20,000 Light Years Into Space

20,000 Light Years Into Space is a steampunk-themed strategy game where you have to manage a steam supply network. It is written in Python and runs on Windows and Linux. It was first released in 2006. It is free software, licensed under the GNU GPL version 2. It is now being distributed with the Debian and Ubuntu operating systems, and you can download it here too. There is a story for the game. Light Years includes an interactive tutorial; you can also read the instructions and a bit of history about Light Years.

The current released version is 1.4. Version 2.0 is in development.


A small steam network in Light Years.
Both versions include source code.

Problems? If you are using Windows XP and the program fails to start, you may need to install these Visual C++ runtime libraries from Microsoft.

And when all else fails, check the instructions!

Debian/Ubuntu users

There is a package called "lightyears" in the official repository. You should install it using the Synaptic Package Manager. However, this version may be out of date. If you want to play the latest version, download it above.


This official version of Light Years continues to be managed by Jack Whitham, but it now includes code contributions and suggestions from a number of people.

Historic versions can be found here.

There is no official public code repository or bug tracker for Light Years, so the only way to contribute to the official version is to send your bug reports, code, graphics, suggestions etc. to Jack Whitham by email. I am very happy to receive feedback, but due to the pressures of my real job, I may not be able to respond quickly.

However, because this is free software (GNU GPL version 2), you are welcome to make your own unofficial version or set up your own code repository. Jack would be pleased to link to unofficial versions, and/or merge their content into the official version; if this happens, you always get full credit and retain copyright on your code or artwork.