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Calling for brief articles on why do you love that game!

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libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04

Acting on Landy's idea I am calling on all Free Software game communities with even a bit of aspiration to join the upcoming Freedomware Gamefest 2007 to have someone among them write about the experience of the game they love. Why do you love it? Why do you keep coming back to it? Describe the experience and most importantly say why do you think others should try the game out!

You can submit these brief articles easily right here in this thread. Alternatively send them to libervis [at] libervis dot com with "gamefest article: _name of the game_" in the subject line.

The purpose of this is to encourage people to join the gaming festival we are organizing into one of the game tournaments that are a part of it. So the article about Nexuiz will encourage people to join the Nexuiz tournaments. An article about BZFlag will encourage people to join the BZFlag component.

We will publish these articles on in a series. This effort is a part of a promotional blitz that is about to start!

Thank you!

Joined: 2007-09-10
gamefest article: Nexuiz

I tried Nexuiz recently. A few things stood out.

-- It is ridiculously simple to join ongoing online games.
-- It is fast paced and has very decent graphics.

One thing that may have made the experience better would have been to have found people I already knew instead of only total strangers.

Two other things I would have liked to change some are flaws found in probably all similar games: I wish the levels were more complex. I wish I had a better ping so that I wouldn't have been manhandled as much (it was the ping).

Generally, when I have (had) time, I find FPS against human opponents to be among the best types of games for quick thrills. Still, perhaps there is or will be a mode of (competition) play with Nexuiz that incorporates more strategizing and allows for more time to take more than three breaths (if 3).

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Thanks Jose. Here is also

Thanks Jose.

Here is also one submitted by CY (snp), leader of the CY Tremulous clan:


Ok so, why do I like Tremulous?
Well, it's free, it's open source, it's innovative, plays well, looks good, downloads in 5 minutes and takes no space on my computer.
I play mostly with my clan, against another team of players. So we all know each other, and we communicate through a vocal server, the games are much more organized and therefor much more interesting. This is what the Game Fest is preparing for you and if you've never tried Tremulous, or if you've never tried playing clan matches, here's a chance to rapidly dig into the game and discover many pleasant aspects involving teamplay and strategy.

Joined: 2007-09-10
Overview and pointers for AA noobs

After one longish day of playing this game, I have some things to share that should help some others new to the game. As a general warning, you may need a graphics card for this 3D game to be playable.

Early on I came to the "conclusion" that there is only one mode, and you only have the options to go left or right (you can use the mouse to adjust the view, but it's unnecessary the vast majority of the time and may actually do more harm than good). It actually took me a little while to figure out the keys for that, as there was no forward/back like I was expecting. This is pretty lame, you might think. No, actually the game can be a blast online. Games with simple objectives requiring quick reflexes and allowing for strategy can be very addictive against other humans. Against a computer, it's a bit like playing tic tac toe. It can get very tedious. Do it for practice maybe, but you really want variety and the occasional human error to have fun.

Well, the game is like the motorcycle "create a wall behind you" game from Tron (early 80s). The hi-tech bike is always moving foward. Everywhere you go within the enclosed battle space, you leave a wall behind. Players lose when they crash against these walls, so try not to hit the walls! Even more importantly perhaps, try to get your opponent to hit the wall by cornering them in. In this game, a good offense is possibly the best defense, and don't put yourself in a position to get blind-sighted. [As you can imagine, it becomes more difficult not to hit a wall as the match advances, except that the walls belonging to player disappears once that player gets eliminated.]

I later found out that there are more modes, but I think it depends on the server being configured that way. What I am describing is the default "last man standing" mode. One other mode I remember actually had the walls you leave behind disappear after a certain amount of time. There are team versions of this. The fortress and sumo modes I didn't really try out for very long or figure out.

Something else I found out, on PCLOS2007, even after an update and install, I still apparently had a client that did not understand the latest server version. I was not allowed onto some servers, and with others I kept getting messages about perhaps wanting to upgrade. Also, PCLOS doesn't install the game on the desktop menus. To play, just type "armagetron" on a command line and hit enter. If the game is in a small window, I think hitting "f" makes it "f"ullscreen.

