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39 players online: 24 of them fighting in 6 battles, 0 waiting for battle (526 played this month)

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 v1.5.2.24 - Air and matchmaker tweaking

Ground units have more of a chance to shine with some nerfs to the more oppressive and generalist air units. On the Steam front we have improved the resilience of out Steam packaging by disabling wrapper automatic updates. All updates for the Steam version are automatically packaged and updated via Steam. The upshot is that the singleplayer content will be playable without an internet connection.


Wyvern is still a powerful attrition bomber, just with a slower rate of attrition:
  • Rearm time increased 5s -> 30s. Previously all planes would take 5s to rearm.

Hawk is tankier to cement its superiority and should be nicer to control:
  • Health 1000 -> 1100
  • No longer reduces turnrate when firing (only speed and acceleration are reduced).

Rapier is much more vulnerable to anti-air and slightly more vulnerable to riot units. It is also worse at covering territory:
  • Speed 3.9 -> 3.65
  • Range 360 -> 350

Flail has its missile escapabilty brought in line with other missile anti-air units:
  • Flight time 6s -> 3.5s


There are now four difficulty levels of AI: very easy, easy, medium and hard. These levels are selectable through the AI menu or as options in skirmish quick play. Survival mode (chickens) is also now an option in quick play.

The reports from players that they would use individual 3v3 and 4v4 matchmakers were greatly exaggerated. There are now three matchmaker queues:
  • 1v1
  • Teams
  • Coop
The teams queue will make a game of size 2v2 to 4v4. The coop queue is a new queue which will have two to five players fight either CAI or chickens, depending on the map selected. It currently uses CAI but we are looking into replacing it with circuit AI of variable difficulty levels.


  • Removed unpathable areas from maps correctly.
  • Fixed savegames breaking factories.
  • Fixed esc interaction with the command menu. It now closes tabs correctly.
  • Fixed some image preloading.
  • Fixed (or at least reduced) a rare issue with large structures on spires/holes being stuck at 0% construction because the inbuilt Spring terraforming is trying to flatten the ground.
  • Removed misleading reload bar from bombers. Pheonix and Thunderbird now technically have 1s reload time, down from 10s, but since they take 5s to rearm this change should do almost nothing.

Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 4 days ago - comment

Zero-K v1.5.2.20

Recently we've been focused on polish and fixes. Here are three main aspects:

  • Zero-K now has an official discord server and we've linked it to our main server chat. Join us here: https://discord.gg/suJfSc5
  • Steam testing is underway. We have a steam package and test keys to give to those willing to help us test it. Players can now log in to the site or lobby using their steam account instead of with a password.
  • We've tightened the crash report loop which has yielded a high rate of engine bug fixes (as seen in the image).


Balance work has fallen by the wayside with our focus on polish. That said, we've been balancing for so long that little needs to be done. The Defender change is mostly madness and the other changes are fixes for consistency.

  • Reload time 11.5s -> 12.5s.
The aim is to reduce their effectiveness as sustained fire support against Skirmishers or LLTs without impacting their burst damage against small raids or aircraft.

  • Sight range 425 -> 560 (same as Flea)
This makes Puppy a better scout.

  • Sight range 660 -> 473 (110% weapon range, like most units)
The large sight range was a holdover from when it had more range.

  • Slowbeam range reduced by 10.
This is mainly a unit AI fix. Previously it could stop at max range without being able to fire its main gun.


Last month, Kloot and hokomoko (two engine developers) were active in fixing some performance issues introduced in the last 6 months. Much of the performance has been brought back and there are even improvements - such as faster loading for midgame rejoin. We've implemented automatic crash reporting (opt-in) and have entered a phase of tracking the development versions of the engine to report crashes and use the latest fixes. Thanks to Kloot these fixes come in quite rapidly.

Some performance offenders have also been tracked down and removed from Zero-K code and the game seems to run smoother as a result. Our near term plan is to continue following the engine version to fix the most common crashes. Once that is done we would like to call players to test the 64 bit windows builds of Spring as they seemed to yield further performance improvements.


We now have deployment support for third party AIs. Circuit AI was added a few weeks ago and has since been updated from 0.9.11.b to 0.9.12 to fix a few crashes.


Most (all?) the extra windows that occur throughout the game now have the techpanel skin and fixed spacing. The new UI skin is now basically complete.

Command menu:
  • Improved the logic of when grid hotkeys are available and when the menu switches back to the order tabs.
  • Grid hotkeys now hide when not available (for example during structure placement position selection).


Here are some fixes since Zero-K v1.5.2.5
  • Game end "Overwhelming advantage" reveals cloaked units
  • Disabled click-and-hold structure terraform by default. It is scary upon discovery. Use 'B' to set structure height or enable click-and-hold in the settings.
  • Translated the factory assist widget to a gadget. This fixes some cases where user orders on incomplete constructors would be overridden. Also fixes factory assist with commshare.
  • Fixed some energy spending and distribution problems in overdrive. There were edge cases to do with team games that would make low storage players have too much of their energy income sent to overdrive.
  • Fixed some errors upon loading saved games.
  • Fixed some units failing to emit smoke when damaged.
  • Fixed some cloaked units which were smoking when cloaked (cloaking is supposed to block smoking).
  • Improved the reliability of reserve.
  • Fixed an issue with resigning before the game starts (it's now blocked).
  • Fixed settings search hanging Spring.
  • Fixed large terraform performance hog with it's new smooth update rate by reducing the update rate when the terraform becomes large.
  • Fixed Trident sometimes closing while airborne.

