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Open source remakes of games you're still loving (osgameclones.com)
208 points by murkt on June 1, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 82 comments

I'm still a bit sour about Square forcing the Chrono Trigger: Resurrection guys to cancel their remake of Chrono Trigger. CT is my favorite game of all time so hearing that this fan project got C&D'd killed me.

The screens and the trailers looked awesome, especially considering it was 2004.





I don't understand how Square can legally force them from making a remake. If it's open source software and not being sold, how can they shut you down? If the code is widely distributed, then there's no central site or repository they can force to shut down.

Wouldn't this fall under the domain of artistic expression? I don't understand how fans can make artwork, music remixes (http://ocremix.org/), or even a miniseries (http://www.therewillbebrawl.com/) representing a particular franchise and not get sued, yet indie game remakes are hit with fire and brimstone. On that note, aren't games now considered art (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/109835-Games-Now-L...)? What gives?

(I've been wanting to make an open source Ocarina of Time remake, but I am fearful of such lawsuits.)

Free fan games are largely ignored by game companies and sometimes actively supported, but once the game starts to look like something that competes with or damages the company's output they have to take legal action to protect their IP. This is what happened with the Chrono Trigger remake and more recently with the Unity Sonic demo that looked and played better than Sonic 4.

What I don't understand is why certain talented people don't develop original IP for these sorts of things. This happens occasionally but more often than not the projects just die after getting a cease and desist. Nostalgia is a powerful thing but its easy enough to make a game that is similar to Chrono Trigger, Ocarina of Time, Sonic, etc. using original concepts inspired by them.

I figure it's got to be the fanfiction aspect of it. I've wanted to make a Starfox 64 prequel with Fox's father, but to spend that much effort in the Silver Age of indie development on something you're not even going to try and capitalize on seems wasteful. Might as well just write the fanfiction if you want a plot. The guys over at http://www.shadowsoflylat.net/ have been busy for a long time, it's sad that they won't be able to sell the end result.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but that trailer gave me chills. What a shame!

On a slightly different vein, if you still have the old games you can often find an open source engine to play them with :-

* Old Bioware games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, ...) - GemRB: http://www.gemrb.org

* SCUMM (Monkey Island, Simon the Sorcerer, ...) - ScummVM: http://www.scummvm.org/

* Transport Tycoon Deluxe - OpenTTD: http://www.openttd.org/en/ (this has optional free replacements for the graphics/sound/music, too)

Let's not forget the venerable DOSBox, which allows a huge variety of old games to run on Win7, Mac and Linux.

Some of my favourites: Wolf3D, Doom, Rise of the Triad, Hexen, Duke3D, Quake, Sim City 2000, Sim Ant, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Red Alert, Warcraft & Warcraft 2, Theme Hospital, Syndicate, System Shock, X-Wing


Apropos System Shock, the sequel runs fine in wine, and is easier to enjoy, because they use the modern fps controlling conventions. Thief: The Dark Project uses a the same engine as System Shock 2 and is also worth playing.

If you are going to play X-Com: Ufo Defense, you owe it to yourself to use XComUtil [1]. XComUtil patches the binary to remove some bugs and can optionally introduce new gameplay elements.

Also the original Master of Orion is still one of the best civilization type games, if not the best. It has aged well, and really shines in its concentration on large scale decisions, and avoidance of micro-management.

[1] http://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=XcomUtil

If you're on a Mac and like extra-fancy UIs, there's also the DOSBox-based Boxer: http://www.boxerapp.com

There is an RA1 reimplementation called OpenRedAlert.

Just as a point of correction, Doomsday is not a Doom remake, it's an advanced source port. Freedoom (freedoom.sourceforge.net) is the closest thing to a remake, it's a project to create a free IWAD (the game data). It needs to be paired with an engine though, Doomsday is one, but there's also ZDoom (zdoom.org), PrBoom+ (prboom-plus.sourceforge.net) and my personal favorite, Eternity (doomworld.com/vb/eternity).

