Gaming on Windows the Open Source Way!


In this article, we take a look at some of the major open source games that you can enjoy on your Microsoft Windows computer.
 
So let’s say you’re a Windows user perhaps your school, college or institution requires you to use certain Windows-exclusive software. Or, even worse, your workplace considers proprietary software to be awesome and so you have to use Windows on your machine too (you could seriously consider changing your job!). Maybe the others in your family prefer Windows over Linux?

The reasons (excuses?) for using Windows can be many MS Windows remains a necessary evil. Even if you are an open source enthusiast, you cannot remain aloof from Windows at least, not for the next decade and a half.
Another reason used by Windows fans is that gaming can be enjoyed properly only on a Windows device. I have covered gaming on Linux multiple times in the past (http://goo.gl/uNTiU and http://goo.gl/d8v8u). However, there is a second angle to the Windows-is-awesome-for-games myth: most anti-freedom folks keep claiming that the best games are, in general, proprietary. Visit any gaming website, pick any of their top 10 and you can bet that nine of them will be closed source!

So, does this mean Windows users cannot enjoy a taste of freedom while playing games on their computers? Definitely not! In this article, we challenge the misconception that good games are generally closed source, and suggest some open source gaming options for Windows users. And now, without further ado, let’s move on to the list.
Note: In order to keep the list relevant, I’ve only included top games that work flawlessly on Windows, whether Vista or XP. These games are not alpha or beta releases, nor are they semi-obsolete community projects with bugs.

Cube 2: Sauerbraten
Trust me; no list of open source games is ever complete unless it begins with Sauerbraten. If you’re wondering about the name, Sauerbraten means ‘pot roast’ in German. The game is a first person shooter, based on the original Cube FPS gaming engine. The code is entirely open source and comes with a ZLIB licence. Plus, Cube 2: Sauerbraten is also available for Mac OS and Linux. The game features vintage episodic campaigns, both in single and multi-player modes. Speaking of multi-player mode, you can either play online against fellow humans or offline against bots. The game-play is fast-paced and comes with a lot of frantic action and in-game map editing.
Website: http://www.sauerbraten.org/

PlaneShift
PlaneShift is a massive multi-player online game belonging to the role-playing model. The game itself is open source and absolutely free to use, and is set in a 3D virtual fantasy world. Other supported platforms are Linux, Mac OS, FreeBSD and Solaris. There are several playable worlds, and you can start your own character from scratch, building it as you progress through the game. Your progress is automatically synced with the PlaneShift server, so you can rate your gaming skills with other players all around the globe.
The source code of the game comes with a GPL license. Also, just in case you’re interested, PlaneShift accepts fan art and other graphics created by users worldwide.
Website: http://www.planeshift.it/

Hedgewars
If you are looking for some fun and a comedy-based action game, look no further than Hedgewars! It is a turn-based strategy game, wherein you command a team of Hedgehog soldiers and wage war against the enemy. The landscape of the game is innovative and diverse, ranging from the depths of so-called Hell to the deepest and farthest points of the universe. The game has 22 different environments, 47 hilariously funny weapons and 18 game modifiers. You can also customise it to your heart’s content—when choosing your army, you are presented with over 120 costumes, 12 forts and over 100 flags. Still need more convincing? When your soldiers die, you can even select the type of grave they are buried in (there are as many as 30 different ‘designs’ for graves).
The game has turn-based combat support for multi-player mode too, up to a maximum of eight players. It is licensed under the GPL v2 license, and is also available for BSD and Linux.
Website: http://www.hedgewars.org/
0 A.D.
An awesome name, isn’t it? 0 A.D. (‘zero AD’) is an open source game developed by Wildfire Games. It has a historical setting, and the action takes place in western civilisations that rose to power between 500 BC and 500 AD. The game is licensed under GPL, and comes with extensive artwork and sound effects that  make history come alive.
As a real-time strategy game, 0 A.D. may not be your cup of tea if you are seeking hack-and-slash arcade gaming. However, if you are fond of strategy games such as Age of Empires, be assured, 0 A.D. will impress you unimaginably! The game has a loyal community, which can be seen in its extremely active and lively forums.
The game comes with OpenGL rendering, and for the most part has been coded in C++, along with a generous use of JavaScript. It is also available for Linux and Mac.
If nothing else, the game will surely enhance your knowledge of history. The game’s website features Wikipedia-length articles on ancient and early medieval Europe, as well as the Roman and Persian civilisations.
Website: http://wildfiregames.com/0ad/

FlightGear
FlightGear is an open source flight simulator game that comes with a GPL license and supports multiple platforms. Apart from gaming, FlightGear also intends to provide a starter-level simulation mechanism for academic usage, pilot training, research, and so on.
The project, currently at version 2.6 (released in February 2012), is backed by numerous contributors and volunteers all around the world. It probably isn’t something you’d like to play as a hard-core gamer, but if you are just looking for an interesting way to relax and kill time, FlightGear is surely worth a try.
Website: http://www.flightgear.org/

Warzone 2100
Warzone 2100 is a strategy game in which you command your forces to rebuild the world after everything has been destroyed by a nuclear war. The game has three major modes—single-player skirmish, multi-player and campaign. The game is also available for Linux and Mac, and you can download additional maps and add-ons to enhance your gaming experience.

