Battlefield 2142 Tweaks, Tips & Tricks -1 reply

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6th February 2007

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#1 12 years ago

This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address many of the common problems experienced by Battlefield 2142 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.

Official Support: The first place to look for official support details is in the Readme.txt file in your \Program Files\Electronic Arts\Battlefield 2142\Support directory. You must check out the minimum system requirements in that file, as well as the supported hardware list, since if any of your hardware is not supported or has known issues then you will experience problems with the game or won't be able to run it. For the latest online help check the EA Games Tech Support Site and this List of Fixes for more official help. For community support, visit the EA BF2142 Forums or one of the many BF2142 Forums popping up such as the UBAR

DirectX9 Errors: The BF2142 demo was not shipped with the latest version of DirectX9.0 which it requires to run properly, while the full retail version of the game does install the latest DX9 version. Regardless of which version you're running, if you're having DX9 error problems, try installing/reinstalling the August 2006 DirectX Updateor newer to make sure the game can run without problems.

Launching/Loading Issues: The most common problem with BF2142 is that the game crashes to desktop or goes to a black screen when you first launch it. Aside from the DX9 issue above, the main reason for this is either incompatible hardware (make sure you meet all the minimum specs, especially the graphics card requirements - see Official Support above), or more usually the fact that you're not running at the default Windows XP Refresh Rateof 60Hz. The game tries to launch at 60Hz initially, so your system must be running that same refresh rate, otherwise the game will abort. If you are using any refresh rate override program/method, disable it (e.g. if you're using Refresh Force click the 'Restore Original Settings' button and apply). Alternatively, see the Advanced Tweaking section of the guide for details on how to set a custom startup resolution. Once you've got the game running, you can then change the resolution to suit your taste in the in-game settings, and importantly you can select a higher refresh rate. Then you can reapply any refresh rate override and the game will launch without any problems. Finally, if nothing else works you can try deleting your user profiles, though this obviously removes all the customizations you've made. To do this, delete all the files/folders under the \Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\Battlefield 2142\Profiles\ directory and restart the game.

Importantly: If you've installed the Microsoft Windows Security Patch KB917422 (which most people have as it's a critical update), then you will need to install the updated version of this patch hereotherwise this too can cause crashes in BF2142.

Disconnections: At any time during a game you may find yourself being disconnected from your current server for no apparent reason. While this is frustrating, the only things you can do are firstly check the Readme.txt file (See Official Support above) for a list of ports to open if you're using a third party firewall, secondly make sure that you've installed the latest patch (See page 4 for details), and thirdly be absolutely sure you've disabled all background programs (See further below for details), especially messaging/IRC/P2P or any other programs which share your connection with BF2142. EA Games are well awareof this problem since the demo was released - the main cause is usually problems with the game's master server which means most of the time it's out of our control.

Known Issues: The 1.05 patch introduced at least one major known issue at the moment - a crash to desktop (CTD) at the end of Titan mode rounds, and this has supposedly been fixed in the 1.06 Patch. The other known outstanding issues (and possible fixes) are listed hereIf you find you still keep having problems, you may want to do a complete uninstall of BF2412, manually deleting all game folders and then reinstalling the game and only applying the latest patch (See page 4 for details).

In-Game Lag/Freezes: Most people experience a lot of in-game lags, pauses and several-second freezes. Remember that if your Ping/Latency is fairly low (e.g. below 100), and you're not 'warping' around constantly (packet loss) then any other types of 'Lag' you experience have nothing to do with your Internet connection. Aside from optimizing your system as per my guides in the Essential Optimization section (which is the only genuine long-term fix), check the Clearing Shader Optimizations tip below, and make sure to carefully read the Video option descriptions in the In-Game Settings section as well, and of course make absolutely sure you've defragmented your hard drive after installing the game. However it's quite clear that BF2142 requires a lot of memory to operate. Basically many of the pauses/freezes/stuttering are related to loading information from the hard drive, and for those of you with only 512MB or even 1GB of RAM this will happen very often, particularly at the start of a match and whenever new areas/items are encountered. As with BF2 which required 2GB of RAM to run more smoothly, BF2142 also benefits greatly from 2GB of RAM.

Graphical Glitches: If you are experiencing strange graphics, such as flickering textures, obviously first make sure your graphics card is supported by the game (See Official Support above). Secondly, make sure you check out my ATI or Nvidia Tweak Guides (See the Essential Optimization section) - especially the instructions on page 4 of those guides for doing a 'clean install' of the latest drivers. If you run an ATI graphics card, use the latest Catalysts (6.11 or newer), and if you run an Nvidia graphics card, use the latest official Forceware drivers (93.71 or newer). Finally make absolutely sure your graphics card is not overheating, even if it's not overclocked.

