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Prey Tweak Guide

[Page 11] Neat Stuff & Conclusion



That brings this guide almost to its conclusion. Below is some more information which you might find useful, along with my concluding thoughts.


Click to enlarge

Mouse Lag & Max Frames to Render Ahead


This setting has gained such prominence in Oblivion (See page 13 of my Oblivion Tweak Guide), that I thought I would mention specifically here that it has no impact on Prey. This is because Prey is an OpenGL-based game, and the Max Frames to Render Ahead setting is a Direct3D-only setting. So please do not bother to alter this setting in the hopes of any change in Prey.


However if you are experiencing mouse or control lag in Prey, there are several things you can do. Firstly, you can disable Vertical Sync (VSync) - as covered in the In-Game Settings section of this guide. If you have VSync enabled and you have also enabled Triple Buffering in your graphics card's control panel to improve performance, but are experiencing mouse/control lag, then disable it - for more details see my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide. Finally, you must make sure that your framerate remains above around 18-20FPS, as below this almost any game feels laggy and slow to respond - this 'lag' is normal when your framerate is very low, so lower your settings to improve your average framerate.



Prey and Dual Core CPUs


Using my X2 4400+ dual core CPU, I have checked to see if Prey is multithreaded and it appears not to be. This is not an engine limitation, as the Doom 3 engine has a specific variable to enable symmetric multiprocessing (multithreading) currently used by Quake 4, called r_useSMP. This variable is not available in Prey, and while running Prey I have checked my Task Manager CPU usage stat and it always stays at or just below 50%, meaning only one of the two cores is working with Prey. Hopefully a future patch will enable multiprocessor support for Prey, but to be honest the performance of the game is already quite good without it.


Note that AMD dual core users should install the AMD Dual Core Optimizer to ensure there are no problems with Prey or any other game on a dual core CPU, such as strange hitching and skipping.



Prey SLI Profile


There is no profile for Prey in the latest Official Nvidia drivers, however the new Beta 91.33 Forceware drivers do contain an SLI profile for Prey, and I recommend you use these if you run an SLI setup. If you wish to stick to your existing Forceware version, you can simply copy the Quake4 SLI profile and use it for Prey as it is almost identical in all respects.


Update: As of the 91.47 Official Forceware drivers there is a Prey profile built in. Make sure to use the latest official Nvidia drivers.



Prey Music


If you like the Prey music playing during the main menu, it's called Prey Overture and you can extract it quite simply by going to your \Prey\base\ directory, and opening the pak003.pk4 file using a utility like WinZip. Inside the archive, look for the file prey_overture.ogg and extract it. You can now play this file using a media player which can play .ogg files like the free WinAmp.


I personally think it's a great tune, so give it a try - the full version is quite good and runs over 5 minutes.


Update: The track played at the end of the game is called takemehome.ogg and can also be found in pak003.pk4.



Disable Startup/Menu Movies


If you want to skip the introductory movies each time Prey loads, there is a simple method for doing this. Go to the icon you use for launching Prey, right-click on it and select Properties. In the Properties box which opens, find the Target line and add a space then "+disconnect" (without quotes) to the end of it. For example:


"C:\Program Files\Prey Demo\Prey.exe" +disconnect


Now when you launch the game with this icon, the intro movies are skipped every time.



Prey Benchmarking


The Doom 3 engine on which Prey is based is a highly advanced OpenGL-based game engine. Prey in particular adds some nice graphical effects to the ageing but still excellent Doom 3 engine. As such, it's a great tool for benchmarking your system for OpenGL performance. To record your own custom demo, load up a particularly challenging stretch of the game, then open the console and type "recorddemo demoname" (without quotes). For example: recorddemo trialrun will start recording a demo called trailrun.demo in your \Prey\base\demos\ directory. Type "stoprecording" (without quotes) to stop recording this demo at any time. To run your custom demo (or any custom demo), go to your in-game console (See Advanced Tweaking section for details) and type "timedemo demoname" (without quotes) in the console. Wait for the run to finish and note the results, then you can compare them with others online for example.


If instead you don't want to go to the trouble of doing all of the above, you can instead use the HOCBench Prey Benchmark program.



Taking Screenshots


Taking screenshots in Prey is quite easy - simply press the PRINTSCREEN key which is bound by default to the screenshot function in the game - although you can change this in the Controls in-game settings. Using the screenshot key you can take a screenshot during gameplay and it will be placed in your \Prey\base\screenshots\ directory. However this screenshot is quite large and in .tga format. You can open it using Photoshop, or a free application like IrfanView.


The only other readily available method of taking screenshots in Prey is to use a free utility like Fraps. Fraps can take as many screenshots as you like during gameplay, and stores them in the directory of your choice.



Conclusion


This brings the Prey Tweak Guide to a conclusion. The guide originally came out for the demo version of the game back in June, and has now been updated for the full version, although it is important to note that there aren't any major differences between the two versions. I would appreciate constructive feedback on this guide, including anything important you think has been inaccurately described or omitted, so please Email Me. However keep in mind that I can't offer any tech/tweak support.


In the meanwhile, I hope you've found this guide useful, and of course check back regularly as I keep the guide up to date for this great game.



Until next time, take care!