America's Army Tweak Guide
[Page 7] In-Game Settings (Pt.2)
Music Volume: This slider controls the volume of the in-game title music. The further to the right the slider moves, the louder the music. Adjust to suit your taste, however note that setting the slider to the far left only reduces the music volume to 0, it doesn't improve your performance or loading times by preventing the music from loading up.
Effects Volume: This setting controls the volume of the in-game sound effects. The further the slider is taken to the right, the louder the in-game sound effects. You can adjust it to suit your taste, however once again moving the slider to the far left does not improve performance - to disable sounds altogether see the Advanced Tweaking section.
Audio Mode: This setting determines the type of audio processing the game will use, and is dependent on the type of sound hardware you have. All the possible options are covered below.
[Safe Mode] - This option is only provided for those having sound problems with other sound modes. If your sound problems are resolved by switching to Safe Mode, then chances are you need to update or reinstall your sound card driver, or address another general system issue (See the Essential Optimization section on page 2).
[3D Audio] - This is the standard audio mode in America's Army and it uses your CPU to process the sound. The sound quality is acceptable and provides good 3D audio. Software audio provides the best framerate performance, but the lowest quality of sound.
[H/W 3D Audio] - If you have an add-in sound card, this option will make use of your sound card's hardware capabilities to extend the audio experience. It sounds slightly better than Software 3D, but may reduce your FPS slightly.
[H/W 3D + EAX] - If you have a sound card capable of running Creative Lab's EAX (Environmental Audio) 3.0 or 2.0, such as the SoundBlaster Audigy or X-Fi series, then you can enable this option. EAX adds special effects to the sound and gives you advantages such as being able to determine with greater accuracy where people are (true positional), and being underwater or behind walls will sound more realistic (occlusion culling). However with this option enabled, you may notice a slight drop in FPS. Note that you may also have to update your sound card's drivers to get correct 3D audio with EAX on America's Army. Finally, to make sure your EAX is played back correctly you should go into your Sound Card's AudioHQ, open the EAX Control Panel, and click the 'All Effects Off' button.
In general the Hardware 3D or Hardware 3D + EAX audio provides the greatest advantage in being able to accurately position sounds, and the performance impact is minimal on most modern systems, so I recommend selecting one of those sound modes. See the Advanced Tweaking section for more sound options.
Low Sound Detail: Selecting this option lowers the sampling rate of the sound in the game, lowering its overall quality. This may improve FPS, but is generally not recommended unless you are really struggling for performance.
System Driver: This option determines whether America's Army uses the game's generic OpenAL sound driver, or an OpenAL driver specific to your sound card. If this setting is ticked, the game will use the default defOpenAL32.dll driver found in your \America's Army\System\ directory. However if you check in your \Windows\System32 directory and find an OpenAL32.dll file, then untick this option to use your sound card-specific driver which will improve performance and audio quality, and may resolve any audio problems you are having.
Note that for optimal trouble-free sound, exit and restart the game after making any changes to the Audio Mode, System Driver or Low Sound Detail settings.
Message Beep: Selecting this option allows a small beep every time a message is sent in-game. If find the beeps distracting untick this option to turn them off.
Text To Speech: The section to the bottom right of the Audio settings screen relates to the America's Army Text-to-Speech capability introduced in Version 2.4. As the name implies, the functionality allows text on the screen to be converted into an audible synthesized voice within the game. See below for details of these settings, and note that you you can adjust the voice characterstics used for Text-to-speech (such as the speed and gender of the voice) by going to your Windows Control Panel and choosing the Speech option then selecting the 'Text to Speech' tab.
[Enable in Game] – Ticking this option enables the text-to-speech functionality during gameplay in America's Army. Selecting this option will have some performance impact in that extra CPU processing is required, but it may not be significant depending on your CPU's speed. More importantly, if you are on a low-bandwidth connection selecting this option can result in fluctuations to your ping resulting in variable lag. Unselect all the text-to-speech options if they're not to your taste and/or you want maximum game performance.
