Anno Where I’m Going: Unknown Horizons

It looks idyllic now, but establish your colony well and a hundred years later it'll be covered in concrete and gun crime

It seems like the correct time of day to lift spirits with a free, open source economic simulation game that takes place in a randomly generated archipelago. Thankfully, Unknown Horizons is just such a thing and it’s a damn fine one as well. The project was originally intended to be an Anno clone but it has evolved from those beginnings to become its own master. With economics, diplomacy and combat already handled well, it’s already a tiny slice of delicious isometric cake and regular updates along with its open source nature mean all manner of fancy ingredients should be added. Download here or watch a video showing the latest features below.

The game has been in development for a good while now but I only discovered it this weekend. It’s pleasant to find an ambitious indie game that’s already stacked full of features and in such a playable state. Maybe I should retire from the internet for four years and come back to find all the alpha projects I’m following not only completed but scooped up by major publishers and polished to a dazzling sheen.

Comes in Windows, Linux and OS X flavours.


  1. meloncrab says:

    Can you alphafund it?

  2. faillord_adam says:

    Not in the Ubuntu repos and I don’t like installing from source or .deb. Is there a PPA?

    To non Linux users, don’t bother asking.

    • step21 says:

      There is not really a difference between .deb and ppa, except that the deb doesn’t update itself. You could make a ppa just by always uploading the latest deb from the website …

    • Megagun says:

      Sorry for going slightly off-topic, but how important are .deb packages or PPAs for you?

      I’m tasked with releasing a Linux build of a project I’ve been slightly involved with, and (although I have a .deb package system set up and ready to churn out the release) I’m going to recommend people to build from source rather than installing packaged versions via the supplied packages.

      Also, how important is a PPA for you? Will it increase or decrease your willingness to try out a project? Why exactly is it so important (or not important at all)?

    • markatto says:

      @Megagun: I think that most people (myself included) do not like having software on their systems that is not tracked by the package manager. As a professional linux/unix admin, I will normally create my own package if none is provided, but not everybody has the knowledge and/or motivation to do this.

    • Gnoupi says:

      @Megagun – The fact is that unpackaged software on a linux is awful to keep track of. It makes Windows installers from 15 years ago and registry settings a pleasant thing, in comparison.

      Because sure, it’s easy to build from source (given you have all dependencies installed…), if it’s correctly done (configure make make install are not the hardest to type), but it’s a pain to maintain or uninstall, if the program put files anywhere else than its own folder.

      And not talking about upgrading even.

    • jimbobjunior says:

      @Megagun having a PPA available would definitely increase the likelyhood of installing for me.

  3. TillEulenspiegel says:

    It’s written in Python. Yay Python!

    link to

    Their engine (FIFE) looks nice too, and it’s LGPL.

    • Kaira- says:

      Nice to see Python picking up wind on the gaming world, even though I personally dislike Python (that syntax just seems so ugly). Nice to see open source picking up wind on the gaming world also.

    • wu wei says:

      I personally dislike Python (that syntax just seems so ugly)

      I don’t think enough emphasis is placed on personal aesthetics when it comes to programming languages, when it’s very clearly a deciding factor in many people’s choices. I find Python to be at the perfect point between concision and readability, although I’ve seen many people physically react to it with the same rancor that I reserve for the latest “Look, Ma, I made my own LISP!”

    • mojo says:

      but it does not conform pep-8 :(

    • wu wei says:

      but it does not conform pep-8 :(

      Unless it’s up for inclusion in the standard library, that isn’t an issue :)

    • totycro says:

      UH uses PEP-8, with the exception that we use tabs instead of spaces. There are some function names from the engine that don’t conform to it, but we can’t really do anything about that.

      I sometimes format code for emphasis and to make special cases more readable, but that’s also explicitly allowed by PEP-8.

      Please let us know about any other violations so we can fix them, we’re really interested in keeping the code in a relatively good shape.

  4. Njordsk says:

    A pun I understood. My english knowledge increased by 1, hooray !

  5. mjig says:

    “It looks idyllic now, but establish your colony well and a hundred years later it’ll be covered in concrete and gun crime”
    We’re talking about Africa, right?

  6. BurningPet says:

    Ah, the joy of seeing good indie games gets coverage.
    never seem to get enough of it.

    Edit – And i think someone should bake adam a Puncake.

  7. cptgone says:

    yay! DLing :)

    BTW, you guys make life way too easy for today’s youth.
    i remember the time when we had to walk barefoot through the snow for kilometers and miles just to buy some stupid mag full of biased reviews of big brand games we couldn’t buy anyway cause there were no shops that carried ’em.

  8. Carra says:

    Looks a lot like the original Anno 1602. I might give it a try once I finish Anno 2070 :)

  9. totycro says:

    Thanks for the great review!

    I guess we can really say that we’re leaving the alpha-stage behind, one can already play a normal game for more than an hour without having done everything there is to do. There’s also a multiplayer mode, which is actually interesting now that we have combat.
    At the moment, we’re trying to create scenarios and campaigns as one of the major next step. The code for it is already implemented, but we currently lack creative writers, so if you’re in any way interested in this area, we’d be glad to see you in the IRC-channel :)

    totycro from the UH team

  10. wu wei says:

    Oh man, it’s not on Desura? I have to download and manage this myself? What is this, 2009?

    • rayne117 says:

      My friend despises Desura because it’s so useful and awesome. At least that’s what I got from his argument to why he prefers downloading Project Reality in 3 parts via torrent rather than just one big file.

  11. MistaJah says:

    Stylistically, very much Age of Empires 2… Except confined to a small island, and the people and animals are more 3D.

  12. RyuRanX says:

    I like the old-school 2D graphics and the gameplay seens to be very interesting. I want to play this one!

  13. propjoe says:

    Someone finally designed a game specifically for my tastes! This shall be excellent.