The proprietary game "Minecraft", which is written in Java, may have been inspired by Sauerbraten (also known as "Cube 2"). Minecraft is a browser-based first person "Sandbox" style adventure game where you can connect with other players over the Internet and build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. This kind of game isn't new, in fact if you've ever searched the Internet for Free multi-platform first person shooters, you've probably heard of Cube 2: Sauerbraten.
Minecraft and Cube 2: Sauerbraten have a lot in common, if you put gameplay footage of editing a new map in both games in front of someone who has never played either, I think that person would think they are the same game, well, maybe without Minecraft's pixelated textures.
Minecraft and Cube 2: Sauerbraten both are based around the idea of building constructions out of textured cubes, this means stacking 3D cubes to make mountains, buildings, trees, roads, oceans, and many other things. Both are also available on GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.
Minecraft and Cube 2: Sauerbraten are different genres, Minecraft is an adventure game while Cube 2: Sauerbraten is a fast paced first person shooter. Both are interesting takes on the old idea of building things like Legos in a 3D world, I'm glad to see this style of sandbox games is still alive.
I think of Minecraft as sort of like Cube 2 in the browser.
Here are some differences between the two:
Minecraft Is Proprietary And Commercial...
...where as Cube 2 is Free Software and available for download free of cost.
Minecraft Has A Fixed Resolution And Strict Graphics Settings...
...where as Cube 2 has multiple resolutions and various graphics settings.
Minecraft Only Has One Kind Of 3D Cube (Large)...
...and only a couple of textures, while Cube 2 has multiple sized 3D cubes from smaller than half a cubic inch to well over 300 cubic feet, and Cube 2 isn't limited to cubes, in Cube 2 you can make single piece thin square plates, 2 inch stepping stones, book shelves, and more.
Minecraft Is Limited To Cubes...
...where as in Cube 2 you can make slants, manipulate cubes to make spheres and cylinders, and many other kinds of 3D objects.
Minecraft Has A Very Limited Number Of Textures...
...where as Cube 2 has well over 50 textures, including textures that generate tall waving grass, and even animated textures. Minecraft, however, doesn't work in terms of textures, but rather a select number of different textured cubes each with their own abilities, such as working as a sponge, falling like sand (though as a solid cube), dirt which can sustain plant life, and a few others.
Cube 2's Cubes:
Cube 2 has cubes that turn to Water, Lava, Glass, work as Clip and No Clip, Death, and Air. Air is basically just the way you turn them back into air.
Cube 2 Has "Lighting Entities":
"Lighting Entities" add a specific lighting effect to areas where they're placed such as the sun, street lights, porch lights, clubs, etc. Minecraft apparently doesn't have this (yet.)
Cube 2 Has Modern Game Graphics:
Bump Mapping, Bloom, Reflections, Lens Flare, Particles, and other modern game engine graphics.
Cube 2 "Entities":
Cube 2 has various objects called "Entities" such as trees (5 to over 100 feet tall), bushes, rocks, street lights, benches, barrels, and much, much, more!
Cube 2 Has Weapons (pew-pew!):
Cube 2 has such weapons as a Pistol, a Shotgun, a Sniper, a Rocket Launcher, a Minigun (like the M134), and a "Grenade" Launcher. And this is very good, because you can take out your stress when some other player comes by and unfairly destroys the house you spent 2 hours building.
Of course, Cube 2 isn't a browser-based game, so it's only natural it'd be graphically superior. Take a look and tell me if you think Minecraft or the earlier "Infiniminer" was maybe a little inspired by Cube 2...
The Cube 2 examples are levels mimicking the Minecraft screenshots, built in the newest release of Cube 2, using only the default textures. I did, however, avoid using Cube 2's smaller cubes and the more advanced features, so that everything would be made out of single-sized cubes like in Minecraft.
Minecraft to Sauerbraten:
It seems I'm not the only one who sees the similarities. A couple developers have been working on modifying Cube 2: Sauerbraten to act more like Minecraft, and to possibly use the Sauerbraten's map editor to import and export Minecraft levels. The developer has said "it is possible I could do a Linux version. I don't have a Windows machine, and have zero interest in that OS". Let's all hope this happens and that he doesn't take advantage of the permissive zLib Free Software license's lack of Copyleft, a Minecraft style game on the Cube Engine is a very interesting idea, but is useless software if made proprietary.