Real-Time Strategy Games

10 Fun Free and Open Source Real-Time Strategy Games

A Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game is a time-based game which typically focuses on finding resources, managing resources, and building an empire. You can engage other players and make alliances, and find different ways to conquer foes. This type of game puts you in control of a personal army. There are no turns to take, everything takes place continuously, with players issuing commands at any time.

RTS games have a large fan base since their inception. This game genre requires cunning, creativity, and the ability to devise innovative strategies to usurp your opponents. Some of the best known proprietary RTS series are Warcraft, Starcraft, Command & Conquer, and Age of Empires.

Before delving into our pick of fun open source RTS game, we’ll pay tribute to Spring. We’re not referring to the season, the mechanical device that stores energy, or a natural source of water, or even a geometric surface in the shape of a helically coiled tube. No, we mean the Spring RTS engine. It’s a fantastically versatile 3D engine for developing RTS games. It uses Lua for scripting game-specific code to make almost all aspects of the engine customizable, from GUI, to unit AI, to pathfinding. There’s many RTS games that owe their existence to Spring.

All of the games featured below are highly addictive, immersive, fascinating, and hugely satisfying. Attractive graphics are an important element to any RTS game. But these games also have great gameplay coupled with the urge of always having just one more play. And as the source code is freely available, anyone can pick up, modify, and expand upon the games.

There is an eligibility criteria that needs to be met to be included in this round up (see below).

Let’s explore the 10 games. For each game we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screen shot of the game in action, together with links to relevant resources.

Real-Time Strategy Games
0 A.D.Not bound to ‘standard’ RTS gameplay
Bos WarsFuturistic Real-Time Strategy
Colobot: Gold EditionProgram your units (bots) in a language called CBOT
Globulation 2Innovative Take On Micro-Management
MegaGlestControl the armies of one of seven different factions
OpenHVPixelart Science-Fiction RTS
Seven Kingdoms: AAMix of RTS like Warcraft 2 and turn-based strategy of Civilization
Warzone 21003D real-time strategy set on a future Earth
WidelandsEconomic and military simulation game similar to Settlers II
Zero-KMassive robot armies fighting in an endless conflict

Note: The games are listed in alphabetical order.

Eligibility criteria

TickFree to download. The project must be available to download without charge but the authors may accept donations.

TickPublished under an open source license. Popular open source licenses for games include MIT License, GNU General Public License, and BSD License.

TickNot in an early stage of development. The game must be in a stage of development where it’s playable but not necessarily complete.

TickDoes not rely exclusively on data from proprietary software. The game must not require purchasing or owning proprietary data from a different project.

TickGame media (such as graphics/sound) is released under an open source license or a Creative Commons license.


All articles in this series:

Open Source Games
2D Shooter Games2D Shooter: Part 1, Part 2 - They are a subgenre of shooter game, which in turn is a type of action game. It’s difficult to exactly define which specific design elements make up a shooter game.
Adventure GamesAction-Adventure - They combine core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres. Expect both your reflexes and problem-solving skills to be tested.
Arcade GamesArcade is a video game genre with a focus on gameplay rather than story or content. They reached their peak in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Board GamesBoard - This genre of game is a device of social interaction, they challenge the mind and, most importantly, they are great fun to play.
Card GamesCard - They offer many positive attributes. They can improve mental skills, memory and logic. They can test your patience, help you focus, and are popular for all ages.
Chess

Chess: Apps, Chess Engines, Online Chess Clients - Chess is a recreational and competitive board game played between two players. It is a very popular game, played by millions across the world, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.
Educational GamesEducational - These games designed to teach people, typically children, about a certain subject or help them learn a skill as they play. They are sometimes known as games edutainment because they combine education and entertainment.
First-Person Shooter GamesFirst-Person Shooter: Part 1, Part 2 - This is a computer game genre focused on guns and other weapon-based fighting using a first-person perspective. Fast and furious gameplay guaranteed.
Platform GamesPlatform: Part 1, Part 2 - Subgenre of action games in which the core objective is to move the player character between points in a rendered environment. They are also known as jump 'n' run games.
Puzzle GamesPuzzle - They make up a broad genre of games that emphasize puzzle solving. The types of puzzles can test problem-solving skills, including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, spatial recognition, and word completion.
Racing GamesRacing - This is a video game genre in which the player participates in a racing competition. The most common types of sub-genres are arcade-style, simulation, futuristic and kart.
Real-Time Strategy GamesReal-Time Strategy - A time-based game which typically focuses on finding resources, managing resources, and building an empire. You can engage other players and make alliances, and find different ways to conquer foes.
Rhythm GamesRhythm - Music-themed action video game that challenges a player's sense of rhythm. Games in the genre typically focus on dance or the simulated performance of musical instruments.
RoguelikeRoguelike - A subgenre of role-playing games characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, grid-based movement, and permanent death of the player character.
Role-Play GamesRole-Play: Part 1, Part 2- Players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. There are several forms of role-playing games.
Sandbox GamesSandbox - This genre provides the player a great degree of creativity to interact with, usually without any predetermined goal, or alternatively with a goal that the player sets for themselves.
Simulation GamesSimulation - A simulation video game describes a diverse category of video games, generally designed to closely simulate real world activities. These games do not necessarily offer entertainment, at least not primarily.
Sports GamesSports is a video game genre that simulates the practice of sports such as football, golf, pool. and more.
ASCII GamesText Based: Part 1, Part 2 - These games often receive little coverage in the Linux press. However, there are some real ASCII gems out there waiting to be explored which are immensely addictive and great fun to play.
Turn-Based Strategy GamesTurn-Based Strategy: Part 1, Part 2 - We examine games that require intelligence, and the ability to come up with an innovative plan that will leave the competition mesmerized. Players take turns when playing, strategically seeking to outsmart the enemy.
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.