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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

By Joe Barr on October 12, 2007 (4:00:00 PM)

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Today, COR Entertainment is scheduled to release version 6.10 of Alien Arena 2007, the popular free software, 3-D, first-person shooter built atop id Software's Quake II engine, which was released under the GPL in 2001. The new release of Alien Arena comes with seven new arenas, a better arsenal of weaponry, and a new game mode for one-on-one duels.

If you're a gamer but not familiar with Alien Arena, think of Quake III or Unreal Tournament and you won't be far off the mark. If you're not familiar with those icons of the first-person shooter genre, think massive, sustained, unrelenting, ankle-deep-in-blood, kill-or-be-killed carnage which can be enjoyed solo, just you against the bots on your PC, or, if your taste in killing tends toward living targets, in multiplayer mode on a network server.

Alien Arena is a 3-D game, so to try it you'll need hardware support for 3-D acceleration. You'll also need, at a minimum, a 1GHz processor, 256MB of memory, and 500MB of available disk space. Downloads for both Windows and Linux versions of the game are available at a number of sites.

To install the game, unzip the download file, which contains both executables and source code. At the command line, change to the alienarena2007 subdirectory created when you unzip the download, and enter ./crx to start the client, or ./crded to start a dedicated server.

To display Alien Arena's console in the top half of the GUI, press the tilde (~) key. From there, you can change game options, chat with other players, or use any of the 138 available commands. I used the console the first time I started the game to set my name with the command NAME WARTZILLA. To close the console, press the Esc key.

You can also set and change your game name in the GUI. Use the arrow down key to highlight GAME OPTIONS and press Enter twice. That takes you to the Player Setup screen, where you can also choose one of 11 different player models, a red or blue skin, left- or right-handed play, Internet connection speed, and various download options. By default, the game automatically tries to download new maps, models, and sounds when you connect to a server.

If your play control settings are not to your liking, tweak them to your heart's content by first highlighting the specific control, pressing Enter, and then pressing the key or button you want to use for the action. Don't be afraid of messing things up; an option at the bottom of the page returns everything to the default settings.

You can change video options in the same way from the main screen. By default, you are in full-screen mode at 1024x768 resolution. To change that, highlight VIDEO OPTIONS and press Enter. There are also options to set brightness and display options, which may impact your performance in terms of frames per second in game play. Unlike the GAME OPTIONS, changes to video require you to explicitly apply the changes when you're done, or they won't stick.

Once you have customized everything to your liking, you're ready to play. You can play in SINGLE PLAYER mode, select JOIN SERVER for a multiplayer game, or start your own dedicated server.

I recommend at least an hour or so of SINGLE PLAYER experience before you venture onto the Internet for multiplayer games. Select SINGLE PLAYER, press Enter, then choose the level of play. EASY is the default, but it's not really all that easy. The bots are quite capable of sending you to eternity, even at the easy level.

You may also want to use SINGLE PLAYER mode to explore the many maps available as playgrounds. I count 43 maps in the SVN version of the game I downloaded and built the day prior to release. Each map combines a mode of play -- Death Match, Capture the Flag, All Out Assault, and so on -- with an arena, such as Atlantis, Omega, or Babel. There are 22 maps available for Death Match play, for example. You can change maps at the console with the MAP MAP-NAME command.

Selecting JOIN SERVER at the initial screen brings up the screen shown here. It's probably a good idea to select REFRESH LIST and press Enter before proceeding, to ensure that only currently active servers are displayed. Click on any of the servers listed to see information about the server and the players on it. When you find a server you want -- the USA Beginner Team is a good place to hone your multiplayer skills -- highlight it using the arrow keys, then press Enter.

The default game mode is the Death Match, where it is every player for himself. The rules are simple: kill everyone else and avoid being killed. Other game modes include Capture the Flag, All Out Assault, Deathball, Team Core Assault, and the newest one, Duel.

In Capture the Flag, you must steal the other team's flag and bring it back to your team's base. The team with the most captures wins. All Out Assault is like Death Match, but you can hop in vehicles and travel in them. If a server is running Duel mode, only two players are allowed at a time, and they go head-to-head. I've not had a chance to try Deathball and Team Core Assault yet.

When you join a server that is running a team game, you'll be asked if you want the server to assign you to a team, or to pick between the red and the blue teams.

If you ever need help with Alien Arena, check the game forums. You may find others have had the same problem and found the fix. If not, you can post a message, and more knowledgeable folk, developers as well as users, can have a look at it.

