Xmris on NetBSD

I had not heard of Xmris before I installed NetBSD on my sparc. I found the game when looking through package source for games that I could install and test out. It turns out that it will work on pretty much any Unix that has X windows installed. I played it and found that it was very similar to the DOS game Digger , and found upon looking into the manual page that they are actually both a clone of the arcade game called Mr Do! Xmris was written by Nathan Sidwell back in 1992 originally, but updated until 1999 at version 4.05. Luckily for us Nathan seems to have put the code up on sourceforge here for all of us to enjoy. You seem to be able to run it on any Unix system that has X windows installed and was very easy to compile. I ran it on NetBSD on my sparc, and found the performance quite good on old hardware and using X across the network. From what I have seen Xmris is a much more faithful clone/port of the arcade game. From the games man page…

You control a gnome, who can walk around a garden, along paths  already
marked,  or  create  new paths wherever you wish. You also have a ball,
which can be thrown in the direction you’re facing, towards the gnome’s
feet.  Points  are scored for collecting cherries (if you collect eight
cherries without stopping or  pushing  an  apple,  you  get  a  bonus),
killing monsters (by squashing them, or throwing the ball at them), and
collecting the prize left when all the monsters have come out of  their

Much like Digger the level ends when you collect all the cherries or kill all the monsters who do not seem to re-spawn. The game play is slower and a bit less frantic than Digger, and seems to be a bit easier in the early levels. In later levels you get more monsters and the game appears to speed up increasing the challenge significantly. It can be very difficult to get a high score as strategies that help you survive do not help you score points. If you are on a system with many other users on it you will notice that there is a shared high score table that everyone can compete to get to the top of. You also have a separate personal best list, so if you do not make the system wide table you can still see how well you are doing. I quite enjoyed trying to beat my own scores and trying out different strategies to survive longer or get more points.

The graphics in game are quite pleasing but also functional. If you are unfortunate enough to not have a colour X terminal it will also run in monochrome. Playing from a XDMCP session is quite good, and does not seem to over use the network bandwidth or resources on the X server. Unfortunately there is no sound to speak of, but given that most X terminals do not support sound this is not surprising. This game also has some nice features, like customisable controls and a level editor. I found it was a good idea to customise your controls as the default ones did not make much sense to me. The level editor is pretty easy to use and lets you add comments and names to each of your levels. You can play custom levels by using command line options to load them.

In conclusion Xmris is a good arcade action clone, and if you have a linux or unix system I would recommend you give it a try.

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