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Free Software FPS Games Compared

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the getting-your-frag-on-the-cheap dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 194

An anonymous reader writes "Linux-gamers.net has posted a thorough, although harsh, comparison of free software shooters. It compares seven open source shooter games in a lengthy discussion. Few have gone to the trouble of comparing and carefully examining the genre before. The author ranks the games in the following order (best to worst): Warsow, Tremulous, World of Padman, Nexuiz, Alien Arena, OpenArena, and Sauerbraten. In making these choices, it claims to use gameplay, design, innovation and presentation as criteria and includes a short history of free software shooters in the introduction."

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Lies (5, Funny)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859390)

Wolfenstein, I still love you!

Re:Lies (2, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860210)

OpenArena games still seem limited to FFA and with about 70 servers, the community is rather small.

Not in my experience. There are a bunch of CTF maps that are usually full of people.

FPS? Karmawhore wikilink plz (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859400)

FIRST POST SHOOTER?

Re:FPS? Karmawhore wikilink plz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21860696)

It seems you have been fragged...

whoever plays counter strike source (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859402)

sucks major donkey anus. HAXXX JOO

It's like the games of yesteryears... (2, Interesting)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859408)

...coming back to frag you once more! I do like World of Padman...funny story, funny graphics....aw heck...funny game. Community 3d games are actually a lot more fun when they try to be themselves (original, don't have to conform to much of the real deal), look at Bz-flag....crap graphics...still fun as h*** to play and there are still hundreds of servers with thousands of players playing it.

Re:It's like the games of yesteryears... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859602)

It might be good, but I can't get past their website - big splash screen, with nothing but a tiny little "flag" icon at the bottom to get to the main site.

OK, fine - I'm not British (in fact, I'm of German decent) but I'm guessing this is a language rather than ancestry quiz.

Then the rest of the site hits me, slapping my eyes like the fish slapping dance.

Red and yellow text on orange background at the top and down both sides - all but unreadable - I defy you to be able to read that "shout box" thing (not sure what purpose it even serves). A "Pic of the Week" that's basically solid black with an red smear at the bottom. Light blue text on dark blue background for everything else.

And then a whole bunch of little link buttons on the other side, including one for validating WC3 CSS compliance, which, if you try, shows that there are errors in the CSS.

Why is it that open source so often implies a total lack of care for details and usability?

Re:It's like the games of yesteryears... (4, Insightful)

ardor (673957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860030)

Why is it that open source so often implies a total lack of care for details and usability?

Lack of natural selection. If a commercial game's user interface sucks, few people will buy and play it, unless its overly hyped. Reviewers tear apart the game, word of mouth names it a real stinker, it doesn't sale, developer either goes bankrupt or learns from the mistake. Or doesn't - and goes bankrupt, eventually.

Open-source projects don't depend on sales. While this allows for experimental genres and fresh ideas, it also takes away some incentive to polish the product's user interface (bugs OTOH are more likely to be fixed).

Fun, but.... (0, Flamebait)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859412)

most of these shooters would be considered pretty good...in 1996.

Re:Fun, but.... (2)

xRelisH (647464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859638)

most of these shooters would be considered pretty good...in 1996.

I think that's a little unfair to say when most retail games have multi-million dollar budgets and these games are made by volunteers.
I can't guess as to whether you went to college or not, but most colleges have a competitive formula SAE team [wikipedia.org] . The team is made up entirely of volunteers, and some of the primary goals for being in such a project is to learn more about what goes into building a functional vehicle and for sheer fun -- it's hobbyist work. Notably, these cars aren't too technologically advanced, and Ferrari with their massive F1 budget could make a mockery out of these SAE cars with one of their F1 cars. But, we all know that comparing an Formula SAE racer to an F1 car would be unfair. But we also know that the Formula SAE teams are breeding grounds for some of the best automotive engineers for tomorrow, and most car companies know this and try to peg their interest by sponsoring these teams.

It's the same case with these open source shooters. They don't have the financial backing to hire skilled artists that are willing to work full days, however I would say that say that a lot of these projects are breeding grounds for tomorrow's John Carmack's and like the SAE teams, companies like id try to do their part in supporting the community.

Re:Fun, but.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859830)

I'm sorry but other free software is slated as comparable or better then closed source software so why not games? These games suck.

yeah, but (0, Troll)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859876)

You mom had you as the result of working a donkey show in Guadalajara. So why would anyone listen to a jackass like you?

Re:Fun, but.... (2, Informative)

Cyblob (800812) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859936)

Maybe because a game is not just a piece of software and most decent games have hundreds of full time graphics programmers, mission designers, texture artists, concept artists, AI programmers, skybox artists, effects artists, animation engineers, networking programmers etc. These kind of resources just aren't available to open source games, at least not to the same level as commercial games.

Re:Fun, but.... (1)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860438)

Those listed are almost all graphics-related. I really don't care too much about the visuals, but some deep, engaging gameplay would be nice. Linux gaming today means playing free rip-offs of games that were cool in the mid-90s. (Civ2, Quake, SimCity, etc)

Re:Fun, but.... (4, Insightful)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860938)

Unless you're really trying to push the limits of your target platform hard, programming is a drop in the bucket compared to the work done by the artists and level designers. The level designers probably have more to do with good gameplay than the programmers.

Level design is also a REALLY tedious process. Making a good level requires replaying the level over and over slightly tweaking things to get them just right. It gets old fast, and you get really sick of the level in the process. And of course you have to deal with the issues that come up from playing the level that many times. It's very easy to memorize the level you're working on, and end up making the level way too difficult because of that.

Re:Fun, but.... (2, Interesting)

philwx (789834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860834)

I know what you mean. But if you think about it, a good part of open source software is filling a "need." There is a need for a java IDE that has x features. There is a need for a full featured text editor with extra utilities for editing code. There is a need for convenience installers for linux programs. There is a need for games. Wait, what kind of games? There is where it becomes very open ended and not well defined. The passion of wanting to develop an open source application to fulfill a need does not mesh with the artistic vision of commercial game developers. So they can implement bland imitations of popular games, or games that just don't have widespread appeal. It would help if when someone was inspired to make a ground breaking game, they would say "I'm making this for linux, screw making money." After this point I'm guessing, but it seems more likely that given significant inspiration for a game, someone will go to work for commercial companies. At that point making a linux version becomes laughable among bean counters who only see numbers of customers, and don't share a passion for free software. There's probably more to it, but that is my initial take on it.

Re:Fun, but.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859990)

Right on! Because lord knows top-notch games like Portal never get their start from small-budget hobbyists working in their spare time.

Oh, wait...

Re:Fun, but.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21860164)

Quake was released in 1996. OpenArena uses the Quake III engine.

Saying OpenArena "would be considered pretty good...in 1996" is like saying the SR-71 Blackbird would be considered "pretty good" in 1935.

It's such a ridiculous understatement that the only possible explanation is that you're British.

Re:Fun, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21860498)

...which is a good thing, considering that Quake (released in 1996) still stands as the best (deathmatch) fps ever. Warsow is $$$$$$ btw :)

Interesting, but... (2, Funny)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860838)

your comment would be considered insightful... in 2005.

Free FPS Games (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859430)

Apparently the contactlog repository [contactlog.net] is a fantastic mirror for games available freely (as in both speech & beer)

Re:Free FPS Games (5, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859478)

It's a myminicity link! Mod down!
This one is for the "budgieton" account...

So far, I've counted 3 myminicity accounts spamming slashdot:
spx2.myminicity.com
fohootville.myminicity.com
budgieton.myminicity.com

Motion Twin is the company that makes the product, email them and complain about the accounts here:
contact@motion-twin.com

Also, if slashdot would follow redirects on links and display the final destination domain after the link, that would be great.

Re:Free FPS Games (1)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859566)

What the hell are you on about? There's not even a link in my first post.

