Open source classics
February 1, 2007 3:27 PM   Subscribe

You've heard of ScummVM and MAME, but harvest time is approaching in the field of reverse-engineered open source re-implementations of other classic games too:
OpenTTD (Transport Tycoon), LinCity (Sim City), Advanced Strategic Command (Battle Isle), Freeciv (Civilization), Enigma (Oxyd), Widelands (Settlers), OpenArena (Quake 3), Spring (Total Annihilation), JJFFE (Frontier First Encounters), Vega Strike and Oolite (Elite), FreeOrion (Master of Orion), Pingus (Lemmings), Stratagus (Warcraft II et al.), CloneKeen (Commander Keen), Exult (Ultima VII), FreeCNC (Command & Conquer), REminiscence (Flashback), LGeneral (Panzer General), Pioneers (Settlers of Catan), and Freedoom (Doom).
posted by hoverboards don't work on water (43 comments total) 108 users marked this as a favorite

 
The quality and legality range from superb to questionable, and some require the original game data files.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:27 PM on February 1, 2007 [6 favorites]


Isn't Settlers a board game?
posted by smackfu at 3:28 PM on February 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Settlers of Catan is. It's still a game!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:32 PM on February 1, 2007


It amuses/depresses me to note that I have not only played many of these, but that I have at least four installed right now. ScummVM is my favorite, man could Lucasarts make a game back in the day.
posted by Skorgu at 3:32 PM on February 1, 2007


Yeah, I wonder how many of these games have enforceable anti-reverse engineering clauses in their licenses and how many of the games were reverse engineered in a clean room environment versus engaging in wholesale copyright infringement. Plus...DMCA...

However, there is a little known exception to the DMCA regarding abandoned video games.
posted by Muddler at 3:34 PM on February 1, 2007


hoverboards don't work on water: I love you.
posted by dropkick at 3:34 PM on February 1, 2007


Figuratively speaking, of course.
posted by dropkick at 3:35 PM on February 1, 2007


Flashback, what a masterpiece.
posted by fire&wings at 3:43 PM on February 1, 2007


There is also a not-very-legal setup to play Duke Nukem 3D in high-quality Windows XP mode.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:47 PM on February 1, 2007


No mention of The Ur-Quan Masters?
posted by wanderingmind at 3:49 PM on February 1, 2007


Meh. None of them are NetHack. Where's the free version of NetHack?

(huh? Yeah? REALLY? Oh.)

Never mind.
You feel foolish. --More--
Your are lucky! Full Moon Tonight.

posted by eriko at 4:01 PM on February 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


OpenTTD has provided many hours of entertainment for this sad train geek.
posted by athenian at 4:19 PM on February 1, 2007


Crap, Masters of Orion destroyed a lot of my free time in college. Now there is a free version, just sitting there... tempting me.
posted by quin at 4:29 PM on February 1, 2007


Awesome post. I'm seeing a lot of Enigma and Flashback in my future.
posted by brundlefly at 4:31 PM on February 1, 2007


All those nerds, and still no Master of Magic? Come on, people!
posted by absalom at 4:36 PM on February 1, 2007


freeorion looks shiny. didn't know about that one.
posted by juv3nal at 4:41 PM on February 1, 2007


The Flashback one (REminiscence) needs the original game files.

I got them from Abandonia. I can't find the Amiga music files anywhere. And there's one big problem. The game files from Abandonia are in French. Merde.

Anyone know where I can find the files in English?
posted by redteam at 5:00 PM on February 1, 2007


I loves me some free software, and doubly so for games. The problem is so few open-source projects make it past alpha, let alone beta. So many wonderful projects are sitting in a perpetual pre-release state. Yet, oddly, many of them are more stable than their closed-source equivalents...
posted by lekvar at 5:09 PM on February 1, 2007


Ahh, oxyd.

I thought it was now available free, with no need to purchase?
posted by taursir at 5:42 PM on February 1, 2007


Aww man! I got all excited when I saw that there now existed a mac port for one of my favoritestest games of all times, Ultima VII. But I can't get the deuced thing to run. I tried to do this but it didn't work. Anybody know how to get it to run?
posted by Kattullus at 5:53 PM on February 1, 2007


Found Pingus two years ago, loved it. Waited for new version--of course, it's open-source. Turned into abandonware itself, for a while.

Now, I see there's actually a Jan 2007 timestamp on the News page--they're porting to SDL! Backend rewrites are always a good sign!

Still, I'm hoping against hope...
posted by adoarns at 6:19 PM on February 1, 2007


Speaking of Quake 3 (the apotheosis of deathmatch), make sure you have a look at Warsow, if you haven't. It's totally free, deathmatch-only, and comes very close to the perfect feel that Q3 achieved.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:31 PM on February 1, 2007


Haha! There goes another day of productivity.
posted by Mister_A at 6:45 PM on February 1, 2007


some require the original game data files.

