Freeciv Version 2.6
Welcome to Freeciv!
This archive contains Freeciv, a free Civilization-like game, primarily
for X under Unix. It has support for multiplayer games locally or
over a network, and an AI which gives most people a run for their money.
Freeciv aims to be mostly rule-compatible with Civilization II [tm],
published by Sid Meier and Microprose [tm]. A few rules are different
where we think it makes more sense, and we have lots and lots of
adjustable parameters to make customizing games possible.
Freeciv has been implemented completely independently of Civilization;
you do not need to own Civilization to play Freeciv.
You may find a translated version of this file, as well as of other parts
of the Freeciv documentation, in the following places:
Even if there is no translation for your language, the game itself may
support it. Please see "Native Language Support" below.
Freeciv's web site is here:
We invite you to visit. You can get the latest Freeciv news, releases
and patches, find out about the Freeciv mailing lists, and see the
Freeciv metaserver, which records games being played around the world.
Freeciv is released under the GNU General Public License (version 2
or, at your option, any later version). In short, you may copy this
program (including source) freely, but see the COPYING file for full
Some materials that were used to prepare the graphics in the game (in
the 'data' subdirectory), such as 3D models used to prepare bitmap
images, are not distributed with the main source code due to their
size; they are not necessary to build Freeciv from source, as the
(manually) derived graphics are also included in the distribution.
These materials are available in the separate 'graphics-materials'
distribution (e.g., freeciv-2.4.0-graphics-materials.tar.bz2), or from
version control (Git).
Compiling and installing:
Please read the INSTALL file carefully for instructions on how to get
Freeciv compiled and installed on your machine.
Freeciv is modular:
Freeciv is actually several programs, a server and one or more clients. When
a game is in progress, there will be one server program running, and as many
client programs as there are human players. The server does not use a gui,
but the clients do. The clients come in many flavors:
freeciv-gtk2: This uses the GTK+ 2 libraries. To install, see section 1a of
the INSTALL document.
This client has been replaced by freeciv-gtk3, but it still exist for benefit
of those who cannot to switch to gtk3.
freeciv-gtk3: This uses the GTK+ 3 libraries. To install, see section 1b of
the INSTALL document.
This client is better supported and more developed than the others,
as such it is considered to be the default interface throughout the rest of
freeciv-gtk3.22: This uses the GTK+ 3 libraries. Version 3.22 or 3.24
is required. To install, see section 1c of the INSTALL document.
freeciv-qt: This uses the QT library. Development of this client has recently
reached the state where it's considered generally usable, but it still lacks
number of features gtk-clients have.
freeciv-sdl: This uses Simple DirectMedia Layer libraries version 1.2.
This client is currently unmaintained but is usable.
freeciv-sdl2: This uses Simple DirectMedia Layer libraries version 2.
This client is going to replace freeciv-sdl in the future.
freeciv-xaw: This uses the X Window System along with its Athena Widget
This client, somewhat minimalistic compared to the others, is currently
Starting a game:
The following examples assume that Freeciv has been installed on
your system, and that the directory containing the "freeciv-gtk3"
and "freeciv-server" programs is in your PATH. If Freeciv is not
installed, then you may want to use the "fcgui" and "fcser" programs,
which can be found in the top Freeciv directory. They are used
in exactly the same fashion as "freeciv-gtk3" and "freeciv-server".
Running Freeciv involves starting the server, then the client(s)
and AI(s), then telling the server to start the game. Here are the
To start the server:
| % freeciv-server
Or for a list of command-line options:
| % freeciv-server --help
Once the server is started, a prompt will appear:
| For introductory help, type 'help'.
and, you can see this information by using the help command:
| > help
| Welcome - this is the introductory help text for the Freeciv server.
| Two important server concepts are Commands and Options.
| Commands, such as 'help', are used to interact with the server.
| Some commands take one or more parameters, separated by spaces.
| In many cases commands and command arguments may be abbreviated.
| Options are settings which control the server as it is running.
| To find out how to get more information about commands and options,
| use 'help help'.
| For the impatient, the main commands to get going are:
| show - to see current options
| set - to set options
| start - to start the game once players have connected
| save - to save the current game
| quit - to exit
If you like, you can use the 'set' command to set any of the various
server options for the game. You can get a list of the options
with the 'show' command, and detailed descriptions of each with the
'help <option-name>' command.
| > help size
| Option: size - Map size in 1,000 tiles units
| This value is used to determine the map dimensions.
| size = 4 is a normal map of 4,000 tiles (default)
| size = 20 is a huge map of 20,000 tiles
| Status: changeable
| Value: 4, Minimum: 1, Default: 4, Maximum: 29
| > set size 8
This will make the map twice as large as the default.
Now all the human players should join, by running the Freeciv
| % freeciv-gtk3
This assumes the server is running on the same machine. If not, you
can either specify it on the command line with the '--server' option,
or enter it into the first dialog box once the client starts.
