Saturday, March 29, 2008

Top 30 Linux Games of 2008

If you’re interested in games for a Linux platform, then you know that game probably is open source, free from cost in most cases, and free to modify. The latter attribute is why Linux games are so popular…a developer can take a great game and make it even better, share it with the world, and become a hero. So, why waste your time and money on proprietary games when so many great Linux games are available?


We’ve listed the top 25 Linux games for 2008 below. These games are really good and some have won awards or have been featured on magazines. Most of it is cross platform and free. You don’t have to use ‘Wine’ to be able to play as they come with Linux installers.While we believe that Springis defintely tops on the 2008 list, we had a difficult time aligning the other games by numerical order.We’ve also added any details on price and a link to download each game.



  1. Spring - (Linux, Windows) If you’re looking forward to 2008 rather than backward to 2007, then look to Spring (also known as TA Spring or Total Annihilation: Spring) as the open source game of the year. TA Spring currently can execute most of Total Annihilation’s original gameplay flawlessly with its original units in their original format. Large battles are limited only by your computer’s power, with support for up to 5,000 units. You’ll wage those battles on large, highly detailed 3D maps with camera modes that allow you to view the battle scene from almost any angle. Games are played using one of a number of mods. Price: The core game is released under GPL License. Fortunately as of now, there are also two mods which have been released under the GNU/GPL, and several more which do not have clear licence terms (owned by their modder). However, there are also several mods for which some parts are still under copyright of Atari. For these you need to own the original TA game if you want to play.Download.


  2. Tremulous - (Linux, Windows, Mac) This is a free open source team-based first-person shooter (FPS) with a game play similar to Gloom for Quake 2. NS. Tremulous features a two team FPS, humans and aliens, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Players on both teams are able to build working structures in-game RTS elements. The overall objective behind Tremulous is to eliminate the opposing team. This is achieved by not only killing the opposing players but also removing their ability to respawn by destroying their spawn structures. The game has been downloaded over 200,000 times. It was voted “Player’s Choice Standalone Game of the Year” in Mod Database’s “Mod of the Year” 2006 competitio, and it placed fifth in the annual Moddb.com competition among Indie games in 2007. This, despite the fact that a new version hasn’t been released since early 2006. Price: Free.Download (Linux, Windows) Download (Mac).


  3. FreeCiv - (Linux, Windows, Mac) The open source game FreeCiv begins in prehistory where your mission is to lead your tribe from the stone age to the space age. This game is similar to the popular PC Civilization series created by Sid Meier. Freeciv is a turn-based multiplayer strategy game, in which each player becomes the leader of a civilization that fights to become the greatest civilization in history. Your goal is to build cities, collect resources, organize your government, and build an army. This is probably one of the most addictive and widely acclaimed open source empire-building strategy games around. The game supports three rulesets, an almost mind-numbing array of features, tweaks, and options, along with a set of unofficial options that will keep you busy for the rest of your life. The game is so popular that it’s been translated into twenty-nine different languages. Freeciv supports up to 30 players and LAN/Internet play. Price: Free. Download.

  4. Nexuiz - (Linux, Windows, Mac) Nexuiz has been in development for close to 5 years by a team of amateur developers called Alientrap, lead by Lee Vermeulen. Their goal is to create fun action games that remain free, yet that compete with commercial game titles. Nexuiz is a 3d deathmatch game made entirely over the internet. The purpose of the game is to bring deathmatch back to the basics, with perfect weapon balancing and fast paced action, keeping itself away from the current trend of realistic shooters. It uses HFX textures by Evil Lair, and currently has 27 maps to frag in. With an advanced UI, the user can select between 15 different player models to use, with an average of two skins for each, and can connect to a master server to play people from all over the world. This game is an open source, cross platform, first person shooter. The current version, 2.2.3, was released in January 2007. Price: Free. Download.


  5. Alien Arena - (Linux, Windows) Alien Arena’s real-time turn-based strategy action has been frantic, fast, and fun. The game contained a single player campaign, but the multi-player action was outstanding. Why are we speaking in the past tense? Because gamers now can enjoy version 6.10 of Alien Arena, with major changes, enhancements, and surprises. Alien Action first was released in October, 2004. Since that initial release, nearly every aspect of the game has been revamped. It’s like an entirely new game. The newest version includes seven brand new arenas with sound, a more balanced and responsive weapon set (including a new weapon - the Violator!), and the ability to 1-to-1 through a duel mode. Input and netcode are improved, resulting in fluid gameplay even at 150+ pings. Last, but not least, CURL is implemented, allowing for much faster map and content downloads. Price: Free. Download (If you already have Alien Arena 2007, you will need to install version 6.10 over top of your existing installation in order to patch it.)

