Six Open Source Games That Will Ease The Boredom Of Summer!

Can you believe that I actually entitled this summer as being boring? Don’t you believe the boring part — between church, my children’s activities, and my job, I have so little boring spare time. I can’t even play “Supreme Commander,” for which I bought an NVidia 8600 GT upgrade video card to put in my “Gaming” Windows computer. To top it all off, since I was laid off in February of this year, I have not been able to afford medical insurance, so I am also trying to find really inexpensive, top-of-the-line value medical insurance (not a discount program), and a permanent job with medical benefits here where I live.

Anyway, on to what I promised. I have been compiling this list for most of the month, and believe a couple of these games are top notch, giving some of last year’s games a run for the money. All of these games are Open Source, and can be downloaded for free. My suggestion is that if you play them for more than a few days, send these developers a few dollars — or at least a nice letter to encourage them.

Now for my disclaimer. As I said, I have not had time to actually play any games, not even — GASP — my favorite: Command and Conquer 3. I bought Tiberium Wars for Christmas, and here it sits on my desktop, lonely and unplayed. So here goes my list.

Attal: Lords of Doom: This game has themes: Medieval, cyberpunk, and maps and can be played against artificial intelligence. The graphics are located here, and on my system look marvelous. In the site’s own words: “It’s a turn-based strategy game that can be played alone (against AI) or against others through a network (local or Internet). It’s available under Linux and Windows.” If you like strategy games, this could be quite mesmerizing.

Warsow: First Person Shooter for Windows and Linux. In this case I will quote from the concept page: “The base gameplay is focussed around the art of movement, meaning moving, speed and tricks play a big part in the gameplay. Besides this, mapcontrol, aim, teamplay and fragging skills play their role too. For the movement we’ve basicly looked at four games: Quakeworld (legendary for its speed), Quake3 CPMA, Jet Set Radio, and Speedball.

“Another twist in gameplay is Warsow’s weapon system. Warsow has two firing modes for each weapon; by picking up a weapon, you will be equipped with the standard (weak) ammo for the weapon, but when you pick up an ammo pack, you will equip your weapon with special (strong) ammo. Weapons may have different damage or slightly different behaviour depending on what ammo you use: for instance: the weak electrobolt (Warsow’s rail) is a high speed projectile, whereas the electrobolt with strong ammo is instant hit. This way, not only control of health and armor plays a role, but getting strong ammo is a valid way to create a comeback.Visually, we try to cater to the fast gameplay Warsow provides. To keep the focus on competitive gaming, visibility is an important aspect in Warsow. Using a celshaded, cartoon-like style on the maps, textures, and models we try to combine good visibility, suitable for competitive gameplay, with having a unique, attractive and personal style. We try to keep the graphic effects minimalistic, clear and visible.”

Again the screenshots for this first person shooter are superb, and are located here. So go on over and give this app a little test drive, since it will cost only a download; what have you got to lose? But watch out, you could get swept up into a community that actually wants to have fun! Remember to spend some time with your children and spouse!

Doom Legacy: Open Source DOOM. The graphics are definitely not up to the standards of today’s anti-aliased and very smooth motion, but the gameplay is definitely what you will enjoy if you enjoyed DOOM. It doesn’t get more gory and more intense. Here are some screenshots and what this group is all about. More screenshots are here. The community for this app is strong as evidenced by the wiki for mappers and others who want to actually participate.

Warzone 2100: This may be the most sophisticated game I have ever seen. From the description of this game, it is a “Real Time Strategy,” which means that I will most likely be playing this if I ever get any time. The screenshots are here. This application comes in Windows, a MacOS Universal binary for 10.4 Tiger, as well as Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, etc. Talk about covering everything across the planet! The forum is very active with mappers and modders; the wiki describes the tutorials for those who have never played Real Time Strategy (RTS) games — GASP — you mean there are people on this Earth who have not played this fantastic, super stupendous genre? OK, so I am prejudiced! There is also a fast tutorial for people like me who have played this type of game before. Kudos to Pumpkin Studios Eidos-Interactive for releasing this as GPL. I give all chops for giving this code to the community so we can continue to play.

Epiphany: A level based game where you collect valuable minerals scattered around the levels. This home page gives a single screenshot, but no real idea how to play the game. It’s Open Source and playable on Linux as well as Windows, so give the app a try and see if you or your child would like this. On this page the developer claims to be trying to provide a multi-player version of “Boulderdash.”

JRisk: A Java computer version of the Risk board game. This is a repeat, as I first blogged about this game here. The developers have added three maps and so development is obviously continuing — that is why I repeat myself.

Have fun and take a break; at least someone will. If you have any experience with these games, then give me some feedback and I will be sure to add your comments.

[tags]open source games, freeware game[/tags]