What is Spark?

What is Spark?

Spark is a 2D top-down team-based internet-multiplayer capture-the-flag game, with compelling gameplay that is simple to learn for beginners but offers years of depth for the committed player. Spark has a loyal and dedicated community, where players group together into like-minded 'clans' to compete in a variety of community-run leagues, ladders and tournaments for ultimate bragging rights. It has a rich history, a wealth of subtle strategy, and best of all, it's 100% free! Download it here or Learn to play!

Slang Dictionary

Slang Dictionary


A predecessor to Spark, called Attack Retrieve Capture. Many community members played ARC for years and years, some have been playing since before 2000. ARC was created by John Vechey (jv) and Brian Fiete (bf), who have gone on to create PopCap Games. ARC ran for a long period of time on Sierra's WON (World Opponent Network) servers, and was played alongside games such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Soldier of Fortune; ARC continued to be a popular game until its discontinuation in 2007.

See also Attack Retrieve Capture on Wikipedia.

Base, b –

When someone calls 'base' they mean that 'Our base is under attack and I think that the enemy might accomplish their objective (either capturing a flag or flipping a switch) before sufficient friendly backup arrives to drive them off or sufficiently neutralize the situation. Calling 'b' is the same as calling 'base.'

Blue, blue bar –

There are two main bars in Spark's HUD (Heads-Up Display). The red bar measures your remaining life energy; the blue bar measures your remaining weapon energy. Your red bar only recharges if you destroy another player's tank. The blue bar, however, recharges constantly. It is possible to maintain a constant stream of singles and still have enough blue bar to unload on your enemy when he pops around the corner. A full blue bar of energy is enough to fire five lasers in rapid succession, or six if fired more slowly. It is also enough to fire both grenades at once, if they are both ready.

See also Heads-Up Display section of the In-Game Basics guide.

Cap –

The act of capturing a flag by bringing it to your flagpole. This term may be used in reference to one's own colored flag, an enemy's colored flag, or a neutral (white) flag on the playing field.

Clan hopper –

Someone who switches clans a lot, for any number of reasons. Such reasons may include unsatisfactory gameplay performance, quarrels with other clan members, or merely a membership offer from a better clan. Used particularly in reference to a player which changes clans multiple times in a short period of time. A clan hopper can be somewhat of a fairweather friend in some cases.

Clanmate, clannie –

A clan member. Two members of the same clan are considered 'clanmates' or 'clannies.'

Hfront –

Hoopy Front End. An environment on which a very old version of ARC was played, in the late 1990's. This came before WON.

Lag, ping, spike, latency, laggot–

All online games have to deal with the latency of the internet. No matter how it looks on your screen, it may not look that way on other players' screens. Spark is and always has been an international game, and as such many players from other countries (or even other parts of your country) may appear to be in different places on your screen than they actually are. This latency is called 'lag.' The amount of latency a player has to the server is measured in milliseconds. This is called a 'ping.' A player who exhibits an extraordinary amount of lag may be labeled a 'laggot.'

Spiking appears to be the same as lag, but is different technically. Spiking itself actually occurs specifically when actual packet loss happens; when information being sent over the internet is misdirected, destroyed, or otherwise lost. A player who is spiking may significantly jump around over certain areas of the map, completely stop moving for a time and then appear somewhere totally different, or take all kinds of damage without it ever showing.

See also Lag (online gaming) on Wikipedia.

Oldbie, WONbie –

An 'oldbie' is the opposite of newbie; an old-timer who has been around the game for years. A 'WONbie' is an oldbie who has been around since the WON (World Opponent Network) era, which was when many of us played a similar game called ARC, long before Spark ever came into existence.

See also World Opponent Network on Wikipedia.

Pen –

The spawning pen area(s) in which you reside between death and respawn, or while a game is locked by an admin (before or after a game, or during a timeout).

Pub –

A public server, as opposed to a private, or locked, server. May also refer to the map 'Golden Oldie'

Rape, raping, raped –

The act of 'raping' someone in Spark is catching them in a crossfire between two or more Sparkers, and killing them in an efficient fashion—generally much faster than they could be killed by only one opponent.

Singles, singling –

Shooting singles, or 'singling' is when someone constantly fires single lasers at an enemy, usually to suppress a rush, or to keep them from popping around a corner. This is a common defensive tactic employed by Sparkers trying to stall enemies from achieving their objective. The main idea is that you will be forcing the enemy to have to take at least a little damage in order to achieve their goal, while at the same time maintaining a high level of blue bar for yourself, with which to attack them more decisively when they come around the corner in earnest.

See also the Lasers section of the Weapons Guide.

Smurf, smurfing (into) –

'Smurfing' can mean a number of things. It can refer to the simply act of a player playing on an alternate account which he or she owns. It can also refer to someone playing on an account which closely resembles that of another player, and attempting to steal their identity, sometimes for the purpose of 'smurfing into' that player's clan, or 'smurfing' as that player in a league game (which is strictly illegal).

Sometimes the word smurfing is even used in reference to a player letting another person play on their account for the purpose or playing at a different level than they would normally play. However, this is not actually smurfing by definition, though it is still seen as cheating.

See also Smurfing on Wikipedia.

Spec, spectate –

To be in 'spectate' mode while in a game. Transitioning to spectate mode is achieved by typing '/spectate' into the Spark game console, or by pressing the 'F5' key. Players must be in spectate mode at the start of league games or tournaments, between halves of games, or when playing as a substitute. Players must also be in spectate mode when videographing a game or when spectating purely for entertainment purposes.

Stall –

To impede an enemy player's progress for the benefit of your own team's particular strategy. If your team has captured an enemy flag and is attempting to bring it out of the enemy's base, you can attempt to stall the enemy so that they can't cut off the flagger before he scores.

A popular stalling tactic is to refrain from killing enemy players, leaving their tanks smoking, and making no earnest attempt to destroy them during their attack on your own base, while a teammate of yours sneaks into their base behind their offensive line and steals the enemy flag. Your teammate may ask you to 'stall' the enemies for a while before killing them, so that they don't respawn until he is safely out of the enemy base and on his way back to yours.

Vent, Mumble –

A voice-chat server, usually located on Ventrilo or Mumble.


The World Opponent Network was an online gaming service created by Sierra Entertainment, used for games such as Homeworld, Half-Life, Star Trek: Armada, Soldier of Fortune, Dark Reign 2, Silencer, and Spark's predecessor, ARC. WON was officially ternimated on July 31, 2004 by Valve Software, who had acquired the service from Sierra.

See also World Opponent Network on Wikipedia.

Competitive Sparking (soon) »
New Maps

Deadlock - 8-16+
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Madwars-Mini - 12-20+
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Cold - 8-16+
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Backlash - 12-20+
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New Patches

Classic ARC Patch
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Forest Patch
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Wave's Patch
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Bouncy Patch
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