In this page we will try to briefly cover the terms players may find about OpenArena.
This glossary may also work as a quick reference guide or as a sort of alphabetical index of the game manual.

For a mapping-related specific glossary, please refer to Mapping manual/Appendix A: Glossary of terms.

Tip: you may use your web browser "find in this page" feature (usually Ctrl + F) to search for a term within this page.


  • AAS - Area Awareness System in short. An .AAS file, also known as bot navigation file, is the one which allows bots to play in a certain map.
  • Accelerator pad(s) - Areas that give players a great horizontal push, allowing them to quickly reach far places. When the push is mostly vertical, instead, they are known as jump pads or bounce pads.
  • AFK - "Away From Keyboard" in short. Used by a player to say he can't stay in front of his PC.
  • All Rockets mode - A game variant where all players only own the rocket launcher.
  • Always run - Given the fast-paced nature of this game, by default your character will move running all the time, so you will have to press a button (shift by default) when you will want to walk slowly (about half speed than running) and silently. It is possible to disable always run option to invert this behavior, although that's not advisable.
  • AP - "Armor Points" in short.
  • Area Awareness System - The system which allows bots to play in the maps. Bots can't play in maps which lack an .AAS file.
  • Arena
    • Arena, file extension - An .arena file is a text file which comes inside the PK3 file of a map, and tells the game for which gametypes the map should be listed, in skirmish or multiplayer create menus. A map lacking an .arena file can still be accessed using the console.
    • Arena(s), map(s) - Each match happens inside a closed map known as arena. The game comes with a number of stock maps, and many more can be downloaded.
  • Arenas.txt - It's a file which holds the list of stock OpenArena maps, telling the game under which gametypes each map should be listed in menus. Additional maps can add themselves to the list with smaller ".arena" files.
  • Arena Shooter or Arena FPS - The kind of game OpenArena is. Fast paced deathmatches in closed maps.
  • Armor - Usually, players enter the match with no armor points. When their armor goes over 100, it slowly goes down to 100. Armor, if own, absorbs 2/3 of damage.
  • Armor bonuses - The game includes bonuses which provide +5, +50 or +100 armor points, up to temporarily reach 200.
  • AS - Armor Shard (+5 AP bonus) in short.
  • Asset(s) - The "assets" term is used to identify the files which constitute the game that are not engine or gamecode. It refers to maps, textures, shaders, 3d models, sounds, etc. OpenArena assets are released under GPLv2+ license, just like its source code.[1] Assets are usually contained in PK3 files, and the names of such files determine the order assets are loaded.
  • Autodownload - The game supports automatic download to get stuff like maps and mods from the servers you are connected to. Despite being very useful, autodownload is disabled by default, as it may bring non-free assets and a few "bad" pk3 files may even cause problems when later playing offline. Autodownloaded files are saved under your homepath folder. Autodownload does not affect game binaries (game executables). OpenArena developers have no control over the stuff you will autodownload from game servers.
  • Autoswitch weapons - A feature which automatically changes your current weapon to the one you just grabbed/ran over in the arena. Since OA 0.8.5 the feature supports various options to better fit your needs, but in old mods the only setting is on or off... and you will probably prefer to keep it off.
  • Award pushing - The feature which allows to count as a frag the case you cause someone to fall to his/her death by shooting at him/her.


  • Baseoa - The main game gamecode and assets (maps, models, etc.) are stored in a folder named "baseoa". Mods are stored in their own folders, at the same level of baseoa[2]... so it's possible to use the "baseoa" term to refer to the "vanilla" game, the "base" game which does not use any mod (although it may use additional maps and models). No gamecode-changing PK3 files should be placed in baseoa. It's the equivalent of the "baseq3" folder Quake III Arena had.
  • Basepath - Your OpenArena installation folder, the path from which you run its executable, is known as your basepath folder. Opposite to your homepath, which is instead where your configuration settings and autodownloaded files are stored.
  • BFG or BFG10K - Projectile weapon which works like a super rocket launcher: quickly launches explosive bullets. Deadly, but rare. Throughout history, BFG has been mentioned as Big Freaking Gun, Big F*cking Gun or also Bio Force Gun (in the Doom movie).
  • Bind - Console command for binding keys to controls/commands.
  • Binding - Key binding, the association of specific keyboard keys with controls or commands. The GUI allows to set most controls, while the bind console command allows for more customization.
  • Bot - Robot in short.
    • Bot, in general software - A software program which acts in the place of human beings, e.g. in order to automate some functions. As example, chat platforms like IRC or Discord may have bots which send welcome messages to new users.
    • Bot, in the game - A computer-controlled character, useful to play offline or when there are not enough human players on a server. Different bots do have different personalities.
  • Bot navigation file - A .aas file, which allows bots to play in a certain map.
  • Bounce pad(s) - Also known as jump pads, they are areas which give players a great push in height, allowing them to quickly reach high places. When the push is mostly horizontal, instead, they are known as accelerator pads.
  • Bounding box - See Hitbox under H section.
  • Bps - Bits per second (bps) or Bytes per second (Bps), depending from the "b" letter being lowercase or uppercase. They are two units of measurement for data transfer rate. A byte is a group of 8 bits. Similarily, their multiples are Kbps (Kylobits per second), KBps (KyloBytes per second), Mbps (Megabits per second) and MBps (MegaBytes per second). In networking, usually bps (and their multiples) are used, however in OpenArena, the "rate" and "sv_maxrate" variables are expressed in Bps.
  • Brush - A brush is a volume constituted by four or more surfaces known as faces or planes; it is the basic "brick" which constitutes the maps of the game. Shaders applied to its faces determine if the brush will be made of solid, water, lava, etc. As a player, you only need to know that most of the geometry you see around the arena is made of brushes, additional knowledge is stuff for map creators.
  • BSP - File extension for compiled maps. BSP stands for Binary Space Partitioning.
  • Bug(s) - Software errors which cause programs to do not behave as expected. You can point out OpenArena bugs using the Forums.
  • Button(s) - Buttons may activate mechanisms such as doors or traps. Usually, you have to touch a button in order to activate it, but some buttons may require to be shot instead.


