Beginners Guide

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When you decide to try out Sauerbraten you should be aware of your operating system, your current graphics chipset (manufacturer and card name) and that this project is open-source and as such very much a work in progress.

Typically, to run Sauerbraten at playable speeds on minimum settings, you'll need at least: 1GHz or higher CPU, 256MB RAM and a GeForce 4 MX or equivalent GPU.

For maximum settings, you'll need at least: 2GHz or higher CPU, 512MB RAM and a GeForce 6600 or equivalent shader model 2.0 GPU.

Before you even download Sauerbraten, make sure you meet the above requirements and have the latest video card drivers installed for your OS. If you're on Linux, make sure you're not using MESA drivers, and if you're on Windows, make sure you're not using the generic drivers.

Graphics Card

Be prepared that some graphics cards have problems running with the default configuration. You should then try to use all toggles to reduce rendering complexity and work yourself up. Some example combinations:

  • [maximum compatibility] : -w640 -h480 -b8 -z8 -a0 -f
  • [nVidia bpp/z-buffer] : -w1024 -h768 -b16 -z24 -a1 -f1
  • [full fledged] : -f3 -a4 -b24 -z24 -w1600 -h1200

See the Performance Guide for an in-depth view at what to tweak.

Platform Dependencies

Due to platform dependencies some stuff works differently depending on your OS. For example on Linux and Mac OS X, users can dynamically change their screen resolution; on Windows this just isn't possible. Other aspects include driver issues, file formats (*.jpg, *.mp3) and naming (Pic1.jpg is not pic1.JPG)

If you are running Windows be sure to have most current driver for your graphics card installed, often ATI drivers have proven to be glitchy -- Performance Guide might help there!

If you are running Linux you should be sure that you have set up your system sufficiently to play, running "glxgears -info" can help and having other OpenGL and/or SDL based applications already working is a solid basis to encourage you to proceed here. If your running a 64-bit kernel you'll need to figure out wether to run in 32-bit emulation or if you can recompile the engine for your kernel.


First try running the game out-of-the-box, but in the long run you will want to optimize your setup to your hardware and personal preferences. There is a plethora of settings for you to do this. RTFM : config page

To run with these parameters call your systems shell script with them.

  • on UNIX: usage as usual for you.

Maybe you'd like to use some shell scripts to handle sauerbraten_unix for you, switching between different setups made easy and including a random start map selection.

  • on Windows : In case your in doubt : copy your sauerbraten.bat to sauerbraten_myconf.bat and edit with notepad/wordpad/equivalent
REM -- default call
REM bin\sauerbraten.exe -w1024 -h768 %1 %2 %3 %4 %5
REM -- full fledged call
REM bin\sauerbraten.exe -w1600 -h1200 -b24 -z24 -a4 -f3 %1 %2 %3 %4 %5
REM -- minimalistic call
REM bin\sauerbraten.exe -w800 -h600 -b8 -z16 -a0 -f -lpindakaas
REM -- my call
bin\sauerbraten.exe -w800 -h600 -b8 -z16 -a0 -f -lpindakaas

Later you might want to change the last line to your systems optimal settings. It often pays to not have any settings in sauerbraten.bat itself. Instead you could just call

bin\sauerbraten.exe %1 %2 %3 %4 %5

and add appropriate parameters to a range of links (*.lnk) - say on your Desktop -- like "Medium-Resolution Sauer", "minimal sauer", "EyeCandy", ...

  • On Mac: Launch Sauerbraten and choose some options, then click Play. To change other options you need to go to /Users/yourusername/Application Support/sauerbraten/autoexec.cfg and set options there using CubeScript.


Click on the appropriate download link and select your mirror to download the installation file. Official clients exist for Windows 32-bit, UNIX, and Mac OS X 10.3 through 10.6 32-bit. Please pick a local mirror.


  • There is an installer wrapper for Windows, execute and follow the well known set of dialogs.
  • On UNIX un-tar to your favourite location (say /usr/local/sauerbraten), chmod the binaries +x if required.
  • Mac OS X: Double-click on the DMG, then move Sauerbraten(.app) to /Applications/ or wherever you keep your applications.

Basic Configuration

Manage your configuration via autoexec.cfg. If the file does not exist in your base installation folder then create it. Two lines are necessary:

name "unnamed"
team "none"

Name is capped off at 15 characters, team at 4.

The engine first looks for config.cfg at launch. This is written at engine quit, so first time users will skip this step. If config.cfg is found, it is executed. If and only if the engine doesn't find config.cfg, it executes defaults.cfg, then autoexec.cfg. When a map is loaded, it's CFG file (if it exists) is loaded.

