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Installing Unreal Tournament 3
Installing Custom Maps and Skins obtained from the Deviants' "UT3 Maps Page"

The maps and skins that you download from the Deviants' "UT3 Maps Page" are all archived in .ZIP files in a consistant manner. In many cases this has required that the archives obtained from the content creators has been re-archived to obtain this consistancy. No content from the creators has been changed or omitted. The intention is to make installation of the content as easy as possible for our users.

For additional information on our repackaging (re-archiving) practices and policies, Click Here.

Facts about UT3's installation in WinXP and in Windows Vista:  
If you have Windows 7, follow the instructions for Windows Vista.


When you install UT3 its installation program gives you the option of either using its predetermined (default) installation location on your hard disk or to install it to a drive and folder of your own choice.

Click "Next" to use the default or "Browse" to select your own location.

Clan Deviants recommends the latter course and specifically recommends that regardless of the drive you choose for the installion, the folder should be a simple subfolder of the rootdirectory of that drive named "UT3." In other words: C:\UT3   (or any other drive letter of your choice)

Here, after clicking the "Browse" button, D:\UT3 was typed into the "Path" box to tell UT3 where to install itself.

Now that the install location is set as desired, click the "Next" button.

However, if you use the default location, the program will be installed here:
WinXP default location: C:\Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3\Binaries
Vista default location: C:\Program Files (x86)\Unreal Tournament 3\Binaries

Regardless of where you install UT3, it will always expect to find custom content (maps/skins/etc.) in specific subfolders of these:
WinXP: C:\Documents and Settings\‹user name›\My Documents\My Games\Unreal Tournament 3
Vista: C:\Users\‹user name›\Documents\My Games\Unreal Tournament 3
[user name refers to your Windows log-in user name.]

Clan Deviants not only finds these locations to be unwieldy, but unnecessarily hard to find. Fortunately there is a solution: the -nohomedir parameter for the UT3.exe file...


Using the -nohomedir parameter for UT3.exe:   


Find your UT3 shortcut(s) on your desktop and in your Start|All Programs menu. Right-click and select "Properties." It should look something like this:

Add the -nohomedir parameter so it looks like this:

NOTE: If the path to your UT3.exe file contains any spaces (eg: C:\Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3\Binaries\UT3.exe), then it must be enclosed in quotes in the Target box.
The -nohomedir parameter follows this and is outside of the quotes — ie, "C:\Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3\Binaries\UT3.exe" -nohomedir

Now, using -nohomedir, UT3 will expect to find the maps/skins custom content in subfolders of where you installed the UT3 program. In other words,

For the WinXP default installation: C:\Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3

For the Vista or Windows 7 default installation: C:\Program Files (x86)\Unreal Tournament 3

In the example above: G:\UT3


Your <rootdir>  


From here on the term <rootdir> will be used to indicate the starting point where UT3 expects to find the subfolders that contain the content of your custom maps and skins. How to determine what your <rootdir> is is outlined below:

  • If you are using Windows XP, and are not using the -nohomedir parameter, your <rootdir> is:
    C:\Documents and Settings\‹user name›\My Documents\My Games\Unreal Tournament 3

  • If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, and are not using the -nohomedir parameter, your <rootdir> is:
    C:\Users\‹user name›\Documents\My Games\Unreal Tournament 3

  • If you are using XP, Vista, or Windows 7 and are using the -nohomedir parameter:
    • your <rootdir> is whereever you have UT3 installed, as determined above.
    • Note in the 1st picture above, the "Target" box entry ends with "Binaries\UT3.exe"
      • Ignore the "Binaries\UT3.exe" part and this is where UT3 is installed.
      • In the example shown in the picture, this means that UT3 was installed in G:\UT3, and since the -nohomedir parameter is being used, this is the <rootdir>.

  • Looking in the shortcut "Target" box and ignoring the "Binaries\UT3.exe" portion of the target will show you where UT3 is installed, regardless of how you installed it.


How to install the custom maps:


The short version of how to install custom content for UT3 is: using the folder information contained in the .ZIP files you download from the Deviants' Map Page, extract the content of the .ZIP files into your <rootdir>. If you did not get your custom content archive from the Deviants' Map Page, skip the rest of this section and go to the next section.