There are both Windows and Linux versions of the game. According to John Diamond, the game's lead developer, Alien Arena has been downloaded more than 500,000 times since it was released two years ago. He guesses that about 10% of those downloads were of the Linux version, but notes that about half of the game's regular players are running the game on Linux.

I wrote last year that "Tremulous is the best free software FPS game I've had the pleasure of playing." Alien Arena has changed my mind about that. They're both great, and both stand on the shoulders of the free software Quake engine, but Alien Arena is now at the top of my list.

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on New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.143.97.41] on October 12, 2007 06:08 PM
Great review Joe!

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First? Naaaaa... Tremulous is way older and way better .)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.70.183.179] on October 12, 2007 06:18 PM
Check out Tremulous.net

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Re: First? Naaaaa... Tremulous is way older and way better .)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.143.97.41] on October 12, 2007 06:45 PM
Version 6.10 catapults Alien Arena to the top, just as the reviewer has said.

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Re: First? Naaaaa... Tremulous is way older and way better .)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.125.142.203] on October 12, 2007 06:45 PM
Older? Really? According to Wikipedia, Tremulous was released in 2005. The first version of AA came out in 2004. Also, I never really liked Tremulous, because I felt the learning curve was about as steep as a cliff, and as fun as jumping off of one. Alien Arena is, IMO, easier to pick up and play, especially if you have any previous experience with deathmatch games like Quake.

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Re(1): First? Naaaaa... Tremulous is way older and way better .)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.70.169.249] on October 13, 2007 01:53 PM
hehe, you got that one right.
Tremulous _does_ need more brain power so you'd be able to play .)

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Re(1): First? Naaaaa... Tremulous is way older and way better .)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 217.238.122.237] on October 13, 2007 02:15 PM
btw. the last release of Tremulous was in 2005 not the first

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Re: First? Naaaaa... Tremulous is way older and way better .)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.169.254.103] on October 12, 2007 07:03 PM
Bahahaha, I'm pretty sure Alien Arena was out before Tremulous, so get your facts right mate before making a fool of yourself.

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Re(1): First? Naaaaa... Tremulous is way older and way better .)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.213.218.195] on January 02, 2008 08:34 PM
Tremulous's development commenced in early 2000 as a modification for the commercial computer game Quake III Arena. There you are.

Tremulous actually has thought involved. UT is awesome, but Alien Arena is boring because of its weaksause weapons and boring maps. At least do something porperly when you copy it.

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.143.97.41] on October 12, 2007 06:33 PM
Did you even try 6.10 out yet? There is no comparison.

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Re: New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.143.97.41] on October 12, 2007 06:43 PM
By comparison, I mean, there is no comparing Tremulous with this version of Alien Arena. Alien Arena is just that much better in every way.

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Re(1): New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.125.142.203] on October 12, 2007 06:48 PM
That, and in many ways they're so different from each other that trying to compare the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Both games involve aliens and humans shooting each other, but that's pretty much where the similarities end.

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About Team Core Assault and Deathball

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.125.142.203] on October 12, 2007 06:34 PM
This is a very good review of the game, as well as a nice guide to get new players started. I just want to take the opportunity and go over a few of the other game modes the author didn't have an opportunity to play.

Team Core Assault involves heading into the opposing team's base and destroying their Spider Node. However, the Spider Node has a shield, and is invulnerable to attacks as long as the shield is up. In order to deactivate the shield, you need to turn off the three Power Nodes supplying energy to it (by simply walking over them). Once that's done, you can take down the Spider Node by shooting it until it blows up. However, if a member of the opposing team reactivates a Power Node (again, by simply stepping on it), the shield will come back up and you'll have to go back and deactivate the Power Node before you can wreak more havoc on the Spider Node.

Deathball is essentially AA's take on UT's Bombing Run. There's a ball in a central location, and both teams are trying to grab that ball and launch it into the opposing team's goal in order to get points. The ball carrier's weapon is replaced with a ball launcher, which makes them vulnerable to attack as long as they hold the ball (however, as soon as they pass it to another person, they can fire again). If the ball carrier drops the ball (either by being killed or by shooting it to nobody), they can't pick it up again until someone else grabs it and drops it.

Cattleprod is probably the most unique of the game modes. The goal of Cattleprod is to herd abducted cow-cyborgs (likely failed Martian experiments) to your team's goal. The cows are located in a central location. As soon as you get close to some, energy lassos shoot out and "rope" the cows, and they will then follow you wherever you go. Teamwork is essential, because the cows move slow, and they can be shot by the enemy (they immediately respawn back at the "cowpen"). So, while you try to herd the cattle, you're teammates have to provide cover fire as well as try to frustrate the other team's herding efforts. This isn't as boring as it sounds on paper, I just do a lousy job of explaining it. But hey, I dare you to find another FPS where one of the game modes actually involves cows!

