With all the talk of Unreal Tournament 4 possibly being cancelled one of these days, due to Epic’s runaway success with Fortnite, I’ve decided there’s really no reason to not be playing UT99.

Thus, we set about trying to run it on modern hardware, with a modern Linux installation.

As much as this is about setting things up on Linux, it’s also partially my own attempt at some knowledge preservation, as a lot of this stuff ends up being forgotten or lost over time (it’s been almost 20 years! a lot of the old sites and things you expect to find this info on simply do not exist anymore :()

This is part one of two, and will focus on installing and running the game using Wine.

Part One - Wine

You more than likely don’t have a CD/DVD-ROM any more, so you Steam is the obvious first port of call. Simply installing Steam via winetricks will thereafter allow you to log into your Steam account, and install Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year edition.

As usual, the details given here are Debian-specific, but you should be able to translate everything to your distribution of choice.

Some notes about my system setup, which may provide insight into some prerequisites:

  • Debian Sid/Unstable 64bit
  • I have a native working Steam installation, which implies multi-arch setup with various i386 libraries already installed to support Steam (see the Debian wiki)
  • Non-free Nvidia driver 384.111 (see the Debian wiki)
  • Using PulseAudio
  • I am using Wine 3.0

Installing with Steam under Wine

  • Install wine
  • Get the latest winetricks:

    $ wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Winetricks/winetricks/master/src/winetricks
    $ chmod +x winetricks
    $ sudo mv winetricks /usr/local/bin
  • Create a new WINEPREFIX for UT:

    $ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/ut wineboot -i
  • Install Steam (I chose to install it to C:\Steam for ease of use):

    $ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/ut winetricks steam
  • Once Steam is installed, launch it and install Unreal Tournament GOTY
  • Download the Enhanced OpenGL Renderer version 3.7 (mirror download), extract OpenGLDrv.dll and place it into ~/.wine/ut/drive_c/Steam/steamapps/common/Unreal Torunament/System/, overwriting the existing file.
    • This fixes things like brightness adjustment and supports things like decals and detail textures, providing much better visuals.
  • At this point, I could not get the game to start up and show me the initial renderer selection, so I had to edit the System/UnrealTournament.ini file first, to make use of the OpenGL renderer. Open the file in a text editor, and set the following:

    • If the game does start for you and launches the first-run renderer selection window, choose “Show all devices” in that window and choose “OpenGL Support”.
  • After this, launch the game in Steam, and away you go.
  • To adjust the FPS cap (vsync is forced on by default), modify UnrealTournament.ini again with the following (where 200 is something not insane):


    SwapInterval is pretty much “Vsync”, with options of -1 (driver select), 0 (off), or 1 (on). A FrameRateLimit value is required, or the game will execute as fast as possible, and be unplayable (think old DOS games being played on a PC with the Turbo button on).

There are some downsides to running via Wine, especially with a manually managed Wine install like this. In particular it’s simply unpleasant to have to deal with the paths involved when modifying your User.ini and the aforementioned UnrealTournament.ini, although some simple symlinks and scripts should make it easier.

I have found that often the game fails to launch successfully via Steam, and I have to find and kill the UnrealTorunament.exe process and try again.

Running the game through Steam also obviously requires you to start up a dedicated Steam instance every time you play.

None of these problems are unresolvable, so at this point, we have a reasonably working UT install suitable, suitable for installing mods and maps into, playing online and offline, etc. and should last us for the next 20 years.

Part two will use this Wine installation to create a native Debian install so we can free ourselves of the need for Steam, and create a cleaner running environment.