  6. Battle For Wesnoth - (Linux, Windows, Mac) Fight a desperate battle to reclaim the throne of Wesnoth, or take hand in any number of other adventures in the just-released version 1.3.15. The game is set in a fantasy environment with 16 races and 6 factions. There are over 200 units which yield different types of weapons and abilities. There are six major races available to the player. These include humans, elves, orcs, dwarves, undead and drakes. As the game progresses, the player can ally with other races such saurians, merfolk, nagas, ogres, trolls and woses. The game supports online play for you to challenge up to 8 of your friends. Some players will prefer Wesnoth over Freeciv due to its accessibility. The Web site alone is entertaining, with a history of the game and of Wesnoth, along with characterizations, location descriptions and more. Price: Free. Download.


  7. Scorched 3D - (Linux, Windows, Mac) Scorched 3D is a combat game based heavily on the classic DOS game Scorched Earth, “The Mother Of All Games.” Scorched 3D adds a 3D island environment and LAN and internet play. At its lowest level, Scorched 3D is just an artillery game with two+ tanks taking turns to destroy opponents in an arena. Choose the angle, direction and power of each shot, launch your weapon, and try to blow up other tanks. That’s basically it. The mods are what make this game a winner through 2008. The game includes an Apocalypse mod, Operation Scorched, Scavenger Hunt, Scorch Wars mod and more. Version 41.3 Released was just released on 20 January 2008. Price: Free. Download.

  8. Frets On Fire - (Linux, Windows, Mac) Winner of the Assembly Demo Party 2006, Frets on Fire is a Finnish music video game created by Unreal Voodoo. Players use the keyboard like a guitar to play along with scrolling on-screen musical notes to complete a song. One hand is used to press the ‘frets’ (F1 to F5) and another is used to press the ‘picks’ (Shift or Enter). Colored markers that appears are to be played by pressing ‘frets’ of the correct color and ‘picks’ at the correct moment. There are also song editors and tutorials featured in the game. Frets on Fire is free and open-source software. The game is written in the Python programming language and is licensed under the GNU General Public License, though the game incorporates other free and open-source code under other licenses. The game’s included song files and some internal fonts are proprietary, however, so their redistribution is not permitted. Price: Free. Download.


  9. Secret Maryo Chronicles - (Linux, Windows) Secret Maryo Chronicles (SMC) is an open source two-dimensional platform game with a style designed similar to classic sidescroller games. Gorgeous graphics and interesting levels make for a refreshing take on Super Mario. SMC comes with an in-game editor - activated with the F8 key in the game. You can insert enemies, change the player start position on the level, insert active Sprites, and create half-massive Sprites which the Player can jump through, but can not fall through, etc. and more. The Powerup collections are where you begin to beat levels. Go to the site (linked above) to learn more about various graphics, sprites, and change player starting positions along with various levels and worlds. Although this is a simple game, the Powerup layers make SMC complex and fun. Price: Free. Download.

  10. World Of Padman - (Linux, Windows, Mac) WOP is a new and free comic style game that uses the Quake 3 engine. The game was recently featured in 3 German magazine covers; PC Action, BRAVO Screenfun and Linux Intern. This game features full bot support for all game types. All you off-line gamers out there will be happy to play Spray your Colour, Big Balloon and Last Pad Standing with bots. The bots play very well, and most maps have been optimised for good bot play. They included all engines to all installers, so you don´t need to download WoP multiple times if you have more than one OS running, but the installer for your preferred OS - look for the engines in the XTRAS/engines folder. Padman grabbed fourth place in the Mod of the Year Awards 2007 for Indie games. Price: Free. Download.


  11. Vendetta - (Linux,Windows, Mac) This MMO permits thousands of players to interact as the pilots of spaceships in a vast universe. Users may build their characters in any direction they desire, becoming rich captains of industry, military heroes, or outlaws. A fast-paced, realtime “twitch” style combat model gives intense action, coupled with the backdrop of RPG gameplay in a massive online galaxy. Three major player factions form a delicate balance of power, with several NPC sub-factions creating situations of economic struggle, political intrigue and conflict. The completely persistent universe and detailed storyline add to the depth of immersion, resulting in a unique online experience. Price:Try the game for free, no strings attached, no credit card required. Sign up for a trial account, download the client and play whenever you like, up to a total of eight hours in the game. If you decide Vendetta Online suits you, it’s easy to upgrade to a paying account (major credit cards, PayPal, and other methods accepted). Rates are configured by the month, and they offer bulk discounts for larger blocks of time. Download (trial account).