Re:Free FPS Games (2, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859598)

You must be new here.
The guy I replied to got modded as troll, and slashdot hid the comment.
If you click the "parent" link for my post, it'll show you the one I replied to.

Guess slashdot needs to put something there so it doesn't look like my post is a child of yours, huh?

Re:Free FPS Games (2, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859762)

already posted bug report, its in hand.

me: D2 Reply to hidden parent appears joined to previous thread

pudge: Yes, this is known, and we know it's a problem. We have plans to deal with it.

http://sourceforge.net/tracker/index.php?func=detail&aid=1849018&group_id=4421&atid=104421 [sourceforge.net]

Fight fire with fire (-1, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859666)

So far, I've counted 3 myminicity accounts spamming slashdot:

One tip: Bookmark SlashdotCity [jk0.org] , and visit it every time you get duped into visiting a spammer's city.

ObTopic: It's too bad there will probably never be a first-person exploration mode in MyMiniCity.

myminicity 'spam' - off-topic (2, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860058)

the problem with myminicity (and indeed most such sites before it) is that they do not consider it spamming. In fact, throwing that URL out as much as you can - on your blog, on forums, in your feeds, by IM and so forth and so on is the whole -point- of that site... as it is visits that cause the 'city' to grow.

Good luck finding rules on where a 'player' is allowed to post the URL(s). Even more luck to you finding a 'report abuse' page or contact address. Good luck getting any response whatsoever from contact@ ( if you do get something, by all means follow up here :\ )

Re:myminicity 'spam' - off-topic (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860936)

I know, but emails to abuse will get ignored too, since it's not an attack and it's not originating from their IP block. Really, it's an issue slashdot needs to fix with this whole link redirect trend.

Re:Free FPS Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859484)

Troll!! (minicity link)

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859528)

This game has been a favorite of mine for a long time, [contactlog.net] I got it from the very same site.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859540)

It's another myminicity link to the same "budgieton" account. Mod it as troll!

Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859450)

Oh man? it seems the site got slashdotted in a few minutes! Anyone have a mirror of sorts

They Missed (3, Informative)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859462)

They missed AlephOne - the OS marathon development... Still very playable even on very lightweight equipment.

Re:They Missed (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859530)

I was thinking the same thing, but Aleph One is still very unpolished and bloated after years of development, not to mention that at the core, it's still an antiquated engine.

WTF, is it free or is it open source? (2, Insightful)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859480)

Open source and free are not mutually exclusive as most of us know.
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is free, but I don't think is open source. Maybe it is, it is based on either Q2 or Q3 engine, and Q2 engine is open sourced (or GPLed), maybe Q3 engine is as well.
But anyway, it seems as if the summary equates open source with free and free with open source.

Re:WTF, is it free or is it open source? (4, Insightful)

Drasil (580067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859542)

The Enemy Territory source code has been released, had it been considered I'm sure it would have come in in the #1 or #2 spot. ET is based on the Q3 engine, which has also been open sourced. Generally I'm not a fan of shooters, but I've probably spent thousands of hours playing ET. It may be that games that were developed with a closed source model and then later the source was released were not considered, I dunno, it's slashdotted.

Free assets other than code? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859684)

The Enemy Territory source code has been released, had it been considered I'm sure it would have come in in the #1 or #2 spot.
Even if the code of Enemy Territory is Free, are the models, textures, maps, sounds, and other non-code assets Free?

It may be that games that were developed with a closed source model and then later the source was released were not considered
Free Doom engine plus proprietary WAD file = non-Free game. I seem to remember Mr. Stallman even approving of this business model in some article years ago; can anyone help dig that up?

Re:Free assets other than code? (1)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859744)

Yes ET's content is free. In terms of legal licensing (for both code and art), ET is the same as some games on that list. The difference comes in that all of these games were developed for free distribution and continue development with a free software engine.

ET was developed as a proprietary game, released as free later, and while the source code was released, it was also after-the-fact and there isn't active development of ET in the style of a free software project. I guess the article focused more on free software games that continue that style of development and made by development teams that continue the production of both free art and free software code.

Re:WTF, is it free or is it open source? (2, Interesting)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860050)

Afaik, only the source to mod the game has been released, but no GPL-ed open source release (as has happened with all the previous id software engined titles)... But I'm positive we'll eventually be able to have a peek at that too.

Back on topic, I've played most of these games (except Alien Arena), and I always found it a bit disappointing to see what people created with access to the source: In the end (with some exceptions, such as Tremulous), most of these mods/total conversions just turn out to be another deathmatch/capture the flag game, with different models, different weapons... but still basically the same game mechanics as the game it's based on.

Though I still very much appreciate their effort (who can complain when the game is free for them to download), I very much hope that there are some teams out there who want to do more than just that.

As for my own contribution to try to 'solve' this: The last two years I've been very busy refining an idea for a game; build on the Quake3 engine (more specifically, the cleaned up IOQuake3 source), where the gameplay will be totally different from what's been developed on the Q3 engine before...
Active development has just started, and it seems that we'll be able to crack out an Alpha release in three months time.

But in time, be sure to download this game [downloadthisgame.com] once we're done! :)

Re:WTF, is it free or is it open source? (2, Informative)

Darkael (969121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860500)

While I agree that ET is a great game (though medics are overpowered IMO), only the source code for the game logic has been released so far. ET is still closed-source for the most part.

Re:WTF, is it free or is it open source? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859826)

If it's free & open source games you are looking for, then look no further. [tinyurl.com]

Re:WTF, is it free or is it open source? (2)

Ai Olor-Wile (997427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859834)

Free Software should be assumed to mean "free as in speech." Y'know, as in the Free Software Foundation. As in Richard Stallman's going to kick your ass. With a katana. (Now, where is that xkcd strip...)

Urban Terror? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859498)

What about Urban Terror? http://www.urbanterror.net/ [urbanterror.net] . Just released a new version. It's a pretty fun game.

Re:Urban Terror? (1)

tayferd (1207726) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859526)

Yes, Urban Terror has been around forever. It's a mod of Q3A, and now has a stand alone client.

Re:Urban Terror? (1)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859750)

I'm a little puzzled

WoP qualifies as free, although the assets are released under a 'charge no money' restriction?

Urban Terror afaik is _more_ free.. why isn't it in this list? Why is yet another boring Q3Arena-clone considered the best? Apart from the graphics, can anyone tell me what is different about open arena, alien arena, warsow, or even padman? The gameplay is basically identical in all of them. Yawn!

IMHO WoP should have been 3rd on this list, Tremulous 2nd, and Urban Terror 1st...

Re:Urban Terror? (1)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859796)

Oh yeah.. and nexuiz.. yet another q3a clone..

Urban Terror = no more bots (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860906)

Yea, except the new version of Urban Terror removed bots. Lame. I'll stick with 3.7, TYVM.

Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (1)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859538)

While the site seems to be down, here is a draft copy of the article text, I cleaned up the grammer before the actual post but didn't save that version because I was stupid. Original had pictures to keep you distracted. About two weeks ago, Joe Barr posted a feature on Linux.com titled "New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition" yet gave no real comparisons with other similar games. This was done in the same style as Barr's previous feature, "Tremulous: The best free software game ever?" which described Tremulous but also lacked comparisons and relations to other games. This feature hopes to be a thorough comparison of the major free software shooters. There have been many free software first-person shooters (FPS) projects over the years, from modded Doom and Quake engines to enhance the existing games (ezQuake, EGL, ZDoom), to free art packs such as OpenQuartz or OpenArena. In 2002, along came Cube, a single and multiplayer FPS based on its own engine, including artwork, maps, models and an ingame map editor. In the freeware (and Linux compatible!) world a little-known game called Legends, a Tribes-inspired game, appeared yet remained closed-source. Filling the FPS gap in the open-source world has usually been left up to commercial companies who release their games with Linux support (i.e. Doom3, Unreal Tournament 2004, Loki Software's work) or freeware games produced by commercial studios(i.e. America's Army, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory) or simply running Windows games run via wine. In the last few years a few built-from-scratch community-based FPS projects, most built on the GPLed Quake engines, have popped up, among them are Tremulous, Alien Arena, Nexuiz, and Warow. Some have kept their art assets under a closed license (Warow), while others have also released their art under an OSS license (Nexuiz), I consider both categories free software since well, software refers to programs, code and procedures, not artwork. For this comparison, we'll take a look at active, robust and community-developed free software shooters. Most released free software shooters are designed for multiplayer, a logical step for a game developed in an online community, however most also feature a bot-based single-player mode. While others have compared such games before, this feature seeks to be a little more thorough and go a step further, ranking the following seven games: Alien Arena, Nexuiz, OpenArena, Sauerbraten, Tremulous, Warow, and World of Padman. In ranking these games, gameplay, design, innovation and presentation (in that order) will be held as primary criteria. 7. Sauerbraten Sauerbraten is basically Cube 2, the sequel to one of the most influential free software shooters released to date. The engine is completely reworked with brand new graphics rendering features rivaling that of Quake4. Like Cube, Sauerbraten has a built-in map editor that allows player to edit maps from within the game, making this one of the friendliest games for content-creation. The latest version of Sauerbraten, 2007-09-04, is little more than a subversion snapshot packaged and stabilized for wider distribution; the game is still in heavy development. Sauerbraten gameplay drastically differ from anything Cube offered, with simple Quake-style weapons, game effects, and the same Quake3-like FFA action. It is worth noting that Cube (and Sauerbraten) give you a weapon when you pick up the appropriate ammobox; there is no separation between ammo and weapons.While it has some cool features, the game still feels like more of a concept demo than an actual game, and with only 20-30 servers, half running instagib, there isn't much of a community following. Single player is reminiscent of Quake1, with enemy monsters in a variety of maps. The menu is actually one of the coolest I've seen implemented in a game, it spawns as an object ingame and faces you, however the lack of a main menu upon load adds to the tech-demo feel. Despite the tech-demo nature of the game, Sauerbraten has a good soundtrack, lots of maps, good quality models, well-done artwork and textures. The gameplay isn't anything astounding but with pretty decent maps and gameplay reminiscent of Quake3, Sauerbraten definitely offers something for people who just want some simple mindless action with some eye candy. Sauerbraten is a really cool project, but right now it remains that, a project of what can be done, more than a game. 6. OpenArena OpenArena is a project to create GPL-licensed art assets on top of the open-sourced Quake 3 engine. It uses the latest snapshot of the ioquake3 engine and a mix of GPL assets ranging from original work to resources from Nexuiz, Cube and others. OpenArena 0.71 is a fairly large release at over 200MB. Most of the space is spent on many maps and models, some of which are regrettably lacking in quality. Some are straight recompiles of the GPL released Quake 1 maps (oa_dm1-7), which fail to use many of the advanced lighting and detail offered in the new engine. OpenArena seems to generally lack coherent art direction or design; most the maps, models and artwork seems like a half-done mix of Quake 3's gothic architecture and anime. The gameplay stays true to what was included in Quake3, so it can be rather enjoyable. On the other hand, much of Quake 3 Arena's popularity came from being done in such a simple, directed, and polished manner and OpenArena lacks much of the polish that made Quake3 so enjoyable. However, the project is still in its early stages and the task at hand is a rather large one. The goal of recreating GPL Q3A artwork on top of the GPL code is both noble and a great contribution to the community. OpenArena games still seem limited to FFA and with about 70 servers, the community is rather small. While Q3A gained popularity as a competitive game, the developers of OA don't see that as a target market so the depth of gameplay is unlikely to expand. At the moment, most the games on this list display far better art direction and design, which is regrettable as OpenArena is the most art-driven and least code-driven game in the group. At the end of the day though, OpenArena is about making a free game that has lots of simple & fun deathmatch action a la Quake3, and that is where it succeeds. 5. Alien Arena Alien Arena is a Quake 2 based deathmatch game that tries to draw on a conflict between humans and aliens. However this distinction between two player types rarely stretches beyond player models. The latest release, Alien Arena 2007 6.10, still has many visual characteristics that appear outdated and reminiscent of Quake 2. Although there are game modes such as deathball, CTF, and assult, with a dark artistic style, fast gameplay with strong weapons, Alien Arena is still predominantly a deathmatch game. The original game modes aren't very well presented and seem to be underutilized, which is a shame because they seem to be fairly innovative. Alien Arena also includes vehicles in certain levels, an Although the external server browser and main menu are very nice, much of Alien Arena seems to be muddled and lacking polished design. The HUD lacks many critical features like a weaponlist or a clock, and the icons and graphics don't seem very sharp or clear. Alien Arena lacks many obvious gameplay features that have become standard in modern games, like removing the quad powerup for the duel gamemode. While many of the weapons seem to be recreations of weapons in Unreal and Quake, the two fire modes for each weapon adds interesting diversity on top of Quake-inspired gameplay rules. The overpowered nature of the weapons, especially the chaingun, leaves much to be desired. The community isn't very large at about 60 servers, but the game seems to be a bit lacking in clean presentation so it may not be as attractive to new players. Alien Arena seems to be working with lots of new and interesting original concepts but still needs work to match the artistic and gameplay quality of the other games covered here. If the project were to shift gears and focus a bit more on polish, design and presentation instead of creating tons of content (which it already has lots of), it has the potential to move beyond "dark FFA deathmatch action" and really be something quite original and remarkable. 4. Nexuiz Nexuiz is another game that follows the fast, dark, and intense free-for-all deathmatch style first set down by Quake 1 in 1996. Nexuiz curiously enough is built on the Darkplaces engine, an expanded version of the GPL released Quake 1 source. While the basic graphics are seem to be up to Quake 3 standards, expanded lighting options allow the graphical features to be brought up to just below Quake 4 standards. Although the newest version still follows that simple deathmatch style, the fast, varied maps and lots of explosive action with interesting two fire-mode weapons leads to gameplay that is about as intense as it gets for shooters. Good sound combined with varied and unique weapons attests to the polish that has gone into bringing Nexuiz up to version 2.3. Nexuiz has lots of maps which seem to be slightly varied in style but still are predominantly covered with dark overtones. While most of the game is cleaned up far beyond its Quake 1 roots, it is still lacking in presentation with the menu being very circa 1990s. The community is strong and with about 80 servers, and finding a game is fairly easy. Nexuiz has lots of content, style and features and is very well done for a FFA game but some areas could use some more work and showcasing of its unique features and modes. 3. World of Padman World of Padman originated as a modification on top of Quake 3 in 2004. With the release of GPL licensed Quake3 code, World of Padman was released as a stand-alone game on top of ioquake3. From that perspective, World of Padman was designed more in the style of the mod community (art-driven projects) than that of the free software community (code-driven projects) but nonetheless, its free software now. The game is based on a comic book and has unique colorful graphics with clear comic inspiration. World of Padman gameplay is very similar to that of Quake3, a little bit different, a little refreshing, but nothing too strikingly new. Killing other players is satisfying and just silly fun. If anything, World of Padman is proof that deathmatch gaming doesn't need to be blood-covered, violent and serious; it can be silly, cutesy and fun. World of Padman features several maps, each quite unique and but fitting with a common style. For example, players are characters about 3cm high and fight in real rooms like a bedroom, library, kitchen, etc. It's not a new approach for maps, but it definitely is fun and interesting; combined with World of Padman's art direction, this leaves for rather refreshing arenas. The maps are covered with jump pads and fun little powerups. And while maps like this sure are great free-for-all fun, they aren't really designed for competitive play, limiting potential for a hardcore community (the driving force of many shooter games). Gameplay is similar to Quake3 but a bit different, slower rockets and a very satisfying machine gun are perhaps the most notable. It has a small community at about 26 servers but lack of gameplay innovation is what hurts this game the most. The game is very polished , it has several gamemodes (including a unique "Spray your Color" mode) but gameplay still boils down the basic Quake-like fragging. While World of Padman is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a bad game, it lacks the innovative gameplay design goals of several of the games features here. It feels like Quake with polish and restructured objectives. While the game has great style rivaling the stylistic nature of any commercial game, it lacks advanced graphical features of Nexuiz & Sauerbraten or unique gameplay features of Nexuiz & Alien Arena. If you want to see what the gothic Quake 3 would look like if it were designed by color-loving comic artists with a sense of humor and a sense of fun style, World of Padman is exactly what you're looking for but regrettably that's about as far is it goes at the moment. 2. Tremulous Tremulous sets itself aside from all of the previous games in that it isn't a FFA deathmatch game. Instead Tremulous is a team-based game with aliens vs. humans where each team constructs a base and can use their kills to level up their player. With a kill-based point system, Tremulous rewards combat, since it allows players to get better equipment so they can better attack the opponents. The two teams are unique and the concept and style of the game is rather original. If anything, Tremulous can be related to the Half-Life mod Natural Selection, although without the RTS commander mode. Tremulous has had a very constant release cycle with the latest 1.1 being released about a year ago and the community and development still remain active. The game is based on the Quake 3 engine, and although there are only 8 maps, they're all very varied, unique and high-quality. The two first things that I noticed about the game was that the options menu didn't show up until the player joined a game, and that the game had rich gameplay but still very accesablie to new players, featuring onscreen help and tips while you play. To further the point, Tremulous comes with a descriptive and friendly manual for those who want to learn the details of the gameplay. The game is simply fun; there is just action for those who want a simple game and tons of features and detail for those that want a bit more. The graphic design is consistent, dark and sci-fi futuristic with a bit of variance but a lot of consistency. The game has a large following as far as free software goes with a about 200 servers and at least a couple games any time of day. The performance is clean and consistent and it looks as good as Quake 3 generation mods. Tremulous is one of the few free software projects to combine an original idea with a polished implementation and good direction. The few maps and one gamemode really keep the style focused and clean. Tremulous could use more maps, more variety, more content and perhaps more robust gameplay, but 1.1 is a great release and future versions are definitely something to watch out for. 1. Warow Warow is a deathmatch shooter with a focus on freedom of movement, attracting new players and fostering a competitive scene. It is built on Qfusion, a heavy modification of the GPL Quake 2 engine. From the user interface, to the gameplay, to even the netcode the game feels more like an improvement on Quake 3 than anything, stretching far beyond the original Quake 2 engine. Along with World of Padman, wSw stands out in this comparison by actually using colorful and clean graphics as opposed to Quake-inspired dark visuals. Warsow manages set itself even further by using cel-shading to create very clean, yet stunning visuals which can strain slower systems. In addition, the maps all feature a unique visual style that varies between maps yet retains the clean and cyberpunk visual themes.While sticking to basic gamemodes, wSw manages to refine them and remain fun and enjoyable. Weapons are generally the same as Quake 3 and 4, although with a polished feel. wSw implements a dual tier system for ammos. Weapons have weak and strong ammos which add more functionality to the gameplay while still keeping the basics simple. Warow's main change on top of basic Quake 3 gameplay is an expansion of movement options, featuring strafejumping and bunnyhopping from Quake along with dash, walljumping and aircontrol. Polish and high quality standards are what make Warow the free software FPS to beat. All aspects, from movement to maps to the gamemodes, seem refined and balanced. It was not until the mid-2007 release of the 0.3x version (currently 0.32) that wSw became refined enough to set itself apart from the others mentioned here. While many of the previously mentioned games have good original ideas and interesting features, they do not present games that match the quality of commercial offerings. In terms of multiplayer features and customizability, Warow matches and outclasses any released commercial deathmatch game. To make an analogy, many of the other games seem to fall into the common trend in free software projects: lots of great ideas without friendly and useful implementation, while Warow is in the style of Firefox, polished and accessible. Maps seem to have serious consideration for item placement and flow, voice-overs seem clean and crisp, lag-compensating network code keeps online play smooth. Out of the previously mentioned games Warow also has the largest community with over 250 servers. Competitive gaming is key to wSw and there exists a very large competitive community, an international LAN competition was hosted in 2007. Competitive gameplay drives many of the design decisions behind the game, always leaving players with something to do and strive for. Yet this also leads to the game's largest flaw, a steep learning curve that drives wSw beyond the scope of many casual gamers. Although the newly added CA mode lets new players have a simple gamemode where they can stand a bit more of a chance. wSw thrives on bunnyhopping and strafing skills which take time to develop, tutorial videos exist but lack of an ingame tutorial seriously limits adoption. However, since the latest release the popularity of less hardcore gamemodes, such as CA or Instagib, has made the game more accessible. From high quality art direction, to the implementation of some simple yet effective original ideas, combined with the refining of Quake gameplay leaves Warow the champion of the pack for free software shooters. Warsow was able to do what many free software projects strive for, take a simple established concept, implement additional clear, simple, and original ideas, refine the core of the project, and then present it in a very professional way. Honorable Mentions Quake2World - Currently in heavy development, Quake2world is a based off the Quetoo source cleanup of the Quake2 engine. It is full of features and the gameplay is fast and unique, combining the speed of QuakeWorld with features and leveldesign of Quake2, with the possible induction of more features from other Quakes. There is high quality artwork being developed but development is still very much a moving target, with no actual releases; however, there exists a publically accessible SVN and a handful of servers. Legends - Tribes-inspired gameplay with years of effort behind it. While Legends isn't open-source, it is worth a look if large environments in team-based combat is your thing. Notes: Since the original writing, Sauerbraten has released a new version that has more RPG elements and seems to make progress in being a more full-fledged game. I actually haven't had time to update the article.

