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First Person Shooters (Games) Entertainment Games

Most Popular Free, Arena-Style FPS? 205

anomalous cohort writes "I am a casual gamer. Go or Chess are my games of choice when I am up for a serious intellectual gaming challenge. Otherwise, I just want to blow off some steam in a free, arena-style FPS such as Alien Arena, Nexuiz, Sauerbraten, or Tremulous at the end of a long day. Either way, it is very rare for my gaming experience to exceed 30 minutes. The problem is that attendance for these games has dropped off over the years. Finding a game with about two humans and two robots is perfect for me and very rare these days. My question is this: What is currently the most popular free, arena-style FPS for the casual gamer that you know of?" That reminds me, how is the Quake Live beta coming along?
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Most Popular Free, Arena-Style FPS?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @05:37AM (#26429993)


  • Urban Terror (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChienAndalu ( 1293930 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @05:40AM (#26430019)

    You can also try Urban Terror []. I have played it for a few months and can attest that the maps are fun, gameplay is great, there aren't many cheaters (if any) and the general behavior on the servers is alright.

  • by dakameleon ( 1126377 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:06AM (#26430221)

    Why is this flamebait? See []

  • by ruzkie ( 1028574 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:39AM (#26430447)
    Quakeworld -> [] for servers/opponents or #qwrookie on irc on Quakenet happy gibbing.
  • Quake Live beta (Score:2, Informative)

    by FlatWhatson ( 802600 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:43AM (#26430465)
    I've been participating in the Quake Live beta since November. IMHO they've done a really good job of bringing Quake 3 to the web. The game client is slick - just as fast as you would expect of the original. In game, I honestly can't tell the difference. The plugin interaction is quite smooth too, sitting neatly in your browser or running at full screen without issue.

    The biggest feature is the whole system they've built around that, though.

    Honestly as a web developer, I'm quite impressed. They've implemented a match-making/game-finding engine, a messaging client and friends system, and all the statistical tracking you could want, pretty much entirely in Javascript. To the unsuspecting web user, it looks and feels like a Flash application. I dislike the web's dependancy on Flash as much as the next Slashdotter (or web developer), so it really is a breath of fresh air.

    To me it feels like Quake Live will make an excellent inter-office deathmatch game. The ability to jump into a game with one click, and have it launch from or live inside your browser is far less effort and disruption than any current alternative.

    My only gripe is that they still don't have a Linux client. That pretty much rules out all of the developers at my work - the very same group who are likely to be up for a quick frag. That's a shame, because UT2k4 and OpenArena have never really caught on there... oh well.

    I have my fingers crossed.
  • Re:Quake 3 Arena (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:43AM (#26430475)

    It IS free these days: []

  • word on QL beta (Score:2, Informative)

    by majorme ( 515104 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:51AM (#26430515) Journal

    First, I suggest you try Warsow []. Someone already mentioned it so there's not much to say.

    Now on Quake Live. The beta is going extremely well, although, very slow. Their website is actually better than most, if not all, current games' GUI systems. The matchmaking thing is also working like a charm. I'd say Quake Live is going to rock when the public beta kicks off.
    The ads fit extremely well as Quake 3 had big video screens from 1999.

    It's basically Quake 3 gameplay with some tweaks the so called "casual gamers" may or may not notice at all.

    The only "problem" I see with QL is that it may not be as easy to play at work as one might suspect. At least not for everyone. At work, I am only able to log into the site but not install (and then play) it. The installer tries to put files in Documents and settings folder which as well as in system/32.

