Akaneiro: Demon Hunters

This week on Steam I purchased an Early Access copy of Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, which is a new ARPG from Spicy Horse (run by industry veteran’s American McGee and R.J. Berg).  The game can be downloaded for free for Windows and Mac from the website, with a Linux version available through the support site. It looks to have the ability to purchase game currency and items,  as the Steam version costs money it comes with a bunch of extra items, which I haven’t really looked at yet.

I have only played briefly so far, but for what is essentially an alpha build of a game it works very well.  It is definitely worth at least downloading and checking out the free version.

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Setting up a XMBCbuntu system

The system that I doing this on is an old Pentium 4 with an nVidia FX5500 graphics card in it plugged into an old CRT television via the RCA port.  After downloading the Intel-nVidia iso from xbmc.org and putting it on a USB stick I installed it using just the default settings.

After the install I found that the GUI wouldn’t load due to installed drivers not having the extensions for OpenGL 2.1.  As my card is too old for the regular nvidia-current drivers from the repository, the experimental drivers need to be installed and configured through the terminal.  The latest (ie. experimental) drivers are also needed to run the Steam for Linux client.

So switching to one of the terminal sessions (Ctrl+Alt+F1) and logging in enabled me to run the following commands to install the nVidia drivers in the Ubuntu repository.

sudo apt-get install nvidia-experimental-310 nvidia-settings-experimental-310
sudo nvidia-xconfig

followed by an apt-get install update apt-get install upgrade to ensure that everything else was up to date.

However, I then discovered that my card was too old to use the 310 driver so after a quick purge of all the nvidia modules I let the repository pick the correct driver and reinitialised the gui.  Using the software sources app I was able to select the the nVidia driver available for my card, which as it turns out does not have the OpenGL extensions that the latest version of XBMC requires.

Unfortunately this leaves me in the position of having to use a newer card.  But the spare one I have doesn’t have an RCA AV output, meaning that I can’t connect it to the television that I intended to use with XBMC.  The driver version also means that I won’t be able to install Steam Big Picture mode either.

So I’m stuck with trying to find a relatively new video card that has an RCA AV out or buying a newer TV.  I suspect my chances are better with getting hold of a newer TV.

–Update–

So I remembered that my main desktop computer had a newer video card with an s-video out and came with a s-video/RCA cable.  So I’ve upgraded my main desktop and can use the card for the XBMC box, but will have to wait for the current refresh at work to complete to get a motherboard with PCI-E instead of AGP.

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Website Tracking and me

In one of the recent Firefox updates a Do Not Track setting was added to the options.  The setting itself simply sends a flag in the HTTP headers to a website stating that they should either disable their tracking code or prevent tracking data being transmitted to a third party.  The actual requirement isn’t particularly clear on this point, and it is entirely up to the site owner configure their server to honour the request.

Now I have no particular problem with a site recording a certain amount of data about my visit, but I don’t particularly want my browsing history or information about what services I am logged into being collected by companies to track my surfing history.  So I thought that I would see whether Do Not Track is being honoured or ignored using Collusion, which is a browser plugin that a friend of mine showed me.

This is the graph of the sites (highlighted in blue) that I’ve visited and the links to third party sites that my visit information is being sent to, with the size indicating the number of incoming paths.  The biggest blobs are google-analytics.com, scorecardresearch.com & doubleclick.net

collusion

I also run AdBlock Plus and ShareMeNot across all my computers, so I’m blocking quite a few extra links, but it seems clear that currently Do Not Track is being ignored by a large number of web servers.   I would guess that a lot of it has to do with targeted advertising, but realistically all that an advertising company needs to successfully display a relevant ad is my geo-location and the context of the page the ad is loaded from.

Hopefully, as the hosting servers are updated more and more sites will respect the Do Not Track, until then I think I’ll find some more plugins to prevent my information being shared.

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Steam on Linux

When I initially switched over to Ubuntu my main go to games actually had native versions available, such as Unreal Tournament (GOTY, 2k3, 2k4) and Neverwinter Nights and I could run most of the other games that I found interesting in Wine.  Then it seems all the development studios started to program primarily for DirectX and then porting to OpenGL for the Mac, but never continuing the process to Linux due to “market share” and “fragmentation”.  It’s a Catch 22, gamers are use Windows because games are released for Windows, and developers release games for Windows because that’s what the gamers use.

So last year when Valve announced that they were porting Steam and their games to Linux, targeting Ubuntu 12.04, I was actually quite excited.   Since the beta opened I’ve been enjoying the benefits of being able to play a number of more modern titles than I previously had available and the current pace of games being released is phenomenal to the point that I now have more games to play than free time.   Now it’s just a matter of time for Valve to release the rest of their source games.

 

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Consoles and media centre PCs

Before receiving an Xbox last year my primary device to stream media through my television was an old desktop running Ubuntu.  The problem with this was I hadn’t quite gotten around to installing an interface like mythTV to properly use it from across the room.  With the console always connected to the TV it made sense to use it to stream media stored on my main system, although it took some trial and error in order to get it to connect to folders on a linux desktop (coherence was what I ended up with btw).  That old desktop was then relegated to the cupboard until I could figure out what to do with it.

Since then a few things have occurred which have prompted me to think about a possible purpose for that old PC, my old Playstation2′s power adapter has given up and a new startup has received a lot of attention over a new low cost open source console.  In my search for more concrete information about this new console I stumbled across a guide on how to configure XBMC to play games using a current game controller, which got me thinking whether it is possible to package all the dependencies for currently released games and run them entirely off an optical drive.  Also it would be nice to be able to be able to emulate my PS2 and still play my games.

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