OpenArena error: bad surfacetype

Tags: software.
By lucb1e on 2012-08-13 22:36:45 +0100

Because there was no good answer on Google: This post :)

Games this applies to: OpenArena, Quake 3, Enemy Territory, Warsow, Urban Terror, Quake Live, and basically any game running the ioquake3 engine.

Symptom: You connect to a server, possibly autodownload something, then the map starts loading. Just when you expect the loading to start progressing (moments after the levelshot appears), it kicks you to a screen telling you "bad surfacetype". After that screen you end up in the main menu again.

Fix: Find out what map that was, and delete it from your disk. If you can't find the map, perhaps the only way is to delete the last 10 maps you downloaded, or simply all maps.
Alternatively, also delete any files in the mod folder except cfg files.

How to find the map:
  1. Find the map name. This can be done in various ways:
    • When viewing the server list, it shows the map name.
    • Perhaps there is an online server listing where you can see this (like here for OpenArena)
    • When in the error screen, using the /reconnect command in the console (or the reconnect bind, if you have one), you can briefly see what map it is trying to load.
    • If you autodownloaded the map before, it is probably the last modified map.

  2. Open your folder with maps. It depends on the game and OS where this is. For OpenArena, this is:
    • Windows Vista/7: "C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\OpenArena\baseoa"
    • Windows XP: "C:\Documents and Settings\Application Data\OpenArena\baseoa"
    • Any Windows as far as I know: "%appdata%\OpenArena\baseoa"
    • Mac OS X: "~/Library/Application Support/OpenArena/baseoa"
    • Linux: "~/.openarena/baseoa"
    For other games this is probably similar. You can Google it, and it's probably in the game's documentation or something.

  3. The ioquake3 engine uses pk3 files by default, but perhaps other games use a different format.
    Anyway, somewhere should be [map name].pk3 (or something which looks like it). The pk3 can actually be named differently from the map. To find which pk3 really contains the map is a bit harder, so I'll not cover that for the moment. Usually though, the pk3 is named similar or identical to the map.
    If it's not there, look for the file that is the last modified (and it shouldn't be a .cfg file).

What is the mod folder?
For custom things that aren't in the game by default (like brightskins, some custom textures or sounds, or simply a mod), you use a "mod folder". Above you can see a list of file locations for Windows, Mac and Linux. If you go one directory higher, so basically go above the "/baseoa", you will see all mod folders.

So which one is the one you are trying to join?
In the server listing (in the game), it probably also shows this. In OpenArena, it's to the left of the ping. Common names are: baseoa, DM, CTF, or the name of a mod (like q3rally, defrag, etc.).

Alternatively, this can be viewed on dpmaster under the name "GAMETYPE". Technically it's incorrect, the gametype is CTF or DM or TDM and what you are looking for is the mod name, but whatever :P

Hope this helped anyone :)
Another post tagged 'software': Using Tor as a sysadmin tool

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