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I do love 'OpenRA' [Official Site], especially fun when we did our online Linux tournament. The new release is really great too, with it implementing more of the single-player missions from the original Command & Conquer, Red Alert and Dune 2000.

It is a truly incredible project, to keep the original Command & Conquer, Red Alert and Dune 2000 games alive. They are also working on supporting Tiberian Sun at the moment, with Red Alert 2 possible once that is completed.

Along with the more complete single-player campaigns, this release also features:
- Fixes to a lot of crashes.
- Fixes to a number of bugs that impacted game servers, such as the infamous “grey ping bug”.
- New configuration options for customizing mouse scrolling behaviour.
- New hotkeys for navigating to map edges, and bookmarking positions on the map.
- New hotkeys for controlling the music player, as well as producing five units at once.
- Improved aircraft reloading behaviour.
- And more!

It's entirely legal too, as the original games were released completely free, so they are just downloading the officially available free games for their open source engine. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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The comments on this article are closed.
boltronics 16 October 2016 at 1:43 am UTC
I was a massive fan of C&C back in the day, and have used OpenRA a number of times (although it's been a couple of years since I last ran it). We even had an after work LAN at the office with OpenRA at one point, which was a lot of fun.

One thing has always bugged me though. I know C&C and RA were made available as freeware for a time, back around the time C&C: The First Decade was released. Then for a couple of years after that, the ISO images could still be found on http://ftp.ea.com/pub/ (which no longer seems to be around).

However, I very much doubt that the license permitted redistribution rights as part of the download. Hence, mirroring that content which is no longer available is likely in breach of the license.

The bigger problem I have is that I never got to play Dune 2000. I was a massive fan of Dune 2 back when it was released, but I was flat out with high school, assignments and part time work when 2000 came out, so I missed it. I've been keeping an eye out for it ever since, on Steam, GOG, Origin... I've never seen Dune 2000 made available for download, either for free or at cost. Sadly, I'm pretty sure that the OpenRA download is a case of copyright infringement too (and it's missing the soundtrack and other important game assets). EA doesn't seem to care (and some would call it abandonware), but it's still in breach of license AFAICT.

Nowadays, EA has their FTP content served from http://largedownloads.ea.com/pub/ but that doesn't have any ISO images that I can see. I might have to try to get Dune 2000 from Ebay.
JayVii 16 October 2016 at 9:33 am UTC
boltronicsOne thing has always bugged me though. I know C&C and RA were made available as freeware for a time, back around the time C&C: The First Decade was released. Then for a couple of years after that, the ISO images could still be found on http://ftp.ea.com/pub/ (which no longer seems to be around).

However, I very much doubt that the license permitted redistribution rights as part of the download. Hence, mirroring that content which is no longer available is likely in breach of the license.

The bigger problem I have is that I never got to play Dune 2000. I was a massive fan of Dune 2 back when it was released, but I was flat out with high school, assignments and part time work when 2000 came out, so I missed it. I've been keeping an eye out for it ever since, on Steam, GOG, Origin... I've never seen Dune 2000 made available for download, either for free or at cost. Sadly, I'm pretty sure that the OpenRA download is a case of copyright infringement too (and it's missing the soundtrack and other important game assets). EA doesn't seem to care (and some would call it abandonware), but it's still in breach of license AFAICT.

Nowadays, EA has their FTP content served from http://largedownloads.ea.com/pub/ but that doesn't have any ISO images that I can see. I might have to try to get Dune 2000 from Ebay.

All the free C&C downloads are served from https://cncnet.org/
If that is permitted or not is a whole different story. EA doesn't seem to care _for_now_.

The same is actually true for their game BattleForge, which became F2P at some point and was discontinued later on. There are now multiple projects (eg: http://bfreborn.com/ which will also be available for Linux as wine-port), that try to backwards-engineer the client and server-structure to revive the game again.
This is CLEARLY a license infringement, but EA doesn't do anything about it, yet.
posmunk 16 October 2016 at 1:00 pm UTC
Fantastic project!
emphy 17 October 2016 at 2:16 am UTC
As far as I am aware, interpreters like openRA, Scummvm, gemrb are always fully legal, independent of where individual users may have gotten the game content.
boltronics 17 October 2016 at 2:32 am UTC
emphyAs far as I am aware, interpreters like openRA, Scummvm, gemrb are always fully legal, independent of where individual users may have gotten the game content.

ScummVM demands you provide the game yourself (from GOG.com, CDs, etc.), but openRA downloads a mirrored copy of the games it supports directly from within the program.
Liam Dawe 17 October 2016 at 8:06 am UTC
boltronics
emphyAs far as I am aware, interpreters like openRA, Scummvm, gemrb are always fully legal, independent of where individual users may have gotten the game content.

ScummVM demands you provide the game yourself (from GOG.com, CDs, etc.), but openRA downloads a mirrored copy of the games it supports directly from within the program.
Yes, but those game were officially released for free. It's still legal content.
boltronics 17 October 2016 at 8:20 am UTC
liamdaweYes, but those game were officially released for free. It's still legal content.
Legal to own (if that's the way EA provided it). Almost certainly not free to redistribute.

Further, I am 99.9% certain Dune 2000 was never released by EA (or Westwood Studios) as freeware.
Gonza565 17 October 2016 at 2:44 pm UTC
How is the AI in this game? I want a challenge, but I don't really want to jump straight into multiplayer.
Liam Dawe 17 October 2016 at 5:42 pm UTC
boltronics
liamdaweYes, but those game were officially released for free. It's still legal content.
Legal to own (if that's the way EA provided it). Almost certainly not free to redistribute.

Further, I am 99.9% certain Dune 2000 was never released by EA (or Westwood Studios) as freeware.
Downloading is but one option, this release also added in grabbing content from a proper CD too, so it does accept 100% legal content that way too.

As for Dune 2000 i think you are right, so i'm not sure how they are getting the data, i should ask.
Milanium 17 October 2016 at 6:35 pm UTC
See https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/wiki/FAQ#is-that-legal and indeed the reliance of the whole project on foreign intellectual property is a big problem. We try to avoid trademarks where possible and try to make it very clear that this is a hobbyist project: not officially approved nor any licensed continuation. Sadly, so far any attempts to resolve the legal limbo with EA have resulted in automatic replies "Yes, you are allowed to stream our games on YouTube." from customer support. We are prepared to take down the content mirrors at any time, but were never asked to do so. This release improves the situation by adding more options to grab the game content from original discs and now also digital distribution services such as Origin.

For Dune 2000 I assume Electronic Arts doesn't have the license for the Dune franchise themselves. Most of the assets are from the Dune 2000 X-MAS 1.06 patch which added a new unit (the grenadier) by replacing all unit sprites as they are located in one file. Also https://cncnet.org/dune-2000 is even redistributing the whole original game with some binary hacked additions. However those guys are generally less concerned about copyright and even took over the Facebook channels for the legacy games and https://www.facebook.com/westwoodstudios/ which, well, it is a brave move. I guess at EA no one cares as this is free marketing for something they consider to not have a worthy mass market value.


Last edited by Milanium at 17 October 2016 at 6:37 pm UTC
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