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Games Software Entertainment Hardware Linux

Turn Your New Opteron Into A One-Game Console 350

An anonymous reader writes "A new 64-bit Linux CD can instantly turn an AMD Opteron-equipped PC into the ultimate gaming console, according to Super Computer Inc. (SCI). The company has created a distribution of the popular America's Army multi-player strategy game on a bootable Linux CD, that it says was developed in partnership with AMD, nVidia, and the US Army."
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Turn Your New Opteron Into A One-Game Console

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  • by inteller ( 599544 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:49AM (#7103928)
    try 100s... www.mame.net
    • Mame.dk (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TrippdOut ( 711482 )
      Of course, it's harder to "acquire" rom images, now that Mame.dk [www.mame.dk] is not allowing downloads. It was bound to happen; it's still a shame it did.
      • Re:Mame.dk (Score:3, Informative)

        by edmudama ( 155475 )
        A company just started that has legal ROM downloads for a reasonable price if you want to legally play some of the old classics.

  • Well gee (Score:5, Funny)

    by KDan ( 90353 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:49AM (#7103931) Homepage
    If that's the killer niche app for the opteron, I feel sorry for AMD!...

    • It's rare that I look at a new idea being done with Linux and get depressed instead of excited, but this definitely qualifies. This is a fairly bad idea. As people pointed out in a recent Slashdot discussion, OS-with-game means that the game will soon stop working on new hardware for which there is no support, requires rebooting to play the game, doesn't let you take advantages of the OS *anyway* (I mean, the only role the OS plays in something like this is in what kind of sound latency you're seeing).
      • Just because the game is bundled with the OS, doesn't mean you can't get it un-bundled as well, or that you couldn't get it to work outside of the CD.

        It's a good thing, just not as good as it could be.

        As it stands, it may bring a few players over that would have otherwise stayed away from a Linux version or port of their products.
    • Re:Well gee (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think a lot of people here are missing the point of this CD. This is something for tired Opteron owners waiting for x86-64 specific software, this is not a long-term "solution" by any means. This is so you can just stick in your computer, and try out a common application under something 64 bit, so people who shelled out the moneh can test drive their new systems.
  • Hang on....Gentoo? (Score:5, Informative)

    by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:49AM (#7103932) Homepage
    Didn't Gentoo already do this when they created an Americas Army LiveCD for "any" x86 system?

    Well, alright, it didn't actually run on "any" system - maybe on ran on "some" systems but I seem to remember this was quite a while back when Icculus [icculus.org] first ported it.
    • Uh, yes, yes they did. In fact, I wouldn't be suprised if this new CD is just a rip of Gentoo's AA Live CD
    • Okay so I'm replying to myself but is the 'significant' difference here the 64bit port? - Is it wildly different from the 32bit version of AA or is it just quicker?

      Anyone have any further info on this 64bit port as the article seems a little thin in that respect....
      • Yes, the 64 bit technology will enable the PC platform to say "W3 H4V3 32-B1T! W3 R L33T!"

        Remember, just about the only way Atari's Jaguar made any sales at all was pretending to be 64 bit. (It does handle some 64 bit data, but whether that really makes it 64 bit is a debate which could rage eternally.) Nintendo 64? Ooh, it's 64 bit! It's a baby SGI!

        • The console "bit range" issue was significant at one point. At one point, the palette size depended upon word-addressable values on consoles. Thus, each "bit increase" that came along resulted in games with a wider palette.

          Now, of course, all that's ended, and much fun was poked at the "64-bit" generation, which was pretty much entirely a marketing oddity.
    • Wasn't there a story here a few months ago where someone was complaining that the Gentoo project leaders had -- well, I couldn't make out quite what they were supposed to have done to him but he blamed it on a conflict between Gentoo Games' business plan and his own?

      Is this the same guy? I can't find it but maybe the people who instantly post links to three year old dupes can do better...

  • by proj_2501 ( 78149 ) <mkb@ele.uri.edu> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:50AM (#7103935) Journal
    How much is an Opteron system? How much is a GameCube?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:50AM (#7103940)
    Where do I sign up?

    Maybe they can release instructions on how to dissemble my car and build a go cart out of the parts.
    • From the article: The experience for the end-user is fast and powerful game playing that boots in under one minute, without the usual overhead from the legacy operating systems traditionally used in the gaming industry, SCI claims.

