No Icons on Gnome Desktop

With my installation of Fedora Core 19, I could not understand why I  was not able to put icons on my desktop. I am using Gnome and could not copy icons to the desktop even though icons were under my user/desktop folder. It became a bigger problem when I installed Unity of Command since you copy the game to Linux without really doing an install. I really wanted to put the alias on my desktop to launch the game.

After some research I found an article on Fedoraproject.org that addressed this issue. Apparently the Gnome team doesn’t think people need a “traditional desktop” anymore so eliminated it. But you can bring it back by installing the Gnome Tweak Tool through the command sudo yum install gnome-tweak-tool. Once installed go under utilities in your applications list and launch Gnome Tweak Tool to add a trash can and computer icon to the desktop as well as any icons under your user/desktop folder.

Unity of Command on Linux

I figured I would write this follow-up post after talking about Linux. Follow the instructions from 2 x 2 Games to install on Linux (basically unzip and copy over to a folder). However, one mistake they made was having you copy the DLCs into the Unity of Command folder. DLCs actually need to go into the DLC folder under the Unity of Command folder to be recognized by the game. When the DLCs are installed correctly and you start the game, you will be asked for your key code.

I also had trouble getting the sound to work. Read the readme file for help. I am using a Dell Optiplex 780’s built-in sound. The sound works fine with other games so I know the sound is not the problem. The music isn’t that exciting in the game and is repetitive so no great loss. The game still plays great.

 

 

Linux Box

I recently built a Linux PC because I decided I wanted to try and play games on Linux with the increase in the number of available games. In addition, Steam is available on Linux and I wanted to try Crossover, the software that uses Wine to run apps and play games on the Mac and Linux, on a Linux box since I have only previously tested and used it on the Mac. I used a Dell Optiplex 780 SFF and had no troubles loading Fedora Core 19. I went with the x64 load and put 16 GB of RAM in it because that is the most the PC could hold. With video cards your options are limited in a SFF PC, so I started with an Nvidia GT 620 video card but later moved to an AMD 7750 after I found this awesome card in a LP configuration on Amazon here. Neither video card had any problems in Linux.

I found that Crossover actually works much better on Linux than Mac OS. More of the games I test with Crossover work with Linux. And Linux plays games much faster. I loaded Unity of Command on Linux, and although I could not get the sound to work, it works much faster between turns.

So I am enjoying my gaming and playing around with Linux. The SFF PC is small but works great and this gives me an excuse to mess around more with Linux. Not as user friendly as Windows or Mac, but more control and less baggage for you. Give Linux a shot if you haven’t yet.

Unity of Command

If you like old school turn-based war games like Panzer General, you will love Unity of Command. This is the first game by 2 x 2 Games and it is a hit. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The game has 2 additional DLCs available, Red Turn and Black Turn. In total, the game covers the battle on the Eastern front between Germany and the USSR from 1941-1945.

The game includes a campaign mode as well as individual scenarios. I stuck with the scenarios, which are rated from easy to hard, a nice touch. You mostly command infantry and tanks, with a few other vehicles available in different scenarios. Different scenarios also add options for bombing, additional supply, bridge building or destruction, and partisans for the Russians. Each scenario has one or more objectives marked on a mini map and on the screen. These are typically cities. The mini map also shows your area of control in a darker color. Each scenario has a limited amount of turns in which you must capture the objectives to win.

Supply is a very big factor in the game. Depending on where your supply depots are located and how far out supply extends affects how far you can progress against the enemy. One turn out of your supply area puts a small ! on your unit, although the unit may still attack and move. After 2 turns, the unit has a large red ! and can only move, not attack. 3 or more turns out of supply severely weakens your unit, which is unable to attack, is limited in movement, and is easy to kill. Therefore, you should usually try to capture or block enemy units from their supply lines to weaken them. Finally, the AI loves to block or capture your supply so make sure your defense lines are solid!

Other game effects include weather, which can make it harder to move and attack, and areas of control, which limit your units movement past enemy units. You also can use prestige points to upgrade units or buy reinforcements. You may start with some points and you gain points whenever you capture an objective. You also may have reinforcements available at different points in scenarios.

