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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 v1.5.9.3

This month we mostly have fixes and interface improvements. The engine itself has also received a lot of work and is looking quite stable. Notably, unit movement was improved within the engine so now units move in straight lines over short distances with all commands.


  • Crabe can now shoot at gunships.
  • Added overkill prevention for Recluse, against statics, that assumes at least one missile will hit.
  • Commander Dgun can now be shot underwater.

  • Tweaked projectile parameters so that it no longer bounces around crazily for 15 seconds when it misses.
  • Doubled the hold time for Claymore on land (2s -> 4s).
  • Added overkill prevention.

AI and Chickens

  • AI-only teams now resign when they have no factories or constructors.
  • Tweaked early chicken difficulties.


  • Improved and enabled the decloak ranges widget. The decloak range of selected cloaked units are drawn as merged circles. Units that want to cloak have their decloak range drawn in red.
  • Improved the Ramp command. Now one end of the ramp can be selected by clicking at the first location and holding on the second location. Also improved terraform tooltips.
  • Area commands can now be dragged off the edge of the map (this is an engine change).
  • Improved Area Resurrect behaviour. It now abandons wrecks which are being reclaimed and does not touch partially reclaimed wrecks by default. Hold Ctrl to resurrect partially reclaimed wrecks.
  • Added more volume sliders.
  • Added detonate button for Dirtbag.
  • Area mex now works with command insert (Space).
  • Changed the Infiltrator icon.
  • The global command bar can now be hidden.
  • Changed the retreat icon on the global command bar.


  • Berthas can no longer get their muzzles stuck in other units.
  • Fixed a move command bug.
  • Fixed some variable UI overlap.
  • Fixed shield capture error.
  • Fixed stuck detection for move commands.
Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 2 days ago - comment

AI difficulty level renames

The circuit AI difficulty levels are now Beginner - Novice - Easy - Normal - Hard - Brutal. Thanks to everyone for their feedback and patience as we dial in appropriate difficulty levels and names. There should be no further big changes to names because we now have a fairly clear idea of the purpose for each difficulty level.
Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 35 days ago - comment

Zero-K v1.5.8.2

Thanks to recent work and feedback we now have tentative AI difficulty levels. Aside from AI, we have been working on smarter and newbie friendly defaults for unit AI and, as always, miscellaneous bug fixes.

AI Difficulty Levels

Renamed the AI difficulty levels for descriptiveness and because 'Very' is unimaginative.
  • Beginner: A new AI that barely attacks. It is easier than the old Very Easy.
  • Easy: The old Very Easy.
  • Normal: The old Easy.
  • Hard: The old Medium.
  • Brutal: The old Hard.
  • Insane: The old (well, quite recent) Brutal.

Beginner is very much a sandbox AI for getting the hang of units and controls. It slowly makes a base and after about 8 minutes sends a Flea (or equivalent unit) to wander around the map. Easy and Normal correspond to AIs recently configured by USrankCrazyEddie. Easy is like Beginner but, instead of a Flea, it makes an army out of a few units and sends them to wander around the map. It also has a faster buildup.

Brutal is the old Hard. The new Normal and Hard are effectively Brutal but with a delay on all their construction and less self preservation for their units. Insane is a recent configuration which I was recommended to place as harder than the old Hard. Many thanks to UAranklamer for writing Circuit AI and GBrank[GBC]1v0ry_k1ng for configuration, as well as to everyone else who has given feedback.

We have also added a beginner level chicken to match the Circuit AI difficulty levels.


  • Moved to Strider Hub, no longer buildable by constructors.
  • Cost 500 -> 600
  • Build power 7.5 -> 15 (notably this doubles resurrect speed)
The intention is to buff resurrection and sneaky unit production while nerfing it as a second factory.

  • Cost 200 -> 250
  • Health 1000 -> 2200 (It is supposedly beefy)
  • Damage 1000 -> 1200
  • Reload time 2.8 -> 2.4.
Note that the reload time doubles its stun uptime because it has an EMP timer of 2 seconds. The intention is to avoid swapping Faraday and Stardust in the build menu as well as an attempt to revive a generally ignored turret.

The Cloaky and Shield factories now have a an unbuildable section in front of them to make them harder to accidentally block.

