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|Composer(s)||Timothy Steven Clarke|
Set in the year 3941 of the fictional Earthsiege universe, Tribes 2 allows the user to play as a soldier in one of several factions (referred to in the game as tribes), namely the Children of the Phoenix, the Blood Eagle, the Diamond Sword, and the Starwolf. Players can also choose to play a rebelling human-created soldier/worker race called the BioDerms. None of the factions differ from each other in strengths or weaknesses, but each has a distinctive look and background story.
Tribes 2 is a multiplayer online game, designed for Internet or LAN play with up to 128 players (64 vs 64) or bots per match, although a small single-player tutorial mode is included. The game may be played from both first- and third-person perspectives. Each match takes place on an Earthsiege-themed map. The Tribes 2 engine, an early version of the Torque Game Engine, is capable of both indoor and outdoor maps, with expansive play areas. Player movement about the map may be on foot, using a jet pack, or in various ground and airborne vehicles as pilot, co-pilot, or passenger.
Each match is played according to one of a number of possible game modes, which dictate the rules of the match. These modes include capture the flag, deathmatch, rabbit-chase, and others. Players are free to choose their own role, and may deploy various items of weaponry, vehicles, and emplacements. Many of these items can be left unattended to operate automatically, or control may be assumed by players. Each player may also choose from three armor types (which trade off various abilities, e.g. weak but fast, or strong but slow), and a weapon and equipment loadout, which may be reconfigured at any time during a match.
The large variety of equipment and deployable items results in many opportunities for creative play and tactics, from pure combat to stealth. Tribes 2 gameplay makes extensive use of jet pack-powered flight, which adds a notable vertical element to combat. As such, playing style varies dramatically from player to player, and from moment to moment, but Tribes 2 gameplay may be generalized as being fast-paced three-dimensional combat over a wide playing area. Player vs player combat is a central element of Tribes 2 gameplay, even in team-based modes.
Tribes 2 was designed to encourage team play by facilitating the creation and administration of clans, and originally provided clan and player profiles, email, chat, league tables, tournaments, and message board functionality in the client. Support for these was dropped over time as the game declined in popularity, and changes in the support policies of the various intellectual property owners. Both Tribes and Tribes 2 were designed to be highly modifiable by players. A scripting language built into the Torque Game Engine has allowed prospective "modders" to alter many aspects of gameplay; since the textures and 3D models can also be replaced, games that bear little resemblance to the Tribes titles can be created.
Tribes 2 was developed by Dynamix as a sequel to Starsiege: Tribes. Published by Sierra Studios, it was released for Microsoft Windows in North America on March 28, 2001, and in Europe on April 13, 2001. A Linux port was released by Loki Games on April 19, 2001.
On November 20, 2002, Sierra released an update for Tribes 2. This update contained two new game types, new maps and updates to address several issues. Sierra, which was then part of Vivendi SU, licensed the franchise to Irrational Games for a third installment; Tribes: Vengeance was released in October 2004. In an effort to increase interest in the upcoming sequel, Sierra released both the original Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2 as freeware download on May 4, 2004. In 2015, the game was released as freeware by Hi-Rez Studios.
On November 2, 2008, Sierra/Vivendi disabled the authentication servers required for its online multiplayer and dropped all official support for the Tribes franchise.
The Torque 3D game engine, on which Tribes 2 is built, was released by GarageGames under the MIT license on September 20, 2012. The Tribes 2 source code beside the Torque engine was not made available.
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Tribes 2 was generally well received, with good review scores.
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- GarageGames to Release T3D as Open Source on GarageGames (Eric Preisz 2012-10-09)
- "It's here! The MIT licensed Torque 3D GitHub repo is ready!".
- Tribes 1 and 2 source code anywhere on garagegames.com, 2013-01-04
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