it as follows:

$ sh linuxq3ademo-1.11-6.x86.gz.sh

$ quake3

Hyperion Software

Shogo: MAD - A first person shooter, half on foot, half in giant robots.

Contains the Demo.
Patches it.

Install as such:

$ sh ShogoDemo.run
$ mv ShogoDemoUpd.tar.gz /path/to/shogo
$ tar xzvf ShogoDemoUpd.tar.gz


$ shogo

SiN - Another First person shooter, great single player. http://www.3ddownloads.com/?file_id=110745


$ sh SinDemo_x86.run


$ sin

Epic Games

Unreal Tournament - First person action game, much like Quake 3: Arena (Note: You might need glide for this install. The full version supports OpenGL, but the demo does not.)


Just untar where you'd like to put it. It will go into a utdemo/ dir


$ tar xzvf utdemo-linux-x86-348.tar.gz


$ cd utdemo/System/
$ ./UnrealTournament

Vicarious Visouns

Terminus - Huge space game, something along the lines of Wing Commander, and other space combat games. (Requires OpenGL or Glide). First commercial game with Linux/Windows/Mac in one box.



$ mkdir terminusdemo
$ mv TerminusDemoLinuxFull.tar.gz terminusdemo/
$ cd terminusdemo/
$ tar xzvf TerminusDemoLinuxFull.tar.gz


$ ./terminus +gfx_renderer opengl or
$ ./teminus +gfx_renderer glide if you use glide

MP Entertainment

Hopkins FBI - This one is a unique one for Linux. A sort of adventure game, not unlike the Sierra style games. The first commercial game for Linux!



$ tar xzvf Hopkins-PDemo-1.00.tar.gz
$ cd Hopkins-PDemo-1.00
$ ./Install
$ cd ..
$ tar xzvf tar xzvf Patch-Pdemo-1.02.tar.gz
$ cd Patch-PDemo-1.02
$ cp Hopkins-PDemo.bin /path/to/Hopkins-PDemo-1.00/


$ Hopkins_FBI

Mountain King Studios

Raptor - A classic. Over head shooting style, jet fighting game.



$ tar xzvf raptorlinuxshr.tar.gz $ sh ./raptorlinuxshr.sh


$ raptor


Now, give those games a shot and tell me they don't beat the tar out of most Open Source games. It's not a great thing, but its the truth. Games require a lot of staff to really shine, and artists in the Open Source world are few and far between. But the real benefit of these files is giving a game a good honest shot before you decide to buy: much better than a few screenshots, and some word of mouth.