  • Capture - It's the act of scoring in some gametypes, e.g. when you bring the enemy flag to your own base.
  • Capturelimit - In various gametypes, matches do end when the score of one of the two teams reaches the pre-defined capturelimit.
  • CG - ChainGun in short.
  • Chaingun - Hitscan weapon, it's a gatling gun which fires at a much higher rate than the starting machinegun. Its ammo will not last long and its spread makes it not adapt for long range.
  • Character(s) - Models and bots which are in the game.
  • Character model - The 3D model of a character, which can be used by players and bots. The same character model may use different skins.
  • Chat - A way to communicate with others.
    • Chat, in general - There are various software tools which allow text (and sometimes also voice) chat with others. As example, IRC and Discord services are often used in gaming communities; these are used as means to talk about the game and to organize tournaments, pick up games, clans.
    • Chat, in the game - The game allows to write text messages to all players ("public chat", bound to "T" key by default) or to the players of your own team ("team chat", not bound by default). When someone is writing a text message, other players will see a "balloon" icon over his head. Also, some "voice chat" features are supported.
  • Chatfrag - When someone is writing a text chat message, has opened the command console or is in in-game menu, other players will see a "balloon" icon over his head. Killing someone while he's writing (and thus, cannot defend himself) is known a "chatfrag". Chatfragging is usually considered a not very polite action: if you see someone with a baloon over his/her head, it's kind to do not shoot at him/her. On the other hand, this should not be abused, so players shouldn't enter text chat mode during a gunfight: in that case, they can expect to be gunned down without mercy. Note: bots do not seem too polite towards chatting people.
  • Cheat(s) and cheat-protected cvars - Special commands and variables available only after loading a map in "developer" mode (using devmap command). They allow things like being invulnerable (god), being incorporeal (noclip), get all weapons (give all), see through map geometry (r_showtris), etc.
  • Cheating - The act of exploiting the game to get unfair advantages against other players, through aimbots, wallhacks, etc. Doing that is a very bad and sad thing, which would ruin the game for everyone... including the cheater himself (where is the fun if the game aims and shoots in your place? Where is the satisfaction in arriving first, if you did it by cheathing? You didn't prove anything to yourself!).
  • Cinematic - A pre-rendered video which can be played in the GUI (e.g. by using the apposite /cinematic <filepath/filename> command) or even in-level, on a surface. Rarely used. Cinematics are in RoQ format.
  • Clan(s) - Organized groups of players who train and fight together as stable teams.
  • Clan tag - A short clan-specific text that clan members put in (usually in front of) their nickname to identify themselves as members of that clan.
  • Clan war - A match between two different clans.
  • Class(ess) - Characters in the main game are not divided into "classes". They all have the same hitboxes, the same speed, the same weapons, etc. They are just estethically diffent. A few mods, instead, may use "classes".
  • Client - A machine of program which connects to a server to use a service. When playing in multiplayer mode, players' machines act as clients. Unless running in "dedicated server" mode, it is possible to act as client and server at the same time.
  • Client variable - A variable which allows to set something regarding the client part of the game. As example, usually "cg_*" and "r_*" cvars are client variables, and only affect the player who sets them.
  • Clip brush - Stuff for map authors, however we mention this here in case you heard the term. A clip brush is an invisible brush capable of partially behaving like a solid brush. A "bot clip" blocks bots movement only; a "player clip" (or simply "clip") blocks both human players' and bots' movements; a "weapon clip" blocks both movements and shots, similarily to a solid brush.
  • Command Console or Console - Powerful command-line user interface, which allows to set tons of things using commands and variables (cvars).
  • Control - Also known as resource control, the term refers to learning the respawn times of items and their locations in the map in order to grab the best resources as soon as they respawn, to get an advantage over other players.
  • Controls - It's possible to customize controls through the GUI (Setup --> Controls menu) or via command console (bind <key> <command>).
  • Cratering - Dying due to falling damage.
  • Crouch - It's not used very often, but it's possible to crouch. This will make your hitbox a bit smaller, and may allow to enter small passages. While crouching, you will move very slowly (about 1/4 of running speed), and may get more damage when landing. Pushing its button while swimming helps go deeper.
  • CVAR(s) - Variables, which usually can be set through command console, which allow to control a lot of aspects of the game.
  • CW - Clan War in short.


  • Dedicated server - It's a game server which runs the server part of the game only, without the client part (so you have to launch an OpenArena client and connect to it, in order to play on it). Servers have to be set to "dedicated 2" mode, if they wish to be visible as published internet servers.
  • Delag hitscan - Also known as Unlag hitscan, it's a technique to compensate network latency to make it easier to hit your target when using hitscan weapons. It is controlled by a server variable and a client variable.
  • Direct hit damage - The damage caused by weapons with direct hits (e.g. when someone gets a rocket in the stomach). Opposed to splash damage. Direct hit damage and splash damage are not summed up. See also Weapons comparison table.
  • Discord - Discord is a text chat and voice chat service, available through PC program, mobile app or internet browser. Its official website is You can join the official OpenArena Discord server (mostly focused on help and development) using this invite link, and the unofficial OAC OpenArena Competitive Discord server (mostly focused on organizing matches and tournaments) using this link.
  • DLC - DownLoadable Content in short. Some modern games provide additional stuff as official "DLCs", that players can choose to download/buy if they wish; see on Wikipedia for more infos. OA does not use a such system. While OpenArena has got an autodownload feature -disabled by default-, it works differently: it's used to get the files required to play on the server you are trying to connect[3], and OA developers have no control over the stuff you may get from it.
  • Dmflags - A special "bit field" server-side variable which allows server admin to manage some aspects of the game.
  • Door(s) - The base game only features sliding doors. Doors usually open when a player approaches them or shoots at them. Some may be activated by a button or some kind of trigger.
  • Downloadable content - See DLC. In short: there is no "DLC" system like some modern games; it has got automatic downloads which work differently.
  • Download mirror(s) - Links for downloading the game.
  • Drowning - Staying underwater for too long without taking a breath in surface will cause you start losing health and eventually die. The battle suit powerup gives complete protection against drowning.


