Various games are divided into two logical parts: engine and data. Often the engine and data are licenced in different ways, such that only one half can be distributed in Debian.
There have been some successful projects to replace the non-free part (mostly the game data):
FreeDoom that can replace Doom 1 & 2; with this you can even play fan-made levels designed for the original game, like the Compet-n levels that can be automatically downloaded/packaged/installed by game-data-packager
The OpenTTD project comes with an optional graphics set that can replace the original Transport Tycoon Deluxe game. Users owning the original game may prefer to use the original graphics and this is supported by game-data-packager.
LGeneral has it's own wiki page that explains how it can also use Panzer General assets.
game-data-packager is a tool which builds .deb files for game data which cannot be distributed in Debian (such as commercial game data).
game-data-packager aims to support all games of any kind: FPS, adventure games, text games, strategy games,... in all available languages.
Using this tool has several advantages over managing game-assets by hand:
- it does a lot of things automatically:
- it create an individual meny entry (.desktop file) for ScummVM games, Doom WADS
- it provide user language autodetection at package and/or runtime
- it will find data in your Steam folder (both native or under Wine; or even on some mounted NTFS/VFAT device)
- each needed file is verified with a checksum to ensure it will work
- G-D-P will store the data where the game engine expect those, in accordance with this engine's maintainer (e.g.: some specific directory under /usr/share/games)
- G-D-P will know which Debian-provided extractor to use to unpack .exe dos/windows (self-)extracting archives (e.g.: innoextract, 7z, lha, rar, ace, arj, unshield, cabextract ...)
- some commercial website now provide some .deb's files too, but those:
- may include some outdated version of the free game engine, games packaged with G-D-P will always use the latest version of the engine
- doesn't try to follow Debian quality standards
- are allways i386/amd64 packages while packages built by G-D-P are 'all' packages that can also be used on ARM devices for example.
- The game you've bought on Steam is now available to all users of this computer; not only the one running the Steam client. You can let your child play games without cheating the 13 years rule or worrying about the online-chat feature.
Here is a list of all games supported by the version in git. To see which games are supported by the version currently installed on your computer, simply type game-data-packager at the shell.
If you want to help on improving this this tool, please have look a the worklist .