Thursday, March 02, 2006

No, Not The Food

Sauerbraten finally popped up on the Linux Game Tome this week, with a release that actually came out late last month. Since it is, after all, the successor to Cube, every release is a reason for me to be excited. The engine has taken shape, so the next few releases should be when it starts to get "really good".

The download is listed as "Physics Edition", and I'll admit, I don't know what that means. At the moment, the gameplay feels nearly identical to that of Cube, but I'll admit I haven't found a multiplayer game going yet, so my speculation is based purely on the single player modes. Speaking of that, the few single player maps included in the package far outclass even the best of Cube's single player maps. It's still pretty much Doom with every dial turned up to 11, but that is hardly a complaint in my book.

Of course, as with it's predecessor, Sauerbraten's main focus is on the multiplayer game. The multiplayer maps (and there are already a ton included) are really impressive. While my two current favorites - "moonlight" and "darkdeath" have already been around for a while, there are plenty of new and impressive maps that have come out since the last release I grabbed. "metl3" has made its way over from Cube, and "roughinery", "serpentine", and "face-classic" have all been ported over from the UT series. "legoland", which is exactly what its name would suggest, is absolutely surreal. There are even a few maps, such as "ladder" and "spiralz" that exist simply as a reference for mappers. If you really want to see how promising the engine is, take a look at the sprawling RPG maps included.

The biggest additional improvement over Cube is the absolutely gorgeous lighting/shadow effects. The aforementioned "metl3" looks significantly better than its Cube incarnation as a result. "nmp7" is another map with some brilliant lighting. Some other minor tweaks include better particle effects and it seems that textures can now be "fullbright". Either that or it's just another case of excellent lighting.

Now, I find myself wishing for two things. The first and more easily attainable is for some more servers to pop up. I'm seriously jonesing for some deathmatch action to test out the playability of the new maps. The second is to see some other projects start up using the Sauerbraten engine. As easy as it is to create maps, it would be great to see some mods with altered gameplay come to the scene.

So, come on. Give this baby a download, and we'll get this party started.

Update: I've had a chance to play a bit of Sauerbraten online, and it definitely plays as tight as Cube. I still don't really understand the bit about "Physics Edition" - the only difference I've noticed is that the "bouncing" effect on stairs seemed ramped up a bit. The larger, sprawling maps definitely make the Instagib mode quite a bit more enjoyable since you can have a fun time with more than four players. We still need some more servers online so, if you're that type, fire it up.

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