A number of Frequently Asked Questions about Armagetron Advanced are answered here, with some links to more detailed information.
Please read this list carefully if you are experiencing difficulty with Armagetron, as it is highly likely that someone has had the same problem and already discovered a solution. If your question is already answered here and you ask it again, don't be surprised if you get an abrupt or downright rude response - don't take it personally, it's just that our time is precious.
Important Notes Regarding the FAQ
While this list covers a large number of questions, it is by no means exhaustive. If your question is not answered here, you might try posting it on the Armagetron Forums or in our IRC Channel. We do try to give the best answers to any questions asked pretty much regardless of anything else, however be aware of the following guidelines if you are thinking of asking a question:
- Stupid questions will not garner a good response, use common sense. "Why can't I get color on my walls?" would be much better asked as "How do I have a cycle and wall color that are different from each other?".
- Provide as much information as possible relevant to the question, "Why doesn't my server work?" would be better asked as "My server starts, then stops. Here's the errors from the console. Any idea why it's shutting down right away?".
- Further guidance can be found in the article How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. (Note that these pages are in no way affiliated with Armagetron Advanced and therefore they can't answer your question).
For the most part, if you can't ask the question in the smartest possible way we'd rather you ask the best way that you can, rather than live in the dark and suffer. Even if you're an idiot, we still want you to be a comfortable idiot.
If you think that your question is in fact a bug report and you've only just started with the game, the chances are it's not. We'll not pretend the game is bug-free, but it is very stable and efficient. The chances that a new player to the game has discovered a previously unknown bug in a stable release are very, very slim. Astronomically slim, in fact. In any case, if you wish to continue thinking you have done so, please start with a question that describes what you see and ends with, "Is this expected behavior?". That's much more likely to get a satisfactory response than, "This game sucks! It has this bug and that bug and it just doesn't work. I downloaded it today for the first time on my Windows box, do you not care about Windows?". Also, since you suspect you found a bug, include all the information a bug report should have. If you're unsure about this, please consult the article How to Report Bugs Effectively for the best results. (Note that the author of this page is in no way affiliated with Armagetron Advanced, and therefore will reject any bug reports you send him about our program.)
Finally, this FAQ, like all FAQs, is a work in progress. If it's not as big as you're used to seeing, it's because it's probably a younger FAQ than you're used to seeing. That's ok, we'll add to it over time, and it'll get bigger and bigger until the server explodes with so many frequently asked questions that all of the developers decide to pitch in and buy a Caribbean island. Mmm, coconuts.
About Armagetron Advanced
What is Armagetron Advanced?
Put succinctly, Armagetron is "A Tron clone in 3D". An more detailed explanation can be found on the About page.
What is a client? What is a server? What's the difference?
Simply put, the game client is the program you run on your computer. The game server runs on somebody else's computer. The difference between the two is like the difference between, say, a lawyer and his client. The lawyer would be the server, the one who knows all about law and stuff. So the difference is just like in real life where the terms come from. The client requests a service from someone who serves. In our case, that service is a game that is served from a machine running a program called a "server", but if you requested the same service from a person in a casino, you'd still be running a game client.
My client can be a server, though, it says so right here.
That's not a question. In any case, the game client can act as a server if you press "Host Game" from the Internet Game menu. So technically the client is a client/server hybrid, but let's not get too technical.
So are all game servers just clients where people pressed "Host Game"?
No. This is where people get really confused, even to the point where they complain to server operators for doing exactly this thing. No, most, if not all, game servers available through the master server run a special version of the program that has no graphical display, and no player can play on directly. That is the server, commonly called a "dedicated server". You can run one too, if you like. Server operators chose to run this instead of the regular game client because it has a number of modifications that make it work better as a regular server, just like a mail server or a web server. It is more convenient and makes for a more reliable game server to do so.
Running the Game Client
Where can I download Armagetron Advanced?
That depends on what version you want to get. The current stable version is always available on the main web page, launchpad, or sourceforge. The latest testing version on AABeta. o 3.2 So, should I get the latest stable or latest development version?
Ok, but there are still so many different files to get, which one is right for me?
See FAQ#Terminology for choosing between Client and Server download. If in doubt, choose the Client. If you're running a PC with Windows, get the exe format, GCC or VC6 should not matter (please report it if only one of them works for you). If you've got a Mac, get the dmg; there is a special build available for versions 10.2.8 of OS X. If you're running 32 bit Intel Linux, get the x86(_32) "package". If you're running 64 bit AMD Linux, get the x86_64 "package".
I'm running Linux, but don't know whether it is 32 or 64 bit. How can I find out?
