The Ur-Quan Masters Technical FAQ

From Ultronomicon
Revision as of 00:56, 7 February 2006 by Svdb (talk | contribs) (not a technical question)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This page is guaranteed to be spoiler free. It is safe for you to read this page even if you have not completed playing The Ur-Quan Masters. Links you follow from this page do not share this guarantee unless they also include this text.

This is the list of frequently asked questions (with answers) about technical issues regarding The Ur-Quan Masters. For gameplay questions or questions about the The Ur-Quan Masters project, check our other FAQs.

If you have any further questions, you can ask them on the technical issues board.

If you think you have found a bug, please report it in the Bugzilla database.

Installing the game

Where do I get the game?

You can find the latest official release on

You can find source snapshots, content updates, and precompiled Windows binaries for the most recent developers version on

For MacOS X, Nic has developer builds with some of his own patches here.

If you frequently build the game yourself from the recent source, you may want to get your files from anonymous CVS. If you're using a command-line CVS client, this is what you type:

cvs login
followed by
cvs -z3 co sc2

Then, read the INSTALL file, and make sure you have the necessary libraries it refers to.

For compiling the source under Windows there's a Microsoft Developer Studio project file in src/msvc++/. For Unix (including Darwin), follow the instructions in doc/users/unixinstall. For MinGW, there's a file INSTALL.mingw in the top dir with some additional information.

How do I install the game on Windows without an internet connection?

Download uqm-0.4.0-win32-installer.exe, uqm-0.4.0-content.uqm, and optionally uqm-0.4.0-voice.uqm and uqm-0.4.0-3domusic.uqm from on a machine where you do have an internet connection, and burn them to a CD-ROM. Then, on the machine where you want to install the game, start uqm-0.4.0-win32-installer.exe. Do not select any content packages you haven't downloaded, and when the installer asks where to get the packages from, select your CD rom drive. The installer won't try to download any files from the internet then.

How do I use the 3DO intro and victory movies in the game?

Toys For Bob doesn't have the copyright to these files and so we can't distribute them. But if you own the 3DO Star Control II CD, you can extract them yourself and use them in the game. To do this, you first need to make a .iso file of the CD-ROM, and then run a program called unCD-ROM, which can be found here (local mirror here). It includes a .exe file for Windows and the source code, which will also works on Linux. Just run it on the new .iso file. More detailed instructions can be found here. Linux users can also add direct support for the 3DO file system with a kernel module, which can be found here.

In the extracted "duckart" directory you will find the videos. The files with extensions .duk, .frm, .hdr, and .tbl go together. At the moment only the intro and victory images can be used in The Ur-Quan Masters. To do this you create a directory "slides" in the content directory. In that "slides" directory you create an "intro" directory where you put the intro.duk, intro.frm, intro.hdr and intro.tbl files from the 3DO CD-ROM. In the "slides" directory you also create a directory "ending" where you put the victory.duk, victory.frm, victory.hdr and victory.tbl files.

If you haven't installed any add-on packages, your content directory structure should now look like this:

content/packages/uqm-0.4.0-3domusic.uqm        (optional)
content/packages/uqm-0.4.0-voice.uqm           (optional)

Now just start the game normally and wait a few seconds and the intro movie will show up. You'll see the ending when you complete the game.

Running the game

When trying to start the game, I get a DOS box flashing on my screen, and nothing else (on Windows)

The DOS box shows some debug information while the game is running. Right click on the icon you used to start the game, choose 'properties', and add '--logfile logfile.txt' as the first argument in the "Target" field. For example: "H:\Program Files\The Ur-Quan Masters\uqm.exe" --logfile logfile.txt --res 640x480 --bpp 32 --opengl --scale=bilinear --scroll 3do --audioquality high --addon remix

In this example, the window will open and close quickly but will put the output into "H:\Program Files\The Ur-Quan Masters\logfile.txt" for later examination via Notepad. Often the window closes quickly due to an improper argument, i.e. "--bpp32" versus "--bpp 32". Look elsewhere in this FAQ for specific information on your problem.

The game runs too slowly. What can I do?

If you're running on a system barely faster than the minimum system requirements, you may need to disable some eye candy.

