Are you a Linux user? Do you want to play LEGO Racers without using a virtual machine? Well, after reading this helpful guide by JimbobJeffers on how to set it up on Windows 10, I decided to see if I could adapt it for Linux using Wine. And after a lot of testing and crashing and checking, I finally figured out how to get it working!
First of all, you need to install the following packages:
- wine-mono (for .NET applications, such as the launcher we're going to use to play the game at higher resolutions)
- q4wine[AUR] (a GUI for managing different Wine prefixes and choosing which executables should open in which prefix, which will come in handy if you install multiple apps on different Wine prefixes)
I use Arch Linux, and I recommend using the graphical wrapper Pamac[AUR] for installing packages on that distro, as it makes finding and installing packages from both the official repositories and the AUR really easy. If you're using an Arch-based distro like Antergos or Manjaro, then you already have Pamac installed. (Note that you will have to enable AUR support in Pamac for AUR packages to show up in searches.) If you're using a non-Arch-based distro, then installation of these packages will be different. Just look up how to install these packages on your distro and which repositories provide them. (And feel free to post any helpful information that could be added to the guide.)
You'll also want to download le717's alternate installer for installation of the game. The original installers for LEGO games tend to have compatibility problems on Windows, and while I've never tried using the original installer on Linux, I don't see a reason to bother trying it since le717's installer seems to work everywhere foolproof.
SETTING UP WINE AND Q4WINE
In this tutorial, we're going to be using the default Wine prefix. It can be 64-bit or 32-bit, I don't think it matters. (But let me know if you discover otherwise. Note that be default, the default Wine prefix is 64-bit if your system is 64-bit.)
Launch Q4Wine. You will get a "First startup wizard". You probably won't have to change anything here, so just click "Next" until it asks for "Console application settings", which are required. Just put in the path to your preferred terminal emulator... in my case Terminology, the path to the binary being "/bin/terminology". Yours will probably be "/bin/PACKAGE_NAME". Then just continue through the rest of the startup wizard until its finished.
It will launch Q4Wine, and here you can easily create Wine prefixes and manage applications. But for now just close the app.
INSTALLING THE GAME
Insert the LEGO Racers disc. My disc is the one from the 2007 Valusoft 4 Game Collection (the one also containing LEGO Island, LEGO Island 2, and LEGO Racers 2). This disc should be identical to the ones from 2001. If your disc is from 1999, it may be one of two versions: the version with SafeDisc DRM, and the one without. The version with SafeDisc DRM will probably have problems when trying to install it through Wine. I'm not sure how/if this issue can be worked around, and unfortunately I can't test it, so if you have the 1999 version of the disc, let me know if anything is different in trying to install and play it.
Mount the disc. Most desktop environments make this pretty easy to do... usually the disc shows up in a list of devices or something, and just clicking on it will mount it.
Run the le717 alternate installer. This should open up Q4Wine, which will prompt you to select a Wine prefix to use as other helpful settings... if you're using a different Wine prefix than the default, select it here. But otherwise, you shouldn't have to change anything. Just click "OK". The installer should pop up, and you can just continue through it as if you were installing on Windows. However, once you reach the end, you should uncheck the "Launch LEGO Racers" option before finishing. (Note: for some reason the installer window could not be brought in front of windows, so I had to minimize all my other windows to see it, though I think this could be fixed by using a virtual desktop.)
If you're content to play the game in its original resolution and unmodded, you can stop here. Just launch the game using LEGORacers.exe. Upon running the executable, a Q4Wine window will pop-up. Make sure to add "-novideo" to the arguments, or else the game will crash.
MAKING THE GAME MODDABLE AND RUNNING IT AT HIGHER RESOLUTIONS
If you want to run the game widescreen or mod it, then here's what you have to do.
Download JrMasterModelBuilder's LEGO.jam file extractor. Download the appropriate version for the architecture of your Wine prefix. Extract the contents of the .zip archive. Make sure to keep all the files in the same directory.
