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This section of the site is designed to help you get started with the realistic openBVE train simulator in Windows (XP, Vista, 7) and Ubuntu 10.10, as well as guide you through the installation and first use of the Birmingham Cross-City South route to enable you to start driving. Some parts of this guide are geared towards novice users.

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▪ Manually downloading and preparing the latest official openBVE release and running with Mono

The version of openBVE available via the Ubuntu Software Centre, likely lags behind the latest version available from the official openBVE homepage. So, if you want to use the latest version of openBVE in Ubuntu, you need to download the latest stable release of openBVE from the official openBVE homepage.

First, visit the openBVE download page:

  1. When you're there, download the openBVE archive (stable version recommended)...

  2. Next, download the Tao archive for all platforms...

    Inset image

    If you're using Firefox, then the two above archives will likely be downloaded to your /home/<username>/Downloads/ folder.

Next, to make life easier, if you haven't already done so, install the Ubuntu version of openBVE via the Ubuntu Software Centre (see page 1). Doing so will also download and install additional dependencies automatically, so setting up the latest manually installed version of openBVE is easier.

You can also install the dependencies which are installed automatically along with the Ubuntu version of openBVE, yourself, manually, by using apt-get. If you would like to do this, please continue reading. Otherwise, if you want some of the dependencies installing automatically, install the older version of openBVE via Ubuntu's Software Centre, and then, skip to the section below.

Manually installing some of the dependencies

  1. Firstly, go to 'Applications' > 'Accessories' > 'Terminal':


  2. Next, enter the following commands in turn (you can copy and paste each line into the terminal window via Ctrl+Shift+V), answering yes (y) to the question "Do you want to continue [Y/n]?" whenever you are prompted. You will need a working internet connection for the following:

    sudo apt-get install libmono-i18n2.0-cil

    sudo apt-get install libmono-winforms2.0-cil

    sudo apt-get install libtaoframework-openal1.1-cil

    Plenty of things will happen in the terminal window after each command is entered, just monitor the console window for any questions requiring interaction, and wait for the shell prompt (<username>@<machinename>:~$) to reappear before trying to enter each command:


We should be done. On to the next stage...

Once you've downloaded the latest official, stable release of openBVE, and installed some necessary dependencies (either using apt-get, or by installing the Ubuntu version of openBVE via the Ubuntu Software Centre), you need to decide where you want your new openBVE installation, and your openBVE content, to be located. Where your content folder is concerned, for the sake of simplicity, I'd place this in your /home/username/ directory, rather than trying to use the default location prepared when openBVE is installed via the Ubuntu Software Centre (/usr/share/games/bve/), as the latter is owned by root, so the operating system won't let you modify the directories unless you have superuser privileges. You can read this page on the official openBVE website for some additional information.

As a part of this tutorial, we need to create some new folders. Simply follow these steps, or adapt them to suit your own setup, as you see fit:

Preparing your openBVE folders

  1. Firstly, go to 'Places' > 'Home Folder':


  2. A folder sharing your username will be opened. Next, right-click in a blank area and click 'Create Folder':


  3. Now name your folder 'openBVE' and hit Enter, and then create a second folder, for example named 'openBVE_Content', and hit Enter:


  4. Now double-click your 'openBVE_Content' folder to view it's contents, and create two new folders within it, named 'Railway' and 'Train'. Don't pluralise the names, you need to name them exactly as described here:

Note: Be sure to remember the location of these new folders!

Now, we need to extract openBVE to the new 'openBVE' folder you just created. Simply follow these steps:

Extracting openBVE files

  1. Locate the '' file which you downloaded a few minutes ago; if you haven't changed any of Firefox's settings yet, it's probably located in your Downloads folder, accessible via 'Places' > 'Downloads'.

    Double-click the '' icon, and the following window will appear:


    Don't do anything, other than clicking the 'Extract' button...

  2. Now, locate the 'openBVE' folder you created a couple of minutes ago; first select your home folder from the 'Places' list on the left (your username), then double-click the 'openBVE' folder to enter it. Note the folder name buttons at the top of the dialog to confirm this. Then, click the 'Extract' button. Other options in this dialog can be left as shown in the following screenshot:


    Once the files are extracted, click the 'Close' button when presented with it, to exit the program.

The next step, is to place the dependencies (DLLs) which openBVE needs, into your openBVE folder.

So, next, we need to extract the files from the archive, which you obtained from the openBVE download page. Simply follow these steps:

Extracting the Tao Framework DLLs

  1. Locate the '' file you downloaded from the openBVE downloads page, and double-click it's icon:


    Don't do anything, other than clicking the 'Extract' button...

  2. Locate the folder where you extracted the openBVE files to previously, double-click that folder such that you see the openBVE files listed below, and then click 'Extract':


The Tao Framework DLLs and configuration files should now be extracted to their correct location!

Verifying your manual openBVE installation...

Verifying your installation

  1. Lastly, lets check that all the required files are present, as shown here:


    Installation is complete!

Now, we can test the installation by loading the route and train installed by default with the version of openBVE available via the Ubuntu Software Centre; currently a special copyright-free version of my Birmingham Cross-City South route. If you haven't installed openBVE or the route via this method, then the route can be manually installed following the instructions on the next page.

Testing your manually installed openBVE release

  1. Go to 'Applications' > 'Accessories' > 'Terminal', and enter the following two commands (replacing <username> with your own user name):

    cd /home/username/openBVE

    mono OpenBve.exe

    Important! In Unix based operating systems, case-sensitivity matters; note the uppercase 'BVE' and the 'O' and 'B' in OpenBve.exe...


  2. Now via openBVE's Browse for route tab, locate the directory where the copy of the Birmingham Cross-City South route installed alongside Ubuntu's version of openBVE, can be found...


    Note: If you haven't installed openBVE via the Ubuntu Software Centre as well, the route can be manually installed by following the instructions on the next page.

    Now select a route file, click openBVE's Start button, et voilà:


Note: The class 323 which is available in Ubuntu's repository may be out of date. If you see the following interface elements in the bottom-right of the openBVE window...


...then you will benefit from manually installing the class 323's 3D cab and UkTrainSys cross-platform plugin update. This will give you prototypical safety systems, such as the Automatic Warning System, and Train Protection and Warning System.

Please see the next page for manual installation instructions.

openBVE is now installed and working! If you want to practice manually installing a route and train, read on...

Content last updated: 12th May 2012