Author Topic: FreeOrion is a free, open source, turn-based space empire and galactic conquest  (Read 8700 times)

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Free Orion is a free, open source, turn-based space empire and galactic conquest computer game.

Free Orion is a free, open source, turn-based space empire and galactic conquest computer game being designed and built by the FreeOrion project. FreeOrion is inspired by the tradition of the Master of Orion games, but is not a clone or remake of that series or any other game.

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FreeOrion is available as precompiled point releases for Windows XP, statically-linked Linux binaries, and a MacOSX universal binary. The source code may also be downloaded and compiled for Linux, WinXP or MacOSX.
Windows XP and Vista

Point releases for 32-bit Windows XP or Windows Vista can be downloaded from SourceForge. Note that on Windows XP, The Windows XP Service Pack 2 and the .NET Framework 2.0 (or later) are required to run FreeOrion.

The .NET Framework 2.0 can be installed by by running Windows Update, selecting "Custom", then "Optional, Software", then ".NET Framework 2.0". Alternatively, it may be downloaded from Microsoft directly. More recent .NET Framework versions should also work.

Point releases are built for 32-bit Windows, but have been reported to work on 64-bit systems after replacing the python25.dll in the FreeOrion directory with the Python 2.6 version (renamed python25.dll).

The Windows XP Freeorion v0.3.1-RC5 point release has been reported to run on Windows 2000. There's a good chance the latest WinXP release will as well.


Statically linked binaries are available in this forum thread, and may be avaialble from SourceForge for the latest FreeOrion point release. Generally the versions in the forum thread are more up-to-date, but numbered releases on SourceForge more closely match the content of the Windows releases.

These binaries have been tested on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty, Ubuntu 8.10, Debian Lenny, Debian 4.0 Etch and Debian Sid, and may work on other distributions as well. They should also run on x86_64 linux if ia32 libs are installed. OpenGL 2.0 or later is required and without it, running freeorion may cause segmentation faults.

RPM packages are available for FreeOrion v0.3.11 (SVN revision 2732) for Mandriva Linux.


A universal binary is available from SourceForge in the v0.3.11 section. The MacOSX version is somewhat more up to date than the Linux or Windows v0.3.11, but is less up to date than v0.3.12.

Quick Start

To start a game, run the freeorion executable (with working directory set to freeorion), then click on the "Quick Start" button on the main menu.

After the galaxy has been generated, you should then see a starmap filling most of the screen. You can drag it around with the mouse and zoom in/out with the scrollwheel.

At the top right of the screen, there is a row of buttons: SitRep, Research, Production, Design, Menu. These buttons are discussed later, but the most important one is "Menu", which brings up the main menu from which you can save or load a game, tweak game options, or resign from the current game to get back to the main title screen that appeared when the game first started. At the top left, there is another button: Turn (and a number). Clicking the turn button ends your turn, causing any orders that have been given to be processed (fleets move, things get researched, etc.).

There will be one star with a name under it, some half-coloured and half-grey lines sticking out from it, and an icon at the top right. This is your empire's home system. Clicking on the star icon will open the system sidepanel at the right side of the screen, showing the contents of the system.

System Sidepanel

Clicking the star opens the system sidepanel, which displays a star image at the top right with a vertical column of planet images and information below. If there are more planets than can fit on screen, a scrollbar will appear and the panel can be scrolled down using the bar or the mousewheel to see more planets. One of the planets will have a coloured name, which indicates that your empire owns it - other empires' planets will have different coloured names. It may be necessary to scroll down to see the planet your empire controls.

If a planet has a population, there will be a series of boxes containing icons below the planet's name, to the right of the image of the planet. The boxes with down arrows at the right side can be expanded by clicking the arrows. Most boxes can be hovered over to see details about what they are or what determines their values. If a planet has no population, it may have a "Colonize" button, that can be used to order a colony ship in the system to colonize the planet.

The top box is the population and health panel, which shows the population of the planet and the planet's health, which determines its population's rate of growth.

The next panel is the resources panel, which shows how much of the various resources the planet produces, and has two droplists which can be used to specify the planet's focus. Focus determines what resources a planet's population works to produce. The left droplist specifies the primary focus, and the right droplist specifies the secondary focus. Generally focusing on a resource will produce more of it, and primary focus has more of an effect than secondary focus, but various factors can influence how much of a resource a planet can produce at each focus setting. The five resources can be focused on, or the four-way arrows can be selected to spread effort between all of the resources. The resources panel also has a construction meter at the right, which is not a resource, but influences how quickly planets adjust to changes in focus settings made to them.

Below the resources panel is the military panel, which shows the detection, stealth, planetary shields and defensive weaponry of the planet.

Below the military panel is the buildings panel, which display icons for all buildings located on a planet.

There may also be an icon between the name of a planet and the population and health panel. Your empire's homeworld should have a crown icon, which indicates that the planet is a homeworld. This icon actually represents a "special" which is attached to the planet and has various effects on it. In particular, the planet's maximum population and resources output will be improved by the homeworld special.

Fleet window

Back on the galaxy map, to the top right of the star icon is a fleet icon. Clicking the fleet opens the fleet window. If the fleet window is open, right clicking on a star connected by starlanes to the system where the fleet is located gives the fleet a move order. FreeOrion is a turn-based game, so the fleet will only move after you press the turn button. A fleet can be split apart by dragging and dropping its ships to "New Fleet" in the fleets window. Colony ships can be used to make a new colony: click "Colonize" on the system sidepanel in a system where you have a colony ship.

Research can be done on the Research screen, accessed by the aptly named button at the top right. Production can be similarly accessed. See below for details on how to use these screens, which are somewhat complicated at first glance.

Try moving fleets around to explore, making a new colony or clicking on techs in the Research screen to read their descriptions. Read below for a more detailed explanation of how to use the various screen and the various features that have been implemented.

Thanks for trying out FreeOrion v0.3.13.

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« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 09:13:19 PM by Software Santa »