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In the game, the player controls Tux (or one of three other characters) as he slides down a course of snow and ice collecting herring. Sliding on ice makes Tux go faster, while sliding on snow allows for more maneuverability and sliding on rocky patches will slow Tux down. There are also trees to block Tux's path and flags for sake of marking out the course.
The left/right steering controls are typical of a racing simulation game, except that the up arrow key causes Tux to “paddle” with his flippers. Correct use of the paddle command is essential to getting good race times. Paddling slows Tux down when at a high speed but speeds him up at slow speeds. Paddling when in mid-air may also be used to increase the length of a jump. Jumps can be caused by the shape of the landscape or by holding down the "energy" key (usually e) and releasing it. Releasing the key when a jump is imminent will naturally make a larger jump. Versions with other controls instead of keyboard exist, for example wiimote, and an arcade version with steering wheel.
Points are also scored by collecting herring that are scattered along the various courses. In order to progress to the next level of the game you have to both collect sufficient herring and reach the end of the course within a preset time limit.
Like many open-source games, the replay value of Tux Racer is extended by easy modification of the game. New maps can be created by making three raster images to indicate height, surface, and object placement.
TuxRacer was originally written by Jasmin Patry as a university project in 1999. He released it as free software under the GPL in 2000. The software was developed as a community project for almost a year.
Sunspire Studios: TuxRacer
In August 2001 Patry announced that he and two friends had formed a company called 'Sunspire Studios' to sell an enhanced version of the software under a closed-source commercial license. Shortly after, Sunspire Studios retailed TuxRacer for US$14.99 with versions for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.
Sunspire never produced another product and ceased doing business sometime in 2003. Their Internet domains (sunspirestudios.com and tuxracer.com) are now commercially cybersquatted. According to archive.org, there had been no significant changes to their site since September 22, 2002, when the Tux Racer 1.1.1 Linux Patch was released. It appears that the site continued to exist almost unchanged until 2004. Their demo of version 1.1 can still be downloaded.
When Sunspire took the game commercial, Nathan Matias took the last GPL'ed version of the program and released it under the title 'Open Racer' as an open sourced project hosted on the Sourceforge (and later moved to WorldForge) servers. This version was updated sporadically but was eventually abandoned (although you can still download and play this version).
Since the original studio ceased selling the game, a fork called PlanetPenguin Racer was created from the last GPL-licensed version of Tux Racer. In addition to the levels from the original game, PlanetPenguin Racer also includes additional levels created by the community.
PlanetPenguin Racer is available not only for Linux but also for Windows.
The PlanetPenguin Racer Project is considered to be dead. The latest stable release is 0.3.1, released March 1, 2005, and the latest alpha release is 0.5alpha, released September 26, 2005. The original website died in mid-2006, and downloads can no longer be found there. PlanetPenguin Racer is still available on the internet in games archives (See external links) and the BerliOS source page.
The ASUS EEE PC 701 ships with PlanetPenguin Racer pre-installed, with the additional levels from the community. 
Extreme Tux Racer
In March 2007, a new project was created based on PlanetPenguin Racer 0.3.1, and borrowing some source code from 0.5alpha, so as to maintain backwards compatibility with Tux Racer which was severely damaged in the alpha version. It was originally intended that the project should be called PlanetPenguin Racer and just be a new set of developers continuing work on the same game. However, due to legal issues and the fact that the owner of the PlanetPenguin Racer couldn't be contacted for permission, new names were proposed and voted upon, and the project became Extreme Tux Racer. A website, wiki, and forum have been set up at extremetuxracer.com. So far two versions have been released: 0.35 (a small modification of 0.3.1, with the period accidentally removed), and version 0.4. To date the improvements have been mainly graphical due to the proposal for a code rewrite. Currently simple changes and bug fixes are being made in addition to graphical improvements while the development team reprograms the game from scratch. Extreme Tux Racer is the only remaining fork that is being actively developed (besides the commercial versions).
Roxor Games: TuxRacer
Roxor Games has released an arcade version as a redemption game; it only has left and right controls and misses the subtlety of play that the 'paddle' function produced. Two variants of the arcade version exist: one with a steering wheel and with just big left/right buttons and one with controls that look like penguin flippers.
Roxor Games: Tux 2
Roxor Games announced the production of Tux 2, marketed as the sequel of Tux Racer. Available characters include Tux, Trixi (female penguin), Boris the Bear and Sammy the Seal. There are 4 downhill courses in the game.
- The new Extreme Tux Racer website
- PlanetPenguin Racer (Windows version)
- PlanetPenguin Racer on BerliOS Developer
- PlanetPenguin Racer on Klik (run on Linux without having to install)
- TuxRacer on Download.com (Windows version)
- Open Racer Project homepage
- Old open-source versions of Tux Racer
- Tux Racer Arcade and the new Tux2 Arcade
- Tuxracer Belly Rub
- Template:Moby game
- Interview with Jasmin Patry from Sunspire Studios
- Game review of TuxRacer 0.12 in LinuxWorld
- Small french article in Linux Pratique Magazine about Extreme Tux Racer (scanned)
|This article needs references that appear in reliable third-party publications. Primary sources or sources affiliated with the subject are generally not sufficient for a Wikipedia article. Please add more appropriate citations from reliable sources. (June 2007)|
- ↑ TuxRacer is used for alleviation of pain at queen Silvias child/youth hospital 2008-10-15 NyTeknik (swedish technology newspaper)
- ↑ University of Waterloo CS488/688 1998-1999 Gallery
- ↑ Imprint Online 2000-11-03 (Volume 23, Number 16) University of Waterloo Student Newspaper
- ↑ Sunspire Studios
- ↑ Tux Racer
- ↑ FilePlanet: Tux Racer 1.1 Demo (Linux)
- ↑ First mention of Open Racer, and that Tux Racer going closed source (Linux Today)
- ↑ Projects@PlanetPenguin :: Racer
- ↑ Asus Eee PC Initial Hands On and Video Review
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