Conspicuously absent is Marathon and its OSS successor Aleph One: http://marathon.sourceforge.net/

Aleph One is amazing. Anyone who considers themselves a gamer should play this Bungie classic.

Same for ioQuake3. http://openarena.ws/ is a Q3A clone.

You know how when you play things you played as a kid, they don't feel like you remember them, because your standards have unfortunately changed?

First programming I ever really did (in terms of understanding logic and its effects on end product) was Doom PWADs when I was a kid.

15 years later, I can get:

- Doomsday engine on my Mac

- 500MB of high-res textures hand-crafted to replace all the original walls and ceiling/floors.

- MD models for every object and monster

- High resolution re-sampled sound and music

- My original WAD - me and a friend made one of the largest (and highest tech - deep water, transparent textures on doors, invisible platforms) Doom II wads ever - lost it, but the internet still has thepath.zip

And play Doom II like I remember it, not like how it was.

I really wonder why so many people consider models like this http://risen3d.drdteam.org/caco.jpg (guessing you use those) superior to pixel art like this http://images.wikia.com/doom/images/e/ef/Cacodemon_encounter...

Is it just the "it is something different/new and thus feels fresh" or do you really consider it look better objectively?

In a 3d environment, sprites have systemic issues regarding viewing angles. If a bad guy runs directly at you, or at you from a 30 degree angle, he looks exactly the same. Models convey more information than sprites do about their environment.

This isn't a blanket statement about models and sprites, but given a free camera and a 3d world, I think models work better. They don't have to look better, though: I'd say that Quake looked a lot worse Duke3D, even though they were both released in '96.

In terms of aesthetics, I'll freely state that I find the model to be more attractive than the pixel art. That's not to say that 3D models are always superior. I love pixel art. I think the old, 2D Sam & Max looked a lot better than the new, 3D models that Telltale Games are using. Still, the creator of the cacodemon model actually strikes me as the better artist. Also, it's not because it's new or fresh. The 3D model looks almost quaint compared to most modern productions. It does, however, strike me as more malevolent and sinister, possibly due to the shape of the mouth and the relative size of the eye.

For the record, I'm not posting this as a critique of your tastes. I just wanted you to know that some people really do find that model to be objectively better.

Unfortunately with a lot of these fan graphical enhancement mods and addons, the content creators lack sufficient knowledge of visual/art styles and experience applying them.

This deep understanding of game art is necessary to successfully translate a particular 2d art style into 3d, or suitably reimagine it in a more 3d compatible style.

Scale the pixel art up to 1920x1200 and run the modern version at the same resolution, and you'll see why.

I wonder if it's possible to get this old image of Cacodemon and make bigger nice one with that technology of depixelization which was on front page yesterday (or was it two days ago?).

That tech specifically didn't work with anti-aliased images.

I emailed the author with a link to Ur-Quan Masters for Star Control 2!

you beat me to it. Although UQM is not a clone or inspired by SC2, it is the actual source code used to build the game.

It has a lot of improvements over the original game though.

If you look at them side by side (UQM against the original PC Starcon 2) it is remarkable how much work has been put in to improving the graphics and sound for modern computers.

me too. What a phenomenal game.

It's always worth mentioning Spring, which used to be an open source version of Total Annihilation, but now encompasses so much more:


For those who enjoyed Wing Commander Privateer, there's WCP Gemini Gold, a remake using the open source Vega Strike engine:


I've emailed the author to see if he'd like to add it to the list.

Good Old Games (www.gog.com) are selling classics, for really good prices some of which work in Wine: http://www.gog.com/en/mix/great_gog_games_that_works_on_linu...

There are a few for free as well: http://www.gog.com/en/catalogue#all_genres/price/0/

There's also http://www.freeciv.net/ which is a HTML5 version of Freeciv, with a AGPL license.

