Game engine recreations and source ports
Sometimes a full system emulator is overkill. This is especially true when a developer only wants to get one game (or a number of games that use the same engine) working. In that case, reimplementing that game alone would save more time than implementing the platform it runs on. These kinds of projects are common when abandonware has large communities; when the original developer has disbanded and can no longer support or update it, an effort is then made to get it running natively on newer versions of-- and/or entirely different-- operating systems and platforms.
- When the developer only has a binary to work with (and not the source code), they recreate the engine rather than port it, hence the term game engine recreations (or alternatively game engine re-implementations). How the developers go about this process depends on their philosophy; they may opt to decompile the original executable and have their own program rely on the original until all of its functions have been remade, at which point the original binary is no longer needed. Alternatively, they can be remade based on a clean room design, in which the project implements the abstract features without having to disassemble the original, going by how components are expected to be used rather than how the game uses them. Some engines come about simply because they were inspired by the original game, and the programmer felt confident enough that no reverse engineering was necessary to make an engine that does the same thing.
- In rare cases, games are released as open-source by the publishers themselves, allowing developers to perform a source port of the code. This skips the step of figuring out how the game works. The most common example that's often used is id Software's release of Doom in 1997. It led to so many ports being released that the community began to joke about what devices haven't gotten it running yet.
For the sake of brevity, most of these projects often refer to themselves under some variety of fan remakes. The External links section has lists for a number of known and available projects.
On Linux downloading and using game engines is easy with Luxtorpeda - a Steam Play compatibility tool (like Proton) that allows you to run games from Steam using various different game engines and reimplementations.
Multi game engine
|Name||Operating System(s)||Latest Version||libretro||Active||Recommended||Supported game(s)||Genre|
|OpenLara[N 1]||git||✓||✓||~||Tomb Raider 1–4||Action-adventure (3rd-person)|
|OpenTomb||git||✗||✓||✓||Tomb Raider 1–5|
|Tomb Raider Automated Fix||TR1
||✗||~||~||Tomb Raider 1 & 2 + their expansions|
|ScummVM||Multi-platform||2.6.1||✓||✓||✓||Adventure games and RPGs (LucasArts, Sierra, Activision, Humongous & more. Over 250 games.)||Adventure|
|BuildGDX||Website||✗||✓||✓||Blood, Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Powerslave/Exhumed, Redneck Rampage, Redneck Rampage Rides Again, Witchaven, Witchaven II, TekWar, Legend of the Seven Paladins||FPS|
VoidSW [N 2]
|Website||✗||✓||✓||EDuke32: Duke Nukem 3D, Ion Fury, NAM, World War II GI |
VoidSW: Shadow Warrior
|✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||Retro Games |
(Metroid Prime 1–3 & Donkey Kong Country Returns)
|openDarkEngine||git||✗||✗||✗||Thief 1-2, System Shock 2|
|Raze||git||✗||✓||✓||Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Redneck Rampage, Shadow Warrior and Exhumed/Powerslave, Nam, WW2 GI|
|RedNukem||git||✗||✓||✓||Duke Nukem 3D, Duke Nukem 64, Redneck Rampage, Redneck Rampage Rides Again, NAM, World War II GI|
|XLEngine||git||✗||✗||✓||Star Wars: Dark Forces, Daggerfall|
Later: Outlaws, Blood, Shadow Warrior
|ZDoom||2.81||✗||✗[N 3]||✓||Doom I–II, Final Doom, Heretic, Hexen: Beyond Heretic, Chex Quest I–III, Strife: Quest for the Sigil, Hacx: Twitch 'n Kill|
|Commander Genius||3.0.0||✗||✓||✓||Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons, Commander Keen in Keen Dreams, Commander Keen in Goodbye Galaxy, Commander Keen in Aliens Ate My Babysitter||Platform|
|OpenNFS||git||✗||✗||~||Need for Speed I–III, Need for Speed: High Stakes, Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2||Racing|
|EasyRPG||Multi-platform||0.7.0||✓||✓||✓||RPG Maker 2000/2003 games||RPG|
|Falltergeist||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||Fallout 1-2|
|GemRB||git||✗||✓||✓||Infinity Engine |
(Baldur's Gate series (1998–2001), Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale series (2000–2002))
|JoiPlay||1.01.701||✗||✓||✓||RPG Maker XP/VX/VA/MV/MV games/Ren'Py/TyranoBuilder/HTML based games|
|Neko RPGXP Player||2.01||✗||✗||~||RPG Maker XP/VX/VA/MV games|
|xoreos||0.0.6||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||BioWare's Aurora engine & derivatives |
(BioWare's 7 PC/console RPGs, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, The Witcher)
(Age of Empires, AoE II (HD), Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds)
|OpenRA||git||✗||✓||✓||Early Westwood games (Command & Conquer, C&C: Red Alert). |
Soon: 2nd-gen C&C (C&C: Tiberian Sun).