Re:Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (3, Informative)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859556)

and I'm an idiot once again, proper formatting this time!! Here is my draft copy

About two weeks ago, Joe Barr posted a feature on Linux.com titled "New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition" yet gave no real comparisons with other similar games. This was done in the same style as Barr's previous feature, "Tremulous: The best free software game ever?" which described Tremulous but also lacked comparisons and relations to other games. This feature hopes to be a thorough comparison of the major free software shooters.

There have been many free software first-person shooters (FPS) projects over the years, from modded Doom and Quake engines to enhance the existing games (ezQuake, EGL, ZDoom), to free art packs such as OpenQuartz or OpenArena. In 2002, along came Cube, a single and multiplayer FPS based on its own engine, including artwork, maps, models and an ingame map editor. In the freeware (and Linux compatible!) world a little-known game called Legends, a Tribes-inspired game, appeared yet remained closed-source. Filling the FPS gap in the open-source world has usually been left up to commercial companies who release their games with Linux support (i.e. Doom3, Unreal Tournament 2004, Loki Software's work) or freeware games produced by commercial studios(i.e. America's Army, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory) or simply running Windows games run via wine. In the last few years a few built-from-scratch community-based FPS projects, most built on the GPLed Quake engines, have popped up, among them are Tremulous, Alien Arena, Nexuiz, and Warow. Some have kept their art assets under a closed license (Warow), while others have also released their art under an OSS license (Nexuiz), I consider both categories free software since well, software refers to programs, code and procedures, not artwork. For this comparison, we'll take a look at active, robust and community-developed free software shooters. Most released free software shooters are designed for multiplayer, a logical step for a game developed in an online community, however most also feature a bot-based single-player mode. While others have compared such games before, this feature seeks to be a little more thorough and go a step further, ranking the following seven games: Alien Arena, Nexuiz, OpenArena, Sauerbraten, Tremulous, Warow, and World of Padman. In ranking these games, gameplay, design, innovation and presentation (in that order) will be held as primary criteria.

