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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

By Joe Barr on June 03, 2008 (7:00:00 PM)

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Over the past two years, I've reviewed free software first-person shooters including Tremulous, Alien Arena, and Nexuiz -- all top-notch games. Now we can add Urban Terror to that list. While the first three sport other-worldly, sci-fi-style opponents, Urban Terror goes for realistic opponents -- as realistic as today's headlines. You're fighting terrorists in Algiers and other locations around the globe, and you're using realistic weaponry to do it.

Urban Terror 4.1 is a cross-platform -- Mac, Windows, and Linux -- free software game developed and maintained by Frozen Sand, LLC. Earlier versions of the game required a copy of Quake III in order to play, but the game now runs on a modified version of the free ioquake3 engine. To get started, download the Urban Terror ZIP file, unzip it, and execute the appropriate binary in the Urban Terror directory that you created as you decompressed the downloaded file.

Depending on your distribution and X Window configuration, you may run into an "Out of Range" problem when you start the game. I did, running on Ubuntu 8.04 using a restricted Nvidia driver with a resolution of 1280x1024. My workaround was to set my desktop resolution to 800x600, start the game, adjust the System settings for 1280x1024, exit, restore my normal desktop resolution, then start the game again. There are other fixes mentioned in Ubuntu forums.

Urban Terror provides a clean, easy interface for both game setup and game play. The opening screen, shown in Figure 1, offers you the option of playing the game, setting it up, starting a game server, viewing previously saved demos, or leaving the game. Clicking setup from the opening screen allows you to tweak your settings for Controls, Player, Game Options, or System. Choosing Player lets you set your player name and gives you a choice of gender in a various garb for both Red and Blue team play. Selecting Game Option gives you access to nine submenus to tweak everything from the size, type, and color of the cross-hair for aiming your weapons, to displaying (or not) frames-per-second of game play. You can even control whether blood, bleeding, or wounds are shown. Complete information on all the options is available in an online manual.

Get in the game

Urban Terror provides no local play mode where you can practice against the bots before appearing in public. But if you want to practice on moves, weapons, or maps, without the distractions of people laughing at you and trying to kill you, start a non-dedicated server and then have at it. As soon as you start the non-dedicated server, you'll be joined to it as a player.

Once you feel ready to make a public appearance, click Play Online, and a server selection screen will appear. If the screen shows no servers, click Get List. Even if a list of servers does appear, it's a good idea to Refresh List before jumping on a server, since there is no guarantee that a server is still online, or that it is still playing the same type of game as the last time you played.

You can filter the server list by game source (Local, Internet, or LAN) or by type of game. You can also tweak the interface so that full and empty servers are not shown. The list can be sorted by any column displayed. When you've found the server you want to join, click Connect.

Urban Terror offers several game types. If you're a noobie like me, start with a Free For All, since nobody really minds how often you get killed in FFA. If you start out in a team game, where others are counting on your skills, you may not be so lucky. Other game types include Team Deathmatch, Team Survivor, Follow the Leader, Capture and Hold, Capture the Flag, and Bomb Mode.

The first thing to do after getting in the game is to select your weaponry. You can choose an assault rifle, grenade launcher, sniper rifle, machine gun, or submachine gun for your primary armament. Unless you choose the 90-round IMI Negev machine gun, you'll also need to pick a secondary weapon, either a shotgun or a submachine gun. For a sidearm, you have the choice of either a 9mm Beretta or a .50 caliber Desert Eagle.

You also have the choice of high-explosive grenades, smoke grenades, or no grenades at all. Pick either type of grenade and you can also choose one item from the following list: Kevlar vest, Kevlar helmet, silencer, laser sight, med kit, tactical goggles, or extra ammo. Choose neither variety of grenades, and you can pick two items from that list instead of only one.

Game play is fast and furious. Expect to be killed early and often as a noobie, and skill does matter. In FFA mode, you're typically dead for only about six seconds, then you're right back into the action.

The discussion forums on the Urban Terror Web site is very active on a wide range of related topics, including news on leagues, tournaments, and the latest game developments.

