Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Free Open Source Games

Open Source Game Development: Qt Games For KDE, PDAs, And Windows (Game Development Series)Yesterday's post about free productivity software made me think about the free software that I use most and enjoy most. Free Open Source Games!  We can't always be productive. Sometimes we just need time to unwind and have fun. And sometimes it is just fun to be on top of the world, be the conquering hero, whatever.

With computers always advancing and upgrading I found that some of my favorite games were being left behind. They would no longer run properly on my new machine and I really didn't have the space to keep working relics of an old 486 DX processor, an old Pentium II MMX, etc. But how do you go about playing those old classics?

Look for diehard fans on the internet. I was pleasantly surprised to see that many world wide open source projects exist solely to re-imagine our favorite games from times long before the advent of quad cores and 64bit processors. Here is a link to a list of open source games in all stages of development according to Wikipedia. You will be surprised at the wide range of possibilities. Some are very simply like you can find in your daily arcade downloads and some are behemoths that rival their paid counterparts.

Which ones are my favorites? My favorites stem back to the mid 1990's.

Transport Tycoon DeluxeOpenTTD is an open source remake and expansion of the 1995 Chris Sawyer game Transport Tycoon Deluxe. It is an 'Urban planning and simulation game'.You start the game in 1950 with a bank loan of $100,000. It is your job to become a transportation mogul. Use vehicles of the road, rail, air or sea to transport goods, commodities, and passengers. In order for towns to grow they need you to transport them goods from factories which require raw materials. The AI in the original game could be frustrating. As the years progress technology brings you newer and improved methods of transport.

OpenTTD duplicates most of the original game's features but also has numerous additions, including much bigger, or smaller, maps, a multiplayer capability, improved language support, better AIs and ports for several commonly used operating systems. It offers LAN and Internet play via public and worldwide servers for up to 255 players. OpenTTD also includes numerous usability improvements not present in Transport Tycoon Deluxe. OpenTTD also incorporates many features from TTDPatch.
According to a study, of the activity of the 61,154 open source projects on SourceForge in the period 1999-2005, OpenTTD was the 8th most active patch/contribution receiving open source project.

Sid Meier's Civilization IV: ColonizationFreeCol is a clone of Sid Meier's Colonization. (The original, not the newly released CIV4 expansion)
FreeCol starts in the year 1492. With a few settlers, the player builds up colonies in the New World, struggling for power with other colonies from rival Europeans. The player gradually builds up these colonies with help from the European king until no help from Europe is necessary, meaning that the colonies can stand alone without any exterior aid, and declares independence from the King and, if the colonies are able to resist the attacks of the royal expeditionary force, victory is obtained.
The player may trade with Europe using various natural resources which are collected by cities or acquired from trade with natives. In each city the player can also build up industrial buildings to convert raw materials into processed goods, which sell for more in Europe, providing a significant economic advance. Some industrial buildings will convert materials into goods useful for running the colony, such as converting wood into Hammers and ore into tools.

 Finding re-imagined games via the open source community is a lot more fun than trying to keep your ancient PC running. Although, I have re-purposed a lot of old PC's in my day, too.

What is your favorite open source game?

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