Open source software is usually associated with “boring” things like Linux or free office suites. That said, there is a thriving open source video game community that fills a niche that neither indie games nor big studio games can fill. Although open source games tend to have modest production costs, they are often limitless in scope. If you’re a true video game enthusiast, you should check out these titles.
This turn-based fantasy strategy takes you into the world of Vesnot. The game looks as polished as anything you can get from a traditional publisher in the genre, and the amount of content is staggering. There are 17 official single-player campaigns to complete, and that’s before you get to the user-generated content.
As for the gameplay itself, Vesnoth has over 200 unit types spread over seven factions. So whether you want to play alone or engage in massive multiplayer battles, Battle for Wesnoth has what you need.
If you like games like Age of Empires, then get ready to be blown away by 0 AD. This great real-time strategy game is about an ancient war. The game is (at the time of writing) in its 25th alpha release, but don’t let that put you off. He is already in game form. It’s hard to imagine a global group of volunteer developers putting together such a cohesive game.
The game has exquisite detail and a unique look for each culture and faction. It has interesting mechanics such as getting combat bonuses if you use real historical combat formations. The maps are based on actual geography, historical details are included with an eye for accuracy, and there are big plans for the future of naval warfare!
Sauerbraten is a Quake-like shooter that can be played alone or against other players. It’s not the prettiest game, but there’s a good reason for that. The philosophy behind the game is to enable a real-time level editor. Therefore, the game graphics are always simple enough to allow this feature to change the look of the game.
The fact that the community can easily create levels makes Sauerbraten unique, and you’ll find some real gems among the selection. The map editor is actually in the game itself, so you have no reason not to try your hand at creating the next hit map for the game.
Red Eclipse is a fork of Sauerbraten that reinterprets the gameplay of the original, including parkour mechanics. You still have the in-game level editor, but Red Eclipse offers improved visuals and is closer to Quake III Arena. The developers describe it as an “arena shooter with a parkour twist.” So if that sounds appealing to you, give Red Eclipse a try.
Who doesn’t love Mario Kart? This has spawned many imitators on other platforms, but most people don’t know that there is a brilliant open source map racing formula.
“Tux” refers to the Linux penguin mascot that takes its place among the other mascots in the Mascot Kingdom game setting. There is a whole story about a villain named Nolock and many different characters, each of which is a mascot for the open source project.
SuperTuxCart is not a Mario Kart clone, as the developers are quick to point out, so it’s worth playing for Mario Kart veterans looking for something different.
Cataclysm is a vintage roguelike game that puts you in a post-apocalypse with only the shirt on your back. Your goal is to survive as long as possible.
Everything seems to be working against your odds of survival, but if you’re lucky and smart, you might just keep breathing until the next turn. Although the graphics are simple, the depth of the story lacks even in the most budget games.
Master of Orion and its sequels are among the best and most important 4X strategy games ever made. They are still great games worth playing and you can still get them on GoG.com!
FreeOrion is not a remake or clone of these games, but it is built on the same design and premise. You are the leader of an alien race (which may be human). You need to expand your empire by exploring the galaxy, improving your economy and technology, and conquering planets and other races.
At the time of writing, FreeOrion’s diplomacy options remain basic, but over time they may become comparable to other 4X games. However, you should have no qualms about downloading this epic space game unless you want to be a total pacifist.
Microsoft’s Flight Simulator may be cheap thanks to Game Pass, but there are still plenty of reasons to try FlightGear. The community is constantly working on improving the simulator model and adding more planes and other content. Yes, flight simulators aren’t technically games, but we thought it would be a shame to leave FlightGear out of the spotlight for this article. Pun fully designed.
There’s not much to say here since it’s a flight simulator, but if you’re a simulator fan, this should be in your collection.
Who can forget the wonder of loading the original Elite by David Braben? While these wireframe graphics may look silly today, at the time it was amazing that you could fly through space, explore planets, trade and fight on your ship.
Today, Braben’s newest game, Elite Dangerous, still stands as an outstanding and important VR game. However, many still consider Frontier: Elite II to be the pinnacle of the series.
Pioneer was inspired by this game and aims to bring the same lightning again in a free and open source form.
Pioneer has no set goal; You can do what you want, earn money by trading, piracy or as mercenaries. It uses accurate spaceflight physics, at least when it comes to conventional spaceflight. It even uses the basic physics of atmospheric drag when you land on a planet. While not as good as Elite Dangerous, Pioneer is pleasing to the eye in its own right.
The Civilization series of turn-based strategy games is alive and well, but people feel that the modern games have strayed a bit from what made the original games so compelling. We love the latest Civ games, but FreeCiv really brings back some of the old charm once again. Okay, maybe one more.
Are there any open source video games you’re looking forward to that we haven’t mentioned here? Feel free to let us know in the comments!