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Nether Earth was the very first real time strategy game. It worked on a SPECTRUM machine, and only needed 48KB of RAM to work!! It has all the tipical elements of strategy games: resources, factories, combat units, etc. Here's a screen shot of the original game, and one of the remake (you can see more screens in the screenshot section):


The goal

As in almost all strategy games, the goal is to eliminate the enemy. To achieve it, you have WARBASES, that have the ability to produce ROBOTS (your combat units). You can design your own robots by combining several pieces (TRACKS, ANTIGRAVITATIONAL DEVICE, CANNONS, MISSILE BAYS, etc). To build robots you need RESOURCE points. Each warbase procudes 5 resource points every day, but you can increase it by conquering FACTORIES. To conquer a factory, let a robot stay in its door for almost 12 hours, then the factory will be yours. Once you have a combat foe ready to attack, you can send your robots against the enemy robots, factories or warbases. To conquer a warbase you have to follow the same procedure as to conquer a factory. Once you have conquered all the warbases, you have won the game. Will you be albe to conquer all them?

The robots

The most exciting pat of Nether Earth is that it allows you to design you own robots. You can build robots by using the following construction pieces:
    Traction pieces:
    - BIPOD: The simplest traction piece. It's very slow, but very resistent, and will give to your robot some extra shield points.
    - TRACKS: A fast traction piece, it's not as expensive as the antigravitational device, but is quite fast.
    - ANTIGRAVITATIONAL DEVICE: The fastest traction piece. But also expensive.
    - CANNONS: The cheapest weapon, and of course the less powerful.
    - MISSILES: A great weapon, more powerful than cannons.
    - PHASERS: The most effective weapon.
    - NUCLEAR BOMB: The most destructive weapon. Once fired, it will destroy all the robots and buildings near the robot that has the bomb (including it).

    - ELECTRONIC BRAIN: This piece enhances the intelligence of the robots, allowing them to perform your orders more effectively.

As more pieces you put to your robot, more shield points will it have, so it's important that if you have enough money, put as many weapons as you can into your robot!

The Remake

The remake is coded in C++, the graphics are rendered using OpenGL and the SDL library. And the 3D models have been created using 3DStudio MAX. The source code will be available once the game is finished. I only inlcude the Windows version here, but the code is crossplatform and it should compile also in LINUX of MacOS.

Nether Earth is a very interesting game from the point of vies of Artificial Intelligence (AI) since all the robots are self controlled. You just have to give your orders to the robots and they will try to follow them. For instance you can tell a robot to "CAPTURE NEUTRAL FACTORIES", and the robot will find it's own path to reach the closest factory avoiding the obstacles they found. I plan to improve the AI of the robots in future versions, but by the moment the robots use a simple "Depth First Search" algorithm ( with limited depth) to choose the actions to take.

You can find a small guide of the game here


12-5-2004  Version 0.52 by Sergey Popov AKA Marlock Blaker (from Russia)
        - Marlock Blaker has modified the source code of version 0.51 and much improved the game. His changes are:.
                - bullets go through half-height walls (and robots use it:)
                - new born robot walks 9 steps only, then stops (before, only an obstacle could stop it)
                - enemy robots are produced from all warbases, not only that one closer to factories
                - human and enemy buildings have flags on opposite sides (like in original)
                - initial zoom is 2 times less, and not reseted after being changed
                - you can zoom in/out using ± (as well as PgUp/PgDn)
                - zoom out margin extended 2 times, now you can see all field in most of the maps
                - left/up and right/down changed to how it was in original
                - in menu, after giving order, cursor stands on "LEAVE ROBOT"
                - in construction menu, the default option is "BIPODS"
                - radar shows low-height walls with slightly lighter color

9-1-2004  Alternate Source code for Linux
        - PAVEL CEJKA has e-mailed me telling that the source code had some problems to compile in LINUX. He has modified the sources so that the properly compile. You can find this alternate version of the source code in the download section.

30-10-2003  Version 0.51
        - This version fixes basically 3 things:
                - You can change the colour depth (some machines do not work in 32bit mode)
                - You can switch the radar on/off
                - The maps are stored in a separate folder
        - It also includes a little facility for the map makers: in the map file, when specifying the kind of ground, the new version allow you to write GG instead of G, SS instead of S and so on. In that way the map is displayed better in notepad to edit it.
        - As a bonus, I've included lots of new maps. They have NOT been created by me, but by other people: LABIRYNTH, VULTURIA, BIGCITYLIGHTS, LA, CASTLE, CROSSROADS and ECUADOR have been created by Maciej Karwowski. The other new maps have been created by ROMAN from Russia. There are a total of 17 maps to play now!!! However, as you will be able to see, the computer AI is not enough to deal with the complex maps such as VULTURIA or ECUADOR. Therefore, I'm planning a new version (0.6) to be released around christmas, that will include a much smarter AI.

16-09-2003  Version 0.5
        - This version fixes basically 4 problems:
                - The problems with version 0.41 for windows
                - A bug on loading saved games of a map diferent than the current one
                - Allows the user to select vertical shadows (to see where the ship is located)
                - It works a little better in slow computers
        - It also features 6 different maps contributed by several people (I've forgot who sent which maps, so I'm sorry not to put credits...)

