I suppose that today continues the new policy of picking a random game from the front page of The Linux Game Tome when nothing more pressing is at hand. At least that's what it was supposed to be, but I'll get to that... right now.
This week's pick is VDrift, a racing game. Now, I've been known to enjoy a few racing games in my time but, until now, all of my experience with the genre has been on consoles. Why? Quite simply, I don't own a gamepad. I know they're not exactly something hard to find, but since most of the PC games I play are best played with a mouse/keyboard control system, it's never been high on my list of priorities. Somewhat sadly, I never even got the chance to see how the cars would control with a keyboard, as the game (at least the most recent binary version, which is the version I downloaded) is broken.
I'm not even going to mention the various troubles I had even getting the game to run in the first place, aside from mentioning that if you plan to try running the game without installing it first, you'll need some luck. What really got me is this: The game comes with no default controls configured. The first time I tried to actually play the game, I was greeted with an idling but entirely unresponsive vehicle. I figured I'd take a look in the control section of the options menu and figure out what key did what. Much to my surprise, they were all unbound.
It was a pain in the ass, but I'm not so elitist that I can't be bothered to bind my own controls - that is, as long as it's really possible. Every time I tried binding a key to the accelerator, hitting the key would simply floor the pedal. It was quite effective at stalling the vehicle, but nothing more. The brake key did nothing to alleviate the problem, and there was no binding I could find for deceleration. Frustrated, I tried reinstalling the game a few different ways - wiping out any traces left behind (such as ~/.vdrift) each time. No luck. So, long story short: I'm not playing VDrift right now, I haven't yet played it and, as annoyed as I'm feeling right now, I won't ever play it again.
When the game's README file says things about pressing certain keys to do certain things, it can reasonably be expected that these keys will, in fact, do certain things upon being pressed. It's not fucking rocket science to hard-code some default controls. I know how these things are done, and it's absolutely bullshit that the game is downloadable in such a state. Apparently, from the messages listed in VDrift's Tome entry, compiling the game is an exercise in masochism as well.
Sorry, VDrift folks. Maybe instead of having flashy polls on your web site about which car should be included next, or whether car interior details are more important that more cars or tracks, you should be putting in a little time to ensure that the game runs on a system that's not your own.
Update From The Future: Forgot to post, here it is.