Sunday, April 27, 2008


We seem to be doing an alternating thing, here, which means kcc sucks. I assume the acronym stands for KDE Chinese Checkers. It's vaguely functional, in an almost sort of way, which makes playing it that much more tedious. If it just didn't work, I could have ignored it. Instead, I had to wait for it, and deal with it, at great length, so I could give you my honest impressions.

It's Chinese Checkers, for your computer. It's low-res, it's sluggish (dear god, the eons I spent waiting for the five AI players to make their moves could have been used to raise a child... or even a village, which would then be utilized to raise a child, all while waiting on the AI to make their moves), the AI sucks, and there's no multiplayer. A boardgame without even local multiplayer (much less networked) is a boardgame which completely and utterly sucks. This is made especially ironic due to the fact that it's part of the GGZ package, which endeavors to be a one-stop shop for online gaming.

Playing kcc is extremely tedious. The AI seems to have no interest in winning, I couldn't find a way to configure any options that might alleviate the lag, and it's ugly as hell. There is no sound.

Oddly, the 'menu' window is separate from the 'play' window, which is star-shaped (i.e. in the shape of the game board, with no background). This was probably supposed to be a neat visual trick, and it is, as long as you're not actually playing it. When you are playing it, it's really annoying how the cursor changes to reflect what's behind the board whenever you cross a transparent seam, sometimes causing you to accidentally bring a program you're not trying to use into the foreground.

Outside of that interesting twist on making a bad game, the rest of its faults are quite run-of-the-mill. It just sucks on all fronts. It looks like there's a newer version available from GGZ site, as well as a GTK version that's quite nice looking, so once again the Ubuntu repositories prove to be woefully out of date.

I'm beginning to wonder if the perception that Linux sucks for games isn't actively being perpetuated by the poor maintenance of repositories - anyone who thinks that the games in the repositories are all that there is has to believe that there are virtually no decent games for Linux. Since one of Ubuntu's selling-points to less technically-minded users of Windows is that they can download all the software for it without having to compile or configure anything, I expect that most of Ubuntu's user-base never goes beyond the repositories. Just updating them, and getting rid of the going-nowhere, abandoned, non-functional projects would go a long way towards making Ubuntu seem like a legit project.

Those thoughts out of the way, here are my thoughts on kcc: Don't bother. Please. If you are in the market for a Chinese Checkers game, get the more recent version of this one from somewhere else or try a completely different one. The version of kcc Ubuntu offers you is horrid.

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