On a console/terminal, type
If the output starts with x86_64, you have a 64 bit system. If it starts with i386, i486, i586 or i686 or possibly just x86 or x86_32, you have a 32 bit system. For anything else, we don't provide binary packages, you have to build from source. If the output is blank, the method failed. Then, see whether you have got the directory /usr/lib64 on your system. If yes, you have a 64 bit system, if no, it's 32 bit.
Ok, I've got the file, but how do I install it
... on MS Windows
Find the exe file you downloaded from the question and answer above this one and double click on it. Answer all dialog boxes with Yes/Next/Finish, whatever applies. On Windows XP, when you first run the game and try to connect to the Internet, a firewall warning may pop up; set it to allow access.
... on Max OS X
Mount the dmg file (double click it), and drag the Armagetron Advanced application to your hard-drive.
... on Linux/Unix
That depends on the distribution you are running. Check out the Linux Distribution Field Report for details.
I'm working on a Linux PC administered by someone else and don't have the root password, can I still install the game?
Yes. The "package" binary files can install everything in your home directory. If you have to build from source, proceed as in the last FAQ, but pass '--prefix=$HOME/usr' to ./configure and run the game later with '~/usr/bin/armagetronad', or run the game from the build directory with 'make run'.
I run a non-Linux UNIX or Linux on hardware not supported by your binary packages or the binaries don't work, how do I install from source?
Basically, you fetch the .tbz2 source archive and do the following as the superuser root
tar -xjf <path to the tbz2 source archive you just fetched> cd armagetronad-<VERSION> ./configure make make install
The configure script will tell you what you are missing. In this mode, you always need the 'development' packages of our dependencies on most distributions. The Linux Distribution Field Report may have some hints. Ask us if you get stuck.
How to Play
Woah! This is scary, what do I do?
The first thing you will be presented with when starting the game is a 'splash screen', pressing any key will then present you with the main menu, which is fairly self-explanatory. If you get stuck on anything in the menus, leave the menu selection highlighted for a short while and an explanation will pop up at the bottom of the screen.
What are the controls?
All of the controls are completely configurable from the menu system in-game.
Ok, I just got 'core dumped', how do I get better at this?
The first place to look for more information is the Playing the Game page.
What do things like rubber, grinding and double binding mean?
See the Glossary page for more information on these terms.
I got kicked from a "Fortress" server, why?
You probably did not grind the center or you may have killed a teammate. We can help you learn the Fortress.
Customising the Game
How do I use a map?
Read Playing Maps, and please try to tell us why this question is asked so often and followed by "I read the whole wiki!".
What are moviepacks?
Moviepacks are downloadable packages that completely change the look of the game. Applying a moviepack to your client can change wall and floor textures, cycle models, trail colours, etc.
How do I find / install a moviepack?
Read Customizing the game.
How do I give my cycle and trail different colors?
See Customizing the game#Cycle_Colors for information on cycle colors.
How do I color my chat?
You can color your chat by using 0x color codes. The format is as follows: 0xrrggbb where r is red, g is green, and b is blue. See Customizing the game#Chat_Colors for more information on chat colors.
Signing in (Authentication)
A full guide with more options can be read here: Authentication_for_Players
How do I get an account I can use to log in?
Get a forum account on the main forums. Avoid fancy special characters in it. Your Global ID (GID) will then be "<your account name>@forums", without the quotes.
Done! Now, how do I sign in?
When on a server supporting authentication (almost all now), say "/login <your GID>". A prompt for your password will pop up shortly after, fill it in. No worries, it will be transmitted only as a cryptographic hash.
Do I have to do that every time?
No, there are several shortcuts. First, you can avoid typing your GID every time. In your player setup, there is a field rather at the bottom titled "Global ID". Put it in there. Then, you can authenticate either by just saying "/login" or via the "Authenticate" menu item in the ingame menu.
That's still work!
Oh, all right. If you want to be authenticated all the time, go to your player setup again and activate "Auto Login". Then the login prompt comes up every time.
But I still need to enter my password every time?
If you want to avoid typing your password every time, you need to instruct the client to store it for you. In the password entry dialog, there is a "Store Passwords" item, set that to "In memory" if you only want to be asked for your password once per session or "On disk" if you want it permanently stored in your user.cfg file. Obviously, the last option is risky: if someone gets hold of your user.cfg file, they can impersonate you.
Hosting a server
See also: Troubleshooting
Which should I run? The client in hosting mode, or the dedicated server?
Generally this depends on how long you want the server to run at a time. If you just want it running when you're playing, run the client in hosting mode, it's easier to deal with. If you're running at a LAN party, you might also want to run the client in hosting mode. But if you want to run a server that operates on the internet, reports to the master server, and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (8 days in a leap week), then you should run the dedicated server.