If you're more interested in running a server than in playing the game, it's easy to get your Urban Terror game server on the Net -- not counting any tweaks required for your firewall or router, of course; you're on your own when it comes to configuring those devices. The critical things to select when you set up a server are the options for dedicated (the choices are No, LAN, Internet), the game type (FFA, Team Deathmatch, Team Survivor, Follow the Leader, Capture and Hold, Capture the Flag, or Bomb Mode), and the game map. Out of the box, Urban Terror 4.1 comes with more than 20 different maps, and more community developed maps appear all the time. If you join a game on a server running a map you don't have, you'll need to download it in order to be able to play. Those aren't the only server setup choices, of course, just the bigs. There are dozens of others, and you can find them documented in the aforementioned manual.

Urban Terror is an excellent FPS. As promised on the Urban Terror Web site, the mix of realism and fast-paced fun provides exactly the kind of fun FPS players are looking for. This one is highly recommended.

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on Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.171.22.4] on June 03, 2008 08:11 PM
Good review :-D

I <3 Urban Terror

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Re: Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.39.117.164] on June 04, 2008 02:34 PM
I /heart Urban Terror, been playing it for about 5 years now, it's better than ever, thanks for the favorable review. - wTf|snakepimp

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: xiao haozi on June 03, 2008 08:38 PM
Actually you can play with bots offline, or even in a game with friends online. I run a dedicated server with bots that we jump in and out of to play team deathmatch all the time. It is rpetty unstable when running on 386, but on a 64bit machine and using the 64bit binary its smooth sailing (except for CTF which the logic doesn't really work). You can do so by adding:
//*** BOTS ***
set bot_enable "1"
//set bot_minplayers "11"

to your server.cfg and then uncomment and adjust the minplayers to allow for the server to adjsut the number of bots up and down to suit a total number of fixed humans+bots.
start your server as normal, it will enable bots then reload the server and exec your bots.cfg. A small sample one would be:
//====== 3 on 3 bots.cfg======

addbot widow 4 Red 56 *widow_red*
addbot cougar 3 Red 44 *cougar_red*


addbot Cougar 5 Blue 59 *cougar_blue*
addbot tiger 2 Blue 49 *tiger_blue*

//====== 3 on 3 bots.cfg======

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Re: Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Joe Barr on June 03, 2008 08:43 PM
Oh, great. There goes ALL my time. :)

Thanks for the info!

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 204.50.208.4] on June 03, 2008 09:06 PM
Actually, I find the games rendered reality more realistic than the headlines.

Now to get this sucker installed and see how my 8800 holds up without the nVidia approved win32 crutches.

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.212.182.39] on June 03, 2008 09:08 PM
Yeah this is a great game, I too am running a similar setup Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy and Restricted Nvidia drivers but with 2 Monitors, and had resolution problems when starting the game, but I have another solution which I find easier, after you launch the game hit Alt+Enter to change to windowed mode than go into system settings in the game and change the resolution and change "Full Screen" back to "Yes".

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.43.222.41] on June 03, 2008 09:30 PM
YEAH! We gotz gamez now!!! Another second rate FPS for Linux.

Nothing to see here...move along.

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Re: Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: xiao haozi on June 03, 2008 09:33 PM
Second rate? I hardly agree. Have you played this game, it is actually pretty well done and a blast with friends on a lan game.

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Re: Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Joe Barr on June 03, 2008 10:27 PM
Which poses an interesting question. Would you rather have second rate games or a second rate platform, like Windows?

Oh, sorry. I forgot about Mac OS/X.

Make that a third rate platform, like Windows?

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Re(1): Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: xiao haozi on June 03, 2008 10:52 PM
Yeah I agree....It is hard to complain about something that is FREE.

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Re(1): Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 92.0.210.29] on June 23, 2008 08:56 PM
no it goes

Linux
Windows
Mac OSX

(Windows 98 For The Win =P)

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Re: Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.108.2.242] on June 04, 2008 12:01 AM
"YEAH! We gotz gamez now!!! Another second rate FPS for Linux.
Nothing to see here...move along."

I remember a time when computers were used for computing and games were a fun distraction. We didn't have douchebag fanboys that think they're somehow special because they built a $2000 game console. With Linux I can actually kind of stay in that place... play Urban Terror or Unreal Tournament 2k4, get some programming done, play with software - none of the BS of buggy Windows and Redmond breathing down my neck or trying to enforce draconian copyright rules.

