How-To Play UrbanTerror

Urban Terror is one of the smoothest, leanest, and most fun online shooters today. Even better: Urban Terror runs natively on Linux. In fact, the Linux version is more stable and runs faster than the Windows version.

Originally Urban Terror (UrT) was developed as a total conversion mod of Quake III Arena (QIII) by a small company called Frozen Sand. Years later id Software released the source code of QIII under the GPL.

A project called ioQuakeIII was started to clean up and enhance the original QIII engine without losing compatibility with QIII’s content. Keep your eye on the ioQIII engine- I expect amazing things to come from that project. Just take a look at what’s been done using the original QI and QII engines. If you played those games when they first came out you won’t believe your eyes when you see the graphically updated mods to those engines. Anyway, UrT now uses the ioQIII engine instead of the original QIII engine. The game is all the better for it.

Urban Terror is completely free to download and play. It doesn’t require much at all in the way of system hardware and can pretty much run on a toaster oven. Let’s run through the installation:

1. Download a copy of ioUrbanTerror here. Be sure to grab the .zip installer instead of the usual Windows installer. Save it someplace like your desktop: ~/Desktop

2. Extract the .zip file to your home directory. Most file browsers will let you extract the .zip file by simply right clicking on it and hitting “Extract here.”

If this doesn’t work then you can try two things:

  • Extract the .zip file using the command line:
    • cd ~/Desktop
    • unzip UrbanTerror*
  • Or you may need to install the appropriate archive support packages.
    • sudo apt-get install p7zip-full unzip
    • Then try extracting.

3. Now, to run it, just navigate to where you extracted it and run the “ioUrbanTerror.i386” file. (If you’ve got a 64-bit installation of Linux then you can use the *.x86-64 file to run ioUrT)

You may want to make a shortcut to UrT on your desktop or in your start menu. Here’s a tip: the icon for ioUrT is “../Urban Terror/q3ut4/q3ut.ico”. For example:

  • In xfce right click the top menu bar of the desktop and hit “Add New Items”.
  • Then select “Launcher” and hit “Add”
  • Punch in an appropriate name and description into the given fields then hit the “Icon” button.
  • Hit the dropdown menu at the top that says “Select icon from:” and select “Image Files”
  • Now navigate to your UrT directory (i.e. ~/UrbanTerror)
  • Navigate into the “q3ut4” directory and select “q3ut.bmp” then h it “OK”
  • Now, hit the folder button next to the field that says “Command”.
  • Navigate to where you unzipped UrT to (i.e. ~/UrbanTerror)
  • Select the “ioUrbanTerror.i386” file and hit “Open”
  • Now just hit “OK” and you’ll have a little button on your system bar that will launch ioUrT.

I spend a lot of time on Urban Terror; both because it’s a good game and because it runs extremely well on Linux.

Red base is a little crowded

The blue guy just rushed in and smoked my team mate


Q: I can run UrT just fine on most servers, but whenever I try to load a new map the download breaks and it says I don’t have “Curl” installed. What’s “Curl” and how do I fix this?

A: libCurl is a library used for downloading files over the internet- case in point, map files for UrbanTerror. There’s two reasons why UrT might not be able to use libCurl on your machine: one, libCurl isn’t installed, and two, UrT is looking for libCurl in the wrong place.

The fix for the first problem is relatively simple: open up Synaptic then search for and install Curl, or do it through the terminal with sudo apt-get install libcurl

The fix for the second problem is also simple if you understand the way that symlinks work. Remember how you can make shortcuts to things on Windows? Symlinks are just like that, except that they’re more powerful because they work for everything on Linux, not just for the user. So, let’s say a program (UrT) is looking for file A and can’t find it because file A is actually named something like “A_plus_some_stuff”. The solution is to make a symlink named “A” and point that symlink to “A_plus_some_stuff” that way when the program looks for “A” it gets seamlessly redirected to where it needs to go. Let’s walk through this:

  • Open up a terminal and make sure that you have libcurl installed. dir /usr/lib | grep libcurl
  • If you got output from that last command then you have libcurl installed. Now to link things up. You have two options here: tweak ioUrT, or make a symlink to the correct libcurl file.
  • To tweak ioUrT just start the game and hit “`” (commonly called “tilda” even though the character is actually a backtick. Tilda looks like this: “~”).
  • Now type /cl_curllib
  • To make a symlink you could do this: sudo ln /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/
  • Note that if your version of libcurl changes then you may need to re-link to the correct file. (i.e. gets outdated and becomes

Q. The game periodically freezes up for a second and I lose control. Then the screen goes black for a second and comes back about a second later. What’s going on?

A. Sometimes older versions of GNOME and the GNOME screen saver, like on Ubuntu 8.04, will start the screen saver even while ioUrT is running. You’ll need to disable your screen saver before playing, or else upgrade your system. The GNOME screen saver under Ubuntu 9.10 doesn’t have this particular problem. You might also try using KDE since it doesn’t use the GNOME screen saver program.


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