  • try playing in 320x240 mode, full screen, with no scaling.
  • depending on your graphics card and driver, using OpenGL may slow down or speed up the game.
  • do not run in 24 bits per pixel mode. 16 is fine, 32 is fine, but 24 is an inefficient mode.

If you are running The Ur-Quan Masters on a modern system, and are still having a slow game experience, try the following:

  • (on Windows) make sure your video and sound drivers and DirectX are up-to-date.
  • (on Windows) make sure your PC isn't infected with spyware or similar programs. Good free programs to remove these are Ad-Aware Personal and Spybot-Search&Destroy.
  • close other programs when you are running the game. This includes programs that are running in the system tray. Some of these programs eat up a lot of resources.
  • (on Windows) when running the game press <CTRL>-<ALT>-<DEL>, and select "task manager". There increase the priority of The Ur-Quan Masters.

See also How do I change my settings?.

How do I change my settings?

In the future, players will be able to change their settings from the in-game setup menu. Until that is complete, the instructions are somewhat platform-specific:


  • The easiest way is by using MarkVera's launcher program. (note: this program is not supported by the Ur-Quan Masters developers, contact the author with problems/questions)
  • Alternately, players set their startup options by editing the shortcut that launches UQM.
    • Right-click on the shortcut for UQM, and select "Preferences"
    • In the "Command" box, where it should say something like "C:\Program Files\The Ur-Quan Masters\uqm.exe" add your parameters after the quotes. For instance, to use full-screen mode, change the line to "C:\Program Files\The Ur-Quan Masters\uqm.exe" --fullscreen.

Refer to the manual.txt file that accompanies the game for information on the possible switches.

Mac OS X

  • The Mac release includes an integrated setup menu that allows players to set their preferred game options. The Unofficial Release also supports add-on packs.

There have been cases reported in v0.4.0 where the default Pure SDL mode produces badly malformed graphics on OSX 10.4.1 (with some cards). In those cases the integrated setup menu is of no help as one cannot see the menu. The game can still be launched from by passing it the command-line switches for OpenGL, fullscreen and other modes (see the manual). (e.g.: "./The Ur-Quan Ur-Quan Masters" -o -f -n "./The Ur-Quan") Nic's Unofficial Release also contains a launcher that allows one to set these options before starting the game.


  • Most Linux packages for UQM assume that the player will be running the game from the command-line, but players who wish to launch the game from KDE or GNOME can make a menu option for it quite easily; the instructions are quite similar to creating a windows shortcut (see above). Players can find a nice icon for use on a gnome-panel here.

How do I use add-on packages?

Inside the directory where the content is installed, in the content/packages/ directory, there is a directory 'addons/'. In this directory, you can create new directories with .uqm files in them to be used in addition to the standard content .uqm files. The .uqm files are actually .zip files, but renamed so that people won't unpack them accidentally. If your add-on comes as a .zip file, you can use it as if it is a .uqm file.

When you specify the command-line option '--addon <addon>', the .uqm files inside the directory content/packages/addons/<addon> will be included in the game. '--addon' may be specified more than once to enable multiple add-ons.

Instead of specifying command-line options yourself, you can use a launcher program.

See How do I change my settings and Content Management for more information.

How do I change my keys?

You'll need to edit the file "keys.cfg" in the settings directory (see Where are my settings stored?). More information is contained in that file itself. Lines starting with "#" are ignored.

How do I use a joystick or game pad?

You'll need to edit the file "keys.cfg" in the settings directory (see Where are my settings stored?). More information is contained in that file itself. Lines starting with "#" are ignored.

When I press multiple keys at the same time, some keys won't be recognised

This is a hardware problem with many keyboards. this page describes what is going on technically.

To get around the problem, you could try using another keyboard. Unfortunately, most modern keyboards have problems like this. The exact key combinations that aren't accepted vary per keyboard though.

You can also change the keys that give problems. Keys that are usually ok to use are keys that are meant to be used in combination with other keys, such as SHIFT, CTRL, and ALT. For the rest, you'll just have to experiment. See here for information on changing your keys.

Another possibility is to use a joystick or game pad. (see How do I use a joystick or game pad?).