OK. Now for some basic instructions on getting online and maneuvering through the game menus. Use the up/down arrows to move around the menus. Each menu generally has an "exit menu" option at the bottom which you can use to go back to the prior parent menu. Alternatively, you can usually hit Esc to back up (the "escape" key, perhaps located on the top left of the keyboard). Hit enter to go into the menu or to invoke the option (eg, to start the game). I'll cover some specific menu items below.

For now what you want to do is to get online to start playing with other people. The opening screen prompts you to hit any key. Hit any key. Then move to and into the following menu options: Game; Network Game; and Internet Game. Wait a moment while servers are found. [If you hit enter right away, you can create and advertise your own server. I didn't try this.] Some servers will run in modes different from LMS. Keep that in mind. Up/down to the server entry that strikes your fancy and enter.

During game play you can hit Esc to bring up a menu. Hitting Esc again makes the menu go away. To leave a server/game, go to the "disconnect" option of that menu. Also during the game, typing "s" allows you to type a message on the screen for others to see. You can use the pageup/down keys to scroll through past messages. This is useful if you ask for help and someone answers but the message disappeared too quickly, as messages accumulate constantly. Anyway, when in ("s") speak mode, hit enter to regain control over the left/right keys and your vehicle.

Now for some very useful tips. Pay attention if you want to pretend to be competitive. A pro may laugh at these suggestions or not. In any case, my playing improved a lot when I applied them. Some of these things may be incorrect or don't apply to the other modes besides LMS. None of this is obvious.

-- The first thing to note is that you will want to adjust the keys that allow you to move your vehicle left/right. This is the reason I haven't yet mention which keys are used to go left/right. You likely won't want to stay with that set up. You might as well do this as soon as you start up the game. Go to Player Setup; then to Player 1 Settings; and finally to Input Configuration. The top two entries are for binding keys to left and right turning. Go to the appropriate entry (eg, turn left), then ... Hit enter and then hit a key. If that key was already on the list, you will unbind it. If it wasn't, you will bind it. To repeat... hit enter once again and then the key.
-- There is a move during the game where you turn twice in the same direction very quickly effectively doing a 180 and going back in the direction you were coming from but very close to the wall you had just created. This can be a useful technique in various situations. I don't think it's possible to perform this move without having 2+ keys bound to the left turn and 2+ keys bound to the right turn. You need to simultaneously hit the two left turn or the two right turn keys to do this 180. For me this was the turning point in game play yesterday. Thank goodness someone told me about this.
-- There is no speeding up key, but there is a slowing down key ("v" unless you rebind it). You will however see people speeding up. Speeding up is a *very* important thing to know how to do. To speed up, you need to "hug" a wall. I think the closer you are to a wall, the faster you go. Once you leave the vicinity of a wall the speed lasts for a while before fading. Also slowing down lasts for a short time before the effect wears off and you return to normal speed. The 180 degree "trick" above can be an effective way to gain some speed without wasting too much time and while there are no other walls nearby, as it allows you to hug your own wall as you backtrack and then 180 again to go back in the original direction. [Going back to the mentioning of offense as the best defense: if you don't wall your opponents into a tight enclosure, they will likely do so to you. Speed is a real advantage here. Be careful about racing close to someone that is moving faster than you. And watch out for surprises. An opponent can follow you, hug your wall to speed up past you, and then turn into your direction to put a wall right in front of you. You won't even see it coming except for perhaps from that sixth sense you'll develop.]
-- Ping and "ping charity". This is one game where having a ping (basically the delay from your PC to the server) that is not too good is good. This also makes the game fun by making it a bit unpredictable. As always, ping variations somewhat level the playing field between different skill levels. You need to be aware of this effect and plan you moves accordingly. Do not assume an opponent is where you see them on your screen (that's where the opponent was a little while ago). The ping charity (I am guessing at this like I am with most other things) allows you to hit a wall and not crash if you turn quickly enough after the crash. Ordinarily, eg, playing only on your PC, it is very tricky to get close to walls without crashing. Online, however, you will see many people hugging walls all the time, and it is a very good strategy. It is also much easier to do (that's why it is done so much) because of this ping charity where the server allows you to hit a wall (since your PC is running with a delay) yet survive if you turn within a (gift) time period. In practice you will sometimes see crazy effects on your screen. Prepare to react appropriately once you are zapped into a different location then where you were. You will also sometimes be certain that you closed your opponent in when in fact it was the other way around; thus, be careful about getting too close to your opponent and be afraid if that opponent is going faster than you. Enjoy.