For example, suppose the server is running on a different machine
called 'neptune'. Then players would join with a command like:
| % freeciv-gtk3 --server neptune
If you're the only human player, then only one client needs to be
started. In standard Unix fashion you can start the client
"in the background" by appending an ampersand:
| % freeciv-gtk3 &
Another option for the client you may like to try is the '--tiles'
option, which can be used to select different "tilesets" (that is,
different graphics for the map terrain, units, and so on). The
distribution comes with 8 main tilesets:
- amplio2: An isometric tileset with larger and more detailed tiles.
- isotrident: An isometric tileset similar in shape to the one in Civ 2.
- cimpletoon: amplio2 with alternative units that display direction they
- trident: a Civ 1-style ('overhead') tileset with 30x30 tiles.
- hexemplio: an iso-hexagonal tileset with larger tiles derived
- toonhex: tileset combining hexemplio tiles with cimpletoon units
- isophex: an iso-hexagonal tileset
- hex2t: a hexagonal tileset
In this release, each map topology has its own default tileset; with
default settings, amplio2 is the default tileset.
To try another one, for instance the trident tileset, start the
| % freeciv-gtk3 --tiles trident
Other tilesets are available from http://www.freeciv.org/wiki/Tilesets
Clients can be authorized to issue server commands. To allow them
to use informational commands only, type at the server prompt
| > cmdlevel info
Clients can now use '/help', '/list', '/show settlers', etc.
There are two ways to create AI players. The first is to set
the number of players (human and AI) by setting the 'aifill'
server option. For example:
| > set aifill 7
After using the 'start' server command to start the game, any players
which aren't controlled by humans will be AI players. For the above,
if two human players had joined, 5 AI players would be created.
The second way is to explicitly create an AI with the 'create'
server command. For example:
| > create HumanKiller
This will create an AI-controlled player called HumanKiller.
AI players are assigned to nations after all human players have
chosen their nations, but you can choose a particular nation for an
AI player by using the normal name for that nation's leader. For
example, to play against AI-controlled Romans, use this server
| > create Caesar
Note, this is just a preference: If no other human player chooses
to play the Romans, then this AI will.
When everybody has joined (use the "list" command to see who's in),
start the game with the "start" command:
| > start
And the game is on!
NOTE: In this version of Freeciv, the GTK, Qt, and SDL clients have the
capability to automagically start a freeciv-server session when the user
selects "Start New Game" from the main menu. This reduces the steps
needed to get started playing a game of Freeciv. On the other hand,
it also means that if the client crashes for some reason or becomes
unavailable, the freeciv-server session will also be lost. So starting a
separate freeciv-server session and then connect to it with the client is
generally the recommended method.
Announcing the game:
If you do not want to limit your opponents to local friends or AI players,
visit the Freeciv metaserver:
It is a list of Freeciv servers. To make your own server announce itself
there, start freeciv-server with the '--meta' option, or just '-m' for short.
1) Due to the inclusion of new features, different client and server
versions are often incompatible. The 2.5.0 version is for example
incompatible with any 2.4.x or earlier versions.
2) If the Metaserver button in the connection dialog doesn't work,
check if your ISP uses a mandatory WWW proxy and make freeciv-gtk3
use it through the $http_proxy environment variable. For instance,
if the proxy is proxy.myisp.com port 8888, set $http_proxy
to http://proxy.myisp.com:8888/ before starting the client.
3) Sometimes there are no games on the metaserver. That happens.
The number of players there vary with the time of the day. Try
starting one yourself!
Playing the game:
The game may be saved at any time using the 'save' server command,
| > save mygame.sav
(If your server is compiled with compression support, and the
'compresstype' server option is set to other than PLAIN, then the
file written may be compressed and called 'mygame.sav.gz', 'mygame.sav.bz2',
or 'mygame.sav.xz' depending on the setting.)
The Freeciv client works pretty much as you would expect from a
multiplayer civilization game. That is, the human players all move
at the same time, then all the AI players move when all the human
players have completed their turn. There's a turn timeout value,
which is by default set to 0 seconds (no timeout). The server
operator can alter this value at any time with the 'set' command.
Have a look at the online help system. All three mouse-buttons are
used, and documented in the help.
Players can hold down 'Shift' and push the 'Return' key to announce
the end of their turn, or just push the 'Turn Done' button.
Use the 'Players' dialog to see who has announced their end of turn,
and who you're waiting for. (Hey feller, are you asleep or what?? ;).
Use the input line at the bottom of the window for broadcasting
messages to other players.
You can send a message to an individual player (e.g., 'peter') like so:
| peter: move that armor away *NOW*!
The server is smart enough to perform "name completion", so if you had
typed "pet:", it will find a player name that matches the part of the
name you typed.
You can send a message to all your allies by prefixing it with the
letter '.' (yes, that is a period).
You can issue server commands from the client input line:
| /set settlers 4
| /save mygame.sav
The server operator will probably let you issue informational commands
only. This is partly because allowing clients to use all server
commands has security implications; consider if a player tried:
| /save /etc/passwd
Of course the server should not be running with superuser privileges in
any case, to reduce this sort of risk.
