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O'Reilly Network: Building Freeciv: An Open Source Strategy Game

Nov 28, 2001, 17:10 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Howard Wen)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Freeciv is clearly a labor of love among its many volunteers. Since the code for this open source version of Civilization was released in 1995, hundreds of volunteers have added to it and improved it, even though the original developers haven't been heavily involved in years.

Freeciv runs on Linux, Windows, OS/2, and Amiga, and features online and network multiplayer capability. Initially, fixing the networking and multiplay proved to be the biggest challenges for the Freeciv team. Nowadays, the toughest jobs remaining include sprucing up the game's graphics and re-doing the artificial intelligence (AI). Continued efforts like these have become goals not unlike the strategy behind Freeciv's gameplay -- building and improving upon things over time.

As it turns out, Freeciv is not the first open source version of Civilization. The idea for Freeciv came about one day when three Danish students were in their university's computer science lab, playing Openciv , a free multiplayer Civilization clone written in Python using Tk/Tcl. "We soon gave up on the game, as it performed terribly. At that point, the idea was born to write our own version in C," says Peter Unold, now a 30-year-old graduate student in Aarhus, Denmark. Along with two other fellow students, Claus Leth Gregersen and Allan Ove Kjeldbjerg, he created Freeciv while studying computer science at Aarhus University."

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