A popular PC racing game has sped its way on to the Ubuntu Snap store — and I think you’re gonna dig it.
It’s called ‘TrackMania Nations Forever’ (TMNF) and, for some of you, it will need zero introduction.
TrackMania Nations Forever is an arcade racing simulator with broad appeal and frenetic online gameplay
First released back in 2008 — a decade ago — TrackMania Nations Forever built a solid reputation for itself as an arcade racing sim thanks to fun, frenetic and free online gameplay.
The game only ever saw a Windows only release, but works great on Linux (and on macOS) using Wine — which is how it came to be find itself available in the Ubuntu Snap store.
Following our post on Winepak (a new effort for creating easy-to-install Wine app bundles using Flatpak) a few readers pointed to a similar effort underway in the Snap ecosystem, of which this app is an example.
Having ported the majority of the Electron world to the format Snappy developers are now having a go at packaging popular Windows apps with Wine. These are dubbed ‘Winesnaps’ by fans.
Regardless of which format is better, the aim is the same: making it easier to install Windows software that works well with Wine on Linux desktops.
TrackMania Nations Forever
TrackMania Nations Forever is an arcade racing simulator with broad appeal.
Mastering this game requires a trunk-load of skill, patience and competitive nous, especially when racing online
The gameplay itself is simple enough: you drive a car as fast as can around a track of varying terrain that’s also littered with loops, ramps, jumps and holes. The aim is the complete the track in the fastest time or within a set time limit to snag victory.
But don’t be deceived: although (comparatively) ancient this game has aged (very) well. Mastering it still demands a trunk-load of skill, patience, and competitive nous — especially in online races.
The obstacle laden tracks regularly send you totalling over or careering off course, and despite a fast re-spawn rate you’ll still end up venting a vocabulary of frustration at the screen!
Admittedly the graphics quality is unlikely to woo any millennial eyeballs but things look decent enough. Controls — you can use the keyboard to play this game — are responsive and you can easily change the camera position too.
TrackMania Nations Forever is free (as in beer) but it’s not short on content. Well stocked solo, local multiplayer and online multiplayer modes mean there’s plenty to enjoy.
Yes, You Can (Still) Race Online Against Others
Amazingly for a game of this vintage the official TrackMania Nations Forever severs are still active and still running.
You can race online against people from around the world.
If there is a downside to the online rivalry (which arguably makes the game so compelling) it’s the arbitrary limit enforced on free users: for every five (5) races you take part in you have to spectate one (1). This is a minor inconvenience which, for me any way, doesn’t spoil the fun overall.
TrackMania Nations Forever: Key Features
The game’s Steam store listing page pitches the game as thus: “TrackMania Nations Forever lets you drive at mind-blowing speeds on fun and spectacular tracks in solo and multiplayer modes [with] 65 brand new, progressively challenging tracks.”
And it’s true: TrackMania offers a crazy amount of gameplay for zero dollars and zero cents:
- Solo mode with 65 tracks
- Compete against other players online
- Free to download and free to play
- Varying levels of difficulty
- Track editor
- Communicate with other players
You can watch a video review of the game below (though be aware that the Linux version is not being tested):
How to Install TrackMania Nations Forever on Ubuntu
Like what you see and want to try the game out on your system? It’s easy enough!
All you have to do to download TrackMania Nations Forever on Ubuntu is pop open a new terminal window and run this command:
snap install tmnationsforever
The initial download seems quick but, when you go to launch the game, you’ll be presented with a second dialog window. It’s this one which actually downloads the 500MB game file.
Once the download is complete and the game is unpacked and set up it should (barring any bugs) load, run, and play as expected.
To enable joystick (a ye olde term for joypad/game controller) support you will need to run this command separately:
snap connect tmnationsforever:joystick
But that’s it! Race away!
On the subject of racing games, I really enjoyed playing CoreBreach back in the day. I’d very much love to see that game available on Linux again — hint hint, Snappy developers! ;)
Thanks Adam E.