Simulation video games (“Sims”) describe a wide range of video games, generally designed to closely emulate real life activities. Examples of this genre include operating a copy of a real-life vehicle, or participating in recreating historical events. Sims differ from other PC games in that their raison d’être isn’t always to entertain, at least not primarily. Simulation games remain popular among gamers, offering players the experience of the real world.
The game frequently credited as the first simulation game is Fortune Builder, a ColecoVision game which let you plan, build and run your own community. The popularity of the genre accelerated with the releases of the classic SimCity, an open-ended city-building computer and console video game series.
All of the simulation games below are highly addictive, immersive, fascinating, and hugely satisfying. The key is not to concentrate on games with breathtaking graphics, or the highest presentation. Instead, these are recommended simulation games which have great gameplay coupled with the urge of always having just one more play. And as the source code is freely available, users can pick up, modify, and expand upon the games.
Only open source games are eligible to be recommended here. And we give preference to games that run on multiple operating systems. There are many excellent free-to-play simulation games not included in this feature. This is intentional. We have nothing against free-to-play games, but they don’t always promote a community helping the project develop further.
|Oolite||An open-world space opera inspired by the 8-bit classic Elite|
|Endless Sky||Space trading and combat game in the style of Escape Velocity|
|Unknown Horizons||2D realtime strategy simulation with an emphasis on economy and city building|
|OpenTTD||Based on the classic game Transport Tycoon Deluxe|
|Rigs of Rods||Drive, fly and sail various vehicles|
|Simutrans||Your goal is to establish a successful transport company|
|Speed Dreams||Motorsport simulation and racing game|
|FlightGear||A sophisticated and open flight simulator framework|
The games are not listed by any sort of ranking. They are all worth downloading and free in every sense.
It’s likely one or more of your favourite open source simulation games are not included here. Feel free to share your open source recommendations. But remember free-to-play (not open-source) games like War Thunder are not for this feature.