The latest version, 3.1, is currently in public beta, and was released in June this year. The game has been localised into certain languages, though Indian languages are not yet represented, sadly. Plus, there is an active forum for discussions and the game development team offers a decent level of support to fans and users.
If you are new to strategy games, Warzone 2100 also offers an in-depth game-play guide that you can use to hone your skills. However, the guide can only be viewed online, as of now.
Website: http://www.wz2100.net/

Battle for Wesnoth
Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy game featuring a fantasy theme. The game is available in both single and multi-player modes, and is licensed under GPL. During the game, you build your own army, and wage warfare at different fronts in order to regain the throne of Wesnoth (which, by the way, belongs to you, but has been usurped by evil powers). Sounds great? The game has supernatural characters such as Orcs, as well as multiple worlds with extensive details to provide you with hours of entertaining game-play.
Supported on Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS, AmigaOS4 and many other platforms, it has been localised into 35 languages and also has its own players manual and forum.
Website: http://www.wesnoth.org/

Frogatto and Friends
If strategy and role-playing games are too serious for your liking, and you prefer a more casual approach to gaming, you should consider trying Frogatto and Friends. In this game, you help a frog named Frogatto complete his journey by avoiding obstacles and, well, jumping around! In fact, it is more of a 2D adventure game like Super Mario you have to fight monsters, collect coins, and complete levels.
It is freely available for Linux and Mac OS, and as a paid version on the iPhone (though all versions are open source in this last case, ‘free’ needs to be interpreted as in ‘freedom’).
Website: http://www.frogatto.com/
With that, we come to the end of this article about open source games for Windows. There are many other noteworthy mentions, which we have already covered in the past (links cited at the beginning of this article). Happy gaming!
Note: Certain screen-shots have been obtained from the websites of the respective games.

Gaming on Windows the Open Source Way!

In this article, we take a look at some of the major open source games that you can enjoy on your Microsoft Windows computer.

So let’s say you’re a Windows user perhaps your school, college or institution requires you to use certain Windows-exclusive software. Or, even worse, your workplace considers proprietary software to be awesome and so you have to use Windows on your machine too (you could seriously consider changing your job!). Maybe the others in your family prefer Windows over Linux?
The reasons (excuses?) for using Windows can be many MS Windows remains a necessary evil. Even if you are an open source enthusiast, you cannot remain aloof from Windows at least, not for the next decade and a half.
Another reason used by Windows fans is that gaming can be enjoyed properly only on a Windows device. I have covered gaming on Linux multiple times in the past (http://goo.gl/uNTiU and http://goo.gl/d8v8u). However, there is a second angle to the Windows-is-awesome-for-games myth: most anti-freedom folks keep claiming that the best games are, in general, proprietary. Visit any gaming website, pick any of their top 10 and you can bet that nine of them will be closed source!
So, does this mean Windows users cannot enjoy a taste of freedom while playing games on their computers? Definitely not! In this article, we challenge the misconception that good games are generally closed source, and suggest some open source gaming options for Windows users. And now, without further ado, let’s move on to the list.
Note: In order to keep the list relevant, I’ve only included top games that work flawlessly on Windows, whether Vista or XP. These games are not alpha or beta releases, nor are they semi-obsolete community projects with bugs.

