30 free and open source Linux games – part 2

Linux is celebrating its 30-year anniversary, so I’m taking the opportunity to highlight 30 of my favorite free and open source Linux games, their communities, and their stories.   I shared the first 10 yesterday. Now it’s time for, that’s right, 11 – 20! FreeOrion FreeOrion is a 4X (that’s Xplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) […]

Linux is celebrating its 30-year anniversary, so I’m taking the opportunity to highlight 30 of my favorite free and open source Linux games, their communities, and their stories.   I shared the first 10 yesterday. Now it’s time for, that’s right, 11 – 20!


FreeOrion screenshot

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FreeOrion is a 4X (that’s Xplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) turn-based, space empire and galactic conquest strategy game. It’s inspired by the Master of Orion games but is neither a clone nor a remake of the original game. Explore the randomly-generated galaxy, colonize planets, research new technologies, and prepare to battle with diverse and formidable species.

With the game’s support for scripting with FOCS (FreeOrion Content Script) files, the community has an easy way to customize mechanics, presentation, and pretty much everything in the universe. Here’s an example for a small Krill space monster:

    name = "SM_KRILL_1"
    ships = [
    spawnrate = 0.5
    spawnlimit = 9999
    location = And [
        Not Contains Monster
        Not WithinStarlaneJumps jumps = 2 condition = Contains And [
            OwnedBy affiliation = AnyEmpire

Maybe I’ll craft a huge Octocat monster this weekend.

Command Chacon

Help wanted: Whether it’s programming, design, content scripting, bug reporting, playtesting, translation work, or something else, FreeOrion welcomes new volunteers with a wide variety of skills. See the project wiki for ideas and areas where you could help.


NetHack screenshot

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NetHack is a roguelike game—a fork of the 1982 game Hack.

Choose from one of the character classes, and fight your way through the usual procedurally-generated dungeon foes in search of the elusive Amulet of Vendor. It’s not a trivial game to get into, but it is very rewarding.

As the code is open source, fixing bugs, adding features, or just figuring out how stuff works is achievable. For example, wondering how a boomerang will travel when you toss it at an opponent? This wonderful code comment illustrates that perfectly:

register int i, ct;
int boom; /* showsym[] index  */
struct monst *mtmp;
boolean counterclockwise = TRUE; /* right-handed throw */

/* counterclockwise traversal patterns:
  *  ..........................54.................................
  *  ..................43.....6..3....765.........................
  *  ..........32.....5..2...7...2...8...4....87..................
  *  .........4..1....6..1...8..1....9...3...9..6.....98..........
  *  [email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@9..
  *  .3...9....6..9....89.....................1..4...1..6....1..8.
  *  .4...8.....78.............................23....2..5...2...7.
  *  ..567............................................34....3..6..
  *  ........................................................45...
  * (invert rows for corresponding clockwise patterns)

bhitpos.x = u.ux;
bhitpos.y = u.uy;
boom = counterclockwise ? S_boomleft : S_boomright;

Fun fact: Back when IRL events were a thing, we hosted the annual Roguelike Celebration at GitHub HQ and managed to record Mikko Joula (aka Adeon), who holds the record for fastest real-time ascension, doing a live speedrun of NetHack. 🤯

Stunt Rally

Stunt Rally screenshot

GitHub logo

There might not have been an official release in five years, but the creator of Stunt Rally, @cryham, put a solid five years of work into it, and it still shines today. Choose from over 20 cars, 172 race tracks across multiple terrains (and planets), and race a friend on your network …or splitscreen. It also ships with a track editor.

Red Eclipse 2

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Red Eclipse 2 is an FPS focusing on fast-paced gameplay like parkour, dashing, and impulse boosts that’s been in development for more than a decade. It also has a built-in editor allowing you to create maps cooperatively online in realtime.

This game is built on the Tesseract game engine, which is a fork of the Cube 2: Sauerbraten game engine written by one of the developers, @lsalzman.


FreeCiv screenshot

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Freeciv is a free and open source, turn-based, empire-building strategy game supporting up to 126 players (or 500 on the web version). With over 500 nations and 50 playable units, you’re bound to find something that interests you as you lead your empire out of the stone age and into the space age.

Did you know: Freeciv is maintained by an international team of developers and enthusiasts and has been localized into 36 different languages—including my mother tongue, Scots Gaelic! Sgoinneil!

Endless Sky

Endless Sky screenshot

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Explore the galaxy, and follow your dreams of becoming an intergalactic space trader, dreaded space pirate, gun for hire, etc. In Endless Sky, you’ll need to make quite a bit of coin to pay off your loan (for your starter spacecraft), and later purchase new spacecrafts, upgrade weapons, and tweak your engines …you get the idea.

Help wanted: See yourself as a storyteller or content creator? One of the game’s goals is to collect stories and content from as diverse a group of people as possible, so there are always new places to explore, each with its own unique characteristics. There are lots of non-programming tasks available too: create new missions, ships, weapons, aliens, add or enhance audio and visuals, and more. See the Help Wanted section for more information.

Pixel Wheels

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Ready. Set. Go, and check out Pixel Wheels, a delightful little work-in-progress, top-down racer game from @gateau that you can play on your Android or Linux devices. There are tons of tracks, a variety of vehicles, and some power-ups that pack a punch. 🥊

Follow along with updates here.

Did you know: GitHub Pages is a free and easy way to quickly and easily publish your release notes. Here is the Markdown source for the 0.20.0 release announcement for example.

Unknown Horizons

Unknown Horizons screenshot

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Expand your small settlement and build a healthy colony in Unknown Horizons, a real-time economy simulation game based on the Anno game series. Expand your settlement beyond the horizon, collect taxes, and keep your inhabitants happy and healthy.

Did you know: The current version of Unknown Horizons is built on top of FIFE. No, not the place in Scotland; a multi-platform isometric game engine written in C++ that stands for “Flexible Isometric Free Engine.” The team is currently porting the game to Godot—another free and open source game engine.

Vega Strike

Vega Strike screenshot

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Vega Strike is a 3D space flight simulator putting you in the cockpit to explore, fight, and trade throughout the galaxy. It is similar to Freelancer, but free!

If you like the game and would like to help with coding, art work, documentation, or testing, then view the CONTRIBUTING.rst for details.

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup

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Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (let’s call it DCSS for short) is another roguelike game. Download it, build it from source, or telnet/SSH to a server, and play it that way. You can actually watch players around the world exploring the dungeons live via the website. Magic. Speaking of magic, the latest release has lots of new spells and spell books, plus a few new maps too.

Fun fact: An interesting bug was introduced a few years ago and went unnoticed for almost two weeks. It turns out that this commit accidentally caused melee damage dealt by players to be doubled. It was only discovered when it was noticed that there were significantly more people winning the game.

Tune in tomorrow for the final 10 games. You won’t believe number 29!

Editor’s note: That confirms it. I’m not sure what #29 is going to be, but this definitely smells clickbaity.

Source: GitHub Old