Are Open-Source Games & Community Game Engines Fading Away?

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 12 December 2015 at 09:00 AM EST. 122 Comments
Is it just me or are open-source games faltering? While open-source, community-based games really aren't mainstream and really never took off, it seems these days there's a lack of good open-source games more so than in past years as well as diminishing open-source game engine projects.

These days the open-source game projects that come to mind for me are the 0 A.D. real-time strategy game and the Xonotic and Warsow and Unvanquished first person shooters. However, Unvanquished has now been in an alpha state for years and Xonotic updates are far and few between. There are also some open-source projects seeking to do engine re-implementations of closed-source titles, such as OpenMW and then all of the 2D games and those I really wouldn't put in the same section as modern (for their time), quality titles.

2005: Cube

After covering this space for nearly 12 years, it seems that when it comes to open-source games there's fewer and fewer interesting projects and the scene isn't nearly as vibrant as years ago.

2008: Nexuiz 2.4 Offers Impressive Graphics

Going back years there were lots of active projects around ioquake3, but many of those are no longer maintained or just see a update once in a blue moon. There's also been barely anything to come to fruition using the id Tech 4 / ioDoom3 open-source engine. IoDoom3 itself has only seen a few dozen commits since 2011 though Dhewm3 has been a bit more active. Ioquake3 meanwhile has seen thousands of commits in its time.

2009: XreaL: The Most Advanced Open-Source Game Engine?

I also don't recall any open-source game/engine projects really pushing OpenGL these days compared to past modernization efforts in the day like XreaL or Tesseract (Tesseract is still being worked on, but last time I talked with the lead developer, nothing new to report) with none of the titles making use of OpenGL 4. Looking forward, how many years until we see an interesting open-source game make use of Vulkan?

2015: Xonotic v0.8

So is it just me or do you also feel that the open-source game scene for quality work has been on a downward trajectory in recent years? Share your thoughts in our forums. Fortunately, and possibly as part of the reason for this downward slope, is that there have been more interesting closed-source games available natively for Linux gamers along with quality game engines that are increasingly accessible to indie developers like Unity and Unreal Engine 4.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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