For a more complex setup you might like to try the scripts on quadropolis, which might help your scripting needs, although simple settings simply require a COMMAND VALUE line CubeScript (used by Sauerbraten too, though syntax (and of course command set) have evolved (and still are evolving)) can be used for a wide range of complex functions. The pre-gui-release meATpAk and the post-gui-release QCSP script packs aim at empowering even non-scripters to use these powers to their benefit.

Also check out the Scripting Guide pages of this wiki.

First Time

  • Windows 32-bit: Run the sauerbraten.bat
  • UNIX: Run the ./sauerbraten_unix script from the base installation folder
  • OS X: Click the Sauerbraten(.app) launcher and click Play

There are some external docs till this wiki contains that info too : Passa's (Win32) NewbieGuide and MeatROme's "Getting Started" Guide

When you run the game you will start up in the default map (2006-12-04 : metl4), the default mode is 0 - which stands for ffa/default. Let's try out some stuff:

  • press ESC -- the menu will pop up in front of your player. Select the "load map.." option
  • select a map and explore it, do this with a couple of maps
  • now open your console (need help? : Using the Console) and enter mode 4;map curvedm
  • you've just chosen the instagib mode on map curvedm
  • select a mode/map combination via the menu ("multiplayer", "vote...", ...)
  • now go into the multiplayer menu, select update server list from master server and select an appropriate server from the list
  • if your first on the server you'll automatically set your current mode/map as the game on the server else you'll join whatever game is going on

Game Modes

A Look At Single Player

The single player (SP) modes of Sauerbraten enable you to play offline against a range of monsters. Start your SP game via the menu or set your mode and an appropriate map by hand. Beware that the so-called Episode 1 does not currently contain monsters. It is still WiP! The single maps for basic SP (mode -2) do have monsters, though; and you can play (almost) any map in DMSP (mode -1) against a horde of monsters matching your skill level.

In the basic SP mode (mode -2) which works more or less like in every other FPS -- you can pick up items only once and monsters stay killed; progress is controlled with respawn-points. Touching a respawn-point will set your next spawn to that location. If you get fragged by the monsters you will respawn inside the map, having lost all armour and some ammo, ut at least your previous incarnation has cleared the way a little. Your score is calculated as seconds you took to complete the map. Deaths, monsters left, accuracy, and a basic modifier for skill setting all get taken into account.

The SP DeathMatch mode (DMSP (mode -1) will work on any map - but some just won't cut it -- and will pit you against a number of monsters (10x skill) spawning at random points. If you die in this mode the ordeal repeats - either you beat the horde or you don't -- it's a DeathMatch!

A Look At MP

The integrated server browser is available via the "multiplayer.." menu, be sure to regularly update from master server. The list is sorted by ping for your convenience. A "P" next to the number of players indicates a private server. A "L" next to the number of players stands for locked server. For details see the mastermodes section of the Multiplayer Guide.


Note: The below information may be outdated and may not apply to the most recent release. Eisenstern has only been included in CTF Edition and Trooper Edition.

You can have a look at what's cooking by running with a -grpg parameter included. So far only some NPC models are visible and the action menu is visible and ready for use. Attacking and trading has been implemented along with an inventory and monetary system, but there is no AI, so nothing fights back. Stay tuned for further progress and perhaps look at Eisenstern Modelling.

Help On Finding Help


While getting to know a new piece of software it is often the case that you might need help with an aspect you (personally) don't find intuitive. This is perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of, but the way you go about asking for help can be! So here's some help on getting help:

You'll see!

First thing to do is try finding a help resource, try a Google search, try a lot of different combinations - try news- and code-searches too! Try searching this wiki, or the forums.

Your local manual is accessible via the README.html in your installation folder; the documentation is also available from


The Cube/Cube 2 community is the place to find guides and tutorials. Check out the guides on Quadropolis, or use one of the wiki pages below:


The game is pretty straightforward to jump into, so some people seem to overlook the manual -- don't make that mistake! But in the end a lot of Sauerbraten know-how comes through actively experimenting with the engine; even more so since it is still under development and you might find something that you think should work differently ask in the forum or on IRC about it -- maybe it's a bug? Help the project if you can! Familiarize yourself with the different aspects that make up the game. From OGZ files to CFGs, from /data/ to /packages/base/.

Watch! Listen... and Learn!

Even if we first off -- as always -- hint at RTFM. RTFM = Read The Fine Manual Even if we hint at R-ing TFM it seems impossible to stress it hard enough, Don't be a Help Vampire.

Another suggestion is to read the following article about asking smart questions, it's not associated with this project but is a general article about how to go about getting help on the interwebs. Do not contact the authors about Sauerbraten -- they're only trying to help you find help (in general), not for this project specifically.

The next step for you would be to contact the community of this project; either by posting in the cube forum or by visiting the IRC-Channel #sauerbraten on Good luck!