I keep getting a popup regarding sticky keys. How do I get rid of it?

This is a message from Windows, which wonders why you keep pressing that shift key all the time. The next time it comes up, click "settings", and then uncheck "use shortcut".

How do I exit the game?

Press F10, and then confirm. F12 works as an emergency shutdown, but settings won't be saved. On certain Apple iBook and Powerbook models, F12 is the "eject CD" key, so on the Mac port of the game, the key has been changed to F11. However, the new Exposé features in Mac OS X 10.3 and above intercept F10 and F11, so use Option-F10 and Option-F11 to quit/abort on such systems. See also How do I change my keys?

How do I pause the game?

Press F1. It works for unpausing too.


Where are my settings stored?

On Microsoft Windows systems the settings are stored in a folder named 'uqm' in the application data folder for the current user. This is usually in one of the following locations:

Windows 95, 98, SE without separate users
"C:\Windows\Application Data\"
Windows 95/98/SE with separate users
"C:\Windows\Profiles\YourName\Application Data\"
Windows NT/2k/XP
"C:\Documents and Settings\YourName\Application Data\"
Unix systems (including Darwin/Mac OS X)

The "Application Data" folder may be hidden. You can tell Windows to display hidden files and folders in the Folder Options dialog, which you can find in the Tools menu of any folder window. If you can't find the settings directory, use the Windows search functionality to look for a file "keys.cfg".

Where are my saved games stored?

Saved games are stored in a directory "save" inside the settings directory. See Where are my settings stored?.

How do I report a bug?

First, make sure you are either running the most recent official release (0.4 at the time of writing), or a recent version from CVS. If your copy is up to date, then look at Specific bugs and not-quite bugs. If your bug is not there, then look for it in the bug database at If the bug is already there, then see if you have any additional information that may help the developers fix this bug, and if so, add it to the existing bug report. If the bug hasn't been reported, then make a new report. Include as much information as as you can that may be helpful in solving the bug. In particular, it would be of much help if you can tell how to reproduce the bug. If this is your first bug report, please first read the guidelines are given here.

I don't want to make a Bugzilla account. Is it ok to let you know about my bug in another way?

Not really. Look at it from the side of the developers. First of all, when they receive a bug report through any other means, they have the choice of either fixing the bug immediately, putting it in the Bugzilla database themselves, or trying to remember it for later. As you're likely to catch them while they're in the middle of something, or just don't have the time that instant, it's not unlikely that your report will be lost.

Second, bug reports sent through other means rarely contain complete information. The Bugzilla forms have fields for things like UQM version and operating system, that may be necessary for solving the problem. A bug reported through other means would often require additional communication just to get all the facts.

Third, the person you would be contacting may not be the one who would normally fix such a bug. The developers each have their specialties. Bugs reported in the Bugzilla database will have a default assignee, and will be seen by all.

Now you may be thinking "I'm doing you a favour, take it or leave it.", but if you like the game and appreciate the work done by the developers, isn't it worth spending a few minutes to help them make the game better? Don't forget they are all volunteers, doing this in their spare time.

But if you enjoy their work just enough to report a bug through mail, the UQM forum, or IRC, but not enough to create a Bugzilla account, they'd rather hear about a bug through those means, than not at all.

See also: Where can I go for more technical help?.

Where can I go for more technical help?

The most appropriate place to ask for help on technical problems is the the technical issues board on the UQM forum.

There's also the #sc2 IRC channel on OPN. You may have to be patient though, as most people that are present in the channel don't actually pay attention to it all the time. It is however the place where the developers hang out, and if you're interested in game internals, this is a good place to ask.

There's also the sc2-devel mailing list for development questions. It's hardly used anymore these days, but when it is, people still read it.

Do not mail the developers directly with technical questions.

  • a question you ask publicly, along with any answers may help other people too
  • you'll reach more people by using the forums or mailing list, so your question will usually be answered sooner
  • the developers frequently read the board, and respond to questions there

See also: I don't want to make a Bugzilla account. Is it ok to let you know about my bug in another way?

Specific bugs and not-quite bugs

The game does not behave as I expected

Gameplay bugs are listed in the Star Control II Gameplay FAQ.