>> Homeworld on Linux (or OSX)

2015-02-23

Today I will write about something slightly different than usual. I will be writing about a videogame, Homeworld. These days, Homeworld 1 and 2 are being released in remastered editions, with support for current resolutions and so on. This led me to playing the original. Homeworld 1 has been ported to Linux by fans some years ago. All you need is an original game and access to a Windows machine (or VM).

Install Homeworld on Windows, patch it to 1.05 and pack the complete game directory to move it to your Linux machine. Then, mount the CD, get HW_Comp.vce and HW_Music.wxd and put them in your game directory as well. This enables you to play without the CD mounted. Then just get the prebuilt binary for your OS (yes, OSX works as well) from [homeworldsdl.com][hwsdl] and put it in the game directory as well (it is in bin in the .tar.gz). You might also need to download some SDL libraries, but everything should be in your distro’s repositories. If you have done everything right, you can start Homeworld from the shell using:

SDL_AUDIODRIVER=alsa ./homeworld

If you experience sound issues under PulseAudio, make sure to install the ALSA-plugin for PulseAudio. Using PulseAudio directly will result in glitchy sound, so you have to proxy it through ALSA. Also reduce the ingame channels to 8 and the sound quality to low.

You can also start Homeworld on a separate X-Server (or in Xephyr) to preserve your resolution (using the DISPLAY variable), but this might interfere with the mouse in some cases. Instead, you can also use the parameter /window to open it in windowed mode, which works pretty well.