If you're just starting, and would like to get an idea of a strategy,
have a look in the Freeciv playing HOWTO, contained in the HOWTOPLAY
For lots more information about the client, the server, and the
concepts and rules of the game, see the Freeciv manual, available
at the wiki:
Ending the game:
There are six ways in which a game can end:
1) Only winners remain in game
1a) If victory condition 'ALLIED' is enabled in server setting 'victories':
All the remaining nations, short of those who have ceded the game
(/surrender), are allied or in the same team.
1b) If victory condition 'ALLIED' is disabled in server setting 'victories':
Only one nation or one team is left, or all other players of all
other teams have ceded the game (/surrender).
2) The final turn (/show endturn) is reached.
3) If victory condition 'SPACERACE' is enabled in server setting 'victories' and
a player builds and launches a spaceship, which reaches Alpha
4) If victory condition 'CULTURE' is enabled in server setting 'victories' and
a player has reached both ruleset-defined minimum number of culture points
and ruleset-defined minimum lead in culture points.
5) If the modpack has special victory conditions and a player has reached one
6) The server operator uses the /endgame command.
A score-table will be shown in all cases. Hint: The server operator
can set the final year while the game is still going by changing the
'endturn' option. This is nice when the winner is obvious, but you
don't want to play through the boring 'cleanup phase'.
You can restore a saved game by using the '-f' server option, eg:
| % freeciv-server -f oursave2001.sav
or, if the save-file was created by a server that compressed it:
| % freeciv-server -f oursave2001.sav.gz
Now the players can rejoin the game:
| % freeciv-gtk3 -n Alexander
Notice how the player-name is specified with the -n option. It's vital
that the player uses the same name as they had when the game was running,
if they're to be allowed in.
The game may then be restarted with the 'start' command as usual.
Native Language Support:
Freeciv supports several languages.
You may choose which local language to use by specifying a "locale".
Each locale has a standard name (e.g., 'de' for German). If you have
installed Freeciv, you may choose a locale by setting the environment
variable LANG to that locale's standard name before running freeciv-server
For example, assuming you wish to use the German localization, you
export LANG; LANG=de (in the Bourne shell (sh)),
setenv LANG de (in the C shell (csh)).
(You could do this in your .profile or .login file.)
Sometimes there is a conflict between the local library implementation
and the internal locale determination. It is often possible to work
around problems with a more detailed descriptor:
We'd like to know about such problems. Please report them as bugs
Both the client and server print messages known as "log messages".
There are five categories of log messages: "fatal", "error", "normal",
"verbose", and "debug".
By default, fatal, error and normal messages are printed to standard
output where the client or server was started. You can direct log
messages to a file instead of the screen with the "--log filename",
or "-l filename" command line options.
You can change the level of log messages displayed with "--debug
level" or "-d level" (or instead "-de level" for the Xaw client, since
"-d" is ambiguous between "-debug" and "-display"), where "level" is
0, 1, 2, or 3. 0 means show fatal messages only, 1 means show fatal
and error messages, 2 means fatal, error and normal messages (the
default), and 3 means show all fatal, error, normal, and verbose
If you compiled with DEBUG defined (an easy way to do this is to
configure with --enable-debug), then you can get debug level messages
by setting the level to 4. Also, it is possible to control debug
level messages (but not other messages) on a per-file and per-line
basis. To do this use "--debug 4:str1:str2" (as many strings as you
like, separated by colons) and any filenames which match those strings
as a substring will have debug log messages turned on, and all other
debug messages will be suppressed. To control lines, use:
"--debug 4:str1,min,max" and for files which match str1 only debug
messages within the specified minimum and maximum lines will be
printed. Only one set of (min,max) can be applied to each file.
| % freeciv-server -l my.log -d 3
This sends all server log messages to file "my.log", including verbose
| % freeciv-gtk3 --debug 0
This suppresses all non-fatal client log messages.
| % freeciv-server -d 4:log:civserver,120,500:autoattack
This turns on all fatal, error, normal and verbose messages for the
server, and debug level messages for some specified modules. Note
that "log" will match "gamelog.c" as well as "log.c". For
"civserver.c", debug messages between lines 120 and 500 will be
printed. This example only works if the server was compiled with
Found a bug? We really want to hear from you so we can fix it.
See the file BUGS, for a list of known bugs in this release, and
information about reporting new bugs.
We maintain 4 mailing lists:
Announcements of general interest.
This is a "Read Only" list, with infrequent messages.
In other words you can't mail this list, just read it.
All discussions related to translating the Freeciv code,
documentation, and website, into other languages than
Notifications of changes to the code repository.
This is a "Read Only" list, carrying automated messages.
In other words you can't mail this list, just read it.
(At the time of writing, gna.org is expected to shut
down soon; we're not yet sure what arrangements we'll
have for a replacement commits mailing list.)
All lists are open to the general public and everyone is welcome to join.
Only maintainers may post to the -announce and -commits lists.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
Several players and developers hang out on #freeciv and #freeciv-dev
channels on the freenode network. Try connecting to the server
Have fun and give 'em hell!
-- The Freeciv team.