It has been nearly a year since the last update to Sauerbraten, the 2008 CTF edition, but the open-source developers behind this game and its engine of the same name have been preparing for a new release. Within the next few days we should see the first 2009 release of Sauerbraten and it brings a host of new features. In this article is a rundown on some of the key features along with screenshots we captured when running their latest Subversion code.
The Sauerbraten project has been around for a few years now and spawned as a redesign of the Cube game engine, which is why this game is commonly referred to as Cube 2. Sauerbraten continues with Cube's unique feature of having an in-game level editor that can be used while playing, even in multiplayer mode, and with the latest Sauerbraten release it will continue to live on.
Some of the major improvements in this first 2009 update for Sauerbraten include new rag-doll physics, a new particle system, new explosion effects, and quite a few other prominent changes. The new rag-doll physics support for the Sauerbraten engine is supported when using skeletally animated models. To further enhance the graphics experience, the grass rendering was rewritten so that it now supports blending and better batching. There are also some other smaller areas that have been refined such as collisions against stairways, layer blending for world geometry, and deferred loading of world shaders. Further stepping up the graphics experience in this newest version is shadow mapping and dynamic lights when using the fixed-function mode along with rewritten code for post-processing of shaders.
When it comes to the game content, there is a new player model along with several new multiplayer maps. Additionally, there are a few new textures such as for stained glass. To improve the game-play, there is now a "protect" and "insta protect" game modes. Besides the new maps, several other maps were revised.