The ESC menu, also known as ESCAPE menu or in-game menu, is the menu a player gets when pressing the ESC or ESCAPE key while playing.[1]

Menu usage[]

Press ESC/ESCAPE keyboard button to open the menu. ESC menu offers various commands, organized in sub-menus. Pressing ESC while in a sub-menu will bring you back to the main menu. Pressing ESC again will close the menu and bring you back to the game.

Accessing the menu during a match where your client acts also as server and you are the only human player (e.g. single player), will casue a "pause" of the whole game. In this case, commands entered through the menu will usually be effective when you will close it.
In other cases, the game will continue to run normally (commands entered in the menu will be applied immediately), and other characters may shoot and kill your virtual alter-ego while you are still in the menu. They would however see a "chat baloon" above your head, and if they are polite, they should avoid attacking you... but some people do not care about being "chatfraggers".


"Start" allows you to join the game. You can choose to join blue or red team (during team-based game modes), to (auto)join the game (in team modes, it would automatically choose a team for you), or to spectate.

Change will be immediately effective. Please take in account that you cannot change team more than once every 5 seconds.

Add bots[]

If your client is the server host (e.g. during single player), you can use the menu to add the bots you wish.

Just select bot name, skill level[2] and team, then click "accept". A bot will be added for each time you press the "accept" button. Then close the menu.

Remove bots[]

When you are the host, you can use the menu to remove a bot.

Just click on bot's name, then click delete, then close the menu.

Team orders[]

Team orders can be used to communicate standard text messages to your teammates (during team-based modes), without the other team reading them.

Select a specific teammate or "everyone" (for all of your teammates), then a command from the list: "I am the leader", "follow me", "roam", "camp here", "report", "I relinquish command".

It is however advisable to bind a key for the chat-team feature (from SETUP -> CONTROLS -> LOOK menu), to be free to type any text you want to your teammates.

Call vote[]

Call vote menu is an useful shortcut added by OpenArena 0.8.5. You will not find this sub-menu while playing old mods. It allows to begin voting procedures without the need to use the console.[3] Only the voting options allowed by the current server will be shown as enabled.

Just select one of the options (as far as OpenArena 0.8.8):

  • Next map (aborts current match and loads another map, if there is a map rotation script or auto next map enabled on the server.[4])
  • Restart match (restarts current map)
  • Shuffle teams (rearranges human players in the two teams, trying to balance them)
  • Change map (allows you to select another map from those available on the server)
  • Change gametype
  • Kick player (allows you to propose a player or bot to be kicked out from the server)
  • Enable/disable warmup
  • Change fraglimit
  • Change timelimit
  • Custom vote (special votes, previously set up by the server admin)


You can access the Setup menu, to reach its player, controls, system and game options sub-menu. This allows you, for example, to change your player settings or graphic options.

Server info[]

Server info displays some infos about the server you are connected to.

The "Add to favorites" command in this screen allows you to add the current server to your favorites list. Please take in account that there is no error message when you reach the 16 favorites servers limit.

Restart arena[]

Restart arena allows you to restart the current match, if you are the host.

Resume game[]

Resume game bring you out from the menu, back to action.

Leave arena[]

Leave arena disconnects you from the server, bringing you to the main menu. If your client was the host (acting as "listening server", the opposite of "dedicated server" mode), all other clients will be disconnected, too. Similar to typing /disconnect in command console.

Exit game[]

Exit game completely closes OpenArena, returning you to your Operating System.

See also[]


  1. Actual ESC or ESCAPE text on the key depends from your own keyboard.
  2. Skill levels: I can win = 1, Bring it on = 2, Hurt me plenty = 3, Hardcore = 4, Nightmare! = 5.
  3. If you are playing in single player, the vote will pass immediately. Otherwise, players will be asked to vote YES (usually, F1 key) or NO (usually, F2 key).
  4. If there is no rotation script and auto next map is not enabled, the current map will be re-started.
Appendix available

This page has got an "Appendix" sub-page, which may contain useful extra infos, such as console commands related with the features mentioned in this page, or hints for better usage. After reading this page, don't miss to give a look to its "Appendix", too:
Manual/ESC menu/Appendix