When the Glest team started "Glest" as a college project a few years ago, they probably didn't expect their game to go such a long way. While "Glest" stopped being developed a couple of years ago in 2009, it was forked in two different projects: GAE (Glest Advanced Engine) and MegaGlest (the game I am reviewing in this article). So, how is it? The answer is simple: this game is incredible, polished, enjoyable, addictive, smart, and plain simply fantastic.
A few years ago, the general consensus was that games could only be developed thanks to big investments, and that there could never be a really good games released as GPL. This theory was proved wrong several times, and I can say that MegaGlest is yet more evidence that fantastic games released for free can -- and do -- exist.
Installation is the typical result of the (sorry) story that is the GNU/Linux package systems: in this case, you can download the MegaGlest binary for GNU/Linux, double-click on it, and follow the installation instructions. Nevertheless, installing the game is easy and straightforward.
About the game itself, in MegaGlest, you are part of one of the seven factions: seven factions, Magic, Tech, Indians, Egypt, Norsemen, Persian and Romans. After playing this game for several hours, I got to know the Tech faction and the Magic faction. The picture is clear: the Magic faction as probably more potential, but it's a lot harder to use and develop; on the other hand, the Tech faction is more about "quantity" than "quality", so to speak. Mastering all factions is probably quite hard, and strangely rewarding.
A typical game
I am not the best person to talk about a "typical" game. I will admit that I had my backside badly bruised by pretty much anybody I played with online. However, it can be summed up as follows: at the beginning of the game, you create a bunch of workers who will be used to harvest wood and mine for gold and rocks. You will also need a source of energy (depending on the faction, it could be "animals" or it could be "energy sources") and fighters (to attack other factions, and defend yourself). In order to produce fighters, you will need gold and other resources (which will come from the miners). So, in the end it's up to you to decide 1) When you have enough fighters to win 2) How much mining you should carry out to support what you create. You can also decide to send somebody out there to find out what the other ones are doing (you can only see parts of the map where your men have been). Or, you can create some warriors to stop your enemy's men (so that they can't see what you are doing).
This is what a good game can look like, courtesy of http://titusgames.de/screens/mparticles/001-screen64.jpeg
MegaGlest can be played by several people in the same LAN, or even on the Internet with other players around the world. I have to say I didn't find much going on when I tried an Internet game. However, I blame my timezone for that.
Not just a game
MegaGlest is not just a game: it comes with a complete map editor, as well as a 3D model viewer. This means that users can create their own terrains and play them -- as well as create their own characters included with attach animations.
The modeler in action
The possibilities here are immense -- so immense that several people out there have released "mods" of the game that include different worlds and possibilities.
If you like strategy games, or even if you don't like them, this is a game that might well lower your productivity or your home-presence quite dramatically.
Drop me an email, I might see you around for a game!