Linux Gaming: Need for Speed II Second Edition

ODROID Magazine Need for Speed

In 1997, racing games were quite popular. One particular series that is well-known today was still quite new, though people were starting to know it and like it more and more. Need for Speed II Second Edition (NFS2SE) was released with 3DFX support, more tracks and cars, along with mirror mode and backward track mode, making it quite an improvement over the original Need for Speed II. In some countries, such as Germany, it was even included free with the purchase of a 3DFX accelerator card.

ODROID Magazine Figure 1 - Need For Speed II Second Edition
Figure 1 – Need For Speed II Second Edition

NFS2SE was a really good game by 1997 standards, as 3D graphics were just starting to get into people’s homes and 3D racing games were still in their beginning stages. Having a decent 3D racing game with actual 3DFx Voodoo support was still rare at the time.

Along with the 3D graphics, this game had a lot to offer. One feature was full motion video (FMV) which could be seen in the intro as well as showcase videos for each car. There, you could see cars racing around different tracks and towns, or just out in the open. It offered lots of videos for the many cars that were featured in the game. Unlike modern Need for Speed titles, NFS2SE didn’t have any storyline, so there was no story video to follow. Still, there was a good amount of video content as compared to other games of the time.

ODROID Magazine Figure 2 - Full motion video cut-scenes in NFS2SE
Figure 2 – Full motion video cut-scenes in NFS2SE
ODROID Magazine Figure 2 and 3 - Full motion video cut-scenes in NFS2SE
Figure 3 – Full motion video cut-scenes in NFS2SE

In fact, the game had quite a bit of extra content. The CD was packed with many pictures, videos, and information about the cars, and offered many different tracks and cars to play with.

ODROID Magazine Figure 4 - Select a showcase to see information, look at pictures, and watch videos for each car
Figure 4 – Select a showcase to see information, look at pictures, and watch videos for each car
ODROID Magazine Figure 5 - A video of the selected car from the showcase
Figure 5 – A video of the selected car from the showcase

Need for Speed II Second Edition on the ODROID
I recently found a open source project that aims to recreate the NFS2SE engine for modern systems using the 3D capabilities of current systems, including OpenGL ES 2.0 and SDL2, which would allow us to play on the ODROID. The re-creation orientates itself on the Glide (3DFx) version of the game, giving it a similar look to the original while allowing us to play on 1080P or other resolutions thanks to the scaling capabilities of SDL2.

So far the game looks good and seems to be fully playable. Even network multiplayer mode seems to work fine. I tested it on the ODROID-XU3 and the ODROID-U3, and it was running fine at full speed on both devices. Since the game runs in SDL2 with OpenGL ES 2.0, it is fully 3D accelerated and runs rather well, although I ran into some issues with speed if I ran the game in single thread mode.

ODROID Magazine Figure 6 - Starting a new race in NFS2SE
Figure 6 – Starting a new race in NFS2SE

(Figure 6 – Starting a new race in NFS2SE)

The game offers different kinds of environment effects: rain drops, fog, and even bugs to obscure your view. Other areas offer nice ambient lighting effects.

ODROID Magazine Figure 7 - Entering a foggy rainforest
Figure 7 – Entering a foggy rainforest
ODROID Magazine Figure 8 - Red glowing ambient light in a cave full of lava
Figure 8 – Red glowing ambient light in a cave full of lava

Aside from that, NFS2SE for the ODROID offers joystick support and even uses force feedback (rumble support) so if you hit an object or a different road surface, the gamepad will rumble to emulate that sensation. I also tested the multiplayer mode on the two different ODROIDs and it worked well. I haven’t tried splitscreen yet, but I am willing to bet that it will likely work also, meaning you will be able to easily play with a friend, or up to 8 players over the network.

ODROID Magazine Figure 9 - This landing will surely make the controller vibrate in your hand and trigger “force feedback”
Figure 9 – This landing will surely make the controller vibrate in your hand and trigger “force feedback”

So far, the only thing I’ve found that wasn’t working correctly is the in-game menu. Here you can change volume to increase and decrease the sounds and music, but nothing else seems to works, not even continue or restart. For some reason I’m not able to select these menu points at all. I can only exit the menu using the ESC key. However, this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the game as is.

ODROID Magazine Figure 10 - The in-game menu seems to be partly broken as you can only get in and out using the ESC key
Figure 10 – The in-game menu seems to be partly broken as you can only get in and out using the ESC key

How to install the game
As usual, the game is available on my repository for Debian Jessie and Debian Stretch. Because the game is 32-bit only, ARM64 boards like the ODROID-C2 won’t support the game. You can install it from my repository with:

$ apt-get install nfs2se-odroid

When you first run the game, you will need to install the game files from the original Need For Speed II SE CD. You will be asked to either point to a CD/Folder which includes the required folder (i.e. gamedata, fedata). If you’re using my GameStation Turbo image, you can either plug-in a CD drive via USB and select the CD, or you can use CDEmu (Virtual CD) to mount most images formats. If you happen to have an .iso file you can select that instead and the setup will try to extract the files from there. After the files are copied, you should be able to go ahead and enjoy your game.

ODROID Magazine Figure 11 - Congratulations! You’re now able to play Need For Speed II SE on your ODROID
Figure 11 – Congratulations! You’re now able to play Need For Speed II SE on your ODROID

Final Thoughts
Need For Speed II Second Edition might not be the best racing game out there, nor have top-notch technology and graphics by today’s standard, but it’s still a fun game to play, and the ability to race against each other over a network is something that isn’t seen often on the ODROID. This game is well worthy of being part of the ODROID library. I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do.

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