7. Sauerbraten
Sauerbraten is basically Cube 2, the sequel to one of the most influential free software shooters released to date. The engine is completely reworked with brand new graphics rendering features rivaling that of Quake4. Like Cube, Sauerbraten has a built-in map editor that allows player to edit maps from within the game, making this one of the friendliest games for content-creation. The latest version of Sauerbraten, 2007-09-04, is little more than a subversion snapshot packaged and stabilized for wider distribution; the game is still in heavy development. Sauerbraten gameplay drastically differ from anything Cube offered, with simple Quake-style weapons, game effects, and the same Quake3-like FFA action. It is worth noting that Cube (and Sauerbraten) give you a weapon when you pick up the appropriate ammobox; there is no separation between ammo and weapons.While it has some cool features, the game still feels like more of a concept demo than an actual game, and with only 20-30 servers, half running instagib, there isn't much of a community following. Single player is reminiscent of Quake1, with enemy monsters in a variety of maps. The menu is actually one of the coolest I've seen implemented in a game, it spawns as an object ingame and faces you, however the lack of a main menu upon load adds to the tech-demo feel. Despite the tech-demo nature of the game, Sauerbraten has a good soundtrack, lots of maps, good quality models, well-done artwork and textures. The gameplay isn't anything astounding but with pretty decent maps and gameplay reminiscent of Quake3, Sauerbraten definitely offers something for people who just want some simple mindless action with some eye candy. Sauerbraten is a really cool project, but right now it remains that, a project of what can be done, more than a game.

6. OpenArena
OpenArena is a project to create GPL-licensed art assets on top of the open-sourced Quake 3 engine. It uses the latest snapshot of the ioquake3 engine and a mix of GPL assets ranging from original work to resources from Nexuiz, Cube and others. OpenArena 0.71 is a fairly large release at over 200MB. Most of the space is spent on many maps and models, some of which are regrettably lacking in quality. Some are straight recompiles of the GPL released Quake 1 maps (oa_dm1-7), which fail to use many of the advanced lighting and detail offered in the new engine. OpenArena seems to generally lack coherent art direction or design; most the maps, models and artwork seems like a half-done mix of Quake 3's gothic architecture and anime. The gameplay stays true to what was included in Quake3, so it can be rather enjoyable. On the other hand, much of Quake 3 Arena's popularity came from being done in such a simple, directed, and polished manner and OpenArena lacks much of the polish that made Quake3 so enjoyable. However, the project is still in its early stages and the task at hand is a rather large one. The goal of recreating GPL Q3A artwork on top of the GPL code is both noble and a great contribution to the community. OpenArena games still seem limited to FFA and with about 70 servers, the community is rather small. While Q3A gained popularity as a competitive game, the developers of OA don't see that as a target market so the depth of gameplay is unlikely to expand. At the moment, most the games on this list display far better art direction and design, which is regrettable as OpenArena is the most art-driven and least code-driven game in the group. At the end of the day though, OpenArena is about making a free game that has lots of simple & fun deathmatch action a la Quake3, and that is where it succeeds.

5. Alien Arena
Alien Arena is a Quake 2 based deathmatch game that tries to draw on a conflict between humans and aliens. However this distinction between two player types rarely stretches beyond player models. The latest release, Alien Arena 2007 6.10, still has many visual characteristics that appear outdated and reminiscent of Quake 2. Although there are game modes such as deathball, CTF, and assult, with a dark artistic style, fast gameplay with strong weapons, Alien Arena is still predominantly a deathmatch game. The original game modes aren't very well presented and seem to be underutilized, which is a shame because they seem to be fairly innovative. Alien Arena also includes vehicles in certain levels, an Although the external server browser and main menu are very nice, much of Alien Arena seems to be muddled and lacking polished design. The HUD lacks many critical features like a weaponlist or a clock, and the icons and graphics don't seem very sharp or clear. Alien Arena lacks many obvious gameplay features that have become standard in modern games, like removing the quad powerup for the duel gamemode. While many of the weapons seem to be recreations of weapons in Unreal and Quake, the two fire modes for each weapon adds interesting diversity on top of Quake-inspired gameplay rules. The overpowered nature of the weapons, especially the chaingun, leaves much to be desired. The community isn't very large at about 60 servers, but the game seems to be a bit lacking in clean presentation so it may not be as attractive to new players. Alien Arena seems to be working with lots of new and interesting original concepts but still needs work to match the artistic and gameplay quality of the other games covered here. If the project were to shift gears and focus a bit more on polish, design and presentation instead of creating tons of content (which it already has lots of), it has the potential to move beyond "dark FFA deathmatch action" and really be something quite original and remarkable.

4. Nexuiz
Nexuiz is another game that follows the fast, dark, and intense free-for-all deathmatch style first set down by Quake 1 in 1996. Nexuiz curiously enough is built on the Darkplaces engine, an expanded version of the GPL released Quake 1 source. While the basic graphics are seem to be up to Quake 3 standards, expanded lighting options allow the graphical features to be brought up to just below Quake 4 standards. Although the newest version still follows that simple deathmatch style, the fast, varied maps and lots of explosive action with interesting two fire-mode weapons leads to gameplay that is about as intense as it gets for shooters. Good sound combined with varied and unique weapons attests to the polish that has gone into bringing Nexuiz up to version 2.3. Nexuiz has lots of maps which seem to be slightly varied in style but still are predominantly covered with dark overtones. While most of the game is cleaned up far beyond its Quake 1 roots, it is still lacking in presentation with the menu being very circa 1990s. The community is strong and with about 80 servers, and finding a game is fairly easy. Nexuiz has lots of content, style and features and is very well done for a FFA game but some areas could use some more work and showcasing of its unique features and modes.

3. World of Padman
World of Padman originated as a modification on top of Quake 3 in 2004. With the release of GPL licensed Quake3 code, World of Padman was released as a stand-alone game on top of ioquake3. From that perspective, World of Padman was designed more in the style of the mod community (art-driven projects) than that of the free software community (code-driven projects) but nonetheless, its free software now. The game is based on a comic book and has unique colorful graphics with clear comic inspiration. World of Padman gameplay is very similar to that of Quake3, a little bit different, a little refreshing, but nothing too strikingly new. Killing other players is satisfying and just silly fun. If anything, World of Padman is proof that deathmatch gaming doesn't need to be blood-covered, violent and serious; it can be silly, cutesy and fun. World of Padman features several maps, each quite unique and but fitting with a common style. For example, players are characters about 3cm high and fight in real rooms like a bedroom, library, kitchen, etc. It's not a new approach for maps, but it definitely is fun and interesting; combined with World of Padman's art direction, this leaves for rather refreshing arenas. The maps are covered with jump pads and fun little powerups. And while maps like this sure are great free-for-all fun, they aren't really designed for competitive play, limiting potential for a hardcore community (the driving force of many shooter games). Gameplay is similar to Quake3 but a bit different, slower rockets and a very satisfying machine gun are perhaps the most notable. It has a small community at about 26 servers but lack of gameplay innovation is what hurts this game the most. The game is very polished , it has several gamemodes (including a unique "Spray your Color" mode) but gameplay still boils down the basic Quake-like fragging. While World of Padman is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a bad game, it lacks the innovative gameplay design goals of several of the games features here. It feels like Quake with polish and restructured objectives. While the game has great style rivaling the stylistic nature of any commercial game, it lacks advanced graphical features of Nexuiz & Sauerbraten or unique gameplay features of Nexuiz & Alien Arena. If you want to see what the gothic Quake 3 would look like if it were designed by color-loving comic artists with a sense of humor and a sense of fun style, World of Padman is exactly what you're looking for but regrettably that's about as far is it goes at the moment.

