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News: Celebrating 30 years of Star Control 2 - The Ur-Quan Masters

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Death 999
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Frequently Asked Questions: Technical Issues (old)
« on: September 05, 2003, 07:11:41 pm »

(updated May 25, 2004)

If you do not find the answers to your questions here:
See the project FAQ at  
Less technical questions are answered at;action=display;num=1052236603

Table of contents:
Part 1: Installation
How do I install? How do I update? When is the next version coming out?

Part 2: Getting oriented; how to use the game
How do I change the keys? Where are the <foo> files? How do I do <foo> within the game? How do I set behavior on startup?

Part 3: Bug fake-outs.
These are not bugs, but you might think they are. Check here before hitting Bugzilla

Part 4: meta-FAQ and IAQ
including how to get to the frequently-mentioned command-line

Part 5: DfA (definitions for acronyms)

PART 1: Installation and updating

*** Q: How do I install the game? I can't compile it myself!
A: There are official builds for a wide variety of platforms available at
However, there are unofficial builds incorporating the latest and greatest features and bug fixes!
If you want the bleeding-edge cvs build, but you don't want compilation hassle, and you're on windows, you can get the latest version at
If you are a little more disciminating, and want something a little more reliable, you can download an unofficial build hand-picked by Striker, at
If you are on Mac, you can download a similar unofficial build hand-tweaked with love and care by Nic, at

If you get one of these builds, you will still need to install the libraries, so pick them up from the official page!

*** Q: How do I update this game? I can't compile!
A: If you can't compile, you're pretty much stuck with the unofficial builds -- see the previous question, but ignore the part about the libraries (since you already have them).
Also, if you need updated content, you can use CVS (see instructions below). Just leave off the 'compile' parts. Note, this will occasionally produce weird effects, like graphics not lining up right because the code assumes different sizes. If this occurs, it is not a bug that needs to be dealt with, because in any individual release the content will be internally consistent. You can avoid the weird effects by getting the version lined up with your build (put the option '-r' and then the release number you want before 'sc2' in the second command below). However, of course, this will be the UN-updated content. Also, I have been told that using the -r option has some side-effects, but I have not been told what they are (Nic?).

*** Q: How do I update this game? I CAN compile!
A: First, use CVS to get the most recent source (see above). Contrary to the beliefs of some, if you're command-line savvy, it's not hard to use basic CVS checkout even if you only have the haziest idea of what it does... if you're doing these exact steps.

Supposing you are using CVS on a command-line:
Go to the root of where you'd like your sc2 source code to be, and enter the command:

cvs login

(you will be asked for a password. Give a blank password - i.e., hit enter without entering a password)

cvs -z3 co sc2

If you're on windows, you will probably be using MS's gui compiler. The project file can be found in

and you should be able to take it from there (if not, I can't help you).
Now, supposing you're on a unix-like:
Go into the installed directory, the one which contains a directory 'build' and a file ''. Execute the command

This will set you up. Then execute the command
./ install uqm

This should do the trick. The executable will be 'uqm-debug' or 'uqm'
If you get errors here, this forum is definitely the place to ask for help! Take a look around in any of the existing 30 "installation trouble!" threads or start your own.

***Q: How do I install the game? I don't have a good internet connection on the relevant computer!
A: if you don't have a good internet connection at all, you're in trouble. If you have a good enough connection but it's on the wrong computer, install it onto the internet-connected computer, then burn this installation onto a CD or other large storage medium, and transfer it over.

*** Q: How long until the next version?
A: Ask the Pkunk. This is dependent on many wild variables. For a hint, look at the changelog at*checkout*/sc2/sc2/ChangeLog?rev=HEAD&content-type=text/plain

The more stuff changed since the most recent version, the more likely that a new version is coming soon.
Also, Michael Martin occasionally posts something in his 'The road to 0.4' series, which provide details on what has been accomplished, and sometimes what is up to be done next.
Note that it is expected that 1.0 will immediately proceed from 0.4, with only testing and the resulting minor changes in between.

PART 2: other stuff that also isn't a bug:

***Q: I'm having trouble getting the compatibility issues with earlier windows systems to work, blah blah, DOS mode, blah blah, extended memory, blah!
A: You are probably trying to run the original Star Control 2, not the Ur-Quan Masters. The games should be identical to the user, but the Ur-Quan Masters was written for modern systems, and SC2 was not. See the installation section for how to get UQM.

*** Q: How do I play with a different window size or fullscreen?
*** Q: How do I play with better sound?
*** Q: How do I adjust the volumes?
*** Q: How do I play without subtitles?
*** Q: How do I play with the PC menu system?
*** Q: How do I play with the PC coarse scan system?
*** Q: How do I play with OpenGL?
*** Q: How do I get the PC music?
A: All of these are available via options, which are available if you run it in a command line-like way, including the "run..." start menu item on windows 95+ or a windows shortcut with options provided (note that if you make it as a shortcut, any options must be put OUTSIDE any quotes you use).
To find out what the available options are, take a look at the manual.txt file that came with the game, or run the game with the option "--help".
Further note that if you're on a mac, and uqm is an application (as opposed to merely an executable) named, say, "Ur-Quan Masters", you'll need to further go into the directory
where the uqm executable resides in order to be able to pass these options.

Remember, when writing batch files/shell scripts/shortcuts, put quotes around names including metacharacters like " ".

ALTERNATELY, you can use one of the launcher programs. There is a java launcher program available at (note: though most files there are mac-only, the launcher should work anywhere).
Mark Vera
There is also a windows-only launcher which was once available at
It is reported not to run on some versions of windows.

