Part of the success of Quake 3 was thanks to the "tricks" that it allowed, and OpenArena allows them, too. The physics engine is not designed to be very realistic (however, there are some mods that aim for more realism), but to allow fast-paced action. Some advanced techniques can make the difference between players, while others, instead, are useful as skill demos and not much more. Players really should learn how to do the techinques known as strafe jump and rocket jump: using them allows to move very quickly around the arena; without strafe jumps, it's difficult to keep up with other players!
Standard Quake3/OpenArena control responses are known as "Vanilla" (VQ3/VOA) physics. Some mods include a different physics set, known as "CPM", "CPMA" or "Promode", that is designed to allow even more mid-jump control and some more tricks. See also Game physics#Vanilla and CPM physics.
Please note that most of these techniques are better explained with videos. Search for them over the internet (Google, YouTube, etc) to find more detailed info about them and to see them in action. See also external links section below.
Playing the game, one can also learn good tactics: e.g. "resource control" (learning items respawing times, and collecting them systematically); always moving and jumping is a good idea (generally staying still, even if shooting, is a good way to be killed... even if there are some exceptions); aiming at your enemies feet with your rocket launcher makes much easier to damage them (hitting them with the "splash damage" of the explosion... even if such damage is less than the one that comes with a direct hit; notice that this tactic is useless against an opponent that holds "battle suit" powerup).
Here there are the advanced techniques you can achieve using standard VanillaQ3/VanillaOA physics.
Strafe jumping is a very imporant techinque, especially when playing in multiplayer mode, because it allows to move faster than simply running (and it's highly probable that your human rivals will use it). To achieve it, jump continuously, pushing forward (or backwards) and a strafe (lateral movement) left or right key, while moving the mouse in archs. This way, you will gain speed, making longer jumps. This technique does not cause damage to the user. It is good to enable the speed meter (see Manual/Graphic_options#Speed) to check the horizontal speed you get.
See also: Manual/Rocketjump
Rocket jumping is a technique that allows to make extremely high jumps. Get a rocket launcher, aim at your own feet, jump and shoot! This will allow you to reach higher platforms without using stairs, and to attack enemies coming from high. Using different angles, you can obtain a more horizontal push, allowing to jump over a ravine or to move very fast around the map.
It is even possibile to link together more rocket jumps, rocket jumping against walls. Rocket jumping on a jump-pad would give you an enormous push; usually it is not very useful, however it may allow you to reach higher floors.
In real life, exploding a missile on your own feet would be an extremely bad idea... doing it in a game like this, instead, is possible and useful... but your virtual alter ego will suffer damage. Do not rocket jump when you have low health or you have quad damage; however you can perform them safely when having the battle suit powerup. Normally, rocket jumps have to be used with parsimony, but after having being promoted to a central technique in some Quake 3 mods (like the "Clan Arena" mode of OSP mod, and the Rocket Arena 3 mod) that disabled self damage and added starting ammo... Well, in OpenArena you can do rocket jumps "for free" (without hurting yourself) without the need to use a mod: Elimination, CTF Elimination and Last Man Standing gametypes (and even all other gametypes, in case g_elimination special game option is enabled) can disable "self damage"; another way to achieve damage-free rocket jumps is by properly setting dmflags variable.
Similar to rocket jump, but harder, less useful, and not used much. Throw a mine near to youself, step over it and jump when it explodes, to get an high push. Normally, doing it will damage you.
Grenade rocket jumpEdit
Like a grenade jump, you throw a grenade and step over it.. but at the moment of explosion, you do a rocket jump. This will give you a massive push, but will cause much damage. More a skill demonstration than something to use during a battle.
Select plasma gun, then go face a wall, look about 40-60 degrees down, shoot and jump. This allows to climb the wall for some meters (not as affective as a rocket jump at first, but if used well you can reach higher places than with a rocket jump). In some cases it may be used to quickly reach some platforms, considering that it is possible to move laterally along the wall when doing it. Useful, for example, in oasago2 map). It causes some damage to the user, but low compared to other techniques.
Grenade plasma climbEdit
A plasma climb linked to a grenade jump. First, you throw a grenade next to a wall, then switch to the plasma gun, go over the mine, timing your actions to begin the plasmaclimb when the grenade explodes. If timed correctly, allows to reach good heights. It causes damage to the user.
Like rocket jump, but using the BFG instead. It allows powerful jumps, but the damage to yourself is high.
