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A multiplayer lockstep RTS engine compatible with the Age of Empires II Trial assets

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Open Empire

Open Empire is an educational multi-player RTS engine which interfaces with the Age of Empires II Trial assets.



Arch   : pacman -S sdl2 sdl2_net sdl2_ttf
Ubuntu : apt-get install libsdl2-dev libsdl2-net-dev libsdl2-ttf-dev


git clone
cd openempire
make -C src


Get a copy of Age of Empires II trial version from the internet archive:

Unzip, and run the installation .exe with wine. The game's asset data folder can be found in the root directory of the game's installation:

"$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires II Trial/Data"

To play, first start the server by specifying the port and the number of users who will be playing:

./openempire --path "$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires II Trial/Data" --port 1234 --users 3 --server

Keep note, that three users implies two human players and one anti-cheat bot who spectates the game and detects and restores out of syncs.

Second, start these three clients (you, on your computer, a friend on their computer, and the anti-cheat bot on a computer you trust). The anti cheat bot must be started last. For instance, to start one client:

./openempire --path "$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires II Trial/Data" --port 1234 --host localhost --xres 1440 --yres 900


Some small tweaks have been added to ease some of the controls:

W A S D :
    Pans the camera

Left shift + left click: Selects multiple of the same unit

Left alt + Q W E R T ... Z X C V B: Selects a building to place, or a unit command to execute


Open Empire was written from scratch with the highest regards of the original copyright holders.

Open Empire is NOT a binary decompilation of Age of Empires II.

Data, art, and sound files from the Age of Empires II Trial are not supplied.

Age of Empires II is copyright (©) by Microsoft Corporation, Ensemble Studios, and SkyBox Labs. Open Empire was created under Microsoft's Game Content Usage Rules:

Open Empire uses assets from the Age of Empires II Trial, and it is not endorsed by or affiliated with Microsoft, Ensemble Studios, or SkyBox Labs.


Thanks to:

  • SFTech OpenAge team for their fantastic documentation on the inner workings of the SLP and DRS file formats. See:

  • The developers and artists from Ensemble Studios for the many gifted childhood memories

  • Forgotten Empires for keeping the spirit of Age of Empires II alive

Dedicated to Ondrej whom I met hiking across England as he hiked from Scotland to Spain, and to TheJoshMaster22; volare, my friend, wherever you are.

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