This is the document presenting the Frequently-Asked-Questions about SuperTuxKart (also called STK). Should your question not be answered here, feel free to contact us!

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About SuperTuxKart

General questions about SuperTuxKart (STK for short).

What is SuperTuxKart

SuperTuxKart is a Free 3d kart racing game; we want to make the game fun more than we want to make it realistic. You can play with up to 4 friends on one PC, racing against each other or just try to beat the computer (a network multiplayer feature is under development).

See the great lighthouse or drive through the sand and visit the pyramids. Race under water or in space, watching the stars passing by. Have some rest under the palms on the beach (watching the other karts overtaking you :) ). But don't fall into the volcano!

You can do a single race against other karts, compete in one of several Grand Prix(s) , or try to beat the high score in Time Trials on your own.

Find more here!

What is the history of STK?

First there was TuxKart. Work on this happened (roughly) between April 2000 and March 2004. In June 2004, the 'Game of the Month' project of the Linux Game Tome decided to improve TuxKart. This was done between June and December 2004. Unfortunately, this projected ended in a big disagreement, and it was finally decided to save the current state as 'SuperTuxkart'. While some graphical improvements were done, the code base itself was very unstable and basically unplayable. Nobody worked on (Super)Tuxkart till 2006.

Joerg Henrichs (aka hiker) picked up SuperTuxKart in 2006, fixed the outstanding bugs and performance issues without any further involvement of the original game designer or the GotM project. With the help of Coz a first release of STK was done in September 2006.

In May 2007 version 0.3 was released, adding highscore lists, a new track (Island) and the bomb and MacOSX and OpenAL support.

February 2008 saw the 0.4 release, which used Bullet Physics to improve the collision handling. Auria joined and started improving tracks (Shifting Sand, Lighthouse).

Version 0.5 was released in May 2008, and it included many improved tracks, challenges that need to be unlocked, the Follow-the-leader game mode and translations (OS language detector and matching to closest translation).

Version 0.6 was released on 22 January 2009. It has significantly improved gameplay: more physics, using Nitro and skidding. The sound system was improved, more interesting music was added and many new tracks and karts were added. It also saw the first special multi-player map for 3-Strikes battle and new items to use.

Version 0.7 was released on December 20, 2010, which contains several significant improvements including: new rendering engine(Irrlicht), new GUI, kart and track animations, new tracks, karts, and items and support for shortcuts/alternative paths. 0.7.1, 0.7.2, 0.7.3 were released shortly after with more improvements.

Version 0.8 was released on december 2012, adding a story mode and new challenge, with an improved AI, skidding, reverse mode, new tracks and music. The menu was also changed

How can I install STK ?

Detailed instructions are on our Installation page.

Who is behind STK?

See our Discover page for all generic background information about supertuxkart!

Playing STK

Questions often asked when playing STK.

The computer shot backwards - how can I do this?

Most items (bowling ball, cake, plunger) support to be used backwards. Just fire while looking backwards.

What does the plunger do?

The plunger has two different ways of working: if shot forwards, it will come with a rubber band attached to it. If you hit another kart, you will be pulled forwards toward the kart, and the other kart will be pulled backwards. Ideal to overtake an opponent if executed skillfully. You can also shoot the plunger backwards - if you hit a computer the kart will be confused, and accelerate and steer less. If a player is hit, you will see a big plunger in the middle of the screen, and can't see the road anymore :)

Certain keys don't work if I use the keyboard!

This problem is reported in several different variations: e.g. you might not be able to skid when turning left, or you can't shoot when turning right etc. Basically, certain keys don't work all the time. Unfortunately, this is a hardware restriction of your keyboard: most keyboards can not report all keys pressed at the same time, see Keyboards are evil for details. The only solution is either to try different key combinations till you find one that works (the default ones work on nearly all platforms), to get a special gamers keyboard (that can report all key pressed, independent on the number of keys and what keys are pressed), or to use a gamepad.

The AI cheats, I can't push their karts, while my kart is very often pushed and even starts to rotate

The AI is using the same commands (for e.g. steering and acceleration) a player can use, and the physics does not differentiate between a player and AI karts. So there is no cheating for the AI. But the AI can change the steering direction much more frequently than a player can, and so can react to being pushed and correct its course much more easily and more precise. You can see this effect in certain situation where the AI starts to 'shake' because it frequently changes direction. This is at the moment necessary to make the AI competitive. Once the steering algorithm is improved, we can hopefully reduce the shaking (which then would also make the AI karts easier to push).