Like OpenTTD.

Damnit, where did that CD go?
posted by dw at 7:01 PM on February 1, 2007


I'd never heard of ScummVM. Looks interesting.

Longtime MAMEer though.
posted by aerotive at 7:08 PM on February 1, 2007


My favorite linux game: Flightgear.

And in my opinion, the best.
posted by _aa_ at 7:49 PM on February 1, 2007


Yeah, so how many of these will work on the Mac? I see the FreeCiv will, but the Doom's engine only.
posted by klangklangston at 7:52 PM on February 1, 2007


harvest time? that Keen clone site hasn't been updated since July 2006 and the game is still in "beta".
posted by spish at 8:28 PM on February 1, 2007


Don't forget Wormux. Has the occasional bug, but still good for hours of maniacal, murderous giggling.
posted by QIbHom at 10:33 PM on February 1, 2007


I'll admit I haven't looked very hard but does anyone know of a Lode Runner clone? I used to love me some Lode Runner.

Great post, hoverboards don't work on water!
posted by geekyguy at 11:08 PM on February 1, 2007


Excellent - I knew a lot of these thing were out there but it's great to have them up-to-date and in one place.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:24 PM on February 1, 2007


There goes my planned productive weekend. Never mind...

Great post.
posted by greycap at 11:54 PM on February 1, 2007


I've been playing VegaStrike recently. The controls are a little sluggish, which is a big problem for a flying shooter-type game, and there are some other general interface problems. But overall, it's quite a nice game -- an amazing accomplishment for being open source.

Of the games on hoverboards' list that I haven't tried, FreeOrion would have to be my #1. MoO 2 is definitely one of my favorite games of all time. FreeOrion seems impossible to install under Ubuntu, though. Guess I'll have to try installing MoO 2 under Cedega again. :(

One game I'd love to see natively ported is Darklands. I have the disks (although only 5.25" right now), and I can play it under DOSBox, but it'd be really cool to have a Linux native version of it.

And: wanderingmind, Ur-Quan Masters has to be one of the best open-sourced games out there. It's amazing.
posted by jiawen at 12:07 AM on February 2, 2007


The problem is so few open-source projects make it past alpha, let alone beta. So many wonderful projects are sitting in a perpetual pre-release state.

This was and will probably always be the case with "Starflight 3". But now what I've seen what all the fuss is about re: Urquan Masters, I couldn't be happier!
posted by dreamsign at 12:57 AM on February 2, 2007


A board game re-implementation: "TripleA is a turn based strategy game engine and axis and allies clone."
posted by thoughtslut at 3:57 AM on February 2, 2007


The only problem I have with the Master of Orion one everyone else really likes is that I really, REALLY prefer the original MOO over the two sequels for two reasons: the deceptively simpler gameplay and the smooth, pixelated cartoonish graphics that were butchered in the later crap-CG versions. The open source version eliminates both.

That said, the original MOO is about a 5 MB file, so if I wasn't as honest as I am (cough) I could send it to anyone as an e-mail attachment. (cough)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:18 AM on February 2, 2007


On a side note, the best open-source game I ever saw being made was The Power Within, a fan-made sequel to Final Fantasy VI (FFIII on Super NES) using modifications of the original game graphics. They had new characters, an entirely re-done score, re-configured spell and weapons systems... and then all of a sudden they dropped the project and disappeared. That was like, six years ago and I'm still bummed about it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:29 AM on February 2, 2007


Since UQM finally got mentioned this comment doesn't have to be anywhere near as indignant as I planned it to be, but:

Won't someone please think of the Ultima IV? It ain't Ultima III, but it's still a hell of a lot better game than U7!

And are we forgetting HomeworldSDL and MacHomeworld? I mean, it's only among the top two or three best RTS titles ever made.
posted by majick at 7:13 AM on February 2, 2007


I have been trying to get TTD to work for ages. I even paid someone to get a download of the original game and the fix so it will run on XP. Now, I think I've wasted $12.95. Has anyone gotten it to work? If so, how?
posted by parmanparman at 8:00 AM on February 2, 2007


Doom (and quake) I think are already open source, with the code released by iD after a couple years.
posted by delmoi at 3:38 PM on February 2, 2007


Having given it a shot, just thought I'd give you the guys a heads up: freeorion is shiny, but not really playable. Not feature complete (no AI for one thing) and the UI is pretty wonky even for the parts that do work.
posted by juv3nal at 2:51 AM on February 3, 2007


Doom (and quake) I think are already open source, with the code released by iD after a couple years.

Yes, the code, but not any of the art assets. The code by itself is not of much use for playing anything (although you can commit some evil fuckery and use the demo assets and stuff, I've gathered, apparently). To get maps, textures, all the stuff that makes the game the game -- you still gots to pay for them.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:58 AM on February 3, 2007


parmanparman, this page might help.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:30 AM on February 4, 2007


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