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Re: About Team Core Assault and Deathball

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.125.142.203] on October 12, 2007 06:35 PM
Bah, my page breaks weren't included. Oh well.

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Great Review

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.169.254.103] on October 12, 2007 06:56 PM
Great review, Thats AA for you right there, a fast paced, fun and entertaining game.

As for Tremulous, that game plain sucks in comparison to Alien Arena. I have played both games and evaluated them both fairly and I must say AA comes out on top by far.

6.10 has really stepped it up and I have no trouble in saying that this could very well be the best free fps game out there in the internet today.

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Sure, Alien Arena & Tremulous are good ... but there are others ...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.244.141.64] on October 13, 2007 12:46 AM
Tremulous is a bit over-strategic to me, for a FPS ... Alien Arena sure looks good (havent tryed it yet) .. but the competition is really good also :
I recently stumbled upon Warsow, a quake2-based game, with emphasis on rapidity of action (cell-shading, cartoon-like feeling) .. and it runs very smoothly on my $50 nvidia and dual P3 733MhZ ...
There is also Sauerbraten (non quake-engline based, nice looking, but far too slow for my poor setup), and some other that I missed ...
Nice to see some decent games for the linux comunity (despites the fact they are mainly ports of a naturally multi-platform engine) ... sad thing is they're only FPS; i'd REALLY like some Battle Isle Andosia port (hybrid RTS/turn-based strategic game, with NICE graphics) ... or a better-polished (ie. savegames that work) Warzone 2100 ...

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Re: Sure, Alien Arena & Tremulous are good ... but there are others ...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.95.246.192] on October 13, 2007 02:21 AM
http://wz2100.net/
Warzone 2100 Resurrection :)

There are tons of free non-fps games. Search around ;P

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Re: Sure, Alien Arena & Tremulous are good ... but there are others ...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.63.232.120] on October 13, 2007 07:24 PM
Sure, what about Open Arena and Nexuiz? Lots of free multiplayer games out there that are very nice.

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.208.133.65] on October 13, 2007 01:08 AM
COR refuses to release their content under a free license, the same as Tremulous. Why should we care about them?

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.95.246.192] on October 13, 2007 02:20 AM
Are you volunteering to replace all non-free content with free content? Considering it's pretty much one guy doing the work, why don't you contribute free content rather than bitch?

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will it run on AMD 64 (Debian)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.241.94.180] on October 13, 2007 09:43 AM
I have this kind of horsepower, but I need to know if it will run on an AMD64 system with debian on it.

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Re: will it run on AMD 64 (Debian)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.143.97.41] on October 13, 2007 01:47 PM
Absolutley.

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Other non-commercial FPSs for Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.238.144.77] on October 13, 2007 10:15 AM
Warsow (http://www.warsow.net) is indeed very cool too, incredibly fast and since it allows all kinds of trick jumps perhaps more interesting than AA for the hard-core death-matcher. Graphics are indeed very nice, the cell-shading effect gives a nice touch to it without being too heavy on resources.



Nexuiz (http://www.alientrap.org/nexuiz/) is a shooter just like AA, very similar theme and playability and very nice graphics too, including HDR effects and such. I have to admit I personally like AA a bit better (especially the new version, it _is_ nice!), but think that it's really just a matter of taste though.



World of Padman (http://www.worldofpadman.com) is a cartoon-themed death-matcher that used to be a Quake 3 mod. Even though game play is not very special, the funny characters and beautiful levels make it a lot of fun to play.



In other words: there _is_ indeed other competition besides Tremulous, and I'm not even sure AA blows all of them out of the water, it's a matter of taste I guess... It _is_ good to see the game develop as much as it does, though, and even though Warsow will still be my personal favourite, I had a lot of fun playing the new AA yesterday...

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 61.68.230.151] on October 13, 2007 10:46 AM
poo

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 198.82.108.146] on October 13, 2007 01:40 PM
FAIL.

That wasn't a review at all. I saw nothing in there describing the game or comparing it to other Linux FPS. That was merely a game guide for a game who's only useful description is in the one line title.

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Re: New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.19.198.26] on October 13, 2007 02:12 PM
mod parent up ;)

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Re: New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.9.142.123] on October 13, 2007 09:34 PM
Standard "glorious" writing of Joe Barr at its best. I don't understand how someone gave this guy a job to write about Linux.

