How to Play OpenArena

OpenArena is a free and open source first person shooter game, similar to Quake III Arena. OpenArena features interesting character avatars, powerful and futuristic weapons, and elegant arena maps. OpenArena is suitable for training for other first-person shooters and also exciting to play in and of itself. Read on to learn how to set up and play this game.


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    Install OpenArena. OpenArena's installer can be found at
    • Linux users may be able to find OpenArena in their distribution's repositories.
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    Open the game, either by clicking on a shortcut or directly in its folder.
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    Click to bypass the splash screen if you desire to instantly get to the main menu.
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    Click Setup. Here you will find various settings you need to control your OpenArena experience. Under Setup, there is a list of four categories of settings: Player (for controlling your handicap, changing your username, etc.) Controls (for changing how you interact with the game) System (to configure the game to work well with your system setup) Game options (for changing certain colors, your view, and other preferences) The last option, Defaults, is used if you want to reset the game to its default settings. Use this if you don't like any of your existing settings, keeping in mind that all settings you changed will be lost.
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    Go back to the main menu and click "Single Player". This is where you can fight alone with bots. The game keeps track of your progress by putting you in a tier. The higher the tier, the harder the bots will be to fight and the more maps you will be able to fight on. On this screen it will also show you awards and how many of each you have earned, for various in-game accomplishments. You can always fight at a lower tier, but you will not be able to fight at a higher tier than you have unlocked. Select a level to fight, then click "fight" in the bottom right-hand corner.
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    Practice with bots until you are comfortable with the in-game weapons, controls, and general aim. Try to use a combination of weapons to kill an opponent, or slaughter them with only one the entire game. In any case, do your best to quickly aim and kill in order to earn awards and advance to the next tier.
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    Play online by choosing the Multiplayer option from the main menu. You will need to choose a server. You can use the filters at the top of the screen to show only servers that meet your desired criteria, such as map, ping, and number of players.

    Of course, you can also specify a server IP address. If desired, you can host your own on your computer for a local network game. Enjoy fragging with OpenArena!


  • A narrower field of view may be better for snipers, a wider field of view may be ideal to see everything around you.
  • You can switch your character's avatar type to several different characters including Gargoyle, Kyonshi, Sarge, Major, and Skelebot.
  • If you dislike the fact that your weapon is switched when you pick up an item, you can turn "auto switch weapon" off in your settings.
  • Your crosshair color should contrast with the map you are playing.
  • Try playing a game without a crosshair so you get a feel for where you should be aiming anyway.


  • OpenArena is for mature audiences only. This means it contains mild language, intense fantasy violence, blood and gore, and suggestive themes. It is not suitable for children.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • OpenArena installed
  • Internet access

Sources and Citations

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