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12 MORE Open Source Games that Don’t Suck

Recently I wrote an article called 12 Open Source Games that Don’t Suck, and the response was overwhelming. Along with the positive feedback you guys made it quite clear that I didn’t mention some good games, especially first-person shooters. Many of the suggestions made were of non open-source projects, but I’m trying to stick to open source only – I will talk about the free (as in free beer) but not open source games another time.

So here are 12 MORE Open Source Games that Don’t Suck:

Nexuiz – It began in 2001 as a Quake mod but soon grew into a standalone project based on the DarkPlaces Quake engine. It is a very fast-paced FPS (3d Deathmatch) now on version 2.5 and is one of the most downloaded of all open source games. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

D2X-XL – The source code for Descent II was released in 1999, and a number of different open source projects began based on this code. D2X-XL is probably the most popular of the Descent 2-based projects, and it is basically a D2 OpenGL port with fixes and enhancements. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

TORCS – TORCS, The Open Source Racing Simulator features more than 50 different cars, 20 tracks, and 50 opponents to race against. You can steer with a joystick, steering wheel, mouse, or keyboard. Additional cars, tracks, and opponents have been developed by others and may be downloaded from various other sites. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Secret Maryo Chronicles – Secret Maryo is a scrolling 2D platformer reminiscent of, you guessed it, Super Mario Brothers. The gameplay, powerups, and graphics are all very similar to SMB. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Scorched 3D – Like its DOS-based predecessor, Scorched, Scorched 3D is a turn-based artillery game where the player aims (by adjusting angle, rotation and power) and fires a tank at opposing players. This 3D version features islands and up to 24 different players in the same game. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Frozen Bubble – This casual game is a bubble-popping puzzler. Featuring Tux-like penguins the player attempts to pop bubbles by forming chains out of the frozen rows scrolling forward before they reach the bottom of the screen. Its 100 levels are a fixture in many distributions of Linux, along with being available for Windows and Mac.

Tremulous – This game began development as a modification for Quake III Arena, and was turned into a stand-alone open source game after the release of the id_Tech_3 Quake III Arena source code. It is not only a FPS but also features real time strategy elements, such as building a base that contains spawn points. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

OpenArena – If you have ever played Quake III, you will recognize OpenArena’s gameplay, as it is a very close copy. The game is so closely related that many mods from Quake III may be used with OpenArena. It is also featured in many Linux distributions, and is available for Windows and Mac.

Assault Cube – Assault Cube is a first-person shooter based on the Cube engine. This game keeps the fast action of Cube, but was created to be a bit more realistic and team-based. The game has fictional, modern weapons such as the assault rifle, sniper rifle, and so on. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Hedgewars – Hedgewars is like playing Worms after eating shrooms. You move your group of little pink hedgehogs around a floating island and use various weapons to attack other teams of pink hedgehogs, who die if they touch the water or have their health reduced to zero. This game is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

NetHack – NetHack is decades old but was the grandaddy of dungeon crawlers. Those who lust for the latest graphics will want to shy away from this ASCII-based game, but in other ways its age not noticeable. Its simple, addictive gameplay remains to this day the bane of many a college student. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Dwarf Fortress – Dwarf Fortress is like NetHack in that it is ASCII-based, but it is very different in that it is an extremely deep and complicated fortress-building simulation. You create and grow a fortress using a band of hardy dwarves, and its gameplay can be best described as a cross between SimCity and Dungeons and Dragons. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

I think these games reflect some of the best open source games available. Thanks again for suggestions from all and I look forward to more!


  1. kyio says:

    hey nixiepixel, i just started my own gameserver on a dedicated machine in europe. guess ping is too high for a little match?
    servers name “JimPanse’s House of 12 Monkeys DM”. FTW! 😉

  2. Anonymous says:

    Opensource is gr8, Shows peoples talents and people working together for no profit and achieving there goals.

  3. astyguy says:


    Trust you to find a Linux app with boobies !

  4. Bios Element says:

    Woot! You listed Dwarf Fortress! Miracles Happen. 😀

  5. vileni says:

    again no Urban Terror 🙁

  6. nixiepixel says:

    Urban Terror is free to play but is not open source. FrozenSand retains the rights, so wasn’t on this list. Maybe the “free but not open source” one 😉

  7. BigWhale says:

    And no 0verkill! :>>>

  8. Sal says:

    dwarf fortress is not open source, it’s freeware alpha software. Anyone playing it is a game tester, not a user, and definately will not ever be a code contributor.