  12. Sauerbraten - (Linux, Windows, Mac) Sauerbraten (a.k.a. Cube 2) is a free multiplayer/singleplayer first person shooter, built as a major redesign of the Cube FPS. Although Sauerbraten shares most of its design goals and philosophy with Cube, it sues a new 6-directional heightfield world model. This allowance provides much more complex level geometry and easier editing. Much like the original Cube, the aim of this game is not necessarily to produce the most features and eye candy possible, but rather to allow map/geometry editing to be done dynamically in-game, to create fun gameplay and an elegant engine. In addition to the FPS game which is in a very playable state, the engine is being used for an RPG which is in the preproduction phase. The scenes are reminiscent of Myst, with Gothic perspectives and realism. Price: Free. Download (Linux, Windows) Download (Mac)


  13. VDrift - (Linux, Windows, Mac) VDrift is a cross-platform, open source driving simulation made with drift racing in mind. With 19 tracks and 28 cars, you can see plenty of action from this game. It uses a simple networked multiplayer mode, and the physics are realistic. Plus, you have options for the Mouse/joystick/keyboard driven menus. You also have the ability to ability to exchange replays, allow the player to tune the car in the game and exchange settings, grip mode with single player time trial, head to head multiplayer, and time trial multiplayer, drift mode with single player time trial, head to head multiplayer, and time trial multiplayer, autocross mode with in-game editor, singleplayer time trial, multiplayer time trial and more. Price: Free. Download.

  14. Vegastrike - (Linux, Windows, Mac) Vega Strike is a GPL 3D OpenGL Action RPG space sim that allows a player to trade and bounty hunt in the spirit of Elite. You start in an old beat up Wayfarer cargo ship, with endless possibility before you and just enough cash to scrape together a life. Yet danger lurks in the space beyond. As you play, you will see that several species and numerous political entities are present in the game, and they do not all co-exist peacefully. With the invasion of the Union of Dispossessed Colonists,a lesser political entity, the brink of war has been reached between the human dominated Confederation of Inhabited Worlds and the Aeran Ascendancy even as the border between the Rlaan Assembly and the Aera still smolders under a long, tense cease-fire that has failed to become a peace. The Vega Strike engine serves as the foundation for the Privateer Gemini Gold, Privateer Remake, Vega Trek, and Pi Armada projects. Price: Free. Download.


  15. Battlestar Galactica: Beyond the Red Line - (Linux, Windows, Mac) Beyond the Red Line is a stand-alone total conversion for the award-winning Freespace 2 released by Volition and Interplay for the PC. It is based on the popular new tv-show Battlestar Galactica, not the one from the 70s. You’ll enjoy detailed high-resolution ship models, quality engineered audio, original in-game soundtrack in addition to pieces by Bear McCreary and Richard Gibbs. Head online and go head-to-head with your friends—and foes—in intense multiplayer missions including Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and others as you experience exciting Viper combat with authentic weaponry and flight controls. Price: Free. Download.

  16. Excalibur: Morgana’s Revenge v3.0 (EMR 3.0) - (Linux, Windows, Mac) EMR is a unique scenario based upon the Aleph One (Marathon) engine. It is a first-person action adventure game, featuring an epic and in-depth story line. As a Federation Marine resting after your last mission, you start aboard the exploration class Starship Kronos where you learn that your real mission has yet to begin. You are re-acquainted with the AI Merlin, who introduces you to Kronos time traveling technology, and reveals your new mission: to save mankind from the clutches of Morgana and her minions. Through untamed raptor-infested jungles, castle arenas, and war-torn streets of the future, you will wield weapons from all time periods - including the Sword of Power, Excalibur - in an effort to thwart the diabolical plot that unfolds. The EMR adventure, spread across 42 solo levels, weaves a tale of truth and honor, knighthood and bravery, and darkness and treachery. EMR also delivers 27 adrenaline pumped network levels. EMR immerses you in an amazing new world, creating an addictive, fun and unique gaming experience. Price: Free. Download.


  17. TrueCombat: Elite (TC:E) - (Linux, Windows, Mac) TC:E is a modern world total conversion modification of the free, popular, stand-alone FPS Wolfenstein Enemy Territory. Meaning, Truecombat Elite is an entirely free game, made by gamers, for gamers. TC:E currently is being developed by GrooveSix Studios and TeamTerminator. While TeamTerminator is known for the famous Q3 based TrueCombat series, GrooveSix Studios was initiated by retired TeamTerminator co-founder Coroner to develop a Return to Castle Wolfenstein modification that is not released. Thus, as very experienced Quake3 based content creators, TC:E hopes to serve the gaming community with a quality offering. Until then, TC:E puts you into the role of elite mercenary soldier in the conflicts of two internationally operating forces. Their recent Nations Cup game was a total success. Price: Free. Download.