  • Engine - The part of code contained in game binaries (game executables), that includes the subsystem to manage input, video, graphics, networking. Engine updates can affect also mods. Unlike gamecode, automatic download feature cannot update engine. OpenArena engine is a fork of ioquake3, which in turn is a fork of id Tech 3 engine.
  • Engine binaries - The game executables, such as "OpenArena.exe" under Microsoft Windows, are the files your machine "runs" in order to start the game. Each platform (Windows, GNU-Linux, Mac OS, etc.) requires its own binaries.
  • Entity (Entities) - An entity is an object which interacts with the game in any way. Entities are a broad category: items, weapons, lights, spawn points, players, triggers...
  • ESC menu - Also known as in-game menu, is the menu which opens by pressing ESC key while in game. It allows to join a team, to call for a vote, to enter setup, etc.
  • Event(s) - Communities sometimes organize competitive events to give players some challenge and keep interest in the game. Events usually have well defined rules and may foresee some kind of prize. Events may last a few hours or may span over a longer time. Follow OA-related communities (such as forums, websites, Discord servers), looking for words such as "tournament", "league", "championship", "cup", "draft", "tourney"...


  • Falling damage - The kind of self damage caused by falling from great heights, which may hurt you up to 10 HP. Death by falling damage is known as "cratering". This does not refer to falling into deadly pits, which are areas of the map expressly designed to instantly kill you, instead. The battle suit powerup gives complete protection against falling damage.
  • Firewall - A software or hardware device which aims to prevent external intruders from accessing your machines. You may need to explicly allow/whitelist OpenArena executables or network ports in your firewalls in order to play online, or to allow other people to reach your own game server.
  • FAQ(s) - Frequently Asked Questions in short. Answers to common questions. See FAQ and DeveloperFAQ pages.
  • FF - Friendly Fire in short.
  • First Person Shooter - See FPS, First Person Shooter.
  • Fork - In software development, it's when a project is split. Usually happens with open software, when a new project is born by forking an existing project. As example, OpenArena engine is a fork of ioquake3 engine, which is a fork of id tech 3 engine. See also on Wikipedia.
  • Forum - A website designed to allow users to talk about something. You can find Official OpenArena Forums at
  • FPS
    • FPS, First Person Shooter - The kind of game OpenArena is. To be more specific, it's a sub-genre known as Arena FPS or Arena Shooter.
    • FPS, Frames Per Second - How many times the game computes/draws all the graphics each second. Also known as framerate, it can be controlled by com_maxfps cvar and can be shown on screen using cg_drawfps cvar. It's very advisable to set a framerate your machine can deliver constantly; framerate may even influence game physics. See Framerate for more infos. There is also sv_fps cvar which sets how quickly the server does update the in-game world, but usually there is no need to tweak it.
  • Frag - In this game you have to shoot at and kill your enemies. Each kill a known as a "frag", and in some gametypes it is the most important score.
  • Fragged - Killed by someone.
  • Fraglimit - In some gametypes, the match ends when a player reach the required number of frags, or "fraglimit".
  • Framerate - See FPS, Frames Per Second.
  • Frequently Asked Questions - Also known as FAQ or FAQs. Answers to common questions. See FAQ and DeveloperFAQ pages.
  • Friendly fire - This term refers to the risk of damaging or killing your own teammates in team-based modes, by hitting them accidentally. It's common practice to have it enabed in Team Deathmatch mode, and disabled in all other modes... however that's up to the server admin to choose.


  • Game binaries - The platform-specific compiled files which an Operating System "runs" to start OpenArena. They contain the engine of the game. The built-in autodownload feature cannot update them.
  • Gamecode - The code containing the game logic: game rules, weapons behavior, etc. Usually contained in .qvm files. Mods usually have their own, and gamecode changes brought by new OpenArena versions do not affect them. Patches containing updated gamecode can be autodownloaded. Some new gamecode features may require support from updated engine binaries.
  • Game engine - See Engine under E section.
  • Game executables - The platform-specific compiled files which an Operating System "runs" to start OpenArena. They contain the engine of the game. The built-in autodownload feature cannot update them.
  • Game physics - See Physics under P section.
  • Game logic - The part of the game contained in gamecode: it controls game rules, weapons behavior, etc. Mods usually have their own, and game logic changes brought by new OpenArena versions do not affect them.
  • Game server - A machine running OpenArena as a server, allowing players to connect to it. Such servers are run by third parties (anyone can run his own server) and OpenArena developers have no control over them.
  • Gametype(s) - The main game modes, which define the objectives. Examples are Free For All, Capture the Flag, Last Man Standing, etc.
  • Gauntlet - Melee combat weapon. Requires no ammo. Used in small places or as a last resort. It must be selected by pressing the associated key.
  • GG or gg - "Good Game" for short. Usually written by players in text chat at the end of a match. "GG" may be used as a short "Got to Go" to mean "Bye, I'm leaving now!", and others may reply "GG", too, to imply "Okay, see you later!".
  • GH - Gold Health (+50 HP bonus) in short.
  • Git - Git is a version control system for tracking changes in files, mostly used for managing software source code. Github is one of the providers which offer such service.
  • Github - OpenArena developers use Github git service to manage the development of engine and gamecode source code:
  • Gib(s) - Pieces of meat that come out from bodies when shot.
  • Gibbing - The act of destroying bodies by killing people hitting them hard enough or by shooting at corpses.
  • GL - Grenate Launcher in short.
  • GPL, GPLv2, GPLv2+ - OpenArena is released under GNU General Public License v2. See also DeveloperFAQ#What about licensing?. The term "+" usually refers to the "either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version" phrase of the license.
  • Graphical User Interface - See GUI.
  • Grappling hook or Grapple - Also known as hook, the grapple allows to reach places by attaching to walls.
  • Grenade launcher - A projectile weapon which fires explosive grenades which bounce on walls.
  • GUI - Graphical User Interface in short. It's the user interface which allows humans to interact with the program thanks to a mix of images, icons, text, keyboard and mouse, as opposed to the text-only user interface which is the command console. The game menus are the most notable part of the GUI.