2. Tremulous
Tremulous sets itself aside from all of the previous games in that it isn't a FFA deathmatch game. Instead Tremulous is a team-based game with aliens vs. humans where each team constructs a base and can use their kills to level up their player. With a kill-based point system, Tremulous rewards combat, since it allows players to get better equipment so they can better attack the opponents. The two teams are unique and the concept and style of the game is rather original. If anything, Tremulous can be related to the Half-Life mod Natural Selection, although without the RTS commander mode. Tremulous has had a very constant release cycle with the latest 1.1 being released about a year ago and the community and development still remain active. The game is based on the Quake 3 engine, and although there are only 8 maps, they're all very varied, unique and high-quality. The two first things that I noticed about the game was that the options menu didn't show up until the player joined a game, and that the game had rich gameplay but still very accesablie to new players, featuring onscreen help and tips while you play. To further the point, Tremulous comes with a descriptive and friendly manual for those who want to learn the details of the gameplay. The game is simply fun; there is just action for those who want a simple game and tons of features and detail for those that want a bit more. The graphic design is consistent, dark and sci-fi futuristic with a bit of variance but a lot of consistency. The game has a large following as far as free software goes with a about 200 servers and at least a couple games any time of day. The performance is clean and consistent and it looks as good as Quake 3 generation mods. Tremulous is one of the few free software projects to combine an original idea with a polished implementation and good direction. The few maps and one gamemode really keep the style focused and clean. Tremulous could use more maps, more variety, more content and perhaps more robust gameplay, but 1.1 is a great release and future versions are definitely something to watch out for.

1. Warow
Warow is a deathmatch shooter with a focus on freedom of movement, attracting new players and fostering a competitive scene. It is built on Qfusion, a heavy modification of the GPL Quake 2 engine. From the user interface, to the gameplay, to even the netcode the game feels more like an improvement on Quake 3 than anything, stretching far beyond the original Quake 2 engine. Along with World of Padman, wSw stands out in this comparison by actually using colorful and clean graphics as opposed to Quake-inspired dark visuals. Warsow manages set itself even further by using cel-shading to create very clean, yet stunning visuals which can strain slower systems. In addition, the maps all feature a unique visual style that varies between maps yet retains the clean and cyberpunk visual themes.While sticking to basic gamemodes, wSw manages to refine them and remain fun and enjoyable. Weapons are generally the same as Quake 3 and 4, although with a polished feel. wSw implements a dual tier system for ammos. Weapons have weak and strong ammos which add more functionality to the gameplay while still keeping the basics simple. Warow's main change on top of basic Quake 3 gameplay is an expansion of movement options, featuring strafejumping and bunnyhopping from Quake along with dash, walljumping and aircontrol. Polish and high quality standards are what make Warow the free software FPS to beat. All aspects, from movement to maps to the gamemodes, seem refined and balanced. It was not until the mid-2007 release of the 0.3x version (currently 0.32) that wSw became refined enough to set itself apart from the others mentioned here. While many of the previously mentioned games have good original ideas and interesting features, they do not present games that match the quality of commercial offerings. In terms of multiplayer features and customizability, Warow matches and outclasses any released commercial deathmatch game. To make an analogy, many of the other games seem to fall into the common trend in free software projects: lots of great ideas without friendly and useful implementation, while Warow is in the style of Firefox, polished and accessible. Maps seem to have serious consideration for item placement and flow, voice-overs seem clean and crisp, lag-compensating network code keeps online play smooth. Out of the previously mentioned games Warow also has the largest community with over 250 servers. Competitive gaming is key to wSw and there exists a very large competitive community, an international LAN competition was hosted in 2007. Competitive gameplay drives many of the design decisions behind the game, always leaving players with something to do and strive for. Yet this also leads to the game's largest flaw, a steep learning curve that drives wSw beyond the scope of many casual gamers. Although the newly added CA mode lets new players have a simple gamemode where they can stand a bit more of a chance. wSw thrives on bunnyhopping and strafing skills which take time to develop, tutorial videos exist but lack of an ingame tutorial seriously limits adoption. However, since the latest release the popularity of less hardcore gamemodes, such as CA or Instagib, has made the game more accessible. From high quality art direction, to the implementation of some simple yet effective original ideas, combined with the refining of Quake gameplay leaves Warow the champion of the pack for free software shooters. Warsow was able to do what many free software projects strive for, take a simple established concept, implement additional clear, simple, and original ideas, refine the core of the project, and then present it in a very professional way.

Honorable Mentions

Quake2World - Currently in heavy development, Quake2world is a based off the Quetoo source cleanup of the Quake2 engine. It is full of features and the gameplay is fast and unique, combining the speed of QuakeWorld with features and leveldesign of Quake2, with the possible induction of more features from other Quakes. There is high quality artwork being developed but development is still very much a moving target, with no actual releases; however, there exists a publically accessible SVN and a handful of servers.

Legends - Tribes-inspired gameplay with years of effort behind it. While Legends isn't open-source, it is worth a look if large environments in team-based combat is your thing.

Notes: Since the original writing, Sauerbraten has released a new version that has more RPG elements and seems to make progress in being a more full-fledged game. I actually haven't had time to update the article.

New Sauerbraten available (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859760)

The latest version of Sauerbraten, 2007-09-04
TA is a little late. There's a new Sauerbraten available since a few days, and it is significantly improved over the previous available one. (don't ask me why this group doesn't use version numbers...)

Re:New Sauerbraten available (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859804)

Sauerbraten, 2007-09-04
That looks like a perfectly reasonable versioning scheme to me.

You know 100% if your version is older or newer than another version.

Re:New Sauerbraten available (2, Informative)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860450)

Yes I know, the top of the article mentions that it was written two months ago. The release of the new Sauerbraten was what promoted me to post this before it got too out-of-date.

Also the end of the article contains the following note, "Notes: Since the original writing, Sauerbraten has released a new version that has more RPG elements and seems to make progress in being a more full-fledged game. I actually haven't had time to update the article." Perhaps I should have put that under the Sauerbraten section. I'm very eager to try out the new release though.

Re:Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (1)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859766)

As an apology, I originally wrote this article with unicode (and published it on a site that uses unicode), so I used the Section sign U+00A7 to represent the 'S' in WarSow. I posted this comment in a jiffy from my saved draft and forgot to replace the unicode with an S. Also I would like to say that the above is a draft copy I had saved, I don't have access to my final copy at the moment.

Re:Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859560)

Ow! My Eyes! Crushed under the massive wall of text...

Re:Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (1)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859582)

Yeah I know, oh my bad!! I just.. need to think a little bit, use preview button. Get some sleep :)

Re:Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (1)

stony777 (1210200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859890)

THE SITE IS BACK UP - just for your information :)

Re:Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860236)

I cleaned up the grammer

Somehow, I don't think you did a good job...

Re:Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (1)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860412)

Cleaned up the grammar before posting it on the site that got slashdotted, the version in the comments is a horribly written draft that I did at 3am off shorthand notes.

To be honest though, I can't say the final is much better in terms of structure, clarity or cohesiveness. I apologize. I know there is lots of passive, crap comma usage, etc. but I originally was going to do this with a second author to whom I was planning to send my notes. I ended up doing it myself so I quickly turned my notes into an article without much thought, I've learned my lesson, and I'm a bit ashamed of myself.

you gets what I mean?

Re:Slashdotted - No Mirrors up (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860542)

I don't think you get what I mean. You wrote "grammer" when it's actually "grammar". :)

Another greate game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859554)

Not completely 'Open Source' but is based on the Q3 engine.

Urban Terror

http://urbanterror.net/ [urbanterror.net]

Re:Another greate game (1)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859648)

How is it not opensource?