Unit Behaviour

Tactical AI
  • Rockos now try to shoot Stardust from outside its range.
  • Added tactical AI for Goliath.

Skirmishers and particularly long ranged riots are now smarter about skirmishing occluded units. They now detect when their line of fire is blocked and, after a few seconds, stop skirmishing and try to move such that they can fire. This behaviour is disabled for units set to Hold Position because this is the "don't get baited" movestate.

Disabled hold position by default for skirmishers, now that they are smarter about being blocked. The affected units are Buoy, Hammer, Rocko, Sniper, Scalpel, Firewalker, Placeholder, Moderator, Racketeer, Felon, Recluse, Wolverine and Dominatrix.

Here are the remaining things with hold position by default.
  • Anti-Air - Angler, Gremlin, Flail, Archangel, Vandal, Zephyr, Tarantula, Copperhead, Crasher.
  • Cloaked 'melee' - Scythe, Flea, Infiltrator.
  • Expensive artillery - Penetrator, Ronin, Catapult, Pillager, Tremor.
  • Deployable stuff - Crabe, Slasher.
  • Weird stuff - Claymore, Aspis, Scylla, Dart.
These changes should only affect new players.

  • Cheap units [?] given slightly more attention by long-reload, heavy-hitting units [?]
  • Fixed identified radar dots getting overkilled, especialy by disarm
  • Hammer now has overkill prevention vs static targets.
  • Racketeer now correctly anticipates that disarm is about to wear off.
  • Racketeer now longer unwilling to target mobile units.
  • Racketeer now has a fairly strict priority hierarchy: in-LOS active > out of LOS > in-LOS inactive.


  • Activated "Settings/HUD Presets/Stay up to date" so non-hardcore UI editing players are not left behind as the UI improves.
  • Swapped Defender and LLT in the build menu (yes, everything is ruined).
  • Moved camera hotkeys to the hotkeys submenu.
  • Camera zoom to startbox on comm selection is now configurable [?]
  • Units no longer retarget when their target completes a morph.
  • Default Wind/Tidal Generator build spacing 3 › 2.
  • Units of lagging players no longer flash by default.
  • Double click selection ignores selection filtering (except for rank 0).
  • Alt + Area Mex now creates Wind/Tidal Generators if Solar Collectors don't fit.
  • Added a unit icon for Infiltrator. Previously it looked like Scythe, now it has spider legs.


  • Fixed Wyvern being able to shoot as soon as it starts rearming.
  • Fixed jumpies being unable to jump directly from their factory.
  • Fixed newly teleported units with a move order being temporarily stuck.
  • Fixed Sumo gravity guns sometimes causing light in the other direction.
  • Fixed the tooltip in the middle of the screen issue.
  • Fixed some cases where the tooltip was cut off.
  • Fixed the facplop graphical effect being covered in lines.
  • Fixed Recon Commander moonwalking during and after jumping.
  • Fixed Dart sometimes standing at an angle.
  • Fixed cloaked units setting themselves to fire at will when they decloak.
  • Fixed "Catching up" panel showing up after game over.
  • Fixed mex ghost showing in economy view regardless of the ability to build it.
  • Fixed wrong units being highlighted for selection when the mouse was outside the game window.
  • Fixed Strider Hub, Wind Generator and Solar Collector ambient occlusion.
  • Fixed an error with zombie mode.
  • Fixed an error when a unit dies during teleporting.
  • Fixed an error when a plane dies when it is just about to sit on an airpad.
  • Fixed an error when changing transport orders near a drop point.
  • Fixed an error causing invisible units when using shiny units without shadows.
  • Fixed an error where stockpiled tacnukes don't explode on silo death.
  • Fixed a build ETA UI bug.
  • Fixed a transport AI issue with constructor following.
  • Fixed commanders occasionally failing to continue their construction when they morph.
Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 40 days ago - comment

Change to UI layout updating

Starting from the next stable we will keep player UIs up to date, with the default preset, unless they opt out. To opt out disable 'Simple Settings' and disable 'Settings/HUD Presets/Stay up to date'. The current form of the setting is inactive and just exists to give advanced users some time to disable it.
Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 47 days ago - comment

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