Compilling from source almost always involves opening up a terminal (GNOMEterm, Konsole, rxvt, etc) and:
$ cd source directory (what was extracted from the tarball)
enter root pass
# make install
The configure script checks your environment, checks for a compiler, and for other dependencies. It also generates the makefiles needed to compile the source. make compiles, and them make install shifts everything to a nifty place. Usually files for the program to run eg sounds, images, and configuration files to /usr/local/share, and then the executables to /usr/local/bin. You can change the prefix of the install manually though.
However, ALWAYS, ALWAYS read the README and INSTALL files. Most tarballs contain generic INSTALL files. You can tell by the "These are generic installation instructions" line
README's are never the same, and you should ALWAYS read them.
Either of these documents can contain possible parameters for configuration/compilation. So read them or it's your fault :P