Xinerama (2, Interesting)

Jethro (14165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859564)

I have yet to see one game that works correctly on a Linux box with Xinerama. At least in full-screen more. Some of them won't even let you change resolution at all, let alone tell them to run in a window.

When they run in full-screen they tend to span the displays and have all the action right in the middle so the important stuff is split in two.

And quite a few games crash on the weird resolution.

I'm not saying I've seen Windows games work on dual-head or ever support two monitors, but at least they have the decency to just pick a screen and use that one.

Re:Xinerama (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859900)

I'm not saying I've seen Windows games work on dual-head or ever support two monitors, but at least they have the decency to just pick a screen and use that one.

There are some titles for Windows that support multiple heads: Flight Simulator X, for example.
X2 supports two monitors, but with the inexplicable requirement that your secondary monitor has to be to the right of the primary, cause they've hardcoded the screen edges for the mouse.

Then there's titles that won't run at all unless you disable one monitor. Combat Flight Simulator 3, for example, which is rather odd, considering that the non-combat variety from the same company supports multiple monitors.

Re:Xinerama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859986)

I use a Xinerama machine since years and never had any problems. Perhaps it's just your window manager sucks.

I always used windowed mode to jump to the other screen easily (for IRC) while gaming.

No problems whatsoever. Crashes? Why?

Q3 and some other games like bzFlag also were able to run in the full view of 2048x768. Big fun, but very sickening :D

Re:Xinerama (4, Interesting)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860138)

Erm, sounds like you have no single-screen modes configured.
Read up on the MetaModes option in xorg.conf.

Mine looks like this:

Option "MetaModes" "1280x1024_60.00, 1920x1200; null, 1920x1200"
And I can play ET, AA, Tremulous, etc. just fine. The second screen simply goes off when a game requests fullscreen.

Re:Xinerama (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860816)

NO!!! You've destroyed my only way of keeping games off my work laptop! Must... avert... eyes.

Quake 3 Arena: GPL'd and Free (as in beer) (1)

tayferd (1207726) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859572)

They missed Q3A, surely the best free game out there. In 2005, id Software released the complete source code under the GNU GPL. The copyrighted textures have been duplicated by way of Open Arena. With Q3A/Open Arena, comes many amazing mods such as Challenge Pro-Mode (CPMA) and Urban Terror (UrT).

Re:Quake 3 Arena: GPL'd and Free (as in beer) (2, Informative)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859654)

Yes Quake 3 is free software, but Quake3 can't be called a packagable 'game' in the sense of 'free'. The game materials are still proprietary and not free. The engine is free software, and in fact, all the games on that list use GPL engine that were built on iD's released Quake1/2/3 engines. However they also can be considered packagable 'games' with free content. The article should have made that distinction though.

The-Cheap-And-Bored-Dept (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859604)

Wow, another list of free games? The last three articles weren't enough?

Re:The-Cheap-And-Bored-Dept (1)

witte (681163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860406)

The last three articles weren't enough?

Of course not.
It's stay-happy-news from the whaa-no-new-fps-in-my-xmas-stocking dept.

(...It can get awfully lonely in this basement with no new games to distract me.)

Tremulous (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859798)

Tremulous is a very fun game.

The article is wrong though, there are a lot more than eight maps, and they didn't copy off Natural Selection. Both Natural Selection and Tremulous copied of Gloom.

Re:Tremulous (1)

Sepht (874769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860346)

Tremulous ships with 8 stock maps. That isn't a lie, there are custom maps, as with all the games, but there are only 8 stock maps. Article doesn't say Tremulous ripped off anyone, I'll quote "Tthe concept and style of the game is rather original. If anything, Tremulous can be related to the Half-Life mod Natural Selection, although without the RTS commander mode." Related doesn't mean one took from the other, it just means they are similar.

Re:Tremulous (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860538)

The article clearly states that "Tremulous only has 8 maps", that is a lie. If it said "ships with 8 maps", I would agree with you.

Re:Tremulous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21860494)

Not too great an article but it was nice introducing those games as most people probably don't know them. Just for the record I've played all of them. In my list Tremulous is the clear winner.

Go Tremulous!

Nexuiz, Alien Arena 2007, WoP (1)

thePsychologist (1062886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859808)

I've tried these three games. I'm a FPS fan and when I moved to Linux I wanted some free shooters, so I took a look at these three, in the order in the subject. Nexuiz: Good but gameplay doesn't seem solid. The sound effects were pretty bad on my system at least and the weapons are weaker that Q3 I think. After a while I had this problem where all the textures were replaced by weird looking patterns and I gave up trying to fix it. An ok game but nothing really special. Alien Arena: This is the first free game that I played that I actually like and would play seriously. The controls are solid and the weapons are well-balanced. Graphics are good although on my main system they sucked cause of graphics card drivers. I had to play on lowest res and lowest detail settings though. Great level design and pretty good bots. WoP: I hated this game. The weapons were unintuitive and the levels were too dark, and adjusting the gamma didn't help. The sound effects were annoying and most of the levels were of the open type where bot aim held superior. even on the easiest level I was wiped out. I also have a valid copy of Q3 which I tried a while ago and it ran the same as it did on Windows. Alien Arena is the only one I found worth it.

Re:Nexuiz, Alien Arena 2007, WoP (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860468)

Alien Arena: This is the first free game that I played that I actually like and would play seriously. The controls are solid and the weapons are well-balanced.
The controls (I include the UI) are only as solid as Quake 2. I normally switch weapons through the mouse wheel since it's hard to memorize the number slots for the weapons across the massive number of FPS games. In Quake 2, you only see the current weapon selection - IIRC, there may have been an icon that showed you which weapon you were switching to.

The one time I tried Alien Arena was the same time I noticed this. After playing Quake 3 and UT, this isn't a feature I can play without. In fact, I couldn't play an unmodified version of Nexuiz because of a very similar problem - it only showed your weaponry when you were switching, and it doesn't display that until the server knows you are switching weapons (Nexuiz is based on NQ, where all actions were server-side.)

FYI, if you want to annoy players like me, pickup a weapon that has a long transition time when switching, and drop it so that I'd pick it up. While not a perfectly effective tactic, it is known to lock down players that use mouse wheels. It also works on players that still have weapon-switch on pickup enabled.

What about bzflag? (3, Informative)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859838)

bzflag is a good free game, which just goes to show that fancy graphics have nothing to do with how good a game is.

Re:What about bzflag? (2, Informative)

u235meltdown (940099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860356)

BZFlag is not a FPS game, it is a "First Person Tank Shooter" according to Wikipedia... hmm, I guess it counts as "FPS"
maybe they disagree with the 13,300 registered players that like it

No need for comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21859908)

Open Arena is the best! Holy carp!

Comparison (1)

Bahdom (1210206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859950)

Nice comparison, thnx :D

Three cheers for John Carmack, (4, Interesting)

shish (588640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21859952)

seeing as 6 out of the 7 games are Quake-based :P

It strikes me that open source has a reputation for really good code and half-assed presentation, so I wonder why there aren't many free-from-day-1 game engines :-/

Re:Three cheers for John Carmack, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21860206)

Yeah... and basically they were made from originally closed-source that was released into Open Source... which, in itself, is very telling.

tremulous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21860066)

tremulous is the game that I wanted to play ten years ago when I was playing starcraft and quake and wished they could be merged. If only they would add protoss to their races as well as terrans and zerg...

The best "free" game... (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860126)

... is Urban Terror. But as others have pointed out, did you mean free as in beer or open source? Free by itself is pretty misleading. At any rate Urban Terror pwns those other ones damn hard. Especially the new version with all the great new maps.

