Learn Tremulous in 5 minutes Tutorial (or how to understand and play decently in 5 minutes) I’ve been a Tremulous player and a high level admin of some of the most popular servers in Tremulous for several years. And after many months dedicated to this game I have seen tons of players not understanding the basics of this fast paced strategy game, so I decided to write this guide to clear […]

on September 10, 2008
(9 minute read)

I’ve been a Tremulous player and a high level admin of some of the most popular servers in Tremulous for several years.

And after many months dedicated to this game I have seen tons of players not understanding the basics of this fast paced strategy game, so I decided to write this guide to clear some things out. You are NOT playing Counter Strike or Halo, this is Tremulous. A mix between FPS and strategy games. This article is a quick guide for newbies. Experienced players may learn something but don’t start trolling on how good you are or how whatever sucks, this is intended to give a general idea of the game, go to Trem forums to discuss your super skills and your 5 kills per minute ratio.

Disclaimer: This article refers to Tremulous 1.1, while most of the information and tactics described here are valid and very useful, there are some slight changes in the most recent version of the game like the credit algorithm or the price of stuff that have changed to balance the game. Read the comments for more information or check the changelog.

What’s Tremulous about?

It’s aliens versus humans. Aliens can evolve into bigger creatures and humans can buy weapons and armors. Both teams have bases. Those bases work like StarCraft, Age of Empires or other similar games. There are buildings that heal, others attack, defend or power units…

The game is very very very intense and awesomely fast (you can die in 2 seconds or survive for 30 minutes without dying). Rounds can last from 5 minutes to 2 or 3 hours (really, it has happened more than once to start a round, play a bit, do something else, get out to the pub and meet with friends, get back to Trem and continue the same game).

By the way, Tremulous is totally free to download and play. The code source of the game is open too.

Tremulous is a team based game

One thing is clear, you can’t win without working together with your team. When attacking, try to go in groups. If someone says “help at base”, go back to base and help. If you’ve got some spare money, donate it to the team (you will get it back).


Those two are Tremulous free money. Evos are for aliens and go from 0 to 9. Credits are for humans and go from 0 to 2000. You earn 175 credits when you kill an alien (if you do half damage you get half, etc.) and you get 1 evo when you kill a human.


Stages are phases of the game. There are 3 and you begin on Stage 1. To go to the next stage you need to kill enemies (the number of kills depends on the number of players). Stages 2 and 3 provide your team with new evolutions or weapons/armors. Same goes for the other team so do not get killed.

Life (health points)

Aliens regenerate automatically every second their health points. Being near a Tyrant (without being one) will heal you faster. The buildings also regenerate automatically.

Humans wear an injection, when used it, it will restore your health. Once you use your injection, you need to step onto the Medistation. Only one human can heal at a time, wait your turn. Once your life is restored, you get another injection. The buildings need a builder to repair them (hold right click while carrying the construction kit).

What are the aliens?

First of all, remember this:

Aim to the head and don’t stand still neither in front of the human, always try to find his back or flank them

You can only begin (spawn) with Dretch or Granger (the builder). Pick Dretch. When you get some evos pick Dragoon (3 evos), then Tyrant (5 evos). Aliens have a radar by default and can see proximity enemies (blue spots) and buildings (red spots).

  1. Dretch (free, 25hp, stage 1): This is the basic one. It is fast and small which makes you less aimable but you’ve got only 25hp (same as 5 rifle bullet shots). To kill humans you just need to touch them and you will bite automatically. Aim to his head to increase the damage drastically. You must master the dretch first of all, if you are good with dretch you will be feared in duels and clan wars.
  2. Basilisk (1 evo, 75hp, stage 1): This one is really hard to master. Do not evolve into this during your first months playing Trem. Wait to get the Dragoon.
  3. Marauder (2 evos, 150hp, stage 1): This one is a bit hard. Do not evolve into this. Wait to get the Dragoon.
  4. Dragoon (3 evos, 200hp, stage 1): Hold right click, wait 1-3 seconds and release it to jump. While jumping like this, if you hit a human, you will harm him (even kill him). This is the first attack. The second one is the left click. Don’t forget what I told you: aim to the head and don’t stand still even less in front of the human, try to find his back.
  5. Advanced Basilisk (2 evos, 100hp, stage 2): hard one to master. The difference with the normal Basilisk is that this one throws toxic gas.
  6. Advanced Marauder (3 evos, 175hp, stage 2): like the normal marauder but can electrify (although it is spectacular, it is really weak and a waste of time).
  7. Advanced Dragoon (4 evos, 250hp, stage 3): it jumps a lot more than the normal Dragoon. It can also snip projectiles. The advanced dragoon is good for snipping buildings. You need to master the normal Dragoon first to attack humans with it. Bet for the Tyrant.
  8. Tyrant (5 evos, 400hp, stage 3): This one rocks. When attacking, do not stay at aim of fire for more than 5 seconds, start killing one human and run away when your health is below 150hp (keep a look at your remaining HP every time you “rush”/attack). Watch your HP and estimate how long you can keep being shoot. Oh, and never ever stand still while destroying a building (Lucifer cannon can deal huge amounts of damage), keep moving side to side with random movements. You can attack with left click or hold right click, walk forward and release it to sprint (you can also kill like this although only do this when humans are not very well protected).