|OpenSAGE||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||EA's Command & Conquer games |
(C&C: Generals, C&C: Generals - Zero Hour)
Soon: The Battle for Middle-earth series (2004–2006), C&C 3 & expansion.
|Stratagus[N 4]||3.3.2||✗||✓[N 5]||✓[N 6]||Wargus (v3.3.2): Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness + Beyond the Dark Portal, Aleona's Tale|
War1gus (v3.3.2): Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
Stargus (v3.3.0): StarCraft (partially playable as of v2.4.1)
Games natively made on the Stratagus engine: Aleona's Tale (Wargus), Astroseries, Bos Wars, Wyrmsun
|Vanilla Conquer||git||✗||✓||✓||Early Westwood games (Command & Conquer, C&C: Red Alert, Dune 2000). |
Based on the official source code release by EA, with the goal of serving as a portable drop-in replacement for the original executables as well as a platform for mod developers.
|ReC98||Multi-platform||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||Touhou 1–5 (PC-98)||Shoot 'em up|
|Impacto||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||MAGES. Engine (Science Adventure games)||Visual Novel|
Single game engine
|Name||Platform(s)||Latest Version||libretro||Active||Recommended||Supported game(s)||Genre|
|Open Ocarina||git||✗||✓||✓||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)||Action-adventure|
|✗||✓||~||Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy|
|Ship of Harkinian||5.1.3
|✗||✓||✓||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (PAL GameCube version)[N 7]|
|OpenGOAL||git||✗||✓||✓||Jak and Daxter[N 8]|
|OpenRakis||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||Dune (Cryo)||Adventure|
|The Ur-Quan Masters||0.8.0||✗||✓||✓||Star Control II|
|Ikemen GO||git||✗||✓||✓||Remake of the Ikemen engine that supports Mugen resources.||Fighting|
|xGreed||doomworld||✗||✓||✓||In Persuit of Greed||FPS|
|Aleph One||1.4||✗||✓||✓||Marathon 1–2, Marathon Infinity|
|BStone||git||✗||✓||✓||Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold, Blake Stone: Planet Strike|
|git||✗||✓||✓||Crispy Doom: Doom I–II, Final Doom|
Crispy Heretic: Heretic
|✗||✓||✓||Descent, Descent II|
|dhewm3||git||✓||✓||✓||Doom 3 (Original)|
|Doom64 EX||2.5||✗||✗||✓||Doom 64 (Original)|
|DXX-3DS[N 9]||git||✗||✗||✗||Descent, Descent II|
|DXX-Retro[N 9]||git||✗||✗||✓||Descent, Descent II|
|DXX-Switch[N 9]||git||✗||✗||?||Descent, Descent II|
|ECWolf||1.3.3||✓||✓||✓||Wolfenstein 3D, Spear of Destiny, Super 3D Noah’s Ark|
|EDuke32 Wii||Website||✗||✗||✓||Duke Nukem 3D|
|Freespace 2 Wii||beta 3||✗||✗||?||Freespace 2|
|Hammer of Thyrion||1.5.9||✗||✓||✓||Hexen II|
|Heretic Wii[N 10]||0.5||✗||✗||?||Heretic|
HHexen (Wii)[N 11]
|ioquake3||1.36||✗||✓||✓||Quake III: Arena|
|iortcw||git||✗||~||✓||Return to Castle Wolfenstein|
|Linux Hexen[N 11]||0.6.0||✗||✗||✗||Hexen|
|OpenMoHAA||||✗||✗||✗||Medal of Honour: Allied Assault|
|OpenXRay||git||✗||✓||✓||S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat|
|Powerslave EX||git||✗||✗||✓||Powerslave (Console)|
|PrBoom||git||✓||~[N 12]||✓||Doom 1–2, Final Doom|
|Quake GameCube/QuakeGX[N 13]||0.0.5-2 (GX)||✗||✗||?||Quake 1|
|Quake Rev PAK[N 14]||release 4||✗||✗||?||Quake 1–2, ThreeWave CTF mod for Quake 2, QuakeWorld|
|RBDOOM-3-BFG||git||✗||✓||✓||Doom 3 (BFG Edition)|
|Rise of the Triad for Linux||git||✗||✗||✗||Rise of the Triad: Dark War|
|rottexpr||git||✗||✓||✓||Rise of the Triad: Dark War|
|Shockolate||git||✗||✓||✓||System Shock 1|
|The Force Engine||1.0||✗||✓||?||Star Wars: Dark Forces, Outlaws|
