It’s now almost 20 years since Clonk first appeared, a fun multiplayer platform and real-time strategy game.
The core program gave you control over “Clonks”, “small but nimble humanoid beings”. You moved them around a 2D horizontally scrolling world, reworking the landscape, setting up mining operations, managing your economy and taking part in “fast and fiddly melees”.
If you think this sounds familiar, you’re probably right: think Minecraft, Terraria, and a few others. Clonk did much of this first, though, and the game won many fans over the years, until lead designer Matthes Bender left the project in 2009.
That was essentially the end of Clonk as a commercial product. Fortunately, the game engine was made open source, and it now lives on in the shape of OpenClonk.
The project remains very active, delivering plenty of new features and content, and runs well on Windows, Linux and (after resolving some technical issues) Mac.
OpenClonk stands out in particular for its content creation tools. There’s an excellent map generator, while a Java-based development environment helps you use Clonk’s own C-like scripting language, C4Script, to create and test new game scenarios.
Too complicated? No problem, you can ignore all that and just download the content created by others. Either way, OpenClonk is a polished open source game, and if you like this genre then it gives you plenty to explore.