Much Love,
rhY

dim3 (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860252)

Also see dim3, a free open source 3D game engine with tools. Runs on Linux, Mac and Windows.
http://www.klinksoftware.com/ [klinksoftware.com]

Re:dim3 (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860688)

"Linux, Mac and Windows"

To quote from the site given:

Windows RunTime Binary (21.5MB) (Includes Engine and Sample Demo Project, used to run projects created in OS X)

Linux RunTime Binaries There are no linux binaries. You'll need to download the code and compile them yourself.

Minimum Requirements: OS 10.4 and XCode 2.2 Note: This code compiles on either Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux.

Looks like a cool project, but how well does it compile / run on Linux / Windows?

Re:dim3 (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860952)

Ppl have posted about it working but I would ask or search in the dim3 forums http://www.idevgames.com/dim3/index.php [idevgames.com] for linux news.

Tremulous second best? Hate to see the rest (0, Offtopic)

sahonen (680948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860272)

I played Tremulous briefly a while back... The game balance is absolutely terrible. The alien team is clearly far more powerful than the human team, especially at higher levels of evolution (the most powerful alien can do devastating hit-and-run attacks that kill even the most powerful humans and doesn't give a team of even coordinated humans enough time to kill it), and the evolution model itself suffers from a problem going back to what I consider the single worst piece of game design ever, Counter-Strike. Namely, the catch-22 that forms if one team dominates early in the game. The winning team manages to acquire powerful upgrades, and the losing team cannot build up enough resources to purchase upgrades themselves. If a member of the losing team somehow manages to acquire an upgrade, it is quickly lost because he dies at the hands of the vastly more powerful enemy team, which manages to hold onto their upgrades by virtue of being unkillable while in possession of their powerful upgrades.

Warsow has very good balance being a deathmatch game, and I love the fact that there are no clearly dominant weapons in the game (I consider one-hit kills to be the epitome of bad and lazy game design), but the resulting game requires so much skill to play and I don't have enough spare time to get good enough where playing it would be enjoyable.

Team Fortress 2 is the best multiplayer game I have ever played, despite balance problems introduced by sniper headshots and the spy backstab.

Re:Tremulous second best? Hate to see the rest (1)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860482)

Cry more. :)

But seriously, those one-hit kills are pretty well balanced in TF2 by a few simple facts:

Sniper: Yeah he gets one-hit kills, but has to be scoped for a few seconds, can't see much else, and isn't useful in any other situations.

Spy: Useless when not cloaked/disguised, can be easily detected by shooting since there's no friendly fire, and Pyros are meant to check teammates for spies in the midst. Also, disguised spies still collide with enemies, so if you try to run near/by someone and you stick a little, let loose on them.

Re:Tremulous second best? Hate to see the rest (1)

sahonen (680948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860598)

My problem with one-hits in general is that if you give someone any way at ALL to create a one-hit opportunity, certain players will spend all of their time figuring out how to abuse it. The spy's invisibility power gives him the ability to run behind a line of rushing players, uncloak and eliminate them all nearly instantly. There's no way to defend against this short of reducing the effectiveness of your rush by having everyone be constantly watching where they came from instead of concentrating on the enemy that they're trying to rush against. A good spy forces a team to be constantly preoccupied with watching their backs, reducing their effectiveness against conventional attacks. A single player simply shouldn't have this kind of power. Removing the spy's invisibility would fix this problem for me. I've never played a game where giving players complete invisibility didn't completely ruin class balance, and giving that player a one-hit kill as well is just blatantly bad game design. As for the sniper, there are plenty of places where a good sniper can completely shut down an offense without giving them any chance at retaliation. That's the most frustrating part, if it were *possible* to kill the sniper before he got you, I wouldn't have a problem. That's the problem with long-range, highly accurate one-hit kills, there's simply no way to defend against them, because there's no way to get close enough that your own weapons become effective. The most ridiculous example is that even a medic'd heavy with 450 HP gets taken out by a headshot. This shouldn't be possible, a medic is supposed to increase the survivability of the player he's healing, and no other weapon in the game comes even close to doing that kind of damage. My view is that sniper damage should be affected by distance like all of the other weapons in the game, and at most should do 150 when fully-charged, multiplied to 300 for a headshot at *close* range.

Re:Tremulous second best? Hate to see the rest (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860556)

Play it again. A coordinated team of humans are great. It depends on one thing though. When Sudden Death occurs, the humans should still be able to build armouries, as the aliens are still able to evolve.

Great game. Just finished a round right now. Best game I've played in *years*

Re:Tremulous second best? Hate to see the rest (2, Interesting)

sahonen (680948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860800)

I played many games over a several days. I almost never saw the humans win unless there was a huge skill stack on the human side. Far more often I saw the aliens win, and occasionally a sudden death which inevitably went to the aliens.

What was the most frustrating for me was not being able to buy upgrades or evolve because I hadn't killed enough people yet. Especially at later stages in the game where practically everybody had evos and upgrades, it was incredibly difficult and frustrating running around as the weakest player in the game trying to kill players far more powerful than me so that I could get the upgrades I needed to be able to take out these powerful players. It's a chicken-and-egg problem. It's the same problem I have with counter-strike, if you're on the losing team with no money, how are you supposed to take out people with body armor and AK-47s when all you have is a pistol? This kind of problem is frustrating and I consider it to be bad game design. I vastly prefer games that level the playing field by giving players equal abilities and not penalizing teams for losing.

Re:Tremulous second best? Hate to see the rest (1)

verySmartApe (1053716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860922)

Ya, because why would anyone want to play a game where one side had an advantage? Like chess. No one plays that anymore. Who wants to play black?

Seriously, asymmetry is the point of trem. It's not just team play. It's team play with *really* different teams. I play trem a lot. I think aliens win about 2/3 of games. I don't care if it's not 50:50.

You make a good point. Once you get to sudden death, I think aliens win about 80% of games. But that's cool -- it just means hummies need to attack early. Hummies are usually stronger in the first two stages of the game.

As for your other point, most servers allow you to accumulate creds/evos by just not dying. So if you're poor, just play defense for awhile.

Re:Tremulous second best? Hate to see the rest (1)

Vermifax (3687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860970)

Having played Trem and Natural Selection (which is free, but not open). I vastly prefer Natural Selection.

But it still has the same issues that you don't like in Trem.

And fwiw, TF2 is brilliant.

Suggest me one... (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860446)

All the mentioned games seem to be about network deathmatches. What would you suggest for someone who prefers story-driven single-player games?

(having an OSX version would help a lot too)

Not ready for the mainstream (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860462)

Until they have way too many WW2 FPS games. Amirite?

But seriously, in many ways I'm surprised at the lack of progress in the gaming areas.... the games do look quite mature, but nothing comes close to Crysis. One can argue that, yes, Crysis has huge dollars behind it. But open source games should never need to reinvent the wheel... doesn't that count for something? Shouldn't that mean the games evolve constantly from the same rich base?

RTS (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21860776)

What about the RTS genre? Nothing better then building a base, an army, and storming into an enemy base.

why don't they make "adventures" out of them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21860966)

I've played all those games and enjoyed almost all of them, but when you spend half an hour playing a Windows FPS on a Windows machine, even the free+multiplatform factor fades easily: sadly, there's no way (now) to be on par with closed Windows-only games, and most of those games are likely to be ignored due to this reason.

But, what if developers added to free games something most commercial fps lack because it simply doesn't attract the intended audience (teenagers)? I mean, Sauerbraten's Cube engine is certainly behind anything developed in the last 5 years, but what if there were plots, characters and living worlds instead of maps filled with monsters? Wouldn't it become instantly more appealing?

Then my question is: why don't they redirect some efforts from other task to developing games where the 3D engine is just a device to interact with a much more complex world, rather than fragging monsters at N frames per second?

where is the innovation? (1)

DerWulf (782458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861068)

I certainly can't find it in this bunch of Q2/Q3 clones ...
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