Pietro Albini

Civilization V paintings as your Linux wallpapers

Written on October 9, 2016.

Sid Meier's Civilization V is a great turn-based strategy game, and it comes with a lot of art and music assets bundled with it. I really like the paintings used as the loading screen's background, so I wrote a small tool to extract those from the game files and to rotate them as your favourite Linux distro's wallpaper.

One of the paintings, representing an industrial era factory

The tool I wrote is a Python 3 package, and it's made to be easy to use: it extracts the wallpapers from the game files and it can configure cron to rotate wallpapers. You must have a copy of the game installed on your computer in order to extract wallpapers from it: I don't want to distribute them illegally, and you're not wasting your money buying it, it's such a great game.

Also, the wallpaper rotation currently supports only the GNOME and Unity desktop environments, but you can still extract the wallpapers from the game files if you have another DE such as KDE or XFCE.

Installing and configuring the tool

Before installing the tool, make sure you have Python 3 and ImageMagick installed on your computer: without them the tool won't run properly. On Debian/Ubuntu, you can install those by opening a terminal and executing this command:

$ sudo apt install python3 imagemagick

Then you can execute the following commands to start using the tool:

$ sudo python3 -m pip install civ5-wallpapers
$ civ5-wallpapers setup

The first command fetches and installs the tool from the Python Packages Index, and the second one is an interactive setup which helps you extract the wallpapers and configure the rotation.

Another painting, representing the International Space Station

Source code and advanced usage

All the source code of the tool is available under the GNU-GPL v3 (or later) license in its git repository. I'd like to thank LRN from the CivFanatics forum for its game files unpacker, which I then optimized and adapted for this tool.

The tool currently lacks support for a lot of desktop environments in its automatic rotation feature: if you want to implement it for your favourite one, feel free to send a pull request and I'll happily release the changes!

There are also a few extra features in the tool, such as manually extracting the wallpapers to a directory and manually change the current wallpaper. Check out the README for more details about that.

A painting representing the Globe Teather