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 201.230.245.55] on October 13, 2007 06:46 PM
kjajaka

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 196.208.95.148] on October 14, 2007 08:11 AM
Yes i'm not sure how it "blows away competition" and the how to.. steps should not be in a review.
Its sounds a bit like a press release something i would read off COR's website

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.111.196.125] on October 14, 2007 09:11 AM
Ok so I would love to run these on my Mac... but seems none of the ones mentioned have been ported. Which is odd as the old opensource quake 2 did just fine. Might have to have a look and find out why.

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Based on Q3, not Q2, it looks like

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.168.223.134] on October 14, 2007 09:24 AM
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but this is based on the Q3 engine (which was open sourced in 05) like OpenArena and the like. If this project was started in 04, I'd be surprised if they didn't migrate to the newer engine when it was opened. The q3 engine is a LOT better. And the "Arena" name wasn't used until Q3 (recall "Quake 3 Team Arena"), making me think that a project with Arena in the name is a nod to its open-q3 foundation.

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Re: Based on Q3, not Q2, it looks like

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.143.97.41] on October 14, 2007 09:17 PM
It's definitely based on the Q2 engine.

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Re(1): Based on Q3, not Q2, it looks like

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.224.41.69] on October 16, 2007 01:23 AM
that is why its net code blows

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Warsow

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.226.234.18] on October 14, 2007 12:33 PM
http://www.warsow.net/ leaves every other fps out there in the dust, including commercial ones :)

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Re: Warsow

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.143.97.41] on October 15, 2007 06:01 AM
I disagree. I've played both games, and while this may have been true a few months ago, this new Alien Arena seems a bit more polished and just plain fun to play than Warsow. It's a little more mindless, but damn it's fun blowing little martians into bits.

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.247.25.211] on October 14, 2007 09:41 PM
Please start playing AA instead of tremulous. we have enough noobs that just ruin the game for everyone. just go ruin it for someone else.

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Warsow, Nexus, OpenArena

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.120.191.45] on October 15, 2007 01:12 AM
Check out nexus if you want another free deathmatch game, equally as silly in gameplay. Check out openarena if you want a gpl-artwork remake of Quake3Arena.

Check out warsow if you want to see a great freesoftware game that has more polish and better design than most commercial releases. The quake2-based engine for warsow (qfusion) even puts q3 to shame. http://www.warsow.net

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WARSOW IS SO MUCH BETTER

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.228.92.143] on October 15, 2007 01:13 AM
this game is trash compared to warsow, sorry!

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.204.21.144] on October 15, 2007 01:58 AM
Wow what a terrible article! It blows its competition away... how?

After reading the entire article, it clearly shows the writer has no clue whatsoever about games or how to reviewing a game.

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Timbo

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.224.41.69] on October 16, 2007 01:20 AM
N E E D S M O R E L O V E T O R E L E A S E N E W T R E M U L O U S

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accidentally found Alien Arena and very suprized!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.20.35.202] on November 14, 2007 12:43 AM
Honestly since moving to Linux a few years ago I never really noticed gaming was growing in our community. I am very surprised at the quality and the number of available games now. I have never been a hardcore gamer but I did miss playing fast paced games. I should have kept a better eye on things.

Well gotta go, just finished installing Alien Arena and by what you all are saying I'm going to be unavailable up for a while ;-)

Devlin

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.181.154.232] on November 29, 2007 02:24 PM
which linux os is best for gaming?

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alien arena rules

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.219.117.116] on December 03, 2007 01:47 PM
right game we play it in most of our ict lessons lol

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Dissappointed

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.41.255.170] on January 24, 2008 06:13 AM
I wish they had it for Mac... A lot of other open source games have been ported to it... I'll wait and see.

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.143.97.41] on February 13, 2008 08:33 PM
There is rumored to be a Mac port of the upcoming version.

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Re: New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.7.107.218] on March 01, 2008 10:39 PM
There most definitely is a Mac port for the new Alien Arena 2008!!!!
WOOT!!

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New Alien Arena 6.10 blows away its FPS competition

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.7.107.218] on March 01, 2008 10:47 PM
Personally my favorites (from best to worst) are...
1) Nexuiz- the new release blows AAk2007's new release out of the water!
2) Alien Arena- very nice, creative gametypes. Plus it has an awesome sci-fi theme! 8 )
3) Warsow- nice use of cell-shading, really free movement
4) Sauerbraten- awesome and easy editing program, not really a complete game yet (not very polished)
5) Tremulous- gametype gets old after awhile. Seen in other games (see Natural Selection)
6) Open Arena

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