In 1997, the first title of the series Age of Empires, a PC game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Studios, was released. Critics say that it influenced other RTS (real time strategy) games like Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and Empire Earth.

The timeline of release dates for the game stretches from the first release in 1997 all the way to 2015. Now, on GitHub, open-source contributors can find openage, a free clone of the Age of Empires II engine.

The creators, SFTtech, wrote on their website that they are “rewriting its engine in C++14 from scratch (GPLv3+).” Additionally, they are “including ‘modern’ technologies like OpenGL and GLSL.”

For now, they are aiming at creating an exact clone using original media files. This allows people using GNU/Linux to play the game natively.

For obvious reasons, openage doesn’t ship with sound or graphics, even though it uses the game’s assets. To play, it requires an original AoE II: The Conquerors installation or AoE II: HD.

Some goals of openage include:
• Fully authentic look and feel
• Multiplayer
• AI scripting in Python, using machine learning
• Recreating free game assets
• An integrated Python console and interface, comparable to blender

They also want to make sure there is network and binary compatibility with the original game.

Despite their perfectly crafted sarcasm, SFTtech could use some extra contributors. Here is some of their advice for getting started:

If you’ve never programmed before, or are inexperienced:
1. This is the project you want to start your career with.

2. Seriously.
3. We’ll give valuable feedback and try to support you where possible.
4. You might have guessed it, we will still make fun of you, though.

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