Archive for January 28th, 2012

RafKill Raptor Free Software (Open Source) clone for GNU/Linux

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

I've earlier blogged on playing Apogee's Raptor Shadows of Death arcade on GNU / Linux with dosbox

All the old school raptor addicts will be interested to hear Kazzmir (Jon Rafkind) a free software devotee developer has created a small game resembling many aspects of the original Raptor arcade game.
The game is called Rafkill and is aimed to be a sort of Raptor like fork/clone.
Originally the game was also named Raptor like the DOS game, however in year 2006 it was changed to current Rafkill in order to avoid legal issues with Apogee's Raptor.

The game is not anymore in active development, the latest Rafkill release is from January 2007, anyhow even for the 2012 it is pretty entertaining. The sound and music are on a good level for a Linux / BSD shoot'em'up free software game . The graphics are not of a top quality and are too childish, but this is normal, since the game is just one man masterpiece.

Rafkill Level 1 Debian GNU/Linux

Rafkill is developed in C/C++ programming language, the game music engine it uses is called DUMB (Dynamic Universal Bibliotheque). By the way DUMB library is used for music engine in many Linux arcade games. DUMB allows the Linux game developer to develop his game and play a music files within different game levels in "tracked" formats like mod, s3m, xm etc.

The game is available in compiled form for almost all existent GNU/Linux distributions, as well as one can easily port it as it is open source.

To install Rafkill on Debian, Ubuntu, Xubuntu and Linux Mint en other Debian based distros

root@debian:~# apt-get install rafkill

Installing on Fedora and other rpm based is with yum

debian:~# apt-get install rafkill
...

Once rafkill is installed, in order to start it on Debian the only way is using the rafkill (/usr/bin/rafkill) command. It appears the deb package maintainer did not wrote a gnome launcher file like for example /usr/share/applications/rafkill.desktop
Just to explain for all the GNOME noobs, the .desktop files are a description file GNOME reads in order to understand where exactly to place certain application in the (Gnome Applications, Places, System …) menu panel.

Even though it miss the .desktop, it is launchable via Applications menu under the Debian section e.g. to open it from the GNOME menus you will have to navigate to:

Applications -> Debian -> Games -> Action -> Rafkill

This "shortcut" to launch the game is quite long and hard to remember thus it is handy to directly launch it via xterm:

hipo@debian:~$ rafkill

Rafkill raptor like native Linux game main menu screenshot Debian GNU / Linux Squeeze

or by pressing ALT+F2 and typing rafkill :

Rafkill Linux game gnome launcher screenshot

Rafkill Debian Linux Level 5 power weaponscreenshot

Starting the game I got some really ugly choppy music / sound issues.
My guess was the fizzling sounds were caused by some bug with the sound portions streamed through pulseaudio sound system.
To test if my presume is correct, stopped pulseaudio and launched rafkill once again:

hipo@debian:~$ pulseaudio -k
hipo@debian:~$ rafkill

This way the game was counting on ALSA to process sound en the sound was playing perfectly fine.

I solved this problem through small wrapper shell script. The script did kill pulseaudio before launching rafkill and that way solve gchoppy sound issues, once the game execution is over the script starts pulseaudio again in order to prevent all other applications working with pulseaudio.

Finally, I've placed the executable script in /usr/bin/rafkill :

Here is the script:

#!/bin/bash
pulseaudio --kill
/usr/games/rafkill
pulseaudio --start

You can download rafkill.wrapper.sh here
Or write in root terminal:

debian:~# cd /usr/bin
debian:/usr/bin:# wget http://www.pc-freak.net/bshscr/rafkill.wrapper.sh
debian:/usr/bin:# mv http://www.pc-freak.net/bshscr/rafkill.wrapper.sh rafkill
debian:/usr/bin:# chmod +x rafkill

Interesting in Ubuntu Linux, rafkill music is okay and I suppose the bug is also solved in newer Linux distributions based on Ubuntu. Probably the Debian Squeeze pulseaudio (0.9.21-4) package version has a bug or smth..

After the change the game music will be playing fine and the game experience is cooler. The game is hard to play. Its really nice the game has game Saves, so once you die you don't have to start from level 1.

Rafkill Load menu screenshot

  I've seen rafkill rolling around on freebsd.org ftps under the ubuntu packages pool, which means rafkill could probably be played easily on FreeBSD and other BSDs.

Enjoy the cool game ;)

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