FreeCiv is not HTML5. The game itself is implemented as a server, and you can write clients for it. I only know of a GTK+ client and a SDL client. Is there a HTML5 client around now?

"Freeciv.net is an open-source turn-based strategy game. It's built entirely in HTML5 and features in-depth game-play and a wide variety of game modes and options. Your goal is to build cities, collect resources, organize your government, and build an army, with the ultimate goal of creating the best empire.

Freeciv.net is an open source project, released under the GNU Affero General Public License 3.0 or later. The project is a fork of the C server from Freeciv.org, which has origins back to 1996. The idea of creating a version for Freeciv which would be playable online in a browser came about some time in 2007, and this project has evolved into what it is now since then. The first public beta release of Freeciv.net was available in December 2009, and the code is still under continuous development."

Missing the impressive reverse-engineering of Dune2 effort: http://www.opendune.org

Some FPS additions:

AlienArena - like UT, Q3A. Graphically impressive, seems to be actively developed.


Nexuiz - like UT, Q3A. Also decent graphics, seems devs are working on a commercial sequel now, so the last major version was in 2009.


OpenArena - like Q3A. Seems to be an attempt to recreate Quake 3 Team Arena from the GPL source with new content, some graphical improvements.


Tremulous - like Gloom, Natural Selection etc. Sci-fi FPS/RTS hybrid.


Urban Terror - like Counter-Strike, but a little more arcade-style.

EDIT: free but not yet open source


Nexuiz got forked http://www.xonotic.org/ it's actively developed.

Urban Terror is not open source.

Hmm, you're right, I saw the source for the GPL ioquake3 based part and assumed it was for the entire game.

Smoking Guns is my favorite, it feels like a Clint Eastwood Western:


These aren't all remakes/clones. For example: ioquake3 started from the GPL release of the Quake 3 engine from iD software. It is not a clone or remake it is just a continuation. And it doesn't replace Quake 3, it is just the game engine.

If anyone here remembers the game Netstorm, we're doing a remake of it here, http://risingstormhq.com. It's not entirely opensource at the moment (and built on unity), but I'm the only coder and I'm releasing components (especially generic ones) as I go (as they are cleanly separable). In the end, I'll release all the code I feel I can without making the team unhappy.

Brilliant one here - CorsixTH, remake of ThemeHospital. https://code.google.com/p/corsix-th/

A heroic effort, that game deserves to be in the museum. Just brilliant.

That said, my all-time favorite is Heroes of Might and Magic 2. I always return to it, and am just overjoyed to see the open source project there.

Dungeon Keeper is probably my favourite game of all time. A shame theres no mac version of OpenDungeons and that they didn't make it closer to the original.

This is part of what bugs me about the OS mentality. All that effort to clone a commercial release and very little going towards coming up with new ideas and gameplay improvements.

This is true of EVERY important category of software (From the OS on down!), not just games. Until the FOSS movement starts focusing on creating new things and not just cheap knockoffs of original, innovative software it will remain a niche.

For Sierra (kings quest, etc) fans there are a couple good options:

http://sarien.net/ (web based!) http://www.agdinteractive.com/ (high-res remakes) http://www.tsl-game.com/ (The Silver Lining - a completely new game continuing the Kings Quest story line)

My all-time favorite is d2x-xl, a re-work of the Descent II engine (which isn't quite a clone, because you still need some of the original game files to play): http://www.descent2.de/

Stratagus/Wargus is a clone of the Warcraft II engine (which you also need original game files to play). It's no longer being actively developed, but the last release was stable and only had minor bugs (you can play all of the way through with no problem, plus multiplayer): http://wargus.sourceforge.net/index.shtml

There's also a glacially-slow effort to re-work the Homeworld source code to openGL (and cross-platform): http://homesource.nekomimicon.net/sourceforum/

I immediately thought of the Chrono Trigger remake and how they were going to open source the project. It looked beautiful while keeping true to the original. Such a shame Square Enix's forcefully shut it down.