Copy the LEGO.JAM file from "WINE_PREFIX/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/LEGO Media/Games/LEGO Racers/" into the same folder as the file extractor executable. If you're just using the default Wine prefix, the location of the LEGO.JAM file will be "~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/LEGO Media/Games/LEGO Racers/".
Run the extractor. When the Q4Wine window pops up, just put LEGO.JAM in the arguments. Press "OK", and wait for the extractor to finish extracting the contents of the LEGO.JAM file to a newly-created folder called "LEGO". Once it is finished, enter the "LEGO" folder and copy the 2 subfolders "GAMEDATA" and "MENUDATA". Paste them in the folder where LEGO Racers is installed ("WINE_PREFIX/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/LEGO Media/Games/LEGO Racers/"). Delete the "LEGO" subfolder and LEGO.JAM file from the folder containing the extractor (NOT the LEGO Racers installation directory). We'll be using the extractor again later.
In this installation folder, rename the original LEGO.JAM file to "BACKUP LEGO.JAM".
Download WillKirkby's LEGO Racers Launcher. Extract the .zip archive and copy LR1Launcher.exe to the LEGO Racers installation folder.
Run LR1Launcher.exe. Click the 3 dots button to choose the the normal game executable: LEGORacers.exe. Choose your preferred screen resolution. Enable the patches for "fullscreen Main Menu" and "Fullscreen Cutscenes". Make sure that "Disable Splash Videos" is checked, or else the game will crash. Press "Launch!". You will be met with another window titled "Select Direct3D Device". You can't currently change either of the settings in this window when using Wine, so just press "OK".
If you are using the no-SafeDisc 1999 version of the game, it should boot up properly complete with fullscreen high resolution rendering, and you will be done. If you have the SafeDisc 1999 version, you will probably have had to deal with or remove the DRM before getting to this stage, but I don't have any experience with that version of the game, so I'm not sure.
However, if you have the 2001 version of the game like I do, then the game will not launch properly. You will just get a black screen. Press the ESC key to kill the game. The reason the game didn't launch properly is because of the patches we enabled, which were specifically noted as being only for the 1999 version of the game. When we launched the game with these patches, it looked for a LEGO.JAM file and ignored the GAMEDATA and MENUDATA folders. Because we had renamed the LEGO.JAM file to "BACKUP LEGO.JAM", it could not find one. If we had not enabled the patches (or if we were using the 1999 version of the game), it would have used the GAMEDATA and MENUDATA folders instead of a LEGO.JAM folder.
However, we enabled the patches anyway on purpose. The GAMEDATA and MENUDATA folders have now been modified with the patches. We could recompile the GAMEDATA and MENUDATA folders back into a new LEGO.JAM file using the extractor. (The extractor works both ways... if you give it a file as its argument, it extracts the contents. If you give it a folder, it compresses it into a .JAM file.) This would work.
But as it turns out, there's an easier and more convenient way to get around this that doesn't require compiling a new LEGO.JAM file every time we make a modification to the game. The game doesn't need a complete LEGO.JAM file... just a valid one. If there are assets missing from the LEGO.JAM file, it will search for the missing ones in the GAMEDATA and MENUDATA folders. (Thanks to Iran, who discovered this in this post.)
Download this empty but valid LEGO.JAM file and copy it into the LEGO Racers installation folder. (Thanks to Xir for this convenient upload.)
Now run LR1Launcher.exe again. Don't recheck/enable the fullscreen patches... they've already been applied.
The game should then launch without a problem, and the main menu, the cutscenes, and the game itself should all be running fullscreen at the resolution of your choice, and you don't need to use the disc to play the game! (Thanks to le717 for discovering you could make the fullscreen patches work on the post-1999 versions of the game by making a new LEGO.JAM file.) Unfortunately, the other menus will still not be fullscreen, but there's no fix for that currently.
If you want to modify something, just edit the files in the GAMEDATA and MENUDATA folders... but I would advise making a backup in case you break something.
I hope this guide was helpful, and if you have any trouble or info you'd like to add, please let me know!
This guide is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International.
LAST UPDATED ON 2018-02-23