How to Install the CnCNet Client on Linux

If you want to play the classic Games Red Alert 2 and Red Alert Yuri’s Revenge with multiplayer support on Linux (or other old Command and Conquer Games), you need to download and install the CnCNet Client. Here are the instructions on how to get CnCNet 5 working under Linux using Wine.

Screenshot of a wine virtual desktop running Command & Conquer Yuri’s Revenge modded with the CnCNet 5 Client v 8.8.1 on Linux Mint 20.2

OS Prerequisites

CnCNet Client Installation using Wine

The CnCNet client depends on the Microsoft frameworks .NET 4.0 and XNA 4.0. Furthermore, the whole setup seems to require a wine 32bit environment emulating Windows 2003.

# create a directory for your wine prefixes and where you want to install the game
~ $ mkdir wineprefixes
~ $ mkdir wineprefixes/games32

# set it as your working directory temporarily 
~ $ export WINEPREFIX=~/wineprefixes/games32

# create a new 32bit wine prefix and start the wine configuration utility. Set the Windows version to Windows 2003
~ $ WINEARCH=win32 winecfg

# install Microsoft .NET 4.0 using winetricks
# note: This can take more than 20 Minutes to finish
~ $ winetricks dotnet40

# install Microsoft XNA 4.0 using winetricks
~ $ winetricks xna40

# you should now have installed:
~$ ls -l ~/wineprefixes/games32/drive_c/'Program Files'
'Microsoft XNA'

# copy the (mounted) game directory into home, e.g. ~/Downloads/ra2, cd into it and install the game Red Alert 2 Yuri's Revenge (not part of this guide)
~/Downloads/ra2 $ wine setup.exe

# cd into the Downloads directory and install the CnCNet client and if all goes well, it should update itself to the current version 
~/Downloads $ wine CnCNet5_YR_Installer.exe
Screenshot of the wine configuration utility winecfg. Set the ‘Windows Version’ to Windows 2003.
On my 4k high resolution screen, I also tick ‘Emulate a virtual desktop’ under the tab ‘Graphics’ and set ‘Desktop size’ to 1920×1080, as well as the ‘Screen resolution’ to 192dpi.
Screenshot of the CnCNet 5 client updating to version 8.8.1.

Create a launcher for the start menu

Instructions for Linux Mint 20 (other distributions should work similarly):

Screenshot of setting up a launcher for Red Alert 2 modded with the CnCNet client in the start menu.


env WINEPREFIX="/home/simon/wineprefixes/games32" wine C:\\windows\\command\\start.exe /Unix /home/simon/wineprefixes/games32/drive_c/Program\ Files/Games/Red\ Alert\ 2/CnCNetYRLauncher.exe


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  1. How do you fix the “this product requires a 16 bit pixel depth” issue with Skirmish started from CNCNet?

    1. Sorry, but don’t know. I would play around with the different renderer modes and also disable/enable windowed mode.