Having finished HalfLife (and desperately waiting for Hl2!) I felt like playing another FPS. So I jumped on a few Linux game websites, and discovered America's Army. It had some good reviews, and a native Linux version was available. So I took it for a spin... of sorts...
The first problem was the download. The whole thing is around 650Mb! Even on cable, that's a fair chunk of bandwidth. I went straight to a local mirror (PlanetMirror) and started the download in the background. For whatever reason, it was painfully slow (around 10-15kB/sec) so it ended up taking 15 hours to download! :/
Once I had it downloaded, I burned it to CD so it wouldn't take up valuable disk space. Then I installed it in a spare bit of space and went to run it. The wait was killing me... I was really looking forward to playing it. The install took ages, but finally it completed. So I fired it up, saw the splash screen, disk drive doing the rhumba, and then - it failed.
I got an error about an unsupported OpenGL extension, GL_EXT_bgra that was required. It bailed, and I was left with a big sad face. I went straight to Google, and found a few mentions of the same sort of problem but nothing specific to fix my problem. I checked the docs for the system requirements, and my video card was supposed to be supported. I checked 'glxinfo' and sure enough the extension wasn't listed. I checked for a newer version of video driver, but I had the latest already (an NVidia).
I headed over to the forums on AA, and there were several people complaining of the same problem but no concrete solutions. A few well-meaning people offered random suggestions, but nothing conclusive. I went back to scratch, checking docs, drivers and so on. Then eventually I thought I'd better check the driver again. One fishy thing of note - the glxinfo output mentions "Direct rendering: no"...
I uncovered a little-mentioned feature of the NVidia installer, a switch called (curiously enough) --sanity that would do a sanity-check of your system for the installed drivers and OpenGL libraries. I ran this and sure enough, it said the libraries were out of date with respect to what it was expecting to see (or had installed).
I realised that a recent Debian update had overwritten the NVidia libraries (with the glxmesa package), so I forced an update, reinstalled and - voila! I restart X, check 'glxinfo' and I now have direct rendering enabled, and most importantly the GL_EXT_bgra extension supported.
I then fire up the game, and this time it works! I complete basic training (only 7 misses on my first try) and then - alas! - it's time to go to uni...
So this really isn't a review of the game at all. More a document of my experiences, so that someone else with a similar problem can (hopefully!) fix it quickly.
(System details: Debian sid, NVidia GeForce 2 Ultra 64Mb, drivers 1.4 4496).