Quake3 Arena Dedicated Server on Ubuntu 16.04

Hello everyone!!

So I decided to blog this since I haven’t seen this documented anywhere else. All other HowTo’s explaining how to do this are so outdated that it pretty much would make your server obsolete. So I decided to write this blog post for anyone out there that wants to run this really old, but still really cool game as a dedicated server.

The reason this came about is my boys today wanted to play online games with me, specifically on my XBOX One. I wanted to re-live my glory days when I was my oldest age and have a LAN party.  Like you, they were wondering what that was. Let me enlighten you. Back in the early to mid 90’s, before broadband Internet, if you wanted to play online games, it required either a dialup connection directly to your friend, or a massive network on a college campus with someone hosting the game and maintaining it. Neither worked in my small town I grew up in. So I would host LAN parties at my house. This meant, on Friday night, me and my friends would hang out at my house and play video games. We did this because on a typical Friday night, the girls of our town were too intimidated by our big….brains that they didn’t want anything to do with us. The Jocks were also just as intimidated so to prevent bloodshed, mostly ours, we played video games. We would all gather at my house, jam out and do a mini concert, and then hook all our machines up and play Doom or Quake or Duke Nukem 3D.

My boys thought this was a great idea so we decided to do it at my house. I was on my Mac, running Windows 10 in bootcamp, and my boys were running Ubuntu 16.04. I installed Quake 3 Arena on all the systems because my boys absolutely LOVE this game. Unfortunately it’s only on Steam on Windows, so I had to download it there and then copy all the files to my Ubuntu machines, but that was simple enough. I also installed it on my boys computers by going to the Ubuntu Store on their machines, searching for Quake 3 and installing it. I then copied all the pk3 files to them and we were good to go and start playing. And it was epic!! It was like all of us were 13 and playing. We were all hopped up on pizza, beer (me) and Mountain Dew (or as my son’s call it, “gaming fuel.”)

After we finished, I started to think, I used to host this game about 8 years ago on Hardy (Ubuntu 8.04), so I figured I would try it again. I looked online to see if there was an easy “HowTo” on this, and all of them were dated and a pain since you needed files from id Software, and it just sucked. So, here we go, the way I did it, super simple and easy to follow.

First thing I did, installed Ubuntu 16.04 on a Virtual Machine. Update, patch, ready to go.  After that, I installed quake3-server package from Ubuntu Xenial Universe.

sudo apt install quake3-server

When you install it, it will ask if you want to install the Quake 3 files. Say no. We’ll get to that in a few seconds. After that, I copied all my pk3 files from my commercial version of Quake 3. They were located on my Windows computer at <path where steam is installed>/steamapps/common/Quake 3 Arena/baseq3/

I copied all these files to my Linux laptop so that I could use them to play Quake 3 there. I put them in the first search path that the executable looks:


This directory doesn’t exist, so I had to create it:

sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/games/quake3/baseq3

I then moved the files there:

sudo mv ~/*.pk3 /usr/share/games/quake3/baseq3/

Once this is complete, restart the Quake 3 server:

sudo systemctl restart quake3-server

Now, we need to extract some config files for the server. There are sample configurations for all the game modes that you can modify for your needs in the pak0.pk3 file.

sudo apt install unzip
sudo unzip /usr/share/games/quake3/baseq3/pak0.pk3 ctf.config ffa.config teamplay.config tourney.config gamecycle.config
sudo mv /usr/share/games/quake3/baseq3/*.config /var/games/quake3-server/server.q3a/baseq3/

Now you need to modify those configs to match what you want. You can get details from doing a simple Google Search on Quake 3 Arena Dedicated Server parameters.

Once you have everything set, all you need to do is change the main configuration of the system located in /etc/quake3-server/server.cfg.

sudo vi /etc/quake3-server/server.cfg

You can either set one of the configs you extracted here, or what I recommend is modifying the line with “exec ffa.config” and change it to the config you want. Save the file and then restart the service:

sudo systemctl restart quake3-server

Now you can connect to your server and you’re done.

Hope this helps any of you out there. Please leave a comment if it helps or if you have any questions.



17 responses to “Quake3 Arena Dedicated Server on Ubuntu 16.04”

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