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Star Wars Battlefront Tweak Guide

[Page 3] Troubleshooting Tips

This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address many of the most common problems experienced by Star Wars Battlefront players. Several of the tips below are drawn from my guides mentioned in the Essential Optimization section. This is no coincidence, since some of the common problems with SWB are not game bugs, but general sub-optimal system conditions. Star Wars Battlefront has some advanced graphics and audio features which can trigger problems on certain systems, so I can't stress enough the importance of taking the time to go through the checklist of advice below, as well as the rest of this guide, if you're having a problem with the game.

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Official Support: If you have a problem with the game, the first place to visit is the Lucasarts Technical Support Forum. However before you post any questions, make sure to read two important documents: the first is the Readme.txt file in your \Program Files\LucasArts\Star Wars Battlefront\Install\docs\english\ directory, and the second is this Star Wars Battlefront Basic Troubleshooting Guide.

Recommended System Requirements: The minimum system requirements for Star Wars Battlefront are not very steep, however you should definitely try to meet the recommended requirements to ensure the best playing experience. The minimum, recommended and optimal specs for SWB are in the Readme.txt file in your \Program Files\LucasArts\Star Wars Battlefront\Install\docs\english\ directory. Get acquainted with them since even if one of your components doesn't meet these requirements or cuts it fairly fine you will experience slow or laggy performance.

Installation Problems: If you are having problems installing SWB, look at the solutions posted in this thread first. Also make sure to read the Readme.txt file as mentioned above.

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.

Mouse Issues: If you are finding that your mouse is laggy or sluggish, check the In-game settings section of this guide for details, and also the Lag topic just below. However if you find your mouse is drifting in the menus, check this solution to see if it fixes the issue for you.

Connection Problems: If you are behind a Firewall and are having connection problems, check this Gamespy Firewall FAQ for possible solutions. Other SWB connection issues are covered in the Star Wars Battlefront Basic Troubleshooting Guide.

Lag: One of my pet peeves is people referring to a server being laggy, and yelling out "LAGG!!" every five seconds during an online game of Star Wars Battlefront (and indeed every other online game). It is important to understand that lag is a term which is used to refer to a high ping and/or Internet connection-related difficulties such as packet loss. These are reliant on the type of connection you have, the location of the server you are playing on, and the netcode. In general SWB has reasonable netcode and 9 times out of 10 when I hear the "LAGG!!" call I am experiencing no lag myself, nor are many others on the same server. This means that the player is probably experiencing graphics slowdown, which is totally unrelated to the server or to their Internet connection. Graphics slowdown can only be addressed by altering and typically reducing your in-game graphics settings to allow for an increase in FPS during graphically intensive scenes in the game. So in summary, if you are on a server where even one of the other players is not experiencing any lag, and you notice your graphics are slowing down and your mouse is becoming less responsive, first press the TAB key and check your Ping - if it is less than 250ms then reduce your settings: it is probably not the server or the game's netcode, it is most likely your machine struggling to draw everything.

Audio Problems: Sound and music are an important part of Star Wars Battlefront, both for gameplay reasons and immersion in the Star Wars universe. However I have noticed that SWB has issues with audio, and can cause a few problems for some people in this regard. To begin with, make sure in Windows that you go to Control Panel>Sounds and Audio Devices>Advanced, and ensure your speaker setting matches your actual physical speaker setup. Note that sometimes if you crash out of SWB, these settings may be altered without your knowledge, so check back on these often (and in detail) if you are having audio problems. Then under the Performance tab, you can try reducing the Hardware Acceleration slider one notch to see if it removes some of your audio problems. If you have an EAX-capable sound card and are using EAX in SWB (i.e. the EAX logo is visible), go to your AudioHQ and open the EAX Control Panel. Click the 'All Effects Off' button at the bottom left. Finally, EAX may cause problems on some audio cards regardless of settings, so set the Effects option in the In-Game Audio settings to Off (See In-Game settings section). See also the /audiomixbuffer switch under the Advanced Tweaking section.

For sound card specific audio solutions, check the Readme.txt file in your \Program Files\LucasArts\Star Wars Battlefront\Install\docs\english directory as there are a lot of specific tips/warnings for certain audio and motherboard chipsets.

Note that the music may sometimes stop playing or there will be silent periods. This is normal (if a bit annoying) and is not an issue with your sound card or settings. Typically the music will restart at some point shortly thereafter, however if your music is cutting sharply in and out, is hissing/crackling or you are getting abbreviated or missing sound effects then follow the tips above and in the Advanced Tweaking section of this guide as that is not normal.

Virus Scan: Do a full scan of all your files using a virus scanner such as the following excellent (and free) tools: AVG Virus Cleaner for viruses, The Cleaner for trojans, and Ad-aware SE for spyware. Viruses, trojans and spyware can cause unexplained behavior, general file corruption and system slowdown, and can also (in some cases) steal your CD Key. 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 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. This is a very important step you should not miss.

Overclocking: Just like many other games, Star Wars Battlefront can be sensitive to overclocking. If you have overclocked any components on your system and are having problems such as crashes and reboots, or 'artifacting' (graphical anomalies) 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. Just because other games run fine at your current overclock, doesn't mean every game will, especially newer games.

Memory Subset: It is highly recommended that you run Star Wars Battlefront on at least 512MB of RAM. Regardless of RAM size however, you must ensure that you 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 many issues. 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: Another vital tip is to make sure that after you have installed SWB 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. 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, and you should defrag every time you add or delete any major files from your hard drive (e.g. when you patch a game or update a driver).

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. I strongly recommend that you set any forced Antialiasing and/or Anisotropic Filtering in your graphics card's control panel to 'Application Preference'. Star Wars Battlefront also has its own Antialiasing setting (See In-Game Settings section), so if you want to use AA then use this setting in the first instance, although once again using AA will reduce performance noticeably and is unnecessary in SWB given its existing blurring effects.

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.