When it comes to ioquake3, the open-source id Tech 3 game engine, it's almost always being used for powering a first-person shooter. However, released on Friday was a major update to an open-source multi-platform game running on ioquake3 but is not yet-another-FPS title. However, it's also arguably the oddest game to be powered by this engine that was originally designed for Quake III.
Hitting my inbox on Friday night was word from the ioquake3 project of a new game update/release being powered by this widely-used open-source id Tech 3 project. The game? Turtle Arena. While I'm not exactly a gamer myself, when hearing a title of "Turtle Arena" and being powered by the ioquake3 engine, I had to check it out. It sounds like a racing game... Or is it a Quake 3 mod where you're a turtle shooting water? Or is it a race to grow turtles? It ended up being none of the above.
Turtle Arena is described as "a free and open-source third-person action game" that is multiplayer-focused with different game modes, and even has split-screen arcade-style gaming support. There's also support for AI players, or rather, AI turtles. It appears that Turtle Arena is basically trying to be a game that's an open-source version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You can play Turtle Arena in LAN and Internet modes too... Except the master server didn't seem to be working or that no one else on the Internet was playing this game...
The Turtle Arena 0.6 release from Friday introduces a four-player split-screen mode, turtles now have tails, cel-shading for many 3D models, many images are now of higher resolution, support for TrueType fonts by default, joystick menu support, lots of ioquake3 engine changes, and more.
Weaponry for this third-person action-game includes Katanas, Sais, Nunchaks, and a bō staff. You also have your choice of turtles with tails.
While Turtle Arena deserves credit for being creative and an original open-source game that's just not a rehash of another shooting game, the graphics aren't good with low-quality game assets and isn't as visually advanced as some of the other ioquake3 games. Modifying the ioquake3 engine into powering a third-person action title is also interesting, but sadly with its physics support lacking the game-play is quite constrained, but likely enough to entertain a young child.
Should you be interested in learning more about Turtle Arena, stop by this ioquake3.org link. Meanwhile in this forum thread, the best open-source Linux games are being discussed at length. For those curious about the game-play for this turtle action game, below is a YouTube video of Turtle Arena in Capture The Flag mode.