I think the Linux community should just delete posts by haters. There really isn't any reason we should suffer their ill-informed ideals by giving them a forum. Let them chatter away at how their system plays Crysis at max detail and hate on Linux elsewhere, when the day comes where they get sick of feeding the machine that is not-so-secretly tightening around them... and they come looking for support from the awesome people of the Linux community, it's going to make it really hard to forget about all the dumb crap they said.

In case you missed the point:
Microsoft fanboys = ignorant jerkoffs
Linux community = good people supporting good software.

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Re(1): Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: xiao haozi on June 04, 2008 12:54 AM
While I agree with some of your points, especially in being able to multitask on old hardware since I don't have money, I think that comments like the parents shouldn't be deleted. Linux and free software is about choices and if people CHOOSE to pay big bucks for a game + giant bucks for a rig to play it + even more big bucks to upgrade/buy new when the next version comes out, that is their choice. We can enjoy playing games, multitasking, and developing on our old/budget hardware and enjoy 'computing' for what it is, fun, and not make it about money and specs.
[Modified by: xiao haozi on June 04, 2008 12:56 AM]

[Modified by: xiao haozi on June 04, 2008 12:57 AM]

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Re(1): Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 96.245.113.139] on June 07, 2008 09:51 PM
"I think the Linux community should just delete posts by haters. There really isn't any reason we should suffer their ill-informed ideals by giving them a forum....
...none of the BS of buggy Windows and Redmond breathing down my neck or trying to enforce draconian copyright rules.
In case you missed the point:
Microsoft fanboys = ignorant jerkoffs
Linux community = good people supporting good software."

By your own logic, your entire post should be deleted. LOL... honestly, do you NOT see your own hypocrisy?

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: xiao haozi on June 03, 2008 09:32 PM
No problem Joe.
For older hardware you can just make autoexec files in your q3ut4 folder that setup the video stuff on loading of the game. I have run the game with 20 bots + 2 friends with no lag on some OLD laptops. I have uploaded some examples to a directory you can check them out ... i posted as html so it renders without ou having to download, just copy and paste teh displayed text and name as autoexec.cfg in q3ut4 folder.
The link as promised:
http://mutaku.com/ut/

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 124.171.30.221] on June 04, 2008 11:43 AM
Good review, definetely a very nice game, It should be in Debian soon enough (and maybe synced for Ubuntu 8.10), I'm packaging it with the debian-devel-games team, unfortunately they have issue with the filesize of things like this, so we're looking at alternate solutions such as apt-p2p and possible a separate debian-data archive for game's -data packages.

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.251.180.25] on June 04, 2008 12:53 PM
Second Rate?? Your an asshole! UrbanTerror has been kicking ass for years. wannabe nerd

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Re: second-rate hater comment.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.39.117.164] on June 04, 2008 02:38 PM
bitchboys like you need hugs, momma didn't love you so you hate, it's really quite sad. Come play some Team Survivor, and let's see who's second rate, bizatch.

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.215.40.194] on June 04, 2008 04:57 PM
Another realistic FPS : http://www.truecombat.us/

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Re: Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 202.146.8.98] on June 04, 2008 10:57 PM
Pity that TCE is an Enemy Territory mod, and although its free, its not distributable or open source

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Re(1): Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.85.169.45] on June 09, 2008 11:49 AM
Neither is UrbanTerror (the mod code + data) opensource; Only the ioUrbanTerror (modded ioquake3) executable is opensource.

And stop the platform war. This game runs on Windows, Linux and MacOSX. So battle the OS supremacy out in the game ;-)

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.107.45.35] on June 05, 2008 10:36 PM
Great review Joe!!! Nice to see continued interest in this game.

UrbanTerror is an incredible timesink. Where did the last 6 years of my life go???

:-)

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.171.115.111] on June 08, 2008 09:19 AM
Thank you for the review! We can always use more fresh meat! 8-D |ALPHA|DrPepper

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Urban Terror FPS is as realistic as today's headlines

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 219.78.56.207] on June 19, 2008 03:02 PM
quake3-esque first person shooters are 20 minute distractions for me, maybe once or twice a week, (including this one, trem, warsow, nexuiz, openarena... yes ive played them all, some of them quite alot). Of course if gamers like me want more they would have a windows partition. Horses for courses.

Furthermore Urbanterror is not free, people in the urbanterror community have complained in the past about its closed nature (even in-game once at a developer) but the dev are remaining resolute.

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