As a Linux user I have found it a real challenge to find free (of monetary charge, not free as in freedom) games that I like, that can be run on Linux, without the use of Wine or virtualization.1 Most of the games I will mention in this post will be open-source, most of the rest will be freeware (free to play, without any paid membership or subscriptions being available), although I will mention one freemium game (wherein a free version is available, but paying for membership gives one some extra perks), RuneScape.

I intend on mentioning a wide variety of free games, including those I dislike and even those I have not really used all that much (or even at all). If you feel any review is inaccurate feel free to create a pull request at this website’s source repository fusion809.github.io, or start a new issue at our bug tracker.

There are over a thousand different games available for Linux in all, so in here I will only be covering free games of particular interest to myself (and hopefully the majority of Linux gamers).

How many Linux games are there?

To check how many Linux games there were available on Gentoo Linux, on 5 May 2017, I ran:

user $  eix -Cc games | grep "games\-[a-z]*\/" | grep -v "util\|engine" | wc -l

and it returned 985, meaning, at least in theory, that there were 985 games available from the overlays I had enabled. My enabled overlays included:

So to determine how many open-source games were in my enabled overlays I ran:

user $  eix -Cc games --not -L "EULA" | grep "games\-[a-z]*\/" | grep -v "util\|engine" | wc -l

and it returned: 943. I should explain what this command does; eix -Cc games specifies to search for “games” in the category name of packages. --not -L "EULA" specifies that the packages should be licensed under an End-User License Agreement (EULA), the most common type of proprietary software license.

In an Arch Linux Docker container (the dock0/arch container to be precise) with pacaur installed I ran:

user $  pacaur -Ssq game | wc -l

to determine the number of games available from the Arch Linux official stable, non-multilib repositories (so core, community and extra) and the Arch User Repository (AUR) and it returned: 1413. Beware, however, that with pacaur, to my knowledge there is no way to exclude programs that are game engines or utilities and not games themselves so some of these results may not be games at all. The equivalent Gentoo command would be:

user $  eix -Cc games | wc -l

and it returns 1158.

Distribution-specific notes

In each game monograph I will be mentioning how easy it is to get the game on the following popular, sufficiently independent Linux distributions:

  • Arch Linux
  • CentOS
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • Gentoo Linux
  • Mageia
  • openSUSE
  • PCLinuxOS
  • Sabayon Linux, while it is based on Gentoo Linux it uses its own repositories (containing some, but not all, packages in the Gentoo Portage tree and all packages in a couple of its own repositories) and binary package manager (Entropy), hence making it sufficiently independent to deserve a mention.
  • Ubuntu

distributions based on these nine distributions usually have repositories containing at least many of the same packages, hence are not mentioned as there are just too many of them to mention them all. Unless otherwise stated you, the reader, are to assume that the game is available from the official repositories of all releases of the distribution in question when it is listed as having a package in their official repositories. If you are wondering why I am not mentioning Slackware Linux it is because Slackware’s official repositories do not have a package for any game listed in this review. The unofficial Slackware repository, SlackOnly, does have a package for the majority of games mentioned in this review.

Development stage

In the infobox of each game I mention the development stage of the game. Post-release development means that the first stable release (version 1.0) of the game has been released and the game is still under active development, or at least maintenance.

Criteria

What makes a great game really differs according to personal opinion. I personally prefer games that are (1) free-to-play, (2) open-source, (3) Linux-compatible, (4) lightweight, (5) have high-definition 3D graphics and (6) fit into one of three possible genres:

  • Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).
  • Racing games.
  • Real-time strategy.

Unfortunately, however, no game I am aware of fulfils all six of these requirements. The game closest to fulfilling these requirements is probably 0 A.D. as the only one of these requirements it does not meet is (5). As a result of these limitations I am forced to settle for games that do not tick all the boxes, but nevertheless the Linux world has numerous games to offer.

The criteria for a game getting a mention in this post are that:

  • The game is fairly noteworthy or popular. If the game is in the official repositories of at least two popular, independent Linux distributions it should qualify for this.
  • The game at least has a free-to-play version available. Despite this fairly loose requirement, most games covered in this post are free-to-play and open-source.
  • The game is Linux-compatible. Most games that are Linux-compatible are also compatible with the most popular desktop/laptop operating systems macOS and Windows NT.

Terminology

Later on in this article I will be using some basic terminology and expecting you, the reader, to understand them. So in this section I will be defining this terminology for future use.

Board game

Definition: games played on a board (surprising eh?). Examples of such games include chess and mahjongg.

First-person shooter

Acronym: FPS

Definition: shoot-em-up games, wherein the objective is to shoot and kill your opponents without getting killed yourself.

Real-time strategy

Acronym: RTS

Definition: a genre of strategy games that run in real-time, that is, there are no turns in the game, you just play the game.

Role-playing game

Acronym: RPG

Definition: games in which the user can adopt a role, like as a soldier, a builder, a thief, etc.

Turn-based strategy

Acronym: TBS

Definition: a genre of games are played in turns, wherein each team gets an equal number of turns in which to move or otherwise play the game. An example game of this genre is chess, in which both users gets a turn each in which they can move a piece.

Windows 9x

Definition: A family of operating systems developed by Microsoft that includes: Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows ME.

Windows NT

Definition: A family of desktop and server operating systems developed by Microsoft that includes: Windows NT 3.1, Windows NT 3.5, Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows XP Professional x64, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and the corresponding server operating systems. For examples Windows 2003 is the server counterpart to Windows XP and Windows 2008 is the server counterpart to Windows Vista.

0 A.D.

0 A.D.

Screenshot of 0 A.D. alpha 21, codename "Ulysses"

Based on Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
Developer(s) Wildfire Games
Dev. stage Alpha
Founded 20012
Genre Real-time strategy
Graphics High-quality 3D
License GPLv2, MIT, MPL 2.0, etc.
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows NT
Written in C++
External links
GitHub 0ad/0ad
IRC #0ad
SourceForge zero-ad
Website play0ad.com
Wiki 0ad.wikia.com (Unofficial)

0 A.D. is a free and open-source, cross-platform, historic real-time strategy (RTS) game. In it, the player is the leader of an ancient civilization and they must defeat their opponents by amassing a sufficiently large military force. Its name is a deliberate misnomer, as the year 0 A.D. never existed, rather 1 B.C. was the year directly before 1 A.D. The ancient civilizations that can be lead, or played against, in 0 A.D. are those that were present between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D.

It can be played as a single player, or one can play against other players. In single player mode one can play against bots and leader-less teams. By leader-less teams I mean there is no bot leading the team, the people belonging to these teams only behave per the default behaviour. For example, if they are attacked they usually attack back; if they see your people, they may also attack if they are a military unit; otherwise they stay still and do nothing. There are two different bots one can play against: Petra Bot and Tutorial AI. For each bots there are six levels of difficulty one can set them to (sandbox, very easy, easy, medium, hard and very hard). 0 A.D. has several maps on which one can play, there are mods available for the game (with different civilizations available, for example, there is a mod for Asian civilizations).

It utilizes its very own Pyrogenesis game engine; both 0 A.D. and the Pyrogenesis game engine are written in C++. 0 A.D.’s graphics are perhaps the best of any open-source Linux-compatible game I have ever seen. In fact, its graphics rival that of many proprietary games like Age of Empires III (AoE III) and RuneScape. I would argue that 0 A.D.’s graphics are superior to that of AoE III, as I have used both and found 0 A.D.’s graphics better. 0 A.D. is developed by Wildfire Games, an international team of volunteer developers, funded by Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI), a U.S. non-profit organization that also funds several other open-source software projects including Arch Linux, Debian and LibreOffice.3

Packaging details

Most Linux distributions split 0 A.D. into two packages, that are often named 0ad and 0ad-data, respectively. The 0ad package usually provides the game engine while 0ad-data provides the game content. Together these two packages are usually over 1.5 GB in installed size on most distributions. To illustrate this fact here is a command I ran on Gentoo Linux (on 1 May 2017) and below it is the output:

user $ equery s games-strategy/0ad games-strategy/0ad-data
 * games-strategy/0ad-0.0.21_alpha
         Total files : 46
         Total size  : 14.88 MiB
 * games-strategy/0ad-data-0.0.21_alpha
         Total files : 61
         Total size  : 1.50 GiB

0 A.D. is one of the easiest games to get on Linux, the majority of Linux distributions have a 0 A.D. package in their official repositories (usually named 0ad, with game content placed in a separate package called 0ad-data), including:4,

  • Arch Linux (package name: 0ad), 0 A.D. also has an unofficial package in its Arch User Repository that builds 0 A.D. from the latest git snapshot.
  • CentOS 7 (package name: 0ad)

, the EPEL repository presently provides the very latest 0 A.D. release.

