Cube 2: Sauerbraten

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Cube 2: Sauerbraten
Sauerbraten logo.png
Developer(s)Wouter van Oortmerssen, Lee Salzman, Mike Dysart[2]
Designer(s)Wouter van Oortmerssen
Composer(s)Marc A. "Fanatic" Pullen[2]
EngineCube 2 Engine
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OS X, Unix
ReleaseMay 6, 2004[1]
Genre(s)First-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Cube 2: Sauerbraten (German for "sour roast", also known as Sauer) is a cross-platform, Quake-like first-person shooter that runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD,[3] and Mac OS X using OpenGL and SDL.

The game features single-player and multiplayer gameplay and contains an in-game level editor. The game engine is free and open-source software, under the zlib License,[4] with commercial support available from the developer's business counterpart, Dot3 Labs.[5]

The game media is released under various non-free licenses. The aim of the project is not to produce the most features and highest-quality graphics possible, but rather to allow map-editing to be done in real-time within the game, while keeping the engine source code small and elegant.


Old logo

Cube 2 features singleplayer and multiplayer, the latter offering LAN, local, and online play. The game features multiple modes, such as deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and variations thereof. Players can also engage in online cooperative map editing. Single-player modes feature both episodic gameplay and deathmatches on multiplayer maps with AI bots instead of human opponents.



Cube 2: Sauerbraten started as a redesign of the original Cube game engine.[6][7] The engine is written in C++ and OpenGL. The game shares most of its design goals and philosophy with its predecessor, but uses a new 6-directional heightfield (or octree)[dubious ] world model.

Derivatives and forks[edit]

Since the engine code is open-source, a number of forks and derivatives have been based on it,[8] most notably:

  • Red Eclipse, a fork of Cube 2 with improvements to the engine featuring a different style of gameplay. With version 2.0, it has been ported to the engine of Tesseract.[9][10]
  • Tesseract, which features an improved version of the Cube 2 game engine. It offers better graphics, but has higher system requirements.[11][12][13][14][15]
  • OctaForge is a fork of Tesseract.[16]
  • Tomatenquark is a fork of Cube 2 that is available from Steam.[17]


Rendering engine[edit]

Cube 2's rendering engine is designed around modern graphics processing units, which perform best with huge batches of geometry already stored in video memory. Lighting is precomputed into lightmaps—image files that correspond to geometry as textures—for efficient batching, with an additional stored directional component, that allows for efficient shader-based lighting effects. The original Cube engine's rendering engine assumed that overdraw (where polygons that do not appear in the final scene are occluded via the z-buffer) was more processor-intensive than sending new streams of triangles to the graphics processing every frame, which vastly limited its performance on more modern hardware where memory bandwidth is a greater limiting factor. The most recent releases (starting with "CTF Edition") support a precomputed visibility system (PVS) for graphics cards that do not support hardware occlusion.

Real-time editing[edit]

An example of a primitive cube subdivision

Cube 2: Sauerbraten uses a 6-directional heightfield (or octree) world model. An octree, in Sauerbraten, is a cube that can be split into eight smaller cubes; those smaller cubes are also octrees, and can be subdivided further. This allows much more complex level geometry and easier editing.

Each cube-shaped node in the octree represents a renderable volume, or a type of Marching cube, which are referred to as a cube, where each edge of this cube can be lengthened or shortened to deform the cube into a variety of other shapes. Corners of cubes can also be "pushed" or "pulled" to create crude curves. The what you see is what you get realtime editing has enabled level designers to add a lot of detail to maps, while reducing the time spent on actual creation. This is in contrast to traditional modern polygon soup 3D engines which take a model generated as an essentially random batch of triangles from an external modelling program and attempt to spatially subdivide the model's triangles after the fact by splitting them to fit into tree structures, such as a BSP tree or even an octree, that require costly pre-processing to build. Cube 2's novelty thus lies in that the world representation is the octree, or Marching cubes, structure itself, from which efficient triangle batches are generated for the graphics processing unit to render, without need for expensive and time-consuming pre-processing.[19]


The game has been shown in a Burger King television commercial.[20][21] It also received four out of five stars in a MacWorld UK review[22] and was mentioned in Issue 3 of Games for Windows: The Official Magazine (as well as their "101 Free Games" article), where it was described as being "perfect for both stingy and creative gamers alike".[23]

The "CTF Edition" was reviewed positively by Phoronix, a Linux-focused hardware and software review website,[24] as well as,[25] a website providing news related to free and open-source software.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cube 2: Sauerbraten". GameSpot. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  2. ^ a b Sauerbraten Team (2009). "Sauerbraten Credits/Authors". Sauerbraten. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  3. ^ "CVS log for ports/Games/Sauerbraten/Makefile".
  4. ^ Sauerbraten Team (2008). "Sauerbraten License". Sauerbraten]. Retrieved June 12, 2008.
  5. ^ Dot3 Labs (2008). "Dot3 Labs - Sauerbraten Technology". Dot3 Labs]. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2008.
  6. ^ "Sauerbraten FPS Updated". Inside Mac Games. 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  7. ^ "Sauerbraten 2008_06_20". MacUpdate. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  8. ^ Nixot (2012-04-23). "A list of every cube and sauerbraten mod ever". Cube Engine Games. Retrieved 2023-03-25.
  9. ^ "Red Eclipse: A free arena shooter featuring parkour". Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  10. ^ "Red Eclipse: Documentation - Information for v2". Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  11. ^ Salzman, Lee (April 18, 2012). "Announcing Tesseract..."
  12. ^ Larabel, Michael (April 24, 2012). "Cube 2's Tesseract Vastly Improves Graphics".
  13. ^ "Tesseract page". Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  14. ^ Lee Salzman's page, creator of Tesseract
  15. ^ Dawe, Liam (12 May 2014). "Tesseract A Brand New Open Source FPS Derived From Cube 2: Sauerbraten". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  16. ^ "OctaForge". The Linux Game Book. Retrieved 2023-03-25.
  17. ^ Dawe, Liam (25 May 2020). "Free and open source FPS 'Tomatenquark' releases on Steam". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  18. ^ Paul, Ryan (28 August 2012). "Firefox 15 arrives, supports compressed textures for impressive 3D gaming". Ars Technica. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  19. ^ Wouter van Oortmerssen. "Sauerbraten initial development documentation". Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  20. ^ Wouter van Oortmerssen (2006). "Sauerbraten in Burger King TV commercial!!". Cube Engine Games]. Retrieved February 22, 2007.
  21. ^ "Burger_King_Girlfriend_out_of_town_DC_25sec.mpg". Archived from the original on 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
  22. ^ Hodge, Karl (2007-06-29). "Cube 2: Sauerbraten Review". MacWorld UK. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
  23. ^ Games for Windows: The Official Magazine, p. 58, February 2007 {{citation}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ Larabel, Michael (2008-06-21). "Sauerbraten CTF Edition". Phoronix. Retrieved 2008-06-22.
  25. ^ Sharma, Mayank (2008-08-26). "Frag 'em in your own backyard with Sauerbraten". Retrieved 2008-08-28.

External links[edit]