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Tremulous - Marauder and B-suit doing battle.jpg
Developer(s) Dark Legion Development
Engine ioquake3
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, AmigaOS 4
Release date(s) August 11, 2006
Genre(s) First-person shooter, Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Tremulous is a free and open source team-based first-person shooter with real-time strategy elements.[1]

The game features two opposing teams: humans and aliens. Each team must attack the enemy's base and team members while defending their own base.


Tremulous is a first-person shooter with elements of real time strategy.[2] Each team must construct and defend a base, consisting of structures which aid the players in some way. Players respawn from the spawn, one such structure.

During a match, players may attack the enemy, or maintain the base and construct new structures. Humans utilize various weapons, armor and other upgrades, while aliens may evolve into more powerful classes, each of which possesses unique abilities.

The teams do not have access to all possible upgrades and buildings at the beginning of the game. Each team must reach a threshold of frags in order to advance to the next developmental stage. The point at which a stage change occurs varies dynamically depending on the number of players on each team. Each new stage brings more upgrades for the humans and more classes for the aliens.

In addition to requiring a certain stage, each human item or alien class must be purchased using currency earned in game. The aliens are awarded frags for killing their foes which may be used to evolve (these points are commonly called evos by players). The Humans gain credits. Players earn currency by killing enemy players or by destroying certain enemy structures; the amount of received currency depends on what class the opponent was (or what structure was destroyed) and how much of the target's total damage was dealt by the killing player. As a mechanism to encourage builders, who naturally don't engage in combat, players are also rewarded currency every two minutes by simply staying alive.

Builders are responsible for construction of new buildings and base maintenance. Each building takes up a certain number of build points available to each team. The number of build points can vary from map to map and server to server, limiting how large bases can become. To reduce the likelihood of the match ending in a tie, most games enter a sudden death mode ten to fifteen minutes before the draw/tie time limit. This is a period during which the building of most or all structures is prohibited, allowing attackers to more easily overwhelm the defenders.


Human grenade exploding in alien base
Aliens classes

The alien base is centered on a structure called the "Overmind", which is needed for their other structures to function and new structures to be built.

Aliens spawn from Eggs. Eggs work even when the Overmind is dead, but new eggs cannot be built without it.

As they earn frags, alien players can evolve into a new form in order to upgrade their health and gain new abilities. As the vast majority of alien attacks are melee attacks, most of these creatures depend on agility and special movement techniques such as wall-walk, wall-bounce, charging and pouncing over long distances to close the distance between themselves and their enemy.


Human base attacked by dragoons early in game

Humans spawn from structures called "Telenodes", which function in much the same way as aliens' eggs. They are weak to attack and need a strong, defensible base in order to survive. At the core of the human base is the "Reactor", responsible for powering nearly all other base equipment. If it is deconstructed or destroyed, automated defenses and upgrade structures are rendered useless; if it is not immediately replaced the human team is usually defeated. Humans do not have different classes; instead they can buy and sell upgrades at a structure called the "Armory". These upgrades include armor, jet-packs, and powerful weapons.


Tremulous' development by the Dark Legion group commenced in early 2000 as a modification for the commercial computer game Quake III Arena. The gameplay is generally inspired by the Quake II modification Gloom,[3] which also features alien vs human teams with distinct user classes.[4] Although, Tremulous shares no content with Gloom[5] or other similar themed games from around the same time.

Another game with features similar to Tremulous was Natural Selection,[6] but Tremulous developers say it is neither based on it nor inspired by it. According to the developers, development on the game began "long before NS was in the public domain".[5][7]

Following the release of the Quake III Arena source code under the GPL on August 19, 2005,[8] the developers decided to rework Tremulous into a standalone, free and open source game. Its initial standalone version 1.0.0 was released on August 11, 2005.


Joe Barr of NewsForge called Tremulous his favorite "free software" FPS game. It is unknown if "free software" refers to the software's price or its open-source nature.[9]

Tremulous was voted Player's Choice Standalone Game of the Year in Mod Database's Mod of the Year 2006 competition.[10]

Tremulous later came in first in a "Best free game based on GPL Quake source?" poll on the Planet Quake website.[11] At the beginning of 2007, Tremulous also took first place in the Mod Database "Mod of the Year" 2006 competition under the category of "Player's Choice Standalone Game of the Year" as well as honorable mentions in "Genre Award: Action" and "Editor's Choice Standalone Game of the Year".[10] Tremulous was also mentioned in Games for Windows(formerly Computer Gaming World): 101 Free Games Issue for 2007.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joel Durham Jr. (2006-07-26). "Download This! #26". GameSpy. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  2. ^ "About Tremulous -". Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  3. ^ "Your one source for gloom news, files and links!". Planetgloom. 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 
  4. ^ "Gloom Gameplay Info". Planetgloom. 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 
  5. ^ a b "Tremulous FAQ". Tremulous. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  6. ^ Simon Carless (2005-11-01). "The Esoteric Beat: Commentary, Mods, Sfeer". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  7. ^ "repository initialised 28th Nov, 2000". Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  8. ^ Maarten Goldstein (2005-08-19). "Quake 3 Source Code Released". ShackNews. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 
  9. ^ Joe Barr (July 12, 2006). "Tremulous: The best free software game ever?". Retrieved 2010-07-11. Tremulous is the best free software FPS game I've had the pleasure of playing, and I'm not alone in this opinion. It also has a community growing up around it, which should aid not only in growing its popularity but also in continuing improvements. 
  10. ^ a b "Mod Database "Standalone Game of the Year" results.". Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  11. ^ "Best free game based on GPL Quake source?". PlanetQuake. Retrieved 2007-01-06. 

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