  • Debian (package name: 0ad), Debian 8 (Jessie) even has the latest 0 A.D. in its backport repository. The latest 0 A.D. is also in the testing and unstable repositories. The oldstable (Wheezy), oldstable-backports and stable (Jessie) repositories contain outdated 0 A.D. releases.
  • deepin, the official repositories presently house the second-latest release of 0 A.D., alpha 20.
  • Fedora (package name: 0ad), presently the latest 0 A.D. release is in the repositories of all supported Fedora releases (24, 25, 26 and rawhide).
  • Gentoo Linux (package name: games-strategy/0ad), the latest and second-latest releases of 0 A.D. are presently in testing (that is, have ~ in their keyword field for both x86 and amd64).
  • Mageia (package name: 0ad), the fairly old releases alpha 18 and 19 are available for Mageia 5.
  • Manjaro Linux, has the latest 0 A.D. available from its official repositories.
  • openSUSE (package name: 0ad), the official repositories of Tumbleweed has the latest 0 A.D., but Leap release 42.2 does not have 0 A.D. in its official repositories, although the unofficial games repository does have the latest 0 A.D. for this Leap release.
  • PCLinuxOS, which presently has the latest 0 A.D.
  • Sabayon Linux (package name: games-strategy/0ad), presently has the latest 0 A.D. available from its official repositories.
  • Ubuntu (package name: 0ad) only the latest stable release of Ubuntu, Zesty (17.04), has the latest 0 A.D. release in its official repositories.

Alien Arena

Alien Arena

Screenshot of Alien Arena 20130827

Based on Quake II (engine)
Developer(s) COR Entertainment
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 2003
Genre First-person shooter
Graphics Medium-quality 3D
License Game content is proprietary (freeware); code is GPLv2 and BSD-3
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in C and C++
External links
IRC #alienarena
Website red.planetarena.org
Wiki alienarena.wikia.com (Unofficial)

Alien Arena is a mixed-licensed, cross-platform first-person shooter (FPS) game that uses the Open Dynamics Engine (ODE) as its game physics engine. In AlienArena one is an alien fighting other aliens. The game also features an in-built IRC client for communicating with other players. I personally have fairly limited experience with it, but on Gentoo Linux, at least, I have found it quite a pain to get the game to go full-screen (I have a laptop with 1600x900 optimal resolution, the closest resolution allowed by the game is 1600x1200) without parts of the screen being hidden from one’s view, or bizarre mouse issues happening. Its graphics, while 3D, are not quite as high quality, in my opinion, as 0 A.D.’s.

The latest release of AlienArena was in September 2013.5 Despite this, COR Entertainment still seems active in developing Alien Arena, as they have asked people to vote for their upcoming game, “Alien Arena: Warriors of Mars” on Steam Greenlight.6

Packaging details

On most Linux distributions the installed size of AlienArena is around 1.15 GB, for example, here is a command I ran on Gentoo Linux (on 1 May 2017) and its output:

user $ equery s games-fps/alienarena
 * games-fps/alienarena-20130827
         Total files : 4138
         Total size  : 1.15 GiB

Slightly fewer distributions have official packages for AlienArena than for 0 A.D. Those that do have official packages for AlienArena include:

of note, the following two popular distributions have no official packages for Alien Arena:

  • CentOS, not even the EPEL repositories have it.
  • openSUSE, neither Leap nor Tumbleweed have official packages for it. Although the unofficial games repository does have AlienArena in it for both Leap and Tumbleweed.

Battle for Wesnoth

Battle for Wesnoth

Screenshot of Battle for Wesnoth 1.12.6

Developer(s) David White and others
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded ~2003
Genre Turn-based strategy
Graphics 2D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows NT, etc.
Written in C++, Java, Python, Lua
External links
GitHub wesnoth/wesnoth
IRC #wesnoth
SourceForge wesnoth
Website wesnoth.org
Wiki wiki.wesnoth.org (Official)

Battle for Wesnoth (BfW) is a free and open-source, incredibly cross-platform turn-based strategy (TBS) game with a high fantasy theme. I personally dislike all TBS games, aside from those that are also board games like chess, so I have limited experience with BfW, but enough information to do a brief overview. In BfW users usually fight for the throne of Wesnoth, hence the name of the game, although other game goals are also available, for further details on these goals see the Description article at the Wesnoth Wiki. In BfW the user can play against the computer or other user(s). The game is played on a hex map with low-quality graphics.

Packaging details

BfW has an installed size of about 380 MB, here is a command I ran on Gentoo Linux and below it is the output:

user $ equery s games-strategy/wesnoth
 * games-strategy/wesnoth-1.13.7
         Total files : 16214
         Total size  : 383.98 MiB

No official cross-distribution Linux binary is available for BfW, as users are encouraged to get BfW from their distribution’s package manager or by grabbing the source code and compiling it themselves.7 It is probably the single most ubiquitous game in the Linux world and it is available from the official repositories of the following distributions:

Its total installed size on most Linux distributions is between 400 and 500 MB.

Bos Wars

Bos Wars

Screenshot of Bos Wars 2.7

Developer(s) Bos Wars Team
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 2003
Genre Real-time strategy
Graphics Low-quality 3D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows NT, etc.
Written in C++, Lua, Python.
External links
IRC #bos
Website www.boswars.org
Wiki www.boswars.org/wiki/ (Unofficial)

Bos Wars is a free and open-source, cross-platform futuristic RTS game. Like most RTS games in Bos Wars one has to fight their enemy armies while developing their economy. Bos Wars is fairly infrequently updated with its last update being version 2.7 which was released in June 2013, almost four years ago. Its graphics are poor, although I doubt its developers ever intended its graphics to be anything worth showing-off. Both single-player (wherein one plays against the computer) and multiplayer (wherein one plays against other players) options for playing the game are available.

Packaging details

The installed size of Bos Wars 2.7 on Gentoo Linux is roughly 88 MB, here is an equery s command and its output on Gentoo Linux (on 1 May 2017):

user $ equery s games-strategy/boswars
 * games-strategy/boswars-2.7-r1
         Total files : 1685
         Total size  : 87.67 MiB

Bos Wars is a fairly ubiquitous game in the Linux world; the following distributions have a package for Bos Wars in their official repositories:

and it is not in the official repositories of:

  • Arch Linux, although it is in the Arch User Repository (AUR) with the package name boswars.
  • CentOS
  • openSUSE, although it is in the unofficial games repository.

The Bos Wars development team also provide an official tarball binary for Bos Wars, a link to it can be found on the downloads page.

BZFlag

BZFlag

BZFlag 2.4.10 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Scott Wichser, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 1992
Genre Action
Graphics Low-quality 3D
License LGPLv2.1, MPL 2.0
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Windows NT
Written in C, C++ (>90%)
External links
GitHub BZFlag-Dev/bzflag
IRC #BZFlag
SourceForge bzflag
Website www.bzflag.org
Wiki wiki.bzflag.org (Official)

BZFlag is a free and open-source, extremely cross-platform, 3D multiplayer tank battle game. In it the player is in one of the following five teams: blue, green, purple and red. Firing at the tanks of teammates, or being shot at oneself will loose one’s team points, while shooting at enemy team tanks will earn the team points. There are also rogue tanks which are black in colour and they do not belong to any team and while they can shoot at other tanks, they do not gain any team points for doing so. There are two styles of play: capture-the-flag and free-for-all. In capture-the-flag each team, with at least one member, has a base and a team flag. The objective is to get the flags of other teams into your base. Moving an enemy flag into your base will destroy all members of that team, subtract from that team one point and add that point to your team score. In free-for-all there are no bases or flags, the objective is to merely get the highest score possible.

While its graphics are 3D, they are fairly low-quality and similar to that of SuperTuxKart.

