Sunday, 9 August 2009

Cube 2: Sauerbraten - Awesome First-Person Shooter for Linux

This is my fourth article in the first-person shooter games for Linux series. You can read the other three articles below:

3 Classic First-Person Shooter Games for Linux
First-Person Shooter Games for Linux II: Nexuiz and OpenArena
First-Person Shooter Games for Linux III: UrbanTerror

In this article I'll overview Cube 2: Sauerbraten, an open-source shooter running on Linux, which also provides a gaming engine for developing FPS games.

Cube 2: Sauerbraten offers a very fast-paced action and a great feeling playing it, coming with several great modes, three player models, really great maps to choose from and different types of weapons.

Cube 2 can be run either in fullscreen or window mode, a nice feature considering that few shooters offer this possibility on Linux, and sometimes you must run them after starting a second X Server.

Running in window mode

Regarding maps, Cube 2 takes an awesome approach. Besides the maps which come included by default in Cube 2, the game also includes a Coop Edit mode which allows you to edit maps online, in real-time, together with other players. See the screenshot below:

There is an Instagib map which resembles the classic one in Unreal Tournament 2004. For those gamers familiar with Counter-Strike, you'll be glad to see that a remake of dust2 is included by default in Cube.

One of the nice features included in Cube is the ability to edit the autoexec.cfg file directly from inside the game, via the Options menu. Most of the graphical, sound, mouse and keyboard settings can be configured from the game menu anyway, without the need to edit autoexec.cfg.

In high quality mode, Cube 2 will really look awesome, the detailed textures making maps a pleasure to play on.

Currently, there are three games based on the Cube engine: AssaultCube, Cube and Cube 2: Sauerbraten.

The default music is excellent, especially for an action game like this, but I can't say the same about the in-game sounds, especially the dying growls of characters, which can become extremely annoying after 30 minutes of playing on a crowded map.

I like the physics in Sauerbraten, especially the rebound when shooting someone or how the character slows down when firing even though he's running.

Cube 2 offers several popular game modes, like the well-known mode CTF (capture the frag), Instagib (where players can kill or die in one shot), Teamplay (like team deathmatch in Quake or Unreal Tournamet), but also several unusual modes, like the wonderful coop edit, which will allow to edit maps online with other players.

Regarding performance, Cube 2 runs smoothly at a steady 85 fps at 1280x1024 with low details on my Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz with 1 GB DDRAM2 and nVIDIA GeForce FX 7600GS. In high-quality mode I noticed framerate drops as low as ~40 FPS, but there were no problems when turning off detailed textures, dynamic lightning etc.

Starting a Cube 2 server is extremely easy, all you have to do is run the linux_server binary in the bin_unix directory (or linux_64_server for 64-bit CPUs), and the server will start automatically with default settings and it will show up in the in-game server list.

I think the tabs for settings and choosing maps for example lack the option to click on them before they're actually selected, sometimes when you popup the mouse on a tab it will be switched automatically, which can be inconvenient if you didn't actually wanted to do so. Another minus in usability is probably lack of Back buttons, pressing Escape each time you have to exit a menu may be a little slow considering the configuration is done via mouse.


As a game engine, Cube 2 surely is powerful enough to develop any kind of FPS game, and as a game, it definitely offers a great joy playing it. Except for the sounds which may become a little annoying after a few hours of playing, this game is excellent. The graphics are great and it performs pretty well on low-end PCs too, especially if settings are tweaked for optimum performance.


Anonymous said...

Problem is is that it's 32-bit unless they've changed it lately.

Craciun Dan said...

Cube 2 has both server and client versions for 64-bit too.

RabidWeezle said...

I made a video of it running on my AMD64 in ubuntu jaunty amd64 a couple days ago :D

Anonymous said...

"Cube 2 can be run either in fullscreen or window mode, a nice feature considering that few shooters offer this possibility on Linux, and sometimes you must run them after starting a second X Server."

Don't know which you could be talking about. There are some things not to like about Sauerbraten. It has an idiosyncratic interface, not outstanding graphics and a focus on innovative map making over gameplay features.

The major Open Source FPS that worth consideration compared to others would be Urban Terror.

OffLine Notification said...

Arcade/shooting games may seem violent but actually it enhances strategic concentration. A better way of venting without harming anyone but the computer screen.

Anonymous said...

i just downloaded it, and i have 2000+ ping every time i try to play it... how do i fix it?