As a human you begin choosing Rifle or Builder. Choose Rifle and stay away from aliens, distance is your greatest advantage. Once you kill some aliens you will gain credits. Go to the Armoury (green box near the Medistation) and sell your Rifle (press Q and select Rifle to sell it). You can buy:


  1. Pain Saw (100 credits): Do not get this one yet.
  2. Rifle (free): The
  3. Shotgun (150 c): 8 short-distance shots. Get this if there are a lot of dragoons.
  4. Lasgun (250 c): 200 precision but weak shots. Perfect for dretches and small aliens. Similar to a Rifle but you won’t run out of ammunition (as a newbie, you will be killed before).
  5. Pulse Rifle: Do not get this one yet, you need to calculate enemy movements and this takes time.
  6. Mass driver (350 c): 7 precision shots. You deal 70hp aproximately with each shot. You’d better improve your aim before buying this.
  7. Chaingun (400 c): 300 bullets. Mid-distance. Get BattleSuit or crouch to aim better.
  8. Flamer: This one is quite a waste of credits. You will kill yourself. Only get it when there are a lot of dretches.
  9. Lucifer Cannon (700 c): It is awesomly powerful but very slow. Try to aim where the alien will be in the next 3-5 seconds. Do not die, it’s 700 credits worth. Spec experienced players to master it. In close maps it’s really useful to get the Helmet for its radar capabilities.
  10. Grenade: Quite a waste for newbies, spec experienced players before using them.

Armor and tools:

  1. Light armor (70 c): Not really useful with dretches but useful to prevent Dragoon pounces.
  2. Helmet (150 c): Buy this! Without this, dretches can kill you nearly instantly (96hp in one bite) and dragoons in 1 hit. You also get a Radar which is really worth it.
  3. BattleSuit (400 c): High protection (a Tyrant needs 3 hits to kill you) but very noisy and can’t crouch. You will feel safe although don’t overestimate yourself.
  4. Jetpack: Don’t waste your money on this, or try it just for fun. It can be really useful for specific maps but can also be very annoying and pointless in some games. In some servers they have limited fuel so be careful.


This is another sweet feature about Tremulous and what makes it the best free game ever. You can play to kill (as the common 1st person fast paced shooter games), but you can also build and study base tactics.

Although sounds promising, as a newbie forget about that for now, first learn to kill and let other experienced builders do their job in base architecture tactics. Observe them and look at their different defense designs on every map (building positions can be optimized every Stage but it takes time and experience to master this).

Important concepts about Tremulous (read this!)


The basics in Tremulous are to kill and not die (aka feed). That’s why players go to attack and then go back. Do not block your teammates escape way by staying close to their back. This is illegal and you can be kicked for it.


We said the game was about killing and not getting killed. You should avoid getting killed besides killing. If you die a lot, you just give stupid advantage to your enemies. Try not to be so Rambo and do not attack alone (specially humans). Teammates may complain if you feed (get killed) a lot and may vote to kick you.


Some servers have Friendly Fire ON and some have it OFF. If it is ON, when aiming at the enemy, you may accidentally hit one of your teammates. Try to avoid that. It is sadly easy to kill and be killed by your teammates. Imagine you just bought the best equipment wasting 1000 credits and someone behind you kills you. Those credits/evos are lost. And you may also loose credits/evos in compensation to the teamkill.


This game is about bases, and the fun of it is to attack-deffend-attack-deffend. If you just stay at your base, you ruin the game since the enemy can’t attack (it is suicide to go inside a base with 5 players and 7 machine gun turrets aiming at you, you may expect to last 5 seconds with Tyrant, honestly), neither defend (because you are still at your base) and the game stops. You can be kicked for this.


Same as camper but flying with a Jetpack staying at the same room/area waiting for enemies to come.


