Sunday, 26 October 2008

First-Person Shooter Games for Linux II: Nexuiz and OpenArena

Yesterday I reviewed three classic first-person shooter games for Linux, Wolfenstein: ET, UT2004 and ioQuake3. Today I will continue with two other first-person shooter (FPS) games, natively available for Linux: Nexuiz and OpenArena. They both are currently maintained and the wonderful thing about them is that they all are completely open-source, free and usually available in all the major distributions.

In Debian you can install them typing as root:

apt-get install nexuiz openarena

While in Ubuntu you can use Synaptic or precede the above command with sudo and enter your user password.

Nexuiz is a completely free first-person shooter game which somewhat resembles the Quake 3 gameplay. It was released in 2005 and the current version is now 2.4.2, which comes included in the Debian repositories.

Although I did not play Nexuiz more than a few times before, I was surprised to see how well I can perform in DM games. I think Nexuiz is one of the games which can be learned very easy if you're used to games like Quake. It's very fast paced, but it can look a little too crowded on small maps with over 10 players and fragging does not necessarily need skill, instead fragging and moving cleverly around in order to avoid another 3-4 players around you does need. In fact, this is actually happening with any FPS unless an appropriate map is selected depending on the number of players.

The interface is futuristic, and all the settings can be easily changed without having to search in bloated menus. Since I use the ESDF keys for movement, I had no trouble finding the configuration options, and I also switched the default resolution to 1280x1024. I also had to lower texture and particle details, since my nVIDIA 7600 GS is rather old now. It behaves very well, with only a few FPS drops when the area gets crowded.

I had no trouble connecting to one of the official servers with a low ping, and the server was full of players. Note that for opening the console you will need to use SHIFT+ESCAPE and ESCAPE to quit it. I never understood why they changed this behaviour in games like Quake 4 or ET: QW too for example, nor did I read the explanation somewhere. My guess is that beginner users would accidentally press the ` key and they did not know how to close it anymore.

Nexuiz is one of the games which surely make it a pleasure to play, especially that is completely free. Congratulations to the Alientrap team for putting out this game for the enjoyment of the Linux community.

FAQ - read this if you play for the first time

This is probably the most popular game based on the ioQuake 3 engine. It's practically a Quake 3 clone, with its own free data, so if you are used to Quake 3, you will learn how to play this one very easy.

You can use your old cfg file for settings and scripts, and the menus resemble the Quake 3 interface in detail.

All the modes available in Quake 3 are also available in OpenArena: we have DM, TDM, CTF and Tournament. To these, the game also adds four more modes of its own: Elimination, CTF Elimination, Last Man Standing and Double Domination. It includes both new maps and player models, together with new (and more appealing in my opinion) textures, but some of the CTF maps looked to me a little poor in detail. Of course, the bunny hopping feature is available in OpenArena too.

I could only find three online servers which had players connected, the others were empty. Playing with bots is not so bad, but it doesn't compare with playing an online CTF in 4 vs 4.

Edit: In order to be able to download maps which you don't have from the server you are connecting to, open the console typing ` and type: /set cl_allowdownload 1


Both Nexuiz and OpenArena have many fans especially in the Linux community, and I think you will easily make friends on an online server.

Although this is a matter of personal taste, I still find Quake 3 or ET more addictive to play, but these two games have two advantages: they have newer graphics and are completely free.


Anonymous said...

Nice article.

I love Openarena. IMHO, what it needs most at the moment is more players. BTW, you don't need to open the console to enable automatic map downloading. You can find an option for it in the "Setup->Game Options" menu.

I look forward to reviews of other fine Linux FPS like Tremulous, Sauerbraten, Alien Arena, and Warsow.

Dan Craciun said...

Thanks! They will surely come, I plan to review all of those included by you and Quake 4, Doom 3, ET: Quake Wars and so on. It's just that I need some time to play them since I never played Quake 4 or Doom for more than 2 hours for example.

Matt said...

In order to find players on OpenArena servers, you need to have the latest version of OA. In Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10, the repos only have version 7.7, but most frequent players have moved on to version 8.1, which you can download at . I don't know when the repos will be updated to allow you to install 8.1, but I currently have both on my computer and there are far, far more people on the servers that you can see in 8.1

Crysis 3 said...

Shooter games for linux have never been a good competition for the PC market, but still some developers got creative so thumbs up for that, and I think a video from youtube video to show the game performance would only be right.