  • by SwabTheDeck ( 1030520 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:56AM (#26430547)
    ...can't you just drop the $12 on an older game like Q3A []? Even if you got a measly 5 hours of play during the entire lifetime of your ownership, it would be hard to argue that it's not worth that price. It's fun, there are still tons of players, and you can pick it up and drop it without drama. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and understand why there is free software in the world, but really good, comprehensive games almost universally cost money. The exception is probably id's free gift to the world Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, which you can download [] and play completely free of charge and it even has an available Linux client. However, this is not an "arena-style" fps, so I guess it doesn't quite fit the bill. It's class-based, but doesn't generally use timed rounds and there are a variety of map styles. I suppose it's possible to find a server that has arena-like settings.
  • Sauerbraten (Score:5, Informative)

    by GreatBunzinni ( 642500 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:57AM (#26430557)

    Sauerbraten wins this one by far. The gameplay is addictive and the graphics are actually very good, which is something that isn't quite common in FLOSS games. God knows how many hours I've lost to this piece of software alone. []

  • Re:Slower pace? (Score:1, Informative)

    by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:54AM (#26430919)

    Now that you've brought up TF2, I must say that no, OP don't buy it. I paid only something like 7 bucks, and I regret it more than the mini bike [] (not actually me in the picture) I blew all my savings on when I was a kid. Not only you have to deal with Valve's bullshit with Steam, but it's just not as good as its popularity might lead you to believe.

  • by ggambett ( 611421 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:54AM (#26430921) Homepage
    You must definitely check Combat Arms. Free to play, microtransaction-based upgrades and customization (not really needed to play though, as you can "steal" weapons for a while)

    Not "arena" per se, but ET is lots of fun, class-based. Graphics are a bit outdated (2003ish) but you can't beat the gameplay.
  • by MunchMunch ( 670504 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:03AM (#26430979) Homepage
    I had a really hard time getting into Quake Live. I was excited about it for a week or so, but then went back to playing Quake 3 Arena, dwindling servers and all.

    Why? Quake Live has fewer maps, it is not NEARLY as customizable, lagcode resulted in significant relearning and fudging of previously-tight timing, and in all you just felt like all of the browser-based revisions to the game were completely unnecessary, like they were filling out a concept that really didn't make much sense in practice.

    Lack of Customizability

    New maps and mods have to be added by central servers, top-down style. By comparison, Q3 has had such longevity because of bottom-up modding and map creation by fans. The result of QL's method is that gameplay and map choices instantly stagnate because there's no easy outlet and proving ground for new maps and features.

    In-Browser Game Selection Doesn't Work

    Rather than have this bizarre browser-based launcher, honestly they should have just spit-polished Q3 itself, added some ad-code to make money, and left the rest untouched. The browser is slow to navigate and find the best server for a duel using the browser map selection, compared to Q3 where I was used to using 3rd party server trackers and instantaneously connecting.

    Lag/Netcode Seem Geared to More Casual Gamers

    Currently, most Q3 duels take place in the CPMA mod. The physics for CPMA is frankly screwed up (apologies to those who actually like the strafe-jumping-gone-mad movement--I guess I'm not hardcore enough to remember when it was cool in Quake 1), but you can play with vintage Q3 settings and the lag/netcode is decent. A high ping is noticeable, but usually consistent enough to compensate because you are able to see your lag in the timing of your shots appearing on the screen.

    By comparison, in QL, the lagcode/netcode seems to tend to mask the lag you experience, making your shots appear instantaneous even if they aren't in fact. This is likely to make it more accessible, but the result is less predictability for hardcore players. A duel means much less when you feel like the game isn't being straight with you about where you are actually shooting.


    Q3 is still unrivalled as a 1v1 duel and straight-FPS TDM game. Carmack admitted he believes as much in a recent interview, so it's a shame he doesn't see how the lack of customizability, dumbing-down of the server interface, and dumbed down lag/netcode really cripples the game meant to be a replacement for Q3.

  • Re:Slower pace? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @08:10AM (#26431031)

    Try TrueCombat:Elite, it's a free tactical shooter that runs on the free game Wolfenstein Enemy Territory. It runs on Windows, Linux and Mac., there's a few decent videos on YouTube with gameplay

  • by KovaaK ( 1347019 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:13AM (#26431459) Journal

    As much as I love Quakeworld, I'd have to say that it depends on where you live. If you're in the US, don't bother unless you want to play brainless Clan Arena mods. If you're in Europe, the community is much larger. There are (from my understanding) significantly large free-for-all communities as well as dueling and team deathmatch (2on2 and 4on4) communities.

