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DeveloperOpenArena team
Code licenseGPL version 2.0
Media licenseGPL version 2.0
Latest release0.8.8
Release dateFebruary 20th, 2012

OpenArena is a FPS game intended to be a free replacement for the proprietary Quake III Arena. Both the media and the game are licensed under the GPLv2.[1][2]. The OpenArena project was established on August 19, 2005, the day after the id Tech 3 GPL source code release. A "mission pack" add-on is also planned, to take advantage of the GPL'd Quake III: Team Arena source code.

OpenArena is included in quite a few Linux distributions, including Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, Ubuntu and Mandriva.


Due to the game's heritage, the gameplay of OpenArena plays almost identically to that of Quake III Arena. The player scores frags to win the game, to score a frag the player has to slay an opponent, either a computer controlled "bot" or a human player. There are a variety of different weapons designed for different situations, such as a rocket launcher, shotgun, railgun, gauntlet, chaingun, and BFG. There are also a variety of collectibles available on the maps such as health and armour upgrades and objects that gives the player special abilities such as the notorious Quad Damage which increases the effectiveness of the player's weapon.

The maps are very varied, some of them set in a science fictional environment, some in gothic temples, some in massive fortresses, and some in lava landscapes. These maps can also have different interactive objects such as lifts and jump-pads. The gameplay is very fast and requires skill to be successfully played against other players on the Internet.

The game has multiple playing modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Tournament, and Capture The Flag (all of these modes are from Quake III), Version 0.76. added new modes such as Elimination, CTF Elimination, Double Domination, and Last Man Standing.[3]

OpenArena has undergone testing to make sure that it is compatible with Quake III modifications and maps - to allow them to be ran on a free game as well. Since OpenArena is not fully completed, many maps and mods are not yet compatible. A list of mods verified to work in OpenArena can be found here:

More recently OpenArena has advertised itself as a "sexy" first person shooter and warns that some models are near nude (only covered with tight clothing or hair), in addition to the game's violent theme, it is "not appropriate for children." [4][5]The various bots and player skins are just as varied as the map design, some being science fictional, gothic, anime, military, and fantasy based.[6] Unlike the original Quake III or Unreal Tournament there is no back story explanation of why the combatants are in the arena and why they are fighting.


The game is one of the most popular free software first person shooters, particularly among fans of the original Quake III. It has only really been criticized as a little incomplete as of yet, with some saying that it detracts from long term play. [7][8] OpenArena has also been praised for its portability and ability to run on older hardware. [9] Internet play has also been praised, as well as the amount of players found on the average OpenArena server.[10] The game has also been credited for its creativity in bot design, rather than sticking to more traditional tropes.[11] OpenArena is also popular on the Apple Macintosh, with one reviewer praising it as one of the best free game for the Mac, noting that it is only a little bit behind contemporary commercially funded games for the PC and consoles in terms of graphics and artificial intellgence.[12] OpenArena has been used as a platform for computer science scholarly work. A few examples include streaming graphics from a central server[13], and visualizing large amounts of network data.[14]


They have a roadmap, which details their plan for future version of the game.[15] They also have a development blog for the project.[16]

Version history[edit]

  • Version 0.8.0 released on September 19th, 2008. However, it was pulled because of licensing issue.


  1. Openarea's copyright file at Debian packages
  2. Openarena-data's copyright file at Debian packages
  3. - OpenArena Review
  6. Raiden's Realm - OpenArena Review
  7. OS Reviews - Pleasure to Frag
  8. Raiden's Realm - OpenArena Review
  9. - OpenArena Review
  10. Snappy Gamer - OpenArena: Open Source Quake III Fun
  11. Raiden's Realm - OpenArena Review
  12. MacApper - OpenArena: Pure Fragiliciouss Fun For Mac
  13. Peter Eisesrt and Philipp Fechteler - "Remote rendering of computer games. Proceedings of the International Conference on Signal Processing and Multimedia Applications (SIGMAP)", Barcelona, Spain, July 2007.
  14. Lucas Parry - "L3DGEWorld 2.1 Input & Output Specifications. CAIA Technical Report 070808A", August 2007
  15. OpenArena roadmap accessed on October 27th, 2008.
  16. OpenArena development blog accessed on October 28th, 2008.

External links[edit]