3 New Community Tutorials: Play OpenRCT2, Chat with Pidgin, and Customize your MOTD

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Another week of shipping PocketC.H.I.P.s, another week of original community created tutorials. Community members Kainxkitsune, Ramayaben, and Neto aren’t just using PocketC.H.I.P., they are helping others get the most out of their device by writing projects.

Thanks to their documentation it’s now easier than ever to install Open RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, use the multi-protocol chat client Pidgin, and customize the command-line message of the day (MOTD) that welcomes users upon remote login.

Build your Dream Amusement Park with PocketC.H.I.P.!

In 2002, Infogrames released RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, putting you in control of building and running your own amusement park. Twelve years later, Ted ‘IntelOrca’ John and a number of other software developers began work on Open RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (Open RCT2), an open source port of the amusment park simulator.

Just two days ago, with the help of an Open RTC2 developer, Kainxkitsune posted detailed instructions for how to install Open RCT2 on PocketC.H.I.P.. This is not an easy installation. Even in the short time since Kainxkitsune’s first post, work is being done by the community to make the process less difficult and get you into the game faster.

Once you’ve compiled the game from source code, you’ll need to copy the game data from the original version of RTC2 to PocketC.H.I.P.. In fact, this is a fairly common process for installing Linux games — compile the open source version of the game, copy game data from the retail version of the game to your device, and finally, play the game. Fortunately, you don’t have to hunt around too much to find a copy of RTC2. Multiple online retailers sell RCT2 for under $10.


Chat with All Your Online Friends with Pidgin

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Pidgin is a popular messaging client for Linux that supports multiple chat protocols within a single application. By default Pidgin supports AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MXit, SILCSIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, Yahoo!, and Zephyr. Thanks to Ramayaben, there are now instructions to install the multi-protocol chat client on PocketC.H.I.P., plus configuration guidance for setting up Facebook and Google Talk accounts.

Google Talk setup is a breeze. Confusingly, to setup Google Talk, select a new XMPP account, then simply enter in your username and password. Setup for Facebook requires installing a few extra packages, but Ramayaben has you covered with clear instructions for every step of the process.

By default, Pidgin fits the PocketC.H.I.P. resolution quite nicely for chatting; however, during account setup there are a few times where you’ll need to move around a window that’s larger than the screen. Simply hold down ALT and use the touchscreen to relocate the larger window.

In addition to Pidgin’s many default features, there are also a ton of third-party plug-ins. These increase functionality and range from improved security and encryption, add interface tweaks and extra icons, and even include birthday reminders. For a complete list, check the Pidgin plugins site.

For extra convenience chatting, try swapping out one of the Pocket Home icons for Pidgin icon. You can learn all about desktop customization in the forum thread covering the Marshmallow edition of Pocket Home.


Greet Your Users in Style: Customize the MOTD

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When you log into C.H.I.P. or PocketC.H.I.P. from the command-line or a remote machine, you’re greeted with a stock message of the day (MOTD). On UNIX and UNIX-like systems such as the Debian Linux running on PocketC.H.I.P., the MOTD is stored in the file /etc/motd. Neto knew this and swapped out the default MOTD for something a bit more custom. To edit the MOTD file, which is just a plain text file, type the following command and enter in whatever text you want to display.
sudo nano /etc/motd

Note: Another approach is to work on a MOTD file as the chip user and copy the file using sudo cp motd /etc/motd when you’re ready to deploy it.

But don’t stop at just basic text, use an online utility like the one on Patorjk.com to make customization even more impressive. Simply enter in the text you want in your MOTD and the tool will render a custom banners for you. With 19 different font styles and 10 character width and height options, it provides easy to cut and paste output for your MOTD file. And if you’re unsure which options to use, try the Test All button, which outputs your custom text in every possible permutation. Once you have a banner you like, just copy and paste the text into the /etc/motd file.

And, if you want to get really fancy and do more than just show text in your MOTD, try out picascii. This online utility converts an image file you upload into an ASCII image. Make sure to keep the image quality on the lowest setting, since PocketC.H.I.P. has a limited number of columns .


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Whatever you decide to put in your MOTD, don’t forget to share it with the community NTC forum. It’s a great place to share your skills and learn a new trick or two. Make sure to browse on over and add your voice to the mix.

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