Topic: The Great Vanilla Revival Initiative

Fellow tees from here and afar,

The lands have been too peaceful for too long.
The time has come to break the truce.
Raise the flag, grab the shotgun,
Prepare for war.

Vanilla Teeworlds: standard gametypes

As you may know, once a striving and lively community, the world of Vanilla has dwindled these last few years and is now facing death by extinction. While Teeworlds still sports a very decent amount of players, only a very small fraction still play standard gametypes regularly.

While the development team has ideas to help the situation to some extent, not only it would have to wait for future Teeworlds releases, but in any case, at the end of the day it depends on players. It depends on you.


I want YOU! for Vanilla

Why should you care? Why should you help?

Here are a few reasons I can think of:

  • Vanilla Teeworlds has the "best" gamemodes: DM and CTF. This is controversial and you might think otherwise and I respect your opinion. There's no accounting for taste. However, it remains that no other Teeworlds mod is as balanced, well-integrated and complete as Vanilla. In 6 years of playing, I have played most mods and enjoyed many of them. I like many mods, but I love Vanilla. Even if my personal tastes don't have to meaning anything to you, just give it another chance.

  • Vanilla Teeworlds is fun at any level: beginners playing with their friends have rolling-on-the-floor kind of fun, whereas more experienced players enjoy competitive games. It is not fun when there is a large level difference between players, but no one wants that: experienced players also like good opponents for challenge, and good partners for teamplay.

  • Vanilla Teeworlds offers so many possibilities! There are a thousand ways to play, to kill, avoid, run and fly. Over the years several different playing styles have shown to be viable at the highest levels. There are some common moves, but as many counter-moves. It is not rince-and-repeat: each game is unique.

But of course, these reasons are not enough. What you need is live footage of what Vanilla Teeworlds is about. I have selected a few videos demonstrating Vanilla:

  • Casualtee by Ubuntu: I suppose this is the best promotional video ever made for Teeworlds. It shows you the fast-paced action of CTF and DM.

  • Sateesfaction by Ubuntu & others: The follow-up to Casualtee, it was made from a collection of demos from different players of the high-level CTF scene.

  • Qi versus iB, recorded by Azuma: Footage of a CTF ClanWar that happened between the two strongest CTF clans at the time, 3 years ago.

  • CTF Gameplay by cris: Demo of mid-level CTF playing on CTF5.

If you haven't seen it, you really need to watch at least Casualtee, the first video. If you have seen it before, I encourage you to watch it again wink.
Now, I cannot believe a Teeworlds player can watch these and not want to take part in these epic battles! After all, didn't we all start in Vanilla? You left at the time for different reasons, but now is the time to come back. But first, you might wonder...

What Happened To Vanilla?

Well, it's a sad story truly. Once upon a time, the community was truly striving. Organized in clans, the tees waged wars and had a good time. But as time went by, people became better and better. And some of them more and more arrogant. So much better that new players needed a lot of time to catch up, and so arrogant that this time would have been unpleasant: so instead they gave up and moved on.

Because of it, the community started to lack the required new blood to make up for players slowly leaving after an honorable career, because of other activities, games, or because life took over. The resulting vicious circle saw players leaving because the community was shrinking, thus leaving Vanilla as a desolated landscape.

In the same time, DDRace started to cannibalize all other mods and gametypes, even the once striving Instagib community.

What happened? Time happened. The fun is still there for the taking. But many players left because of the lack of new blood. I believe this was the triggering event. New blood brings creativity, new clans, new maps, and new Vanilla-like mods.

Now, I am calling for a reboot so we can repair Vanilla Teeworlds, so that we can welcome new fresh blood wherever it is to be found. How about you join?

The Actual Proposal

The idea here is to invite different communities from mods or ctf5 and let them take control of their Vanilla experience. It is about newcomers starting over with each other and in a good atmosphere so they can create a brand new Vanilla community that will start at mid-level and span to high-level.

To do so, we will propose you servers and whatever help you need. We will ask high-level players not to harass you (but you will be free to kick them if they do!) and if you want we will invite you for organized sessions, tournaments, etc.