[Enable on IRC] – Enables the text-to-speech functionality in Internet Relay Chat (IRC). This option converts all text shown in the main tab of the in-game chat window (found under Deployment>Chat) to speech.
[Team Messages Only] – Ticking this option will force text-to-speech to only operate for messages sent by your teammates.
Importantly, if you enable or disable text-to-speech options you must exit and restart America's Army for the changes to come into effect.
Configure Controls: Pressing this button takes you to a separate screen where you can view and reassign all your major keyboard and mouse commands for the game. To change a key setting, left-click once on the currently assigned key/button and then press the key or button you wish to replace it with. Note that if you select a key or button currently in use it will be allocated away from its original use to the new setting you have selected. If you want to unassign a key/button, either assign that same key or button to another command, or see the Advanced Tweaking section for details of how to edit keybindings.
While the settings in this section are up to your individual preferences, I strongly recommend that you pay particular attention to Report In, Votekick, Action, Suppressor, Zoom In/Out and Supported/M203 commands which are often overlooked but vital to gameplay. A valuable gameplay tip is to bind the 'Report In' function to your middle mouse button, so you can report in quickly and easily by clicking this button regularly. Importantly, you should not bind the '~' key (the key above TAB) to any function as it already serves as the Console shortcut, and you should also not bind the ESC key to any function other than Menu or you will experience problems attempting to exit most screens in the game.
There is a known bug which can cause issues with the ~ key used to open the in-game console. If you find your ~ key is unbound for example and you can't rebind it, delete your User.ini file under the \America's Army\System directory and it will be recreated the next time you launch the game. To prevent this type of bug from occuring, go to User.ini, open it with a text editor, find the line Tilde=Console and change it to Tilde=Type then save the file.
Configure Communications: This area allows you to bind specific keys to particular communication phrases, and also to configure specific voice phrases when using the speech recognition/voice activation functionality in the game. See Speech Recognition further below for more details.
Auto Slope: Ticking this option means that whenever your character is moving up or down an incline the game attempts to automatically keep your view parallel with the surface you're moving upon. I strongly recommend that you untick this setting as it will reduce your accuracy, and can result in 'view shaking' when you try to adjust your view up/down manually while moving.
Invert Mouse: Ticking this option will mean that pushing your mouse forward will make your character look down, and pulling your mouse backward will make your character's view tilt upward. It has no impact on FPS so set to suit your taste.
Mouse Smoothing: As the name implies, ticking this setting will mean your mouse movements will result in smoother movement on screen and less jerking about. This option will not affect your framerate so tick it unless it gives you problems.
Reduce Mouse Lag: If you have issues with your mouse 'lagging' on screen during play, then ticking this option may help resolve them. However selecting this option will actually decrease your overall FPS. In truth most mouse-lag issues are to do with low framerates, so the first course of action is to improve your overall FPS by lowering settings if necessary. You should also make sure VSync is disabled as that can lead to greater mouse lag. If none of these things work, then you can tick this option to reduce mouse lag.
Enable Joystick: If have a joystick connected and wish to use it with this game, you will need to tick this option, otherwise leave it unticked.
Mouse Sens. (Game): The higher the number, the more sensitive your character movements will be to mouse movements in the game. There is no 'correct' setting - it all depends on your mouse type, the surface it's on, your general Windows mouse speed and your preference for speed and accuracy. This setting has no impact on FPS. For the optimal value for your system, go into Offline mode (See Offline Mode on page 5) and adjust it there to start with, then fine tune it when online. If you experience 'mouse lag' when playing online, do not increase this setting straight away. Increasing this setting to reduce mouse lag will only result in jerkier mouse movements and variable mouse speeds during laggy periods - see the Reduce Mouse Lag setting as well as the advice throughout this guide to improve your FPS, which will then help reduce mouse lag.
