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First Person Shooters (Games) Software Linux

Free Software FPS Games Compared 194

An anonymous reader writes " 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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Free Software FPS Games Compared

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  • Lies (Score:5, Funny)

    by Smordnys s'regrepsA ( 1160895 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @05:38PM (#21859390) Journal
    Wolfenstein, I still love you!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 )
      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.
      • by omeomi ( 675045 )
        One thing I can say for OpenArena and Nexuiz is that they're both really fun. They might not have top-shelf graphics, but the games are fast-paced, usually pretty free from cheaters and other asshats, and just a lot of fun to play. I play Nexuiz pretty frequently. I'm not a huge fan of Sauerbraten, but that's mostly because there's only a few servers, and I get tired of instagib. I'm really excited to try the others on the list...
      • "Not in my experience. There are a bunch of CTF maps that are usually full of bots."

        There. Fixed it for you.
    • Re:Lies (Score:4, Informative)

      by antdude ( 79039 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:07PM (#21861268) Homepage Journal
      What about DOOM? Better than Wolfenstein games to me. :)
  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @05:41PM (#21859408) Journal
    ...coming back to frag you once more! I do like World of Padman...funny story, funny 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.
  • They Missed (Score:3, Informative)

    by phoenixwade ( 997892 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @05:46PM (#21859462)
    They missed AlephOne - the OS marathon development... Still very playable even on very lightweight equipment.
    • 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.
  • by Tibor the Hun ( 143056 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @05:49PM (#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.
    • by Drasil ( 580067 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @05:56PM (#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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        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 ano
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Darkael ( 969121 )
        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.
      • The in-game logic source code was released in 2004 to aid 'modders' but the game engine itself remains closed to this day (although it may eventually be released).

        I know it sounds paradoxical but W:ET was never derived from GPL code (in the licensing sense) because id Tech 3 was under a closed license when it was licensed to SD (This may lead to issues with SD/Activision ever being able to relicense the source)
    • 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? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 30, 2007 @05:51PM (#21859498)
    What about Urban Terror? [] . Just released a new version. It's a pretty fun game.
    • Yes, Urban Terror has been around forever. It's a mod of Q3A, and now has a stand alone client.
    • Yea, except the new version of Urban Terror removed bots. Lame. I'll stick with 3.7, TYVM.
    • by imr ( 106517 )
      I don't think it's a Free Software. Where is the licence and where is the code?
      • by Timbo ( 75953 )
        The common factor with all the games listed is that their code is GPL. UrT doesn't qualify as its game code is still closed source. Depending on your reading of the license, this may constitute a GPL violation.

        Alternatively, it could just have been left off as it was written before UrT was released as a single (legally ambiguous, IMHO) package.
  • 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 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 d
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sepht ( 874769 )
      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 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 fr
      • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Sepht ( 874769 )
          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 secti
    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      Ow! My Eyes! Crushed under the massive wall of text...
    • I cleaned up the grammer

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

  • Xinerama (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @05:58PM (#21859564) Homepage
    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.
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      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 moni

    • Re:Xinerama (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kent Recal ( 714863 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @07:18PM (#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.
  • Wow, another list of free games? The last three articles weren't enough?
    • by witte ( 681163 )
      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.)
  • 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
    • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

      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 coul

    • Gameplay in Nexuiz doesn't seem solid? Huh. I love that gameplay, particularly the ability to remote-detonate rockets.

      Oh well, at least you didn't try Open Arena.
  • What about bzflag? (Score:3, Informative)

    by rastoboy29 ( 807168 ) * on Sunday December 30, 2007 @06:41PM (#21859838) Homepage
    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: (Score:2, Informative)

      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
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Calling bzflag a good FPS is like calling IRC a good MMORPG.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bar-agent ( 698856 )
        like calling IRC a good MMORPG

        "IRC, where men are men, women are men, and 14-year-old girls are FBI agents."

        Sounds like a MMORPG to me. :)
  • by shish ( 588640 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @06:57PM (#21859952) Homepage

    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 :-/

    • Consider Cube and Sauerbraten. These are not only amusing games but also quite pretty engines as well.

      They also have some pretty interesting and ahead-of-their-time collaborative, live level editing support.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg ( 306625 )
      Because every developer thinks that they can write a better engine, and every producer thinks that an engine is only worth what you pay for it. Both of these observations are from personal experience.
  • Also see dim3, a free open source 3D game engine with tools. Runs on Linux, Mac and Windows. []
    • by deniable ( 76198 )

      "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?

  • 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)
    • What would you suggest for someone who prefers story-driven single-player games?

      FreeQuake [], is a singleplayer, story based? well sorry, pretty much shoot them first, but what, you needed a reason?

    • by Cheapy ( 809643 )
      Wesnoth isn't an FPS. But it does have a story. I think that most OSS games will be about networked matches, because getting people to write netcode is probably easier than getting people to write an amazing story.
  • 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?
    • I don't think games lend themselves to evolution very well. Consider the amount of money and time the commercial studios spend building new game engines virtually from scratch. Game engines tend to be engineered around specifics of gameplay, and while you can modify an engine to suit your particular game, it becomes increasingly difficult to integrate updates to the core engine. And an engine that's even just two or three years old results in a game that looks and feels decidedly dated.

      The real problem th

  • What about the RTS genre? Nothing better then building a base, an army, and storming into an enemy base.
    • by Sparr0 ( 451780 )
      First would have to be TA Spring [], a fully 3d reimplementation of Total Annihilation and many mods and maps for it.

      Then Warzone 2100 (Resurrection) [], a revival of a great commercial RTS game that was Freed a few years ago.

      Bos Wars [] is by far the best and most polished of all the games based on the Stratagus [](formerly FreeCraft) engine, but

      Also, Globulation 2 [] is pretty fun, if a bit less deep than the others in terms of strategic options.

      Finally, Glest [] is a fun from-scratch fantasy RTS game, not as polished as t
  • I certainly can't find it in this bunch of Q2/Q3 clones ...
  • I was looking for free MMORPGs and found out this one. []
    Surprisingly it runs on Linux and FreeBSD
    and only 100MB in size.
  • by yoyhed ( 651244 )
    The funny thing about user-created content (and it really shows in every single one of these examples) is that the maps tend to look incredibly bland and undetailed - not to mention these in particular look like they're all based on the Quake 3 engine, circa 2001.
  • Apparently building a game with AI and Free Software are incompatible for the time being: I don't know any Free SW games which has an AI say equivalent to the quality of Half-Life (the first) for example.
  • It might sound like a troll, or my question might answer itself, but why bother with trying to create FOSS FPSes, considered how high the big game studios set the bar in the FPS domain? Sure, the effort behind Sauerbrauten is admirable, but what does it bring? What sets it apart from the Quake, Unreal, Call of Duty, Half-Life, Deux Ex, Soldier of Fortune series? Its price?

    Here's my point : we have limited means, limited resources, there's only so much quality content we can create, FAR less than big game st

  • They are all just quake 2 or quake 3 clones with replaced graphics, as far as i can tell. Well, Nexuiz implemented some of the thinsg that don't suck about Unreal Tournament.. but still.. pretty much just a Q2 clone.

    The engine has enough stuff in it that it can bring my 3Ghz Core 2 Duo to it's knees, though.. but the art pipeline isn't near good enough to make it look like it should be doing that.

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