This game was definitely a good late entry into the fest.

Maybe Battle for Wesnoth will still make the cut (don't know how online game would work for this one, but it's a nice change of pace game to play).

Joined: 2007-11-02
Jose wrote:

The ping charity (I am guessing at this like I am with most other things) allows you to hit a wall and not crash if you turn quickly enough after the crash.

No. The time you have for turning between hitting a wall and crashing is determined by how much "rubber" you have. This varies between servers, you should have a rubber meter on your screen that shows how much you have left.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
That's a very good review.

That's a very good review. With your permission I'd use it (or portions of it) in a write up about Armagetron Advanced for the tourney.

Joined: 2007-09-10
Thanks for the fix. That's

Thanks for the fix. That's the problem with not having enough samples in the experiment and trying to draw conclusions. I noticed that playing locally I was not really able to touch a wall at high speed and adjust. Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if the ping charity effectively plays a tiny role in this, but thanks. That's useful information.

In light of this, I vote to have a healthy amount of rubber in the tournament or at least allow for that possibility (maybe have it be random). It is noob friendly and allows more aggressive tactics and an easier ability to get out of tight enclosures.

Also, I should have mentioned for noobs to know that many times there is space in between walls when you might not think so initially. Combined with good rubber, this allows for you to escape through really narrow passages. Since your opponent can escape too, you might want to continue to get closer to the wall as you close them in. [I was able to use that technique quite successfully against better players that liked to follow me and were able to squeeze into tight channels.]

Joined: 2007-09-10
Yes anything you think you

Yes anything you think you can reuse (ideas probably more than the actual statements I would think). Whatever. Oh, and note any fixes others may provide.

Joined: 2007-09-10
Five more observations

-- I did not come across a way to spectate nor to create a screencast through the game. Anyone have positive experiences creating screencasts of this game? Check out and for possibilities if anyone is interested in testing screencasting.

-- A video on youtube (and the comments) suggests that screencast process can be offloaded to a different computer through eg vnc if you need horsepower (that video actually wanted to use Windows XP). FreeNX might provide a more efficient way than vnc. Also, the actual screencast process may be light enough on resources depending on how it is done. It seems that xvidcap is very flexible but high on resources.

-- Is it realistic/practical to momentarily pause a match to do things like type up a question or look something up? We may want to have a specific procedure to allow time outs (maybe every 5 rounds or at the end of every round). Does AA make this easy? Would we need access to the server at that point in time?

-- AA may be easier for noobs than many other games because it has very simple controls for "fighting" (2: left/right). It also has the easiest map to remember: a empty large rectangular arena. You can't get much easier than that. Ordinarily, more complex controls and maps are part of what separate the experienced from the rest.

-- For the two left turn and two right turn key bindings, I felt comfortable (not initially but in a short time) putting the two left turns where my left hand could easily reach those keys and putting the right turn keys near my right hand. This made it intuitive to use two hands. Not only does this setup result in few unintentianal turns, I can tap the two left or two right turns almost simultaneously when I want a 180 that is tight to the wall. I can't get the timing that precisely when I have to use each hand and not two fingers from the same hand.

Joined: 2007-09-10
Just had my first real

Just had my first real thrashing on Nexuiz of many to come no doubt (but the rest won't be as bad I'm sure of it). It felt liberating.

I am thinking on starting a club for Nexuiz "Nerds". Our one goal: to seek REVENGE on the perpetrators of the beatings.

First on the most wanted list is the one that goes by GreEn. Yeah, green my asparagus (asparagus is Nexuiz Nerd food ).

Seek them out here . Please post with names and a plan if possible. We can hone the plan together my friends so don't be shy if it lacks details. Boiling in Oil is a Good Plan (TM). Probably very few will get that treatment, but that's what I am looking for.