11-05-2003  Version 0.41
        - Linux RPMs available for downlload!! Thanks to ILYA KUZNECOV for this files! You can e-mail him at for getting help if you got troubles with Nether Earth on Linux!

6-03-2003  Version 0.41
        - Just fixes a small problem with maps that do not have the same shape as the original.
        - In order to test the new solved problem, I provide a new map (submited to me by ROMAN from Russia), that has a square shape.

17-12-2002  MAC OS X port!!
        - I've finished the Mac OS X port at last, now Mac users can also play Nether Earth!!!
        - The source code in the download section is from the Win32 version, but very few changes have to be done to make it compile with the development environment of the OSX. If anyone wants the Mac sources, just tell me.

11-11-2002  Version 0.4
    What's new:
        - Now the weapons have exactly the same ranges as in the original game: 8 half squares for the cannon and the phasers and 12 for the missiles.
        - The robots atack the other robots they find in its way no matter the program they have. This means that if you have a robot trying to capture a factory and an enemy robot tryes to kill it, your robot will defend itself!
        - The source code is also updated.

07-11-2002  Source Code updated
    - I've updated the source code. Now it's suposed to compile in LINUX also! Thanks to Alex Teska for his work!!!
    - Ah! And by the way, have you noticed that there is a forum now!!!

19-10-2002  Version 0.3
    What's new:
        - The robots have now some nice textures.
        - Multiple games can be saved.
        - The algorithm for the shadows has been improved. Read this: the new algorithm uses the STENCIL_BUFFER of OpenGL, and (as far as I know), some implementations of OpenGL don't give support for the STENCIL_BUFFER. Therefore, if your OpenGL driver doesn't support stencil, you will notice that the game screen is very dark, and that no shadows are drawn at all! If this is your case, you can switch off the shadows in the main menu, but please tell me!! I'll try to find an algorithm that doesn't use the STENCIL_BUFFER if many of you have problems!
        - Some robots have animations (BIPOD walk, ANTIGRAV levitate, and the TRACKS rise some dust from the ground).
        - You can make ZOOM in and out, to have a more detail, or to have a more tactical view, however to be able to zoom out, your machine has to be quite fast, since a lot of objects have to be drawn.
        - Controller ship moves faster than before.
        - You can change the video mode, with resolutions from 320x200 up to 1024x768, and also the detail level (if you have a slow machine).
        - You can change the difficulty level.
        - Robot IA improved
        - You can change the map!! In the main menu, you can change the map that you will play. "" is the map originally used by NETHER EARTH in the spectrum, but you can modify it and create your own maps. I include a couple of examples ( and The format for the map files is quite easy, but if any of you wants to make his own maps and don't know how, just e-mail me, and I will explain it better to you!
        - BUG fixes:
            - BIPOD robots don't stuck anymore.
            - Some lateral menu fixes.
            - Many, many more...
    This is suposed to be the last version. But I'm planning to do a second version (Nether Earth 2, Nether Mars, or whatever...) with improved gameplay, extended options, and better graphics! I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I've enjoyed programing it!! Ah!, and by the way, If any of you is able to beat the computer in the original map with the "IMPOSSIBLE" dificulty level, tell me!!!!!

8-10-2002  Version 0.2
    What's new:
        - Removed some files from the ZIP that weren't necessary!
        - Some speed improvements.
        - Fixed some bugs in the robots behaviour.
        - Added difficulty levels, because the NORMAL level was really difficult to win.
        - Added a main menu, where you can redefine keys, change resolution, etc.
        - Added initial save game feature. At the moment you can only keep one game saved. But this will change in next release.
        - I've added a small guide (first version, it will be improved), check it here.

29-09-2002  First version, Feed Back required!
    As the game is still indevelopment, I will greatly apreciate any feedback. There are 3 main things that I want to test in this first release:
        - If the game works in any version of Windows.
        - Which is the minimum machine requirements for the game working smoothly (I use a PIII-1200 with an 32MB ATI RADEON graphics card).
        - If there is any bug or strange behaviour in the robots.


screenshots of v0.3
screenshot section


Source Code for v0.52 (WIN32/OSX/Linux) (75KB)

Alternate Source Code for v0.51 (By Pavel Cejka, only Linux) (75KB)


Nether Earth Remake v0.41 (Mac OSX) (760KB)

Nether Earth Remake v0.52 (WIN32) (852KB)

Nether Earth Remake v0.41 (Linux RPM) (474KB)

Nether Earth Remake v0.52 (Ubuntu/Debian binaries)


Just one link, but it contains all the links you will ever need...
Remake-central-best-ever-web: (you must visit it! and check also the forums! (I'm registered as C3PO))

And if you speack spanish, I also recomend you COMPUTER EMUZONE, where there's a very good section covering the development of remakes created by spanish people (In the forums, I'm registered as POPOLON):

This is nother Spanish page where you can follow the development of spanish remakes, it is maintained by Addax (an old member of COMPUTER EMUZONE):

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Who am I?

Well, my name is Santi Ontañón, I'm from Spain. And I am a Ph.D. student at the IIIA (Artificial Intelligence Research Institute) in Barcelona.
You can visit my very boring but serious web page at:
Or you can contact me by e-mail for busines at: santi [@]
Or for gaming stuff at: santi.ontanon [@]