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Welcome to Zero-K

Zero-K is a free, multiplatform, open-source RTS game in which massive robot armies fight in an endless conflict. A powerful interface allows players to easily implement their economic, strategic, and tactical decisions. Units interact intuitively, using real-world projectile and movement physics. It boasts over 100 diverse units including Vehicles, Tanks, Hovercraft, Planes, Gunships, Ships, Spider walkers, and dozens of other different robots offering unique strategic options and a dynamic combat style.

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Some of the more prominent features:

  • Epic Scale from tiny flea-bots to huge mechs and gigantic superweapons that wreak havoc - hundreds or thousands of units on the battlefield, all easily viewable with a fully pannable and zoomable camera.
  • Realistic Physics mean each shot is physically simulated realtime - you can actually evade bullets if you micro-manage your units! Hills and terrain affect line of sight and radar coverage, and explosions deform the terrain.
  • Planet Wars lets you take control of your own planet and fight for survival in an ongoing online campaign!

  • Natural Balance allows units to depend on their natural characteristics and the benefits of the simulated environment, not contrived special damages to determine their effectiveness.
  • Terraforming - change the terrain: walls, ditches, ramps and more, to provide yourself with an extra tactical advantage.
  • Unique Abilities make sure units are fun to use! From jump-jets, gravity turrets, mobile shields, burning napalm, air drops, commander morphs, EMP, minelayers, burrowers, replicators, and teleporters - we've got it all and more!
  • Streamlined Economy - the economic system is complex without being tedious, with a simple interface and controls. Resources are unlimited and output can be scaled up as the game progresses, allowing for increasingly intense battles. The system is also designed to minimize slippery slope and allow skilled players to make comebacks from losing positions.

Some of the many units to try out include:

There are many even more amazing features, but listing them isn't as fun as trying them out yourself, so visit our Downloads page!

Zero-K is made by the players, for the players. All the game developers are active and experienced players. Balance and fun are assured.

Zero-K v1.5.7.1 - Limpet, sea balance and cheaper Defender

Sea has a balance update, with a more interesting Reef and less dominant Ronin. The amphibious bots are fleshed out with their own crawling bomb. There was mixed feedback on the Defender cost increase. Personally, I missed the choice of light turrets but appreciated the lack of large Defender forests. The cost increase has been reduced to 100 metal and will likely persist to see how people adapt.

Zombie mode is seeing some use so it has been slightly improved. The "Set AI Spawns" modoption is now active, previously it was a placeholder. Other improvements and fixes from previous stables last month, such as to terraform and stats graphs, are included in the notes for completeness.


New unit: Limpet, an Amphibious Bomb. Unlike other bombs this unit does not cloak (in any case, cloak is disabled underwater). It has higher health and a large range to compensate.
  • Cost: 180
  • Health: 400
  • Speed: 117 e/s
  • Damage: 150 normal, 1500 slow. Maximum slow persists for up to 5 seconds.
  • Damage radius: 250

  • Cost 120 -> 100 (was 80 previously)

Gauss turret:
  • No longer overshoots.
  • Reduced projectile speed by 45%.

  • Maximum slow persists for up to 2 seconds.

  • Health 1350 -> 1650
  • Projectile is planted for two seconds before moving (in sea) or exploding (on land).

  • Health: 3000 -> 2500
  • Reload time: 4 -> 5 (Effective DPS 150 -> 120)
  • Weapon velocity: 400 -> 350
  • Turret traverse rate 150 -> 50

  • Sonic gun range: 380 -> 340

  • Cost: 3500 -> 3000
  • Tacnuke replaced with disarm missile
  • Stockpile cost: 600 -> 150
  • Stockpile time: 60 -> 30
  • Damage: 15000 disarm for a maximum of 10 seconds
  • Range: 3000
  • Damage radius: 140

  • Cost: 3800 -> 4000

SLAM rocket:
  • Cost 200 -> 150m

Zombies are no longer immune to slow damage. The 50% zombie slowdown is applied independently so now slow damage against zombies can cause them to move at 25% the speed of a normal unit.


  • Claymore tactical AI now runs away whenever it fires.
  • Fixed a bug which prevented Reef and Bantha from moving close enough to their target.
  • Units moving in groups now clump less at their destination.
  • Overkill prevention now takes shields into account.
  • High damage weapons now prioritize healthier units over unhealthy units when both units can be killed in a single shot.


The modoption "Set AI Spawns" is now active. Enable it to select the start positions for every AI in the game.

  • Limpet, Roach, Flea and Tick now leave tracks.
  • F4 eco view: enemy mexes marked.
  • F4 eco view: use colour of owner instead of hardcoded teal.
  • Added more quality settings to LUPS.
  • Added a menu toggle which controls whether dropped/lagging players units flash.
  • Start position ranks now use the shiny ranks.
  • Mace weapon now has sparks.