  18. Tux Racer - This is a 3D game that stars the Linux mascot, Tux, the penguin as he races down steep, snow-covered mountains. Enter cups and compete to win the title. Your journey starts as you compete on local courses. Win and you will unlock other courses and cups that will lead you to more exciting and challenging races. As you can tell from the Web site, the last release of Tux Racer was version 0.61 on 29th October 2001. Despite its age, Tux Racer is a friendly open source game that derives its popularity from its replay value and the fact that it can be extended with easy modification. Tux Racer includes a variety of options for gameplay, including the ability to race courses in fog, at night, and under high winds. Users can create new maps by making three raster images to indicate height, surface, and object placement. Price: Free; Download.


  19. The Open Racing Car Simulator (TORCS) - (Linux, Windows, Mac) TORCS is a highly portable multi platform car racing simulation. It is used as ordinary car racing game, as AI racing game and as research platform. TORCS features more than 50 different cars, more than 20 tracks, and 50 opponents to race against. You can steer with a joystick or steering wheel, if the device is supported by your platform, but it’s possible to drive with the mouse or the keyboard as well. Graphic features lighting, smoke, skidmarks and glowing brake disks. The simulation features a simple damage model, collisions, tire and wheel properties (springs, dampers, stiffness, …), aerodynamics (ground effect, spoilers, …) and much more. The gameplay allows different types of races from the simple practice session up to the championship. Enjoy racing against your friends in the split screen mode with up to four human players. The next big development goal is an online racing mode. Price: Free. Download.

  20. Flight Gear - (Linux, Windows, Mac) The idea for Flight Gear was born out of a dissatisfaction with current commercial PC flight simulators. The Flight Gear project is striving to fill these gaps. The goal of the FlightGear project is to create a sophisticated flight simulator framework for use in research or academic environments, for the development and pursuit of other interesting flight simulation ideas, and as an end-user application. These folks are, without a doubt, developing a sophisticated, open simulation framework that can be expanded and improved upon by anyone interested in contributing. In addition, Flight Gear has some of the most accurate and realistic terrain of any simulator. You can do some virtual sight seeing while practicing your flight! Price: Free. Download.


  21. ManiaDrive - (Linux, Windows) ManiaDrive is a free clone of Trackmania, the great game from Nadéo studio, and is an arcade car game on acrobatic tracks, with a quick and nervous gameplay (tracks almost never exceed one minute), and features a network mode, as the original. Once you’ve got that installed you’ll be bumping along at break-neck speeds and flying off the track with an incredible ease reminiscent of Stunt-Trak Racer. In Maniadrive it’s both incredibly hard to stay on track and to complete the race in under the allotted time. This game features complex car physics, challenging “story mode,” a track editor, LAN and Internet modes, dedicated server with HTTP interface, and more than 30 blocks - full soundtrack. rading off some advertising for music appears to have snagged Maniadrive some excellent musical accompaniment. The music is both appropriate and has a very high production quality. Price: Free. Download.

  22. D2X-XL - (Linux, Windows, Mac) D2X-XL is the most advanced and feature-rich user-enhanced version of Descent to date, as it offers many features like colored lighting, smoke, real-time shadowing, new weapon effects and new game modes that enhance the single-player experience and give new twists to multi-player games. As most ports, it retains full compatibility with the original game and can be switched in appearance between a graphically updated version, and the original look and feel of Descent. When you go to the Web site, make sure you roll your mouse over the side menu to understand the range of levels that can be downloaded. Price: Free. Download.


  23. Hexen II: Hammer of Thyrion - (Linux, Windows, Mac) In 2000, Raven Software released the source code to their class based shooter game Hexen II and its multiplayer extension HexenWorld. Since then, there has been some source ports of this game, such as the now discontinued Anvil of Thyrion project, but nothing has been done for Linux since the beginning of 2002. The Hammer of Thyrion project is a cross-platform source port effort: The developers continue the progress for Linux, BSD and Mac OS X people, with continued support for Windows users as well. Many bugs are fixed and even new features are added: New sound modes, improved mouse handling, improved video modes, OpenGL glows and more. Price: Free. Download.

