Author Topic: Instructions for manually installing FreeSpace Open and mods (Linux)  (Read 207760 times)

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Offline jg18

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Instructions for manually installing FreeSpace Open and mods (Linux)
This installation method is the one where you download everything yourself and then put things where they should go. It may sound scary, but it really isn't.

These instructions are for Linux only.

If you use Windows or Mac OS X, please see the other installation methods:


If you don't have FreeSpace 2, get it from Good Old Games (GOG).

The instructions in orange are required. Everything else is optional.

Step 1) Install FS2
Since FreeSpace 2 is a Windows game, you'll need to install it in a Windows or Windows-like environment. If you have access to a Windows machine or to a virtual machine (VM) running Windows, you can use that.
If you don't have either of those things, or if the thought of using Windows makes you violently ill, you can install FS2 using Wine. Either use whatever version of Wine is in your distro's repository or get something from the WineHQ download page.

In all cases, I recommend installing FS2 to the directory C:\Games\FreeSpace2\. After you've installed FS2, copy the entire FreeSpace2 folder to your location of choice. If you're using Wine, the FreeSpace2 folder will be at ~/.wine/drive_c/Games/FreeSpace2/ . I strongly recommend copying it to your home directory, resulting in the path ~/FreeSpace2/. Be sure to uninstall FS2 from Windows or Wine (case depending) after you've copied the folder.

Step 2) Get OpenAL
Use your distro's package management tool to search the repository for "openal" and install it if it isn't already installed. For example, the necessary package is called libopenal1 on Debian and Debian-based distros (such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint) and openal-soft on Red Hat-based distros (such as Fedora).

Step 3) Get the latest official FSO build and a launcher
Most Linux users build FSO from source. See the FreeSpace Wiki's Linux guide for instructions. Make sure that the file name of your FSO build starts with fs2_open.

For a launcher, get wxLauncher. You should build it from source; see the readme for instructions.

In general, the FSO builds are the only things that should ever be added to the "root" FS2 folder unless otherwise mentioned.

Step 4) Move the cutscenes to /FreeSpace2/data/movies/
If you have the GOG version of FS2, move the .mve files (which are the cutscenes) from /FreeSpace2/data2/ and /FreeSpace2/data3/ to /FreeSpace2/data/movies/ . After doing that, delete the /FreeSpace2/data2/ and /FreeSpace2/data3/ folders and any files left in them.

The non-.mve files in those two folders are unnecessary and can even cause problems.
Want to save a little disk space with the cutscenes? See the notes at the end.

Step 5) Set things up
1. Open wxLauncher.
2. Open the Basic Settings page and select the location of your FreeSpace2 folder (~/FreeSpace2/).
3. Select your FSO executable (or build), either one that you downloaded or that you built. Make sure that you're using a release build, meaning that if you downloaded the build, the build name should not have the word "debug", or if you built it yourself, that you didn't use the --enable-debug option when you ran

If you want to know what "debug" means, see the notes at the end.
4. Make sure that the sound device is correct. It should probably be PulseAudio, but if the sound doesn't work when you start FSO, then try a different device.
5. Change any other settings on the Basic Settings page if you like.
If you want to use the checkboxes (list of flags) on the Advanced Settings page, this page describes what they mean.

If you don't want to download another 500 MB for the graphical enhancements right now, then just go and play using the retail assets and effects. Otherwise, continue to Step 6.

Step 6) Get the MediaVPs (recommended)
If you want FS2 to look its prettiest, download the MediaVPs, which are a compilation of graphical enhancements, including high-poly models, improved textures, and new effects.
Most mods require the 2014 MediaVPs, but some older mods might only work with the 3.6.12 MediaVPs. The launcher flags (or features) can be found on the launcher's Advanced Settings page.
After you're done following the MediaVPs' instructions, you might want to look at some sample lighting settings. If you've built wxLauncher from source, then they're available as presets on the Advanced Settings page.

Hurray! You have now successfully installed FreeSpace Open.
NOW GO AND PLAY! :) You can read the rest later if you want.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 02:59:53 pm by Mongoose »


Offline jg18

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Re: Instructions for manually installing FreeSpace Open and mods (Linux)

To update FSO, the launcher, or the MediaVPs:
  • To install new FSO builds, just put the new builds in /FreeSpace2/ and use the launcher to select the build you want to use. You can remove old builds, but leaving them won't cause any problems, since you can only run one build at a time. The other builds won't do anything during that time.
  • To install a new launcher, simply replace the existing launcher with the new one. Fun 'n easy.
  • To install new MediaVPs, find the latest MediaVPs' release thread (which should be stickied in the FreeSpace Upgrade forum) and follow the instructions there.

Installing mods
Note: Before installing mods, use your distro's package management tool to install p7zip, which is a free program that will allow you to open the .7z and .rar file types that many mods use for their downloads. On Debian and Debian-based distros (such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint), install the p7zip-full package, and on Red Hat-based distros (such as Fedora), install the p7zip package.

Installing mods is very much like installing the MediaVPs. Any recent mod should have accurate installation instructions in its release thread, but if this is not the case, or if you run into problems, you can always follow the instructions below.
  • Create a subfolder /FreeSpace2/<mod name>/ for the mod. For example, if you want to install the excellent Wings of Dawn, create the folder "/FreeSpace2/Wings of Dawn/".
  • Download the mod files from the release thread, which in this example is here.
  • If the downloaded files are .zip, .rar, or .7z files, then open them with p7zip: after you've installed p7zip, you can right-click on the file to open it and extract the contents to the mod subfolder that you made.
  • If the downloaded files are any other kind of file, then just move them to the mod subfolder you made.
  • Put the mod in /FreeSpace2/<mod name>/ , or in this example, /FreeSpace2/Wings of Dawn/ .
  • Open the launcher and select the mod on the Mods page, in the same way you did with the MediaVPs in step 6.

Important: To keep your pilot files from getting corrupted, create a new pilot for every mod that you play. At the first menu that appears when you start FSO, either create a new pilot or clone an existing one. Cloning a pilot copies the pilot's settings (including key bindings) but not its stats.

Also important: When you start the game, go to the campaign room and select the mod's campaign (in this example, the Wings of Dawn campaign), because the main FS2 campaign is selected by default.


Offline jg18

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Re: Instructions for manually installing FreeSpace Open and mods (Linux)

Everything in this section is optional.

Saving a little space with the cutscenes
Download the cutscenes in .ogg format, put them in /FreeSpace2/data/movies/, and either delete the .mve files or move them to somewhere else. Note that the .ogg cutscenes only work with FSO; retail FS2 requires the .mve files.

FSO build differences (or what "debug" and --enable-debug mean)
When viewing the configuration options for, you'll notice the --enable-debug option, which will produce a "debug" build. Debug builds are used for generating debug logs (called fs2_open.log) when you run into problems using FSO. They are NOT meant for casual playing. Also, contrary to popular belief, debug builds do NOT magically solve whatever problem you're facing.

Builds that are made without the --enable-debug option are "release" builds. Release builds are the ones that you should be using if all you want to do is play the game. So unless you need to generate a debug log, go for a "release" build, NOT a debug build.

Thanks to Fineus and Jeff Vader for writing an earlier version of these instructions.
Special thanks to niffiwan and Iss Mneur for their help with writing this version.