Ace of Spades (video game)

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Ace of Spades
Ace of Spades.png
Developer(s) Ben Aksoy (2011–2012)
Jagex (2012–present)
Publisher(s) Jagex
Distributor(s) Valve Corporation
Engine Voxlap (0.1–0.76)
OpenGL (1.0–present)
Platforms Windows, Mac
Release date(s) 12 December 2012
Genre(s) First-person shooter, sandbox
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Ace of Spades is a sandbox building and FPS game, originally developed by Ben Aksoy for the PC and released in 2011 as a beta version.[1] In late 2012, RuneScape developer Jagex took over development of the game, making it payware on Steam and updating its gameplay.[2]


Ace of Spades is a team-based first-person shooter similar in style to a fusion of Minecraft and Team Fortress 2.[3]

Players can choose from various different game modes such as Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Base Infiltration, Zombie Defense, and Diamonds!. The inclusion of sandbox construction elements enables players to construct defensive structures or dig trenches, among other options, to achieve the goals of the current game mode.

  • Team Deathmatch gives each team a kills counter, and every kill made contributes to that team's counter. The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins.
  • Capture the Flag is where a flag is placed inside the enemy team's base, and players must go about stealing that flag and returning it to the team's own base to score points.
  • Zombie changes the teams into 'Zombies' and 'Survivors', and begins the game with one zombie. A zombie is fast moving and is highly damaging, but is restricted only to melee. After a zombie kills a survivor, the survivor then turns into a zombie. The zombie team wins if all survivors are turned into zombies, and likewise the survivors win if they last long enough for the match to end.
  • Diamond Mine involves destroying terrain to uncover diamonds, and then bringing found diamonds to a drop off point to score points for the team.
  • V.I.P. is where each team has one player become a 'V.I.P.' The objective is to kill the other team's V.I.P. and then kill the rest of the team.
  • Territory Control has players from two teams trying to control as many objectives as possible.
  • Multi-Hill is where each team competes to gain control over multiple hills, which results in an aerial bombing when the hill is drained.
  • Demolition mode pits two teams up against each other with the goal of causing the most destruction to the other team's base.
  • Classic CTF is a simulation of the older version of the game but with better graphics.

There are two teams: Green and Blue. Players can choose between four classes: the Commando, with either a rocket launcher, a triple barreled rocket launcher or a minigun and a pistol; the Marksman, with a one-shot sniper rifle or a semi-auto rifle and a pistol; the Engineer, with a submachine gun, a deployable turret and a vertical jet pack; or the Miner, with an auto-drill cannon and a single-barreled shotgun or a double-barreled variant.[4] Shovels and pickaxes can be used to destroy blocks or as melee weapons. The Commando and Marksman may also choose to have a combat knife instead of a digging tool. The Engineer may choose to have grenades in place of a turret, and the Commando may choose to use anti-personnel grenades. The Christmas Update also added a block cannon which fires blocks that can cause harm or be used to build. Only the Engineer has access to the block cannon.[4][5]


The free-to-play, development version of Ace of Spades used Ken Silverman's Voxlap engine.[6] In November 2012, UK developers Jagex announced that they had picked up the game for a December release,[7] and had been working with the original creators for a year.[8] This involved a change in engine over to an OpenGL-based engine.[9]

In early versions of game, rounds were played on a randomly generated map,[citation needed] although the game also supported custom maps and included a map editor. In the first versions, the player used a semi-automatic rifle, and a pickaxe, which was used to remove individual blocks quickly, while the spade was used to remove a stack of 3 blocks slowly. The SMG and shotgun were also not released until later builds. The 0.75 build contained a single "class" for the Green and Blue teams, and players could choose between the semi-automatic rifle, the SMG, and the shotgun. Players could hold 3 grenades and a spade.[4][10][11]

On January 29, 2013, Classic mode was launched to revive the mode from the Ace of Spades beta, leaving only one class, and one weapon: the rifle.[12]

Release and reception

The game has an aggregated review score of 49 on Metacritic, citing generally unfavorable reviews.[13] In November 2012, while still an open beta, Ace of Spades won game of the month on MPOGD.[14] The final version of the game was released to Steam on 12 December,[15][16] but was met with mixed critical reception with many critics claiming that the (free) beta version was superior. Adversely since the steam launch the game has received over 13 Thousand reviews 73% of which were positive.[17]

There were many fans of the game's beta version that were unhappy with the release of 1.0. This is mainly due to the shift in gameplay and the fact the game is now pay-to-play.[18]

Ace of Spades was reviewed in the February 2013 issue of Edge Magazine, which found the official version to be "maniacally fast", and added that construction "feels pointless; barricades and buildings are meaningless when an enemy can jetpack over them or snipe straight through them, and the game moves too fast to allow complex strategising." Additionally, it said that the game's beta incarnation was slower, "offering a long war where players constructed secret tunnels and vast, defensible forts." Ultimately, the review decided that the official version of Ace of Spades "tries to reach a no man's land between considered construction and chaotic destruction, but its foundations aren't sturdy enough to hold any longterm weight."[19]

Classic version

The original beta, or "classic", version of the game is still playable and popular, despite the new version's release. Because of the its popularity, there are various fan efforts keeping the classic version and its community alive, including a community site, game server hosting, custom server software, and a new game client.