  • Handicap - Setting an handicap would make you weaker. The lower the handicap value is set, the lower will be your maximum health and armor, and the lower will be the damage caused by your weapons. Handicap level of a player is shown in the score table.
  • Headshot - The term may refer to hitting someone in the head, or to killing someone by hitting him in the head with the final shot; usage of specific weapons may be required. In the base game there is absolutely no headshot detect system, so you can just aim at the body or at the feet of your foes. A few mods may take headshots in account, by giving some kind of reward/medal or by causing more damage if you hit the upper part of the hitbox, but that's not part of the main game.
  • Heads up display - See HUD.
  • Health - Usually, players enter the match with 125 health points. When health goes over 100, it slowly goes down to 100. Players die when they reach 0 health points.
  • Health bonuses - The game includes bonuses which provide +5, +25, +50 or +100 health points. Only +5 and +100 (megahealth) bonuses allow to go over 100, up to 200.
  • Hitbox - Also known as bounding box, it's the invisible parallelepiped around characters which detemines the space they occupy and the area you can hit. It gets a bit smaller when a character crouches. Hitboxes are the same for all characters. Hitboxes are axial (X-Y) oriented and don't rotate as the character rotates. The Q3 Radiant (map editor) manual mentions that it is a "30 units by 30 units square with a height of 56 units. In the game world, eight units roughly equal one foot (30.5 cm). From this, we deduce that the characters are a heroic 7 feet tall (2.13 meters).". Hitting any point of the hitbox casuses the same amount of damage (some mods may alter this). If you are curious, the Unlagged mod has got an option to see hitboxes.
  • Hitscan weapon(s) - Also known as instant-hit weapons, they are weapons which do not fire a projectile which travels around the arena and can be dodged: hitscan weapons immediately reach their target. OpenArena supports a delag hitscan feature.
  • Homepath - The folder where your configuration settings and autodownloaded files are is known as your homepath folder. Opposite to your OpenArena installation folder, which is known as your basepath. It is possible to specify a custom homepath folder.
  • Hook - Also known as grapple, the hook allows to reach places by attaching to walls.
  • HP - "Health Points" in short.
  • HTTP redirection - Server admins can allow automatic downloads for clients reach high speeds by placing a copy of the required files on an external HTTP server, and setting the game to point to it.
  • HUD - The 2D stuff which gives you a lot of infos about the match, such as your current health and armor values, your remaining ammo, your score, etc. HUD stands for Heads Up Display.


  • id Tech 3 - The engine which powered Quake 3 Arena (and with some modifications, various other games), released under GPL license by id Software. OpenArena engine is a fork of ioquake3, which in turn is a fork of id tech 3. See also Engine under E section.
  • In-game menu - Also known as ESC menu, is the menu which opens by pressing ESC key while in game. It allows to join a team, to call for a vote, to enter setup, etc.
  • Instagib or Instantgib - A game variant where you have the railgun only, and a single hit will kill any foe.
  • Instant-hit weapon - A synonym of hitscan weapon. It identifies the way weapons like machinegun and railgun work, with the shots immediately reaching their target instead of travelling in the arena.
  • ioq3 - Short for ioquake3.
  • ioquake3 - A fork of the id Tech 3 engine. OpenArena engine is a fork of ioquake3 engine.


  • Jump - Jumping allows to get over some obstacles, and also allows to get higher speeds than simply running, with some practice: see Strafe jump. It's even possible to combine jumping with explosions, to achieve other advanced techniques like the Rocket jump. Also, pressing jump key helps to swim up to the surface, when underwater, and to exit from the water.
  • Jump pad(s) - Also known as bounce pads, they are areas which give players a great push in height, allowing them to quickly reach high places. When the push is mostly horizontal, instead, they are known as accelerator pads.


  • Key binding - Keyboard keys and mouse buttons can be "binded" to execute specific commands. It's possible to set many controls from Settings menu, while the bind console command allows more customization. Also known simply as binding.
  • Kill
    • Kill, synonym of "frag" - A point earned for killing someone. However, "frag" is used more often.
    • Kill, the command to commit suicide - In a few maps you may end up in places you cannot exit and killing yourself is the only solution. This will make you lose a "frag" from your score.
      About using the command to quickly restart with full health instead of searching for health bonuses around, or to "negate" a kill to your attacker when you are losing a gunfight, it's open to debate. Someone considers them, especially the first one, legit game strategies... someone considers them, especially the second one, not polite actions, almost cheating.
  • Killing spree - When a player scores "n" frags without being killed in the meanwhile, he can be awarded by a text mentioning it. See Killing Sprees, Death Sprees and Multikills.


  • Lag - Latency in short. "Lag" is also used to point out connection problems which cause players to have a poor gaming experience due to the game not responding as expected (e.g. "I'm lagging! I can't move properly! I see you skipping from a place to another!").
  • Lagometer - It is possibe to enable a small square which graphically shows some infos about the connecfion with the server. The most easy info is that if in the lower part you see yellow lines instead of green lines, your latency is quite high, and red spikes mean lost packets, so you may wish to check your network connection or to try another server.
  • LAN - Local Area Network in short. Usually using Ethernet technology, it is a network of machines physically near, which can communicate each other without having to pass through the internet. Playing on servers within the same local network allows lower latency and thus a more responsive gaming experience.
  • LAN party - An event where many players physically gather in order to play multiplayer games through a LAN, bringing their own PCs or using those provided by the event organizers.
  • Latency - Network latency indicates the time required by commands to travel beteen clients (players) and server. It is possible to have a visual feedback by enabling the lagometer. Also shortened to "lag", term which is often used to point out connection problems. The term "ping" is usually used to express the latency, in milliseconds: the lower it is, the better it is. OpenArena supports a delag hitscan feature.
  • Lava - An incandescent liquid, usually red-orange, which very quickly drains the life of characters touching it. The battle suit powerup gives complete protection against lava.
  • LG - Lightning Gun in short.
  • License - OpenArena is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2. It's a free software license known as GPLv2 or GPLv2+. A copy of license text is included with OpenArena downloads, usually in a plain text file named COPYING. See also DeveloperFAQ#What about licensing?.
  • Lift - A "lift" is a platform which stays in its lower position and goes up to its raised position when a player steps on it.
  • Lightning gun - Hitscan weapon which quickly fires a ray of energy, up to medium range.
  • Listen server - It's the opposite of a dedicated server. When you start a match from Multiplayer/Create menu, you act as both server and client from the same process: you are running a "listen server".
  • Lives - In most gametypes you have unlimited lives: you will be allowed to respawn a few seconds after being fragged. Exceptions are Elimination/CTF Elimination/Last Man Standing modes, where you have only a life per round (after losing it, you will have to wait the end of the round spectating); LMS mode however allows optional multiple lives before being put out from the round.
  • Local Area Network - See LAN.