Vanilla's Main Gametypes

Vanilla is composed of DeathMatch (DM), Team DeathMatch (TDM) and Capture The Flag (CTF), but TDM is very rarely played. Here are the usual configurations:

  • DeathMatch:

    • 1on1: Tee versus Tee, this kind of match is usually played on dm1, in 10 points. The timilimit is usually 5 minutes. This gametype used to have its own active community and tournaments. DM is the oldest Teeworlds gametype, and dm1 was the first map, so this is the original Teeworlds you're playing right here.

    • XonX: Each for his own, often played on dm2, dm6 or dm7. This gametype is mostly filled with new or mid-level players.

  • Capture The Flag: No time limit, played in 600 from 2on2 to 4on4, 1000 from 5on5 to 8on8.

    • 2on2: The simplest format, usually played on ctf1.

    • 3on3: The most common format (due to the size of the current community), usually played on ctf3.

    • From 4on4 to 6on6: Usually played on ctf2, the 5on5 ctf2 games considered by most as the Mother of Teeworlds games.

    • From 7on7 to 8on8: Unfortunately never happens anymore at the competitive level (happened a few times) but common in mid-level public games, usually played on ctf5 or ctf6.

My Call To All Players Out There

Fellow tees from here and afar
Please hear these words of wisdom,
Listen to the bombs and mortar,
The time to wake-up has come!

CTF5 Players, Organize!

Our closest relatives are definitely the players from the mid-level CTF5 community (over at xyz, gV, aze, ... servers). There are players over there who have been playing for years, yet very few of them actually become new blood to the Vanilla community at large, for a variety of reason.

The first reason is probably the fact that many high-level CTF players are very intolerant towards players they don't know and are too easy on the kick. CTF5 players might come and be discouraged by the attitude. This attitude, however, is the one that got Vanilla in this situation in the first place, and thus has to go. That doesn't mean that there are not rules to follow on competitive servers (as explained below), but it means CTF5 players shouldn't give up on "crossing the border".

The best way to cross that border and unite our communities is to organize as we did. Many regular CTF5 players don't organize in clans, don't try to organize balanced games (90% of the games are an unbalanced mess), don't host servers or make maps. Yet it's not a casual community: these players are online daily and have a very decent level.

To you CTF5 players, I say: Organize because you will enjoy it. Getting in a clan doesn't take you more time, it gives you more time. It makes finding FUN games more efficient, and I'm sure that's something you would appreciate. It gives you a challenge, it allows you to deploy strategies, and the opportunity to play new maps for diversity.

The CTF5 clans I saw so far are just a name in the clan field, they have none of the characteristic a Teeworlds clan are supposed to have: competetion against other teams, a forum (and optionally a website) and an identity.

What do you need to get started? Please tell us.

Our Modded Brethren

Then come our long lost brothers playing in mods. I'm not telling you to give up on your mods and leave them. I'm simply telling you to give another chance to Vanilla Teeworlds. Did you see those videos? You can be a part of this.

~> Instagib Players, Try The Challenge

Since the existance of the mod, there has been a rift between Instagib and Vanilla players. I originally coined the term Vanilla to distinguish regular gametypes from Instagib, since there was no way back then to differentiate the server mod in the game browser.

Yet, of all mod players, they are our closest kin. Like us, they like competitive games at a high-level and are organized as clans. Like us, they try to expand their skill to the maximum, honing their laser aim, using advanced techniques like dynamic camera toggling (aka "dynbind"), and hating cheaters and bot-users.

In the past, many players have moved back-and-forth between Instagib and Vanilla, yet many Instagib players have a distaste for Vanilla because they don't see it as 'lean' as Instagib. Your movement can be hampered by a grenade, you are more likely to be hooked, and you have to stop for pick-ups! I understand your reasons, but I think you overlook the fun of Vanilla because you're too comfortable where you are. I also understand single players might be reluctant to make the cross, alone, with all the new reflexes to acquire to match experienced Vanilla players.

Thus I'm telling to Instagib clans: Try The Challenge. Don't let your members come alone: come as a clan and grow together. Better, come with your opponents and grow versus each other, keeping fights against more experienced clans waiting until you are ready. When we see you, we will taunt you. You might fight us and it might be a painful experience, but don't let it put you down. You can make it.

~> Freeze & ZCatch, Show Us Your Moves

Expats from Instagib, the Freeze and ZCatch players have competitive mods with significantly different gameplay that would not translate as well to Vanilla. Players from these two communities have very distinctive characteristics.