Clearing Shader Optimizations: When you change the graphical settings or install a new graphics driver, Battlefield 2142 attempts to optimize the shaders used in the game for the best performance on your particular hardware when loading up a map. This can greatly increase the initial loading time any time this optimization is done. These optimized files are stored in one or more folders under your \Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\Battlefield 2142\mods\bf2142\cache directory. If you've changed your settings several times, I recommend that after you've finalized your changes you close BF2142, go to the above directory and delete everything under the \cache\ directory. The next time you start playing the game your shaders will be optimized again (which usually takes a while). Close BF2142 one more time, defragment your hard drive, and from now on things should be much smoother when playing BF2142.

Gamma, Brightness, Contrast: Battlefield 2142 does not seem to have any in-game options to alter the brightness, contrast or gamma of the game. You will have to use a third-party program likePowerStripwhich works with all graphics cards, or the gamma options in your graphics card's control panel to alter the game's brightness/gamma/contrast.

Punkbuster: Battlefield 2142 uses the PunkBusteranti-cheat software commonly used in most other online games. This software helps identify and prevent cheating in the game, and cheaters can expect to have their account banned. Make sure you have Punkbuster enabled in the game (See In-Game Settings section), as most multiplayer servers require it to allow you to join. Importantly, do not modify your Battlefield 2142 files in any way - such as using programs to alter the shader versions, or using No-CD/DVDs - as these may be seen as cheats by PB. Tweaking the game as described in this guide is fine, but be careful as to what you alter if it's not covered here. If you're having problems automatically updating your Punkbuster version when online, you can manually update it by following the instructions hereI recommend using PBSetup, as it is a fairly foolproof method of updating PunkBuster. This may help resolve problems with continually being kicked from servers with PB errors. For other problems with Punkbuster, check the Punkbuster link above and/or contact PB directly for more support.

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, but most importantly they interfere with read/writes to your hard drive effectively slowing it down and causing even more in-game stuttering, freezes and longer loading times. Full instructions on how to identify your startup programs and services and how to correctly disable unnecessary ones are in TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. This is an important step you should not miss.

Virus Scan: Do a full scan of all your files using the following excellent (and free) tools:AVG Virus Cleaner for viruses. A-Squaredfor trojans, and Ad-Aware SE for spyware/adware. Viruses, trojans and spyware can cause unexplained behavior, general file corruption and system slowdown, and can also steal your CD Key. It's best to make sure your system isn't infected before moving on to any other other optimization measures. However make sure to disable any background scanning programs once you're done (See above).

Overclocking: The BF2142 engine can be sensitive to overclocking. If you've overclocked any components on your system and are having problems such as crashes, reboots and graphical anomalies like strange colors or flickering/missing textures, the very first thing to do is set everything back to default speeds and try running the game. If you don't experience the same problems at default speed, or they're reduced in severity, then your overclock is the primary culprit. Note that even non-overclocked systems can overheat, so either permanently reduce your overclock and/or increase cooling to regain stability. Don't assume that because other games (even BF2) run with stability at a particular speed that BF2142 will do the same.

There are obviously many more problems people are experiencing with the game, but many of these are due to a lack of system optimization. The game is not as buggy as most people would think and it can be quite stressful on some systems, so if you do not optimize your system, cool it properly, reduce/remove your overclocks, and even reduce your settings you will experience more crashes, freezes etc. Read the guides I link to under Essential Optimization above for more details, as well as the game's Readme.txt file - there is no single quick fix to problems like these.

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.

Sum Other Cool Stuff

Disabling the Intro Movies

The introductory movies to BF2142 add to the startup time for the game, as well as the memory usage. To disable them permanently, you can't use the +restart command line command, as this no longer works. I also don't recommend deleting the movie files - this may cause problems with verification of client information on certain servers and/or with Punkbuster. So the simplest method to skip the startup movies is to go to your \Program Files\Electronic Arts\Battlefield 2142\mods\bf2142\Movies directory and rename all the .bik files to something else (e.g. rename EA.bik to EA._bik). This will prevent these movie files from loading at startup and take you straight to the main login screen. Alternatively, you can create a new folder in the same directory (with any name you wish) and move all the movies there to achieve the same effect.

Note that renaming or moving the Titan tutorial movie titan_tutorial.bik will cause problems if you try to view the Titan Tutorial by clicking the 'Titan Tips' option under Multiplay, so I don't recommend renaming this file - you can leave it as is, as it does not add to the startup time in the full version of the game.

