Hop, Skip, And Frag: Warsow

On the recommendation of RPS reader MD I’ve spent the morning playing Warsow. And it’s a minor deathmatch riot. The game is a Quake-like FPS deathmatch game, but with amplified movement abilities: the bunny-hop is there, but also weapon-kinetics jumping, wall-jumping, dashing, and even ramp-sliding. All of which makes for an experience not unlike that of being a pinball armed with a railgun. The visuals are fun too: a kind of cartoon Tron with pigmen. Oh, and it’s free.

More thoughts and video below.

Making a transition into this from Quake Live was interesting. It’s the same skill-set, being very fast paced twitch deathmatch, but the movement physics are subtly different, which means you start out trying to strafe jump and soon realise there’s a different mindset to master. It is more complicated, but only just: the movement skills are more diverse, but it’s a similarly minimal weapon set. You can also be stunned by certain weapons, reducing your acrobatics for a short time. It took me the best part of an hour to recalibrate myself to the inertia-led movement, but before long I was bounding down corridors and ricocheting off walls. Right now there seems to be mostly instagib and free-for-all servers up, both of which have their own pitfalls, as well as the challenge of some extremely talented players. That said, my Quake familiarity crossed over easily, and I wasn’t quite at the bottom of the score-table.

The clarity and precision of Warsow speaks directly to the hop/skip/hitscan deathmatcher in me, but I doubt it’ll replace my love of Quake CTF games. I think the main issue for me is probably the lightness of the weapons. Neither the kinetic, sonic, nor visual feedback seems quite enough, and I didn’t feel fully connected to what was happening. The game physics are splendid, though, and I am certain the pacey game type and clean, neon-concrete maps be exactly what certain FPS twitchers are looking for. And, hey, it’s free, so why not take a look?


  1. Ragnar says:

    Oh, it must be at least two years since I last played Warsow. Excellent game, though.

  2. RiptoR says:

    This game made be want to learn bunnyhopping and strafejumping! Great for a quick match before going to work.

    • george21 says:

      This is unquestionably a subject thats close to me so I am very pleased that you wrote about this. The aricle is very interesting. You are generally a very skilled writer.Frachtenbörse

  3. MD says:

    (v) Yeehaa!

    Great post Jim, thanks for giving it a go!

    Pity about the lack of interesting servers though (not that there’s anything wrong with insta and ffa, but they’re not quite as lastingly satisfying as others), I probably emailed you slightly too early — the release was less than 24 hours ago, so even the well-maintained servers haven’t all been updated.

  4. aoanla says:

    I should note that Warsow is not only free, it is also open.
    (There’s actually quite a few free, open-source fairly decent deathmatch games around – I presume because the content-generation problem is less of an issue than for extensive single-player modes.)

  5. Tei says:

    Warsow is a classic.

    Theres also server with maps designed to travel using these trick moves. Warsow is a refreshing old school type of gameplay.
    Old School players love to talk about phisics and movement, and Warsow is a game tryiing to excell at that.

  6. SirDorius says:

    I agree with the weapons feeling like toys. There’s more armor and health than in Quake, less ammo and weapons do less damage. But with the 0.5 release it’s going the right way.

    Also, the movement is CPMA-like with the dodge button.

  7. MD says:

    Yeah a lot of people would prefer stronger weapons, I think. Personally I find that being able to take a bit more damage makes each individual battle more interesting, with the chance for comebacks and impressive combos and all that. Certainly makes Dueling more interesting I reckon, but I can understand it being a bit frustrating in FFA. As SirDorius said though, 0.5 is actually geared towards quicker frags than the previous version(s), so I’m having to adjust the other way.

  8. MD says:

    And I know that Jim wasn’t talking about the damage per se, rather the ‘feel’ in general. It reminded me of a common theme in other people’s writeups though.

  9. Mike says:

    Jesus christ that’s fast.

  10. Tony says:

    Eh, I wasn’t that impressed with it really.

