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Unreal Tournament 3 Tweak Guide

[Page 3] Troubleshooting Tips

This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address many of the common problems experienced by UT3 players. 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.

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Official Support: The first place to look for official support details is in the ReadmeDemo.rtf file in your \Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3\UTGame\Localization\INT directory. Make sure your system meets all the System Requirements, and check all the known issues. In terms of community support, make sure to check through the Official UT3 Forums. There's plenty of valuable advice out there if you spend some time searching for it. Finally, make absolutely certain you're patched to the latest version of the game as it resolves many issues - see Page 4 for details of the latest patch.

The Latest Graphic Drivers: UT3 requires the latest graphics drivers to function correctly, otherwise the game may crash or glitch. ATI users should use Catalyst 7.10 or newer, and Nvidia users need to use the 163.71 Forceware or newer. See my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide or Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide for more details on where to download the latest drivers and how to install and configure them correctly.

Stuttering/Freezes: If you're experiencing stuttering or hitching, first make sure to completely defragment your system, and then refer to the Advanced Tweaking section for a range of variables which can help reduce stuttering and improve performance in the game. If you get long freezes on an Nvidia card, try the 169.28 Forceware or newer which are specifically designed to resolve this issue.

Lag: If you are experiencing lag when playing online, keep in mind that there is no single cause of lag. It is not necessarily related to your network connection or the server on which you're playing - check your Ping using the Stat Net console command, and if it is low (e.g. below 100) then it's unlikely to be your connection. Just to be sure, untick the Dynamic Netspeed setting, and try joining another server to see if this changes things. If lag persists, check your FPS using the Stat FPS command, and if it often dips below 25 or so, especially in heavy combat, then you will need to further adjust your settings to increase your minimum framerate; low framerates are the most common cause of 'lag', including mouse lag. Finally, untick the 'Mouse Smoothing' setting as this only exacerbates any feelings of lag.

Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering: If you're unfamiliar with what Antialiasing or Anisotropic Filtering do, see this page of my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide. Details of how to enable Antialiasing in UT3 are under relevant area of the In-Game Setting section, as it can be tricky. Anisotropic Filtering is covered under World Detail in the In-Game Settings section, as well as in the Advanced Tweaking section.

Background Programs: Game developers recommend that you disable all background applications - especially virus, trojan and spyware scanners and messaging utilities - before playing games. These background applications can and do use up valuable CPU resources, take up precious RAM, cause memory conflicts and crashes to desktop, but most importantly they interfere with read/writes to your hard drive effectively slowing it down and causing even more in-game freezes and stuttering. 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 an important step you should not miss.

Overclocking: UT3 can be sensitive to overclocking, so if you are experiencing graphical glitches or crashing in the game, set everything back to its default speeds and see if this impacts on the problem. If you don't experience the same problems at default speed, or they're reduced in severity, then your overclock is the primary culprit. Either permanently reduce your overclock and/or increase cooling to regain stability. Don't assume that because other games run with stability at a particular speed that UT3 will do the same.

These are just a few of the common fixes for problems in UT3. However if you follow the advice in this guide, you should be able to play the game more smoothly. Just be realistic about balancing eye candy with performance, and focus on tightening up your system as much as possible - make absolutely sure to read the guides I link to under Essential Optimization on page 2 of this guide above for more details on how to do that.

Read the remainder of this guide for specific settings and tweaks which can help improve your performance and resolve any problems. The next section looks at patches, maps and mods.