Similar to plasma climb, but using BFG. It allows to reach extreme heights with few shots. It's like a series of BFG jumps staying along the wall. It causes huge damage to the user, and it is important to select the right timing for shooting (holding the "shoot" button is simply a suicide, unless you are playing in a game mode that disables self damage). Mostly a skill demonstration: it is rare to get the BFG, and when you have it, it is advisable to use it against your enemies, instead!
Two players are required for lightning flying. The first one jumps on the head of the second one, that looks over himself and starts shooting with the lightning gun, making the first player "fly". This technique is not useful, it is just a "joke" (just to have fun) and causes high damage to the player that receives it.
Similar to ligthning flying, but using the plasma gun and less effecting. Just to have fun. Causes damage.
These are additional techniques that can be achieved when using "CPM" (a.k.a. "CPMA", "ProMode") physics, something that is not included in the base OpenArena, but is included with some mods (please notice that CPM physics may differ from a mod to another).
Bunny hopping is a techinque similar to strafe jumping, but it is not the same. Bunnyhopping is a technique for gaining speed while doing corners or zig-zagging, strafejumping is a technique for gaining speed while going -more or less- forwards (or backwards). While bunnyhopping you only press a strafe key while moving the mouse, while strafejumping you press both the forward key (or the back key) and a strafe key while moving the mouse. Again, remember that bunnyhopping doesn't work in Vanilla Q3/OA physics (you need a mod like CPMA), while strafejumping does work also in VQ3/VOA.
Note - In August 2014, Quake Live introduced in itself a different kind of "bunny hop": getting some extra speed by just holding forward and jumping, to help people which have not yet mastered "strafe jump" (QL simple bunny hopping is not as efficient as strafe jumping). This is not part of either Vanilla OA or CPM physics: this has been mentioned here just to avoid confusion with the "bunny hop" term.
- One tactic that can be useful in many instances is the 'teleport jump'. To achieve this effect you need to jump at the exact right moment when exiting a portal, this will in return accelerate your character away from the portal in a much higher speed in which you entered, this is extremely useful in situations when you need to gain distance from your attacker.
- Jumping on a bounce pad would give you a slightly higher push than simply stepping over it. Rocket-jumping on a jump-pad (exploding the rocket on it) would give you a very powerful push, but this is not always useful (well, also standard rocket jumping depends from situation to be useful or not).
- Using combinations with grenades and rocketjumps can be tactically advised if your health allows it. Performing such a maneuver requires timing and skill but can achive a great escape path from evil minded attackers.
- When playing as a team, you can perform stunning tricks, with your teammates. One popular way to reach far away places is to perform double rocketjumps. This is done in a perfect manner of timing a rocketjump by player A, where at the same time Player B shoots a rocket at the feet of Player A, to accelerate Player A further and higher across a large distance. This tactic/technique can also be applied with the use of gauntlet.
- Learning where the items and the weapons will spawn, and the right timings to grab them before your oppents do it, is an important tactic known as control (item control, resource control). Enabling on-screen timer may help you in this task.
Please remember that server admins may change default weapon spawn time (which is usually 30 seconds in Team Deathmatch mode and 5 seconds in other modes), and that map creators can customize almost every single item spawn time (and even include some degrees of randomness to those times).
- It is not advisable to stand still (e.g. to write a chat text) in the exact place where there is a respawn point (where players return in game after being killed), or where players appear after a teleport. If you stay in that point and someone spawns there, you will be immediately killed (a so-called "telefrag"), because two people cannot use the same space at the same time and the respawning one "wins". Please notice that such points are often invisible, but you can learn them making practice in that arena. Camping around such points (waiting for an enemy to appear there, with your gun ready), instead, can be effective... but camping is not the main spirit of this game, and sometimes may be considered not very polite.
- Movement/Techniques/Tricks page on Quake3World.com (videos included).
- OpenArenaHelp.com (third party help site for OA players)
- http://www.overdrivepc.com/forum/showthread.php?s=f3ee83723c17ffdac709e6819ff5abbf&t=7790 (dead link)
- Genesis - The Beginning Of (Part 1, Part 2). This video explains (using Defrag mod, maybe with "CPM physics"?) how to perform cicle jumping, strafe jumping, plasma climbing, rocket jumping... Here that video is available for download, and the file contains also a map.
- Basic strafe jumping tutorial
- Special game options
- Game physics#Vanilla and CPM physics
- ModCompat/DeFRaG - DeFRaG is a mod about tricks and control skills. It features VQ3 and CPM physics.
- ModCompat/FlagRaiders - FlagRaiders is another mod that requires to use these techniques. It uses VQ3 physics.