|vitaQuake II||git, PS Vita||✓||✓||✓||Quake 2|
WiiDoom-Fork (music support)
|✗||✗||✓||Doom I–II, Final Doom, Chex Quest I–II (forked version only but with some conversion issues)|
|r33||✗||✗||✓||Wii-DOOM: Doom I–II, Final Doom|
Wii-STRIFE: Strife: Quest for the Sigil
|Wolfenstein 3D Wii||1.31||✗||✗||✓||Wolfenstein 3D, Spear of Destiny|
|Yamagi Quake II||8.00||✗||✓||✓||Quake 2|
|FNaF 1 3DS -old/obsolete-
FNaF 1 3DS -remastered-[N 16]
|✗||✗||✓||Five Nights at Freddy's||Horror|
|FNaF 1 PSP[N 16]||1.3.1 Fix 1||✗||✗||✓||Five Nights at Freddy's|
|FNaF 2 3DS[N 16]||beta 1.0||✗||✗||✗||Five Nights at Freddy's 2|
|FNaF 3 3DS[N 16]||beta 0.1.3||✗||✗||✗||Five Nights at Freddy's 3|
|FNaF 4 3DS[N 16]||beta 0.3||✗||✗||~||Five Nights at Freddy's 4|
|SpaceCadetPinball||Multi-Platform||git||✗||✓||✓||3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet||Pinball|
|Abe's Amazing Adventure Wii||r3||✗||✗||?||Abe's Amazing Adventure||Platform|
|Cave Story Engine 2||git
|✗||✗[N 17]||✓||Cave Story|
|Jazz² Resurrection||git||✗||✓||✓||Jazz Jackrabbit 2|
|Jump 'n Bump||0.3.1||✗||✗||?||Jump 'n Bump|
|Maze of Galious 3DS||1.0||✗||✗||?||The Maze of Galious remake|
|MazeOfGaliousWii||0.63.3||✗||✗||?||The Maze of Galious remake|
|OpenHCL||git||✗||~||✓||Hydra Castle Labyrinth|
|OpenJazz||git||✗||~||✓||Jazz Jackrabbit 1|
|R.E.L.I.V.E.||git||✗||✓||✓||Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus|
|rawgl||git||✗||✓||✓||Another World/Out of This World|
|REminiscence||0.4.9||✓||✓||✓||Flashback (Another World's spiritual sequel)|
|Rigel Engine||git||✗||✓||✓||Duke Nukem II|
|RSDK||Sonic 1 & 2
|✗||✓||✓||Sonic the Hedgehog 1–2, Sonic CD|
|SDLPoP||git||✗||✓||✓||Prince of Persia (1989)|
|Sonic the Hedgehog Forever||1.4.1||✗||✓||✓||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Absolute||1.1.1||✗||✓||✓||Sonic the Hedgehog 2|
|Sonic 3 A.I.R. (Angel Island Revisited)||git||✗||✓||✓||Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles|
|Super Mario 64 Port||Multi-platform||Depends on port||✗||✓||✓||Super Mario 64 (N64)|
|NFSIISE||git||✗||✓||✓||Need for Speed II: SE|
|OpenMC2||(via Wine)||git||✗||✓||✓||Midnight Club II|
|OpenSWE1R||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||Star Wars Episode 1: Racer|
|stuntcarremake[N 18]||Build 08||✗||✓||✓||Stunt Car Racer (Amiga / AtariST)|
|Arx Libertatis||git||✗||✓||✓||Arx Fatalis||RPG|
|Daggerfall Unity||git||✗||✓||✓||The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall|
|OpenVIII||git||✗||✓||✗||Final Fantasy VIII|
|OpenMW||0.47.0||✗||✓||✓||The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind|
|OpenTESArena||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||The Elder Scrolls I: Arena|
|REGoth||git||✗||✓||✓||Gothic, Gothic II|
|reone||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1-2|
|Undertale Mobile Mod for iOS and Android||||✗||✗||✓||Undertale|
|Dune Dynasty||||✗||✗||✓||Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty||RTS|
|Dune II: The Maker||||✗||✓||✓||Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty|
|Dune Legacy||||✗||✗||✓||Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty|
|OpenDUNE||git||✗||✗||✓||Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty|
|Syndicate Wars Port||0.3||✗||✗||✓||Syndicate Wars|
|OpenRW||git||✗||✓||~||Grand Theft Auto III|
|✗||✓||✓||Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City|
|RE3 3DS||wip||✗||~||~[N 20]||Grand Theft Auto III|
|?||✗||✗||?||Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City|
