First off, What is FreeOrion? FreeOrion is a free, Open Source, galactic conquest game. Since it is in the tradition of the popular Masters Of Orion games, it probably looks familiar.
FreeOrion is available for Linux and other major operating systems. Recently the project team released a huge update, taking the game lightyears ahead of previous versions. Some highlights are player scripting, multiplayer, AI improvements, and tons of content wrapped in shiny new GUI improvements.
One surprising addition is player scripting. Which is hands down the best feature in this update. According to the project’s site:
By adding scripting capabilities to the game engine the FreeOrion project aims to give the community an easy way to customize the game mechanics and presentation to create a living, breathing universe in a grand campaign model.
Another interesting aspect of player scripting is the dev team’s work on linking the custom scripts with the new AI opponents. Players can create and share scenarios or campaigns. It won’t be llong before the Masters Of Orion isn’t the only FanFic back story in game.
My most recent playthrough was smooth (5 hours) because the bugs I hit twice before were gone. In addition, the game’s depth has improved. The GUI improvements make navigating your space empire more intuitive.
On the downside, you’ll still feel a little bit of a learning curve navigating the game and you’ll probably die the first time. Nevertheless, FreeOrion is worth a try.