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Widelands, a free and open source strategy game inspired by the classic Settlers II has now formally released the massive Build 21 update.

Recently I wrote about the upcoming update after doing some pre-release testing, and it's proven to be a wonderful RTS that keeps the spirit of the classic Settlers experience alive. Widelands is a strategy game where you don't have direct-unit control, instead you place down orders and everyone gets to work—as long as your road system is connected up properly. I'll openly admit to getting a bit carried away with playing Widelands recently sinking half a day into it.

Some of the highlights from Build 21 include:

  • A much stronger AI
  • New “Peaceful Mode” and several new starting conditions
  • More detailed user controls for game speed, map scrolling, and many properties of building windows; new hotkeys; re-added quick navigation with ‘,’ and ‘.’; partly redesigned and modernized user interface
  • Allow the player to choose the soldiers to send in the attack box
  • New planning-ahead ship scheduling algorithm
  • Ferries carry wares over waterways
  • Improved display of work areas
  • Spritesheets and mipmaps provide high-quality graphics when zooming in

While Widelands has a big set of features and can be enjoyed just like another other game, it's always under development and it's not "finished" in the traditional sense. Part of this release was to help with that, as they did a huge clean up of the code and plenty has been refactored to help expand it in future.

Not only can you play against the AI, it also has online play and LAN support.

Find out more on the official Widelands site.

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