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Welcome. This is a quick guide to installing and describing Darwinia as well as a few performance tips. If you havn't tried Darwinia, I'd recommend doing so now. There's a free demo that will show you what it is. Just emerge darwinia-demo.

Darwinia is a strategy game. You command a virtual world of Darwinians ( a peaceful industrious folk ) that have been infected by evil virii.

Darwinia Screenshot
Darwinia Screenshot



Darwinia is a commercial game. It won't break the bank, purchasing Darwinian will run you around $20. You'll have to buy either the Windows version or the Mac version as there is no Linux installer. Then emerge the linux binaries:

emerge darwinia

Darwinia will still need the data files to play the game. Install the CD and extract the main.dat and sounds.dat files and place them in /opt/darwinia/lib/.

Playing the Game

I'm not gonna tell you how to play the game. Just a few things you should know.

libgcc issues

If you start the game and it immediately exits with the following error message

/opt/darwinia/lib/darwinia.bin.x86: /opt/darwinia/lib/ version `GCC_4.2.0' not found (required by /usr/lib/gcc/i686-pc-linux-gnu/4.2.3/

then you should just execute

mv /opt/darwinia/lib/ /opt/darwinia/lib/

as root in order to move it out of the way.

Slow Graphics

The best place to start is to update libsdl that is packaged with Darwinia. For a fair number of games this is a good idea, as often libsdl that is packaged with the games contains USE flags such as fbcon that can deter performance. We'll link to the newer libsdl. Change to the directory of the games libraries, rename the old libsdl, and finally linking it:

cd /opt/darwinia/lib/ 
ln -s /usr/lib/ .

I have the intel 945 chipset which isn't the best for graphics. In busy places I saw considerable slowdown. I was able to help it somewhat. I could play at 1280x800 with a 20 frames per second most of the time. I set all setting details to low and then turned off "Pixel Render". I used 32 bit graphics and set the zBuffer to 16bit, though I don't know if the zBuffer made any difference. I also saw improved performance with I set "RenderLandscapeMode" in ~./darwinia/full/preferences.txt to 1. 0 is a even lower detail setting but it showed no markable difference.


I finished the game and can tell you it's a heck of a good game. After the game is done, it adds the mods capability. This can also be manually added to preferences.txt: ModSystemEnabled = 1. I must report that unfortunatly some mods just plain don't work.

Mods that Work

  • ArcadeRemix
  • Contagion
  • Darwinia Commando
  • Droughtwinia
  • EpicBattles
  • Big Mod Pt2 - Civil War

Mods that Don't

  • Civil War (Non TBM), EscapeDarwinia, MaintenanceSys don't.

I tried MaintenanceSys running directly from the command line:


and got (this is from memory as it froze my mouse cursor after the game crash.)

"Unable to find bustedtrunkport.shp"

I can clearly see it in ~/.darwinia/full/mods/TBM-MS/Shapes

This can usually be traced to mods that were produced on Windows. Windows users aren't used to context sensitive text. If you want to try these mods you'll have to troubleshoot them. I believe all the folders inside the mod and all the files have to be lower case. The above Shapes directory in lower case enables Darwinia to find it. I have tried mods that have non-case-sensitive music, they work but I didn't recall the specialized music so they probably will need changed.

Also, alot of the mods are packed oddly. Maybe a unrar problem? (I was using Archiver Manager with unrar to unpack them). These mods are structured such: mod-name/levels/mod-name. So this makes it so one has to go 2 layers deeps in directory and take out that folder and put it in ~/.darwinia/full/mods. Why the extra mod-name/level I'm not sure.


Last modified: Thu, 04 Sep 2008 04:33:00 +0000 Hits: 4,703