Tuesday, 24 March 2009

First-Person Shooter Games for Linux III: Urban Terror

This article is part of the first-person shooter games reviews I'm putting up. Until now I talked about Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, ioQuake3, UT2004, Nexuiz and OpenArena. For those who want to read my previous articles, here are the links:

3 Classic First-Person Shooter Games for Linux

First-Person Shooter Games for Linux II: Nexuiz and OpenArena

I will dedicate this edition entirely to Urban Terror, a great first-person shooter game which was initially developed as a Quake 3 mod and evolved into a powerful and fast standalone game. Most of the people who played both Counter-Strike on Windows (or through Wine) and Urban Terror usually have the same opinion when describing it: it's like Counter-Strike, only better. That was my impression too. I think Urban Terror is the best alternative for those who like CS and eventually made the switch from Windows. It is natively supported on Linux, it is maintained constantly and it has a solid community. In fact, when I first played it about a year ago, I was stunned to see that I was playing it very good just because I was used with Counter-Strike.

Developed by Frozen Sand, the team behind it, Urban Terror was initially developed as a Quake 3 mod, but the game offers now a complete package and can be run without the need of Quake 3 binaries. The last version, UrT 4.1, comes with a ZIP package for Linux, of about 700 MB, and you only need to uncompress it, make the ioUrbanTerror.i386 binary executable and run it.

A multiplayer game on Abbey

The game features modes like TDM (team deathmatch), FFA (free for all) or CTF (capture the flag) and provides a large number of weapons to choose from, like the popular Kalashnikov, the M4A1 or the Remington SR-8. Usually each weapon should be used in a different way (for example you can use to Remington to snipe your opponents and the powerful Kalashnikov for medium-range combats). Notice that the rebound is pretty high, so firing constantly will do anything else but hitting your opponent. It's best to use burst firing when you have an automatic weapon.

Prague, one of the most popular maps

One of the features I find great in Urban Terror is the ability to run for a short distance, then keep the crouch key pressed: this way you will be able to move very fast, and it's useful especially to make quick and unexpected attacks and to go quickly from one part of the map to another. Of course, there is an energy bar which will start to decrease when running or jumping, so you will have to walk from time to time too in order to save strength for when you will need it.

Another feature is the ability to 'bandage' yourself and other wounded teammates. After a successful attack against you, your character will not be able to run or walk at full speed unless you bandage yourself (or another teammate bandages you). Also, depending on how much health you have left, you will not be able to run at maximum speed or make long jumps.

The game comes bundled with around 30 wonderful maps, which vary from cities to jungle areas or desert. Maps like Kingdom, Abbey, Prague or Uptown are very popular on the Internet servers.

The game was designed for multiplayer only, and bots are not supported officially, but still there is the possibility to play against bots (read how in this forum thread). Instead, the game offers a great and dynamic online playing experience. The servers are usually crowded, and the multitude of mods will certainly fit any fan of fast-paced shooter games.

Uptown, probably the most played map

The graphics are not very impressing, but at least this allows the game to run on older computers too. I tested on my Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz and GeForce 7600 GS and it runs at a steady 76 fps using the resolution 1280x1024. I usually encounter frame drops only on several maps with water and many players, otherwise there are no problems running it.

Another aspect worth mentioning are the trickjumps and the ability to jump off walls, which, in combination with the run/crouch ability will let you go in places inaccessible otherwise.

Many competitions are often organised, and details regarding those are available on the official website and the forums.

In conclusion, Urban Terror is awesome in every aspect (maybe except the graphics which are not exactly the newest) and it offers a great pleasure playing it. It's fast-paced, it has plenty of mods and maps, and it allows you to configure everything just the way you want it.


Anonymous said...

Urban Terror is a blast. Play it all the time. Games like Sauerbraten and Assaultcube are good but basic, Doomlike.

Edwin Watson said...

It looks a lot like counter strike don't you think?

I have not played this game but it looks promising! I am going to set up Ubuntu on my PC again and check it out the true linux way!

Check out my blog at

Anonymous said...

UT rocks.. there is a cool community and great servers with very friendly admins. A large percentage of the players are indeed Linux-users.

Install it... and come to one of the best servers: Homers-home.

Cya there..

Anonymous said...

Amusing - it is a good game, but when you say that it runs on older computers well and seemingly use your Core 2 Duo-based system as an example, I was amused.

For the record, I have found that this game ran beautifully on an older Dell Inspiron laptop with a geforce4 mx 440 and Pentium IV mobile 1.6ghz. This game will run on older computer than that too, I would imagine, since it is based on the Quake 3 engine.

Dan Craciun said...

:) Well I guess I was referring to the fact that it can (probably) run even on an older P4 with a little tweaks in the cfgs and a resolution of, say, 1024x768. It is, however, more resource-hungry than Quake 3, even though it uses its engine.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you can write an article about Enemy Territory:True Combat?

Dan Craciun said...

Yes as a matter of fact I plan to review all the well-known native shooters for Linux, including True Combat: Elite (if I recall correctly). It's just a matter of time so I can't predict exactly when I will write the future articles.

Alvarez said...

Urban Terror is the best multi-player fast-paced first-person shooter in the world.

It runs in even older hardware, for example my machine: ClrnD 2.66 + GeForce MX 400 32MB.

ut4_uptown and ut_forrest FTW !

Grant Wagner said...

@linuxtidbits: There ain't nothing wrong with Doom! That's why the origional via the Doomsday Engine (http://www.doomsdayhq.com/) with all the of extras are a staple on all of my machines.

The fact that it still runs nicely on my netbook with their old integrated Intel graphics chips is only icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

I've been playing UrT 4.1 for that last two years. I love it. Presently running on a P4 2.4 with a Nvidia 440mx. BTW under Windows XP, I found using the old ver 86 driver for my Nvida card got better fps. Never had any problem under Ubuntu or OpenSUSE. Of all three OSes, I got the best fps on OpenSUSE. I look forward to UrT 4.2 and plan to put under the test of all three OSes again. Download it and try it, you wont be sorry.

Anonymous said...

I am a long time Urban Terror player. Anyone who has not tried this game should try it - Today.

I own a Urban Terror FFA server with several 3rd party maps (including some redone doom maps!).

Our server is called Evaporator's International, come play with us. The Server is a Dell PowerEdge running Linux (of course).

Thanks and see you in the game!

Game Not Over,

p.s. If you see Evaporator in the game, don't forget to thank him for hosting the server and donating the bandwidth!

Dan Craciun said...

Thanks for the invitation, Anonymous @ 2:55. I surely will, as soon as I find the time.

Anonymous said...

@Edwin: "It looks a lot like counter strike don't you think?"

UrT's pace is a lot faster. You can almost fly thru a map if you strafe jump correctly. :)

The speed! That's why it's so fun.

Anonymous said...

Speed? That's the primary (well, next to its CS-ishness in general) reason I dislike it - it's too damn slow. Play Q3 or OA for a while, then try UT. It's a joke. Also, the maps may be beautiful, but they're pretty bad, usually too big and pointless. You know. CS-ishness. Although I've noticed most free/open source FPS games suffer from poor maps.

Anonymous said...

Fast paced?. You got to be kidding. This game is so damn slow, my grandmother thinks faster than these characters move.

I risk beginning to think about something totally different, like taking a smoke, before I've crossed the damn room.

Anonymous said...

this is an awesome game. I play all the time and love all of the aspects of this FPS. it has sweet graphics and gameplay for a free game that is.