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Classic freeware shooter 'AssaultCube' is making a comeback

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AssaultCube, a name I bet plenty of Linux users know but haven't heard anything of in a long time. It hasn't seen a release since *checks notes* 2013. However, it's going to make a return.

Yes, really. The developers are currently working on AssaultCube 1.3 Lockdown-Edition. As the name suggests, it's a homage to the worldwide lockdowns. Seems like it's under new management too, with one of the new people mentioning how "the first generation of developers handed over the project in an orderly fashion to the next generation".

In their notes they explained a bit further:

The majority of contributions of this release were provided by Stef in the years 2014 to 2017. Also, Grenadier maintained the code base over the years. In Spring 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic a group consisting of former contributors decided to go for a temporary comeback and to resume work with three primary goals:

With that in mind two Alpha releases and a Beta have but put out for AssaultCube 1.3 with it looking like a tentative date for the final 1.3 release on June 6, 2021. A ridiculously huge amount is now and trying to sum it all up is a little difficult but some of the highlights of what's new includes a move to SDL 2, a new authentication system, tons of bug fixes and performance improvements, they moved over to GitHub for a more modern workflow from SourceForge, a new interface font, a fair number of UI improvements and new settings, a new welcome menu, 8 new maps, 15 new textures, 2 new map models, high resolution player skins and the list goes on.

What does AssuaultCube feature? Well, it's like reading a bit of history. 56k modems? Wow, good times:

  • It's FREE.
  • Source code is available under a zlib-like open source license.
  • Low latency, it can even run across a 56 Kbps connection!
  • Lightweight size, only about 50 MB to download, plus additional maps average 20 KB each!
  • With the correct settings, it can run on old hardware (Pentium III and above).
  • Officially runs on most major systems (Windows: 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10, Linux, Mac OS X: 10.6+), and maybe even some non-major ones?
  • Has a built in, in-game map editor to help players create their own maps and allows for co-operative editmode in realtime with others!
  • Features a single-player bot system.
  • Supports recording of your game by the "demo" system.
  • Contains many multiplayer game modes, including: Deathmatch, Survivor, Capture the Flag, Hunt the Flag, Keep the Flag, Pistol Frenzy, Last Swiss Standing & One-Shot One-Kill (plus team versions of these modes).
  • Comes pre-packaged with several dozen different maps!

Note: technically this is not Open Source, as they use custom licensing for the full package. So this is more Source Available, as it's not using an OSI approved license. Their license has certain restrictions on it like no commercial purposes and they weirdly don't let you use different archive formats if it was re-hosted elsewhere. Their licensing is just…a little peculiar. So it's a freeware game with the source available.

See more on the official site and GitHub. Nice to see another classic seeing a new life.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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11 comments
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BielFPs 26 May
I remember playing this in in the college computers and seeing how awesome was to run it directly through a pen drive.

I wish the new team could overhaul the characters skin, guns and map are ok but the characters visual are awful and I think this contribute to this game not having any relevance back them.

Nowadays I don't think PC people will care about this game (judging from the lack of commentaries here for example) but If they release a Android version (without ads of course) on playstore, this could get some new players attention.

and of course, a update to a new SDL version is always welcome in any game.
drlamb 26 May
Many an hour were lost to this game, Alien arena, and Cube 2. They were all my laptop Intel iGPU could play at the time.

Quoting: BielFPsNowadays I don't think PC people will care about this game...

I more or less agree. While I'm likely to try this new update with Friends via LAN seeing the popularity of the Steam-released Cube 2 Homage Tomatenquark (the name likely doesn't help) I'm not holding out much hope for a huge player base resurgence.
Quoting: BielFPsI remember playing this in in the college computers and seeing how awesome was to run it directly through a pen drive.

I wish the new team could overhaul the characters skin, guns and map are ok but the characters visual are awful and I think this contribute to this game not having any relevance back them.

Nowadays I don't think PC people will care about this game (judging from the lack of commentaries here for example) but If they release a Android version (without ads of course) on playstore, this could get some new players attention.

and of course, a update to a new SDL version is always welcome in any game.

Oh yeah, and change that license! Why not 100% freedom at this point? Or make it proprietary 'n closed all the way then bah ...
M@GOid 26 May
I remember playing this, back when Steam on Linux wasn't even a rumor. It was a option from Counter Strike, but had more realistic weapons manipulation and you could escalate things. So it was a more realistic CS, but since it wasn't mainstream like the Valve game, it didn't have cheaters in every server.

It was sad when the development stopped and the servers became empty. I enjoyed it very much.
I love AssaultCube. I made a ton of maps for my friends and I to play on there. We stopped in 2019 but I can get the gang back on that.
Calinou 26 May
Quoting: M@GOidI remember playing this, back when Steam on Linux wasn't even a rumor. It was a option from Counter Strike, but had more realistic weapons manipulation and you could escalate things. So it was a more realistic CS, but since it wasn't mainstream like the Valve game, it didn't have cheaters in every server.

It was sad when the development stopped and the servers became empty. I enjoyed it very much.

I think you're talking about Urban Terror, which is also a freeware FPS available natively for Linux (AssaultCube doesn't have ledge grabbing/vaulting).


Last edited by Calinou on 26 May 2021 at 9:16 pm UTC
bdju 26 May
>and they weirdly don't let you use different archive formats if it was re-hosted elsewhere.
I do not condone proprietary software, but to me one reason for this particular restriction could be to prevent sharing of malware-ridden versions of the game (although proprietary software itself is arguably malware). If they only allow a .zip and it has to be the official .zip from them, then you can compare hashes to make sure nothing was tampered with. If you took the same files and made a .tar.gz out of them, the hash would be different. It is a bit of an odd restriction. It could be a CYA sort of thing, not wanting their name to be tarnished. Maybe they had a bad past experience.
PopeRigby 27 May
Is it weird that I'd rather have something be proprietary than a weird non-open license? I feel cheated somehow. If I'm contributing to something, they shouldn't be getting more out of it than me.
Erzfeind 27 May
Quoting: Perkeleen_Vittupää
Quoting: BielFPsI remember playing this in in the college computers and seeing how awesome was to run it directly through a pen drive.

I wish the new team could overhaul the characters skin, guns and map are ok but the characters visual are awful and I think this contribute to this game not having any relevance back them.

Nowadays I don't think PC people will care about this game (judging from the lack of commentaries here for example) but If they release a Android version (without ads of course) on playstore, this could get some new players attention.

and of course, a update to a new SDL version is always welcome in any game.

Oh yeah, and change that license! Why not 100% freedom at this point? Or make it proprietary 'n closed all the way then bah ...

Most "unfree" contributions are the skins/graphics. Those came from contributors not actively working on the game. It´d need a complete overhaul and replacing every single bit of that content.
Drakker 27 May
Glad to see it come back, it's actually a really fun game. A throwback to simpler times, but once you start playing, time flies and when you look up again, it's 4 AM and you wonder how the last 12h passed so fast.
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