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I must agree, there aren’t many native strategy games for Linux, especially not those who can usually match the commercial ones for Linux. Actually they are so rare, they could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. I could include here games such as the very popular Glest, Spring or Tribal Trouble.

Warzone 2100 is a free, open-source, cross-platform 3D real-time strategy game available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, which is distinct because it offers a pretty different gameplay than the usual RTS games.

The version I’m going to talk about is 2.3.8, the latest release at the time of writing. Warzone 2100 is in continued development, improving with each new major release. For only a 57 MB tarball, this game really offers more than enough features and playability, not to mention the minimum system requirements, according to the homepage:

  • 1 GHz CPU
  • 128 MB VRAM
  • 100 MB hard disk space
  • OpenGL 1.4


Here are some of the main features:

  • 3D graphics, 3D engine allowing to zoom in/out, rotate the map at 360 degrees and change 3D angle
  • runs in fullscreen or windowed mode
  • single player and multiplayer support
  • single player campaigns
  • huge number of units and upgrades
  • units can be customized in every way possible by applying different technology upgrades

The action takes place in an apocalyptic future, after humanity was pretty much wiped out by nuclear war and oil is the primary resource for energy.

What really makes Warzone 2100 pretty unique is the upgrades system, which allows to fully configure units with technology updates. The number of upgrades is huge, and I really mean huge (if you don’t believe me have a look on this page on website, and these are only the turrets upgrades).

Warzone 2100 is pretty rich regarding configuration, and it allows to configure video performance, screen resolution, fullscreen or windowed mode, sounds and music, change keyboard shortcuts, mouse settings, AI difficulty and scroll speed.

The official website comes with a pretty decent archive of user-made content, maps and mods, a guide which covers all the aspects of the game, and the community forum. A separate random map generator (included in Warzone Map Tools) is also available here.

Installation in Ubuntu

There is a PPA for Warzone 2100 but it currently has no packages, and the official website offers only a source tarball. However, here are instructions to compile the latest version from source in Ubuntu 11.04:

Download the source tarball from the official website (direct link here). Open a terminal, go the folder where you saved it and uncompress it using:

tar -xzf warzone2100-2.3.8.tar.gz

Next let’s install the needed dependencies to compile it:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get build-dep warzone2100

Then go to the uncompressed warzone2100-2.3.8 directory and issue the usual commands:

sudo make install

Run it by typing warzone2100 in a terminal or by pressing Alt+F2 and typing warzone2100 in the run box.

More screenshots

Stan says:

No packages ? am I missing something as it seems to be in the universe repos …

stan@neptunus:~$ apt-cache search warzone
warzone2100 – 3D real time strategy game
warzone2100-data – data files for warzone2100
warzone2100-dbg – debug files for warzone2100
warzone2100-music – official music for warzone2100

stan@neptunus:~$ sudo apt-get install warzone2100

Get:5 http://be.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ natty/universe warzone2100-data all 2.3.4-1 [30.3 MB]
Get:6 http://be.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ natty/universe warzone2100 i386 2.3.4-1 [1,055 KB]
Get:7 http://be.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ natty/universe warzone2100-music all 2.3.4-1 [18.2 MB]

Craciun Dan says:

Yes, the version in the repos is 2.3.4. In the article I was pointing out the build-dep command to get the development files needed to compile 2.3.4 (which are also enough to compile 2.3.8, the latest release).

NoQ says:

A lot of wisdom is hidden within the unique campaign structure, and multiplayer mode is well-balanced and thoughtfully designed, inspiring the development of the game theory. Pretty much the only game i currently play.

Version 2.3.4 in ubuntu repos had some very bad bugs, so try getting the latest stable version anyway.

Those who find that Warzone interesting would probably also appreciate UFO:AI:

Craciun Dan says:

Thanks for sharing this, didn’t hear about it before. I won’t miss having a look at it when 2.4 will be out.

effigy says:

If you’re playing the campaign I recommend downloading the video files from here to complete the experience (545mb for standard quality, 162mb for low): http://wz2100.net/download The video file will add cut scenes with better mission details in place of the screenshot above with the “OBJECTIVE:” message.

polkij says:

The latest version could be found at Play Deb

How to install repo located here http://www.playdeb.net/updates/Ubuntu/11.04#how_to_install

Kevin Benko says:

One very important thing!
Warzone2100 is, in my experience, very addictive!!
I may as well delete every other game I have, except the one’s I paid for. Oh, sure, I tell myself that I’m only going to play for a little while, and the next thing I know is that five or six hours have passed.
Warzone2100 is more addictive than heroin or pistachios.

Andrew says:

Spring isn’t a game, it’s a game engine. :<

jobson says:

Much credit is due to pumpkin/eidos for developing the original wz2100. I remember playing the demo of this on a disc that came with tomb raider and instantly fell in love with it, it was ahead of its time, and even today I still prefer it to many other RTSs.

That being said, the revival project is a strong and certainly one of the best efforts witnessed in keeping a game as primitive as this available and updated (by a 3rd party)

I am happy to see Warzone 2100 still alive to this day. I love the game, and many thanks goes out to those who volunteer their time and skill to continue giving this beloved RTS live. We appreciate it allot. See you all in game!


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