I had a lot of love for SimCity on the Atari ST as a kid, and was ecstatic to find Lincity a few years ago. It isn't a remake of SimCity, really; it's very much the Freeciv to SimCity's Civilization, but I've played a lot of it off and on. Good times.

The top-down version apparently hasn't been updated in a while, but it's archived here: http://lincity.sourceforge.net/

The fully 3D, iso-metric version looks like it's still being worked on though: http://lincity-ng.berlios.de/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

FWIW, the source to the original SimCity was released under the GPL.


Reading this made me think, what other old games do I _want_ to see open-source-cloned, and what does Google think about that?

Mech Commander 2 : No open-source clone, BUT... http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=...

Morrowind : http://crystalscrolls.sourceforge.net/ http://openmw.com (zomg I want a co-op MP TES:MW clone)

Not found: Project Space Station.

Anyone remember the Mac game from Ambrosia called Avara? I've been meaning to try to clone that for quite a while. The graphics are so simple but the gameplay was mindbogglingly awesome.

I loved that game. I tried to make a clone with Unity a few years ago but gave up pretty early on. If you ever get something started let me know.

Not a remake but Warzone 2100 was open sourced by the developers a number of years ago, with people still working to enhance the game


I wish someone would tackle a remake of Grim Fandango or a sequel.

Grim Fandango is now completable with residual: http://residual.sourceforge.net/ (the intention is residual is to 3D adventure games as ScummVM is to 2D adventures).

I have a feeling it's going to come, and it'll be amazing if it does. The recent Monkey Island remakes have been fantastic, especially on the iPad -- truly the way they're meant to be played.

How would you feel about a Myst / Riven clone for touch devices?

i think they're both on iOS...

They are... this by far the top reason to ever get an ipad.

That game was maddeningly difficult, though probably good for my developing brain.

Heroes of Might and Magic 3 is the game I played most. It was great fun when playing hot-seat with other players sometimes for a full day!

Also big love for HOMM1 and 2

Good news! These Russians are remaking the HOMM3 engine: http://forum.vcmi.eu/portal.php

They are Poles, in fact.

Widelands is an open source real-time strategy game very similar to The Settlers.


Not an open source remake, rather a rebalancing and increased difficulty patch of the original, is Final Fantasy Tactics 1.3:


Open source Worms: http://hedgewars.org/

Don't forget Warmux. There's OpenLieroX and NiL too, but they're Liero clones instead. Like Worms, but not turn-based.

Would be awesome to see some of these games implemented with Node.js and HTML5... Angry Birds and others have demonstrated that HTML5 is good enough for graphics, and Node.js is a good fit for server-side logic.

There are many tested evented I/O frameworks for other languages. Node.js is a good thing, but people are hyping this stuff too much.

This is kind of the opposite - a newly made homebrew game for an obsolete system - http://morphcat.de/superbatpuncher/

Super creative use within the limitaitons

Clicked on the first link to the doom project to find not a single link to a "screenshots" page. For a remake of a game I can't help but wonder if you could screw up the marketing any more than that.

I was kind of hoping to see Age of Empires on that list, no luck though.

Some friends and I are getting started on cloning Tank Wars with a view to making it an AI contest. Will be sure to submit it to that list when (read: if) we finish.

FreeCol is a very good replica of Sid Meier's Colonization. http://www.freecol.org/

There's also 0AD, inspired by Age of Empires http://wildfiregames.com/0ad/

I'm still waiting for a clone of Darklands.

Looks like there was an attempt to do that as a mod to The Elder Scrolls IV - http://www.thedarklands.com/

Oh gosh, all of these games came out long, long, LONG after I stopped playing computer games. I feel so old... :(

Hopefully this will also clue in some developers to cool projects that they can contribute to.

In the interest of us British people brought up with BBC Micros, you can find Chuckie Egg here:


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