*** Q: How do I change the keys?
*** Q: Where are the saved games?
*** Q: Where are the files for the melee teams?
A: It depends on your system. On Microsoft Windows systems this is all kept in a folder named 'uqm' in the application data folder for the current user.
This is usually in one of the following locations:
- "C:\Windows\Application Data\"
 (Windows 95, 98, SE without separate users)
- "C:\Windows\Profiles\YourName\Application Data\"
 (Windows 95/98/SE with separate users)
- "C:\Documents and Settings\YourName\Application Data\"
 (Windows NT/2k/XP)
On Unix systems this personal uqm data is stored in "~/.uqm".

*** Q: How do I pause/quit/return to main menu?
A: press F1/F12/F10 (respectively). For macs, Nic changed the quit key to F11.

PART 3: BUGS etc.

*** Q: I have this fantastic feature request! What do I do?
A: Great! Put it in the general discussion forum rather than the technical issues forum (click on the link to "home" near the top of the page, and it is the first forum listed.)

*** Q: I have this bug! What do I do?
A: First, make sure your version of UQM is reasonably up-to-date (as of current writing, 0.3 is most recent official build; cvs will of course be the most recent possible). If it isn't, update it! (your playing experience will probably be better, and your comments more valuable).
If your copy is up to date, then look at the bug list at the bottom of this FAQ. If it's not there, then look for it in the bug database at
If you don't find it THERE, or the existing report is incomplete, then add your bug (if there is an existing incomplete report, add a comment to it, not making a new bug).
Bug reporting is not hard, but not trivial either. Guidelines are given at
In order to add your bug, you will need to provide an email address and a password (not the password to the email account!). Pertinent information will be sent to this account.

These are things that look like bugs but are not. If you don't find it here, go to bugzilla.

Issue: The spathi butt missile hurts the ship which fired it!
What's up: while there was a bug on this subject, it was fixed a lo-ong time ago. Even working properly, it's still possible for you to hurt yourself with the weapon. Don't shoot it away from the enemy, or it'll turn around and hit you. And don't shoot while moving too fast toward where the weapon will appear, or you'll overtake the shot and it'll hit you that way. The same with the Mycon.

Issue: when I click on start game in the main menu, nothing happens!
What's up: this game ignores the mouse. Use the direction keys to navigate.

Issue: Hey, the ending animations are missing!
What's up: sorry. It's hard, for various reasons. We'll have something cooked up sooner or later. In the mean time, look at what you missed at;action=display;num=1055261901;start=0#1
and there's a movie of this somewhere on PNF, I think. Maybe just the slide show?

Issue: Ship X doesn't work!
What's Up: several ships have unusual properties which can be mistaken for bugs. The relevant information can be found in your manual.txt file. More verbose information can be found in PNF's handy alien resource at

Issue: The text is weird and different from the PC version!
Status: well, yeah. The 3d0 version, from which we are working, used different speech. This creates several quirks, such as:

Issue: I tried to tell the Mycon about this great planet, and they told me to go away! I can't advance the plot!
What's Up: The Mycon have not one but two inhabited planets. One is a place full of Juffo-Wup; the other is their homeworld. The 3d0 version cut several important pieces of dialogue, which would disambiguate. Find the homeworld to get it all sorted out. Fortunately, their homeworld right in the middle of their sphere of influence.

Part 4: Meta-FAQ and Infrequently Asked Questions

*** Q: You made a boo-boo on this FAQ! How do I tell you?
A: Personal-message your erratum to me. (If you are logged in, click on the little envelope symbol under my name to the left of this post, below the AIM icon)
You can also IM me (name: drachefly)
*** Q: How do I get to the command-line on a mac?
A: use application, /Applications/Utilities/Terminal
To figure out how to get around, I suggest you go to google and 'get lucky' on a search for 'unix commands'
***Q: How do I get to the command-line on windows?
A: go to the Run... item in the start menu, and enter 'cmd'. If that doesn't work, try ''.
To figure out how to get around, I suggest you go to google and 'get lucky' on a search for 'dos commands'

*** Q: did you make this FAQ as halfway decent as it is all by yourself?
A: no!
Novus corrected my info on the Ilwrath homeworld.
Meep-eep gave much sage advice and particular comments. He also caught the Ilwrath homeworld issue.
Chad gave a better link to PNF. Makes sense, since it's HIS SITE.
Mika pointed out Meep-eep's solution to the common immutable keys problem.
FalconWMC pointed out that one might install UQM on a non-internet-connected machine using a writeable CD.

*** Q: How much does the dev team rock?
A: A lot. Like, on par with the Chenjesu.

*** Q: How do you pronounce 'melee'?
A: says 'maylay' or 'meh-lay'. Strangely enough, no dictionary I've found says to use the pronunciation suggested by English phonetics: 'mealy'. What can I say; it's from French.

Part 5: Definitions for Acronyms

CVS: Concurrent Versioning System. Used to download just the changes between what you have and what you need from the server. So you don't need to spend ten hours downloading an update. Using CVS to get your code will result in the most up-to-date and least tested version.

PNF: Pages of Now and Forever. A fan-run web site for everything Star Control. As such, an excellent resource for UQM players.  
Lots of good stuff there.

UQM: the Ur-Quan Masters. The name of our project here, because we can't call it Star Control, because Accolade owns that name. No, we can't call it Star Controller, Star's Control, Controller of Stars, StarCon, Stark On, Star Khan, etc.

Many more definitions of other, less technical terms can be found at the general discussion FAQ, at;action=display;num=1052236603
« Last Edit: February 03, 2005, 05:09:39 pm by meep-eep » Logged
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Re: Frequently Asked Questions: Technical Issues
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2005, 05:08:28 pm »

I'm returing this thread. I have started a new one which points people to the FAQs in the Ultronomicon, which are much easier to keep up-to-date.

“When Juffo-Wup is complete
when at last there is no Void, no Non
when the Creators return
then we can finally rest.”
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