Packaging details

BZFlag 2.4.10 on Gentoo Linux has an installed size of approximately 17.5 MB; this is what equery reports about its size:

user $ equery s games-action/bzflag
 * games-action/bzflag-2.4.10
         Total files : 228
         Total size  : 17.49 MiB

BZFlag is fairly ubiquitous in the Linux world, the following distributions have a package for BZFlag in their official repositories:

while CentOS has no package for BZFlag.

Eternal Lands

Eternal Lands

Screenshot of Eternal Lands 1.9.4.1

Based on Independent
Developer(s) Radu Privantu and others
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 2002
Genre Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
Graphics Medium-quality 3D
License Modified QTPL
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in C (>80%), C++ (~15%)
External links
GitHub raduprv/Eternal-Lands
IRC #eternal-lands
Website www.eternal-lands.com
Wiki www.el-wiki.net (Unofficial)

Eternal Lands (EL) is an open-source, free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). It is written predominantly in C and uses OpenGL and SDL for graphics rendering. Its graphics are lower quality, in my opinion, than RuneScape (both the old deprecated Java client and the newer NXT client) and 0 A.D., and similar to that of SuperTuxKart. There are twelve skills in the game that users can train: Alchemy, Attack, Crafting, Defense, Engineering, Harvest, Magic, Manufacturing, Potion, Ranging and Tailoring.

Packaging details

Eternal Lands is less ubiquitous in the Linux world than 0 A.D. or SuperTux, although a universal shell script installer exists for it on Linux and can be downloaded from the Eternal Lands download page. It is approximately 55 MB in size. Its installed size is roughly 115 MB on Linux and here is an equery command I ran and its output on Gentoo Linux (on 1 May 2017):

user $ equery s games-rpg/eternal-lands games-rpg/eternal-lands-data
 * games-rpg/eternal-lands-1.9.3-r3
         Total files : 21
         Total size  : 2.43 MiB
 * games-rpg/eternal-lands-data-1.9.3-r1
         Total files : 4205
         Total size  : 111.73 MiB

A package for Eternal Lands is available from the official repositories of the following Linux distributions:

  • Gentoo Linux (package name: games-rpg/eternal-lands), although the official repositories only provide the slightly outdated 1.9.3 version of Eternal Lands (where 1.9.4 is available).
  • Sabayon Linux (package name: games-rpg/eternal-lands), Sabayon’s package is built from the outdated 1.9.3 ebuild in the Portage tree.

and it is not available for the following distributions, from their official repositories anyway:

  • Arch Linux, although an up-to-date eternallands AUR package exists.
  • CentOS
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • Mageia
  • openSUSE, although an up-to-date eternal-lands package exists in the unofficial games repository.
  • PCLinuxOS
  • Ubuntu

FlightGear

FlightGear

FlightGear 2017.1.3 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) David Murr, James Turner, Torsten Dreyer, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 1996
Genre Simulation
Graphics High-quality 3D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Windows NT
Written in C++
External links
IRC #flightgear
SourceForge flightgear
Website www.flightgear.org
Wiki wiki.flightgear.org (Official)

FlightGear is a free and open-source, extremely cross-platform flight simulator game that is able to emulate flight for several dozen different aircraft. I personally think it is best designed for actual pilots as its controls are so complex I, for one, cannot get any aircraft into the air.

Packaging details

FlightGear has an installed size of approximately 2.1 GB on Gentoo Linux. Here is the equery size report:

user $ equery s games-simulation/flightgear games-simulation/flightgear-data
 * games-simulation/flightgear-2017.1.3
         Total files : 67
         Total size  : 21.85 MiB
 * games-simulation/flightgear-data-2017.1.3
         Total files : 83919
         Total size  : 2.07 GiB

FlightGear is fairly ubiquitous in the Linux world, with most distributions having a package for it in their official repositories, this includes:

openSUSE Leap’s unofficial games repository does contain a package for FlightGear on both supported releases (package name: FlightGear). To my knowledge no CentOS repositories (official or otherwise) have a FlightGear package.

Freeciv

Freeciv

Screenshot of Freeciv 2.5.6

Based on Sid Meier's Civilization II
Developer(s)
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded November 1995
Genre Turn-based strategy
Graphics 2D, low-medium quality 3D
License GPLv3
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in Standalone: C, C++, Lua and Python. Web-based: Java, JavaScript and Python.
External links
GitHub freeciv
IRC #freeciv
SourceForge freeciv
Website freeciv.org
Wiki freeciv.wikia.com (Official)

Freeciv is a free and open-source, cross-platform TBS game that resembles early versions of Sid Meier’s Civilization, with a few extra features like support for multiple players. Its graphics are of low-quality and it supports both 2D and 3D graphics. Its objective is simple: build your own civilization and destroy all your opponents. The year the game starts in is approximately 4000 BC and a single game can span several centuries of game time. It has both a standalone client and a web-based client through which one can play the game.

Packaging details

Freeciv 2.5.6 has an installed size of approximately 47 MB on Linux; the output of equery s on Gentoo Linux (on 1 May 2017) is:

user $ equery s games-strategy/freeciv
 * games-strategy/freeciv-2.5.6
         Total files : 3594
         Total size  : 47.15 MiB

Freeciv is ubiquitous in the Linux world and found in the official repositories of most distributions. Distributions with a Freeciv package in their official repositories include:

FreeCol

FreeCol

Screenshot of FreeCol 0.11.6 near the start of a game

Based on Sid Meier's Colonization
Developer(s) Michael Vehrs, Mike Pope, Stian Grenborgen, et al.
Dev. stage Beta
Founded 2002
Genre Turn-based strategy
Graphics 2D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in Java
External links
GitHub fenyo1/FreeCol
IRC #freecol
SourceForge freecol
Website www.freecol.org

FreeCol is a free and open-source, cross-platform clone of Sid Meier’s Colonization. Its graphics are similarly two-dimensional and low-quality. In it one has to create a civilization (or colony) of settlers in the New World (the Americas) and defeat the royal expeditionary forces. The storyline of FreeCol begins in 1492. In theory, as it is written in Java, it should be runnable on any Java-compatible platform and it is known to run on FreeBSD, Linux, macOS and Windows NT.

Packaging details

FreeCol 0.11.6 has an installed size of approximately 41 MB, and here is the output of equery s on Gentoo Linux (on 1 May 2017):

user $ equery s games-strategy/freecol
 * games-strategy/freecol-0.11.6
         Total files : 1531
         Total size  : 41.15 MiB

The following distributions have a package for FreeCol in their official repositories:

while the following distributions have no such official package:

  • CentOS
  • openSUSE, although a package for FreeCol 0.10.7 (an outdated version considering the latest, as of 22 April 2017, is 0.11.6) is in the unofficial games repository for openSUSE Tumbleweed.

FreedroidRPG

FreedroidRPG

Screenshot of FreedroidRPG 0.16.1

Developer(s) Arthur Huillet, Mike Fleischmann, Samuel Degrande, et al.
Dev. stage Alpha
Founded ? Before or in 2002 (copyright date on website).
Genre Role-playing game
Graphics Medium-high quality 3D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in C, Lua
External links
GitLab freedroid/freedroid-src
IRC #freedroid
SourceForge freedroid
Website www.freedroid.org
Wiki sourceforge.net/p/freedroid/wiki (Official)

FreedroidRPG is a free and open-source, cross-platform role-playing game (RPG) wherein one plays as Tux to save the world from merciless robots, in a world ravaged by a conflict between robots and humans. I found myself stuck in its tutorial so I have not played the game all that much. Its graphics are isometric 3D and are of reasonable quality, not quite as high quality as RuneScape’s NXT client or 0 A.D.

Packaging details

On Gentoo Linux FreedroidRPG 0.16 has an installed size of approximately 230 MB, here is the output of equery s on Gentoo Linux (on 1 May 2017):

user $ equery s games-rpg/freedroidrpg
 * games-rpg/freedroidrpg-0.16-r1
         Total files : 6840
         Total size  : 227.41 MiB

Distributions with a FreedroidRPG package in their official repositories include:

while:

  • CentOS
  • openSUSE
  • PCLinuxOS

do not have a FreedroidRPG package in their official repositories. openSUSE does have an outdated version of FreedroidRPG (0.15.1, when 0.16.1 is the latest as of 19 April 2017) in its unofficial games repository.

