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About the game

What is Open Surge?

Open Surge (also: Surge Engine, Open Surge Engine) is a game engine for retro games. It is designed to help you make your dreams come true. A retro platformer game called Surge the Rabbit is included with it. The project is free and open source software, written from the ground up in C language using the Allegro game programming library.

Where can I download it?

Get it at opensurge2d.org.

Who develops the game?

The game started to be developed by Alexandre Martins, a computer scientist from Brazil. Over time, people from all over the world began to contribute to the project, including artistics, musicians, translators and more! Check out the developers page for more information.

How can I help?

Do you feel inspired by this project? If you have artistic skills, marketing skills, speak multiple languages or have other talents, you can contribute! Contact Alexandre via Discord (alemart#7553) or e-mail.

I love Surge!

Marry him.

Can I create a game with Open Surge?

Absolutely! Read Introduction to Modding.

Can I create a commercial game with Open Surge?

The Open Surge Engine targets an audience of hobbyists who create homebrew games. Different engines such as: Unity, Unreal, Godot, Defold, Clickteam, Game Maker, Construct, and others, may be a better fit for the needs of a commercial audience.

Can I make a fangame of Surge the Rabbit?

Yes, you may use the character Surge the Rabbit in a fangame under the conditions described in our Trademark Policy.

Why did you stop Open Sonic?

We stopped it to make a libre game.

Even though SEGA is permissive when it comes to Sonic fangames, and has been so for more than 25 years (see: SAGE, SFGHQ), Sonic fangames are not libre games. Open Sonic had a freely licensed source code, but, like all other Sonic fangames, it used proprietary content under fair use.

We forked ourselves with the intent of making a libre game. We have dropped all proprietary content from the game and began to create new content / artwork from scratch, under free licenses. We have used the self-written, GPL-licensed source code of Open Sonic as a starting point of this new project. Nowadays, Open Surge has a very different and much more complex code base - and it is a libre game distributed in channels of the free software ecosystem (such as GNU/Linux distributions).

Playing the game

How can I control the characters?

Using the keyboard, the important keys are: Arrows (move), Space Bar (jump), Left Ctrl (change character), Enter (pause) and ESC (quit). You can also use a joystick.

How do I play using a joystick?

Simply plug your joystick and have fun! Make sure that "Use gamepad" is set to to "YES" in the options screen.

How can I reconfigure the controls?

If you want different buttons for tasks like jumping, pausing the game, etc., you need to reconfigure the controls. Open config/input.def using a simple text editor like Notepad or gedit. Follow the instructions there.

How can I make my own levels?

See: How to make a level.

Are there additional levels?

Yes, you can find new levels on the forums!

What is a MOD?

It's a game made by users with the Open Surge game engine. MODs can be surprisingly different from the original Open Surge game: early modifications ranged from simple sidescrollers to platformers with ninjas and RPG elements. See Introduction to Modding.

How can I play MODs?

MODs come in a package (usually a .zip file). Simply decompress it and run the executable (.exe file). If you use Linux, you can use the command line to install a new MOD. For detailed instructions, run:

opensurge --help

How do I take a screenshot?

Press the "=" (equals) key. A screenshot will be saved to the screenshots/ folder. In Linux, it should be saved to ~/.cache/opensurge2d/opensurge/screenshots.


The screen size is too small!

Go to the options screen (at the main menu) and increase the size.

The controls are strange! My character keeps going left or right!

Disable joystick input.

The game is slow!

Close all running programs - specially the web browser. Next, close the game and open it again.

Additionally, you may decrease the screen size in the options screen. Also, play around with the command line options to tune things up. In a console window, type:

opensurge --help

Technical questions

I've found a bug!

If you've found a bug you think had escaped our attention, make sure you have as much information about when it occurred as possible. Tell us the steps to reproduce the bug, situations where the error won't show, etc. You can report the bug on the forums or contact the developers directly.

How do I run a level than isn't on the stage select?

You can simply go to the DEBUG (SECRET) stage select screen, where all .lev's (level files) will show up - cutscenes and everything. Here's how you access it:

  1. Go to the options screen
  2. Highlight stage select
  3. Press RIGHT three times; you'll hear a sound
  4. Enter

Since Open Surge version 0.5.0, you can also access the debug screen if you press RIGHT 3x in the splash screen (initial screen).

Advanced command line options

There are a few advanced options that are not directly available to users. It's worthwhile exploring them if you're a creator. Open a console/terminal and type:

opensurge --help

How can I compile the source code?

See: Compiling the Source Code.