How To: Run Team Fortress 2 (TF2), Portal, Half-Life 2, HL2 EP 1&2, and Counter-Strike In Ubuntu Using Wine

For those of you who are not familiar with The Orange Box, it’s five games in one box. It contains Half-Life 2, Half Life 2 Episode 1, Half-Life 2 Episode 2, Portal, and the one everyone has been waiting for: Team Fortress 2. My god! For 50 bones this IS the best deal in video game history.

Let’s start with a overview of what we need to accomplish: Copy DVDs to Hard Disk, Install & Configure Wine (including obtaining a proprietary, non-free font), and finally, configure the game to run properly.

I highly suggest finding some music to listen to while you do this. It takes about 30 minutes total, but well worth the time invested, as you could conceivably spend hundreds of hours playing these games.

May I suggest some Led Zepplin? OK, now that you’ve got something to kill time with, let’s get down and dirty.

    1. Copying DVDs to Disk

is a piece of cake.

Pop in either disk 1 or 2, then open up a terminal (Applications | Accessories | Terminal).

Make a directory on your desktop:
mkdir ~/Desktop/Orange_Files

Then run this command to copy the files over:
cp /media/cdrom0/* ~/Desktop/Orange_Files/
Expect copying a DVD to Hard Disk to take approximately 6 minutes. This would be a good time to make a sandwich.

Eject the DVD, and repeat this step for the next one. When finished, you should end up with 20 items that amount to around 7.8 gigabytes. Go ahead and remove the DVDs, you wont need them from here on out.

Easy so far, huh?

    2. Installation & Setup of Wine

is a little more involved, but is still pretty easy.

First we need to grab it from the Ubuntu apt repository:
sudo apt-get install wine
Then we need to install the Gecko browser for it.
wine iexplore http://appdb.winehq.com/
Click install when prompted, as soon as you can view the website, feel free to close the browser.

Next, we need to configure Wine to use the ALSA sound driver, which works like a charm. Go to Applications | Wine | Configure Wine. Goto the Audio tab and uncheck OSS. Check ALSA, then press OK.

Lastly for Wine, we need to install the Tahoma font. It’s a hop, skip, jump and Google query away:
tahoma filetype:ttf

I will not be more specific than this. Save the file you find to the Desktop, then run this command:

cp ~/Desktop/tahoma.ttf ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/fonts

Note: this command is case sensitive. If you find something called “Tahoma” or “TAHOMA”, modify the above command to reflect the change.

    3. Installation of the actual game.

Where’s my “That was easy” button?

Open up the Orange_Files folder on the Desktop, and right click on Setup.exe, choose Open With Other Application, scroll to the bottom and select Wine Windows Emulator then press Open.

You should be looking at something like this:
The Orange Box Installer
The next few steps should be familiar to anybody who has ever used Windows before: Install, next, you own my soul, next, next, install, and finish.

Now, we come to the part that is for lack of a better word, annoying. We have to activate the software before installing. Plug in your Orange Box CD Key and login to your steam account.

Now we get down to business. Select what games to install:

The Orange Box Installer Select Which Games To Install

Next, then next again. Keep both of those boxes checked, so that you have icon files already on your desktop if you want to make shortcuts, and entries in the Applications menu to launch the game.

Now, it prepares files to install (presumably decrypting them), then copies them over. Takes about 7 minutes on a 10k RPM Raptor, your results may vary.

The Orange Box Installer - Installing From Disk

This is a good time to grab a smoke, make a sandwich, AND sleep with your woman (or man).

Finally, we’re Finished! Hooray!

And we’re looking at all our new shiny games from a video game developer (Valve) that said “Fuck the man, we’ll create our own distribution platform and get rid of the middle men that take 60% of our revenue.” And on the seventh day, Steam was born. Kudos to Gabe Newell, he won my respect with that move years ago.

Alright, now we get to launch Team Fortress 2. Cue spotlight, heavenly music, and WHAT? Video Driver Outdated? Check a box, Continue Anyway. I think this is an inside joke from Valve.

The Orange Box - Video Driver Outdated

Hit Play game, and if you’re lucky, everything looks great. If you’re me, it looks like this:

The Orange Box - Not Quite Full Screen

If you get this, just ignore the fact that it’s half-way off the screen, goto Options, then to the Video tab and set it up to use the same resolution as your Desktop.

Press OK. Quit the game, then open it right back up again. Everything should be looking MUCH better now, with no more system menu bars all over the top and bottom of the screen.

Oolala - Team Fortress Configured Properly and Running!

Performance seems to be perfect using the latest nVidia binary blob with a generation old video card. On average, I’ll get around 40 frames per second when there is some really intense action, like 5 or more players all fighting in the same room. In most other areas I see about 80 fps. There is an occasional audio stutter, seems to happen most often during the beginning of a match, when all the textures for the level are being loaded.

I recorded a ghetto video for all of you to enjoy. I used a digi-cam for video, and used a voice note recorder on my iPhone for audio, then slapped em together for a half-second audio delay – but certainly watchable. Enjoy!

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