FreeOrion

FreeOrion

FreeOrion 0.4.7-rc2 running on Gentoo Linux

Based on Master of Orion
Developer(s) Marcel Metz, Geoff (geoffthemedio), Zach Laine, et al.
Dev. stage Beta
Founded ?
Genre Turn-based strategy
Graphics Low-quality 3D
License GPLv2/CC-BY-SA
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in C++, Python
External links
GitHub freeorion/freeorion
SourceForge freeorion
Website www.freeorion.org
Wiki www.freeorion.org/index.php/Main_Page (Official)

FreeOrion is a free and open-source, cross-platform, turn-based strategy game in which users create their own space empire, explore the cosmos and conquer galaxies. Its graphics are 3D, but fairly low-quality.

Packaging details

FreeOrion 0.4.7-rc2 on Gentoo Linux has an installed size of approximately 127 MB. equery has the following to say about FreeOrion’s size:

user $ equery s games-strategy/freeorion
 * games-strategy/freeorion-0.4.7_rc2
         Total files : 3047
         Total size  : 127.13 MiB

The following distributions have a package for FreeOrion in their official repositories, including:

while the following distributions do not have a FreeOrion package in their official repositories:

  • Arch Linux, although one is available from the Arch User Repository.
  • CentOS
  • openSUSE. Although all supported releases (Leap 42.2 and Tumbleweed) have freeorion packages in the unofficial games repository.
  • Sabayon Linux.

GNOME Chess

GNOME Chess

Screenshot of GNOME Chess 3.22.2

Developer(s) Robert Ancell, Michael Catanzaro, Sahil Sareen, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 2000
Genre Board
Graphics Medium-quality 3D (<3.14), 2D (≥3.14)
License GPLv3
Platform(s) FreeBSD
Written in Vala
External links
GitHub GNOME/gnome-chess
Website wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Chess

GNOME Chess (previously known as glChess) is a free and open-source, classic chess game that is provided as part of the GNOME games suite. What is interesting about GNOME Chess is that while it provides a nice interface to play chess in, it does not provide a game engine and rather if users want to play against the computer they have to install a chess game engine that GNOME Chess can use. The most popular game engine that GNOME Chess can use is probably GNU Chess. Users can also play against other humans. One can, via the preferences interface, set time limits to the game, adjust the difficulty setting of the game engine and even adjust the type of clock used to impose time limits on the game. There are other chess games available for Linux, but GNOME Chess is the best one in my opinion as it allows users to easily undo their moves, which, for someone as impatient as myself, is a must.

Prior to the 3.14 release GNOME Chess had a 3D mode, but in 3.14 and later releases only a 2D mode is available for the game. The reason for ditching 3D support is related to the adoption of the Wayland display server, to continue supporting 3D mode under Wayland would require porting the graphics from GLX to EGL. The GNOME Chess developers were not interested in working in this so in June 2014 it was announced that 3D support would be ditched.

Packaging details

On most Linux distributions GNOME Chess has an installed size of approximately 9 MB. GNU Chess, its most popular game engine, has an installed size of approximately 1.2 MB. Here are the size-related details on Gentoo Linux:

user $ equery s games-board/gnome-chess games-board/gnuchess
 * games-board/gnome-chess-3.22.2
         Total files : 512
         Total size  : 8.8 MiB
 * games-board/gnuchess-6.2.4
         Total files : 64
         Total size  : 1.24 MiB

As GNOME Chess is part of the game application suite of GNOME it should be available from the official repositories of any distribution that supports GNOME. It is available from the official repositories of:

KHangMan

KHangMan

KHangMan 17.04.0 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Primoz Anzur, Anne-Marie Mahfouf, Stefan Böhmann, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 2001
Genre Education
Graphics 2D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD
Written in C++, QML
External links
GitHub KDE/khangman
Website www.kde.org/applications/education/khangman

KHangMan is a free and open-source, classical hangman game that presently supports over twenty different languages. In it the user can pick a subset of words, such as animals, from which the word they have to guess is selected at random. The user gets just ten incorrect guesses before they loose the game.

Packaging details

KHangMan 17.04.0 has an installed size of approximately 9.7 MB on Gentoo Linux. This is equery’s size report on it:

user $ equery s kde-apps/khangman
 * kde-apps/khangman-17.04.0
         Total files : 384
         Total size  : 9.73 MiB

Every distribution with a complete KDE (including all associated applications) in its official repositories should also have KHangMan in its official repositories. Distributions with a KHangMan package in their official repositories include:

while CentOS does not have a KHangMan package in its official repositories.

KMahjongg

KMahjongg

KMahjongg 17.04.0 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Mathias Mueller, Mauricio Piacentini, Albert Astals Cid, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 1998
Genre Board
Graphics 2D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD
Written in C, C++ (>95%)
External links
GitHub KDE/kmahjongg
Website www.kde.org/applications/games/kmahjongg

KMahjongg is a free and open-source, board game that is developed as part of the KDE project. It is a software version of the classical Chinese tile game, Mahjongg. Cards are piled on one another and the objective of the game is to match them all until there are no cards left.

Packaging details

KMahjongg has an installed size of approximately 7.5 MB on Gentoo Linux. equery prints the following report on the size of the kde-apps/kmahjongg-17.04.0 package:

user $ equery s kde-apps/kmahjongg
 * kde-apps/kmahjongg-17.04.0
         Total files : 462
         Total size  : 7.47 MiB

As KMahjongg is part of the games suite of KDE it should be available from the official repositories of virtually any distribution with KDE in its repositories. Distributions with a KMahjongg package in their official repositories include:

KMines

KMines

KMines 17.04.0 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Nicolas Hadacek, Mauricio Piacentini, Dmitry Suzdalev, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 1996
Genre Puzzle
Graphics 2D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD
Written in C, C++ (>90%)
External links
GitHub KDE/kmines
Website www.kde.org/applications/games/kmines

KMines is a free and open-source, minesweeper game that is developed as part of the KDE Project. In it users click on tiles and deduce, by the numbers displayed on the tiles (which tell one the number of mines in the immediate vicinity of the tile), as to where the mines are and where the tiles that are safe to click are. Once all the safe tiles have been clicked the game is won, but if a single mine is clicked the game is lost.

Packaging details

KMines has an installed size of approximately 3.46 MB on Gentoo Linux. equery prints the following report on its installed size:

user $ equery s kde-apps/kmines
 * kde-apps/kmines-17.04.0
         Total files : 275
         Total size  : 3.46 MiB

Like KMahjongg, KMines is part of the games suite of KDE so it should be available from the official repositories of any distribution with KDE in its repositories. Packages with KMines in its official repositories include:

KPatience

KPatience

Screenshot of KPatience 17.04 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Parker Coates, Stephan Kulow, Montel Laurent, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded ? 1999 is in the copyright notice (source: KPat Information)
Genre Card game
Graphics 2D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD
Written in C++
External links
Website www.kde.org/applications/games/kpatience

KPatience (also known as KPat) is a free and open-source, card game suite that is developed by KDE. By card game suite it is meant that one can play twelve different card games from within KPatience, including FreeCell, Klondike (a variant of Solitaire), Spider Solitaire and many others.

Packaging details

KPatience has an installed size of approximately 7.2 MB on Gentoo Linux. equery gives the size details:

user $ equery s kde-apps/kpat
 * kde-apps/kpat-17.04.0
         Total files : 338
         Total size  : 7.16 MiB

Every distribution with KDE in its official repositories should also have KPatience. Distributions with a KPatience package include:

  • Arch Linux (package name: kpatience)

  • CentOS (package name: kpat)

  • Debian (package name: kpat)

  • Fedora (package name: kpat)

  • Gentoo Linux (package name: kde-apps/kpat)

  • Mageia (package name: kpat)

  • openSUSE (package name: kpat)

  • PCLinuxOS (package name: kpat)

  • Sabayon Linux (package name: kde-apps/kpat)

  • Ubuntu (package name: kpat)

MegaGlest

MegaGlest

Screenshot of MegaGlest 3.13.0 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Titus Tscharntke, Tom Reynolds, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Forked from Glest
Founded 2010
Genre Real-time strategy
Graphics Medium-quality 3D
License GPLv3
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows NT
Written in C++
External links
GitHub MegaGlest/megaglest-source
IRC #MegaGlest
SourceForge megaglest
Website megaglest.org
Wiki docs.megaglest.org (Official)

MegaGlest is a free and open-source, cross-platform, three-dimensional real-time strategy game that was forked from the discontinued Glest game in 2010. Glest’s development ceased in 2009, so MegaGlest is essentially a project to try and keep the game alive in some form. MegaGlest has graphics of similar quality to that of SuperTuxKart, but they are poorer than that of 0 A.D. and RuneScape. In MegaGlest the player leads an army consisting of one of seven different factions: Egypt, Indians, Magic, Norsemen, Persians, Romans or Tech. It is played on one of seventeen different maps. Further details about gameplay are mentioned in this quote from the official website:8

A game of MegaGlest takes place on a map of varying size, such as large plains and fields, with terrain features like rivers, mountains, seas, or cliffs. Players must establish settlements to gain resources, defend against other players, and train units to explore the map and attack enemies. Different resources have to be gathered by every faction. This can be energy, food, gold, housing, stone and wood. Choose a faction and create its different units and buildings while developing its unique abilities over the course of the game. But beware: micro management and strategy matter, so chose wisely when deciding which units to use when and where if you want a chance to beat the enemy.