Cube 2: Sauerbraten
Trust me; no list of open source games is ever complete unless it begins with Sauerbraten. If you’re wondering about the name, Sauerbraten means ‘pot roast’ in German. The game is a first person shooter, based on the original Cube FPS gaming engine. The code is entirely open source and comes with a ZLIB licence. Plus, Cube 2: Sauerbraten is also available for Mac OS and Linux. The game features vintage episodic campaigns, both in single and multi-player modes. Speaking of multi-player mode, you can either play online against fellow humans or offline against bots. The game-play is fast-paced and comes with a lot of frantic action and in-game map editing.
Website: http://www.sauerbraten.org/
PlaneShift
PlaneShift is a massive multi-player online game belonging to the role-playing model. The game itself is open source and absolutely free to use, and is set in a 3D virtual fantasy world. Other supported platforms are Linux, Mac OS, FreeBSD and Solaris. There are several playable worlds, and you can start your own character from scratch, building it as you progress through the game. Your progress is automatically synced with the PlaneShift server, so you can rate your gaming skills with other players all around the globe.
The source code of the game comes with a GPL license. Also, just in case you’re interested, PlaneShift accepts fan art and other graphics created by users worldwide.
Website: http://www.planeshift.it/
Hedgewars
If you are looking for some fun and a comedy-based action game, look no further than Hedgewars! It is a turn-based strategy game, wherein you command a team of Hedgehog soldiers and wage war against the enemy. The landscape of the game is innovative and diverse, ranging from the depths of so-called Hell to the deepest and farthest points of the universe. The game has 22 different environments, 47 hilariously funny weapons and 18 game modifiers. You can also customise it to your heart’s content—when choosing your army, you are presented with over 120 costumes, 12 forts and over 100 flags. Still need more convincing? When your soldiers die, you can even select the type of grave they are buried in (there are as many as 30 different ‘designs’ for graves).
The game has turn-based combat support for multi-player mode too, up to a maximum of eight players. It is licensed under the GPL v2 license, and is also available for BSD and Linux.
Website: http://www.hedgewars.org/
0 A.D.
An awesome name, isn’t it? 0 A.D. (‘zero AD’) is an open source game developed by Wildfire Games. It has a historical setting, and the action takes place in western civilisations that rose to power between 500 BC and 500 AD. The game is licensed under GPL, and comes with extensive artwork and sound effects that  make history come alive.
As a real-time strategy game, 0 A.D. may not be your cup of tea if you are seeking hack-and-slash arcade gaming. However, if you are fond of strategy games such as Age of Empires, be assured, 0 A.D. will impress you unimaginably! The game has a loyal community, which can be seen in its extremely active and lively forums.
The game comes with OpenGL rendering, and for the most part has been coded in C++, along with a generous use of JavaScript. It is also available for Linux and Mac.
If nothing else, the game will surely enhance your knowledge of history. The game’s website features Wikipedia-length articles on ancient and early medieval Europe, as well as the Roman and Persian civilisations.
Website: http://wildfiregames.com/0ad/

FlightGear
FlightGear is an open source flight simulator game that comes with a GPL license and supports multiple platforms. Apart from gaming, FlightGear also intends to provide a starter-level simulation mechanism for academic usage, pilot training, research, and so on.
The project, currently at version 2.6 (released in February 2012), is backed by numerous contributors and volunteers all around the world. It probably isn’t something you’d like to play as a hard-core gamer, but if you are just looking for an interesting way to relax and kill time, FlightGear is surely worth a try.
Website: http://www.flightgear.org/
Warzone 2100
Warzone 2100 is a strategy game in which you command your forces to rebuild the world after everything has been destroyed by a nuclear war. The game has three major modes—single-player skirmish, multi-player and campaign. The game is also available for Linux and Mac, and you can download additional maps and add-ons to enhance your gaming experience.
The latest version, 3.1, is currently in public beta, and was released in June this year. The game has been localised into certain languages, though Indian languages are not yet represented, sadly. Plus, there is an active forum for discussions and the game development team offers a decent level of support to fans and users.
If you are new to strategy games, Warzone 2100 also offers an in-depth game-play guide that you can use to hone your skills. However, the guide can only be viewed online, as of now.
Website: http://www.wz2100.net/
Battle for Wesnoth
Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy game featuring a fantasy theme. The game is available in both single and multi-player modes, and is licensed under GPL. During the game, you build your own army, and wage warfare at different fronts in order to regain the throne of Wesnoth (which, by the way, belongs to you, but has been usurped by evil powers). Sounds great? The game has supernatural characters such as Orcs, as well as multiple worlds with extensive details to provide you with hours of entertaining game-play.
Supported on Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS, AmigaOS4 and many other platforms, it has been localised into 35 languages and also has its own players manual and forum.
Website: http://www.wesnoth.org/
Frogatto and Friends
If strategy and role-playing games are too serious for your liking, and you prefer a more casual approach to gaming, you should consider trying Frogatto and Friends. In this game, you help a frog named Frogatto complete his journey by avoiding obstacles and, well, jumping around! In fact, it is more of a 2D adventure game like Super Mario you have to fight monsters, collect coins, and complete levels.
It is freely available for Linux and Mac OS, and as a paid version on the iPhone (though all versions are open source in this last case, ‘free’ needs to be interpreted as in ‘freedom’).
Website: http://www.frogatto.com/
With that, we come to the end of this article about open source games for Windows. There are many other noteworthy mentions, which we have already covered in the past (links cited at the beginning of this article). Happy gaming!
Note: Certain screen-shots have been obtained from the websites of the respective games.

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