Game Sheet: Defcon
(from the original archive of "The Linux Game Tome")


It's Global Thermonuclear War, and nobody wins.
But maybe - just maybe - you can lose the least.

DEFCON is an online, competitive, multiplayer strategy game based around the theme of global thermonuclear war. The game, inspired by the 1983 cult-classic Wargames, superbly evokes the tension, paranoia and suspicion surrounding the Cold War era. The player assumes the role of a General hidden deep within an underground bunker, his mission being to successfully exterminate the enemy’s civilian population whilst simultaneously disabling the enemy’s ability to retaliate. Desperate attempts must be made to form fast, tactical alliances - alliances that may at any moment break-down to become treacherous and very deadly betrayals.

DEFCON was an instantaneous success with the gaming press, receiving an average of 85%+ in game reviews and scores of praise. PC Gamer UK described it as 'pure, deep, utterly unconscionable fun', while IGN awarded DEFCON an Editors Choice Award and praised it as 'highly impressive'.

Author: Company: Introversion
Version: 1.43Category: Action
License: commercialCost: 10Ł / 15€ / 20$
Votes: 11      Vote->      Rank: 4.8 / 5        N.A.
Source? No     Sound? YesXWindow (X11)? Yes     Console? No
3D Accelleration? Yes     Multiplayer? YesPlay Online? Yes     Submitter: nath
Buy Defcon at Tuxgames:
Last updated: 2008-02-28 19:59:21


Date: 2007-03-02 02:32:06     User: Bagnaj97     Subject: Finally
I bought this game months ago, not realising the Linux client was not out yet. I was beginning to think I'd wasted my money and it was never going to be released. It's an excellent game and the beta runs perfectly. Introversion rock!
Date: 2007-03-02 04:41:17     User: Thunor     Subject: Excellent
Nice work chaps.
Date: 2007-03-02 06:20:36     User: Piko     Subject: Yes yes yes!
I loved this game, and so far have been playing my copy with wine, now I can use a native sweet!
Date: 2007-03-02 15:11:09     User: nath     Subject: Finally!
Downloaded the demo, started the demo, forced myself to stop 4 hours later to catch some sleep. Great game, thanks Introversion!
Date: 2007-03-02 19:34:51     User: anonymous     Subject: I <3 apocalypse
Love this game, so atmospheric and relaxing, especially on the slowest speed.
Date: 2007-03-02 20:00:34     User: anonymous     Subject: Thank you Introversion
For making this wonderful game run on Linux. 5+ stars.
Date: 2007-03-03 14:32:07     User: anonymous     Subject: Awesome game
Uplink, Darwinia, and now Defcon. Thanks Introversion. I just bought my copy.
Date: 2007-03-04 20:47:55     User: anonymous     Subject: edit the url-"defcon-v1.4-beta2b.tar.gz"
The download link is a little obsolete, the 2b beta has better distro support. Long live Linux! Long live glibc clashes!
Date: 2007-03-04 23:44:53     User: anonymous     Subject: Defcon
Damn those morons at GNU :)
Date: 2007-03-05 01:19:31     User: Sharpshooter     Subject: Great !
Last version didn't work on my Debian (missing glibc2.4). Now it works and I buy it immediatly ! Very great games, low prices and native Linux versions. Introversion rules !
Date: 2007-03-05 09:12:55     User: anonymous     Subject: Even the title screen runs like molasses
I get one frame a second on a Thinkpad X41 running Ubuntu 6.10.
Date: 2007-03-05 09:27:58     User: Chaosspawn23     Subject: Wonderful game
Another fine game by Introversion - already bought it. :)
Date: 2007-03-05 10:56:01     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like mola
Pop open a console and copy/paste this in:

glxinfo | grep -i direct

If it says "direct rendering: no" then you don't have hardware acceleration, which would explain the speed problem. Ask around your distro's forum for pointers on enabling it.
If it says "direct rendering: yes" then the laptop's just plain too slow for this game. But I'm betting it's the former.
Date: 2007-03-05 14:25:36     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like mola
Direct rendering is enabled, and it's a 1.2 GHz CPU. The graphics on the title screen didn't look particularly detailed.
Date: 2007-03-05 22:19:11     User: nath     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like mola
Well, the chipset graphics of that notebook aren't exactly fast.
Date: 2007-03-06 00:46:18     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like mola
Yes, It's not a top-end gaming machine, but the graphics of this game are not exactly pushing the boundaries of what's possible are they?.
Date: 2007-03-06 05:06:42     User: Mone     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like ...
I second that the hardware requirements are a bit exaggerated. You'd want to be able to switch to a less resource-intensive graphics mode.
Date: 2007-03-06 07:58:44     User: anonymous     Subject: Defcon
Native FreeBSD version would be cool :/
Date: 2007-03-06 09:36:28     User: nath     Subject: Re: Defcon
If you ask them kindly in their forum, they may even do it.
Date: 2007-03-07 19:56:29     User: anonymous     Subject: Weee!!!
Never been a fan of genocide, but this is "fun genocide". Nukes flying everywhere!! I have a sick mind...
Date: 2007-03-07 23:52:59     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like mola
It may be using pixel shaders or other advanced features -- if your card doesn't support them, you may be hitting a software-rendered fallback. Check for an ini file and try disabling things.
Date: 2007-05-02 21:22:40     User: manuel.flury     Subject: Love it
It reminds me some Dune game I spent during night some years ago, with something new plus cool gfx :)
Date: 2007-06-02 03:21:59     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like ...
Totally agree. It's run slower then the doom 3 on my i915, and it has a line-based graphics like old 286 3d shooters ;). I mean, graphics looks cool, but this kind of rendering should run smooth on even more ancient hardware them mine. I bet they'll get much more customers if they tweak speed, and tweak it a lot.
Date: 2007-06-02 03:39:17     User: anonymous     Subject: worlds first?
i kinda recall one on amiga (bet it satirical) where you where tossing nukes and stuff all over the place...
Date: 2007-06-02 03:52:15     User: Sharpshooter     Subject: Re: worlds first?
You mean the excellent Nukewar ? :)
Date: 2007-06-02 11:31:39     User: Thunor     Subject: Loki Installer
Loki installer here ->