Packaging details

On Linux MegaGlest is often split into two packages: megaglest and megaglest-data, with megaglest containing the game engine and megaglest-data containing the game content. Together these two packages have an installed size of roughly 500 MB. To illustrate this here is a command I ran on Gentoo Linux (on 30 April 2017) and below it is the output:

user $ equery s games-strategy/megaglest games-strategy/megaglest-data
 * games-strategy/megaglest-3.13.0
         Total files : 27
         Total size  : 10.93 MiB
 * games-strategy/megaglest-data-3.13.0
         Total files : 6877
         Total size  : 488.93 MiB

Both packages were provided by my own fusion809-overlay, building the ebuild in the Portage tree fails, due to an issue I reported in Gentoo Bug 614408.

MegaGlest is available from the official repositories of a wide range of different Linux distributions, including:

while it is not available from the official repositories of:

  • CentOS
  • openSUSE, although it is available from the unofficial games repository.
  • Sabayon Linux, although users are free to emerge it with Portage from the Portage tree.

Naev

Naev

Naev 0.6.1 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Edgar Simo-Serr, et al.
Dev. stage Beta
Founded Before 2010.
Genre 2D role-playing
Graphics 2D
License GPLv3
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows NT
Written in C, Lua
External links
GitHub naev/naev
IRC #naev
SourceForge naev
Website blog.naev.org
Wiki wiki.naev.org (Unofficial)

Naev is a free and open-source, 2D space trading/combat game that is written in C and Lua. It is a game that I have hardly used and all I can say personally about it is that I dislike its keyboard shortcuts as they rely on letters to move around as opposed to using the more intuitive arrow keys.

Packaging details

Official 32-bit and 64-bit Linux binaries are available from the Naev website. Naev has an installed size of approximately 291 MB on Gentoo Linux, at least, on Arch Linux the installed size is approximately 305 MB. equery gives the following size details of Naev:

user $ equery s games-strategy/naev
 * games-strategy/naev-0.6.1
         Total files : 37
         Total size  : 291.09 MiB

There are packages for Naev in the official repositories of the following distributions:

  • Arch Linux (package name: naev)

  • CentOS 6 (package name: naev)

  • Debian (package name: naev)

  • Fedora (package name: naev)

  • Gentoo Linux (package name: naev)

  • Mageia (package name: naev)

  • openSUSE Tumbleweed (package name: naev), Leap 42.2 do not have an official package available, but the unofficial games repository does have packages for these two distributions.
  • PCLinuxOS (package name: naev)

  • Sabayon Linux (package name: naev)

  • Ubuntu (package name: naev)

OpenArena

OpenArena

Screenshot of OpenArena 0.8.8

Based on Quake III Arena
Developer(s) James Canete, Ludwig Nussel, Thilo Schulz, et al.
Dev. stage Beta
Founded 2005
Genre First-person shooter
Graphics Medium-quality 3D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in C
External links
GitHub OpenArena/gamecode
IRC #openarena
SourceForge oarena
Website openarena.ws

OpenArena is a free and open-source, cross-platform, FPS game that is designed fro a Quake III Arena clone. I have limited experience with this game but I will say its keybindings are rather intuitive with arrow keys used to move around in the game.

Packaging details

Its installed size on Gentoo is approximately 400 MB. equery gives this report on its size:

user $ equery s games-fps/openarena
 * games-fps/openarena-0.8.8
         Total files : 30
         Total size  : 399.11 MiB

The following distributions have a package for OpenArena in their official repositories:

while the following distributions do not have an OpenArena package in their official repositories:

  • Arch Linux, the AUR does have a PKGBUILD for OpenArena, however.
  • openSUSE, the unofficial games repository does have packages for Leap 42.2 and Tumbleweed, however.

OpenRA

OpenRA

Screenshot of OpenRA 20170408 playtest

Based on Command & Conquer: Red Alert
Developer(s) Chris Forbes, Igor Popov, Lukas Franke, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded ? Before or in 2007 (copyright date on website).
Genre Real-time strategy
Graphics 2D
License GPLv3
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in C#
External links
GitHub OpenRA/OpenRA
IRC #openra
Website www.openra.net
Wiki github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/wiki (Unofficial)

OpenRA is a free and open-source, cross-platform RTS game that is an open-source remake of Command & Conquer: Red Alert. It is developed by its own community of volunteer developers and it strives for compatibility with the original Command & Conquer: Red Alert game, but it does have a few extra features not found in Command & Conquer: Red Alert. In it one leads a fairly modern society and must command units to make the money one needs to fund an army capable of defeating opposing team(s). In it one can play against other players or against any (or even multiple different bots) of four different bots (Naval AI, Normal AI, Petra AI and Turtle AI). There are three official mods available for the game: Dune 2000, Red Alert (the default; its logo is also the official OpenRA logo) and Tiberian Dawn. Unofficial, user-submitted mods are available from www.moddb.com/games/openra/mods. Each mod has its own backstory and a series of maps on which one can play. For details about the backstory of each official mod see the OpenRA about page.

OpenRA is unusual among games in that it is written in C# and is built on the Mono framework. Most games are written in C, C++ or occasionally Java or Python. Its graphics are low-quality, although frankly I do not think graphics are really a priority for its development team as otherwise they probably would not write it in C#.

Packaging details

On Linux OpenRA 20170421 has an installed size of approximately 25 MB. Here is what equery has to say about its size on Gentoo Linux (on 2 May 2017):

user $ equery s games-strategy/openra
 * games-strategy/openra-20170421
         Total files : 2013
         Total size  : 26.51 MiB

Distributions with an OpenRA package in their official repositories include:

  • Arch Linux (package name: openra)

  • Mageia (package name: openra)

while:

  • CentOS
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • Gentoo Linux
  • openSUSE
  • PCLinuxOS
  • Sabayon Linux
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE)
  • Ubuntu

do not have an OpenRA package in their official repositories. Although CentOS, Fedora, openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise do have OpenRA packages in the unofficial games:openra Open Build Service repository (download package link). The OpenRA development team attaches an architecture-independent Debian binary (with the file extension .deb) to every new tagged release of OpenRA on GitHub. These Debian binaries are compatible with both Debian and Ubuntu. One can find the tagged releases of OpenRA and the attached Debian binaries at the OpenRA GitHub repository releases page. Gentoo Linux has unofficial overlays that contain ebuilds for OpenRA, details about many of these ebuilds can be found here. Not included in that search for OpenRA in Gentoo overlays is my overlay, fusion809-overlay, which has an ebuild (at the time of writing this it only contains an ebuild for the then latest stable release, 20170421) for OpenRA.

OpenTTD

OpenTTD

Screenshot of OpenTTD 1.7.0 running on Gentoo Linux

Based on Transport Tycoon Deluxe
Developer(s) Ludvig Strigeus, Serge Paquet, Remko Bijker, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 2003
Genre Business simulation
Graphics 2D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris (and derivatives like OpenIndiana), Windows 9x, Windows NT
Written in C++
External links
IRC #openttd
SourceForge openttd
Website www.openttd.org
Wiki wiki.openttd.org (Official)

OpenTTD is a free and open-source, extremely cross-platform, largely two-dimensional business simulation game. It is designed to be an actively maintained, improved clone of the 1995 proprietary video game Transport Tycoon Deluxe that was developed by Chris Sawyer. In it players earn money by transporting passengers and freight by air, rail, road and water. Compared to the game it is based on it, it has several extra features including extra language support, a more user-friendly user interface, downloadable extensions and greater portability. I personally have little experience with this game as I generally do not like games that are business-oriented.