Setting A Custom Resolution

Since the lack of a range of resolutions is one of the most common complaints about BF2142, I'll spell out the solution again here. It involves using the +szx and +szy command line options (covered in the Advanced Tweaking section). For example to set a resolution of 1280x1024, go to your BF2142 launch icon, right-click on it and select Properties. Then in the Target box put a single blank space after the last character and insert +szx 1280 +szy 1024, substituting any other number for the 1280 width and 1024 height respectively to suit your needs. The end result should look something like this:

"C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\Battlefield 2142\BF2142.exe" +menu 1 +fullscreen 1 +szx 1280 +szy 1024

Now each time you launch the game it will run in the custom resolution specified, however note firstly that you must make sure your monitor can support this resolution, and secondly the Display Mode setting under the in-game Video Settings will not show the correct new resolution, not that this is a problem. Unlike Battlefield 2, editing the Video.con file does not work in properly setting a custom resolution, so this is the recommended method for doing so.

Automatic Login

Automatic Login allows you to automatically login to your EA Account and the particular Soldier you want to use each time you start the game. This is relatively straightforward to do, and again involves editing your BF2142 command line options. To do this go to your BF2142 launch icon, right-click on it and select Properties. Then in the Target box put a single blank space after the last character and insert +eaAccountName [Accountname] +eaAccountPassword [Password] +soldierName [soldiername].

As an example of this, suppose my EA Account name which I use to login to BF2142 is KillMachine, and the password for this account is 123abc, and further that the soldier I use to play online has the name Overman. This means I'd have to alter my command line to look something like this (note the added items in italics):

"C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\Battlefield 2142\BF2142.exe" +menu 1 +fullscreen 1 +szx 1280 +szy 1024 +eaAccountName KillMachine +eaAccountPassword 123abc +soldierName Overman

Importantly you must use all the right cases for each command and parameter. In the example above, if I had used +eaaccountname killmachine for example, it would not work, it has to have correct capitalizations in each command and parameter used.

Now whenever you double-click your BF2142 launch icon, after a brief pause you should come to main BF2142 screen ready to start playing, having skipped the login and soldier selection screens. If you wish to alter your login or soldier details at any time, either remove these parameters from your command line, or simply click the small '\' button at the top right of the BF2142 menu screen to log out of your current account and go back to the account login screen.

Finally, if you see a long black screen at startup and the main BF2142 screen does not appear even after a few minutes, this is either because you've lost your connection to the Internet or the EA Master Server is having problems logging you in. You may have to physically restart your PC by pressing the reset button.

Measuring Framerate, Taking Screenshots & Recording Demo Movies

You can use the renderer.drawFps 1 command in BF2142 to show your current frames per second (see Advanced Tweaking section). However there is a utility which allows you to do this and much more FRAPS. This free utility will display a very accurate framerate counter in the corner of the screen. However Fraps also has other handy functions, such as the ability to take screenshots in various formats and even record demo movies in AVI format which you can play back in a media player outside of BF2142. Give it a try as it is a great utility to have on your PC.

Unlocking Weapons in Singleplayer Mode

If you want to practice using various unlocked weapons in singleplayer mode, more details are here. or you can usethis mod Please remember, you can only unlock weapons in single player mode - attempting to do so for multiplayer will simply see you booted from servers for modified files.

Gameplay Tips

You may have noticed there are a range of useful gameplay tips which appear on the loading screen when BF2142 is loading up a map. All 105 of These have been rounded up and put hereand are worth giving a quick read through.

Battlefield 2142 & Resource Usage

Just like Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142 is not designed to take full advantage of multi-core CPUs as confirmed by This ArticleThis doesn't mean that the CPU is not important to BF2142, nor that you may not be able to get a performance boost if you upgrade to a more recent dual or multi-core CPU, as these often have more efficient memory architectures. It's simply worth noting that the game doesn't appear to use more than one core at any time, and thus is not optimized (multi-threaded) for dual cores.

Furthermore, just like BF2, BF2142 also requires more than 1GB of RAM - ideally 2GB - to run smoothly. The game process can take up to 900MB or more of RAM by itself when running, so although those of you with less RAM can optimize your systems to reduce unnecessary resource usage (See pages 2 and 3), unfortunately 1GB or less of RAM will result in an increase in stuttering and loading pauses throughout the game. Increasing RAM reduces this, although note that more RAM does not equal more FPS, just smoother FPS.

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