Tux Racer

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Tux Racer
Tux Racer logo.png
Developer(s) Sunspire Studios (Jasmin Patry, Patrick Gilhuly, Eric Hall, Rick Knowles, Vincent Ma, and Mark Riddell)
Publisher(s) Sunspire Studios
Director(s) Jasmin Patry
Producer(s) Jasmin Patry
Designer(s) Rick Knowles
Mark Riddell
Programmer(s) Jasmin Patry
Patrick Gilhuly
Eric Hall
Rick Knowles
Vincent Ma
Mark Riddell
Artist(s) Roger Fernandez
Composer(s) Joseph Toscano
Platform(s) Linux, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Android, Ubuntu Touch[1]
Release date(s)
  • NA: October 2, 2000
Genre(s) racing video game
Mode(s) single-player video game

Tux Racer is a free software 3D computer game starring the Linux mascot, Tux the penguin. 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.

Tux Racer has been met with positive reviews from critics.


Gameplay of Tux Racer featuring the main character, Tux.

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 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[2] and an arcade version with a steering wheel.

Sliding on ice makes Tux go faster, whereas 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 the sake of marking out the course. 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, the player must 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 elevation, terrain, and object placement.


Tux Racer was developed in the University of Waterloo Computer Graphics Lab.

Tux Racer was originally developed by Jasmin Patry, a student attending the University of Waterloo (UW) in Ontario, Canada, where he aimed to begin a career in the video game industry by pursuing a computer systems analyst (CSA) degree.[3] Development of the game as a project began in August 1999 as a final computer graphics project in Computer Graphics Lab (CGL).[3][4][5] The game was completed and presented in three days; a web page for the game was then started, when one of Patry's classmates, having enjoyed the presentation, suggested he released the software as open source.[3][5] Patry felt releasing the game as open source "made sense" due to Tux being the mascot for Linux, which is open source software, and continued to work on the game throughout the year, hoping fellow students would join in on developing the game.[3]

In December 1999, Patry and his former classmates Patrick Gilhuly, Eric Hall, Rick Knowles, Mark Riddell, and Rob Kroeger announced the foundation of the company Sunspire Studios to develop a video game project.[3] Patry stated the game "would feature a massively multiplayer, persistent universe with real-time strategy and first-person shooter components," "[...] something that would make the Quake 3 or Unreal engine look tame in comparison."[3] Fine arts undergraduate classmate Roger Fernandez was chosen as the artist; however, the project was eventually abandoned due to limitations in contemporary graphical software.[5] In August 2000, Knowles suggested the company resume working on Tux Racer, which became their first official project.[3][5] The game was released as free software under the GNU General Public License on October 2, 2000.[6]

Commercial version[edit]

Tux Racer
Tux Racer Cover.jpg
North American cover art.
Developer(s) Sunspire Studios chinedu 1(Jasmin Patry, Eric Hall, Rick Knowles, and Mark Riddell)
Publisher(s) Sunspire Studios
Director(s) Jasmin Patry
Producer(s) Jasmin Patry
Designer(s) Rick Knowles
Mark Riddell
Programmer(s) Jasmin Patry
Eric Hall
Rick Knowles
Mark Riddell
Artist(s) Roger Fernandez
Composer(s) Joseph Toscano
George Sanger
Platform(s) Linux, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • NA: January 16, 2002
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

In August 2000, Patry and his two friends Rick Knowles and Mark Riddell announced the development of an enhanced version of Tux Racer under a closed source license.[3][5] In 2001, a demo version of the software was included with a January 2001 issue of PC Gamer.[5] On January 16, 2002, the game was released for Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.[7] Patry states that had the game sold better, ports for the Nintendo GameCube and Xbox would be "fairly logical" choices.[3]

In 2003, Sunspire Studios ceased business. Their Internet domains[8] 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 2003.[9]


Review score
Publication Score
Clubic 8/10[10]
Publication Award
PC Magazine Best Free Software—2007[11]

TuxRadar praised Tux Racer for briefly providing a "shining light" of what free applications could achieve.[12] Lee Anderson of LinuxWorld.com praised the game's graphics and the easiness of the ability to create tracks.[13] PC Magazine ranked the game as one of the best free software of 2007.[11]

Daniel Voicu of Softpedia praised the Extreme Tux Racer fork for being relaxing and funny and having the ability to rewind and reset Tux to a safe position after being stuck in gaps, but criticized it for not being interactive and having Tux look like a plastic puppet.[14]


Despite the game ceasing production, certain forks of Tux Racer exist, including Open Racer, an open source fork of the original Tux Racer created by Nathan Matias for SourceForge in 2001;[15] this version was eventually abandoned. A fork entitled PlanetPenguin Racer, an enhanced version of the GPL-licensed version of Tux Racer, was created;[16] however, it was discontinued in 2006, with the latest release being in 2005.[17] Another project based on PlanetPenguin Racer entitled Extreme Tux Racer was released on September 2007.[18] An arcade redemption game entitled Tux Racer Arcade has been released by Roxor Games.[19] A sequel to Tux Racer Arcade entitled Tux 2 Arcade has also been released, featuring four courses and four characters from the commercial version: Tux; his friend Trixi, a female penguin; Boris, a bear; and Samuel, a seal.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stahie, Silviu (2015-08-25). "Old and Famous TuxRacer Game Arrives on Ubuntu Touch". Softpedia. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  2. ^ Rosenlund, Roger (2008-10-15). "World of Vårdcraft". Ny Teknik (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2014-02-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Yarwood, Arthur J. (2002). "Interview with Jasmin Patry from Sunspire Studios". Tuxracer Belly Rub. Archived from the original on 2012-02-18. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  4. ^ "University of Waterloo CS488/688 1998-1999 Gallery". University of Waterloo. 2000-03-09. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Ganthan, Durshan (2000-11-03). "An equation for success - Waterloo grads create fun-filled game for all". Imprint. Archived from the original on 2001-01-27. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  6. ^ "Tux Racer for PC". IGN. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Tux Racer for Unix/Linux - Technical Information, Game Information, Technical Support". GameSpot. GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2016-08-10. 
  8. ^ Sunspire Studios
  9. ^ Tux Racer
  10. ^ "Télécharger Tux Racer pour Windows". Clubic (in French). M6. Retrieved 2016-08-06. 
  11. ^ a b "Best Free Software—2007". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. 2007-02-20. p. 71. Retrieved 2016-08-13. 
  12. ^ "From the archives: the best games of 2001". TuxRadar. Future plc. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2016-08-06. 
  13. ^ Anderson, Lee. "Game review of TuxRacer 0.12". LinuxWorld.com. International Data Group. Archived from the original on 2000-10-18. Retrieved 2016-08-07. 
  14. ^ Voicu, Daniel (2008-05-15). "Extreme Tux Racer Review". Softpedia. SoftNews NET SRL. Retrieved 2016-08-06. 
  15. ^ Matias, Nathan J. (2001-08-02). "Tux Racer to be closed source - GPL Project Continues". Linux Today. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  16. ^ Jackson, Jerry, O'Brien, Kevin & Baxter, Andrew (2007-10-25). "Asus Eee PC Initial Hands On and Video Review". Notebook Review. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  17. ^ Projects@PlanetPenguin :: Racer
  18. ^ Elrod, Corvus (2007-09-27). "Extreme Tux Racer Released". The Escapist. Defy Media. Retrieved 2016-08-10. 
  19. ^ "Tux Racer Arcade". Killer List of Video Games. International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 

External links[edit]