      This leads me to assume they mean the stand-up arcade consoles which might run thousands of dollars, instead of a few hundred bucks for a home gaming gadget.
      • From the article: The experience for the end-user is fast and powerful game playing that boots in under one minute, without the usual overhead from the legacy operating systems traditionally used in the gaming industry, SCI claims.

        This leads me to assume they mean the stand-up arcade consoles which might run thousands of dollars, instead of a few hundred bucks for a home gaming gadget.

        Actually, I believe that's how the CPS3 'standard' works (CD/DVD based, I believe). CPS2 has two boards, A and B.

    • Turning $2000 worth of equipment into $150 of value is a Department of Defense specialty.
  • Gentoo Games (Score:2, Redundant)

    by bleaked ( 609151 )
    Oh? Kind of how Gentoo Games [ www.gentoogames.com ] has done sucessfully for months now? Yea.
  • by Synic ( 14430 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:52AM (#7103953) Homepage Journal
    Why would you ever want a console that only plays a single game? I thought the whole point was being able to switch between games. In this case, the writer of the news blurb fails to realize that you could switch between several such self-booting, self-contained discs (such as the UT2k3 Linux LiveCDs that Gentoo made) and then your PC would be kinda like a console system in that you don't need to muss with drivers or OS configuration outside of the game to set things up properly.
    • by Davak ( 526912 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:01PM (#7104066) Homepage
      I thought the days of this crap was over. Am I the only one old enough to remember games that required you to reboot from DOS into the game? What a pain!

      Now, granted... this fine for the game makers to include this as an option. That way if you can't get the game running any other way, you can always just boot into it. However, please don't start making this the only way to get into the games.

      Please let those days die.

      • This is not the only way to get the games though! It's just a way that will allow the game to perform at it's peak, without legacy OS options using any of your CPU or memory. You can still download and install the game for free, but then you have to worry more about overhead. I think this is a really neat way to get more people interested in Linux, since they're starting to see they can get these kick ass Linux live cd's (Knoppix, Gentoo games, etc.), but they may notice an utter lack of any form of Windows
    • Since it is a bootable CD, how are you changing your system into anything? You hard disk can still contain your usual OS / apps.

      Also, it would seem to be the equivalent to a console game having to reboot on new game insertion (everytime you put in a new CD ROM).
    • Should we forget Movix? [sourceforge.net] Movix is a tiny Linux distro that goes at the begining of CDs with movies on them to make them play without having to wory about people having their computers setup properly. I'm planning to make my wedding video and time surrounding (not the actual event of) my baby being born available to my realatives this way. Most of them don't have internet access and those that do aren't necessarily adept enough to get CODECs and the like. Between the Americas Army disk, the UT2k3 Disk, an
  • They Mean... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ... The Ultimate Gaming Console except any 128 bit machine and the upcomming PS3. When compared to anything other than those systems, it's the ulitmate. yeah.
  • by djhankb ( 254226 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:52AM (#7103961) Homepage
    There is a project going on called Advance CD [sourceforge.net] which utilizes the same concept of the bootable linux CD "game console" though it uses mame... I like the idea of the "Bootable CD game" and could be the next generation of a way to distrubute them? -Henry
  • A games console... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MaestroSartori ( 146297 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:53AM (#7103962) Homepage
    ...but without all those lovely console advantages like the uniform hardware target, well-designed controllers, and (in the case of America's Army at least) some decent gameplay in the games!

    Where do I sign up? :)
    • If the cd is properly done, you can make a uniform API for games to run. So it is almost like a single hardware, the games it self don't have to tinkle with the hardware.

      Since this is a work of AMD+NVidia I would bet that you would need some kind of GForce (maybe IV) to run the game plataform.
      • you can make a uniform API for games to run. So it is almost like a single hardware, the games it self don't have to tinkle with the hardware.

        You mean like DirectX?

      • The API isn't the problem, it's the hardware. On a console the developers know exactly what the hardware configuration is, including cache sizes, relative speeds of different components, available memory, available machine instructions. They can therefore tweak the hell out of the engine.
        On a PC, even given one common API like OpenGL, there are so many variables that optimisation is far harder. Can you assume SSE1/2? Or should you switch to 3DNow on athlons? How big is your L1/2 cache? Bus speed to memory/v
    • by Asprin ( 545477 )

