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Open Source Games

Freeciv Founded 20 Years Ago Today (freeciv.org) 37

Andreas(R) writes to note that the Freeciv project today turns 20. The GPL'd project "was founded on November 14 1995, by Peter Joachim Unold, Claus Leth Gregersen and Allan Ove Kjeldbjerg. The three Danish students created this open source strategy game while studying computer science at Aarhus University. Today, 20 years later the founders of the project have been interviewed to find out about the early history of Freeciv."

Not that many games have their own officially designated port numbers, which says something about Freeciv's tenacity.
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Freeciv Founded 20 Years Ago Today

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  • Feedback welcome! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andreas(R) ( 448328 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @11:16AM (#50930015) Homepage

    I'm one of the current developers of the Freeciv web client. Feel free to ask any questions about Freeciv in this thread. We are always looking for more developers to help improve the game.

    • Re:Feedback welcome! (Score:4, Informative)

      by allcoolnameswheretak ( 1102727 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @12:18PM (#50930265)

      Hi Andreas,

      I'm a big fan of Civ games, and I think I have played them all, from Civ 1-5 to the Call of Powers, Freeciv, AlphaCentauri and C-evo. One thing I often wonder about is the striking disparity between the quality of the AI's in these games. Strangely enough, it seems that for some reason the AI of the community games is usually much, much stronger than the commercial versions. Experienced players can get a good challenge on even ground playing Freeciv or C-evo, whereas in commercial Civ games ramping up the difficulty usually means giving bonuses and cheats to the AI.

      Why are game companies so bad at writing a decent AI for a civ game? Or why is the community so good at it?
      Freeciv is open source - and all Civ games are very similar in the core aspects. You'd think the problem of implementing a good AI has been "solved" for this type of game. Yet the AI of the latest game in the series Civ-5 is again ridiculously incompetent.

      • in commercial Civ games ramping up the difficulty usually means giving bonuses and cheats to the AI.

        It's at least 10 years ago that I last played Freeciv, but I recall that back then, Freeciv AI was also cheating at the higher difficulty levels, by getting resources cheaper and by being able to peek into enemy cities. It didn't matter that much to me, I never got good enough to bother with the higher difficulty levels - and it was still quite a few all-nighters that I pulled playing it.

        However, from a bri

      • I imagine that happens because getting AI right is very hard and commercial game development is very much a matter of priorities. Unless the AI is *the* major selling point of a game, it gets improved until it's good enough and then the devs focus on other things.

        I've heard game AI development phrased as:

        1. Cheat.
        2. Never let the player catch you cheating.

        On the other hand, if an AI specialist comes across an open source game, he can start improving the AI if he feels like it. The game isn't being
    • I'm one of the current developers of the Freeciv web client. Feel free to ask any questions about Freeciv in this thread. We are always looking for more developers to help improve the game.

      Andreas

      First things first - thank you to the entire Freeciv team for bringing this game up to where it is today!!! I'm not a developer, and therefore, I salute y'all!!!

      There were some things that I wanted to mention and suggest, as a means of developing the game further.

      1. In the game, there have been occasions when I've found things about various nations inaccurate, and therefore tried to fix them, retaining the same template within the files within the NATIONS folder. Sometimes, some of the citie

      • One more thing I forgot - can you make Barbarians and Pirates fully playable players? Like I can select one of them at the start, but w/ some major handicaps - like I can't discover technology that develops cities or wonders, just military ones, if that, and also, I can't do any treaties w/ anyone (except Barbarians or Pirates)? Only advantage of this mode would be that I'd be free from Barbarian attacks ;-)
        • by rp ( 29053 )
          I think you can have nation-specific technology trees with custom rulesets. That would allow you to do this.
    • Andreas, one more thing. While the PC versions of the games are great - be it on Windows or Unix (Linux/BSD), the Android tablet version of the game sucks. Dunno which version it is, but it's very difficult to play, even at the Easy levels. Can the game be brought to the version 2.5 level?
    • I'm not a Freeciv player or enthusiast, but the work you all have produced is some pretty cool stuff. It's really quite impressive (to me, at least).

      Congrats, and here's to another 20 years of development!

    • by pamar ( 538061 )

      First of all: Thanks a lot!

      I find practically impossible to get prebuilt binaries for Mac OSX.

      I can run the windows version in a VM, but having a "native" version would be nice. Even if it trails a few minor versions behind.

      Any pointers?

    • Hello Andreas,

      I've been a happy civ addict for decades now, and I've been playing free civ on my linux based systems since I first heard about it on the civ fanatics site back in the early 2000's. I think civ has had to evolve to remain competitive in the gaming market place, and the producers and developers who assumed the mantle after the initial market success at Microprose have done an excellent job at it. And I certainly include in that all the modders and the fine folks like you who gave us free c

  • by gwolf ( 26339 ) <gwolf@NOsPam.gwolf.org> on Saturday November 14, 2015 @12:05PM (#50930213) Homepage

    I was never much of a gamer, so it was surprising I was so hooked into Sid Meier's Civilization in the early 90s. I started toying with Linux by 1995 and using it for serious work starting in 1996. And, yes, FreeCiv was a reason for me to be happy adopting Linux on the desktop.

    Thanks a lot for many hours of fun!

    • In collage, one of my friends introduced me to Civ I. We would spend nights and weekends at our computer center or in our department playing, and return home in the wee hours of the morning. It was fun playing for hours and finally either getting to Alpha Centauri or conquering the world.

      The first times I tried Freeciv, I couldn't get it to install on Linux. It did work under Windows. However, last year, when I got PC-BSD on my laptop, FreeCiv was one of the things I could get from the AppCafe, and I

  • What exactly is the significance of FreeCiv having its own port number? Does that enable anything, other than in the multi-player version of the game?
  • by kevmeister ( 979231 ) on Saturday November 14, 2015 @10:01PM (#50932899) Homepage
    I'd say that having its own port assignment speaks mostly to the project's age... back when getting a port assigned just required a quick note to Jon Postel.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'd say that having its own port assignment speaks mostly to the project's age... back when getting a port assigned just required a quick note to Jon Postel.

      The Freeciv port was registered in 2006. Jon Postel died in 1998.

      • by rp ( 29053 )
        Still, I don't think it required more than a short email exchange.
  • I've made one contribution to this game. A very minor one, but one I'm proud of nonetheless. I persuaded them to change their motto from: "Cause Civilization Should Be Free" to "'Cause Civilization Should Be Free". The missing apostrophe was just more than I could stand. :)

  • I never played FreeCiv, but I knew Claus (virtually) as he was working on it. I was a player (known as "Mort") on AnotherMUD [mudpedia.org], which was another project Claus worked on.

    Good to bring back memories, although MUDding could have easily cost me my degree... ;)

    -- Pete

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