The Ur-Quan Masters Technical FAQ

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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?

This is currently more complicated than necessary. Download uqm-0.3-win32-installer.exe,, and optionally and 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-0.3-win32-installer.exe, but do not select the additional content zip files.

After the installer is done, copy and (if you downloaded those) to the content/packages directory in the location where you told the installer to put the game.

Important: do NOT unzip the content files. The game uses them zipped.

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. 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.

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/        (optional)
content/packages/           (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, chose 'preferences', and select "". Now the box will remain on the screen and you can see what the actual problem is. Look elsewhere in this FAQ for specific information on your problem.

When trying to start the game, a message "Kernel failed to load!" appears

When trying to start the game, I get a message "Error: Premature end of central directory."

This happens when the content .zip file file is corrupt. Unfortunately, the current Windows installer doesn't detect when the download of that file was interrupted. Search for the file It should be 12554418 bytes in length. If it is not, replace that file with a fresh copy from the UQM download page.

The game runs too slow. 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 Adware 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.


  • 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 .zip files to be used in addition to the standard content .zip files.

When you specify the command-line option '--addon <addon>', the .zip 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 (0.3 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.

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.