  • Skydust UI can now be used to flatten and build on otherwise unbuildable terrain.
  • Added 'D' as a hotkey to cancel blocks of terraform.
  • Fixed the occasional long delay when building on a terraformed platform.

Stat graphs:
  • Graphs now only go up to game over.
  • Simplified the graph window when the game is ongoing.
  • Added a toggle to show stat graphs to the global commands bar.

Other changes:
  • Rewrote the selected units panel as the old version was a drain on performance.
  • Hotkeys now available in simple menu mode.
  • Constructors no longer inherit factory priority.
  • Added a rate limit for incoming chat and ping noises.
  • Dragging orders in the factory build queue no longer removes the Alt modifier.
  • Radio buttons look more like radio buttons.
  • Added a chicken panel toggle to the global command bar.
  • Improved trainer commander selection UI and options.


  • Fix inheriting land/fly state.
  • Fix missing endgame window
  • Setting a hotkey no longer causes the window to replace itself.
  • Fixed Racketeer getting stuck shooting at disarmed targets.
  • Reduced graphs performance usage, especially when not enabled.
  • Wreckage fixes, some units would leave full wreck when supposed to leave debris.
  • Fixed move-repeat interaction.
  • Fixed a delay caused when giving a move order to a jumping unit.
  • Fixed units doing a Circle Guard getting confused and breaking the formation.
  • Fixed ballistic scatter prediction position in the attack AoE display widget.
  • Fixed menu search.
  • Pause no longer delays the end of the game.
  • Fixed unit XP display and it is no longer gathered on damage dealt outside LOS.
  • Fixes for zooming the camera to a startbox.
  • Fixed missing fighter jets.
  • Fixed "Wait or Win" placement.
  • Fixed mex placement with command insert.
Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 23 days ago - comment

Zero-K v1.5.6.0 Expensive Defender Week(end?)

Many people are concerned by Defender so here is a test with a Defender that cost 120 metal, up from 80 metal (the image above is a tiny bit exaggerated). Is it still useful? What does the game look like? Play to find out.

Mostly we are working on fixes and polish. In particular, the settings menu is in the process of becoming much friendlier. USrankCrazyEddie has embarked upon the task of improving the statistics graph and now it can be shown in the middle of the game with Alt+F1.


  • Fixed Scorcher suicidal behaviour.
  • Remove flamer/gauss bonus damage vs features.
  • Lightning weapons with a normal damage component now deals the correct damage to wrecks (previously it dealt no damage).

Chicken Fixes

  • Improved Tiamat, White Dragon and grounded Queen behaviour.
  • Fixed many projectile lights.
  • Roc/queen flying animations make more sense.
  • Speed up Wurm movement animation


Endgame graphs:
  • Endgame graphs can now be disabled during the game with the hotkey Alt+F1.
  • Fixed multiple endgame graph bugs and polish issues.
  • Remove Units Built/Killed/Lost

Time, death, squad and gather wait are now bindable through the hotkeys menu. These are commands that behave similarly to the normal wait command but which will remove themselves when certain conditions are met.
  • Time wait is removed after a set amount of time.
  • Death wait is removed if all the targeted units are dead.
  • Squad wait is removed once enough units with squad wait reach the waypoint, so a factory can be queued to send squads of 4 units.
  • Gather wait is perhaps the most useful, it causes your units to wait until all the recipients of the command reach their waypoint.

Main menu settings are now much clearer.
  • Removed the Game submenu, the options from that menu are now mostly under Settings/Hotkeys and Settings/Unit Behaviour.
  • Replaced the advanced settings toggle on the menu window with a simple settings toggle, default enabled. This shows a significantly cut down menu which is to be populated with only the most generally relevant settings (still WIP).
  • Advanced mode can be enabled through Settings/Misc.
  • Applied some polish to the main menu in the form of spacing fixes and consistent button sizes. Also removed the "..." and the redundant tooltip from the submenu buttons.

Minor changes:
  • Factories default to selection rank 3.
  • Economy panel metal bar flash is now grey instead of red when full or near full.
  • Remove "Trainer" from trainer comm names


  • Fix Bantha missiles.
  • Fixed an idle builder selection bug.
  • Fixed an issue with issuing wait commands to moving units.
  • Chat backlog is no longer ignores the setting that determines whether it is open at the start of the game.
  • Fixed Panther death explosion.
  • Resurrected units with 'inherit' start states now inherit from the default of their usual factory instead of from the unit that resurrected them.
  • Fixed some command insert issues.
  • Skydust now terraforms at height zero. This allows structures to be queued for construction of cliffsides (but not yet with all Skydust methods).
  • Going AFK with AI allies no longer forfeits your income.
  • Fixed unit marker to use AI name.
  • Fixed a bug with setting resource reserve.
  • Fixed jumpjets for underground units.
Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 53 days ago - comment

Zero-K v1.5.5.0

The largest change in this version is internal: most of the internal filenames for units have been renamed. The files now follow a sensible system which will make them more approachable for developers. Anyone with local widgets or a non-Circuit AI will need to look at updating their code or configuration. MYrankAdminKingRaptor has written a tool for this task so talk to them if the task is large.