Builders are not designed to kill, so don’t ever get away from your base while being a builder. You will just feed, hence, make your team loose the match and get kicked or hated.


Deconstructing structures stupidly and repetitively without building others is considered “deconning”. Some newbie or bored silly players try to ruin the game by deconning and leaving a team defenceless.

Don’t do this, nowadays servers incorporate commands to revert deconstructions by pressing just one key. This also means getting banned PERMANENTLY.

Voting system

Another nice thing about Tremulous is democracy power. You and all the players can vote for whatever they want. You vote by pressing F1 for Yes and F2 for No.

  • Change or restart the map
  • Extend the time limit or call Sudden Death
  • Run polls (about anything you like)
  • Kick or mute a player
  • Deny a player from building

Teamvotes are also available. You can vote through F3 and F4 (or by pressing Escape and following the menu).

Sudden Death

To avoid boring games, there is Sudden Death that disallows everyone to build anything. So when a structure is destroyed, it can’t be reconstructed. This makes the game end quickly.

Become a pro

Best advice is to spec the top players of each team. That is the best way to learn how to move, aim, etc. Do not play modded servers (try to avoid Unlimited ones). Master the Dretch, Dragoon and Tyrant and the Rifle, Shotgun and Lucifer Cannon.

As an alien, aim to the head and understand the radar.

As a human, keep distance and understand the radar (free when buying helmet).

Want more?

Please donate to keep this server up

Ok, now you know everything to start. Have a look at the Tremulous area to learn cool stuff or Tremulous bind and autoexec to master the art of key binds or the admin tricks if you are a server admin. You can also search for more advanced Tremulous tutorials.

Also, once you’ve played for at least 6 months, consider entering a Clan, there is a big bunch of them around the Internet, request becoming an admin of your favorite server and visit the official Tremulous forum, there are a lot of good tutorials and guides there.

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  • Strathos says:

    Very useful! thanks

  • cwxwwwxdfvwwxwx says:

    well, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch ;)

  • GeneralScott says:

    This is a bit outdated. It was made for Trem 1.1, but 1.2 beta is the current edition. Its still good though, but maras are actually stronger than goons for killing players.

  • Voss says:

    In 1.2 Larmour saved my ass TONS of times. Luci costs 600, the prices for Flamer and Prifle are 450 and 400 respectively. Pretty sure helm costs 90…

    The credit/evo system is NOT fixed. It’s based on A) how much dmg you did. B) the size of the opponent. I.E.: get more credits killing rant than dretch. For aliens, killing unprotected human gets less evos than killing luci/bsuit combo.

  • rupert says:

    This was posted 2 years ago and a lot of things have changed to Trem right now (2 years ago killing a dretch or a rant gave you the same credits).
    U guys should read the title: “how to play DECENTLY” and “in 5 minutes”
    This is a guide for newbies so the writer obviates some details to avoid complicating stuff (a newbie w/ a jetpack will only be a camper or a feeder)
    So now go write your 2k page guide for pro’s like you… but I use to send newbies to this article so they learn the differences between Trem and Halo, CoD or any other FPS and it helps them a lot (it’s out of date but the main idea is there)

  • Mike says:

    Hey, nice intro to new players that don’t want to spend 1 hour reading a boring tutorial. Thanks dude

  • Xavi Author says:

    Glad it helps guys! :)

    As I said in the post, this is meant to give a general idea. Every pro player will have different tactics to approach the same situations but I just compiled what I thought it was the most feasible and effective ways for new tremfans to succeed in this game.

    I’ve been retired from Trem for 2 years now and I admire this game, pitty my life doesn’t give me enough free time to enjoy it plenty.
    Things have changed for good, the game was really unbalanced and I even learned to code C and recompile the source code to reprogram Trem and balance it with the help of other admins (specially at TremSpain server, cheers guys, I’ll never forget such great times discussing geeky Trem stuff). Glad 1.2 finally came out, we have been waiting for it such a long time…

    Thing is that I am not as involved as I once was and I don’t read the forums as often as I did so I don’t really know what has changed, understand this when reading the post, it was written in Sep 2008, quite close to my retirement.

    Anyway, enjoy the post and Tremulous.
    It’s the best FPS+Real time Strategy game I’ve ever played!!!

    Cheers from TheLuciferSausage, <<<BAM>>> and many other nicknames I’ve had.

  • Toxx says:

    this helped understand the game! thxxx

  • lamejake says:

    Nice guide! I am a little weird. I can’t play basilisk, dragoon or tyrant but I am best at dretch and pretty good at marauder.

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