      You need one of these [lik-sang.com]!
  • wouldn't a linux distro as gaming OS be the coolest thing ever? if a lot of game developers would focus on one linux distro, and gaming hw makers would focus their drivers developement on it.
    • by Bun ( 34387 )
      There is already a gaming OS focussed on by the majority of PC game developers. It's called "Windows"
    • That's actually not a bad idea. If they could combine this with that new BIOS that get you a boot-up in less than a second, you'd have something there. If you could copy the game CD images to your harddrive, you could boot a bare-bones Linux with a desktop full of game links. Clicking on them would reboot the PC from that image (which would load *much* faster than from the CD) and drop you right into the game. Quitting would reboot you back to the OS. Of course, there would also be an icon for a *full*
  • by 3Suns ( 250606 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:54AM (#7103977) Homepage
    How far we've come since the days of Apple IIe and Commodore64 and Kaypro. With all this new technology, it's interesting to see the return of the "Application Diskette".
    • Apple IIe and Kaypro maybee...but the C64 booted into its operating system, and then you loaded and ran the applications. In fact, I dont remember having a single game that used the floppy as a boot disk.
  • developed by nvidia? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Comsn ( 686413 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:54AM (#7103978)
    but what about ATI cards?

    drop this into an opteron with an nvidia card it should say.
  • Using Linux for a CD-ROM bootable game is no simple thing. It assumes full and excellent detection of hardware: graphics, sounds,...

    I see the future and it looks like this: a bootable Linux CD with my choice of applications, and a USB dongle with my /home. Need new software? Download a new ISO, burn it. Take any PC (office, home, cybercafe), insert CD, boot, insert dongle, work/play.

    It is a revolutionary way of using PCs. And only possible (AFAICS) with Linux and the kind of support provided by Knoppix et al.

    I predict 12 months before bootable Linux CDs become a completely standard model for games and application distribution, and 24 months before Microsoft attempt an imitation.

    Just love it...
    • On my network (a school) /hda (c:) is the default boot device. And a bios 'admin' PW is req'd to change that. I can't think of a cybercafe, library, public spot, kinko's where that's not the case.

      If this is a threat to MS, watch them exert pressure on the pc manufacturers to change the default boot device (and maybe even put in a pw) for home users !

    • Already there. Knoppix does pretty much what you're describing.
    • >I see the future and it looks like this:

      Slow down, Sparky.

      1. There are lots of software that runs off of MS OSs and not Linux. There are tonnes of games like this alone.

      2. There is a reason why we moved to harddrives, its more convient.

      3. Uptime anyone? What the use of Linux stability if you have to reboot it every time you want to switch an application?
      • by JMZero ( 449047 )
        I don't think this is going to happen either, but you've come up with the silly reasons.

        There are lots of software that runs off of MS OSs and not Linux. There are tonnes of games like this alone

        Developers write for what people have. They write stuff for Windows, GameCubes, and whatever else. Using a bootable CD would mean that, instead of writing for Windows or Linux, they'd be writing a game for "a pc". They could do this with a bootable Windows disk too, if not for licensing issues.

        There is a re
      • Agreed ... I seems some people have either forgotten or never lived through the DOS gaming era. We used to have to have to "boot" into games many moons ago (circa 1989). This sucked royally and I really don't want to see it come back. Besides, even if it started to happen, you can bet MS would be right there with "BootCD.NET" before any kind of Linux momentum ramped up.
    • Linux is far from being the only bootable CD environment.
      Ever bought a server from HP, Dell etc? They give you a CD with all the relevant drivers etc. You boot into the CD, it detects the devices, copies drivers onto harddisk, writes a kickstart file etc. Then you reboot to a normal OS CD and install proceeds fine. HP uses Win95 (98) for their first bootable CD , Dell uses NT etc. the boot environment is a full OS (with intentionally crippled networking etc.). The latest from MS is based on winXP and is
    • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) * on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:37PM (#7104444) Homepage Journal
      I predict 12 months before bootable Linux CDs become a completely standard model for games and application distribution

      I predict the entire computer gaming and applications industry will not follow your lead. Just a hunch, but it seems slightly beyond farfetched to think that anyone who sells software for money would consider a bootable Linux CD the ideal method of application distribution. It's especially farfetched to think they'd drop everything they're doing and begin selling their products this way.

      - A.P.
    • You are a weather forecaster, aren't you? :)
    • >It is a revolutionary way of using PCs.