  24. Ultimate Stunts - (Linux, Windows) This game makes the list because it’s a great work in progress, and we hope that it becomes one of the coolest auto games around. UltimateStunts is a remake of the famous DOS-game stunts. The game is not yet finished, but it already has some important improvements compared to the original game. Stunts was an old DOS game with simple CGA/EGA/VGA graphics, but Ultimate Stunts is a modern multiplatform application. Racing in Ultimate Stunts involves some really spectacular acrobtics, like loopings, corkscrews, bridges to jump over, etc. But the best thing about the new edition is that you can design your own tracks. It also has some new features, like 3D sound and (Internet) multiplaying. Price: Free. Download.


  25. America’s Army: Special Forces - (Linux, Windows, Mac) We were a bit torn about adding this game, but it is one of the most popular games around and it seems it’s only going to gain more ground in 2008. And, as a service of sorts, we’d like to spread the word about the story behind this game. America’s Army is a free game offered by the US army as both a recruitment and training tool. The ethics of the game has often been debated (players with a slow connection are redirected to the Army’s recruitment centers where they can get a free CD of the game). But, going beyond this propoganda static, the entertainment value of the game is rather awesome as it’s constantly being updated with new maps and features. Player models are very detailed and the motion captured movements are light years ahead of many other military shooters. Focus in the last few editions has been on Special Forces operatives. Purely a multiplayer game, America’s Army comes as close to the real thing as any FPS. With that said, the weakness comes with team play, as there are no specifics that keep teams working as a unit. Considering this is a game produced by the U.S. Army, we wondered about that chink in the armor, so to speak. With that said, GameSpy tracked the game usage and reported an average of 4,500 players at any one time between 2002 and 2005. It was enough for America’s Army to rank in the Top 10 Online Games chart. Price: Free. Download.

26. Enemy Territory : Quake Wars-It is a first-person shooter follow-up to Wolfenstein:
EnemyTerritory. It also has the same science fiction universe as Quake 4, with a story serving as a prequel to Quake II. Quake Wars is the second multiplayer-only game in the Quake series after Quake III Arena. The gameplay is almost the same as Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, but with the addition of controllable vehicles and aircraft, asymmetric teams, much larger maps and the option of computer-controlled bots. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is being developed by Splash Damage for the PC using a modified version of id Software’s Doom 3 engine and MegaTexture rendering technology.At E3 2006(Electronic Entertainment Expo), the game won the Game Critics Award for Best Online Multiplayer.


27.Urban TerrorA mod of Quake III Arena, Urban Terror focuses a lot on realism. Number of
weapons and gear that can be carried is limited. Accuracy is reduced when fired while moving and magazines require reloading upon expension. Damage areas are identified throughout the body. Wounds require bandaging and slows down movement significantly if the damage is not bandaged. Even a stamina bar is present to indicate if the player is able to sprint or jump. Released on 1st April 2007, Urban Terror 4 introduced 4 new features namely, ‘powersliding’, new weapons, player models and improved hit detection. It also supports anti cheating tools like PunkBuster, BattleEye and RunDMC.
28.Second Life

Second Life is an online virtual world that allows ‘Residents’ to explore, meet each other, socialize, participate in group activities, trade items and services. It’s creators, Linden Lab, intends to create a world like the Metaverse described by Neal Stephenson in his novel, Snow Crash. In this Metaverse, people can interact, have fun and do business. The current currency is Linden Dollar (L$) and is EXCHANGEABLE for US$ in a marketplace consisting of residents, Linden Lab and real life companies. It is hardly considered a game as tt does not have points, scores, winners or losers, levels or an end-strategy. More than 7 million accounts have been registered since its conception. Basic accounts is free but Premium account is US$9.95 if you want to own lands.

29.Frets On Fire

Winner of the Assembly Demo Party 2006, Frets on Fire is a music video game that uses the keyboard to play along with scrolling on-screen musical notes to complete a song. The player has to imagine the keyboard as a guitar and pick it up to play. One hand will be used to press the ‘frets’ (F1 to F5) and another will be used to press the ‘picks’ (Shift or Enter). Colored markers that appears are to be played by pressing ‘frets’ of the correct color and ‘picks’ at the correct moment. There are also song editors and tutorials featured in the game. This game was addictive once I got the hang of it.

30.Frozen Bubble

The latest version 2.0 includes an adjusted launcher speed, new scoring system, 4 lives and online multiplayer mode, but only available to Linux users at the time of writing. Version 1.0 of the game is available across all platforms including Symbian Series 60 line of smartphones and a single player Java applet version. Written in Perl, the free to play Frozen Bubble features 100 levels and a cute penguin (I think it’s supposed to be Tux) who shoots to form bubbles of the same color.