  9. brent says:

    mmmm, i love me the smell of opensource in the morning!

    looking forward to the 12 free(but not oss) games! i probably know of them already, but it’s still great to get the word out nonetheless!

    i’ve got a couple hosted servers lying around if you want to play sometime (in ##club-ubuntu on freenode- i’m bts3685 on freenode, by the way- we call them “WAN parties”- we all know each other, so it’s like a LAN party (i.e. you aren’t playing with strangers) but since we’re global, it makes an actual LAN party kind of impossible. 🙂 you should come play with us sometime! we mostly play urban terror but there’s been talk of getting sauerbraten together.. i’m the game admin, so i need to get some confs together for sauerbraten)

  10. brent says:

    oh, i totally forgot to mention-

    tremulous is REALLY similar in gameplay to Natural Selection, for the half-life-ites out there

  11. Stanthefan says:

    Alien Arena is a very good FPS and is open sourced.

  12. Term Papers says:

    Great series. A bit out of my league, but I’m learning stuff each step of the way. Can’t wait to get to it

  13. jayk1993 says:

    Scorched 3D is awsome
    thanks nixie for showing the world this wonderfull game

  14. Daniel says:

    I’m absolutely obsessed with Mario, so seeing that Secret Maryo game listed here definitely has me interested. I’ve never heard of it before, so thanks for mentioning it!

  15. Simon says:

    seems to be alot of quick paced fps deathmatch games ala quake here. could you say which is the best one of them?

    • Rowin says:

      Of the open source FPS games, I like Tremulous the best. Most of the other ones rely more on twitch reflexes than strategy. Reflexes help a bit in Tremulous, but there’s a more gradual, balanced learning curve which is really unmatched in most multiplayer games before, say, L4D, not to mention the asymmetric humans vs. aliens teaming.

      You get penalized for simply running out and dying (“feeding” makes the other team stronger), so you need to stick with teammates (or camp out near your base) to survive enough to earn enough points to wield the big guns.

      The best freeware FPS I’ve seen for Linux is Wolfenstein ET, esp. with the True Combat : Elite mod. Very good gameplay dynamic which rewards cooperation and strategy.

      • anon says:

        Can’t really comment on the relative merits as I haven’t played them all (had performance issues w/ Nexiuz), but I like AssaultCube a lot. One of its advantages is a pretty active community; I played Sauerbraten (cube 2) for a while, which is also really neat, but it seems that the community has fallen off a lot (public, at least).

  16. Rowin says:

    Not really a game, but I’ve had hours and hours of fun with Celestia. Fire it up, hold down the “]” key until the Magnitude is above 10.00, and hold down the “End” key until you zoom out of the known galaxy, “Powers of Ten” -style.

    Then head over to the add-on motherlode, where you can download high-res imagery for almost any planet as well as lots of extra satellites and a variety of fictitious spacecraft models from your favorite sci-fi. It’s probably the best, nerdiest eye-candy I’ve seen running on Linux.

  17. nitrofurano says:

    you forgot saying Kenta Cho’s ones! =) (Torus Trooper, Tumiki Fighter, Rrootage, etc.)

  18. nitrofurano says:

    and be welcome taking a regular look at (twice a year) – mostly games from there really sucks, but sometimes some brilliant games appears there (around 10%) – anyway, i really wished this competition has submissions as brilliant as HSPTV ones (onionsoftware youtube account), but it depends on the popularity may have in the meanwhile

  19. ome ddragon says:

    hey there you didnt mention savage 2 ezquake or quake live all those games are free and they are nice not even urban terror wolfentein or regnum online those are nice games and free

  20. inolle says:

    awww supertux didnt make the cut :'(

  21. inolle says:

    my bad i didnt see the other list with it on there

  22. Liora says:

    What about Ultima V: Lazarus (! It is a fabulous remake of Origin’s original Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny using the Dungeon Siege engine.

    On a similar note, the Ultima 6 Project ( has reached beta 3, and it looks like version 1.0 will be released very soon. I’ve been playing the beta, and it is fantastic!!

  23. Liora says:

    Ack, the lazarus link didn’t work :P.. it should be:

  24. Alexhans says:

    As someone else said, Dwarf Fortress is not open source but closed source freeware. The thing is, it’s prepared to be very modifiable via file editing.

    Liberal Crime Squad, started by Tarn Adams too and now picked up by other people is a great open source Roguelike.

    More info:

  25. dchronos says:

    Hey nixie, where is wesnoth and xmoto?


  26. Mackan says:

    Frets On Fire? I know I am really old here, but the gameplay is pretty good, I think…

  27. vincentvdbergh says:

    I am addicted to bomberman. It is very time consuming but fun.

    A lot of games are listed in this Ubuntu thread. Note that the thread is in Dutch, so use googletranslate to translate the website from Dutch to English if you want to read the comments about games. Most post contain the name of the game and an url towards the project.

    Hope you find some nice games in it Nixie (and others that take a look there).

  28. Welshtramp says:


    Classic remake of Microsoft’s Transport Tycoon Deluxe,

    Great article btw

  29. exists Urban Terror too, a game like Counter Strike, such a great game

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