      No, it's the way the Apple ][ series worked (and PCs, for that matter), except with older, fixed hardware. We all migrated to hard disks for a number of reasons including SPEED and storage. Nowadays we have more hardware, which means more drivers, bigger OSs, which mean more stuff to load when booting, and much much bigger games. Call it "bloat" because it's /. and we love to forget that we assume that all our hardware will be supported and all our favorite apps w
  • by evslin ( 612024 )
    ... the game isn't any good.
  • by efatapo ( 567889 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @11:58AM (#7104040)
    ...are missing the point. This isn't a permanent change to your computer it's a way to get the best performance for your games. You're not turning a $2000 machine into a $150 toy you're maxing out your machine for a certain task. How often are you multi-tasking while playing a game like America's Army? Not often. When you're playing a game best to get all of the potential of your machine focused on putting out the most frames per second, most textured and anti-aliased pixels, and least lag. End of story...

    Except that I will say this sounds like a cool idea and I will definitely give it a shot.

    http://www.pbase.com/efatapo [pbase.com]
    • On the contrary, I usually don't quit anything when I'm playing a game, and I have an assortment of filesharing clients and IMs running in the background. The IMs will never use any substantial amount of my computing resources unless they freak out, I have had to kill yahoo messenger a few times because it started eating up 99% of my CPU for no reason whatsoever. That was a version or two ago, though. I usually lower priority on Waste and Bittorrent++ (alpha code, I don't recommend it just yet, but it is ni
    • You're missing the point, dude.

      I'm going to lose my uptime.

      Therefore, I won't play games.

    • hmm when I played TFC excessively, I generally ran Roger Wilco (for voice comms), at least one IRC client, the game itself, sometimes an MP3 player, and whichever external server browser I was using at the time (gamespy early on, ASE later). That was on a day where I didn't have a half dozen other things going on, or wasn't running a league.

      Sure, I stripped the OS down quite a bit when I initially set it up, to the point where I sometimes have to enable rather mundane functions to do other things, but over
    • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:20PM (#7108547) Homepage Journal
      " When you're playing a game best to get all of the potential of your machine focused on putting out the most frames per second, most textured and anti-aliased pixels, and least lag. End of story..."

      Why is that when anybody ever says "end of story", it never is the end of story? I should sic Lionel Hutz on your ass.

      You'll see some FPS improvement, maybe. But you'll also see less bearable issues. How do you patch it? How do you install a new driver that makes things go faster or more stable? How do you justify the time lost rebooting the machine by getting another 2 fps? How do you go about using other programs such as Roger Wilco to talkk to your team mates? Etc.

      Sorry, I don't share the 'cool factor' here because PC based architecture is too varied from machine to machine. If they were all the same generic build, then yeah I'd be on your side here. But no, too many different machines, too much can go wrong. That's why us gamers like having a common OS with an API like OpenGL or DirectX. If your hardware works with those two APIs, then the game should (theoretically) work, no need to tell the game what kind of sound card you have.

      So no, not end of story. Piece of advice, when something seems so gosh darn simple to you, it's not because everybody in the world is a fucking moron, it's because you're missing information that they have.
    • I never multitask during games by choice. Some applications demand attention. I've moved every one of those applications onto my cheap laptop. Let's me run Gaim (talk to people while I camp), Mozilla (for cheat codes of course), Mozilla Mail (in case something important actually does come up), and lots of other business-esque software so I can see who's calling (from the phone system) to see if I need to mute before I pick up.

      All the tweaking gamers out there should love this CD thing, for now. Then at
  • by dr_canak ( 593415 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:00PM (#7104060)
    There are always posts about where can linux break out and really take over market share (i.e. desktop, server, etc...), and when i first read the story, I didn't really see the point to this. But then:

    From the article:

    "The fact that America's Army is available in 64-bit on the GameStorm CD allows gamers to get a taste of the next generation of gaming just by inserting a CD and powering up the computer," said Major Bret Wilson, Operations Officer for America's Army.

    This really does make sense to me. P.C.s in my mind are just better for the serious gamer, and hardware issues aside, if they can actually get to a point of porting single CD games like this, it could really create an exciting new breed of "console games." I'd love to just pop in a disk of Baldur's Gate, Nascar, Halflife, etc... and get the best of both worlds. Quick access to the game w/o the hassle of an install and all the advantages of the superior AI seen on the p.c. platform as compared to the console platform.

    Add in the capability to save games and "ini" info to a CDR or Floppy and you are good to go.

    just my .02.
  • To be realistic... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LaserBeams ( 412546 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:00PM (#7104062)
    This would make it very easy to play games places that you aren't supposed to be playing games. School computer labs for instance, where the networks are good, and the computers are great, and... they use them for MS Word. Or cube farms.

