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There are some phenomenal games for (K)Ubuntu Linux.

There are hundreds of free, open-source games available in (K)Ubuntu. Most (including the KDE Games collection and the Gnome Games collection) can be accessed through the Games section of your Package Manager.

Examples are:


Vdrift is a free open source 3-D racing game, similar to Need for Speed, with realistic physics, multiple drift tracks, and multiplayer games. Support for joysticks, mice and keyboard is included. A binary package for Linux is available from the website.


Incredible action games (including those from the Top 25) are available in Ubuntu. Many can be installed using:

Applications -> Add/Remove Software -> Games

Examples are:

  • Alien Arena -- a multi-player first person shooter action game with free servers. The repositories have version 7.0-1. For the current version 7.2 see the website.
  • OpenArena -- an open-source multi-player first person shooter action game, with free servers. The repositories have version 7.7. For the current 8.1 version see the website.
  • Tremulous -- a Halo-like multiplayer first person shooter action game. The repositories have the current version.
  • Sauerbraten - a multiplayer graphics-rich first person shooter game evolved from Cube.


  • Nexuiz is an open-source multi-player first person shooter game with free servers and tournaments.

The current version 2.4.2 is in the repositories.

sudo apt-get install nexuiz nexuiz-music

You must have desktop effects turned off (System -> System Settings -> Desktop). There are a few other problems. See the Nexuiz forums. Some recommend running from a shell:

sudo ./nexuiz-linux-glx.sh


sudo ./nexuiz-linux-sdl.sh

  • A 35 map community pack is available here. To install, extract the map pack to /home/username/.nexuiz/data (or ~/.nexuiz/data ).


UrbanTerror is a multiplayer first person shooter action game. It uses the open-source quake 3 engine and features many real weapons and free-to-use servers for multi-player functionality. See the Installation instructions at the website.

  • Alternative installation with a script:
  • After downloading the script open Terminal into your download directory then make the script executable with the following command:
sudo chmod +x urt40-linux-installer.sh
  • Now double click on the script to execute and follow the directions
  • The install will take a while, as the script executes a download of the necessary files which are about 541MB
  • After the install you will have a nice UrbanTerror icon on your desktop (unless you installed as root)


The Spring Project is a scripting engine platform to develop and play free multiplayer games such as Star Wars Imperial Winter and Complete Annihilation. See these installation instructions for adding the repository, then installing as a package.


PlaneShift is a promising free full-immersion online fantasy game (MMPORG). Client downloads and patches are available here.

  • Make the downloaded binary installation file executable:
cd /directory_where_downloaded
chmod +x PlaneShift-v.0.42-x64.bin
  • Run the executable binary as root (this must be done from the command line Terminal):
sudo ./PlaneShift-v.0.42-x64.bin
  • Follow the instructions for installation. When prompted whether to manually set permissions, answer "no."
  • During installation, most users have recommended installing this game to your /home directory as a single user installation, instead of to /opt for all users. This avoids permissions problems. I was able to install to /opt, but it takes some effort.
  • Make sure your user belongs to the games group:
System -> User Manager -> user -> Groups -> check games
  • Download the updater patch psupdaterlinux64.zip and unzip it to your download directory.
  • Run the updater as root:
chmod +x psupdater
chmod +x psupdater.bin
sudo ./psupdater
Applications -> Lost & Found -> Client and Setup

To run it from the menu, I had to edit the menu entries by checking the box: "Run in terminal." Alternatively, run it from the command-line Terminal:

sudo /opt/PlaneShift/pssetup
sudo /opt/PlaneShift/psclient

Notes: This game ran very slowly for me on a 32-bit installation with a DSL connection and I gave up. The 64-bit installation worked better, but there were still many freezes. This is a game very much in development, and is still in alpha stage.



Skulltag is an updated version of ZDoom that includes network play. See the website for simple (K)Ubuntu installation instructions. (You can use the Freedoom Iwad (see below) if you don't have an original Doom2.wad.) Note: Most of the modules require dependencies from the Universe repositories. Make sure you have the Universe repositories enabled (Synaptic Package Manager -> Settings -> Repositories -> Edit Software Sources -> Community-maintained Open Source software (universe) -> (ticked)).

  • Install prerequisites:
sudo apt-get install timidity timidity-interfaces-extra
  • Then add the skulltag repositories, update, and install Skulltag and DoomSeeker (the Skulltag online server utility):
echo "deb http://skulltag.net/download/files/release/deb/ jaunty multiverse" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/skulltag.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install skulltag doomseeker-skulltag
  • If you don't have a doom2.wad, tnt.wad, or plutonia.wad already, you can copy the freedoom.wad to your ~/.skulltag folder:
cd ~/.skulltag
wget http://mirror.cinquix.com/pub/savannah/freedoom/freedoom-iwad/freedoom-iwad-0.6.4.zip
unzip freedoom-iwad-0.6.4.zip
cp freedoom*/doom2.wad .
rm freedoom-iwad-0.6.4.zip
  • If you need more help (regarding the Skulltag-server, firewalls, and port forwarding with Skulltag, for example), see my additional tips.

PrBoom is a free open source port of the original first person shooter action game, Doom.

sudo apt-get install prboom freedoom timidity timidity-interfaces-extra

There are thousands of extra maps (Wads) available for this game. It is easiest to keep a directory for your wads in your home directory:

mkdir /home/user/wads
or alternatively, use the /usr/share/games/doom folder, giving universal privileges to the folder:
chmod -R 777 /usr/share/games/doom

Place your doom2.wad, tnt.wad, or plutonia.wad (from your original game) into this folder. If you don't have one, you can copy the Freedom version of doom2.wad from /usr/share/games/freedoom into this folder. Place any new .wad's you have downloaded from the Internet into this folder as well. Then run the game using both the original iwad map as well as your new .wad map (you will only see the new map).

prboom -iwad /home/user/wads/doom2.wad -file /home/user/wads/new_wad.wad

Note: Only doom2.wad, tnt.wad, or plutonia.wad can be used as an iwad. You must have one of these in addition to any new wad you wish to use. When in doubt, use doom2.wad.

Note: this game can also be installed using Applications -> Add/Remove Software -> Games as Freedoom, but you must also install timidity and timidity-interfaces-extra.

Wing Commander Privateer

The Linux version of this free version of Wing Commander can be downloaded as a binary here.

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