Packaging details

OpenTTD 1.7.0 has an installed size of approximately 15 MB. equery gives the following size details:

user $ equery s games-simulation/openttd
 * games-simulation/openttd-1.7.0
         Total files : 137
         Total size  : 15.49 MiB

There are cross-distribution binary tarballs for 32-bit and 64-bit Linux that are published by the OpenTTD development team, they can be downloaded from here. The following distributions have a package for OpenTTD in their official repositories (note everything date-specific mentioned below is as of 5 May 2017, when this section of the article was written):

  • Arch Linux (package name: openttd)

  • Debian (package name: openttd), the latest releases of OpenTTD have Deb packages published for oldstable and stable by the OpenTTD development team, they also can be downloaded from here.
  • Fedora (package name: openttd), rather impressive that every presently-supported release of Fedora (so 24, 25, 26 and rawhide) have the very latest OpenTTD at the time of writing, 1.7.0.
  • Gentoo Linux (package name: games-simulation/openttd), presently the Portage tree provides fairly outdated versions of OpenTTD (1.6.0, 1.6.1-r1), although my overlay, fusion809-overlay, provides the very latest OpenTTD, 1.7.0.
  • Mageia (package name: openttd)

  • openSUSE (package name: openttd),

  • PCLinuxOS (package name: openttd)

  • Sabayon Linux (package name: games-simulation/openttd), also stores an out-of-date version of OpenTTD, 1.6.1-r1. Although if you are willing to use Portage to install the latest you can from my overlay, fusion809-overlay.

  • Ubuntu (package name: openttd) the OpenTTD development team provide Deb packages for the latest stable release of OpenTTD on Ubuntu 14.04, for download details see this page.

RuneScape

RuneScape


NXT client logo

Screenshot of RuneScape's NXT client version 2.2.4 running on Arch Linux

Developer(s) Jagex Limited
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 1999
Genre MMORPG
Graphics High-quality 3D
License EULA
Platform(s) macOS, Windows NT
Written in C++ (NXT), Java (old client)
External links
Website www.runescape.com
Wiki runescape.wikia.com (Unofficial)

RuneScape is a proprietary, cross-platform MMORPG that I have played since 2006. In it users train skills, including combat, make money (which while it is illegal to trade this money for real-world currency, it can be used to buy bonds which, in turn, can be used to buy game membership) and undertake quests. It is a freemium game, as while it is free to play the game, paying for game membership gives users several extra perks, such as being able to say adios to advertisements and unlock extra map areas, quests and skills. Free-to-play users have access to sixteen skills total while pay-to-play (P2P) users (or members) have access to twenty-seven skills total. These skills include (and they are all hyperlinked to their respective article on the RuneScape Wiki):

Its original client, that has been in use since the game was first officially released in 2001, is written in Java. In April 2016 a new NXT client written in C++, which had been in the works since 2012, was officially released. This was after a few beta weekends in which a select set of users had the opportunity to test out the new game client. The Java client is set to be phased out, although an exact timeline of when this will happen has not been made public. The NXT client only supports 64-bit Linux, macOS and Windows NT.

Packaging details

Java

The Java client is far easier to use on Linux and it supports at least x86 and x86_64 Linux (as opposed to NXT which only supports x86_64). One method is to go to www.runescape.com/game-applet in a Java-compatible web browser like the long-term supported releases of Mozilla Firefox (version 52 and later of Firefox do not support Java) and play the game. Alternatively, one can use the Unix RuneScape Client (RSU) for which there is a cross-distribution installer.

NXT

Its installed size on Linux is approximately 8 MB, although it is worthwhile noting that the client downloads an awful lot of data (~3.4 GB for myself as of 2 May 2017) to a folder in the user home directory called Jagex. Here is what equery has to say about the games-rpg/runescape-launcher package’s installed size:

user $ equery s games-rpg/runescape-launcher
 * games-rpg/runescape-launcher-2.2.4
         Total files : 41
         Total size  : 7.53 MiB

The NXT client is only in the official repositories of a small handful of Linux distributions, including:

their package is presently (as of 26 April 2017) the outdated 2.2.2 release, which is no longer supported as of the release of 2.2.4 on 3 April 2017.

while it is in the unofficial repositories of:

  • Arch Linux (AUR package: runescape-launcher)
  • 64-bit Ubuntu 14.04, which is the only distribution it is officially packaged for by the RuneScape development team of Jagex. Details for how to install on Ubuntu 14.04 can be found here, one has to click the “Linux” button to see the installation details.

It is possible to run the NXT client on other distributions such as Fedora, Mageia, openSUSE, etc. via methods like:

  • Downloading the official Ubuntu 14.04 package, extracting its contents to one’s file system (using the Alien package, or dpkg-deb -x <PACKAGE> <DESTINATION>) and installing the package(s) required to satisfying the dependencies of the package (which would by trial and error, trying to start the client and based on any errors given installing the package(s) that are meant to provide any libraries the error mentions are missing). I have had success with this method on openSUSE Tumbleweed, wherein I took the 64-bit Debian package and extracted its contents to ~/Programs (as opposed to / which is the most commonly-used method) and extracted the Debian packages for Ubuntu 14.04 that provide the dependencies of the package that I could not install from the official repositories of Tumbleweed to ~/Programs also. I also edited ~/Programs/usr/bin/runescape-launcher so that it included ~/Programs/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu in its LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable.
  • Running the game via Docker. I have a Docker container at Docker Hub that can be used for this purpose. Note that with this method audio can be a little touchy to get working. I personally have not managed to get the sound working with my Docker container, not that this really matters to me as I usually mute the game whenever I play it.
  • Running the game via a chroot into a distribution that better supports the client. I had Ubuntu 14.04 installed on my laptop for about a fortnight or more just so I could run the NXT client via a chroot from my openSUSE Tumbleweed installation on the same laptop. This method is also likely to make audio difficult to get working.

Scorched3D

Scorched3D

Scorched3D 44r2 running on Gentoo Linux

Based on Scorched Earth
Developer(s) Gavin Camp, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 2001
Genre Real-time strategy
Graphics
License GPL
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Windows 9x, Windows NT
Written in C++
External links
SourceForge scorched3d
Website www.scorched3d.co.uk
Wiki www.scorched3d.co.uk/wiki (Unofficial)

Scorched3D is a free and open-source, extremely cross-platform, artillery strategy game. Unlike most strategy games that are either real-time or turn-based, Scorched3D offers users a choice between these two modes of gameplay. It also has multiplayer modes and can be run over local area networks (LAN).

Packaging details

On Gentoo Linux Scorched3D 44 has an installed size of approximately 90 MB. equery gives the following size report:

user $ equery s games-strategy/scorched3d
 * games-strategy/scorched3d-44-r2
         Total files : 1940
         Total size  : 88.80 MiB

Distributions with a Scorched3D package in their official repositories include:

while the following distributions do not have a package for Scorched3D in their official repositories:

  • Arch Linux; the AUR does not even have a PKGBUILD for it.
  • CentOS
  • openSUSE, although the unofficial games repository has a package for it on Leap and Tumbleweed.

SuperTux

SuperTux

Screenshot of SuperTux 0.5.1

Based on Super Mario Bros
Developer(s)
Dev. stage Alpha
Founded ? First release was in April 2003.
Genre Arcade
Graphics 2D
License GPLv3
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Windows 9x, Windows NT
Written in C++
External links
GitHub SuperTux/supertux
IRC #supertux
SourceForge super-tux
Website supertuxproject.org
Wiki github.com/SuperTux/supertux/wiki (Unofficial)

SuperTux is a free and open-source, extremely cross-platform arcade game that is most similar to the proprietary Super Mario Bros game. In it one guides the hero, Tux, through a series of obstacles. Its graphics are 2D and hence graphics quality is not a major concern for the game. Presently there are two major variants of the game: milestone 1 (which was released in 2003) and milestone 2 (first stable release of which was in December 2015). Milestone 1 uses far less resources (like CPU, GPU and RAM) and is a 32-bit game. Only milestone 1 is available for FreeBSD. Milestone 2 uses a lot more resources, but has more features to it.