Steering uphill or downhill is uncontrollable

The kart easily loses control especially when using a Zipper while going uphill. You can't steer for a while, and suddenly the kart rotates and can't be stopped any-more. The reason for this is basically the physics simulation, and the track design: some tracks have parts that are too steep (uphill and downhill). In sections that are too steep downhill, the kart would fly (just above the ground), and you would not be able to steer. That might not be easily visible in the graphics (which not necessarily accurately reflect the physics). Then due to the simulation of the suspension the kart would touch the ground, lose contact again etc. - basically bounce a bit. If you steer while the kart is just touching the ground, the kart accumulates a certain rotational velocity, and therefore would keep on rotating while in the air, resulting in the rotations that can't be controlled (since the wheels are not touching the ground).

We actually tweaked the physics to make certain downhill parts more drivable by simulating really long suspensions (example the first downhill section in xr591). So in most tracks the downhill section is not a problem (or it is so steep that it is obvious and intended that a kart is flying). In reality the problem is more the track design, which just contains parts that are too steep. We are in the progress of updating the tracks to reduce this behaviour, too.

The same issue happens on uphill sections: the suspension is being compressed when accelerating, which then results in a push up of the kart, so that its wheels lose contact to the ground. And again, if the kart was rotating before, the rotational velocity of the kart would be responsible for the karts to keep on rotating while in the air, without any influence of the player (since all wheels are in the air). It might be possible to tweak the physics parameters to reduce this effect, e.g. make the kart heavier. But all physics parameters influence each other (heavier karts mean less acceleration, so the engine power needs to be increased, ...), and it's a lot of work finding a set of parameters that works fine. If you are interested in tweaking the settings, have a look at the file .../data/stk_config.data - all physics parameters for the karts are defined there, and can easily be changed with any text editor. If you have a better set of parameters, please let us know!

How can I play STK on the internet?

At this stage there is no network support, but it is on our milestone page. We would of course welcome patches to implement this earlier, but please be aware that this is rather difficult to implement, see http://supertuxkart.sourceforge.net/Networked_Multiplayer (and pages linked from there) for more details.

I found a bug, how should I contact you?

First, look at the STK Bugs page and submit a new one if it is not a duplicate. And please make sure that your bug doesn't fly away.

I suddenly got a big red circle on my screen, what's that?

If there's a penguin in the circle, someone's shot a plunger at your face =) . You can do that to others by throwing the plunger backwards (see the FAQ entry about throwing items backwards). If there is no penguin then it's a bug.

How do I install add-ons?

See How to install add-ons. You can also do it with the In Game Add-On Manager .

I want to help! What can I do?

Technical questions, compiling etc

What are the dependencies of STK ?

The current dependencies for the SVN STK are :

Where does STK store the user config file?

You can also watch in Terminal or Command Prompt to see if there is a note on where the config files are stored.


General problems when playing STK - most of the bugs here are rather old and fixed.

I have frequent crashes with my self compiled binary

It appears that openal, esp. on x86_64 Linux systems, has some severe bugs, which are triggered by STK (see this bug report for details). To confirm this, first try running with music and sound effects disabled. If this helps, try our linux static binary. It uses OpenAL-soft instead of the old 0.0.8 version of openal, and apparently fixes all those crashes. You can also compile and install OpenAL Soft.

If you are using Pulse, know that there are problems with pulse + OpenAL on some systems (e.g. Ubuntu 9.x). Upgrading everything might fix the problems (e.g. Ubuntu 10.04 seems to have updated packages that fix those issues).

It doesn't work on my Apple PPC

It looks like 10.4.11 (Tiger) on PPC has some driver problems, which SuperTuxKart triggers. So far the only solution we know of is to either upgrade 10.5.8 or downgrade to 10.4.0.

I have no sound or music in STK

There can be several reasons for this - obviously first check that your sound works with other applications, and make sure that no other application is using sound at the same time (which can be a problem with linux).

Recently, a bug on OpenSUSE 10.2 on ppc was discovered: to fix this, comment out the first line of /etc/openalrc:

;;(define devices '(alsa native)) 

Sound works, but it is constantly stuttering

This can also have several causes; often OpenAL complains about buffering problems if the game is running slow. If you have a soundcard with sample rate set to 44800 Hz or higher you will need to set OpenAL to use the same instead of the default 44100 sample rate. In Linux, the configuration file can be found at /etc/openal/alsoft.conf (can be copied to ~/.alsoftrc and changed there) and for Windows, these settings should go into %AppData%\alsoft.ini.

I get "FATAL: ssgInit called without a valid OpenGL context."

This message is usually caused by problems with your opengl version or your graphics driver (esp. on Linux). If you are compiling SuperTuxKart yourself, make sure that you are using the right include files (which match the opengl library you are linking); and using proprietary video drivers seems to remove this error message as well.

I'm getting rescued on top of the road without any reason!

Apparently, GCC 4.2.x decided it doesn't like STK, so when STK is compiled with it in some tracks (like the star track) you will get rescued as if you were falling off the road. Try using the official binary for your system or compile the game with another version of GCC.

Thanks to hussam in the IRC channel for this.

You can also make sure that you are not accidentally pressing your help/rescue button.

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