FSO (Freespace 2 Open, aka Freespace SCP) is an awesome project. Its awesomeness however fails to extend to its installation process. After considerable trials and tribulations I finally managed to install FSO and the freespace 1 port (Descent: The Great War) on Ubuntu 12.04 (running on an ancient Dell laptop with an intel 945GM integrated graphics card).

Here are the steps I took. Be warned that there were many dead-ends and U-turns so this procedure is not guaranteed. Feel free to post questions and suggestions if the procedure fails.

Objective: Install the FSO engine and use it to run the Freespace 2 (Retail) game and fsport (freespace open port which ports the retail Freespace 1 game to the opensource engine).

Resources: Running the FSO engine requires game-files from the retail Freespace 2 installation which can be acquired from either old copies of the Freespace 2 (Retail) CD, a Windows installation of the game you have access to or by buying a copy from www.gog.com (Good Old Games) for just $5.99.


1. Create the folder that will contain the freespace 2 engine and various games files. I chose $HOME/Games/freespace2

mkdir $HOME/Games/freespace2

export FS2="$HOME"/Games/freespace2
$FS2 should now refer to the folder you chose to install the engine and files in.

Now we need to move the game files from the Freespace 2 Retail installation. I will only outline the www.gog.com and wine procedure for acquiring game files since that is the only one I am familiar one. The technique for getting game files from a Windows installation should be pretty similar. The internet contains information on extracting game files directly from a CD (for example http://hyperlogos.org/page/Freespace...-Ubuntu-Feisty).

2. For the wine procedure navigate to http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/freespace_2, buy and download the windows installer (.exe file).

3. Now execute the setup file using wine by navigating to the folder containing the setup exe file and running the following in the terminal:

wine ./setup_freespace_2.exe
This will run the installer under wine. Complete the installation and locate the folder containing the game files. On my computer it was located at:

export $WINE_FS2="$HOME"/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/GOG.com/Freespace\ 2
$WINE_FS2 should contain the absolute path to the wine folder containing the Freespace 2 (Retail) game files (i.e. the one containing the game launcher exe file). It isn't necessary that the game run under wine (it didn't for me).

4. We now create the requisite directory structure in the freespace2 game folder and copy the required game files from the wine installation as follows:

mkdir -p $FS2/data/players

cd $WINE_FS2

cp Root_fs2.vp $FS2/data/root_fs2.vp

cp smarty_fs2.vp sparky_fs2.vp sparky_hi_fs2.vp stu_fs2.vp tango1_fs2.vp tango2_fs2.vp tango3_fs2.vp warble_fs2.vp $FS2/data/

cp data2/tangoA_fs2.vp $FS2/data/tangoa_fs2.vp

cp data3/tangoB_fs2.vp $FS2/data/tangob_fs2.vp

cp data/players/*.hcf $FS2/data/players/
(Note: All the files in to $FS2/data must have filenames that are entirely in small-case)

5. We create and populate the configuration file for the Freespace 2 Open Engine:

mkdir $HOME/.fs2_open

cat > $HOME/.fs2_open/fs2_open.ini << "EOF"
VideocardFs2open=OGL -(1680x1050)x32 bit
Replace the screen resolution (1680x1050) with your computer's.

6. Download the freespace 2 open Linux binary from fs2_open_3_6_12. Extract the archive in $FS2.

Simply, copy the downloaded fs2_open_3_6_12_INF.tar.bz2 file to the $FS2 folder and extract the files using:

cd $FS2

tar -jxf fs2_open_3_6_12_INF.tar.bz2
The archive contains two launchers (binaries that launch the freespace 2 open engine and uses it to run the Freespace 2 (Retail) game natively on Linux). The '_r' version is the one to use, the '_d' version is the debug version which creates an fs2_open.log file to help in debugging.

7. Test the launcher by executing the binary:

This should launch Freespace 2 (Retail) using the FSO engine. Enjoy the game.