Another large bit of hidden work is ongoing work on the singleplayer campaign. Most of the work remaining is scenario design and implementation. We're not running with fully general missions so this work is much less daunting that the story campaign attempt. Missions are created with a reasonably short configuration file, part of the purpose of the internal renames was to make this task easier.

We have also been following engine development fairly closely and collecting bug reports. Bug reports have definitely decreased over the collection period and we appreciate the patience of the community for the few spikes that occurred.


Speed nerfs:
  • Firewalker 2.1 -> 1.45
  • Penetrator 2.4 -> 2.2

These changes seem opposed to Quants Rule since both of these units are fast for artillery. However, artillery should be slow in order to make positioning important, especially if the artillery is good against units. The Firewalker change seems particularly extreme but I think the high speed is an oversight from when the unit was otherwise hopeless. I decided that it should be noticeably slower than Recluse, with 1.6 speed, so that the owner of the Firewalker has to really think about risk and positioning. Also, USrankFealthas said that speed would have little effect and I took it as as a challenge.


  • Fixed some ugly main menu spacing.
  • Made build tab hotkeys work while Shift and Alt held. Ctrl is blocked by default to preserve global selection hotkeys. This is a change to defaults so existing players will need to modify or delete their hotkeys file to apply it.
  • Added a toggle for Gesture Menu in the settings so it is easy to enable. Fixed a bug with right-click opening.
  • Added human readable names for the "set particular state" hotkey buttons.
  • Improved COFC rotation/zoom smoothness and configuration.
  • Fixed missing Smoothscroll for existing players.

Previous versions

Here are some changes since the last release notes. These changes were live for at least three weeks.

Unit Movement

Units now move in a straight line if there is a direct, unimpeded (not counting mobiles), path to their goal. This makes them much nicer to control within battles as it removes the old issues of over-steer and zigzagging. Units can even be a bit more efficient moving over long distances.

Unfortunately this only applies to move commands. Ideally this would be seen as a prototype for an engine change that would apply it to all forms of movement. For widget and AI writers, this movement is implemented with a new move command so you may want to change any instances of movement to use the new command.


Fixed some target priority issues. This is mainly a Racketeer buff:
  • The target priority gadget now returns MAXIMUM PRIORITY for the target of the set target command. This is something that was worth doing ages ago.
  • All units with overkill prevention now slightly prioritize the last target that they shot at. This means that if you run 10 Glaives at 10 Racketeers they will all be disarmed forever. Previously the Racketeers would all stare intently at the Glaive with the slightly shorter disarm timer and get caught out by the Glaive with the second or third shortest disarm timer.

Other changes:
  • Slow damage no longer damages wrecks. The main effect is that Outlaw is much worse at clearing wreck fields. It has a small amount of normal damage so its wreck clearing ability is not entirely gone.
  • Increased Sniper footprint from 2x2 -> 3x3 to reduce teamkill.
  • Added a wreck for Caretaker and Strider Hub.


  • Unbound /track.
  • Response noises play for more commands.
  • Update unit states when switching spectator. For selection rank.
  • Added a 'D' ability to Thunderbird which causes it to instantly start its run.
  • Added selection rank to New Unit States.
  • Transport load double tap now works on constructor commands.
  • Added an option to only use selection filtering when Alt is held.


  • Fixed LUPS LOD. Now many effects such as (cloaking and thrusters) are not drawn for unit icons. This will improve performance.
  • Made DDM guns not get stuck in each other.
  • Fixed jumpjet on morph+reload bug.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed Thunderbird to make double length runs.
  • Fixed Warrior burst when slowed.
  • On flacplop the ground is now instantly flattened. This fixes the bug where commanders would linger after plopping their factories on uneven terrain.
  • Increased HLT and LLT overshoot command blocking range.
  • Fixed transport AI failing to transport auto transported constructors for the last mex of an area mex command.
  • Fixed Rogue overkill prevention for its damage buff.
  • Fixed selection rank of commanders not being maintained through morph.
  • Fixed constructor transport AI not being maintained through morph.
  • Fixed commander selection rank defaults in widgets not matching New Unit States defaults.
Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 2 months ago - comment

May 1v1 Tournament now on the 27th

Due to caster availability the May 1v1 tournament has been pushed back a week. The start time is now 10AM UTC, Saturday 27th May. See the original thread for more information and to sign up. http://zero-k.info/Forum/NewPost?threadID=24075
Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 2 months ago - comment

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