Where are the server sources?
The server sources are the same as the client sources. You compile a server from them by giving the additional command line option '
How do I start a dedicated server?
See the Server Administration Guide for more information.
Your Game Client
ArmagetronAd takes most or all the CPU time, how come?
AA takes all the CPU time it needs to simulate and render the scene as fast as you'll allow it to. There are two conditions under which that makes it take almost everything that is available:
- You set your graphics card driver not to wait for VSync. AA will then run at the highest possible framerate and therefore also use all the CPU time available. If you enable the FPS display in the HUD options and it shows more than 100 FPS, then that's your problem.
- When it tells your video card driver to update the screen now, the driver goes into a special CPU-hogging mode until the command is completed, even though all it does is sit around and wait. Both nVidia and ATI drivers are guilty of this. In the "Performance Tweaks" submenu of the graphics settings, there is the "Flush" menu item where you can tweak AA to not issue the problematic command (with possible side effects).
I can't seem to get into any internet games, what's wrong?
This happens when some part of the network between you and the servers is blocking our network traffic. The guilty party can be your network provider (z-man, for example, can't play over his University WLAN) or an overzealous firewall or router. The list of products used in home networks that we know to be potentially problematic is short:
- Norton. Both "Norton Internet Security" and "Norton 360" have a built in firewall that is active by default, and that firewall is not operating 100% correctly; see here for details and a fix. Note that Norton comes pre-installed on some machines, so you may have it and not even know about it.
We don't know of any routers or other network infrastructure hardware that interferes with Armagetron Advanced in any way, and the built in firewalls of Windows Vista and Windows XP are unproblematic as well.
ArmagetronAd is unplayable on my AMD Dual Core X2 System (might affect other Dual Cores)
- The console displays "Timer hickup"
- FPS are usually ok (above 30).
- Might only occur in network games
- Game performance is very bad
At least three solutions for this problem are available:
- To fix this problem use your TaskManager to set ArmagetronAd.exe's cpu affinity to a single CPU.
- Disable Cool & Quite in BIOS
- Install the necessary Microsoft Hotfixes and depending on your System you might have to update your bios and drivers too.
- Install a 0.2.8.3 alpha client.
Links (TODO replace links with links to better instructions!):
- Microsoft Knowledge base Article about Q896256
- AMD Dual Core Optimizer The fix is similiar to Microsofts, but only fixes a small part of it. The Microsoft patch also addresses power saving bugs (in Windows XP).
- Details: Armagetron Advanced 0.2.8.x or later uses the high precision timer on Windows if available. This can be a problem on the new Dual Core Systems or malfunctioning Multiprocessor System. The Timer of each core runs at different speeds which results in a jumping timer! The AMD X2 Systems are affected because they have two separate timers for each CPU (Intels Core Duo CPUs share a single timer). The AMD X2 Systems are only affected with Cool & Quite power saving enabled otherwise both cores have the same timer speed. The Windows kernel schedules Armagetron Advanced between both cores which results in a jumping timer form Armagetron perspective.
ArmagetronAd keeps minimizing when on fullscreen mode on Ubuntu/GNOME
It turns out gnome-screensaver is faulty and kicks in all the time when in fullscreen. The simpliest solution is to just turn off gnome-screensaver on the control panel.
I've started the dedicated server, but I don't see it listed in the master server. What's wrong?
You need to add the line
to your configuration files to publish your server on the internet. The server needs to be up one or two minutes before it can appear in the server browser, the master server checks whether it is reachable before it gets published.
I did that, but my server still is not listed. What else can be wrong?
Get your server's IP address; if it is running on the same computer you use for browsing right now, check http://www.whatismyip.com to get it. Fire up the Armagetronad client, enter the internet server browser, wait half a minute, exit the server browser, enter it again, and look for your server's IP. If it appears (having the list sorted by server name my pressing "right" once helps), you really want to ask the question 'I see my server's IP in the master server browser, but it says "Unreachable". What's wrong?'. Otherwise, this is the right section for you. This is also the right section if you see your server just fine, but nobody else does.
If your server is connected to the internet via a router box and not directly via a "modem" of sorts, it is likely that network packages from the internet can't get to your server because the router blocks them. You need to tell your router to forward UDP port 4534 (or whatever SERVER_PORT is set to) to the server. On http://www.portforward.com, there are nice instructions how to do that for a lot of router models. If the UDP port 4534 thing confuses you, just follow these instructions for a different game that uses a similar connection method. Of course, you need to find out what router model you have, some under-the-table-crawling and cable following may be required for that if you can't remember what you bought or got the router from your ISP.