  11. The Sombrero Kid says:

    yeah it’s like quake with weapons from unreal (i.e. shit) if i remember right

  12. Jim Rossignol says:

    I think the weapons are more like Quake than they are UT, they’re just a bit floaty.

  13. David says:

    The inertiatic bunnyhopping mechanic is interesting and I can see what it’s trying to do, but I don’t think it’s quite there yet. Quake Live, while different in some respects, is still a better realisation of the kinetic FPS.

  14. Necro says:

    Warsow is an excellent game. The graphics are stylish and the movement has been honed to perfection. I have some reservations about the weapon balance (this is still in beta) and the community remains quite small, but in spite of these it remains the best, free game I have played to date.

  15. Soundofvictory says:

    Oh Warsow! I love that game. If you like it you should also give Nexuiz a go. It’s a bit more ridiculous and has zanier weapons.

  16. M.P. says:

    I like the idea of wall-bouncing and other acrobatics, I might try it out. Graphically, it looks so similar to the Quake franchise that they’ll have huge trouble differentiating themselves from it enough to attract an audience. And, as we all know, a big userbase is the first criterion for success for an online FPS. I don’t know what they were thinking there, they could’ve at least tried to make it look different.

  17. ETR says:

    Nice read! :)

  18. ad_hominem says:

    A modern Hogs of War?

  19. Markoff Chaney says:

    Warsow is quite a good, free, open source game that I haven’t touched in a year or two. I loved it when I played it though. Like that perfect mix of Quake and UT. Thanks for reminding me! I’ll have to log in some time this weekend or so and try to hone some of my twitchier instincts.

  20. vader says:

    I really like Warsow. It’s one of those games that I sort of install by default on every new computer I get. I don’t play it as much as I used to, but I never say no to a game if a friend asks me.

  21. fleabitten says:

    “Jim Rossignol says: I think the weapons are more like Quake than they are UT, they’re just a bit floaty.”

    You want CPMA. link to youtube.com

  22. Nuyan says:

    I’ve known of this for a couple of years and I love it. I’ve never really gotten into it, but if I ever decide to play a FPS game seriously (besides TF2), this will be the thing. Learning how to play this properly should be very fulfilling process.

  23. GJLARP says:

    Could it be the sounds that affect the feel of the weapons? I felt Nexuiz was great because of all the sounds, gave it the bassy boom boom of Q3 weapons. I’ve never played Warsow before, so I assume from the trailer, the weapons feel a bit light because of the sounds

  24. Jim Rossignol says:

    I never really got on with CPMA.

  25. Sanns says:

    “I think the main issue for me is probably the lightness of the weapons. Neither the kinetic, sonic, nor visual feedback seems quite enough, and I didn’t feel fully connected to what was happening.”

    The first time I watched the trailer, this statement didn’t make any sense to me. Then, I re-watched it with the sound on…

    I’m sorry, but whoever did the sound effects for this game did a miserable job. The rocket launcher sounds more like someone flicking a light switch than it does someone shooting an explosive projectile! Visually, I still disagree–I think they look impressive, especially for considering this isn’t a fully-polished, off-the-shelf game, and the physics I could only examine by actually playing, but the sound effects on this appear truly terrible.

    (For fun, try re-watching the video yourself, with the sound off, and imagine Quake or UT sound effects. :-P )

  26. VPeric says:

    Whenever there’s talk of Warsow, I use this video to pimp it out:

    link to youtube.com

    Sure, it’s got no real connection to the gameplay (except, perhaps race maps), but it’s bloody impressive no matter how you look at it. And yes, obviously, I heartily recommend Warsow.

  27. Tei says:

    If you guys like Nexuiz, here is the facebook group:

    link to facebook.com

    There are some interesting screenshots for the next versions.

  28. Mechazawa says:

    Speaking of CTF, i’m still hoping that they’ll someday add the Threewave mod in Quake Live. Give me my runes and grapple, please.

  29. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’d settle for all the Threewave maps.

  30. Aubrey says:

    Wow that’s come on really nicely!