    The game is VERY difficult to get into, which is why I would fully recommend making use of #qwrookie if you happen to start fresh or even after a few years break. Quakeworld is about as hardcore as it comes. Trying to break into it in the US will result in incredible frustration unless you know the right people who have a ton of time to spend on helping you out.

  • Re:Urban Terror (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:28AM (#26431631)

    There are definitely cheaters. Me and a few friends admin a server, and catch at least one cheater a day. But, on the other hand, UrT really is a great game. If you go to the right servers, there will usually be an admin watching out for you.

  • by maclizard ( 1029814 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @09:30AM (#26431647)
    I agree, OpenArena will meet the casual gaming requirements that you have stated.
  • by hubdawg ( 1148477 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:30AM (#26432635)
    Wolfenstein ! Enemy Teritory. Free quick easy dirty good game. I can always find a good server. Many save XP servers for a good time. I like those.;852002;/fileinfo.html []
  • Tribes 2 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @10:35AM (#26432715) Journal

    I haven't gotten a chance to play this yet, but Tribes 2 [] has been released as freeware. Just a couple weeks ago it was patched to allow network play on unauthorized servers, which are the only servers anymore. Seeing how recent this development is (as of Jan 2), I'd expect Tribes 2 multiplayer to be on the upswing.

  • DNF (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @11:23AM (#26433497)

    Obviously the parent isn't in the know but DNF is expected in 2009, finally.

  • by Alienkillerrace ( 1172801 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:37PM (#26435897)

    It should be pointed out that the original article is a bit off - Both Nexuiz and Alien Arena have had steady, if not increasing playerbases over the last couple of years.

    That said, a new version of Alien Arena is being released this week. This game has made major improvements in gameplay, content, and engine in the lastest releases, and it continues again in version 7.21

    Alien Arena is a game that was built from the Quake2 and Quake3 sources, but bears very little resemblance to either of these games by now. This game looks, feels, and plays much more like Unreal Tournament 2004 that the Quake series. The game still incorporates much of the Quake physics, while adding UT style dodging, alternate firing modes, and a weapon set that has been tweaked and balanced to perfection. Alien Arena also has a wide variety of game modes, such as Cattle Prod, CTF, All Out Assault, Team Core Assault, Duel, and Deathball, as well as incorporating a load of built in mutators to alter the game mode such as instagib, class based, rocket arena, etc.

    The engine has received a great deal of attention since June, and has been extensively rewritten making use of GLSL shaders to achieve effects like parallax/specular/bump mapping, as well as realistic water shaders. There has also been much optimization of the code and improvement of basic particle effects. It has been made into a lean, clean, deathmatch machine that plays very well online, with clean, solid, and proven netcode. Antilag options have also been added for those who prefer that sort of thing.

    A number of new maps have been added, as well as some of the old standbys being reconstructed to meet the new standards this game has set for itself. The level of detail and polish is something that IMO stands out in a big way. You won't find boxy levels with misaligned textures or boring walls in Alien Arena.

    Best of all, despite all of the enhancements, the game is still very scaleable, and can be made to play on very modest systems. Even with the additional detail, the performance far exceeds that of last year's versions.

    Alien Arena has a solid, very dedicated player base that is friendly and always eager to help out new players.

    Get the game at []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:09PM (#26437515)

    ... may I remind you, that when you accepted your beta invitation you also agreed to a NDA.

  • Sauerbraten (Score:3, Informative)

    by RichiH ( 749257 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:09AM (#26447797) Homepage

    Sauerbraten is _fast_. It gets rid of many factors which slowed people down in Q3 and really and truly concentrate on annihilating enemies.

    Plus, it has nice GFX.

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