The .ZIP files often contain non-game-essential files. Most often these are Readme files and screenshots. It is not necessary to extract these. However, extracting them will not cause any harm other than to take up space on your hard disk.

Using a .ZIP file extraction program, such as WinZIP is probably the easiest and most convenient way to extract the archives.

Below you see that WinZIP contains and displays the folder information where each file should go. When you download a file from the Deviants' Map Page this folder information will always start with the 1st subfolder of your <rootdir>.

Before continuing, there are three things to point out:

  • the Readme file does not have any folder information...if you extract it, it will go into your <rootdir>
  • the screenshot files (here, the .png files...although these usually will be .jpg files) do have folder information, BUT most of the time they will not. If they do not, they too will go into your <rootdir>
  • in this example, the game-essential files have been highlighted — we do not want to extract the non-game-essential files.

After highlighting the files to be extracted, click the Extract button. If you want to extract all the files, you do not need to highlight any of them.

After clicking the Extract button, WinZIP wants to know where to extract the files to. As we have seen, on this system the <rootdir> is G:\UT3 so we need to point WinZIP there:

Below, be sure the "Extract to" box correctly points to your <rootdir> and the "Use folder names" box has a checkmark.

...and then click the Extract button. We are done and can close WinZIP, open UT3, and use the newly installed map either in Instant Action or by joining an on-line server that also has the map.


.ZIP or .RAR files from sources other than the Deviants' Map Page

If you did not get your UT3 custom content archive from the Deviants' Map Page, we may have a problem. The problem is that when the authors of custom content assemble their archive packages, often they are quite sloppy about how they put their archives together. A second problem is, due to the variety of ways authors can and do structure their archives, the discussion looks complicated. A third problem to complicate things is the UT3 installation program does not create ALL of the folders and subfolders that may be necessary for installing some custom content. Ultimately, the hard part really is not installing the maps due to these issues; the hard part is explaining it.

Some do not put any folder information at all into their archive:

Some include folder information that doesn't belong: Here, "Liandribots"

This one does both of the above:

Some start their folder paths in the "middle" of the path:

Authors that use .RAR files can also be guilty of the doing the things shown above. But even if they do it correctly, with .RAR files it takes some extra work to determine if it is right. As you can see in the .ZIP file examples used thus far, the folder paths are easily seen. This is not the case with .RAR files and is one reason we prefer using .ZIP file even though they do not compress quite as well as .RAR files.

Here is properly constructed .RAR file: but you can't tell that it is from here.

.RAR files will not be discussed further here. Once you understand how to install from a poorly constructed .ZIP file you should be able to work with .RAR files as well.


Before continuing, be sure that you understand what the <rootdir> is and where yours is located.

All user made custom content goes into: <rootdir>\UTGame and its subfolders.

More specifically, map files go into: <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps and

character files (skins) go into: <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomChars ... however,

it is not true that all files associated with a custom map or skin go into these folders.

At this point it is worth remembering that authors often include "non-game-essential" files in their archives. These are usually Readme (.txt, .doc, .rtf, .htm, .html) files and/or Screenshots (.jpg, .gif, .bmp, .tgf, etc.) files. These types of files do not need to be installed but, if they are, where they go is immaterial to the game...it never looks for them. Therefore, all discussion here about the locations of files will presume that these non-essential files do not exist in the archive or that you do not install them. If they are installed, as far as UT3 is concerned all they do is take up space on your hard disk drive and neither UT3 nor we care about them.

Now, if a map archive does not contain any folder information:

all of its files go into the <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps subfolder.

A skins archive will almost never have no folder information in it. However, if this is the case, all of its files go into <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomChars.

If an archive has folder information in it, you will need to determine whether it is complete or whether it has folder(s) listed that do not belong there or that you do not need. This maps archive has only one folder listed and it does not belong there:

How do we know it does not belong there?
The folder, "domeofdeath" is not part of your <rootdir> and it is not one of the sub-folders of the <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps hierarchy. How do we know that it is not a part of the folder hierarchy? This is one of the complications mentioned above. If we were to go look at these folders and their sub-folders with Windows Explorer, we would not find it, but we have already said that the installation program does not create all the folders that may be needed for custom content. So how do we know that we do not need to create this folder? The best answer that can be given is "experience."

