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UT2004 Tweak Guide

[Page 11] Advanced Tweaking (Pt. 3)

UT2004.ini – Part 2


If you're using the default renderer (Direct3D) then changing settings in this area will affect your graphics performance. If you're using OpenGL or Pixomatic modes (See the [Engine.Engine] section above to find out how) then ignore this section as tweaks here have no effect on those modes, and vice versa.


Set this to True for a slight performance loss but a slight improvement in Actor (character) details.


When set to True, this allows the highest quality of detail on the characters in the game. Set this to False if you need the performance boost.


As with Audio precaching and preloading of player skins (See above), when set to True this option loads graphics textures into memory before you actually see them to reduce in-game jerkiness when textures load "on the fly". However if you are experiencing long loading times and long freezes during games, set this to False and see if you get an improvement. As before, without precaching you may notice more, smaller, loading pauses during gameplay.


Set this option to True to improve overall performance when VSync is enabled. Using Triple Buffering may cause problems for graphics cards with lower Video RAM, so set to False if you’re experiencing problems such as mouse lag.


If your graphics card has onboard Transform and Lighting (T&L) set this to True. Most recent graphics cards do feature T&L, so unless you have an older card don't set this to False for best graphics performance.


Similar to T&L above, this option makes use of the hardware Vertex Shader on modern graphics cards. Most recent graphics cards feature VS. If you have an older card set this to False, otherwise leave at True for best graphics performance.


This is a trick used to make some reflective surfaces (like the water puddles in DM-Antalus for example) look like they’re actually reflecting what’s around them in 3D. Turning it off (set to False) can improve graphics performance without any noticeable drop in image quality. If you have a faster system, set it to True for best visual quality at the cost of minimal FPS.


If you have VSync enabled (See UseVsync setting below for more info) then your refresh rate will be limited to whatever this setting is. However, to reduce monitor flickering and eyestrain, you should set this value to the highest refresh rate supported by your monitor at the desired resolution. For example, your monitor may support a maximum refresh rate of 85Hz (85fps) at 1280x1024 resolution. This setting is at 60 by default, but you could set it to 85 to make full use of your monitor's capabilities and ease the strain on your eyes. Again, this setting has no impact if you have VSync disabled.


Using compressed lightmaps can improve your performance quite noticeably, hence it is on by default. If you have a monstrously fast system with a large amount of Video RAM (i.e 256MB) and system RAM (i.e. 1.5GB or more), set this option to False for the absolute best image quality and slightly quicker loading times, but at the cost of a few FPS.


UT2004 can be run in either 16-bit or 32-bit (See In-game Settings section). While you can determine this in the settings screens, if you choose to run at 16-bit, there's no point in 32-bit quality textures being loaded for each game. Set this option to True to use the lower quality 16-bit textures to match the 16-bit color depth you've chosen. This will improve FPS noticeably at the cost of more visible color banding on textures.


Without going into too much detail, Video Synchronization (VSync) is the synchronization of your graphics card and monitors' abilities to redraw the screen a number of times each second. This is measured in Hz (which is the same as frames per second), and your monitor will have a maximum rating in Hz for each resolution – e.g 1280x1024 at 85Hz. When set to False, your FPS will improve slightly, however, you may see some image "tearing" as your monitor and graphics card go slightly out of synchronization when the refresh rate exceeds the monitor's abilities. Turn off VSync (set to False) for best graphics performance, however if the image tearing is annoying then set to True. Setting TripleBuffering to True (See TripleBuffering above) will help reduce any tearing. For details, see my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide.

Also note that the VSync settings in your graphics control panel may conflict with this setting, so make sure they match what you select for UT2004.


This setting controls the amount of Anisotropic Filtering in UT2004. Basically Anisotropic Filtering improves texture quality, however it comes at the cost of some performance, particularly on older graphics cards. Setting this to 0 will improve performance on most machines without a noticeable drop in image quality. Of course increasing the value will improve image quality at a variable rate of performance loss based on your hardware. I recommend leaving this setting at default and using your graphics card's control panel to determine the level of Anisotropic Filtering applied to UT2004 (as detailed in my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide.


Setting this to True might help reduce the occurrence of substantial hitches (pauses, stuttering) in UT2004, but it can reduce average framerates, so leave this option at default and first try to minimize the loading/freezing issues with the other tweaks mentioned in this guide.


Just as with compressed lightmaps, compressed textures reduce image quality slightly, however they improve graphics performance dramatically (especially with Precaching set to True) as more textures can be loaded into video memory when compressed. Set this option to True only if you have an extremely fast machine and a graphics card with 256MB of VRAM or more, and you want the absolute highest quality of textures showing. Setting this option to True will cripple most machines' performance.


If set to true, this setting will allow you to exceed any refresh rate limitations Windows may have imposed on UT2004. Set to True just to be safe, but if you already use a refresh rate fix, such as Refresh Force, changing this setting will have no effect.




Tweaking the options under these sections will only have an impact if you're using the Direct3D9, OpenGL or Pixomatic renderers rather than Direct3D (See [Engine.Engine] section above to see how). The settings under here are essentially the same as those in the Direct3D section above, and setting them to True or False will have the same impact on performance. I recommend sticking to Direct3D as your renderer, as it gives the best performance and stability with UT2004 on all graphics cards.



By default, the speech menu can be scrolled through using the mouse wheel (if you have one). However setting this to False will turn off that feature, in case it annoys you.


By default the speech menu uses numbers to specify taunts/orders. For example, saying "Affirmative" using the Speech menu requires that you press the speech menu key (V by default), then 1, then 1. Setting this line to True will change the numerical menu items to letters, so that in the above example, you'd have to press V, then W, then W (by default) to say "Affirmative". You can change which keys are assigned to which items in this section as well. For example, LetterKeys[1]=IK_W shows that the "W" key is assigned in place of the "1" key when the letter menus option is enabled. Replace the "W" in the "IK_W" with another letter if you wish to change it.

Once again, another long list of tweaks and commands! After you've tweaked your UT2004.ini and User.ini files, save them and close them before running UT2004. The next section covers the Console Commands and Adrenalin/Special Moves which can be used in UT2004.