I originally created this thread as a collection of tweaks for people to use to a) put a number of tweaks together to help those in need, b) show a more-optimized performance setup and an optimized quality setup than can be found in-game, and c) some useful tweaks that can help make the game a little more enjoyable for everyone. Well that was a month ago, I've learned alot, and I believe I should edit this first post to sort of consolidate what I can into it. The troubleshooting of issues in the last month have led to more solutions to numerous problems that have surfaced, so I will start this revised guide with those options.
Who is this thread for? Anyone who has problems running UT3. Anyone who wants to max out their performance _or_ graphics better than what they can do in-game. And anyone who wants to have a number of useful tweaks that eliminate some of the weird default settings of the game. I will also break this original post into two distinct ones, for easier reading, and to fit under the 20,000 character post limit.
But first, let's have a reality check.
Here are the minimum hardware requirements for running this game:
• 2.0+ GHz single core CPU
• 512 MB RAM
• Nvidia 6200+ or ATI Radeon 9600+ video card
If you have a system that barely meets these requirements, this game will be rough to play. In particular the video card is your weakest link.
Here are the recommended hardware requirements for running this game:
• 2.4+ GHz dual core CPU
• 1 GB RAM
• NVIDIA 7800+ or ATI x1800+ Video Card
Midway or Epic made a typo when they originally recommended an ATI X1300+ video card as one that is "recommended" to run this game. So disregard the "3" in that model number and pretend it's an "8" because a Radeon X1800 is roughly comparable with a GeForce 7800. The game is highly "GPU-dependant" which means it relies heavily on video cards to increase framerates. Also the game scales to multiple cores and CPU's by distributing threads between them.
Note: as of this writing I assume you have the UT3 1.1 Patch, and all my tweaks will assume you've gone through the in-game menu options first. For example you can make a ton of quality changes just through the Texture and World Detail sliders. Set them to 1/1 and you have a high performance build. Set them to 5/5 and you have a high quality build. What I suggest might help a little more to ensure you get a little better performance or retaining higher quality settings at all framerate levels. Those two extremes are closely reached through in-game setting changes.
The thing is, some changes you make in the configuration files of the game don't matter in some cases. In other situations you can make the graphics worse than they should be, because of how the game looks at how that changes where the Detail Sliders will end up. So I am taking a slightly different tack than the first offering of this guide.
There are 4 configuration files we will edit using a text editor like Notepad or Editpad. These can be found in My Documents\MyGames\Unreal Tournament 3\UTGame\Config.
I have four goals:
1) To give known solutions to many of the most common issues people have complained about.
2) To show a high performance setup that allows players with older, lower-end video cards to play the game, and to help weed out technical issues by troubleshooting from a basic configuration.
3) To show a super high quality setup that allows players to play with the best possible graphics, regardless of framerates.
4) To fix a number of issues that many like myself do not like. This last section will have no real effect on graphics or performance, but might make the game more fun.
Another thing, nothing that I write here is above constructive criticism. If you have technical reason why anything I say is incorrect, please reply to this thread with any corrections.
--- SECTION I - TROUBLESHOOTING ---
Another thing, if you have an older Nvidia or ATI card, perhaps one that meets the minimum system requirements, but not the recommended ones, you might try one of these options, depending on your video chipset.
Edit your UTEngine.ini
For older NVIDIA cards:
For older ATI cards:
If you are experiencing lockups when playing cinematic videos in the single player campaign, and possibly other times. I believe this is set to default now with Patch 1.1.
If you are experiencing lockups or crashing, do the following:
1) Disable OpenAL in-game.
2) If you are unable to disable OpenAL that without the game locking up or crashing first, then disable sound by editing your UTEngine.ini, launch the game to disable it, then re-edit the UTEngine.ini to enable sound again. Look for the following lines:
3) Uninstall OpenAL in the Add/Remove Programs control panel.