One of these efforts is the Build and Shoot community, which provides similar things to the original Ace of Spades website, including download mirrors, a server list, a server hosting tool[n 1], a forum, news, an IRC chat room, and a Mumble voice chat server.[20] Another fan-effort is OpenSpades, an open source, OpenGL-based client for Ace of Spades 0.75 and 0.76, made by "yvt". It features improved graphics, though has higher system requirements than the original client.[21]


  1. Actual server hosting via this tool is provided by cooperating third-party providers.

Playable Game Modes

  • Team Deathmatch (tdm) First team to reach a certain amount of points wins.
  • Capture the Flag (ctf) Capture the enemy team's intel a certain amount of times to win.
  • Arena Two teams that fight to the death with no building, destroying, or respawning until one team wins the round by defeating the entire enemy team.
  • Babel Build a tower to the heavens, grab the intel, and hurry back down before being shot.
  • One Capture the Flag (1ctf) Capture the only intel which is placed in the middle of the map for both teams to grab.
  • Reverse One Capture the Flag (r1ctf) Capture the only intel and take it to the enemies base for a nice twist on ctf.
  • Zombies Capture the flag, except you can play as either a zombie or human, zombies have 10 times normal health and can jump extremely high, but are limited by only being able to use spades, unless you capture the human team's intel and turn into a human-zombie that is!
  • Four teams (4teams) Four different teams play with one intel on specially designed maps
  • Free For all (ffa) Everyone man for himself!
  • Tug of War (tow) Capture enemy bases in order until they have none left.
  • Territorial Control Capture all the bases for your team to spawn in until there's no more bases left for the enemy team and your team emerges victorious.
  • Last Stand One team attempts to defend their base without respawns against the enemy team coming in waves to try and take it until the time runs out.
  • Digdug Grief your way through the map to try and recover the intel and reach your base inside a completely ground filled map.
  • Tennis Fight with shotguns and grenades through an unbreakable net in between the two teams.
  • King of the Hill (koth) Capture and hold the designated point of the map for the given time limit
  • Infiltration (infiltr) Breach the enemies fort, grab the intel, and rush quickly back to your base.
  • Football & Soccer 'Kick' the base into your teams designated net or touchdown area.
  • Intel RPG (irpg) Capture the only intel to gain various powers.
  • Blockpower Equip a block to choose a power. Capture the intel to level up your powers and unlock new ones, which can also be done with high kill streaks.[22]
  • Classes Choose a 'class' to help you defeat the enemy. Each class contains unique powers to help your team or defeat the enemy players.
  • Push Build your way to your base while undertaking constant enemy fire.
  • Smashoff Shoot, spade, and grenade without damage to knock enemies off the map to certain death below.
  • Build Reserve a sector and show off your artistic talent by building magnificent artwork.
  • Survive All players play against the zombies, which are server-controlled. Try to kill as many zombies as possible and capture all zombie bases until the time limit expires.
  • Bots Try to survive and kill server-controlled enemies who launch grenades.


  1. Geere, Duncan (2011-04-18). "'Ace of Spades' is Minecraft with guns". Wired UK. Ben Aksoy is the first person to take low-res indie megahit Minecraft and add guns, creating a game called Ace of Spades.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Jagex announce Ace of Spaces Steam competitive FPS: combines Minecraft & Team fortress 2", Indie, PC games N, retrieved 2013-11-22<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Smith, Quintin (2011-04-13). "10 Reasons You Need To Play Ace Of Spades". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2011-10-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Riggall, Jonathan (2012-06-11). "Minecraft influenced online multiplayer FPS". Softonic. Retrieved 2012-12-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Exclusive Interview with Ace of Spades Creator, Ben Aksoy". Ace of spades blog. 2011-05-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Presenting Ace of Spades, the "Minecraft FPS"". Kotaku. 2011-04-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Karmali, Luke (2012-11-01). "Jagex Officially Announces Ace of Spades". Retrieved 2012-12-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Donlan, Christian (2012-12-10). "Ace of Spades preview: Driller Killer". Retrieved 2012-12-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Ace of Spades on Steam". Retrieved 2013-06-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Map Editor". Ace of spades wiki. 2012-12-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Riggall, Jon (2011-10-07). "Weekend Gaming: Ace of Spades". Softonic. Retrieved 2011-10-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Incoming! Classic Mode is here". Jagex. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Ace of Spaces Critic Reviews for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved February 9, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "MPOGD's GAME OF THE MONTH November 2012". Multiplayer Online Game Directory. 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-12-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Ace of Spades Out Now!". 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2012-12-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "AoSGame: @Devianx1 December 2012 ^_^ ..." Twitter. 2012-11-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Ace of Spades Review". RetroSeek. 2012-12-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "E250: Edge Developer Awards – The world's 50 greatest videogame developers". Edge Online. Future plc. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  20. "Play ♠ ♠ Ace of Spades Classic / OpenSpades ♠ Free!". Buld Then Snip LLC. Retrieved 4 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Downloads ♠ ♠ Ace of Spades Classic / OpenSpades ♠ Free!". Buld Then Snip LLC. Retrieved 4 December 2015. OpenSpades is an open source OpenGL-based alternative client by yvt that can be used to play on all AoS 0.75 and AoS 0.76 servers ...Improved graphics, higher system requirements.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links