    I love what they did with the hop-skip anims for strafe jumping (something I tried early on in the game I’m working on, but it didn’t really fit). Perfect for warsow though! Excellent!

  31. Valarauka says:

    I’d even settle for just Spider Crossings. <3

  32. Nobody Important says:

    I prefer Nexuiz for my open source shooterings. Warsow isn’t bad, though. I need to try the new release.

    Also, whoever said Unreal had shit weapons is an idiot.

  33. Frye says:

    Warsow is cool but a bit elitist, it takes a lot of practice to stand a chance on most servers. Moving plays a huge part in this game and gaining speed fast is essential and they put a lot of ways in the game to do just that. I sometimes log on and never even play. Just watch other people’s amazing skill at bunnyhopping.

  34. Shalrath says:

    “I’d settle for all the Threewave maps.”

    I lost MONTHS to Rune Quake. Months.

    I always coveted the Healing rune, which seemed to always be discarded in favour of the Damage one.

  35. Biz says:

    warsow is an awesome game

    i was unaware of 0.5


  36. antonymous says:

    It’s not “free” like the many “free” games this site has to play the tout for.

    It’s Free Software.

  37. Mark says:

    So fast! How can humans react at such speeds?

  38. aoanla says:

    @antonymous: Which is why I emphasised “free” and “open” earlier in the thread.

    Of course, this also means that anyone who is annoyed with the floaty weapons is perfectly able to try to fix that, if they wish.

  39. sbs says:

    As I understand, War$ow cummunity is split in half or even three because of nerdrage over several versions changing movement, or whatever. Exactly for that reason I hesitate to pick it back up. When the 1.5 or 2.0 was released, I had a fun week and a half with this game, especially FFA, a mode I normally detest, was crazy enjoyable.
    As It stands though, I’d rather…
    Play More Promode.

  40. Muzman says:

    It’s interesting how this stuff kind of went out of fashion.
    I think Frye touched on it a bit; I remember going back and playing Quake 1 or something years later and wondering how the hell I ever kept up with it. It becomes more interesting to spectate the ninja guy who can blast you into the air with a rocket and then shotgun you twice before you hit the ground than to actually play.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against this sort of thing. It’s just that now there is Counterstrike et al I wonder if they’ll ever see anything like their heyday again. Andrew Denton said once that the appeal of sports is at any given level it’s still possible for a player to attain a moment of pefection.
    I wonder sometimes if that’s what this sort of DM is missing. Even the crappiest Counterstike player can still get a headshot on someone. That’s what keeps them coming back. Obviously that’s not what super sci-fi DM needs, but something for the casual like that.

  41. aoanla says:

    I must admit, after playing a couple of rounds on the “Beginner” servers, and ending up very close to the bottom each time, the temptation to just spectate did rather increase for me. (It appears that TF2 has inculated “bad habits” for me with respect to fast-paced DM…)

  42. Plaster says:

    Love this game until the .5 release. The netcode and antilag compensation in this release is rather terrible. Considering a few of the weapons are not included in the antilag compensation it leaves them feeling random and hesitant. Especially the rockets.

  43. stretch mark removal says:

    This definitely beats Quake. It is really fascinating to know that players can now slide on the side walls.

  44. mole removal says:

    Quake is bloody. But I think this one is far more better than the former. Quake’s graphics are an eye sore. I think I would like to try this one.

  45. skin tag removal says:

    I think Quake would become obsolete when compared. The game is indeed fun and it has some cool moves such as running on walls. I am fascinated by the said video how much more when I could play this one on my PC!
    I would love to see some updates.

  46. wart removal says:

    Quake is atleast the pioneer on this game type. But it is understandable that Quake is a bit missing compared to this since it’s undergoing its tethering progress but then the advanced ones are now claiming to dominate the net these days but it is all thanks to Quake that set an example thus making it a prototype of the modern war based games today.

  47. gamer says:

    Can someone help out plz, I installed Warsow and when I started it, this ‘Failed to load opengl32.dll” message poped up. I’ve downloaded DirectX end-user run times to see if it helped but the message kept showing. Idk how to stop it.