If disabling or uninstalling OpenAL does not fix the problem, or the crashing occurs while there is no sound, then try options to resolve video card or CPU-based issues.
4) If any other ATI card users are having that problem Enable the Support DXT texture formats in the 3D main side menu and under More Settings.
If you experience a crash while trying to load VCTF or WAR maps, and you only have 1GB of RAM, try upgrading to 2GB of RAM or more and see if the problem occurs again. One users has reported a simple RAM upgrade fixed the crashing he had on this issue.
You can Ctrl-Alt-Del and see how much system RAM is being used by UT3 in the Task Manager. It should be between 250-450MB RAM depending on map size and what's going on in it. But if it's much higher than that, or there is an issue with the game crashing if you run out of available system RAM, then a RAM upgrade will alleviate this issue.
If you are experiencing hitching, do the following:
1) Disable SLI or Crossfire if you have it enabled. Supposedly "AFR2" is the recommended SLI method with UT3, if you choose to use it.
2) Set your Texture Detail slider to 2 in-game.
3) Verify that your PCI-E bus is set to 16x and not 1x. Xeonshock reported that fixed his problem with erratic framerate issues.
4) Ensure you have the latest non-beta video drivers from Nvidia or ATI.
5) Edit the UTEngine.ini:
6) Uninstall your current video drivers, and then use a program like Driver Sweeper to remove all traces of older drivers, and reinstall your existing drivers. I also recommend CCleaner to perform other registry fixes after you run Driver Sweeper. It's good for clearing temp files and cookies as well as performing good registry fixes.
7) Set processor affinity in Windows Vista for the game to one core.
8) Launch the game with the -onethread option in the shortcut.
9) If you're on a multi-core CPU and Window XP SP2, try downloading this Microsoft update because Windows XP was not originally designed to support performance states on multiprocessor configurations, changes are required to correctly realize this support on multiprocessor systems. Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes the required changes to the kernel power manager. These changes make sure that Windows XP correctly functions on multiprocessor systems with processor performance states. Basically it's a power management fix for ACPI which throttles down additional cores and/or CPU's when a game is being played.
If you are getting poor FPS in Vista, disable your power saving options in your control panel as a troubleshooting option, as well.
If none of your settings are saving, it could be the game isn't creating the My Documents\My Games\Unreal Tournament 3 folder. We've seen this occur if you move the My Documents folder off of C:.
A solution has been to add -nohomedir to your shortcut launching the game. This causes all configuration files to be kept local to where you installed the game, rather than the my documents folder.
If you are experiencing problems with the installation of the program go HERE
Common error messages are there. As well as a search field where you can type in the exact number of the error message given, and it will give you a corresponding fix for it. Examples are:
If you get a "d3dx10_35.dll" error you get after installing the game an attempting to launch the game for the first time, you need to delete all the dx dll files under the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Then you have to reinstall the latest version of DirectX.
For anyone with a Nvidia 6800 Go video, or similar chipsets on a notebook:
Nvidia does not support the graphic chipsets of many notebooks, so Nvidia drivers are based on a system called Unified Driver Architecture (UDA) which means all drivers are using one driver. However for some reasons, they just remove the support for installing those drivers for some cards, and mostly laptop-based GO cards.
Download the newest Forceware here and click on "Moddet INF" too. After downloading, extract the new patch in a directory on ur HDD and move the "Moddet INF" to the folder where u have extracted the Patch. OVERWRITE the old INF. Then install the patch. Maybe u will get a error, accounting the patch cannot find a file. Skip that and it should work.
If the editor crashes when trying to launch it, disable Triple Buffering in your video card control panel, or RivaTuner for Nvidia cards, or ATI Tray Tool for ATI cards.
If audio tracks are not playing during the campaign videos, check to see if you have a codec like ffdshow that is running in the background, hijacking the audio playback. You can exclude the UT3.exe from ffdshow in it's options.
Also, if you have Xfire, disable it, as it can pre-empt the audio as well.