Date: 2007-06-02 11:51:28     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: worlds first?
He could also mean The Armageddon Man.. Though your job was to prevent Nuclear War, it was a bit satirical since your task was ultimately impossible. Sooner or later proliferation + tensions caused WWIII.
Date: 2007-06-02 11:56:51     User: Thunor     Subject: Re: worlds first?
That's Nuclear War, Ronnie Raygun et al.
Date: 2007-06-03 11:08:59     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like ...
Those are decidely not old style "line based graphics" -- they are a 3d rendered approximation of vector graphics, post-processed with pixel shading. If your card has some software fallbacks for some of the graphical effects, those are going to eat up cpu like nobody's business.
Date: 2007-06-05 13:12:19     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like ...
Well, there are no complicated textures, no advanced lighting and shadows, no need for vertex shaders and limited need for pixel shader. You can achieve same effect on much slower hardware then that required for Defcon.
Date: 2007-06-06 07:54:52     User: anonymous     Subject: Re: Even the title screen runs like ...
No advanced lighting and shadows? Are we looking at the same game? Just because it's mock-2d doesn't mean it's simple.
Date: 2007-09-04 22:59:36     User: ghstdncr     Subject: Wonderful
What can i say it's Introversion, and it's for Linux. Uplink, Darwinia and Defcon and i hope a lot more to come. Great games all of them.
Date: 2007-09-27 13:50:00     User: anonymous     Subject: Defcon
Like all games from Introversion, this is a conceptually very original and well implemented game. Now if only it were actually fun.

This is really too bad. Introversion is obviously staffed with some very courageous and original people who decided they wanted to make something special and actually went through with it. The game is very polished, apparently mostly bug-free and has a really nice atmosphere to boot.

The annoying thing is that, just like Darwinia, it stops there. Introversion games are altogether pretty shallow, when you get down to it. Defcon is basically a glorified Missile Defender clone; you move your troops in position, you press a few buttons, you zoom out to the max - and then you basically wait, wait, wait for everyone else to finish and the missiles to start flying. Gameplay in Defcon seems to basically fluctuate between "completely frantic" and "utterly tedious". There is no way to know which part will come next, but there also appears to be no middle ground. Things either happen so fast you can hardly follow them, or nothing happens at all.

Darwinia is a lot like that, sadly. On the surface, it looks just awesome - I mean, a strategy/action hybrid in retro style? That's pretty awesome. Once you realise, however, that the game does basically nothing else but pit you against ever larger masses of enemy troops which you then have to destroy with your trusty squads of, well, squaddies. This basic concept repeats until you reach the somewhat anticlimactic ending, after which you have no choice but to start a new game and do exactly the same things again or to get yourself a mod, which is nice but simply should not be a basic requirement to actually make a game fun. Darwinia is basically a shoot-em-up and lacks any reason to keep you playing long term if not for the rather interesting plot, if you are into that sort of thing.

Uplink is in my opinion the most well-conceived of the Introvision triplet, as well as the most actually enjoyable. However, this enjoyment lasts for all of about three hours, after which you notice that you are basically doing the same mission over and over again for different people, turning the game into a treadmill of making money to get better stuff to run even harder missions to get more money to get the yet better generation of stuff. Again you have a great concept which just doesn't manage to keep from turning very boring very fast.

In summary, Introvision does have some very creative, independent people with a lot of vision, who work very hard to realise their ideas. However, Introvision just needs to cut back on paying so much attention to being all new and hip with their game concepts in favour of actually making the gameplay fun enough to keep people playing their games.
Date: 2008-02-29 07:09:32     User: Natural Joe     Subject: Excellent
DefCon is definitely an excellent game and it's great that introversion continues to support Linux. Anybody who is interested in buying this game should think about buying the introversion anthology where you get defcon, uplink and darwinia for €29,$39. All of them are great games. 5 stars for sure.
Date: 2009-10-10 17:51:45     User: lightbulbjim     Subject: Good work IV
I really like Introversion games, and this is their best IMO. I'm not usually much of an RTS fan, but to me this actually feels a lot like playing a board game. The atmosphere is great too.