Freeze players mix a good aim with good hook dragging skills and hammer mastery. These are skills that would shine in Vanilla. How about you come over every now and then? If you play every day, come twice a week! Maybe you will grow to like it after all.

ZCatch players are split in two sub-communities: Laser & Grenade. Grenade players have demonstrated very good mastery of grenade boosts & jumps, a skill required in higher-level Vanilla. Both require a good aim and prediction. But most of all, you won't be kicked for "spraying" or "flooding" in Vanilla, because it is part of the game (and a bad strategy to waste ammunition!).

Now you're probably playing ZCatch to chill, because you can sit and relax when you've been "caught", but how much time do you spend as a spectator? Come over and play till you sweat. No more spectating.

~> DDRace & Block, You Like Precision?

Many Vanilla players have become DDRace players. In general, the original Race mod was very close to Vanilla, and many have moved to DDRace, where they found a good training for their hook aim, liked the relaxing pace and the challenge of difficult maps & teamplay. As such, I am pretty sure many DDRace players would enjoy the other way around.

A spin-off of DDRace, the Block mod is surprisingly popular. I myself wondered a lot why, when there is no way to win, no end, and I get little satisfaction out of it. However I recently met a player, over in Vanilla, who explained to me that his kick was in precision. He liked to not only have to "send" other tees flying in "freeze" zones, but also to have to manage to remain safe at the same time. This kind of precision, my friends, exists in Vanilla, and even more on maps with death tiles. Try a competitive game on ctf_space, you will see what kind of precision you need to stay alive when you carry a flag!

~> TeeSports, Balls, And Other Mods

Wherever you are from, give Vanilla a try from time to time. Bring your mates in, find mid-level servers and don't give up!

Old Players, Long Gone

Last but not least, I am extending my call to former Vanilla players who have left for their reasons, but I know look back on The Golden Age of Teeworlds with fondness and excellent memories and would like to live through those times again. All together, hopefully with new blood, we can make it happen, we can make new maps, we can find new motivation to be here for upcoming Teeworlds version: come back!

How Can You Help?

The first way you can help is to to relay this call: please post a link to this message on your Teeworlds-related websites, clan forums, etc. This needs to be heard and discussed. Obviously, I know a lot of nay-sayers will criticize, troll, etc. Let them talk (but please, if you are here to criticize, stay out of this thread and let optimism & emulation work their role).

You have a non-Vanilla Teeworlds clan? Discuss starting Vanilla together (and I don't mean giving up on your mod unless you're tired with it!).

You can also help if you can host servers for clans (preferrably for free, or very cheap)? We need to support the mid-level community that has to rise from nothingness! Please tell us if you can provide hosting here so that the clans know they have support.

Obviously, you can help by joining Vanilla servers, and behaving like a mature, respectable tee. We are all coming from different countries, with different languages, so we prefer if you use English and don't assume we speak any other language (German anyone?). We also expect you to come and remain cheat-free!

Vanilla & Cheating?

When they meet high-level, experienced players for the first time, many players believe they are cheating. Experienced players have an extremely good aim, will predict your movements and many of them rotate their mouse in a crazy manner (we call it 'spin'). That has to be a cheat, right? Well sorry, but no. This does not mean cheat (you can find various threads on this topic on Teeworlds' official forums).

As a matter of fact, there are currently relatively few cheaters in the Vanilla community. There are, however, insanely good and experienced players that will make you feel rage if you try to hard and keep failing. Some are by all means botlike, but we have seen them evolve in years, we know they make mistakes and lose aim after a period of inactivity. But the fact is, their skill comes from practice, experience and smart play. Also, most of the time, from a good gaming gear (gaming mouse, mousepad, ...) wink.

The real problem is that when players believe others cheat, they start to think they are entitled to cheat themselves. And so they start to look for cheats to "balance" the game, or find any kind of bad justification such as their ping or whatever fits the bill. At the end of the day, they are the sole cheaters. They might think they win a game with their cheat, but even if the result is in their favour, they lost: cheaters always lose, even if no one knows it.

Now, the thing is: we recognize cheaters. We have suspiscions, and from these suspiscions comes mistrust. We detect spinbots in half a second, and botters are detected in less than a minute. The solution is to simply be cheat-free and accept some players are better, even insanely good, with no cheat. After all, was Jimi Hendrix cheating when he played guitar? Yet most of us cannot do what he did with years of practice.