If you are only able to play locally, but not online, because the server browser does not show anyone at all, create a new account without any special characters in the login name, then try again. You must log in with a name that does not have any special characters.
If you are having problems staying online, disable your hardware firewall on your router, for troubleshooting purposes.
1) Double-click on your network connection icon in the taskbar, and click on the Support tab, you'll see the Default Gateway has a certain IP Address number.
2) Log into that IP address by typing it in your web browser. You may have to set a password if you've never logged into it before.
3) Look for the control panel for your hardware firewall. Disable it.
Again this is just for testing network connection issues, but if you have a really cheap router (like me) you pretty much just have the option to enable or disable it. But see if the problem persists afterwards.
4) If you have an ASUS motherboards, updating your integrated LAN hardware's drivers have solved this issue. Some users have actually had the game crash when they went online, but getting the latest LAN drivers solved that problem for them.
5) If it takes you more than 30 seconds to load a map, the default servers will timeout and believe your client dropped. Things that can improve loadtime are disabling custom characters in the settings menu, increasing the amount of RAM in the system, and upgrading to a fast CPU.
6) Using a key generated by a pirate key generator online will result in 'Connection Failed'.
7) Using a key that is already in use by other player will result in 'Connection Failed'.
If you are experiencing an Invalid CD Key error message in Vista, then create a new user profile as a Standard account. I suspect doing the same thing in XP will work, too.
I've tried your superhigh quality tweak but graphics still not even close to what was shown by officially released screenshots ....any idea ? Were the screenshots photoshopped or is this graphic downgrade is a result of optimization?
Open your UTEngine.ini file. Most of the changes will occur here. Note: This _will_ make the game look ugly, but it will provide more than double the framerates of a maximal quality setup. Note: I have the resolution set to 1024x768 here, but you can change it to whatever resolution you use either in the configuration file or in the game.
This takes the cap off the possible framerate ranges you can get. It can also disregard the Vsync limit if you have the Max value set to higher than the default refresh range of your monitor. But personally I don't recommend that since that gives screen tearing.
This ensures that dynamic lighting, decals, and possibly other visuals are not used if your framerates drop below a certain speed. In this case, 60FPS. I recommend this be set to your maximum refresh rate for your monitor. If it's a LCD it's most likely 60. If it's a CRT it's most likely 85Hz or higher. This setting is largely useless if you've already disabled all the graphic options in the SystemSettings section of the UTEngine.ini.
These settings pretty much strip all the high quality visual effects from the game, but it should be much clearer. The only graphical tweak I leave in there is the FloatingPointRenderTargets line, which is set to True. And that is because it allows you to see the Sniper Rifle tracer, and the smoke effects from behind the Flak ball, making it appear more like the Flak ball, instead of a glowing orange.
--- SECTION III - SUPER HIGH QUALITY CHANGES ---
Before I go any further, I must pimp Brad G's UT3 Tweaker - it can do a lot of these changes for you. As of this writing this link points to version 2.0, and I will try to update this link as needed.
This is not a setup you use unless you have a high-end system that is powerful enough to make framerate issues irrelevant. I also have the resolution set here to 1024x768 for compatability sake. Be sure to use whatever native resolution is best for your monitor.
This gives you a range of up to 60FPS in terms of smooth graphics, and works with the Vsync setup to ensure no screen tearing even at lower framerates. If you want to disable Vsync for any reason I recommend you set the bSmoothFrameRate option to FALSE as well. At that point the other SmoothedFrameRate lines are meaningless. But if you are using a LCD it will most likely have a refresh rate of 60Hz anyways, so it's not really neccessary to do that in that case.
This ensures that, regardless of what framerates you are getting, you get all the eye candy.
You can set the MaxMultisamples to 2 or higher if you want to enable FSAA if you have Vista and DirectX 10, or you can make the changes in the control panel of your video card. As of now this only works on Nvidia cards, as ATI uses a different FSAA method.
