Today was going to be MMO-focused, what with the launch of Star Trek Online and the debut of our associated Power Grid, but an unexpected deluge of Civilization-related news has turned this into Civ Day (or…We Love the King Day?)
Anyway: FreeCiv, the open-source member the Civilization family, is now available for free, in your browser. Forget Battlefield: Heroes and browser Quake — this is how the twenty-something creative underclass should be wasting its daylight hours.
To be sure, hardcore software geeks like us feel a tiny thrill each time a game is ported to the web, as it brings closer that glorious day when all applications will be completely abstracted from their operating system environments (Chrome OS!?!?!?!). But easy access to Civilization, a series virtually without peer in gaming history, should set every gamer’s heart a-flutter.
All of the functionalities from the classic, Civ II era of the series are there: governments, technologies (see above), revolutions! And the whole thing responds about as quickly as does actual Civ II running in a standard OS.
But here’s the kicker: It also works in iPhone Safari! That’s great news for anyone who felt that Civilization: Revolution‘s gameplay was a bit stripped-down from the baroque contraptions we’ve come to expect from the series.
Freeciv.net currently has over 11,000 players registered, so finding an opponent should be much easier than when you and your friends had to use crude “What Is My IP?” tools and argue over who acted as the server.
HTML5 is going to be so awesome, assuming it doesn’t become a token in the continuing war between the Great Powers of the Internet. Now if the stalled open source projects surrounding Colonization, Master of Magic, and Alpha Centauri can get their acts together, we can move on to the next generation of classic games by implementing browser-based Total Annihilation. Or something.
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