Posted by CZrankAdminLicho 10 days ago - comment

Zero-K v1.5.2.5 - Techpanel UI Skinning

The main change this version is the new UI skin. It started as an experiment with menu skinning and turned into an overhaul of the skin for both the lobby and game. We've now got a much slicker and consistent skin. Expect a bit of refinement in the future.


Tremor has needed a change for years and with the recent discussion I decided to do something.
  • Increased smoothing significantly.
  • Increased edge effectiveness to 0.5. Previously it basically needed a direct hit to do any significant damage.
  • Increased damage 135 -> 145.

Cloak now blocks detection by sonar. This removes the unintuative behavior in which shallow water could be used to detect cloaked units. Remember that fully submerged units cannot cloak so there is no need to worry about completely invisible underwater invaders.


  • Structures placed on in-progress terraform now interact with the terraform correctly.
  • Fixed some smoke positions and units that failed to smoke while damaged.
  • Made spectator mode switchable with the single button/hotkey. Improved some options menu structure.
  • Fixed Jumpjet Factory collision volume and pathing.

Lobby (and Server)

Much work has been done on the lobby and server, apart from skinning.


Matchmaker now has party support. Queue with friends to play as a team, as is standard with many games. Parties also override your clan membership for the purpose of balancing custom games so you are more likely to be on a team with members of your party.


  • The minimap name is now a clickable link to its site page.
  • Map votes show a little clickable minimap near the vote buttons.
  • Links can now automatically log users onto the site.
  • Fixed URL click detection.


  • Added a scrollbar to chat channels (for users who open too many channels).
  • Fixed Join Queue state bug.
  • Further reduced idle CPU usage.
  • Fixed redraw rate for fading screens.

Changes from Zero-K v1.5.1.6 to Zero-K v1.5.1.11

These were mostly quick fix releases. Here are some highlights:
  • Fixed ghost site colour.
  • Fixed command insert for blocks of structures.
  • Fixed terraform texture visual when zoomed out.
  • Improved and simplified commshare UI.
  • Added class options for Unit Initial States.
  • Fixed capture breaking the cloak effect.
  • Fixed some playerlist bugs.
  • Improved resource bar display of no storage.
  • Added save and load game UI. It's highly experimental so feel free to try it but don't expect everything to work.

Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 23 days ago - comment

Zero-K v1.5.1.5 - Commshare testing, global storage removal

The most noticeable change of this version is the removal of global storage. Commanders are now the source of your initial metal and energy storage so losing them hurts a bit more (this gives it the CArankAdminShadowfury333 seal of approval). However, the pain shouldn't be too great because your economy should run with no storage, just with no ability to absorb fluctuations.

Part of the motivation of the storage change is consistency. There are no no global sources of storage and nothing is tied to any particular player. There is now no need for special rules about who, if anyone, gets extra storage in cases such as resigning allies, uneven teams and commshare. The storage just follows the owner of the commander. It should also make commanders a juicer target, which is nice.

Other notable contributions are from PLrankSprung with various fixes and cleanups, AUrankAquanim with the improved drone controls, USrank_Shaman with commshare and USrankaeonios with the improved halo selections widget.


  • Now have 500 storage to offset to lack of global storage.

  • LOS 440 -> 517. This matches the rule that most units with less than around 600 range should have LOS equal to 110% their maximum range.

Stinger and Lotus:
  • Lowered aim points, except when near a cliff. This makes them more vulnerable to ballistic units and in particular improves Hammer vs raised Stinger.

  • Improved skirmish AI to take its own velocity into account. Riots such as Warriors have a much harder time hitting it.

  • Slowbeam range 350 -> 450 to match the main gun. This is intended to help against heavy targets such as Dante. Of course, it helps against smaller units as well but there are many anti-small nerfs available to the unit.

  • Range 300 -> 325. This enables it to reliable target the ground.

  • Removed gun because it can't be trusted to not teamkill.
  • Powered by clockwork.

  • Reduced cratering by a factor of 10.

  • Reduced the number of nanoframes placable per second from infinity to 30.

Buffed new players against the Spider, Jump, Amphib and Ship factories. These factories are now open on the sides such that you can block the entire front and still extract your units. This will be applied to the other land factories, pending models.


Fixed command insert interaction with the construction of blocks of structures (lines, rectangles etc..). Command insert now adds blocks of structures as a chunk instead of potentially inserting them between many commands. The construction order of the block now matches the order of construction when command insert is not used.

Added commshare. In the default mode it can be access with a WIP interface using the hotkey 'h'. Players can merge and unmerge control throughout the game. The commshare modoption can also either enforce full commshare throughout the game or disable optional merge.

Improved drone controls.
  • Drones now hold fire if their carrier is set to hold fire.
  • Attack commands for the carrier are better at causing the drones to attack a particular target.
  • Drones respond to set target commands on their carrier in the same way they respond to attack commands.
  • Added a command for carriers to recall their drones.

Improved the blurry halo selections widget, as seen above. It should now run on more graphics cards and look better.

Tick, Roach, Skuttle and Blastwing are now detonated by manual fire (hotkey D) in addition to the usual method.

Improved Felon and Clam walk animations.


  • Fixed nonfunctional reserve truncation upon storage loss.
  • Fixed reserve display fighting when commsharing.
  • Fixed malfunctioning Brawler rear fan.
  • Windgen nanoframes can no longer be told to jump.
  • Fixed a button in the menu which would hide the map.
  • Fixed terraform cursor with F5 (hide UI).
  • Fixed new capture visual.
  • Fixed stockpile display missing from the menu.
  • Fixed cloak effect on so called 'advanced' models (.dae).
  • Fixed Doomsday Machine description to say that its heatray requires power.

Posted by AUrankAdminGoogleFrog 42 days ago - comment

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