--- SECTION IV - USEFUL CHANGES ---
Okay now that we've gotten past all that, let's take a look at the other improvements we can do to the game, in order to make our experience better, regardless of graphics/framerate changes.
Again, in the UTEngine.ini:
This is if you have kids. It doesn't work without the first patch Epic is coming out with, yet. There is a similar setting in the UTGame.ini - I am not sure why. This still does not work as of Patch 1.1 but I am hopeful we will see some method of disabling taunts in future patches.
A workaround for this is turn the Voice volume down to 0 in-game in the Audio settings.
Also, you can use EntropicLqd's Taunt Control mutator offline to do the same thing.
Just keep in mind that is you use that command line arguement, you will not see _any_ movies played, including campaign ones, so I recommend the first option, just commenting out the specific movies with the ; character.
And now we look into the UTGame.ini.
The default is 30. I set this so that decals never last more than 10 seconds. If you're hardcore crazy you can set that to a really high number.
Eliminates your weapon from bobbing up and down when your character moves.
This turns off an effect which can get annoying, quickly.
Why, this looks strangely similar to the UTEngine option. It still does not work as of Patch 1.1, either. So yet again I recommend turning the Voice volume down in the Audio settings as a workaround.
The game default is to slightly offset where you aim, compared to where the crosshairs of your HUD are, to either the left or to the right of it, depending on what hand you use. If you set WeaponHandPreference to HAND_Right then you will aim to the right of the crosshair, for example. So I set the bCenteredWeaponFire to True to fire at the center of your crosshair by default, regardless of which hand you choose, or if you use Hidden.
These enable death messages for enemies when they perish, as well as teammates. One or both of these are now enabled as of Patch 1.1, but I still recommend people verify.
This can eliminate some of the red flashing when you take damage. But it really only removes the red arrows around the target reticle that flash when you are hit. They are supposed to show what direction you were hit from. At this point I recommend people leave it on, but this is the option for you to choose, anyhow.
To remove deathsounds - the level-dependant noise that sounds off in the background when you kill someone:
Open \My Documents\My Games\Unreal Tournament 3\UTGame\Config\UTGame.ini, find the section labeled [UTGame.UTMusicManager] and set StingerVolumeMultiplier to 0.
In the UTInput.ini:
This turns off mouse smoothing. This can now be done in-game.
Incidentally there is a difference between showhud and togglescreenshotmode. Showhud will leave your weapon in view. Togglescreenshotmode will hide your weapon.
These are some recommended changes on my part, though you can use different keys. If you use a key that is already in use by another action, then just put a ; in front of the line you don't want to use. For example:
I basically put an arbitrary number there in the Priority, making it a higher number than any of the other weapons. Basically if you come across an Instagib Rifle in the game (probably from a third party map, or enabled through a mutator) it puts the Instagib Rifle at the top of the priority list, something you cannot change in the in-game menu, currently. So when you hit SelectBestWeapon you'll be given it.
If you want to use a different splash page, create or copy a bitmapped image (.BMP file) that is 24-bit, and set to read-only, into the Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3\UTGame\Spash\PC folder. Be sure to rename the existing Splash.bmp file before copying the new image into there. The new image should then be renamed to Splash.bmp.
If you want to try to use all the different character models in the game that are available, click on F10 to open up the console, then type "unlockallchars" and you'll see the Necris become available, as well as some bonus characters in existing factions.
--- OTHER LINKS ---
Other links of interest, with many of the tweaks listed here:
Xentrum's UT3 .ini Tweaking List
Bersy's INI performance & graphics tweaks
Crotale's INI Tweaks/Console Commands
ESReality's UT3 Information Resource page
One final note: There are quite simply too many people to thank in helping with the development of this Tweak Guide. Ultimately I'm just the robot compiling this for everyone, but there are dozens of people who, in one way or another, contributed to this guide. So again, thank you everyone for helping me to put this together!