Ooh: Tribes Goes To War (Again)

Gawd-blast Kotaku, nabbing a thoroughly PC exclusive like this. Get off our land, yous. Bah. Their colour scheme’s still hideous, mind.

Anyway, this time around, they’ve got games-in-browsers types InstantAction to reveal they’ll soon have the original Starsiege: Tribes up for free, browserly play.

No doubt everyone will immediately and churlishly say “not Tribes 2 then? Aw”, but the return of this venerable team shooter is a happy surprise nonetheless. Especially as it’s a revamped version, with sparklier graphics and better modding support. It’s the only riposte GarageGames need to comments that their recent free browser FPS Fallen Empires: Legions owes a little too much to Tribes, really.

So, given we already have Quake Zero, are we about to stumble into a hold trend of classic shooters being reborn inside browser windows? The original Unreal Tournament? Call of Duty 1? Counter-Strike? Jus’ throwing ideas out there.


  1. Devin Padgett says:

    Modding support, yes. Enhanced graphics, no. That was a PR misunderstanding, apparently.

    link to blog.instantaction.com

    Check towards the end of the blog post.

  2. Marcin says:

    There were no graphical tweaks to the game; there were, however, quite a few bugs fixed. The game does support modern file formats, however (png, zip).

    More at GDC :)

  3. solipsistnation says:

    Tribes 1 was better anyway! Old-school, whoo!

  4. daokaioshin says:

    aren’t there a bunch of these now? there was one called blackshot and one that looked like an area 51 spin off? are there more browser based fps games to list?

  5. Pags says:

    No doubt everyone will immediately and churlishly say “not Tribes 2 then? Aw”

    Isn’t it possible to play Tribes 2 for free anyway, using TribesNEXT?

    Either way, I’ve heard the original was better. So yes. Hooray!

  6. Haml3t says:

    Garagegames/Instantaction actually owns the license for Tribes, so though Legions may be a bit of a Tribes clone it’s at least a licensed Tribes clone.

  7. Tem says:

    I was skeptical of IA at first, but with them hosting first the spiritual sequel to T1/T2, then similar for Mechwarrior, and now this, things are looking up.
    (Aside from networking issues, which have improved as well. Well, that and mod support for FE:L)

    I hadn’t heard of TribesNEXT though, I’ll definitely have to dust off my T2 install.

    Good news all around!

  8. lumpi says:

    “The original Unreal Tournament?”

    Oh yes, please! [/voice of the Fat Fighters lady talking about cake]

  9. BooleanBob says:

    Tribes 2 was a game with huge potential that was rarely realised for me. Even when we managed to navigate the somewhat thorny server/lobby interface, my friends and I were often left cold by cheap spamming of instadeath weapons like bombs and mortars. Plus the wider tactical scope was often criminally under-utilised by teams – but this is understandable in a world before widespread accessible VoIP.

    It had its moments, though. That vast strategic scope took a lot of graft to make anything of (there’d always be someone interrupting your best-laid and painstakingly-coordinated plans), but the payoff to a little creative planning and execution was immensely satisfying. Best memories were single-handed flag caps using the gravcycle, stealth module and scout armour on Katabatic, heavy armour raids on the enemies’ base and generators on Katabatic, and setting up a mini encampment behind enemy lines by means of the deployable inventory stations and turrets in the craggy mountains of… er, Katabatic.

    Yeah, thinking back, it was definitely something of a one-map wonder. But it certainly had its moments. So I guess you can put me in the somewhat disappointed category, because by all accounts the original tribes was a much more streamlined, spinfusors-and-rocketboots affair.

  10. Nick says:

    They gave tribes 2 away for free many (er.. 3 or 4?) years ago. Still, the original in browser form might be a laugh.

  11. Tem says:

    @BooleanBob: That alludes to what made Tribes 2 great for me. It wasn’t the base mod/vanilla game, it was one of three different mods: Revmod, Meltdown 2, and Construction.

    Revmod providing a more base-like experience (And being hosted on one of the consistently largest servers, often with 50+players) but having a lot more to do.

