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			    BZFlag 2.0.8
		Copyright (c) 1993 - 2006 Tim Riker


Tim Riker <>

Original Author

Chris Schoeneman
475 Hawthorne Av
Palo Alto, CA 94301

See the AUTHORS file for more authorship details.


BZFlag is an Open Source OpenGL multiplayer multiplatform Battle Zone
capture the Flag game.  At its heart, the game is a 3D first person
tank simulation where opposing teams battle for dominance.  The game
was originally written for SGI computers running Irix, but now runs
and is actively maintained on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, BSD, Solaris,
and other platforms.  The game is distributed under the LGPL license.

This is the BZFlag README file.  It includes simple build
instructions, user community references, other information for BZFlag
development, and a manifest of the source code layout.

Obtaining BZFlag

Main BZFlag Website:
BZFlag Project Site:

The main BZFlag website provides access to most all of the resources
available for the game.  The binary and source distributions of BZFlag
are, however, provided on the Sourceforge project site.  Compiled
versions are distributed as installable packages, disk images, and
more, with details varying depending on the platform.  Source code
distributions are provided and archived in various formats as well.
See the project site for the download links.

BZFlag is also available directly from CVS.  To obtain BZflag from
CVS, a bit more familiarity with software development is expected.
Sometimes active BZFlag development is on CVS HEAD, sometimes it is on
a branch, sometimes it's in multiple places.  Inquire on the #bzflag
IRC channel on or to the bzflag-dev mailing list as
to where the current development activity resides.  If you're familiar
enough, anonymous CVS access is provided:

    cvs login
[ press return for no password ]
    cvs -z3 co -P bzflag

Compiling and Installation

To compile a playable BZFlag, the following steps should get you up
and running quickly if everything external to BZFlag is properly

    ./configure --enable-optimized

If configure detected everything it needed to build the BZFlag client,
after make the client will be sitting in src/bzflag as 'bzflag'.  The
game can be run from there, though you will probably want to "sudo
make install" or otherwise become a privileged user and install the
game properly for your system.

If you're building on a platform that has a README.* file, you should
consult that file as they usually contain additional instructions or
details specific for building on that platform.  There are often hints
for common problems specific to those platforms as well.

The Longer Version:

To build sources checked out directly from CVS you need to create a
configure script. You can skip this step if you grab an distribution
of BZFlag that already has a ./configure script in it, such as from a
source distribution tarball.  To generate the configure script, you
run the provided script:

  % sh

The script will report whether sufficient versions of the GNU Build
System tools (i.e. autoconf, automake, and libtool) that were detected
and if successful, a configure script will be generated.  If the
script fails, submit a report to the developers containing the output
of "sh -v". This will run in verbose mode.  One of
the most common failures is having insufficient versions or mismatched
combinations of the GNU Build System tools, make sure your tools are

Now that you have a configure script and presuming the previous step
was successful, you can configure BZFlag:

  % ./configure --help

There are a variety of options possible when configuring BZFlag.  Most
notably, you'll probably want to use the --enable-optimized option for
performance and the --enable-shared option if you are building server

  % ./configure --enable-optimized --enable-shared

You may want to create a 'work' directory and configure from there to
have all the build products and binary executables get placed in a
directory separate from the sources.  To do this, simply create a
directory then run configure and make from there instead.

After configure completes, it will report whether all the requisite
packages were found that it needs in order to build the client and the
server.  The client is reliant upon the following external
dependencies that should be installed before running configure:

  OpenGL 1.0+
  libSDL 1.2+
  libCURL 7+

If you're on an operating sytem that uses a packaging system
(e.g. apt, portage, ports, etc), be sure to install the development
kit versions of each of those (e.g. xlibmesa-gl-dev package) so that
headers are made available.

