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Joint Operations Tweak Guide

[Page 3] Troubleshooting Tips

This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address many of the most common problems experienced by Joint Operations players. Several of the tips below are drawn from my guides mentioned in the Essential Optimization section. This is no coincidence, since many common Joint Operations problems are not game bugs, but specific sub-optimal system conditions which lead to problems. Joint Operations can be quite system intensive and uses some advanced features, and this brings out instability and problems on many systems. I can't stress enough the importance of taking the time to go through the checklist of advice below if you're having a problem with the game. In fact you will probably get just as much performance benefit from these tips than just changing game settings:

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Official Support: If you have a problem with the game, the first place to visit is the NovaLogic Support Site. There are also several official documents you should read for more gameplay information and answers to common questions. The first one is in your \NovaLogic\Joint Operations Typhoon Rising\ directory, and is called Readme.txt. You can also view the Official Joint Operations FAQ for more information. Finally, if you still can't find the answer to your question, you can visit the Joint Operations Support Forum, where other players may be able to help you out.

NovaWorld Account/CD Key Problems: Read this CD Key Post as a starting point for more details on what you can do if you are having issues with your CD Key and online account creation.

Windows Vista Users: If you're having problems running this game under Windows Vista, first make sure that you're using the latest Vista graphics and audio drivers for your hardware, and the latest version of this game (see page 4 for patch details). Next, make sure you don't change your UAC settings after the game has been installed, as due to Virtualization this can change the location of the game files and settings. If you can't launch the game successfully when UAC is enabled, you will need to run the game with full Admin privileges. To do this either right-click on the launch icon and select 'Run as Administrator', or right-click on the launch icon, select Properties and under the Compatibility tab tick 'Run this program as an administrator' then click OK. I strongly recommend that you refer to the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for Windows Vista for more information - in particular check the 'Gaming in Vista' section of the Graphics & Interface chapter; the UAC section of the PC Security chapter; and the 'Personal Folders' and 'Directory Junctions & Symbolic Links' sections of the Windows Explorer chapter. These will tell you how you can fix game-related issues and also explain the relevant differences of Vista.

PunkBuster Issues: Make sure you have installed PunkBuster anti-cheat software with Joint Operations, and have it enabled in your Options menu (under the General tab) before attempting to play online. Most servers require PunkBuster to be installed and enabled, otherwise you cannot play on them. If you haven't installed PunkBuster and want to install it, insert your Joint Operations CD and install it from there. The PunkBuster anti-cheat system can cause some problems in certain circumstances. To get more information on PunkBuster, and how to troubleshoot PunkBuster-related issues, go to the PunkBuster Joint Operations Support Site for more details. If you are being booted on PB servers, you may also try this solution

Connection Problems: Joint Operations is revolutionary in that it allows up to 150 players or more to be on a single server, and this is quite a task to manage smoothly for any server. Many players have noted that at the moment, servers which have a relatively high number of maximum players (e.g. 64 players or above) can be quite laggy. This can be caused by a variety of things, but the most important factors which affect how smooth your gameplay will be online are: your hardware - this affects how quickly the game updates and displays on the screen; the distance to the server - the further away you are from the server the more lag you will experience; your connection type - the more bandwidth your connection can handle, and the better your connection, (i.e. lower ping) the smoother your gameplay will be. For people having router/firewall problems, see the Advanced Tweaking section for more details. Unfortunately any connection issues not related to hardware/connection speed are due to the game's network code, and this can only be resolved through official updates.

Recommended System Requirements: The recommended hardware requirements for Joint Operations are steep, and for reasonable performance you should try to meet them. Minimum and Recommended system requirements are listed in this FAQ: Joint Operations System Requirements. If you don't meet these hardware requirements, or barely meet them, then expect to see very poor performance, visual anomalies, and in some cases the game simply will not run. For those below minimum requirements in any area - it's time for an upgrade, as some of the advanced features of the game require full hardware support and nothing less.

Virus Scan: Do a full scan of all your files using a virus scanner such as Norton's Antivirus, a trojan cleaner such as The Cleaner, and a spyware cleaner such as Ad-aware. Viruses, trojans and spyware can cause unexplained behavior, general file corruption and system slowdown, so it's best to make sure your system isn't infected before moving on to other measures. However make sure to disable any background scanning programs once you're done (See below).

Background Programs: Disable all background applications, especially virus, trojan and spyware scanners and messaging utilities. These applications can and do use up valuable CPU resources, take up precious RAM, cause memory conflicts and crashes to desktop, and lag online play, but most importantly they interfere with read/writes to your hard drive effectively slowing it down and causing more in-game freezes and loading pauses. Full instructions on how to identify your startup programs and services and how to correctly disable unnecessary ones are in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion.

Overclocking: Most recent games like Joint Operations are sensitive to overclocking. If you have overclocked any components on your system and are having problems such as crashes and reboots, set everything back to default speeds and try running the game. If you don't experience the same problems at default speed then your overclock is the primary culprit. In particular, read through my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for tools and instructions on how to correctly stress-test an overclocked system and determine which components are being pushed too far. Even if every other game and program you run works just fine at your current overclock, Joint Operations may well be crashing because of your overclock and/or heat issues.

Fast CPU and Fast Graphics Card: Most recent games require a balance of both a medium to fast CPU and a medium to fast graphics card for optimal performance. If you have a fast CPU but a slow graphics card for example (e.g. P4 3.2Ghz combined with an FX5200), or vice versa, then your machine will struggle. While you can certainly reduce the load on your machine by scaling down the in-game settings and undertaking some advanced tweaking, you cannot alter the advanced character and bullet physics, the basic terrain complexity, or the sheer amount of essential detail on screen during a heavy combat scene - hence the steep requirements.

Memory Subset: It is highly recommended that you run Joint Operations on at least 512MB of RAM for relatively smooth gameplay. You should also optimize your Virtual Memory settings by following the step-by-step instructions in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. Combined with the tweaks covered later in this guide, this should help resolve most of your problems. A lack of RAM and sub-optimal virtual memory settings, especially when combined with overclocked memory (and/or aggressive RAM timings), can lead to lots of small in-game loading pauses, longer loading times and memory conflicts leading to freezes, crashes to desktop, and even sudden reboots.

Defragging: Make sure that after you have installed Joint Operations you run through the system maintenance procedures detailed in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. If you only do one thing on that list though, make sure you run the Windows Defragmentation utility after installing any game. Defragging ensures that the game's files are all on the same place on your hard drive, greatly reducing loading pauses/freezes and loading times. It may take a little while but it is well worth it.

Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering: If you have mysteriously low frames per second despite being certain that your hardware is capable of more, then one place to check would be your graphics card's Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering settings. These are explained in detail in my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide. Even 2x Antialiasing for example can turn Joint Operations from reasonably smooth to a slideshow in certain areas, depending on your hardware and in-game settings. For maximum framerates set both AA and AF to '0x' or 'Application Controlled' in your graphics card's control panel, and do the same in-game.

That's just a basic rundown of troubleshooting tips. Read the remainder of this guide for more specific settings and tweaks which can help improve your performance and resolve any problems.