  • Machinegun - Hitscan weapon. As a starting weapon, it's not very powerful, but effective at both close and long range and adapt to finish already weakened opponents.
  • Manual - This wiki tries to act as a game manual. See Manual.
  • Map
    • Map(s) - Maps are the "arenas" where the game takes place. They are "closed" levels where characters fight.
    • Map command - Map <mapname> is the command to load a map from console.
    • Map file(s) - Map "source" files have .map extension. They are usually edited with Radiant tools.
  • Map pack or Mappack - A series of arenas bundled together in a package. They may have been expressly developed to be part of such mappack (like OACMP) or may have been scavenged around the web and come with different lincenses.
  • Mapper - Map author, a person who creates arenas for the game.
  • Mapping - The act of creating maps for the game. Arenas are designed with a map editor program (such as GTKRadiant, NetRadiant or QuArK), then compiled to .bsp using q3map2 tool, then it is possible to create a .aas file for bot navigation using bspc tool. See also Mapping resources & tutorials.
  • Map rotation script - A series of user-defined variables which includes the commands required to launch a series of maps following a fixed order set up by server administrator.
  • Master server - It's a special server which keeps the real-time list of OpenArena internet-published servers (those correctly configured for "dedicated 2" mode). You can check the list from the in-game server browser, from external server browser programs, or from this web page:
  • Matchmaking - The process used by various modern games to automatically put players together into servers, sometimes trying to put together players with similar level of skill. See on Wikipedia for infos. OpenArena does not include a such feature: in OA players have to personally select the server they wish to play on, thanks to a server browser which lists them.
  • Medal(s) - "Medals" are simple "awards" that you earn by doing some particular things, such as scoring two frags in two seconds (Excellent), achieving two consecutive hits with the railgun (Impressive), etc.
  • MG - MachineGun in short.
  • MH - Mega Health (+100 HP bonus) in short.
  • Missionpack - The Mission Pack is a theoretically "official" mod by the authors of the game: OA 0.8.x comes with an incomplete "Missionpack" mod, which aimed to follow Team Arena more closely. As the most noticeable Team Arena features (three weapons, two holdables, four runes and three gametypes) have been bundled into the main game (baseoa), it's unknown if the Missionpack will receive further development or will continue to be included with the game. Missionpack name is inherited from the default Team Arena folder name.
  • Mod or Modification - A mod is an add-on, a modification that changes one or more aspects of the game. A good part of the mods which were designed for Q3A do run with OpenArena[4].
  • Model - A 3D model; usually refers to character models, which are used by players and bots; however may also be used to refer to the 3D model of a weapon or something else. The same character model may use different skins, see Player settings.


  • Nailgun - Projectile weapon which fires a cloud of nails. Extremely deadly at close range, works up to medium range.
  • Network latency - See Latency under L section.
  • Newbie - A newcomer, someone who recently started to play the game and isn't very skilled yet, or has still got limited knowledge about game mechanics and settings (don't worry, our Manual is here for you, trying to help!). It does not imply the slightly negative meaning that Noob has instead.
  • NG - NailGun in short.
  • Noob - Similar to newbie, but with a slightly negative acceptation. Used to refer to someone who isn't very good playing the game.


  • OA - Short for OpenArena, the game.
  • OA3 - The planned content reboot of OpenArena.
  • OACMP - OpenArena Community MapPack in short.
  • OAX - OpenArena eXpanded, OpenArena eXpansion, the development version of the gamecode.
  • OpenAL - An optional audio system designed for a better 3D audio experience. Requires apposite third party libraries to be installed on the system and to be enabled in the game. Required for build-in voice chat feature. OpenAL stands for Open Audio Library.
  • OpenArena - The game we are talking about. It's an OpenSource Arena Shooter.
  • OpenArena Community - The people which play OpenArena and follow it/interact with other OA users, using the official forum, the dedicated Discord server...
  • OpenArena Community Mappack - Also known as OACMP, it is a series of map packs which contain additional arenas created by some OA Community users (in this case, they are known as OACMP Team), released under GPL license, expressly allowed for the mappack by their authors instead of scavenged around the web like some other third-party mappacks. They cannot be considered "official" OA stuff, but they get close enough. If you wish to contribute, take a look to these FAQs and check on the official OA forums.
  • OpenArena Developers or OA Devs - As the name suggests, they are the people who actually develop the game. They do it for free, as OA is a spare time project.
  • OpenArena Team - The people who develop the game and create the official assets. They do it for free, as OA is a spare time project. OpenArena Team does not have control over game servers and what it is possible to autodownload from them, as they are run by third party.
  • OpenSource - Software that has got its source code available for re-use by third party, following the requirements of its free software license (in the case of OpenArena, GPLv2+).
  • Overarmor - This term can be used to identify the case you are above 100 armor points (up to 200). Such points will slowly go down to 100.
  • Overhealth - This term can be used to identify the case you are above 100 health points. Such points will slowly go down to 100 (up to 200, except with some special game options).