I played the game on both Mac and Linux, and although I was unable to get sound on Linux, it played faster than my Mac. I also beta tested the Black Turn DLC, and these 2 x 2 guys are very nice and helpful. This is a new company with a great game who are already talking about their next game. Support this indie developer and you won’t be sorry.

Check out Unity of Command on Steam, Matrix Games, or the Unity of Command website.

 

Save TechNet Subscriptions Petition

Microsoft recently announced it will end TechNet subscriptions next year. The only alternative left for IT Pros is expensive MSDN subscriptions that cost thousands of dollars. IT pros need TechNet subscriptions to test new software and gain experience with it for their jobs or education. If you agree that Microsoft should not end TechNet subscriptions or should offer an affordable alternative, please sign a petition to Microsoft by going to this address:

http://www.change.org/petitions/continue-technet-or-create-an-affordable-alternative-to-msdn

Kickstarter Updates

From the games I have backed and spoken of, Strike Suit Zero and Legend of Dawn are available.

Void Destroyer has been funded, but there is still one day left to back what looks like a great cross between an RTS and a space sim.

Frozen State desperately needs your help. It has 21 days to go but is over 45,000 pounds short. Check it out – it looks like a cross between Fallout 1 & 2 and Stalker.

Another new Kickstarter to check out is Race to Mars. It looks like a homage to Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space from the 1990’s with a lot more going on.

Many of these games are by first time and / or small outfits. Give these people a chance if you can and pledge for anything that looks interesting to you!

 

 

More Great Kickstarter Projects

Check out Frozen State, a survival, horror RPG set in Siberia. It takes inspiration from Fallout, Stalker, Metro 2033, and other Sci-Fi movies and books. It looks like a top-down RPG like the original Fallout, but with some cool randomly generated environments and conditions.

Another cool game is Void Destroyer, and hybrid RTS and space sim. In this game you can be the commander, directing ships and base building. You also can hop into a ship and dog fight. The cool thing is, if your ship is destroyed you return to the command ship or jump into another ship to continue fighting.

I backed both of these projects and hope they are funded.

Mad Catz R.A.T. 7

I have gone through several mice recently, even though I mostly use a trackball. I started with a wireless mouse, but became annoyed when it constantly failed to respond or needed batteries. Then I used the laser mouse that came with my Dell and it worked well. It even had a DPI adjustment button. But I just loved reading about and seeing the R.A.T. 7. It is so unorthodox, but surprisingly easy to use. It is very customizable, from the two sides, to the length and height of the back, to the amount of weight on it (there are several small weights that you can remove or keep until the mouse feels comfortable). The only thing that took me a few minutes to find was the tool included that you use to unscrew some screws to change things. It is actually on the end of a knob that sticks out the back of the mouse. Once you unscrew it (which also lets you get to the weights) you use the opposite side from the knob to unscrew screws. The mouse has a side scroll wheel in addition to the normal scroll wheel between the buttons. You need to download the software from the manufacturer’s web site, but there are many profiles available for different games. All in all I just like looking at the R.A.T. 7 sitting on my desk. Sure it costs more than cheapo mice (I purchased mine on sale from Best Buy) but you can’t beat the looks and the options for it. Highly recommended for gamers.

Jack Reacher

I thought this was a pretty good movie, but not consistent with the trailer, which shows it as if there are comedic elements. Sure the scene where he gets out of the car and blends into the crowd and slips away from the police is funny, but you already saw that in the trailer. The rest of the movie is serious for the most part. The first five minutes get your attention. The movie is not gory or bloody in any scenes, and there are a few fight scenes. Cruise did well as the lead character, taking no crap from anybody and looking at things from a different angle. There’s a twist at the end about who is bad instead of good, but the other bad guys are bad for certain. This was a good drama to watch with some good acting and some action scenes. I recommend it.

Secunia Personal Software Inspector

I saw this in a PC World article. Very useful and free. This program will scan the software installed on your computer and tell you if there are updates for your software. You can have the program automatically update your software, download updates and let you install them, or notify you that there are updates available. You can update the software right from within the program. The updates may download a newer version of the software or take you to a website to download the software.

Check out this great free program that will help keep your software up-to-date at Secunia’s website.