The final summary at the end of running configure will report whether
the client will be built or not.  Once configure has been run, you may
compile by simply running 'make'.  If you have GNU Make and are on a
multiprocessor system, you can build in parallel with the -j option:

  % make -j4

If compilation was successful, the client will be in src/bzflag and
the server will be in src/bzfs as 'bzflag' and 'bzfs' respectively.
You can run the client or the server directly from those locations
with or without installing:

  % src/bzflag/bzflag

BZFlag looks for data files in a path defined during compile, in ./data/ ,
or in the previously specified data path only.  As part of the tarball/cvs 
checkout, the base data library is located in <installed-locale>/bzflag/data. 
This means that to test in a working directory you need to tell bzflag 
where to find these files if there is not a 'data' directory in your current
directory.  This can be done with a symlink:

  % ln -s ./path/to/bzflag/data

After testing you can install BZFlag by running 'make install' with
sufficient system installation privileges.  Use 'sudo', 'su', or
similar methods to elevate your privileges when installing BZFlag

  % sudo make install

You should now have BZFlag in the system directory ready to run.

If you do not have admin privileges on your platform, you can install
files in a directory that you own; for this to work, you have to
append to the configure command the prefix option:

  % ./configure --prefix=YourHomeDirectoryHere

You will then be able to perform a "make install" without needing to
elevate your privileges, and all bzflag executable files will be
installed in the subdir bin of the specified path.

For additional information on installing, see INSTALL file.

Again, some platforms may be different.  See the README file
appropriate to your system for more information:

  Platform			README file
  --------			-----------

You can also build an installable package using:

  % make package

The package will be placed in ./dist; the exact form of the package
depends on the platform.

There are three cleanup targets: clean, distclean, and

`make clean' removes intermediate files but leaves bzflag and other
programs and any man pages.

`make distclean' removes everything clean does and also programs and
man pages. This should get things back to a tarball state.

`make maintainer-clean' removes everything distclean does and also
packages, directories created during the build, and the platform
configuration; this should get the source tree back to its state in

To build BZFlag for an unsupported platform, see PORTING.

The ./configure script has a number of build options that you may find


The BZFlag project has several resources set up for communicating both
with other developers and with the community.  There is an IRC
channel, several mailing lists, bulletin boards, and a wiki.

Internet Relay Chat
Most of the BZFlag development activity and discussions occur over
IRC.  Join the #bzflag IRC channel on the Freenode network
(, port 6667) to get involved.

See for a web based interface for first-time
users.  Individuals that intend to stay in the channel are expected to
get a non-web-based IRC client.  See or search the
web for IRC clients for your operating system.

Mailing Lists
There are several BZFlag mailing lists, but the two of particular
interest to most are the user's list and the main developer's list.
The former is for general BZFlag discussion and announcements.  The
latter is for coding and development discussion only.  There are also
lists dedicated to CVS activity, league discussions, and server

To join a mailing list, go to the Sourceforge mailing list page on the
project site: and follow
the links for joining the respective mailing lists that interest you.

Bulletin Boards
There are extensive and active bulletin boards used by players, server
operators, administrators, and others available here:

Registering an account on the bulletin board presently also registers
your callsign for use inside of BZFlag.  Some servers require
registration in order to play.  See the board FAQ and Getting Started
pages for new users.

In addition to the main bulletin boards, there are forums on the
Sourceforge project site available here:

The main bulletin boards are considerably higher volume for day-to-day
player discussions.  The forums are often used for informally
resolving issues with new users.

The main BZFlag website contains a wiki that may be edited by the
community available at:

The wiki does require a simple registration in order to make
modifications as a means to minimize abuse, but serves as a
communication forum and ongoing discussion arena for the game's


Patches should be entered into the BZFlag patch tracking system at:

Patches are preferred in the unified diff format.  From a CVS
checkout, a unified diff patch file may be created as follows:

  % cvs diff -u > patch.diff

If you like, you may also send mail to either the BZFlag development
mailing list or to (the development mailing list is
preferred) to discuss contributions to the official BZFlag source
code.  Contributions are gladly accepted for modifications that do not
affect the core gameplay.  Interacting with the other developers in
the IRC channel is recommended for any changes which will affect

Bug Reports and Support

For reporting bugs and unexpected behavior, please go to BZFlag bug
tracking system at:

Alternatively, you can email bug reports to the development mailing
list or to but the web based method is preferred.  See
the BUGS file in the source distribution for other known issues.

