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UT2004 Tweak Guide

[Page 4] Official Patches and Bonus Packs

Epic and Digital Extremes have a history of providing some very cool content and upgrades for the Unreal Tournament series of games for absolutely nothing, nix, nada. These upgrades are most commonly released in two forms: Official patches and Bonus Packs. Patches usually contain bug fixes, performance improvements and game refinements designed to address any major issues identified by the UT community. Bonus packs are exactly that a bonus downloadable package with new maps, new skins, new voices and new gameplay modes.

Official Patch

Another official patch has been released for the game and brings it up to Version 3369. The patch is a must-install, and you can download it from a variety of places including BeyondUnreal or Fileshack. To install the patch simply double-click on the .exe file and it will update your UT2004 automatically. Note that the patch contains all the fixes from the previous patches as well, so you don't need to install those if you're starting with a fresh install of UT2004 - only the latest patch.

The patch contains a great many bug fixes and minor game changes to make UT2004 even better, but if you want to see the full list of changes for yourself, after installing the patch go to your \UT2004\Help\ directory and read the file for all the details. Note that if you only install the latest patch, the experimental DirectX9 renderer will not be installed (it was part of the first patch only). If you've installed the first patch previously on your current installation of the game however your D3D9 driver will still be there, though D3D9 mode (See Advanced Tweaking section) may not work properly. This patch also doesn't change your existing .ini files, so all your tweaks/changes should also remain as they were.

Note, you should install this patch after you have installed the Editor's Choice Edition Bonus Pack (see below), since the patch changes some aspects of that pack as well.

There is also a 64-bit Update for UT2004, which is designed for systems with 64-bit CPUs on a 64-bit OS, like Windows x64. This update will improve performance on such machines.

Bonus Packs

The first small Onslaught Bonus Pack has been released, containing two new Onslaught maps which can be downloaded here. More importantly however, the UT2004 Editor's Choice Edition Bonus Pack has now been released. Weighing in at 85MB, it contains six new characters, three new vehicles (the Paladin, the Cicada, and the SPMA), and four new Onslaught maps. You need to be patched up to version 3323 to be able to use it though, so make sure you have installed the latest patch first. This bonus pack is highly recommended!

Epic has recently released the UT2004 Bonus MegaPack, which weighs in at 200MB and contains new maps, as well as the contents from the Editor's Choice pack, and the latest patch, all rolled into one. So you can use this pack to bring a new installation of UT2004 right up to date for example, rather than downloading any individual previous packs, or you can install it over your current UT2004 install and it will add new content. Well worth downloading.

Since UT2004 comes with the easy-to-use UnrealEd game editor, you don't have to wait for Official Patches or Bonus Packs to be released before you try new content for UT2004. Just go to an Unreal Tournament community site (See the Credits & Links section below), or places like the FilePlanet UT2004 section to download one of several free user-made maps or modifications ("mods") for UT2004. If diving into using UnrealEd takes your fancy, then a tutorial such as one of those listed here might be what you need. If you're fortunate enough to have the DVD edition of UT2004, it comes with a second DVD which has tutorials on using UnrealEd in full step-by-step DVD-quality detail.

A group of people who have put UnrealEd to good use are the folks who have put together two Community Bonus Pack over at PlanetUnreal. The community-developed packs have 20 new maps, 4 new characters and a new mod type each for you to enjoy, all for free. The packs are 195MB download each, but well worth it.

Or perhaps you can try the acclaimed Red Orchestra total conversion for UT2004. This free mod completely converts UT2004 into a classy WWII shooter, where you play a soldier on the Eastern front. It features excellent environments, accurate weaponry and physics and great sounds. It's a huge download (410MB) but effectively gives you hours and hours more gameplay with UT2004 in a totally different genre. Give it a try!

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No-CD Cracks

Important Update: As of the 3204 Patch onwards, UT2004 no longer checks for the presence of your game CD in the drive. That effectively means the game now has a "built-in" No-CD patch, which means you don't need to download and install any other No-CD patches, executables or cracks from anywhere else.

I've made the decision not to provide any information on where to obtain, and how to install No-CD cracks in this guide. This is purely for legal reasons, as in a recent Halo Tweak Guide I initially included No-CD details but then received a friendly but firm email from the President of Bungie Software thanking me for the guide and asking me to remove the No-CD information. Copyright laws differ in various countries, but essentially you can't modify executable files or bypass copy protection without the author's permission. Morally I support the use of No-CDs, but legally, I am going to take the safe route, especially since is a new site and I don't want to jeopardize its existence.

What I can tell you is that No-CDs and Virtual Images don't improve game performance for UT2004. They reduce the initial loading time, since the CD/DVD doesn't have to spin up to be checked prior to starting up the game, but the copy protection used on UT2004 isn't the kind that will affect framerates. In the past, Epic/DE have recognised the annoyance caused by CD/DVD-checking copy protection systems on Unreal Tournament games and have eventually released a patch which removes the CD/DVD check. Once the initial period in which sales are at their peak is over, expect to see such a patch for UT2004.

Cheats and Hacks

Just a quick note that any modifications to game files, or use of scripts or utilities which give players an unfair advantage online (i.e. cheats/hacks) are simply not on. Epic/DE and Atari have made it clear in a recent announcement that the use of cheats is against the End User License Agreement you explicitly agreed to when installing UT2004, and if you're discovered cheating your unique CD Key will be banned from all servers, and you will be legally required to fully uninstall the game. The moral of the tale of course is don't cheat, no matter how tempting or fun it may seem. It's lame, it's pointless and now it's illegal. Stop it, or you'll go blind.

The next section describes all the UT2004 in-game settings, and their impact on performance.