updated 2003-02-02

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FreeCNC - a new free C&C for nearly every computer system

There're some big news promising new life to be added to our favorite game!

    "Welcome to the open source project of FreeCNC, the SDL-rewrite of the classical real time strategy hit Command & Conquer."

There's a project running that brings C&C to other operating systems than the official supported ones which are MacOS "Classic", DOS, Windows9x, WinXP and some game consoles. The screenshots at FreeCNC look very good.

Here I link to some of their screenshots on their screenshots page. The screenshots on top are newer, the ones on bottom are the older ones. You will recognize some improvement even in the look, also more work is done "under the hood" in my opinion.

Okay, newest screenshots first:

If you want to see more, visit their screenshots page.

You should visit FreeCNC! According to that site:

    "FreeCNC has been reported to run under the following OS (all x86) :
    Linux 2.2/2.4, Windows 98/ME/XP, BeOS 5.x (R5), FreeBSD 4.5, OpenBSD 3.1 and QNX 6.2"

That's impressive. Also they say:

    "Ports that we are working on are: Solaris/Sparc, MacOSX/PPC."

That could mean that we get a native MacOS X version of C&C too. Currently the original MacC&C runs perfectly on MacOS X, but it runs in classic mode and a native version like this FreeCnC would be cool.

Other guys will be happy that they get this game for their favorite operating system too of course! This is absolutely amazing!

There's only one little problem I could imagine: What about the online feature? Can you play FreeCNC over WChat with the other guys? According to an effort to make an improved version of WChat for Mac, Westwood declined to reveal the protocol for WChat. I guess they fear that some guys would abuse those informations to hack the online gaming.

According to emails with the FreeCnC team they don't need Westwood to play online. FreeCnC uses it's own communication between the FreeCnC players:

[2002-11-30] Emails with FreeCnC team:

  • Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2002 16:40:22 +0100
    From: Bernd Ritter <>
    Subject: Re: free cnc


    nope, i dont think so, because freecnc does not rely on the cnc protocols. we wont reengineer them and westwood (ea) wont give us the protocols.
    but freecnc users will be able to play among themselves (the same as freecraft does). actually we can have our own Wchat-Service.

That sounds very interesting. Thanks for your fast answer, comrad ;-) A free alternative to the original that is completely independent from Westwood.

[2002-12-11] ICQ talk with comrad from FreeCnC:

Regarding the whole topic FreeCnC you should read this news: ICQ talk with comrad from FreeCnC. It's very interesting.

[2002-12-15] FreeCNC running on MacMark's OSX

I was able to download, compile and run and play FreeCnC on OS X with the help of the friendly, patient and skilled FreeCnC team. We were talking on IRC (internet relay chat) on their channel (check their site) until 3 o'clock in the morning. Thanks again to the FreeCnC team. Good work!

In the night from Friday to Saturday I was in the IRC channel of the FreeCNC team and they helped me building/compiling FreeCNC on my MacOS X. I used their source code and the mix files from the PeeCee demo of CnCdos as data for FreeCNC. Building took place by the "make" tool and the "bash" shell, but the "tcsh" shell works too. When the application file was built, I invoked it on the shell and how it looks like can be checked out by a look on the following screenshots:

The application can be used to play missions and videos, but it's not completed yet. nevertheless it looks very promising. It's a test edition whith some extra features that can be switched on and off like building everywhere, removing the fog of war and building anything. The screenshots show that. It's needed to test all features.

There's even a pretty smart starting tool for FreeCNC that let you select from a variety of options like shown in the next screenshot:

I have to emphasize that FreeCNC and even the start tool are independent from operating systems. Any operating system should be able to run this. When FreeCNC will be finished some day and we can do internet games with it and get our own ranking system (maybe), won't that be great? The best thing is, the developers of FreeCNC can make it like they want and we don't have to beg a company to patch a game.

There's no need to compile FreeCNC yourself, because for the most platforms there're already runable binaries. You can just download the binary file (application) and check it out. Especially I would like to read a review from The Barracks, "Your #1 source for C&C Gold and FreeCnC info!".

How to play FreeCNC

I'm providing here some informations on how to play with FreeCNC on OSX. I guess it's similar with other operating systems. Since FreeCNC is currently under developement you cannot simply double-click and go...

Software that you need:

FreeCNC files and CVS

The files of FreeCNC are available through CVS, which let's you download them directly from the FreeCNC server. CVS is a free version control system for many operating systems. Ok, what to do for you?

  • Download CVS at Look there for MacCVSX if you use OSX like I do.
  • Install CVS on your computer.
  • Start CVS and provide the following settings in it's preferences:
    • Authentication: "pserver"
    • Path: "/cvsroot/freecnc"
    • Host address: ""
    • User name: "anonymous"
  • Select Create > Checkout module:
    • Module name and path on the server: "freecnc++"
    • After OKing the dialog the download starts.

Now you have the FreeCNC program files on your disc.

CNC demo files

Although FreeCNC should run with the original CNC discs as data too, it's convenient to use the CNC demo files from Westwood.

Now you have the data files for FreeCNC on your disc.

SDL library

This library is used by FreeCNC and must be installed on your computer in order to run FreeCNC.

Now you have the additional software used by FreeCNC on your disc.

FreeCNC application file

I assume you don't want to compile FreeCNC on your own:

Now you have the runable FreeCNC main file on your computer.

Use your command line (terminal) tool and navigate to the "freecnc++" folder on your disc. Usually you can type "cd " and drag that folder into your terminal window, <return> and you're there. Typing "freecnc" should start now the game.

If you're looking for some options for starting it type "freecnc -help" to see a list of parameters. Examples are

  • freecnc -playvqa
  • freecnc -map scg10ea
  • freecnc -fullscreen

to name a few.

Confused? Help is on the way. There's a GUI tool to specify all these options:

TCL/TK (wish shell)

This program lets you run a GUI based application to start FreeCNC with several options.

  • Download TCL/TK at if your're usig OSX. Other operating systems have it too, just search on the web for it ;-)
  • Install TCL/TK on your computer.
  • Move with the console into your "freecnc++" folder and type "wish" to start this wish shell.
  • Under "File > Source" select the file "fl.tcl" in your "freecnc++" folder. This will execute the GUI with start options for FreeCNC.
  • Make some selections and then hit OK and enjoy the game.

For the programmer

In the FreeCNC sources is included a make file that let's you build FreeCNC on your own. (Remember this isn't necessary as you can download compiled FreeCNC versions for the different operating systems at the FreeCNC site at Type "make" in that directory to see the different options for building FreeCNC. I suggest you do a "make osx-nonet", if you're on OSX like me. After making you can strip the binary file and you shrink it to about 1 MB.

You might want to check out the Fink project at that gives you open source software for OSX like TCL/TK and SDL. It keeps you up to date with the latest versions and for a programmer this is a must-visit site. It downloads and compiles and installs what you like and it's a pretty smart tool.

Looks like my CNC site is becoming a programmer's site ;-)

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