It is one of my favourite games, as while it is simple on paper it can be an entertaining challenge. One can create one’s own maps for the game and otherwise customize it. One can play it with a joystick or just with a mouse.

Packaging details

On Linux SuperTux 0.5.1 has an installed size of approximately 125 MB. Here is what equery has to say about its installed size:

user $ equery s games-arcade/supertux
 * games-arcade/supertux-0.5.1
         Total files : 3384
         Total size  : 126.82 MiB

SuperTux is a fairly ubiquitous game in the Linux world. Distributions with a SuperTux package in their official repositories include:

although CentOS 7 does not.

  • Debian (package name: supertux)

  • Fedora (package name: supertux)

  • Gentoo Linux (package name: games-arcade/supertux)

  • Mageia (package name: supertux)

  • openSUSE (package name: supertux2) , only a package in the official repositories of openSUSE Tumbleweed exist. No such package exists in the official repositories of either supported openSUSE Leap release. Despite this, a SuperTux package is available for Leap in the unofficial games repository.
  • PCLinuxOS (package name: supertux)

  • Sabayon Linux (package name: games-arcade/supertux)

  • Ubuntu (package name: supertux)

SuperTuxKart

SuperTuxKart

Screenshot of SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 running in Story Mode.

Developer(s) SuperTuxKart Team
Dev. stage Beta
Forked from TuxKart
Founded 2006
Genre Racing
Graphics Low-quality 3D
License GPLv3
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows NT
Written in C, C++
External links
GitHub supertuxkart/stk-code
IRC #supertuxkart
SourceForge supertuxkart
Website supertuxkart.net</a>
Wiki supertuxkart.net/Community (Unofficial)

SuperTuxKart is a free and open-source 3D racing game featuring open-source project mascots as the racers. It was forked from the now unmaintained source code of TuxKart in late 2004, which is soon after disagreements lead to the end of TuxKart’s development. In order to win races players must reach the finishing lines first, or follow a leader, or reach the finishing line within a specified amount of time, depending on the specific race. Users can run custom races just for fun (against either the computer or against up to four human opponents), or they can play in story mode. In story mode the user gains points by finishing races (which have adjustable difficulty settings, with easier races granting less points), with extra points users can unlock extra races and racetracks (and these racetracks can also be played as custom races, outside story mode) and once they all the story mode races are complete one can unlock a door and run another race. This is a game I have personally found rather enjoyable, although I would say its graphics are fairly low quality.

Packaging details

SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 has an installed size of approximately 620 MB and equery has this to say about its size:

user $ equery s games-action/supertuxkart
 * games-action/supertuxkart-0.9.2
         Total files : 4633
         Total size  : 618.08 MiB

SuperTuxKart is officially distributed by its development team as a cross-distribution binary tarball. It is also on Steam Greenlight, so it is possible one day it will be available on Steam. It is also available from the official repositories of most modern Linux distributions, including:

although it is not in the official repositories of CentOS.

TORCS

TORCS

TORCS 1.3.7 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Eric Espié, Christophe Guionneau, Bernhard Wymann, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 1997
Genre Racing
Graphics Medium-quality 3D
License GPLv2</a>
Platform(s) DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Windows NT
Written in C++
External links
IRC #torcs
SourceForge torcs
Website torcs.sourceforge.net

TORCS is a free and open-source, 3D racing simulator game. The major difference between TORCS and SuperTuxKart are are that SuperTuxKart has a fictional theme to it as the various open-source project mascots are racing against one another and in it players can use weapons to slow their adversaries down. TORCS on the other hand, is designed to be as realistic as possible and it even includes stands where fans can watch the race and racers cannot use weapons against one another.

Packaging details

On Gentoo Linux TORCS 1.3.8-test1 has an installed size of approximately 620 MB. equery gives the following size report (on 1 May 2017):

user $ equery s games-sports/torcs
 * games-sports/torcs-1.3.8_rc1
         Total files : 3681
         Total size  : 617.03 MiB

Distributions with a TORCS package in their official repositories include:

  • Arch Linux (package name: torcs)

  • Debian (package name: torcs)

  • Fedora (package name: torcs)

  • Gentoo Linux (package name: games-sports/torcs), although presently the Portage tree provides the outdated 1.3.6 version of TORCS, but my fusion809-overlay overlay provides the latest stable and testing releases of TORCS.
  • Mageia (package name: torcs)

  • PCLinuxOS (package name: torcs)

  • Sabayon Linux (package name: games-sports/torcs)

  • Ubuntu (package name: torcs)

while the following distributions do not:

  • CentOS
  • openSUSE, although the unofficial games repository has a package for it on Leap and Tumbleweed.

Unvanquished

Unvanquished

Screenshot of Unvanquished 0.48.0 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Harsh Modi, Maximilian Stahlberg, Casey Addler, et al.
Dev. stage Alpha
Forked from Tremulous
Founded 2011
Genre First-person shooter/Real-time strategy
Graphics High-quality 3D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) macOS, Windows NT
Written in C, C++ (>85%)
External links
GitHub Unvanquished/Unvanquished
Website www.unvanquished.net
Wiki wiki.unvanquished.net (Unofficial)

Unvanquished is a free and open-source, cross-platform, FPS and RTS game. If anyone has something to add about this game that I can add here do tell, as I really do want this review to be complete.

Packaging details

The installed size of Unvanquished 0.48.0 on Gentoo Linux is approximately 720 MB. equery provides the following report on its size:

user $ equery s games-fps/unvanquished games-fps/unvanquished-data
 * games-fps/unvanquished-0.48.0
         Total files : 31
         Total size  : 22.79 MiB
 * games-fps/unvanquished-data-0.48.0
         Total files : 56
         Total size  : 695.19 MiB

Unvanquished is not in the official repositories of any popular Linux distribution, except Sabayon Linux, although it is in the official repositories of OpenMandriva Lx and ROSA. It is also in the unofficial games repository of openSUSE Leap 42.2 and Tumbleweed and in the unofficial GetDeb repository of Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04 and 16.10. Unofficial overlays exist for installing Unvanquished on Gentoo Linux, most notably the games-overlay that is in the layman remote list.

Urban Terror

Urban Terror

Screenshot of Urban Terror 4.3.2

Developer(s) Frozen Sand, LLC
Dev. stage Post-release
Forked from ioquake3 (engine)
Founded 1998
Genre First-person shooter
Graphics High-quality 3D
License GPLv2 (engine), proprietary (content)
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in C
External links
Website www.urbanterror.info
Wiki urbanterror.wikia.com (Unofficial)

Urban Terror is a mixed-licensed, cross-platform FPS game. It uses its own open-source fork of the ioquake3 game engine, but all game content and code is proprietary-licensed. It is unusual among games I have tried in that instead of taking a username (with or without a password too) to play, it requires one to register on its website and then get an authentication key and enter it to login to the game. I personally have found its graphics high-quality, in similar quality to 0 A.D. and RuneScape. I have only limited experience with this game, but from what I can tell it seems rather high-quality. The only thing about it I dislike is its unusual keybindings. In most games one uses the arrow keys to move, but in Urban Terror one uses letter keys to move.

Packaging details

Urban Terror 4.3.2 has an installed size of approximately 1.4 GB; this is what equery has to say about its size:

user $ equery s games-fps/urbanterror
 * games-fps/urbanterror-4.3.2
         Total files : 42
         Total size  : 1.37 GiB

It is available from the official repositories of:

While it is not available from the official repositories of:

  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • openSUSE
  • PCLinuxOS
  • Ubuntu

this is not surprising as CentOS, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE and Ubuntu have largely open-source only repositories, although in the case of Debian and Ubuntu proprietary device driver and firmware packages exist in their official repositories.

Warzone 2100

Warzone 2100

Screenshot of Warzone 2100 3.2.3 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Pumpkin Studios
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded ? First released in 1999
Genre Real-time strategy/tactics
Graphics Low-quality 3D
License GPLv2
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, Windows NT
Written in C, C++ (>85%)
External links
GitHub Warzone2100/warzone2100
IRC #warzone2100
SourceForge warzone2100
Website wz2100.net
Wiki developer.wz2100.net (Official)

Warzone 2100 is a free and open-source, cross-platform, hybrid RTS and real-time tactics game. Its graphics are three-dimensional, but low-quality, at least, in my opinion. In 1999 the first release was made, at that time it was closed-source, but in 2004 it was open-sourced so that the community could work on it. In it users lead the forces of The Project in a battle to rebuild the world after a nuclear holocaust. There are single-player and multiplayer skirmishes available, along with a campaign. Its window is not resizable using the maximize button, or by pulling the sides of the window across, and rather its window must be resized using the graphics options in the game.

