I can’t believe it has been over 4 years since I last took a look at the real-time strategy game MegaGlest. This review is of the 3.12.0 version. Linux Mint repositories only have the 3.7 version at the time of this review, so I downloaded the correct file from the main site’s download page and installed it. (NOTE: If you download the .run package, you need to make sure the permissions are set to allow “Execute” and also, if you do not have all the dependencies, the game will install but doesn’t run. The only way you know what you are missing is if you run it from the Terminal. )
MegaGlest is a real-time strategy game that can be played vs the computer, or up to 7 other opponents online. It is libre software, which means it is both open-source and free of cost (they do take donations). It’s cross-platform, so your friends who still use Windows can play it as well, or with you online. There are seven factions included in the game, and 17 maps to play on. Each faction has their own set of units and structures, and play somewhat differently than others do. Additional factions and maps can also be installed from within the game’s options menu. You start off with over 20 scenarios of varying difficulty, but no campaign game as of yet. Sometime in the last 4 years, the ability to save a game and come back to it has been added, giving it a massive increase in playability.
If you prefer human opponents, you can also play on a LAN or over the internet.
The options page includes tabs for Audio, Video, Keyboard setup, Network, and Misc. You can rename yourself, pick what format screenshots are saved as, choose one of 16 resolutions, and there are separate volume controls for the music, effects, and ambiance. Many other settings can be tweaked on this page.
Like many other RTS games, you typically start off with a building or two, some resources, and units. Creating more units, gathering more resources, and sending your combat guys against the enemy is pretty much it. The strategy comes in finding out the best mix of “get more resources” vs “more troops” vs “upgrade troops and buildings.” This of course can vary depending on your own preference of defensive or offensive style of play. There is a minimap in the upper left corner, and you can group units by collecting them in a mouse drag, or assign some to a numbered group. MegaGlest provides you with both audio & visual indicator of incoming attacks on your units. Provided you have enough resources, you can queue up more than one “build unit” order.
You can also create a Custom game when you become tired of the included scenarios. This is the only way I can see to lower the difficulty, by adjusting the CPU’s speed/AI number (it’s not clear what the number does, exactly)
Graphics and sound
MegaGlest uses 3d models, and it doesn’t look too bad. You can zoom in closer to see things, in a similar way as the game Path of Exile Also, the game’s viewpoint can be rotated by holding down your middle button and shifting the mouse. The graphics are not the very best, but this also means it should play easily on most laptops, regardless of your graphics card. The factions seem to each have their own music theme playing on a loop. I liked the music used in the game.
I am enjoying the time I spend playing MegaGlest, but it’s kicking my butt, even on “Easy” difficulty. I had to create a Custom game and turn down the CPU number from 1.0 to 0.5 in order to feel like I had a chance to get started before the enemies come calling. Like other RTS games I have played, I got the feeling that there’s an optimal build order that will maximize my chances of defending my base and reaching the enemy before her numbers become too overwhelming to beat.
Overall, I would say that if you enjoy real-time strategy games, definitely install MegaGlest and try it out. I expect that I’ll be trying to beat the AI for a few more weeks.