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Copy the data file(s) from the original game to the same directory as freeserf. Alternatively you can put the data file in ~/.local/share/freeserf. You may use data file(s) from DOS or Amiga game version.

  • DOS data file is called SPAE.PA, SPAD.PA, SPAF.PA or SPAU.PA, depending on the language of the game.
  • Amiga files gfxheader, gfxfast, gfxchip, gfxpics, sounds, music.

Keyboard gameplay controls:

  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5: Activate one of the five buttons in the panel.
  • b: Toggle overlay showing possibilities for constructions.
  • TAB/SHIFT-TAB: Open next notification message; or return from last message.
  • +/-: Increase/decrease game speed.
  • 0: Reset game speed.
  • p: Pause game.
  • j: Switch player.

Other keyboard controls:

  • F10: Return to main menu to start a new game
  • s: Enable/disable sounds playback
  • m: Enable/disable music playback
  • CTRL+f: Switch fullscreen mode on/off.
  • CTRL+z: Save game in current directory.
  • [/]: Zoom -/+


To play back the sound track that is included in the original data files, SDL2_mixer has to be enabled at compile-time and a set of sound patches for SDL2_mixer has to be available at runtime. See the SDL2_mixer documentation for more information.

Save games

To load a save game file:

$ freeserf -l FILE

Freeserf will (try to) load save games from the original game, as well as saves from freeserf itself. The game is paused after loading so press p to start the game.

Run freeserf -h for more info on command line options.


Please report bugs at


The main source repository for this project is at See the HACKING document in the source code root for information on how to compile and how to contribute.