    Meltdown 2 provided the hugely varied combat, with unique (At least, different from base) mechanics like the Blastech class with a huge but non-regenerating energy supply (And immunity to energy/weakness to ballistics), or the Mag Ion which gave new definition to flight, or even Battle Angels, which could hardly get themselves off the ground without using dual rocket launchers as explosive propulsion, but bore armament like no other. Not just the armors, though. A vast amount of constructables, from turrets with many different gun attachments, to vehicles with installable modules.
    But, really, I think I had the most fun accidentally annihilating myself with a Mitzi Blast (Power 20) while playing a light armor. XD

    Then you had Construction (And the many variants thereof) which were fun in their own right, even without combat on the whole. I loved making bases and landscapes, using a mode-like system to place anything from tress to varying length and texture beams/walls, objects, turrets, etc… It was like legos in a game engine.

    Of course, as you say, vanilla T2 on Katabatic was something to remember. ;P

  12. DMJ says:

    This sounds tempting, providing that the harsh, critical light of modern experience won’t shatter my carefully preserved memories.

    Once I played Tribes so intensively that I remember looking at a building in the real world and part of my mind automatically evaluated whether or not I could have jetted to the top (in each armour… with and without energy pack).

    The only other game to do something similar was Thief, when I caught myself taking a detour around a patch of tiled flooring because the carpet nearby was quieter to walk on.

  13. BuffaloBillsHotel&Casino says:

    I have too little time between mi work and some quality time with the wife. I don’t thing I will do the same kind of gameing we have when tribes was new.

  14. mister slim says:

    Browser Deus Ex? Browser Ultima Underworld? Browser Redneck Rampage?

    Someone should just do a browser version of DosBox actually.

  15. TheLordHimself says:

    Browser based ports of successful games that also add something (e.g. like QuakeLive’s stats and awards etc.) will be successful. All others I think will fall by the way side since there is no real advantage of running a game through a browser window. It will still require an install (QuakeLive is essentially a quite hefty active x app) that will mean you won’t be able to play on restricted systems (e.g. net cafe or at schools). If there is no reason to play in a browser, people won’t, because for me at least, it is convienient than loading the game up.

  16. TheLordHimself says:

    *less convienient

  17. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    What’ll they think of next? TF2 online?

    /don’t know where I’m going with that
    //liked Legions for the ~30 minutes I played it

  18. Al3xand3r says:

    Modding support in a game that has to be run through a browser? Interesting… I wish they’d just add mod support to Fallen Empires instead as that looks and plays tastier (but lacks vehicles and advanced game modes… Which mods could add).

  19. Al3xand3r says:

    @ TheLord
    Well, Instant Action does have extra features, match making, whatever, not sure about scoring, so, any game they adopt will have those inherent improvements, not to mention renewed fanbase, can’t exactly dig up Tribes and easily find players, while adding it to their roster makes it a potential choice for all their users.

  20. pepper says:

    Great news, started playing tribes 2 through the TribesNext update just yesterday. And now Tribes 1 in a browser^^!

  21. -Spooky- says:

    Install the true gameclients *pff @ browser*

  22. cyrenic says:

    I played Tribes and Tribes 2 competitively back in high school/college. Great times. I don’t think I’ll ever sink that many hours into a game ever again :P.

    Tribes 1 was the better game, overall. Tribes 2 was slower paced, and IMO the maps and movement mechanics weren’t as good.

  23. Chaz says:

    Whoo hoo! I can’t wait, Tribes is possibly my most favourite MP game ever. With OFP co-op running a close second.

  24. EyeMessiah says:

    The best thing about T1 was definitely switching between canned voice chat options really quickly to splice together amusing directives.


    Great stuff.

  25. Lake says:


  26. Danarchist says:

    Heh these guys are about a mile and a half from me here in Eugene Or (us). I know a couple of them from LaN parties I have had, and they are gamers to the core =P Glad to see them gettin props!

  27. TychoCelchuuu says:




  28. gbarules2999 says:


    Now give me a version that doesn’t run in a browser, and I’ll fiddle with Wine until it works.

  29. MadTinkerer says:

    Unreal Tournament is already available for super-cheap on Steam. It works fine in XP (Unreal & Unreal 2 have issues on my machine).

  30. Tem says:

    I was (And still am) skeptical of these things running in a browser (Really, they are running on their own, just framed in the browser with the social thing), but I think it’s better to see GarageGames behind it and in a browser, than someone else and not.