LAN Party Ubuntu (LPUbuntu) is a LiveDVD version of Ubuntu that brings along games.


It is commonly said that there are no games for Linux. We could attract casual PC gamers to Ubuntu with LiveDVDs, which also introduce a Linux desktop.

Use cases

LPUbuntu aims to cover the niché market of computer gamers. This is a narrow market with both a cultish or "hard-core" and a casual following. In addition, both followings engage in single- and multi-player gameplay.

The following use cases can be considered:

  • Casual gaming
    • A user may occasionally devote a few hours or days to playing an RTS game such as Battle for Wesnoth.
    • A few developers may feel worn out after muddling over code for days, and run a few rounds on an FPS such as Quake 3: Open Arena or Nexuiz.
    • An extremely bored teenager may go wandering through the menus looking for something to play with, and pick up Frozen Bubble or Armagetron.
  • "Hard-Core" gaming
    • A user may load Quake 3: Open Arena on his water-cooled 64-bit gaming rig with 4GiB of RAM and stripped WD RAPTOR 10000RPM SATA drives for a quick network game.
    • Several users could hold a LAN party and bring LPUbuntu LiveCDs to play a few rounds of Nexuiz and eat pizza.
    • Someone may want to show off the capabilities of his newest nVidia GeForce 6800GT to his friends and load Zymotic with all eye-candy on.


A set of games needs to be chosen from diverse categories to attract a good user base; these should range from the large and complete to the small but fun. Additionally, a number of games not requiring 3D acceleration should be chosen.


  • Armagetron Advanced. Fun, quick and dirty network play.

Turn Based Strategy:

  • Battle for Wesnoth. A very developed Linux TBS game. Plays Without OpenGL

Real-Time Strategy:

  • Stratagus. Very nicely done, fun with Invasion: Battle of Survival. Plays Without OpenGL

  • Globulation 2. Easier than Stratagus, networkable, avoids micro-management. Plays Without OpenGL

First Person Shooter:

  • Nexuiz. Campaign and multiplayer with advanced bots.

  • OpenArena. Modified Quake 3 engine with open-source content. Does not play with Quake 3 Arena original.

  • World Of Padman. Total conversion of Quake 3 engine, very colourful.

Pure Fun:

  • Beneath a Steel Sky. ScummVM game, not a fun game but interesting story and highly amusing dialog. Plays Without OpenGL

  • FrozenBubble. Quaint puzzle game. Plays Without OpenGL

  • Tetrinet. gtetrinet would be nice to have back in production, very fun game. Plays Without OpenGL

The initial goal of LPUbuntu should be to get games from MOTU/Teams/Games packaged and maintained so that they can be fully supported as if they were in Main; this means proper .desktop files and up-to-date versions.


While the DVD will probably only contain FOSS, some demos for non-free and/or closed sourced games may be considered. This would require authorization from the game publisher/developers. For example, game demos for id Software games:

  • Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Demo (Not yet announced)
  • Quake 4 demo

JohnMoser: .... why?


LPUbuntu should be intentionally based on XFCE and Xubuntu to provide a low-footprint but still highly usable environment. Many games are very memory intensive; the desktop environment will not be used much, and so should be kept out of the way. Something like Fluxbox would be smaller, but both more of a shock for new users and more packages to maintain.

A minimal XFCE desktop should be installed with another seed. This can be shared and used by Xubuntu and LPUbuntu.

lpubuntu-gaming should not depend on the XFCE environment if ubuntu-desktop or kubuntu-desktop; these already bring a desktop environment, and installing LPUbuntu on a system including these already would indicate that the user is simply adding games rather than creating a gaming-focused installation.

LPUbuntu should bring a basic text editor, Web browser, and instant messaging client. These tools are useful for gamers posting on forums and coordinating remotely over AIM, YIM, MSNIM, or ICQ. A text editor is a basic must-have. Again, having a desktop seed already makes these unnecessary; and besides, Gaim and Firefox will be there already.

LPUbuntu should supply all games through the Games menu. A simple LPUbuntu Launcher could be written as well to categorize games by type and perhaps even track play frequency to control the order in which games appear.


Implementation is straight forward.

  • Form an LPUbuntu team dedicated to managing and maintaining LPUbuntu.
  • Select fully open code and content games to support. Some interesting games are listed on MOTU/Teams/Games.

  • List selected games on a Wiki page created for LPUbuntu.
  • Any selected games in MOTU/Teams/Games listed as Ready for Packaging need to be packaged. These currently include some interesting candidates such as Tremulous, and Glest.

  • Games without icons or .desktop files need these created.
  • The lpubuntu-gaming seed should be created with games and gaming utilities only.

  • Build install and LiveCD images for LPUbuntu.
  • Officially release.


Many games will have networking code, which requires security fixes be maintained. If the game has no upstream maintainers, then the only choices we have are to either not ship the game; or fork/take over the project and support it ourselves with bugfixes. It is highly unlikely any non-maintained games will be packagable.

Data preservation and migration

Not applicable here.

Outstanding issues

Games can be quite large, especially 3D FPS and real-time strategy games involving lots of character models, levels, and sounds. This may be DVD aimed, but there's no reason to fill a full DVD and make people download 5 gigs. Some data for game sizes:

  • Armagetron: Simple 3D Tron game, sizes 2.3M.

  • The Battle for Wesnoth: A 2D RTS, sizes in at 53.4M with all data, music, and scenarios.

  • Nexuiz: A 3D FPS, compressed its download is 187M.

Also an issue, nobody probably cares about games on Ubuntu, so this spec is highly subject to rot.

BoF agenda and discussion

  • It would be nice to have some traditional RPGs but no great ones exist. A few projects are around. --JohnMoser

    • What would also be interesting would be an MMORPG with server and bots, allowing users to have a self-contained MMO game rather than link up with Planeshift or Arkhart.

  • Several games such as Invasion:  Battle of Survival and Nexuiz have traditionally shown significant improvement in game play quality with each version. It needs to be high priority to have the very latest stable version possible before the end of each release cycle. --JohnMoser

  • Many 3d shooters have heavy requirements on the graphics hardware and drivers. Games like the mentioned nexuiz, Quake4 or Doom3 do require proprietary drivers like fglrx and nvidia. We need to evaluate if it is possible to install and use those drivers by default. I'm not sure, but I think there could be license problems. --ReinhardTartler

    • I actually thought about this the other day, I was considering video game companies making PC games by writing them for Linux and putting them on LiveCD (like Xbox or GameCube). The idea centered around a robust persistent home on removable media; instead of just $HOME I extended it to that the nvidia drivers are downloaded and compiled by script if needed and stored on the media. This evades all license issues. --JohnMoser

    • Continuing on the persistent storage comment above. Consider as well that shooters like Quake4 or Doom3 would be big, and probably packaged separate. A USB bootstrap to copy whatever is in the CD drive to a disk image would be interesting here, that way the CD could be removed. If you have games packaged separate, their CD could be mirrored; then the LiveCD could boot and then mount the CD image and install the game, entirely on an isolated USB hard disk or such. These thoughts should be taken into another spec, because they have further advantages such as advanced persistent home and persistent LiveCD upgrades. --JohnMoser

    • FeistyFawn will include closed 3D drivers so this problem ceased to exist. --AzraelNightwalker


LanPartyUbuntu (last edited 2008-08-06 16:22:54 by localhost)