So I’ve finally got Starcraft LAN party and worthy without giving up Linux. What a journey.

So, to start with grab a fresh copy of Qemu, I have 0.7.2, and KQemu.

With recent kernels ( I’ve found that the /dev/kqemu device isn’t created when the kqemu module is loaded. This will probably be fixed in the next release but in the mean time create:

modprobe kqemu
mknod /dev/kqemu c 250 0

Once that’s done Qemu should work with the accelerator. It runs at quite acceptable speeds. Then throw on your favorite windows version in QEmu. I find windows 98 is a nice and small installation, perfect for Starcraft.

~/qemu $ qemu-image create hd/win98.img 1G
~/qemu $ qemu -hda hd/win98.img -cdrom cd/win98.iso -boot d

That should be all you need to get windows up and running. Next install Starcraft.

# Starcraft Install
~/qemu $ qemu -hda hd/win98.img -cdrom /dev/cdrom0
# Broodwars Install
~/qemu $ qemu -hda hd/win98.img -cdrom cd/broodwars.iso

It is a great idea to rip the broodwars cd so you can just use the image and never have to carry the cd around with you. Qemu won’t care and windows won’t know. Also, you can run qemu with ` -monitor stdio` to get a qemu command prompt in the terminal. From there you can unmount cds and remount new ones while the system is running. Very handy.

eject cdrom
change cdrom /dev/cdrom

Now the easy part is done. Starcraft should run in qemu and you should be able to play single player, and connect to and get upgrades, but not play online. This is because the default qemu networking is good for making requests but doesn’t accept incoming connections. So we have to make qemu use it’s tun device support, create a virtual network between qemu and our computer, and then bridge that network to the real one.

the tools you need are:

  • kernel with tun/tap device support
  • kernel with bridge support
  • bridge tools supplying the ‘brctl’ command

Equipped with these you can write simple shell scripts (my approach) or more flexible scripts (for another day). I just took the instructions I found and put them in a script for quick use. Still have to edit it for each different network for now but it shouldn’t be too hard to extend.

(Note: I had issues with using this setup with wireless devices. You may too. If you have a choice, go wired. Might make it work.)


# The network interface
# Our computers desired IP address on the network


ifconfig $IF down
echo "Creating bridge..."
brctl addbr br0
ifconfig $IF promisc up
ifconfig tun0 promisc up
#echo "Bringing up br0 (dhcpcd)..."
#dhcpcd br0
echo "Bringing up br0 ($IP)..."
ifconfig br0 $IP netmask broadcast $BROADCAST up

echo "Configuring bridge..."

brctl stp br0 off
brctl setfd br0 1
brctl sethello br0 1
brctl addif br0 $IF
brctl addif br0 tun0
route add default gw $GATEWAY



ifconfig br0 down
ifconfig tun0 down
ifconfig $IF down
brctl delbr br0

Also, for qemu to actually know there is a tun device to use, you also need to create:


sudo /sbin/ifconfig $1

Which can be tweaked a bit. I’ve been running qemu as root so you wouldn’t need the sudo front to the ifconfig command, however I may not need to be running as root.

Anyways, to get this to all work, you have to launch qemu in one console first. Qemu creates the tun device you’ll be using so every time you launch qemu you need to run the bridge script and every time it exits you need to run the cleanup script. So in one terminal run something like:

qemu -monitor stdio -hda hd/win98.img -cdrom cd/broodwars.iso -enable-audio

Then in a separate console run the once you have it configured to your surroundings. You may need to make windows renew it’s IP if you are using dhcp. With windows 98 go to start->run ‘winipcfg’ and select the network adapter and click ‘renew’ to get windows to aquire an address on the physical network.

Then, ideally you should be all done, and ready to play Starcraft on or at a LAN party. Good luck!

Update 2005.11.09

Qemu uses a sound blaster card of somesort that does also not seem to be plug and play. So to get it to be detected you have to go into add/remove hardware and have it search, and when that fails, have it do the long search for non plug and play hard ware. It should then detect the sound blaster and request the windows cd.

That was pretty much all it took for me. QEmu seems to still use OSS and /dev/dsp, so you may have issues related to that, but it can work.

Update 2006.06.11

Well, with Qemu 0.8.0 out for a while I decided to finally get my networked starcraft working with it. There were several changes but it’s not too bad.

The first simple easy change to take note of is that the ‘-enable-audio’ flag no longer works. They have added support for several sound cards of which you have to pick one. If you want to maintain the Soundblaster you previously had working you should now use ‘-soundhw sb16’. However if this is a fresh install you may find that one of the other drivers ‘-soundhw adlib’ or ‘-soundhw es1370’ work better for you or you could use the ‘-soundhw all’ option and have QEmu emulate them all and let Windows pick what it likes best.

There are some networking changes that I will outline here.

  • QEmu now uses a tap device instead of a tun device so go through and and change all references to ‘tun0’ to ‘tap0’.
  • The QEmu command line options for network configuration are now more powerful so you can delete ‘/etc/qemu-ifup’ since it is no longer required. Instead, when you are starting QEmu for Starcraft on the network use ‘-net nic,vlan=0 -net tap,vlan=0,ifname=tap0’.

And that’s it. Now you are good to play networked starcraft in QEmu 0.8.0 on Linux.