If you require assistance with some issue, please visit BZFlag support
tracking system at:

Alternatively, the IRC channel, discussion forums, and mailing lists
are also viable avenues for resolving issues.


BZFlag has a long history of development and considerable community
involvement since it became an Open Source project.  See the AUTHORS
file for more details.

Source Tree Organization

After unpacking a source distribution, you should have the following
files in the new 'bzflag' directory:

  README	- this file
  README.*	- platform specific details
  BUGS		- a list of known bugs
  BZFlag.xcode  - Mac OS X XCode project
  ChangeLog	- source code changes since previous release
  COPYING	- the license for BZFlag
  NEWS		- history of visible changes for each release
  DEVINFO       - information for developers
  PORTING	- a guide for porting BZFlag
  RELNOTES	- placeholder - see NEWS
  TODO		- incomplete list of things to do
  data/		- data files (sounds, images, etc.)
  debian/	- debian apt files
  Dev-C++/	- Dev-C++ project files
  doc/		- partial documentation in doxygen format
  include/	- include headers for libraries
  man/		- man pages
  misc/		- miscellaneous goo
  package/	- stuff to build installable packages
  src/		- bzflag, bzfs, etc. source code
    3D/		  - 3D code including texture manager
    bzadmin/      - bzadmin app source code (text admin/chat client)
    bzflag/	  - bzflag app source code (game client)
    bzfs/	  - bzfs app source code (game server)
    common/	  - general purpose classes
    game/	  - game library used by both the server and client(s)
    geometry/	  - geometry rendering classes
    mediafile/	  - classes for reading resources
    net/	  - networking classes and functions
    obstacle/	  - collision detection stuff
    ogl/	  - OpenGL utility classes
    platform/	  - platform dependent code
      MacOSX/       - Mac OS X specific files
    scene/	  - high level rendering algorithms
    zlib/	  - compression library
  tools/	- various helper utilities
  win32/	- stuff for building on the Windows platform

Note that include/ does not have all the include files.  If a header
is used entirely within a library (i.e. it doesn't directly provide
functionality outside the library) then the header is found in the
library's directory under src/.  An include file goes in include/ only
if it's required by another library or libraries or executables.
While this complicates locating a header file (it can be in one of two
places instead of just one place), you can instantly tell if a header
file is (can be) used by clients of the library.


UDP added by Frank Siegert,,

BZFlag implements UDP unicast relay networking. This provides much
better timing and stability compared to just TCP.

One of the more frequent questions, UDP does not work, why?

- When I connect to a newer server with this client others report they
  can see me but I get 'black caps' after a few seconds for all other

Two possibilities:

a) you are behind a NAT router that is not forwarding UDP traffic to
   your system. Try reconfiguring the router to do NAT on UDP packets.

b) you are behind a firewall or a desktop firewall (e.g. ZoneAlarm)
   that is blocking incoming UDP traffic. Please reconfigure or disable
   your firewall(extreme solution) for the game, for more intelligent 
   desktop firewalls set them up to let UDP port 17200 to 17220 through.

Notes on "CHEAT" servers
While the license for bzflag allows users to run any server modification
that they wish, or to modify the code in any way. We ask that people do not
publish or host "cheat" type clients or servers that ruin the game for people.
We understand the desire to expand and modify the game and it's sources, so we
ask that anyone wishing to run a game that uses modified code or logic on
a different network protocol then the current public release. This will let
moded games be played, and prevent moded clients from being used on public un-moded
games. The bzflag project administrators reserve the right to remove public listing
of any game servers that do not follow this rule. We also reserve the right to
remove any global accounts or access to public services at any time.