While doing some research on the latest news about space strategy games under development I came across with the FreeOrion project.
FreeOrion is an open-source project which goal is to build a turn based 4x space strategy game. The entire project is community-centered were people who share the common motivation are invited to contribute to build the game in many ways, some as programmers, others as conceptual designers, others as opinion makers.
Edit: For an interview I did with the FreeOrion Programming Lead please refer to: Interview with FreeOrion’s Programming Lead: Zach Laine. / Edit
As far as I could tell from the official page forums and wiki the project seems to have started somewhere around 5 to 6 years ago and the word is that the game is currently in the alpha stage and that it will be still a while till it is finished. You can see the project roadmap here. The most recent version available to download is currently (version 0.3.13) which means that according to the roadmap there is still a long way to go.
After checking out the forums of the project and reading some people announcements, ideas and warnings of premature and unstable material my expectations became rather low. I downloaded the most recent build available for Windows (version 0.3.13) from the project sourceforge that you can find in this link (there are also builds for Linux and Mac). I installed the game (clean), launched it (sounds good), there is already a more than presentable main menu, good ambient sound music and voila the galaxy is presented to you in all of its splendor.
Immediately you identify familiar things about the game that makes you remember of Master of Orion like for example the ship movement mechanics (select a ship with a left mouse click and choose destination planet with right-click with spaceship immediately moving towards the planet). After some time clicking on the menus, mostly in the planets and in the spaceships I have to say that it seemed that I was really playing a Orion game. And I don’t think more of a compliment to the design & development team I can give than this. In spite the version still being alpha with all the expected unpolished graphics, many unfinished functionalities, others still not present at all and clunky User Interface I really have to say that I got hooked immediately to the game atmosphere and I really wanted to play more. Oh and by the way, no software crashes :) still …
As you can see the galaxy map already shows a good presentation. The production screen still looks unfinished, a lot of polish to be done, more solid graphics and definitely better UI still required. The research screen shows potential but, as normal, is still rough around the edges (rather messy and confusing dependencies with all that curvy lines around). All things considered I think that all of this is already great work! The project seems to be in the good path.
You can see more screen shots here.
FreeOrion is definitely a project to take seriously and to watch closely in the near future. The game seems really to embrace the spirit of the Master of Orion series. I personally became quite interested in knowing more about the project and to contribute myself to the cause with all the means I can. For now I’m spreading the word, in the near future I plan to make updates at least when the major project milestones are announced.
Godspeed FreeOrion, and watch out for the Guardian! :)Subscribe RSS
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