    Now, all that's needed is a hotkey to eject the CD and kill the machine in case Someone approaches...
  • by ciryon ( 218518 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:03PM (#7104087) Journal
    Imagine the day when all games are delivered in this way. You get the best OS available and instantly into action with your hardware fully utilized.

    For the gamers that always want maximum frames per second this must be a dream. Nothing extra claiming memory and other resources in the background. It's just the game and you! Not to mention how this would boost Linux game development.

    • how about playing older games on a system that has hardware developed after the game iso came out?
      How would the linux kernel recognise that hardware?
    • If I want this, then I'll add another user to my windows setup which doesn't start any of the random crap I use on a regular basis. You could even script net stop and net start to suspend and restart assorted services, like the indexing service. The bottom line is that a very small portion of the games available today run on linux, and while that is changing, it hasn't changed yet.
  • Now it sucks even faster.
  • Ya know, I was only joking with my friends that it is only a matter of time before someone proposes the return of the application disk. Amazing how fast things like this happen.

    What would be neat is for someone to do the same thing to boot straight into Open Office, ideal for a diskless network workstation for an office, wouldn't you think? A kernel totally optimized for word processing in the system's CD-ROM. No concerns about your staff playing Q3A when you're not looking.
  • I don't know much about AA, but wouldn't you want to save a game somehow? How do you do that?

    A new 64-bit Linux CD can instantly turn an AMD Opteron-equipped PC into the ultimate gaming console, according to Super Computer Inc. (SCI).

    P.S. You (probably) also need an nvidia graphics card.

    Company Marketing Manager Jay Majumdar says America's Army on GameStorm will be distributed free by AMD with Opteron-equipped PCs

    Translation: People buying a $3000 PC won't notice an extra $50.

    Anyway, I guess I'm b
    • I don't know much about AA, but wouldn't you want to save a game somehow? How do you do that?

      You could probably use some kind of USB key, or *gasp* a floppy ;-)
    • yeah you don't know much about aa..

      well, the thing that i'm worried about saving is keyboard configs and such, or maybe even those are saved on the servers.

      but basically, you don't need a savegame, just remember your pass and login.

      all that being said, of linux distros at least gentoo had had such a livecd for ages.. and maybe there's a morphix version with aa too(not sure on that).
  • I'm so glad we're finally moving to 64-bit technology if it makes this kind of thing possible!
  • Now I know why I've been getting my butt handed to me on the Radio Antenna map...all those 64bit AA consoles are whipping my poor little 32bit linux box... :(
  • by sameb ( 532621 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:55PM (#7104631) Homepage

    You can download America's Army from multiple sources very quickly at magnetmix.com [magnetmix.com]. It'll download off of everyone who has downloaded it on Gnutella.
  • How far from a normal pc is a Xbox? If anyone ever gets Linux loading on a Xbox without having to resort to any hacks expect an explosion of these types of cds.
  • by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @01:24PM (#7104981) Homepage
    Many people here seem to be complaining that this reduces your PC to a console device, which it does in a way. I also see complaints that this will "return us to the days of DOS" with reboots and memory management etc.

    I doubt either situation is the case. What I actually expect is that this is a great short term solution to the problem of not having a mainstream 64 bit OS on the desktop for PC's. This gives the Opteron a chance to shine as the game will be compliled for 64bit, as well as the OS that runs under it - 64bit Linux.

    Microsoft has not released 64bit XP except to subscribers AFAIK - and it won't be available until 2004 anyhow.

    "But wait!" I hear you cry - you could continue to use Linux on the desktop yadda yadda... That is not the target of this thing. It is a quick and dirty solution to getting a 64bit game out the door and into the players hands. Yes - you could do this with Linux alone, and no boot disc, however, most people who play America's Army don't use Linux - or even MacOS X for that matter. They use Windows.

    This then, is a good win for Linux - some of the users may realize that they are using Linux, and become intrigued by it if America's Army runs much better in this form. More "joe sixpack" users may start to take notice of this strange OS. Furthermore, with the lag time that Microsoft will have in getting a 64bit OS out to the public, and with the avalibility of the Opteron right now, we may see more Linux games!

    This is a good thing!

    So stop whining about it, for the love of god. It is no wonder that people may not want to support Linux apps if as soon as one is released in any form, all the slashbots start complaining about it.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?