The Baldur's Gate Series on Linux (as of 2013)

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Tricky
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The Baldur's Gate Series on Linux (as of 2013)

Postby Tricky » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:09 am

It has been maybe six years since I last installed the Baldur's Gate series on a Linux platform. It used to be quite simple, but the technology behind a couple of things has grown a bit more complex. The installation-ride is a little different now, so I thought it might help others if I wrote down my experiences. I presume you have at least a passing understanding of how to install BG1 and 2 and all their respective patches, mods, fixpacks and tweakpacks under Windows, I won't really elaborate on that here. Feel free to ask any questions regarding the subject though.

The first lesson: Avoid EasyTutu And BGTutu. Use The Baldur's Gate Trilogy Instead!
The EasyTutu installer nowadays relies heavily on Dot Net technology to be present on your system. Like me you may have had different iterations of .Net installed under Wine in the past, but DON'T EVEN GO THERE NOW. I tried several versions of .Net. Some refused to install on the latest Wine, others that did work wouldn't cooperate with EasyTutu. Linux does have a relatively recent alternative software package for .Net called Mono, but it refuses to cooperate with EasyTutu as well.
The older 'Not Easy' BGTutu may work, but it is generally not recommended anymore. Even patched up it's quite out of date and may cause conflicts with other major mods and fixpacks.
The only alternative, if not better option, that WILL work on Linux is the Baldur's Gate Trilogy, which does not require .Net at all. Even if you're not used to it or just generally prefer EasyTutu over BGT, I strongly recommend you avoid finding your own solutions to installing EasyTutu. I explored and exhausted every possible installation method for both .Net and EasyTutu and I daresay nobody can do better.
Mono is a long way from being a good alternative to .Net and as long as EasyTutu and .Net keep 'evolving', Mono will have to catch up. BGT will in all likelyhood indefinitely remain your only option.

Don't forget: The G3 Fixpack for Baldur's Gate 2 MUST be installed on BG2 PRIOR to the installation of BGT, which brings me to my following point regarding WeiDU.

The second lesson: WeiDU Runs Through Wine For Nearly All Mods.
Yes, there is a slightly more complex Linux native version of WeiDU, but no you can safely avoid using it most of the time. Bar one exception, I had no problems installing most of my WeiDU mods through Wine. Somehow I couldn't get it to run the BG2 G3 Fixpack though. Turns out the homepage for the fixpack on G3's own site provides some installation instructions for Linux, which need to be followed to the letter. Not-so briefly summarized, you have to download and install the Linux native version of WeiDU, which turns WeiDU into a console command called WeInstall (case sensitive).
You also install another program called tolower. Tolower converts all the file names in the BG2 directory to lower case. It also generates a special modification of baldur.ini called linux.ini, containing only the CD installation paths. Depending on your installation method of BG2, this file may well break a little but the chances are pretty good it doesn't matter. Ignore modifying linux.ini even if it looks messed up, UNLESS you are absolutely certain it's all that stands in your way towards a clean installation of the G3 Fixpack (remember to download the linux version of the fixpack!). Finally, you run 'WeInstall modname' for the G3 Fixpack and any other WeiDU mod that refuses to work under Wine. I'm not 100% sure on this, but you may have to run tolower again at times, to convert all the newly made files. I did it every time, as it doesn't do any harm and it's sometimes best to just be thorough.

~!Never SUDO tolower, as it will make all the files it converts have ROOT file permissions only!~ making it impossible for other mods to overwrite files!~
If you somehow do run into a situation where this happens (I'm not sure why, but it did in my case), run the appropriate sudo chmod command to set all the file permissions back. Be really careful though, as sudo chmod commands don't take very well to typos, easily breaking entire programs or even whole hard disks due to one misplaced space!

Final addition. Both the Linux and Windows WeiDU can 'co-exist' on the same game. However, if you have trouble running one after the exiting the other, especially after one of them was used to install a mod that bugged out, remove any 'debug' files they created inside the BG2 directory. You will recognize those files when you see them. After removing them, the other WeiDU should run fine.

The third lesson: The Ext4 Filesystem Will Mess Up Your Ability To Save Your Game, But Luckily There Is A Workaround.
Ext4 is pretty much the standard for Linux nowadays. For all its pros over ext3, it will cause BG2 and BGT (not BG1 for some odd reason) to crash, every time you try to save your game. The cause of this is believed to lie in the way BG2 and ext4 handle case formats, but there seems to be no real fix for this. Don't uninstall Linux and format your entire computer just yet, there still is a way out of this!
  1. Start a new BGT game.
  2. Create your character and enter the game world with it.
  3. Export that character using the character menu.
  4. Start a new BGT game.
  5. Import the character you just made, enter the game world.
  6. Save to your heart's content.
I haven't the first idea why, but this weird trick actually works. I haven't had a single crash since I did this.

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That's pretty much all I have to offer for now. One final tip: figure out your mods, patches, fixpacks, tweakpacks and installation order before hand! In learning how to jump through all the hoops, I had to reinstall everything a couple of times and with all the added Linux quirks it ended up becoming a real pain. It was worth it though. So my advice is simply to plan ahead, be as certain as you can be. Run your mod list past these or other, more active forums to confirm you have everything in the right order. Then just go for it. :)
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