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I assume that you are trying start cube with the ./cube_unix command. cube_unix is actually a shell script that launches cube,it is not a binary. In cube_unix the working directory is defined. This is unlikely to be where you unpacked it. Other information such as your operating sytem and pc type is also defined here.
If you edit it to suit your system then (hopefully) it should go.
Well you know, all I can really say is that I edited cube_unix to suit my system and then launched it to run cube and it worked. I just recently did the same to a friends computer and it worked as well but I will admit that both use red hat 9.
How did you try to run cube?
Of course if your system has other dramas such as conflicts with sound or problems with changing screen modes or monitor conflicts, that can also cause symptoms such as black screens or crashes.
However, editing cube_unix to suit your system and then using it to launch would be a good start. If cube_unix is correctly configured then you could put a copy into /usr/local/bin and run it from anywhere.
Where did you unpack the cube tarfile.? Is cube_unix there? I tried running linux_clinet in the bin_unix directory and I know that doesn't work.
The version I have also has binaries for windows as well as linux. The documentaion reflects that so linux information is quite sparse, although I am fairly sure that it says somewhere to start with ./cube_unix.
ps Is your 3d hardware setup correctly? (try glxgears). Is your soundcard setup properly? Can your monitor display the fullscreen mode that cube switches to correctly. This can often give mysterious black screens for no good reason. Same with soundcards or permissions with soundcard dev's such as /dev/dsp or /dev/mixer
I thought it was a bit odd too. Everything else i've gotten has worked fine. in fact, the only thing i've had to even spend any time configuring is xorg, and for some reason gaim wouldn't compile right so i had to get the source, but other than that it was pretty awesome. I'm gonna go see if any other gentoo users couldn't get the portage'd cube to work.