|✗||✗||?||Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City|
|✗||✗||?||Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City|
|San Andreas Unity||git||✗||✓||~||Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas|
|Wiicraft (2020)||git||✗||?||?||Minecraft v1.2.5|
|WoxelCraft||git||✗||✗||?||3D Voxel Engine (Minecraft)|
|OpenTyrian||git||✗||✓||✓||Tyrian||Shoot 'em up|
|CaesarIA||0.5 (2016)||✗||✗||✗||Caesar III||Sim - City-building|
Augustus (Gameplay changes)
|CorsixTH||git||✗||✓||✓||Theme Hospital||Sim - Construction/Management|
|OpenLoco||git||✗||✓||✓||Chris Sawyer's Locomotion|
|OpenRCT2||git||✗||✓||✓||RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (with RCT1 and expansions from both games being importable) or RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic (as of v0.4.2)|
|OpenTTD||git||✗||✓||✓||Transport Tycoon Deluxe|
|OpenTTD (Wii)||1.3.2||✗||✗||?||Transport Tycoon Deluxe|
|✗||✓||✓||Terminal Velocity, Fury3||Sim - Flight Combat|
(ctp2 for Linux/Pandora/Pyra)
|✗||~||✓||Call to Power II||TBS|
|CivOne||git||✗||✓||✗ (WIP)||Sid Meier's Civilization|
|DopeWars||[N 21]||1.1||✗||✗||?||DopeWars (Palm OS)|
|fheroes2||git||✗||✓||✓||Heroes of Might and Magic II|
|OpenXcom||git||✗||✓||✓||UFO: Enemy Unknown (X-Com: UFO Defense), X-COM: Terror From the Deep|
|VCMI||git||✗||✓||✓||Heroes of Might and Magic III|
|DDLC-LOVE||1.2.3 (PSP, Vita)
1.1.9 (PS3, 3DS, Switch)
|✗||✗||✓[N 22]||Doki Doki Literature Club!||Visual Novel|
|Doki-Doki-Literature-Club-Vita||git||✗||~||✓||Doki Doki Literature Club!|
|NitroSharp||git||✗||✓||~ (WIP)||ChäoS;HEAd NoAH|
|TheXTech||git||✗||✓||✓||Super Mario Bros. X[N 23]||Platform|
- OpenLara was inspired by OpenTomb
- VoidSW is included with EDuke32
- ZDoom has been discontinued. However the development of its replacements, GZDoom and LZDoom, is still active.
- Stratagus is an open-source real-time strategy game engine. Some standalone games like Aleona's Tale (included in Wargus's installation), Astroseries, Bos Wars, and Wyrmsun were built on the Stratagus game engine. Source ports for Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (War1gus), Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness + Beyond the Dark Portal (Wargus), and StarCraft (Stargus) were also built on the Stratagus engine.
- Stargus is in pre-alpha but development has been halted. Stratagus, Wargus, and War1gus are being updated regularly.
- StarCraft is only partially playable in Stargus as of v2.4.1. Warcraft games for Wargus & War1gus work well if installed correctly.
- Ship of Harkinian requires either the GameCube's PAL Debug ROM (recommended), PAL Master Quest Debug ROM (for Master Quest mode's dungeons; supported as of v5.0.0), or the regular PAL GameCube ROM (not recommended) of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to generate an
oot.otrfile from OTRGui (from the PC download) to play it.
- The project de-compiled the game into GOAL code. The project also developed a general-purpose GOAL compiler. Ports of Jak 2 & 3 may be viable because they were made in GOAL too.
- DXX-Retro, also known as DXX-Rebirth-Retro, requires files from DXX-Rebirth version 0.58.1 to be able to use. DXX-Switch is a port of DXX-Retro for Nintendo Switch and DXX-3DS is a Nintendo 3DS port of DXX-Switch, but they have technical issues that make them less playable.
- HHeretic is an open source game engine of Heretic for Linux. Heretic Wii is a Wii port is based on HHeretic 0.2.