Experience? Yes. After you have installed a few maps you will realize that whenever you have a map that has a group of .ini, .ut3, and .upk files, as this one does, that group of files will always go into the <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps folder and a folder named after the map is not part of the way UT3 deals with its custom content.

So where do these files go? In exactly the same place they would go if there were no folder information at all...there is only the one bogus folder...when we realize it is bogus and ignore it, we find that we have no folder information and treat it accordingly. Everything in this archive goes into <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps.

What about this skins archive?

Here we see "Liandribots\UTGame..." all the way through. But we know that our format is <rootdir>\UTGame... and "Liandribots" is not part of your <rootdir>. Thus, we can be sure that "Liandribots," at the beginning is bogus...especially when (using our experience) we see that the UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomChars that follows Liandribots looks just fine. As soon as we ignore the "Liandribots," everything else looks like it should be ok...which is true.

Therefore, in this archive, the various files go into:

Virtually always, if not always, bogus folder names will be at the beginning. When folder information is given, we have to trust that our authors really do know where their files are supposed to go...even if they sometimes are somewhat sloppy in telling us about it. Once they get to a part that is correct (in this case "UTGame"), it is safe to assume that everything following will also be correct.

What if they start "in the middle"?

Here, we see Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps and our experience tells us this looks correct but incomplete: UTGame is missing at the beginning. Since it is missing at the beginning of Published\CookedPC\CustomChars, we correctly assume that it is missing at the beginning of the other things as well. In other words, the files in this archive go into:

This archive has a feature that is typical of many Warfare maps: it has two .ini files with the same name (WAR-Valley.ini); one goes in <rootdir>\UTGame\Config and the other goes in <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps. Generally the larger one goes into the Config folder and the smaller into the CustomMaps folder, as is the case in this archive — but there can be exceptions to this. Because both have the same name they must go into different folders and the archive file should always reflect this, as this one does. However, if you want to be sure...

The one that goes into <rootdir>\UTGame\Config will look something like this:

(it has node setup information — notice "NodeLinks")

While the one that goes into <rootdir>\UTGame\Published\CookedPC\CustomMaps will look something like this:

(it has info about the map — MapName, FriendlyName, etc. — and looks like the .ini file that is supplied with any kind of map)

[Note: Notepad has Wordwrap turned on in both of these screenshots of the .ini files.]

As a final example, here is an archive in which the author assumes that NOONE will be using the -nohomedir parameter:

Here we recognize the My Games\Unreal Tournament 3 portion of the folder names as being part of the default installation location when the -nohomedir parameter is not used in the UT3 shortcut (experience, again). A closer look at this folder information also shows us that Maps at the end of the folder paths is incorrect — it should be CustomMaps.

If you do not use the -nohomedir parameter, this archive would be fine, but you would have to correct the Maps typo to CustomMaps. if you do use the parameter, then the My Games\Unreal Tournament 3 portion of the folder information is treated the same as if were bogus and ignored — as in the discussion above — and the Maps typo would still need to be fixed.

Hopefully this provides enough information and examples to allow you properly install any maps and skins that you may download. As mentioned above, .RAR files can have the same kinds of issues as shown in these .ZIP files; consequently, you should be able to apply these ideas when dealing with .RAR files as well.

The locations for the proper installation of mods can be even more complex and it is not always clear whether a 'bogus' folder is being used or whether it is needed for the mod to work properly. Experience and experimentation are your best tools in these instances.

AUTHORS: Let me say first and foremost: Thank You for your hard work and contributions to the Unreal Community. If your archive is used here as an example of "sloppy" archiving, it is not intended to be a slight or insult directed at you. I could have just as easily picked any one of a myriad of other archives instead of the ones used here. The archives chosen as examples were merely the first ones that I opened that illustrated the points I wanted to make. If it makes you feel any better, of all the .RAR archives that I have, there was not a single one which I considered to be "correct" for use in the screenshot above to illustrate a "properly constructed .RAR file" and I had to create my own from the one that was closest to what I was looking for. If anything, I hope that you can view the use of your archives here as an additional contribution to the community in allowing us to help others understand how to install custom content. Thank you again.

© Copyright 2008. Clan Deviants and {DvT}JonahHex. All rights reserved.