OpenArena for Raspberry Pi

It’s really been interesting watching the Pi Store fill up with content. Today we approved OpenArena for the Raspberry Pi – if you played Quake III, OpenArena will be¬†shockingly familiar. It’s a multiplayer first person shooter (FPS) based on Quake III, using a fork of the same game engine, and it’s free and open-source. Because there is blood and guns, we’ve marked the download with an adult content sticker.


OpenArena running on DaveSpice’s enviable Pi/Motorola Lapdock setup. Click to enlarge.

We know Quake and its derivatives are popular around here: one of the first videos we ever released of the Raspberry Pi, pre-release, in the summer of 2011, was a demo of Quake III running with all the visual settings turned up to maximum. It kind of surprised us by getting more than a million hits on YouTube.

The devs at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the mods, and the guys at IndieCity are already talking about setting up some semiofficial tournaments – let us know if you’re interested!



tzj avatar


I’ll love to join in some of the tornaments!

And there’s going to be an article on the lap dock soon in the MagPi, just not this issue.
(Wouldn’t it be cool if the foundation influenced Motorola to restart production of the docks with the raspberry pi in mind)

Davespice avatar
tzj avatar

We can use yours then if you like, but include other part options like the female micro HDMI to male HDMI adapter to have the pi dock directly on top of the connectors ( tho the female micro USB needs a bit of modding to fit when a pibow case is used.).

cSmith avatar

Tournaments would be amazing!

Davespice avatar

Stay tuned! :)

ukscone avatar

i don’t think i’ll bother. i suck at these types of games so everyone just assume you beat me :)

still cool to see it on the raspi

kalehrl avatar

Any other place I can get binaries or source with instructions for compiling other than Pi Store?
I’m in no mood to register with indiecity.

Davespice avatar

Hi there;
If you go here and read the description, it gives linkes to the engine source and the download for the Open Arena pak files.

Surferjsmc avatar

Hi Dave! great work! back in the day i was more an Unreal Tournament fan but played quake a lot.

Can you share more about how you’ve build your raspi+lapdock rig?

Surferjsmc avatar


supertrickywoocheese avatar

can you use keyboard or do you really need a USB gamepad/joystick? Any recommendations on best model for pi compatability.

Davespice avatar

Keyboard and Mouse is best. You use W, S, A, D for movement and mouse for aim, fire and change weapon.

radical edward avatar

yes please! i’m gotting kind of frustration that the last time more and more public server vanished. maybe now oa gets more player! nice one. thx!

TBoyH_RPi avatar

It installed properly and the menu works fine, but every time I try to start gameplay it crashes the whole system within a second

Davespice avatar

Quote from

“MULTIPLAYER. Please be aware that the Internet screen under Multiplayer will fill with games that are not compatible. You will find it difficult to locate a usable game server there. Trying to join an incompatible server will make the game close.”

“For multiplayer games your best option is to create your own server locally and play with other people on your LAN.”

kyprioth avatar

I’m getting a crash as well – definitely single player, easiest mode. It displays the icons as it loads and crashes as soon as it looks like it is ready to actually start game play. Can you think of any useful logs to look at (that survive across reboots)?


kyprioth avatar

Ok, my crash is fixed now – it didn’t like Turbo mode. It works fine on 700MHz and 800MHz (didn’t try the other fixed speeds.)

Thanks for the package, Dave.

Davespice avatar

Ah turbo mode is a problem, well spotted!

Jonsun avatar

Is there a way to launch it without having to go into the Pi store and click on play? I know it requires the GUI to be shut down, but can’t we do that from a menu item in the GUI?

Still very, very cool!

Davespice avatar

Please read the info on the store page.

Damian avatar

How fast is it meant to run? On the default settings for me it runs at 12-30fps which isn’t playable at all.. Even on “fastest” settings it runs at 20-40fps which still feels uncomfortably jumpy/sluggish.

I had this issue with quake3 too. I’ve tried all sorts of overclocks and memory splits from 64 to 256mb (and on a sidenote, on the 256mb model raspberry pi the game crashes at console with any split greater than 64mb). None of the modifications seem to make any significant difference.

Assuming it should be running faster than this, does anyone have any advice?
I thought possibly it could be resolution related since I’d heard the raspberry pi GPU supports up to 1920×1080..And my monitor/the game runs at 1920×1200. Would that cause an issue? Changing the resolution via the game settings doesn’t seem to change the resolution at all, and I’ve tried forcing resolution changes other ways (using the r-pi config.txt options forceframebufferheight and hdmi-mode) but those also don’t seem to fix the problem.

Davespice avatar

Quoted from

“Graphical performance can be improved by turning down the graphics detail (setup>system>graphics). Try GL Extensions to Off, Light map to Vertex, Geometric detail to Low and Texture detail to low (left most toggle).”

“Performance can be further increased by reducing screen resolution. This is recommended if you want to play competitively in a tournament. Add a line saying hdmi_mode=1 to the file /boot/config.txt and reboot. This will put your Pi into VGA mode (640 x 480).”

6677 avatar

These guys were hardly the first.

If admins have access to my PM’s they will see I have given info to someone else on running it and have mentioned it in the building quake 3 thread too. Hardly news worthy that someone dragged some pak files in.

Davespice avatar

Credit is due to 6677. It was me who you gave that info to. I’m not trying to take any credit. All I did was build the ioquake3 engine from source, copy in the pak files and wrote a few shell scripts to launch the game with the Open Arena mod. I then went through the necessary checks to have it uploaded to the Pi store so that it could reach a wider audience. The shell scripts went through a few revisions before they were right though.

Stefan avatar

Who claimed they were? Wow..

Mike avatar

This is really great guys! I would definitely be interested in a tournament!

Skyler avatar

I went to visit the Quake video, it had a rather l33t view count:

InsertCoin25 avatar

This is amazing..Will it ever be possible to run the current OpenArena so that we can play against people on other servers? Is it also possible to use mods in this version?

Davespice avatar

The Pi branch of the ioquake3 code uses server protocol 68, where as the current servers use 71. So currently that is not possible, you can host a dedicated server on a Pi and then forward port 27960 to the Pi on your router though. Then other Pi users can go Multiplayer > Specify and enter your IP address. I am aware of someone who is trying to bring the Pi branch of the code into parity with the current x86 build, but this may take some time.

Davespice avatar

Oh and yes, it should work fine with mods.

Fritz Katze avatar

If I had a wish it would be Descent 1…

Ah, nevermind.

otakucode avatar

I presume that since red pixels and imaginary projectile launchers are enough to qualify something as “adult content” that anything that wouldn’t make it into a PG-13 movie is completely off limits? So sad that censorship comes along so early in the life of the Pi, even in the face of zero evidence after thousands of years of fiction that fiction ever has, or ever could, harm anyone.

The model used with books – no ratings or restrictions at all, just a ‘childrens’ section in bookstores – seems to work perfectly well. I see no reason to be more oppressive than that.

brightonPI avatar

Looks great.

We (at @brightonPI) ran a mini Quake3 tournament at our last Raspberry Jam. It all held up pretty well, not having a single crash for the whole tournament. I’ve collected a few thoughts here with links to Chris Swans excellent presentation on openElec and Pi based retrogaming

craig avatar

I would love to playin an openarena tournament. Only i dont have a raspberry pi..would that really be necessary? Aggressor should be the only map but no duel. make it a 3 -4 person deathmatch. That would be great!

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