Chromium B.S.U.

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Chromium B.S.U.
Chromium BSU icon
Chromium BSU.jpg
Developer(s) Mark B. Allan (the main author) and others.
Initial release 2000
Stable release / September 6, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-09-06)
Operating system Microsoft Windows, AmigaOS 4, Linux, Mac OS X, UNIX-like OS, PSP, iPhone
Type Single player Arcade
License Clarified Artistic, MIT
Website Project site

Chromium B.S.U. is an arcade-style, top-scrolling space shooter available on Windows, iPhone, PSP, Mac, AmigaOS 4, Linux and numerous other UNIX-like operating systems. It is a free software distributed under the Clarified Artistic License.


The original version of Chromium B.S.U. was designed in 2000 by Mark B. Allan and released under the Artistic License.[1] Since then it has received the contribution of numerous people in the open source community. The gameplay is based on a player who plays the role of hero, shooting their way through a barrage of enemy forces. The game is similar to 2D top-scrolling space shooters played in arcades.

Due to Chromium B.S.U. being free software this project is still alive. Recently maintenance has increasingly resumed under the direction of new maintainers.


The storyline of Chromium B.S.U. consists of the player taking the role of a captain aboard a cargo ship. The name of the cargo ship is Chromium B.S.U. The player is given the task of delivering cargo to troops on the front line. The cargo ship has aboard a series of robotic fighter spaceships. Your job is to make use of these ships to ensure that the cargo ship makes it to the front line.


Players are expected to shoot enemy aircraft in order to ensure that the enemy aircraft do not reach the bottom of the screen. For every aircraft that reaches the bottom of the screen the player will lose a life. This particular rule makes Chromium B.S.U. unique amongst the usual scrolling space shooters and adds a new degree of difficulty to the genre. Another aspect of the game that makes winning difficult is the lack of ammunition. Ammunition must be utilized efficiently in order to win.

When a player is having difficulty destroying foes the player has two options. They can crash into enemy vessels and deal damage to the ship as well as themselves. The other alternative is to self-destruct, thereby destroying all the enemies on the screen.

In the first level of the game there are only three types of enemy ships. More enemy ships are introduced to the player as they advanced through levels. The game was designed to be played on short time intervals as a quick relief. Long hours of dedication is not the goal of the project. However, due to the addictive nature of the game many players play the game in this manner.

Technical information[edit]

The game is written in C++. Graphical support is provided by OpenGL. The game demands hardware acceleration in order to reliably maintain a steady frame rate of roughly 50 frames per second. Therefore, software implementations of OpenGL are not suitable for playing the game. SDL is used for creating the window that the OpenGL context is attached to as well as handling input events (such as mouse, keyboard, joystick). Alternatively, a user may choose GLUT rather than SDL for these things.

Audio is an option that is configurable by the user at compile time. The user may choose between OpenAL and SDL_Mixer for audio playback support. They both have their own advantages and disadvantages. A key feature of the audio system in Chromium B.S.U. is that it supports both user-defined playlists and CDROM playback. The user may choose between FTGL and QuesoGLC for font rendering.

From a library point of view Chromium B.S.U. is customizable.

Critical reception[edit]

Chromium was selected on Christmas 2008 as "HotPick" by Linux Format.[2] Ubuntu Magazine praised Chromium for its graphics, music, shooting action, easy mouse controls and challenging gameplay.[3] Linux Planet highlighted several elements that they considered unique to a space shooter: that escaping enemies cause the player to lose a life; that the damage leeway allows the player to ram enemy ships; and the player's limited amount of ammunition.[4] Novell recommended Chromium as a "fun stress-reliever".[5] The Linux Game Tome listed the game with 4 of 5 stars.[6] The game was downloaded between 2007 and 2017 from alone over 100,000 times.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Original Chromium Homepage on (archived, but blocked)
  2. ^ Linux Format 113 Christmas 2008 page 77
  3. ^ Jeremy LaCroix (18 April 2007). "Five Must Have Linux Games". Ubuntu Magazine. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  4. ^ Jem Matzan (February 21, 2006). "Four Linux Games I Can't Stop Playing". Linux Planet. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  5. ^ Scott M. Morris (16 March 2005). "More Linux Games". Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  6. ^ Chromium B.S.U. on The Linux Game Tome (archived)
  7. ^ 2007-01-11+to+2017-05-17 stats on

External links[edit]