The anticipated 6.0 version of Cedega is now upon us, and we are taking a look at what’s new and notable. Updates include Shader Model 2.0 support, file optimizations and a larger games database with the additions of Oblivion and Need For Speed: Carbon. Is this the version Linux gamers everywhere have been waiting for?
On this page I will relay my experiences with the program and the games I tested. I didn’t try out a large variety of games, simply because I don’t own many that are listed. I tried most of what I did own, however.
The first game I installed first was, you guessed it, NFS: Carbon. I am a huge NFS fan and had fun beating the heck out of this game when it first was released. Since this game is in the Cedega GDDB, clicking the Detect CD button worked fine, so all I had to do was click continue and wait for the setup to load.
Which it did, about five seconds after the fact. That’s one thing you will get used to quickly. Since Cedega has to initialize it’s emulation scheme, it will take a moment for anything to show up. It’s not necessarily real-time in that regard. The installation went smooth, incredibly smooth.
I was about to be even moreso impressed though. Once the game was loaded, it ran -perfect-. I say perfect, because it was. It ran just as if I was playing it on Windows. There was no slowdown at all, and I enjoyed getting a few races in before getting back to this article ;-)
Steam used to be incredibly difficult to install under Linux. Even once it was running, it would be finicky. Well, Wine has taken care of a lot lately so now it installs like a dream (at least this has been my recent experience). Installing through Cedega was no different, once I tracked down that .exe file I needed.
After running for the first time, I quickly realized how much worse it ran when compared to Wine. The initial “logging in” took more than a minute and the program as a whole was unreliable. I had a few prompts that I was not even able to click “Ok” to close. Instead, I had to right-click the process in the taskbar and close it that way. That was the scheme throughout the entire program though. I was not able to directly click on anything, but instead just hover around an item and hope I’d click it.
TransGaming did note that they were working on updates for Steam, but I am not sure if these issues are directly related. They should be releasing updates shortly to take care of whatever issues are in the queue.
In the end, even with Steam running fine it’s all game-dependant. Some will work, some won’t. Some will work with weird side-effects. Take Bullet Candy for example. This game actually ran far -faster- than it should, so it was near impossible to play. I couldn’t test out other games, simply because I found it too unreliable at this point to use the program any longer.
Of course one game most want to play under Linux is Oblivion. I’ll admit, I didn’t have such great luck with this title as I had hoped. The first problem was that it installed incredibly slow… It took at least an hour. During that time, the computer was not usable because the process was lagging the entire system.
Once installed, the game loaded reasonably well. However, this was yet again another finicky process. During the intro movie, you can normally push ESC to skip it and jump straight to the menu. However here, I had to watch all three (or four) opening movies and then had the ability to push ESC once I seen the game logo. This worked about 50% of the time for me here. When it didn’t work as planned, the entire game would simply halt. In order to rid it, I minimized everything to the desktop and pushed the Stop command in Cedega to put an end to the processes misery.
Once I did make it into the game, it ran almost at full potential. While the game ran well most of the time, the graphics would stick randomly. Would this prevent me from playing? Not at all. It wasn’t so bad that it would be absolutely disruptive to gameplay. It’s not perfect, but far from horrible. This is a massive game, so running as well as it did, I was surprised. It seems others have been having better luck than I have been, so chances are you might as well.
I mentioned earlier that I had originally lost my Guild Wars install CD, but Cedega utilized the mini-setup program that you can download off the official website. This proved to be a quick process compared to Steam and Oblivion… the program opened and installed very quickly.
I did run into one problem, and that was when the game loaded, it told me my video card was out of date and not supported. If gives you the option to quit or continue. Naturally, I continued. The entire screen went black, with a seriously small block of gameplay in the top right corner. I believe it was actually set to lower than 320×240 resolution.
Pushing ALT+Enter solved this problem though. The game went to windowed-mode and looked great. At that point you can go into the game options and set back to original resolution and full screen mode. After doing this, running the game again will automatically load this working setting.
Once done, the game ran flawlessly. The graphics and sound didn’t skip at all. I was quite pleased.
The heading above is a little misleading, because I don’t have anywhere near final thoughts right now. All in all, I am pleased with the experiences I had with Cedega 6.0. There was a lot of tweaking to be had, but this was to be expected. I am most impressed by Need for Speed: Carbon, which ran absolutely perfectly. Oblivion was nice to see running as well, although the experience was unreliable.
I plan on testing out Cedega more thoroughly over the next few weeks, so you can expect a follow-up. During testing, a lot of problems I experienced might very well have to do with my system, as I have been running into more than the normal amount of problems lately. Even towards the end of testing, I ran into a few problems including something with ALSA. I don’t believe this to be Cedegas fault in any way at all, as I’ve been doing some unrelated tweaking on the computer over the past few days.
It’s clear to me that gaming emulation under Linux is getting better and better all the time. It’s far from perfect, but it’s not a small task we are dealing with. As it stands, I walk away from this article impressed and keenly interested in continuing my testing.
The question is though. is Cedega worth your money? At this point in time, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. Current prices are $5 a month, but a minimum of a three month subscription is required to start. You can subscribe for an entire year for savings as well. As I mentioned before, everyones experiences will be different, but I am confident that most people will be pleased with the performance from the latest release.
Consider this article more of a primer of what’s to come. If you have leftover questions due to things I skipped over, feel free to post in our related thread and I might be able to test further.
If you have a comment you wish to make on this review, feel free to head on into our forums! There is no need to register in order to reply to such threads.
April 25 Addendum
Darragh from our forums corrected some of my facts: You have a couple of references to Wine in your article that might cause readers to think that Cedega is based on Wine.
I think that it would be better if you pointed out that back in 2002 Transgaming forked from Wine a project called WineX, which later turned into Cedega. Since then they have continued independently with development focusing on different areas. So users should not assume that just because something works in one it should work in the other. I think it also highlights that in reality that while both projects seek to implement a win API layer for Linux, they are quite different projects after 5 years of separate development with little to no sharing of code.
In this case with Cedega you need to install instmsi.exe with the OS set to Windows 98, and then you can install the MSI. Most games however don’t need you to do this, so I don’t think that Transgaming have worried about needing to write a native implementation to handle MSI installs.
With Wine the developers worked on a native implementation because Windows installer is integrated by default with Windows XP, and is also used by so many application installers, they didn’t want user’s to need to install this software in so many cases.