  • Pack(s) or Package(s) - The term may either specificially refer to a pk3 file or more in general, to a series of assets packed together, such as a "mappack" which is a series of arenas bundled together.
  • Pak(s) - See Pack.
  • Patch
    • Patch, in mapping - A patch mesh, or Bezier patch, is a mesh of polygons with no depth, which for players is visible and solid only on one side, while not on the other side. It can be used to create one-way passages, however it's mostly used to create smooth curved surfaces such as archs; for this reason, it is also known as curve.
    • Patch, update - An additional file which fixes problems and adds features, maps, etc. Patches contained in pk3 files can update gamecode and assets, and can be autodownloaded, unlike new versions of engine binaries which have to be installed manually.
  • PG - Plasma Gun in short.
  • Physics - Game physics are the way the game simulates the laws of physics.
    • Physics in mods: Vanilla or CPM - "Vanilla" refers to base game physics. Some mods may implement changes to the physics, such as those known as "CPM" or "ProMode": see Game physics#Vanilla and CPM physics.
    • Physics kind: Framerate-dependent, Fixed or Accurate - Originally, Q3A allowed players with some settings to jump a bit higher and thereby farther than others: in Game physics page we explain the settings which enable/disable the fixes for that problem.
    • Physics tweaks - The game allows server admins to alter Gravity, Knockback and players' Speed. See Special game options#Game physics.
  • Pick up game(s) - Also known as Pickups, Picks or Pug. Quickly organized, unofficial matches, with people using various means to gather more players to play with them. A quite used method invoves using apposite bots in chat systems like IRC or Discord: using apposite commands, players set themselves as available for playing in a certain mode or server; the bot keeps the list of available players; when there are enough, players go to the same server. Simpler systems involve just using apposite chat channels where to post requests for more players joining a certain server.
    "Pickup" may sometimes be used with more general meaning, for looking for/selecting people for anything, for teams, for clans, for tournaments... or for selecting "something" in general.
  • Ping - The term "ping" is usually used to express the network latency, in milliseconds: the lower it is, the better it is. If possible, players should choose to play on the servers where they have a lower ping, to have a better experience. Ping value of each player is shown in the scoreboard.
  • PK3 - It's the file format which owns OpenArena stuff. Technically, it's just a .zip file with a different extension. Sometimes referred as "pak", "pack" or "package". By default the game loads only assets contained in such files (see pure server, which usually shouldn't be disabled). Do not alter the original PK3 files which came with OpenArena installation, otherwise you may experience problems connecting to servers.
    PK3 files are loaded in alphabetical order; assets contained in pk3 files alphabetically later do override assets with the same name contained in pk3 files which come alphabetically before[5]. Also, assets in pk3 files contained in mods do usually override those from baseoa.
  • PL - Proximity mines Launcher in short.
  • Plasma gun - Projectile weapon which quickly fires plasma balls.
  • Player(s) - Someone who plays the game. The term is sometimes used to refer to human players only, and sometimes used to refer to both humans and bots.
  • Port
    • Port, cross-platform - "Porting" a software means to recompile it/adapt it in order to make it run on different hardware and operating systems. See Ports and markets for OpenArena on other platforms.
    • Port, networking - A "port" is an endpoint of communication in an operating system. Different programs accept connections on different ports. Default OpenArena port is UDP 27960, but it may vary. Integrated server browser seaches for "Local" (LAN) servers on UDP 27960-27963 range. The same machine may run multiple OpenArena server instances by using different ports. Ports work in conjunction with IP Addresses; to manually connect to a server, one has to use connect <IP:PORT> command. In case HTTP redirection (fast automatic download) is enabled, autodownload files will be tranferred using TCP, usually on port 80. See also Manual/Multiplayer/Advanced.
  • Portable install - Usually, the game comes in a zip file, so you just have to extract it somewhere, with to real "installation program"; your installation folder is known as your "basepath", and you can move it around without problems. Your settings and autodownloaded files are stored in a path known as your "homepath", which depends form your OS and is usually user-specific. You can however make your install, including settings, "portable" (completely easily movable) by either fusing your basepath and homepath or by "nesting" your homepath inside your basepath: these are achieved by launching the game with a specific command line parameter each time. See here for more infos.
  • Prediction
    • Prediction, technique - Foreseeing your opponents movements, shooting a bit ahead of them to compensate latency or to hit them by surprise.
    • Prediction, technology - The client part of the game uses some prediction and interpolation techniques to guess where players are before receiving the actual data from the server, and to show them smoothly. Some tweaks allow to alter some of those mechanics behaviors.
  • Price - OpenArena is provided for free, "gratis", and comes with no warranty. Some third-party may ask you some money for buying the game (see also Ports and markets), but OpenArena Team does not.
  • Private server - The term can be used to either refer to a game server which requires a password to connect to it (probably the most common meaning), or to a game server which is not reachable from the internet (in that case, a LAN/Local server), or is not listed on master server. E.g. Clans may have their own password-protected servers.
  • Pro - A very skilled player. Pro stands for Professional.
  • Pro features - Features expressly designed for the needs of competitive gaming, even at the cost of making the game look worse, such as "bright skins". A few mods heavily focus on these.
  • Projectile weapon(s) - Weapons that fire projectiles which travel through the map and, depending from the distance and other factors, may be dodged. Opposed to hitscan weapons.
  • Proximity mines launcher - Projectile weapon which fires adhesive mines, which detonate after sensing an enemy near.
  • Public server - The term can be used to either refer to a game server which does not require a password to connect to it (probably the most common meaning), or to a game server which is reachable from the internet and is listed on master server.
  • Pug - Pick Up Game(s) in short.
  • Pure server - Sv_pure (default value is 1) is the server option which tells the game to load only stuff which has been packed into PK3 files. This usually should not be disabled, otherwise it may cause unpredictable problems.


  • Q3 or Q3A - Short for Quake 3 Arena.
  • Q3TA - Quake 3: Team Arena in short.
  • Quake III: Arena - A fist person shooter game by id Software. OpenArena is a free clone of Quake 3, based upon its source code, which has been released under GPL license (its assets have been replaced, instead). Q3 assets are not free, and Q3 is still a commercial game.
    OpenArena is NOT associated with id Software, Bethesda Softworks, Zenimax Media or the Quake trademark.
    Although many OA players may have an history as Quake 3 players, it is not necessary to have played Quake series in order to enjoy OpenArena.
  • Quake III: Team Arena - The official, commercial mod for Q3A by id Software. See also Team Arena under T section.
  • Quake Video Maker - See QVM, Quake Video Maker.
  • QVM
    • QVM, file extension - Extension of a file holding gamecode (game logic). Usually, mods have their own QVM file, stored in their PK3 files. QVM stands for Quake Virtual Machine.
    • QVM, Quake Video Maker - A tool used to create cinematic (pre-rendered video) files in RoQ format.


