Installing OpenArena in Ubuntu (and applying patches)

OpenArena Logo

What is OpenArena?

OpenArena is a FPS (First Person Shooter) based on the open source Quake III engine (ioquake3). It is open source (GPLv3) and runs on all major operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac — so if you’re reading this on Windows or a Mac, you can still head over to OpenArena’s website, download and play the game!)

OpenArena 0.8.5 screenshot

How to Install OpenArena in Ubuntu

Installing programs in Ubuntu couldn’t be easier, but there are also many ways of doing so.

Ubuntu Software Centre

Ubuntu Software Centre - OpenArena

Go to Applications > Ubuntu Software Centre, search “openarena”, click “More Info” and click “Install”

Synaptic Package Manager

Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager, search “openarena” and double-click to install.

Command Line / Terminal

Open the Terminal via Appliations > Accessories > Terminal and run
sudo aptitude install openarena

Why Upgrade to Version 0.8.5?

OpenArena is available at version 0.8.1 in Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope), Ubuntu 9.04 (Karmic Koala), Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), so what do you do if you want to play version 0.8.5?

Firstly, why would you want to update the game? Well a lot of bug fixes are usually implemented in patches, including all of these features:

  • UI restyling by Udi. In case you have not noticed, OA is now blue!
  • New effects: rocket smoke, shotgun sparks, flares.
  • New maps include:
    • am_underworks, am_underworks2, hydronex2 from ArmageddonMan
    • blitzkrieg3 from ArmageddonMan and Boczeq
    • oa_koth2 from cosmo
    • ps9ctf, ps37ctf from PsYthe
  • Map improvments include ctf_compromise, ctf_gate1, ctf_inyard and oa_minia
  • Angelyss team skins are more colorful
  • 3 new player skins, one for Beret, one for buttbuttin and one for Angelyss
  • New inclusion of the ‘Challenge’ system. Read here for details about it.
  • Empty servers without humans with ‘only humans’ set is now really really empty
  • Voting menu
  • Different styles of weapon bars
  • Various gameplay bugs fixed, like LMS survivor bug,
  • New server admin system as explained here.
  • Bots are much improved and understand the gameplay objectives better of the latter gametypes (Harvester, Overload, etc)

Capture the Flag

How to Apply the 0.8.5 Patch in Ubuntu

Like installing OpenArena in Ubuntu, applying the patch is extremely easy — however, it’s not self-explanatory.

  1. Download patch 0.8.5 (40 MB)
  2. Create folder .openarena in your home folder
  3. Extract the patch so it sits in /user/username/.openarena/baseoa/pak6-patch085.pk3

The OpenArena 0.8.5 patch

Then start the game via Applications > Games > OpenArena


  • Jorge Lopez

    Better solution: bump the ubuntu package version

    • brett

      Both Debian and Ubuntu are aware that OpenArena 0.8.5 is out, but the Debian packager stated


      it’s already on my TODO list, but I’m currently focusing on the release
      critical bug #523323.

      Cheers – Fuddl

      So they’re aware, but they have a blocker to contend with before they can release 0.8.5, so it is doubtful 0.8.5 will make it into Ubuntu 10.04, Lucid Lynx.

      Also, this post is similar for any version and any patch, so it should work for the 0.6.x, 0.7.x, 0.8.x and future series of the game.

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  • lyrae

    Hopefully you can help me cause i haven’t found a solution to this anywhere.

    I run the game in ubuntu, in windowed mode (not full screen). The problem is, i cant switch out of the game window. So for example, if i start the game and then decide to alt+tab out so lower the volume or answer an IM, i can’t. I have to quit the game.

    So in short, how can i make alt+tab work while in game? :)

    • brett

      As far as I’m aware, if you can’t alt-tab out of the game, the game developer hasn’t taken it into consideration and it’s a bug in their code. That being said, I’ve never played any _major_ game in Ubuntu/Linux that allows you to alt-tab; a definite advantage of Windows. Try posting a bug on the OpenArena website on their forum, specifically their Technical Snafus board.

  • lyrae

    Thanks for replying!
    I found out that if you bring down console by pressing `, then you can drag your mouse out of the game window :). it works.

  • Tommat

    Thanks :)

  • Tom

    thanx too :)