Packaging details

Warzone 2100 has an installed size of approximately 100 MB, excluding the extra videos that can be included in the game, here is what equery has to say about its size (on 2 May 2017):

user $ equery s games-strategy/warzone2100
 * games-strategy/warzone2100-3.2.3
         Total files : 176
         Total size  : 99.53 MiB

Debian-based distributions, along with openSUSE, split Warzone 2100 into two packages, warzone2100 and warzone2100-data. Most distributions have a Warzone 2100 package in their official repositories, including:

XBoard

XBoard

Screenshot of XBoard 4.9.1 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) GNU Project
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded ? The earliest reference to XBoard I can find was in 1994
Genre Turn-based strategy board game
Graphics 2D
License GPLv3
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows NT
Written in C, Objective-C
External links
GitHub arunpersaud/xboard
Website www.gnu.org/software/xboard

XBoard is a free and open-source, X11 graphical front-end to any of a variety of different chess game engines like Crafty or GNU Chess. It is developed as part of the GNU Project, unlike GNOME Chess XBoard seems to only support single-player mode, that is, when the player plays against the computer (namely the game engine). In my opinion its interface is still stuck in the 1990s and is less intuitive than that of GNOME Chess, although unlike GNOME Chess it has been ported to a wide array of different operating systems. One can undo moves in XBoard, it is just an option that took me a while to find as it is hidden in the “Engine” drop menu and is called “Retract Move”, while usually this option is called “Undo” in other games.

Packaging details

XBoard 4.9.1 has an installed size on Linux of approximately 3.8 MB and the most common game engine for it, GNU Chess has an installed size of 1.2 MB. Here is what equery reports about its installed size on Gentoo Linux (on 3 May 2017):

user $ equery s games-board/xboard games-board/gnuchess
 * games-board/xboard-4.9.1
         Total files : 294
         Total size  : 3.84 MiB
 * games-board/gnuchess-6.2.4
         Total files : 64
         Total size  : 1.24 MiB

XBoard is available from the official repositories of the majority of distributions, including:

while it is not in the official repositories of CentOS.

Xmahjongg

Xmahjongg

Screenshot of Xmahjongg 3.7 running on Gentoo Linux

Developer(s) Mark Holm, Dorothy Robinson, Jeff S. Young, et al.
Dev. stage Post-release
Founded 1988
Genre Board game
Graphics 2D
License GPLv3
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD
Written in C, C++
External links
Website www.lcdf.org/xmahjongg

Xmahjongg is a free and open-source, cross-platform Mahjongg game that is designed specifically to use the X11 windowing system. I have fairly limited experience with it as I usually play KMahjongg instead, but it seems like a worthy replacement for KMahjongg.

Packaging details

The installed size of Xmahjongg 3.7 on Linux is approximately 760 KB, the size report of equery is:

user $ equery s games-board/xmahjongg
 * games-board/xmahjongg-3.7-r1
         Total files : 54
         Total size  : 762.71 KiB

It is available from the official repositories of most popular distributions, including:

while it is not in the official repositories of either CentOS or PCLinuxOS.

Xonotic

Xonotic

Screenshot of Xonotic 0.8.2 running on Arch Linux

Developer(s) Team Xonotic
Dev. stage Beta
Forked from Nexuiz
Founded 2010
Genre First-person shooter
Graphics High-quality 3D
License BSD, GPLv2, GPLv3, LGPLv2.1
Platform(s) FreeBSD, macOS, NetBSD, Windows NT
Written in C++
External links
GitLab xonotic/xonotic
IRC #xonotic
Website www.xonotic.org
Wiki gitlab.com/xonotic/xonotic/wikis (Official)

Xonotic is a free and open-source, high-definition, arena-style first-person shooter game. It is the highest-definition open-source game in its genre, from what I have seen. Its graphics are 3D and of similar quality to those of 0 A.D. and RuneScape. I have little experience with this game as FPS games do not really interest me, but it seems rather well done.

Xonotic packages for the various Linux distributions often have an installed size of almost 1 GB.

Packaging details

Xonotic 0.8.1 has an installed size of approximately 890 MB. equery has this to say about its installed size:

user $ equery s games-fps/xonotic
 * games-fps/xonotic-0.8.1
         Total files : 53
         Total size  : 889.31 MiB

Xonotic is distributed by its developers as a zip archive, which can be run on, in theory, an Linux distribution. It is a fairly ubiquitous game in the Linux world, with the following distributions having packages for it in their official repositories:

while oddly it does not appear to be available from the official repositories of any Debian or Ubuntu release. In the case of Ubuntu, however, Xonotic is available from the unofficial PlayDeb repository.

Games deliberately not included

Certain games were excluded from this post deliberately, they include:

  • BSD games, excluded mostly because the only individual BSD game I was really interested in was Hangman, but then I found out that KDE has its own graphical hangman game so I decided to cover it instead.
  • ManaPlus, which I excluded as it serves as a client for more than one game (The Mana World, Evol Online) which adds complexity to things and makes package details more difficult.
  • netPanzer, a free and open-source strategy tank game. Excluded as running it on Gentoo was a pain, I could not seem to connect to any server as one server timed out and the other servers said the protocol was too new (after all Gentoo only has the outdated 0.8.2 release of netPanzer in their official repositories, even though 0.8.7 is out). When I clicked a server and clicked “Next” I was brought to a waiting screen that never changed, this is it. The screenshot below shows the screen I was shown, when looking for a server to connect to.

  • Tremulous, an open-source 3D first-person shooter game. Excluded as installing it on my Gentoo system returned the download error:
>>> Emerging (1 of 1) games-fps/tremulous-1.1.0-r4::games-overlay
>>> Downloading 'http://ftp.swin.edu.au/gentoo/distfiles/tremulous-gentoopatches-1.1.0-r5.zip'
--2017-05-01 00:31:53--  http://ftp.swin.edu.au/gentoo/distfiles/tremulous-gentoopatches-1.1.0-r5.zip
Resolving ftp.swin.edu.au... 2001:388:6080:64::dc41:1cf, 136.186.1.76
Connecting to ftp.swin.edu.au|2001:388:6080:64::dc41:1cf|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 404 Not Found
2017-05-01 00:31:53 ERROR 404: Not Found.

>>> Downloading 'http://dl.trem-servers.com/tremulous-gentoopatches-1.1.0-r5.zip'
--2017-05-01 00:31:53--  http://dl.trem-servers.com/tremulous-gentoopatches-1.1.0-r5.zip
Resolving dl.trem-servers.com... failed: Name or service not known.
wget: unable to resolve host address ‘dl.trem-servers.com’
!!! Couldn't download 'tremulous-gentoopatches-1.1.0-r5.zip'. Aborting.
 * Fetch failed for 'games-fps/tremulous-1.1.0-r4', Log file:
 *  '/var/tmp/portage/games-fps/tremulous-1.1.0-r4/temp/build.log'

>>> Failed to emerge games-fps/tremulous-1.1.0-r4, Log file:

>>>  '/var/tmp/portage/games-fps/tremulous-1.1.0-r4/temp/build.log'

 * Messages for package games-fps/tremulous-1.1.0-r4:

 * Fetch failed for 'games-fps/tremulous-1.1.0-r4', Log file:
 *  '/var/tmp/portage/games-fps/tremulous-1.1.0-r4/temp/build.log'

despite my internet working perfectly, and yes this bug has been reported.

Footnotes

  1. As, using virtualization, of course, one could run any game one wanted via virtualizing the operating system said games ran natively on.
  2. Source: The Story of 0 A.D.. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  3. Source: SPI Associated Projects. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  4. All this information is as of 16 April 2017, when this section was first written.
  5. Source: Download page (not italicized as this is not the official name of this page). Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  6. Source: About page. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  7. Source: WesnothBinariesLinux. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  8. Source: MegaGlest - MegaGlest. Retrieved 30 April 2017.