For the Love of all that's Good and Holy, if you come over to Vanilla, don't ever cheat, because that's where things go bad. That's how you start a bad reputation and it will follow you even if you try to change nick, even if you give up your cheats.

So now that we're clear on that...

Where To Play?

You want to join? Here are a few servers you can search for in the server browser:


  • Vanilla CTF5 - [xyz]: The highest level CTF5 Server

  • ! Vanilla CTF5 - [aze]: Similar to xyz

  • *gV* - ctf ctf5: Similar to xyz

  • There should probably be ctf2 and ctf3 mid-level servers!


  • ÆON Public CTF Server: The most active high-level CTF Server (by The ÆON Clan). Switches between dm1, ctf1, ctf3 and ctf2.

  • [EVIL] Clanserver | by Shini!: EVIL's clanserver, different maps, but modded server with various extensions (still Vanilla gametype)

  • *gV* - ctf ctf* and 1on1 dm1: Different servers for each map, both for DM and CTF

Those Weird Competitive ClanServers

Now, if you join one of these servers on the High-Level list, you must know that there are some implicit rules, the first being that competitive games have priority over "public"/free-to-join games. It's sometimes a shame, because public games have their share of fun, but they're often unbalanced, players aren't seriously trying to win, and they come and go.

When a competitive game is about to happen, you have to respect it and stay in "spec" (as a spectator), and wait to see what's happening. If you have a question, just ask nicely in English and hopefully a player will be kind enough to explain you. Don't insult or rejoin in force (especially if you have been moved to spectator by an admin) because you will likely be kicked from the server.

Here are some kind of competitives games we like to play:

  • ClanWar (CW) or FunWar (FW): Clan versus Clan. If you see each of the two teams being filled by members of the same clan, don't try to join! If there is a free slot, it means they are waiting for one of their team mate and you're making their life harder by joining. Just stay as a spec, and watch the game, or go to another server to have fun and play.

  • Captain Game or CapGame (CG): CapGames are an attempt at providing balanced competitive games. At first all players are set to spectator, either through a dedicated command or through a map reload: at this point, do not join the game! Two of the best players will be elected as "captains" and will proceed to have a hammer fight (starting with full life & shields) in the middle of the map. The winner is the one who makes the kill, unless one of them took hearts or shields during the fight, or used another weapon (accidently or not). Now, both captains will compose their team by calling spectators to join, starting with the winning captain. If a player refuses to join, he is excluded from the game and cannot be called by the other captain. You do not get to choose your team. Players who commonly refuse captain games or try to arrange with their friends to be in a winning team gain a bad reputation quickly. If you're in a clan, or you play regularly enough and have demonstrated your skills, you will likely be called during a CapGame and thus you will be able to gain more CTF experience.

  • 1on1 CTF: Sometimes you will come upon two players fighting 1on1 on CTF. In this case, ask them if you can join or not, they might be playing as opponents and it's considered rude to join and unbalance their fight.

Don't forget: Spec! is a request for you to join spectators. Players can vote you to force you to spectator slots, but are asking you nicely. Many new players take it the wrong way.

Finally, while a competitive games takes place, if you are spectating the game, you are expected to speak in the team channel to avoid disturbing the players. They might ask you to "Talk In Spec".

How Can We Help You?

Now, I know this is a long message ‒ that I have been thinking of writing for years! ‒ and there is a lot to process. I know you may have reasons not to join. Please tell us, can we do anything to help you join?

Do you need...:

  • Vanilla in-game training? I have posted a basic guide! Make sure to read it.

  • Sessions of scheduled organized games where we help you get started? Let's do this!

  • Mid-level servers?

Please tell us, and we will try to help you feel at home.

Teeworlds Players, Unite! There is one banner we all share: Vanilla Teeworlds.


Re: The Great Vanilla Revival Initiative

The discussion thread is hosted in in the Discussions forum: click here to comment. If you want to help by providing a server, or starting with your whole clan to play vanilla & feel you need your own mid-level server, post in that thread and I will move selected posts in this topic.

Here is a list of resources to help people to move to Vanilla Teeworlds.

I hope we can add more as we go.

Once again, you can help first by relaying this call in your clan websites or Teeworlds forums, and if you can do more please let us know in the discussion thread. Any serious help is appreciated.