Thursday, December 31, 2009

Non RTS strategy games

An update so quickly? Behold the Free Gamer world is coming to an end. :p

So, we mentioned some promising RTS games in the last update. OK, I forgot to mention Spring1944, but I am also a bit reluctant to mention Spring and its mods since it is such a pain in the backside to get it running correctly. :(

Back on topic... there a quite a few really great non RTS FOSS strategy games. I guess I don't really need to mention the classics to the typical reader of this blog, but Wesnoth, FreeCiv, FreeCol and UFO:AI are all very playable and good looking games! However there are others that get less attention and also some that show great promise!

Advanced strategic command

Advanced strategic command is one of those that gets relatively little news coverage, even though it is a really playable game. Granted, its graphics are pretty much the same as its big inspiration, the classic Battle Isle series, but that doesn't necessarily make them bad, right?

A new version was just released a few days ago, which finally also includes a tutorial for those new to this type of game.

Also interesting is the (German) Project: Battle Planets, which could be described as a MMOTBS based on ASC. It is not quite what you would expect from this description as most of the MMO part is done manually by human game moderators, which exchange ASC games states between players (sorry, it is a bit hard to explain exactly ;) ).

A similar game to ASC is Crimson Fields by the way, which has found its way to many mobile platforms.


Another often neglected game is Widelands, which is obviously based on the classic game the Settlers (no not the Settlers of Catan, check Pioneers for that).

The graphics could still be improved a bit, but it is shaping up to be a very faithful and fun re-implementation of that great classic game.

Unknown Horizons

While we are at FOSS re-implementations of great games... Unknown Horizons is continuing to become a Anno1602 clone of epic proportions. ;)

It is not quite at the point where it could be described as a fully playable game yet, but you can expect it to become one relatively soon, I guess! (Another not quite playable but really promising game worth surely mentioning is FreeOrion by the way).


Last but not least, there is 8Kingdoms, which really is one of those games people don't even try after having a short glance at the screenshots. Yes, it's programmers art, albeit one that at least tried to hide it by having a plastic-like style for the figures. ;)

But if you actually try it, you will realize that even though it is a bit rough around the edges (why can't I set a custom wide-screen resolution :( ), the game play and the engine is already quite advanced.

What this game clearly needs is an artist taking over the graphical matters, and then this could quite quickly become one of those true FOSS strategy game gems!


Anonymous said...

I suppose it falls under the Spring mods category, but I wanted to mention Imperial Winter.

Happy new year!

Julius said...

What do you mean exactly? System requirements? Those would be at best a rough guess, as most projects do not supply them.
Or do you mean if it needs OpenGL?

qubodup said...

you don't know spam when you see it? :D

Btw, the widelands hacker days are interesting to follow. :)

Oskar said...

Spring hard to set up? I don't know, we regularly run Spring LAN parties on Ubuntu, across about 10 computers, plus people joining in on a variety of other flavors of Linux and Windows.

Even back when I was a complete Linux noob I managed to set it up rather easily by following the instructions provided on site. And in case you're running Ubuntu, Karmic has it already included in the 'Ubuntu software center' or what have you.

If you have any problems, we'd be glad to share our experience. Or perhaps swing by the Spring forums. :)

Hopefully this doesn't look like too much of an advert for Spring (I'm not a developer), but when I was looking for a reliable open source crossplatform multiplayer combat based RTS to run our LAN parties with, I found it way ahead of anything else. Well, Warzone 2100 was very nice, but at the time being simply a commercial title gone open years after release kinda didn't seem like a good demonstration of entertainment that the open source community can provide one with.

In any case, Spring has become hugely popular around our workplace and LAN parties beginning around 8pm on a friday regularly run into the early hours of the morning, sometimes with visits to the club next door. :)

Give it another shot, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Julius said...

@qudobup: lol yeah you are probably right

@Oskar: I got it running on my Ubuntu box alright, but here is my experience:
1. Wait, what? No single download file which includes all the stuff you need for Linux (.deb would be nice, but a tarball would be sufficient)?
2. Ok pfew there is at least a repository... installs spring.
3. Ermm why is it seperated into a some sort of launcher and the game itself? This is nonsense :(
4. Ok tests game... doesn't start at all...ahh ok I have to download a mod for it...
5. Tests the automatic downloader with downloads (actually illegal) Total Anhilation files... slow as f*** and stops downloading half way.
6. Downloads some other free mods from the web
7. restarts the launcher... selects mod, wait why do the maps from the other mod show up in the selection of this mod too? this is crap...
8. Tries to start game... crash...
9. Selects different AI...
10.starts mod again... now works

Now lets compare that to any other sane game:
1. download game
2. start game
3. have fun

got my point?

qubodup said...

I have had similar experiences with Spring. Somehow I managed to compile/install and start Spring, but I never understood where to get game files and where to put them later and how to use them.

Julius said...

P.S.: Who censored my initial blog post? :p

qubodup said...

What happen?

Julius said...

Removal of swear words... for the better I guess ;)

Oskar said...

Heya, just popped back for a short bit.

1. Not a major problem, I guess.
2. Mkay.
3. It's not nonsense, there's the actual engine, which you can launch separately for testing and single player stuff and such. And then there's the lobby, which is used for connecting to multiplayer servers, which in turn help organise battles, host chatrooms, log your in game time and assign you ranks. Very nice stuff, all that.
4. Well... Yes. The relationship between the Engine and the Games (mods) is mentioned on their website...
5. The automatic downloader is a built in torrent system and has been now taken offline due to problems. There are links to pages which host mods and maps pretty much everywhere, i.e. the Spring Engine page, the Spring official lobby server, people will tell you if you ask...
6. Mkay.
7. Because the maps are all made via the same process and compatible. We often play BA on other mods' maps.
8. Happens.
9. Mkay.
10. Gratz.

Thing is, and I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but, since you get to swear, so do I... RTFM? :)

No, seriously. With the amount of hassle a huge amount of open source games give you, Spring isn't really that bad if you'd just bother to read the basic readmes and what not. I'd expect that of a Linux user. For people on Wins, like my brother, even that's not necessary, due to the automatic installer.

Sorry, but it was the way you talk about it in this blog post that ticked me off a bit. I don't know, but it sounds more like a 5 minute forum post, not what I've come to expect from Freegamer. Up until recent it's been more of a neutral journalist stance, and less personal issues and gripes with the games. Perhaps that's my misinterpretation.

So, in conclusion and speaking from experience, I suppose I did not get your point, no. Maybe it's just my personal experience and I got lucky with my setups. Or I just like reading manuals.

Either way, no point in arguing points. It's an evolving project and I'm sure it will one day be at a level when anyone can install it without reading anything. To what end, I don't know, as they'll ragequit in a few minutes anyway. Learning curve and what not.

Toodles, and keep them news coming. I've got your feed on our lanparty site. I'll post the link here once it's translated into something other than our moonspeak of a language.

And hopefully no hard feelings. :)

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