My server still isn't listed. This sucks, it's hard to find out where the problem is. What can I do?
You can ask people to connect to your server directly by giving them your IP and the port your server is running on. A perfect place to ask is our IRC channel(#armagetron on irc.freenode.org) because you'll get a real-time answer there. Less perfect is the support section of the forums; you'll need to make sure your server is up and running when people read your post, which can be well 48 hours after you post it. If people can't connect to your server that way, it means you probably need to set up port forwarding (see last question) correctly.
Gaaa! This FAQ is useless! Can't YOU help me get my server up?
Sure. Post your trouble on the support section of the forums. Be sure to
- describe exactly what you already tried, and please don't just say "everything the FAQ told me"
- state the IP your server is running on, we need that to check the master server's logs
- state your port if you modified SERVER_PORT
- state your server's name, others need that to check for your server in the browser
- post the complete output of your server from the moment it is started
Without that information, we can't help you.
Setting up a server is complicated sometimes; don't be too shy to admit you didn't understand some part of the process. A lot of trouble comes from people silently skipping steps they don't understand.
I see my server's IP in the master server browser, but it says "Unreachable". What's wrong?
Probably, the answer is "Nothing is wrong". A bug in some routers or the NAT specifications (at least, that's how Z-Man sees this) causes the response to the server query packet used in the server browser to come from the LAN address of your server, not the public address it was sent to. The packet gets ignored then. A workaround will be available in 0.2.8.3, but right now, that means most people can't see their own servers. Come to the IRC channel (#armagetron on irc.freenode.org) and ask people there if they can see your server.
I'm on a Mac and the server says something about "Language British English not found" and exits. What can I do?
Read Mac_OS_X_Dedicated_Server. The app bundle doesn't run directly.
How is Armagetron developed?
We are using Open Source/Free Software methods. We have a core team of developers with a bit of fluctuation. All work we do is immediately published and can be reviewed/used by anyone able to follow the instructions in the included documentation right away (of course, at your own risk; it's safer to stick to official releases). [On Launchpad], there is a list of all our code and code of external contributors. Several groups and individuals also publish their modifications to our source there, and we take over some of their stuff if the usefulness to work to integrate ratio is high enough. We also accept patches send by other means, of course.
Ok, that's a confusing lot of different code versions. Which are the most important?
Of course, our own :) The two most important 'branches' are lp:armagetronad, our main development branch where all the new features are implemented first, and lp:armagetronad/0.2.8, the current stabilization branch at the time of this writing, where we fix bugs. The two most important 'hack' branches are 0.2.8-armagetronad-sty with the 'pig sty' patch that adds the CTF and ball game modes and shooting, and the 0.2.8-armagetronad-sty+ct branch which adds a whole lot of other neat features.
Will there be support for the neat new cockpit in 0.2.8.x?
No. The cockpit stuff is developed in the lp:armagetronad brach (called trunk) and is a major new feature there. Only bugfixes and very much needed features are added to 0.2.8.x versions.
What about <feature X not in any of the 0.2.8 alphas/betas>? Will it be in 0.2.8?
Same answer as above.
There's a quite obvious and annoying problem in version 0.3.x, why isn't it fixed?
That problem probably comes from some experimental code someone committed a bit too eagerly. It is not currently possible to easily fix the problem the right way, or we would have already done so. Before we can fix it properly, we either need to do some work elsewhere first (which you can bet we're doing) or the person responsible needs to find the time. Priority on the development line is to get new stuff done; this implies that sometimes construction sites with no progress remain visible for a long time. We're sorry for the inconvenience and will try to avoid problems like that by developing larger new features in separate development branches until they're ready for public use.
(This answer currently applies to: the camera glance behavior and missing sounds. Other obvious problems may be indeed unknown to us and should be reported as a bug.)
When All Else Fails
My question has not been answered, where do I go now?
Alternatively, you might like to see if there is anyone around in the IRC Channel.
Remember, you are the one requesting help, so be polite.
What should I do to increase my chances of getting help?
First off, there's a particularly useful 'Search' facility, which is linked to at the top of all forum pages. It is easy and powerful to use, and often will turn up an answer without any delay.
Secondly, provide enough correct information. This is a simple task that will save a lot of trouble for anyone trying to help you.
- What operating system are you running?
- Which version of the client / server are you having problems with?
- What error messages do you get?
- If starting up a server, what's your IP address?
- ... and so on.
What is this IRC channel thing?
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a type of real-time internet 'chat room', where group communications can take place in different rooms or 'channels'. For more information and how to use the Armagetron channel, have a look at the IRC Channel page.