  • RA - Red Armor (+100 AP bonus) in short.
  • Radiant - A series of programs (Q3Radiant, GTKRadiant, NetRadiant...) used to create maps.
  • Railgun - An hitscan wepon, adapt for long range sniping. Leaves a colored trail.
  • Rate - The /rate <number> client variable is used to set the maximum network bandwidth which that client should use. The /sv_maxrate <number> server variable is used to set the maximum network bandwidth allowed for each client. Despite data-rate being often expressed in bps (bits per second) in networking, these values are expressed in Bps (Bytes per second) in OpenArena. See also Tweak and Servers pages.
  • RCON - Remote CONsole or Remote CONtrol in short. A built-in system to remotely send console commands to a game server. In case you set it for your server, keep your RCON password safe!
  • Remote console or Remote control - See RCON.
  • Resource control - See Control under C section.
  • Respawn - When a character or an item appears in the map, he/she/it "spawns". Occurrences following the first one are said "respawn".
  • RG - RailGun in short.
  • RJ - "Rocket Jump" in short.
  • RL
    • RL, Real Life - Used to talk about something related with real world, outside from the game.
    • RL, Rocket Launcher - Rocket Launcher in short.
  • Rocket jump - The technique of reaching great distances by jumping while shooting a rocket at your feet. In most modes this causes noticeable damage to the player using it, but there are some gamemodes and special game options which allow to avoid it.
  • Rocket launcher - A projectile weapon which fires explosive rockets.
  • RoQ - The video format for cinematics (pre-rendered videos) in either the GUI or in-level. Rarely used.
  • Round(s) - Elimination, CTF Elimination and Last Man Standing gametypes are organized into "rounds". Fragged players have to wait the end of the round spectating, and a player or team really "scores" only when the round ends; winning a certain number of rounds is required in order to win the match.
  • Run or Running - By default, characters' running speed is 320 ups. It is possible to get higher speeds by strafe jumping. By default, "always run" option is active and you have to press a button if you wish walk slowly and silently; it is possible to invert this behavior, although that's not advisable.


  • Scoreboard - A table which shows names, scores and ping of players. It is briefly shown when you die, and you can manually invoke it by holding TAB key. Also shown when the match ends.
  • Self damage - If you are caught in the splash radius of explosions caused by your own weapons, you will get hurt (self damage from weapons), although less than your opponents. If you fall from great heights, you will get hurt up to 10 HP (falling damage); death by falling damage is known as "cratering". Some special game options allow to play without self damage.
  • Server - A machine or program which hosts services for clients that connect to it. In multiplayer mode, clients (players) connect to a server and play on it. Unless running in "dedicated server" mode, it is possible to act as client and server at the same time.
  • Server browser - A tool which allows to see a list of game servers, giving users infos they can use to decide to which server connect and play on (such as current gametype, map and number of players). OA has got one integrated, but there are also external tools with more features.
  • Serverinfo - A series of infos that servers provide when queried, such as server name, current gametype number, etc. Some of such data is used to show server information here:
  • Serverinfo variable - Variables set using "sets" command are published as part of serverinfo data. Can be useful, but execessively long serverinfo strings do cause technical problems.
  • Server variable - A variable which allows to set something regarding the server part of the game. As example, usually "g_*" and "sv_*" cvars are server variables, and affect all players of the server.
  • Serverside mod - A mod which does not require clients to download stuff from the server it in order to play it.
  • Set variables - There are various ways to set variables: set, seta, sets, setu, with slighly different meanings. If a variable already exist, you can just type /<variable> <value> in console to set a new value for it.
  • SG - ShotGun in short.
  • SH - Small Health (+5 AP bonus) in short.
  • Shader - A script which defines look and properties of a surface. Loads and mixes textures (images) in different ways, sets objects as solid, water, lava, etc.
  • Shaderlist.txt - A text file which tells map editor and map compiler programs which .shader files they have to consider (others are ignored). Very important for map creators, useless for players.
  • Shooter - A trap made by a wall-mounted grenade launcher, plasma gun or rocket launcher. The 3D model of the weapon may be omitted, and the shooter may just look like an hole or something else.
  • Shotgun - An hitscan weapon, effective at close range, but almost useless at long range.
  • SJ - "Strafe Jump" in short.
  • Skin - Cosmetic variation of the textures (usually colors) of a character model. Usually, models come with at least three skins (default, red, blue). See Player settings.
  • Slime - A toxic liqud, usually green, which hurts people that touch it. Dangerous, but not as deadly as lava. The battle suit powerup gives complete protection against slime.
  • Spawn - When a character or an item appears in the map, he/she/it "spawns". Occurrences following the first one are said "respawn".
  • Spawn point - Places where characters and items can appear in the map are placed by map author during map development. Some gametypes can use specific player spawn points. It is important that map authors place enough player spawn points, to avoid massive telefragging at match start in case there are many players.
  • Splash damage - The damage caused by weapons to players caught in the range of their explosions without being hit directly (e.g. when a rocket explodes near to the feet of someone). Damage decreases as the distance from the center of the explosion increases. Opposed to direct hit damage. Direct hit damage and splash damage are not summed up. See also Weapons comparison table. The battle suit powerup gives complete protection against splash damage.
  • Splash radius - The area where the explosion caused by a weapon hurts people through splash damage. Damage is higher near to the center of the area.
  • Spread - Some weapons do have some spread, meaning that the shots they fire do not hit the very exact point where the crosshair is, but may hit any point within an area around it. See also Weapons comparison table.
  • Starting equipment - Players usually spawn with the gauntlet, a machinegun with 100 bullets (50 in TDM mode) and 125 health points. This may vary in some gametypes (Elimination/CTF E/LMS) or in case the map author decided to give players additional stuff (e.g. a shotgun) on spawn.
  • Statistics - "Statistics" menu tracks "awards" you earn by fighting against human players.
  • Strafe jump - The technique of moving faster around the arena by jumping continously, while pressing forward and lateral movement, and moving the mouse in arcs. Mastering this technique allows to reach very high speeds.
  • Swim - It's possible to swim where water is deep enough. While swimming, you can press crouch key to help go deeper, and jump key to help go up to the surface and to help exiting from the water. Swimming is a risk for two reasons: 1) you move slowly (about half of running speed) and thus are an easy target; 2) you can stay underwater for a limited time, then you will have to reach the surface for a moment to take a breath, otherwise you will start losing health, ending up drowning quickly.


