Christoph Nakazawa

Athena Crisis is now Open Source

Today we’re open-sourcing the code of Athena Crisis under the MIT License, and together with Polar we’re funding $10,000 worth of improvements towards the game!

Athena Crisis is an example of how to build a high-quality video game using only JavaScript, React, and CSS. By open-sourcing Athena Crisis, we are following through on our commitment to open source our core technology and help push the Web forward as a game development platform.

You can try a demo at You’ll still need to buy Athena Crisis to play the campaign and experience all of Athena Crisis – the art, music, and other content aren’t open source.

Fans of the game can offer their improvements, build additional tools for the game, study the code or make their own JavaScript-based web game. To help kickstart contributions, Nakazawa Tech is funding $5,000 worth of open source contributions. Polar is matching this amount for an initial total of $10,000. Check out all the contribution opportunities and bounties on Polar which include building new features, a competition to build the best AI, and experiments with new renderers.

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Why is Athena Crisis open source?

First, an open platform like JavaScript and the Web can be a major game development platform. It won’t be easy, and it will take time, but Athena Crisis is proof. It needs well-made games and a big push to get there to inspire a generation of developers to build foundational tools, infrastructure and games on this platform. The Web’s greatest strength has always been its openness and I want to help push it forward.

Second, I’ve been involved with open source for more than 20 years. In this time, I contributed to, and learned and benefited significantly from open source. When we started Nakazawa Tech a year ago I wrote:

Open Source is integral to how Nakazawa Tech will operate. We’ll open source not just as much code and technology as possible, but also the thought processes and journey that go into making good products and tools.

We are now following through on this commitment. Check out this podcast with Unpacking Japan to learn more about our philosophy at Nakazawa Tech.

What’s included in open source and what isn’t

The core data structures, algorithms, game engine, rendering, AI, and the map editor are all open source. What you see on GitHub at nkzw-tech/athena-crisis is always the same code that runs in production at, meaning that somebody is always playing the current version right now.

We use a monorepo for Athena Crisis at Nakazawa Tech and approximately 75% of all code – almost 100,000 lines of first-party code – is synced automatically into the open source repository and vice versa.

The single-player campaign, multiplayer, art, music, content, backend implementations such as user management, databases, APIs, realtime spectating, server configuration, and app wrappers for Steam or app stores are not open source. To experience the full game, you can buy it on Steam.

Polar & Nakazawa Tech Logos

How can I contribute?

Check out contribution opportunities on GitHub Issues and find the bounties on Polar. Here are some highlights:

  • AI Challenge: Build the best AI for Athena Crisis. The three best submissions will receive a total of $5,000.
  • WebGL Renderer: Athena Crisis renders using the DOM & CSS. This bounty is about building a comparable renderer for the game’s map using React-Three-Fiber.
  • Performance: Think of novel solutions to speed up core algorithms.

To learn more, take a look at the Athena Crisis Open Source website which includes guides, technical overviews, the map editor and an AI playground. Join the #tech channel on Discord to engage with the community.


I’d like to thank Null, our publisher, for supporting the development of Athena Crisis, as well as Hetzner, Crowdin and Polar for supporting Athena Crisis with hosting, translations and funding open source contributions.


The Athena Crisis stack allows us to rapidly develop unique features not found in other games within the genre. Your game state synchronizes across all devices, enabling you to play sync- and asynchronous multiplayer games. You can start a game on your desktop, continue on your phone, play a different one on your Steam Deck, or follow a friend’s single-player campaign.

Athena Crisis is a love letter to the games I grew up with. Embracing open source is our way of giving back to the community and advancing the Web as a viable platform for game development.

It’s going to be a lot of work to elevate Athena Crisis to the top of its genre and we are excited to ship the final version soon while attempting to build the most open and fastest-moving game of its type. Let’s go.

Tweet about this post, or share it with your friends. Thank you for reading, and have a great day!

Check out Athena Crisis

Athena Crisis

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