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The Linux Gamers' How-To

By The Linux Documentation Project

2.10. Role Playing Game (aka RPG)

Anyone who has played games like Dungeons & Dragons or Call of Cthulhu knows exactly what an RPG is. You play a character, sometimes more than one, characterized by traits (eg strength, dexterity), skills (eg explosives, basket weaving, mechanics) and properties (levels, cash). As you play, the character becomes more powerful and the game adjusts itself accordingly, so instead of fighting orcs, at high levels you start fighting black dragons. The rewards increase correspondingly. At low levels you might get some gold pieces as a reward for winning a battle. At high levels, you might get a magic sword or a kick-butt assault rifle.

RPG's generally have a quest with a well defined ending. In nethack you need to retrieve the amulet of Yendor for your god. In Ultima II, you destroy the evil sorceress Minax. At some point, your character becomes powerful enough that you can 'go for it' and try to complete the quest.

While the insanely popular Ultima series, written by Richard Garriot (aka Lord British) for Origin, was not the first RPG, it popularized and propelled the RPG genre into mainstream. Ultima I was released in 1987 and was the game that launched 9 (depending on how you want to count them) very popular sequels, finishing with Ultima IX: Ascension. You can play Ultima VII under Linux with Exult (Section 11.7 ).

The canonical RPG on Linux is Rogue (the ncurses library started life as a screen handling routine for Rogue!) and it has infinite variants like Zangband and Nethack (which has many variants itself). Some RPG's are quite complicated and great feats of programming. There seems to be a deficiency of commercial RPGs for Linux. Not counting the rogue variants, there's also a deficiency of open source RPGs too.

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