  • TA - Team Arena in short.
  • Team(s) - Some gametypes are team-free (each player is on his own), while others are team-based (players are divided into red and blue teams and have to cooperate with their teammates). It's also possible to spectate.
  • Team Arena - The official, commercial mod for Quake 3 by idSoftware. Like the main Q3A game, its source code has been released under GPL license, but its assets are copyrighted. OA "Missionpack" unfinished mod aimed to follow Team Arena more closely, but since the most noticeable Team Arena features (three weapons, two holdables, four runes and three gametypes) have been bundled into the main game (baseoa), the future of Missionpack OA mod is unknown.
  • Team chat - It is possible to send text messages to your teammates, instead of to all players. Very useful to organize teamwork. Such messages will also include your location (if the map includes location names). "Team chat" is not bound to any key by default, you can bind it from Setup -> Controls -> Misc menu (or by using console, e.g. /bind y messagemode2 would link the command to "Y" key). To write team chat messages directly in console, you can use /say_team <message>. Bots will accept team orders only if coming from team chat, they will ignore them if coming from public chat!
  • Team order(s) - The ESC menu allows to select pre-defined team orders ("follow me", "camp here", etc.), which will be sent to your teammates via team chat. You can also manually write such orders using team chat feature (e.g. "Sarge follow me" or "Everybody get the flag"); just remember that bots will ignore team orders coming from public chat, you have to use team chat.
  • Team overlay - It is possible to enable a small table in a corner of the screen that shows infos about your teammates: health, armor, current weapon and location (if the map includes location names). Obviously, it is shown in team-based modes only.
  • Technique(s) - Actions (rocket jump, strafe jump...) and tactics (aim rockets at enemy feet...) skilled players can use in order to play more efficiently or to do funny things.
  • Telefrag - If player A occupies the space required by player B to respawn or to exit from a teleport, player A will be immediately killed ("telefragged"). Poorly designed maps, without enough spawn points, may cause multiple telefrags at match start in case the are more players than spawn points available.
  • Text chat - The game allows to write text messages to all players or to your team-mates only. Public-chat text is binded to "T" key by default, while you have to choose a key for team-chat text (e.g. "Y" or whatever you like).
  • Text color(s) - It is possible to specify color of text by using ^1 - ^8 codes. See Text colors page.
  • Texture - An image placed on the surface of a graphic object. Can be used in shaders.
  • Third party or Third parties - Anyone who is not OpenArena developers/OpenArena Team. E.g. who runs game servers, who creates mods and unofficial maps. OpenArena developers have no control over them.
  • Timelimit - A match may end after the number of minutes specified by "timelimit". Usually matches last between 10 and 20 minutes.
  • Timer - It is possible to enable a counter which shows the time elapsed since the beginning of the match.
  • Trigger(s) - Triggers are entities which can be "triggered" to perform some action or activate other entities, and may be invisible. That's mostly stuff for map authors... however, if you want an example: when you see a jump pad, you don't see that above its visible surface there is an invisible "trigger_push" area which is linked to an invisible "target_position" entity which specifies the destination of the "push".
  • Troubleshooting - Possible solutions for problems encountered by users. See Troubleshooting page or ask for help on the official forums or on the Discord server. You may find something useful also in bugs page.
  • Tweak or Tweaking - Fine-tuning game options in order to achieve better performances or to adapt the game look and feel to meet personal taste.


  • Unlag hitscan - Also known as Delag hitscan, it's a technique to compensate network latency to make it easier to hit your target when using hitscan weapons. For infos about the feature, please read Delag hitscan.
  • U/s - Units/Second in short. See Ups.
  • Unit(s) - The unit of measurement of space within the game. The Q3 Radiant (map editor) manual mentions that "in the game world, eight units roughly equal one foot (30.5 cm)". From this, we can deduce that one unit is roughly equal to 3.81 cm.
  • Units per second - See Ups.
  • Ups - Units Per Second in short. The unit of measurement of speeds inside the game. Default running speed, without strafe jumping, is 320 ups. The /cg_drawspeed <0 or 1> command allows to see your current horizontal speed in the upper right corner of the screen, mentioned as "u/s" ("Units/Second")[6].


  • Variables - Also known as CVARs, variables can usually set through command console, which allow to control a lot of aspects of the game.
  • Vampire mode - A special game option which allows people to get health when hitting opponents.
  • Vanilla - This term is used to talk about the "base game"... the "out-of-the-box experience". Often used to refer to playing baseoa (the main game) instead of using a mod; may also be used to refer to playing with standard settings, without customizing special game options.
  • Vanilla physics - The standard game physics featured in OpenArena. Used in opposition to mod-specific game physics, such as "CPM/Promode" physics. See also Physics under P section.
  • Videoflags - A special "bit field" server-side variable which limits the ability of players to modify a few graphic settings.
  • Voice chat - Audio chatting with other players. This can be achieved through in-game VoIP support or through third party, external programs. Built-in voice chat requires OpenAL libraries installed.
  • VoIP - Refers to sytems for digital audio communication between users. VoIP stands for Voice Over IP. See also Voice chat.


  • Walk - This game if fast-paced, so you will probably run and jump all the time. It is however possible to walk slowly (about half of running speed), to move carefully in areas with traps and to be silent, as you don't make footsteps sounds when you walk.
  • Warmup - An optional time period before the actual match start. Actions performed by players during warmup do not affect actual scores.
  • Water - Liquid where, if it is deep enough, you can swim. Weapons work also underwater. Water can be clear or foggy. Swimming is slower than running (about half speed), so you will be an easy target. You can stay underwater for a limited time, then you will need to take a breath otherwise you will start losing health and you will drown quickly. The battle suit powerup gives complete protection against drowning.
  • Website - Official OpenArena Website address is
  • Weapons - The game features projectile wepons, hitscan (instant-hit) weapons and a melee weapon. Some weapons may harm their own user, if exploding too close.
  • Wiki - This wiki site is here, trying to offer help about OpenArena. Despite all the efforts, there is no guarantee infos written here are 100% complete or totally accurate. If you wish to offer your help to the wiki, you can try editing some pages (probably better using plain text editor, learning some MediaWiki markup), or take a look to WikiWorks page.



  • YA - Yellow Armor (+50 AP bonus) in short.
  • YH - Yellow Health (+25 HP bonus) in short.



  1. When id Software released the code of Quake III Arena under GPL license, it was limited to "source code" of engine and game logic. Q3A assets are still copyrighted, they cannot be re-used freely! Quake 3 is still a commercial game.
  2. Mods can load assets from baseoa, unless programmed to use their own stuff only.
  3. Although a lot of autodownloaded stuff can later be used also to play locally.
  4. Old mods may be subject to the Q3 SDK EULA, which may forbid the use with anything which is not a legit copy of Q3A: usage of such mods under OpenArena is only user responsibiliy, at his/her own risk.
  5. As example, a scripts/arenas.txt file contained in pak2.pk3 would be used in the place of a scripts/arenas.txt file contained in pak1.pk3.
  6. Many old mods may not support it, or have their own command.

See alsoEdit

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