- HHexen, also known as Hacked Hexen, is a Hexen source port was created by Dan Olson and maintained by the Hammer of Thyrion (Hexen II). It is a more advanced and portable version of the Linux Hexen source port and effectively replaced it. Hexen Wii and HHexen (Wii) are both Wii ports of Hexen based on HHexen 1.6.1.
- PrBoom-plus is still active
- QuakeGX is a Wii port of Peter Mackay's GameCube Quake port. Both are available on the same website. A forked version of QuakeGX called Quake Wii was later merged with QuakeGX.
- Quake Rev PAK (or QRevPack for short) is a collection of game engines of the Quake series that merges Q1Rev (Quake 1),  (Quake 2), Q2CTFRev (ThreeWave Capture the Flag mod for Quake II), and QWRev (QuakeWorld) in one. All by the same developer Izhido.
- vkQuake is based on Quakespasm, but uses Vulkan instead of OpenGL for rendering
- Five Nights at Freddy's 1 3DS -remastered- is an updated version of Five Nights at Freddy 1's 3DS by the same developer FreDev, also known as BumboDEV and BaseDEV. The developer also attempted Nintendo 3DS ports of Five Nights at Freddy's 2, 3, and 4 but development stopped after the developer lost the source code for Five Nights at Freddy's 2 and would have to reverse engineer it again. Those ports were only in a state of demonstration and were not fully playable, having incomplete A.I., gameplay, and missing screens. Download links to the latest version of these 3DS ports and the PS Vita port can be found on the old Discord server.
- Cave Story Engine 2, or CSE2 for short, received a DMCA cease and desist notice from Nicalis, the current IP owner of Cave Story, despite the original Cave Story being a freeware developed by Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya.
- Based on Stunt Car Racer Remake for Windows
- re3 and reVC have been taken down by Take-Two again. This also includes GaryOderNichts's Wii U ports, Graber's Switch ports, and the PS Vita ports of re3 and reVC.
- RE3 3DS is only playable on New Nintendo 3DS/2DS but even then, there will be occasionally graphical issues and frame drops.
- DopeWars PC port's download link is currently not working.
- DDLC-LOVE is a DDLC! port programmed in Lua. Even in its final release, there may be issues DDLC-LOVE may not have been able to fix but it's still playable. The developer recommends PS Vita users to use Doki-Doki-Literature-Club-Vita for the full DDLC! desktop experience including mod support.
- The Super Mario Bros. X fan game project was written in VB6 originally and being a closed source for a long time. It was founded in 2009 and supported up to 2011, later abandoned by its author. For a long time, various people hacked it and attempted to reverse-engine and make clones. After 11 years, the source code was finally open. Later, by an independent developer, it was ported from VB6 into C++ with the SDL2 library and released as "TheXTech". The TheXTech, unlike the original game engine, is cross-platform and lightweight. It's able to work on a variety of operating systems and processor architectures.
Game engine recreations and source ports specifically for:
- Open Source Game Clones (Likely the best and most complete list.)
- Games on GitHub by Lee Reilly (Master list in wider view. This list from leereilly contains Table of Contents and categories with highlighted links to Git repos.)
- Open Source Games on GitHub by Trilarion (Master list. As good as OSGC site above & frighteningly far larger list than leereilly's Git list. Over 1200 game entries!)
- Game engine recreation on Wikipedia (Has links to lists of: 1) commercial video games with source code; 2) source ports; and 3) game engine recreations.)
- List of games with reconstructed source code on Wikipedia
- List of open-source video games on Wikipedia (Not very complete, and the different categories are somewhat confusing.)
- LibreGameWiki (Small learning curve applies for navigating around the wiki. Tends to focus more on indigenous open-source engines.)
- Game category of the Free software directory (Wiki with fairly basic content. Tends to focus more on indigenous open-source engines.)
- Curated Lists:
- Tuncay D.'s recommendations for OS, DRM-free games (thingsiplay.game.blog. Mar 13, 2020. Not for game recreations. Some selections have similarities to old commercial games.)
- Tuncay D.'s recommendations for OS & alike games (thingsiplay.game.blog. May 19, 2020. Focused on game recreations and engines similar to other games.)
Specific gaming systems
- Wii - Category of open source applications game for Wii on WiiBrew including source ports, game recreations, and more
- GamingOnLinux.com (For the latest news on releases and updates of game recreations and source ports that work on Linux)
- Reddit feed (Aggregation quality is a little bit spotty. You have to wade through the news posts a bit for the relevant software.)
- List of Open Source Games on Reddit (Thread by u/AMD_CEO. Wed Jul 1, 2020. Had added recommendations to links also seen above.)