We'll need practice, , to execute some of the more subtle things I have in mind.

Joined: 2007-09-10
OK fellow Nexuiz Nerds.

OK fellow Nexuiz Nerds. "They" will be known by their sign, and we we'll be known by ours.

To start things off. We can show our solidarity and pride by picking the dm_downer map. That is the first map on the campaign mode of Nexuiz. If you learn nothing else.. If you can never advance beyond level one.. You will have your best shot at making them break a sweat by playing this map. This is the map you can play over and over in your abode until you can score a frag. The day may come when we will dominate this and many other maps, but never forget where it all started. Others will prefer to take chances with other maps in the tournament, but remember that those true to downer will be rewarded. We will be known by playing the downer map.

But we have higher aspirations ( aka "hope" not the breathing apparatus nor the aspirator).

Here is a multi-point plan for achieving success.

-- Know the Map like you would have known the back of your hand if you had spent the time to study it. In particular, like the backs of our hands, the downer map is always there, always ready to be opened and have its secrets revealed like a gentle asparagus in bloom. It is always willing if we are. When you fall through a hole, get pushed back into a portal, get fragged so hard you think you popped back into Kansas or out of Wonderland, or see the evil ones coming, you will know exactly where you are, globally as well as wrt the neighboring cooridors and open spaces. Knowing the Map is something we can do. It will form the base for more difficult tasks like developing awsome instincts and precision reflexes that don't flip keyboards across the room. Downer will start things off.

-- Know How to Walk. Yes NeNes ("NaN's" and "nuns' also work). We may never master the artful dance steps in the real world, but here ( ) we have game. Being able to move in any direction desired, at the mere though of a though, while keeping the view moving in all directions independently is another daemon we must conquer (for those of you that run on AI and have malfunctioning or just evil control centers keeping you from your potential). Here too downer will serve us as well as any.

-- Shoot with Deadly Accuracy. Sometimes we can run and hide only up to a point. Yes, 40 to 0 is better than 90 to -12, but we can't reach maturity without passing through the pupa stage. I am saying it. We will have to shoot and shoot well. When all is said and downed, we will be able to move the aim target over to any spot on (or off) screen with minimal over or undershoot (and in a straight line). It's no good to control the map with dancing ease ( ), have all the cool weapons, health, and armor, yet not be able to score a frag against someone besides ourselves. And when we aim, we can't be putting the game on pause to concentrate. We must aim and Shoot with Deadly Accuracy without skipping a dance step. But we'll work on this one step at a time.

To start training, I decided for myself (self-training is a very personal experience) to change the default "Input" mouse control in the "Options" menu to a high value. My messy desk earlier became my clean desk to my frustration since my floor is now my messier floor. Moving the mouse 18 inches to aim 45 degrees to the left is not where I'm at.

Later I will report on other adjustments in keystrokes and such, but I think this is all I can handle for now.

Let's get down with Downer.

Joined: 2007-09-10 English

I tried to make some jokes. Sorry if I went too far since not everyone here comes from a similar environment.

Anyway, for starting off, it would be a good idea to practice with a known map. Try to learn it very well. In the tournament you get to pick the map for one of the two matches against an opponent. Knowing even a single map really well has the potential to give you a significant boost in at least one of the two games. Eventually knowing more maps will help more, but that is for another tournament if you are new at this.

Independently of knowing a map, you should practice being able to move at will. Knowing the map is sort of a requisite for this since you sort of have to know where you want to get to, but even within a single room, you can practice. The first uses of this will be to be able to move quickly out of danger and to be able to pick up any weapon or health without hesitation and without missing your target as you move fast.

Another very important skill that can be practiced anywhere is to move the aim quickly to where you wish with precision. Eventually you want to do this while moving. Only if you know how to move easily and know the map well, can you start to be able to do all three things without sacrificing quality in any of the three. And plus, self moving and the map never provide surprises you couldn't have prepared for while your opponent can. In battle your concentration should be on your opponents and aiming and not on moving or the map.

That is my (hopefully not too naive) analysis of the situation.

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