Mouse Sens. (Menus): Just like the above option, the higher the number, the more quickly your cursor will move in response to a mouse movement - but only in the user interface (menus, settings screens, etc.). This setting has no impact on FPS, or your in-game mouse movements.
Mouse Smooth. Strength: This setting lets you change the extent to which mouse smoothing occurs on your movements (If Mouse Smoothing is enabled - see above). If you are experiencing problems with your mouse smoothness, try varying values up to 1.00, with the default being 0.30.
Mouse Accel. Threshold: This value affects the acceleration of your mouse and can increase or decrease mouse precision. The higher the setting, the more movement of the mouse is needed before mouse acceleration kicks in. That means the higher the value, the more accuracy you'll have with the crosshairs for small movements, but the more you will have to move your mouse to turn around for example. The default of 0.00 should be fine for most people.
Auto Switch from Grenade: This setting determines whether you automatically switch back to your current weapon after throwing (or putting away) a grenade. It is strongly recommended that you tick this option so that you're not caught without a weapon immediately after throwing a grenade. This setting has no impact on FPS.
Toggle Lean: If selected, this setting makes your lean keys toggle - that is if you press a lean key once you will remain leaned until you press a lean key again. If unselected, you will only lean while holding down a lean key, and once you let go you automatically straighten up. Has no impact on FPS so set to your taste.
Walk Zoom: If enabled, this option makes you automatically slow down to 'slow walking' speed when you zoom in with a weapon. This is recommended as it prevents you from accidentally jumping out of zoomed view if your character moves slightly. To toggle back to fast walking speed the default toggle key is SHIFT. This setting has no impact on FPS, so set according to your taste.
Connection: Choose the type of network connection you have from the four presented options: Modem (56kbps or less), ISDN, Cable/ADSL, LAN/T1. Note that once you've chosen your connection here, to get the very best Ping and hence the least possible amount of online lag, I recommend you optimize your Netspeed setting (See the Advanced Tweaking section for details).
Dynamic Netspeed: If ticked this option will automatically adjust your Netspeed setting (See the Advanced Tweaking section) to suit your connection type and the server you are connected to. This should result in an optimal Ping. For the most part this setting seems to work reasonably well in America's Army, so I recommend that most beginners tick this option. However if you are an advanced user, or if you're having connection-related problems, I recommend that you untick this option and manually choose a suitable netspeed value as on some servers if this setting is enabled you will get a variable Ping (lag), particularly at the start of a round and as people join.
Preload All Player Skins: If ticked this setting will load all the various character textures during the loading of a map. This can increase map loading times, however it should decrease the amount of in-game loading pauses you may experience. This setting should only be enabled on systems with 512MB or more of physical system RAM. To further reduce loading pauses see the Troubleshooting Tips section.
Speech Recognition: If ticked this option allows you to issue voice commands to the game using a microphone. More details of how to do this can be found here. If you don't want to use this feature, make sure to untick this option.
Browser Service: You can select from either the default Master Browser Server (MBS), or the GameSpy browser. Both work reasonably well, so choose the one which suits you best. Note that the filtering options on each of these may be slightly different.
Disable Server Name Colors: If you want to get rid of all the funny colors people use to highlight their server names, tick this option. In my opinion this makes the list of servers much easier to read.
The HUD is the Heads Up Display - the area around the screen which shows important information about your soldier, his environment and his equipment status. This section contains various HUD elements you can select to hide, such as your weapon status or grenade count. It is recommended that you do not hide any of these elements as they all provide information vital to good gameplay.
SAI Options: The Situational Awareness Indicator (SAI) is the small radar-like display in the bottom left corner of the screen while you're playing online. You can select or deselect to have particular aspects of the SAI show up, or disable the SAI entirely (which is not recommended).
HUD Opacity: Using this slider you can increase or decrease the opacity (transparency) of the HUD elements. Look at the image of the grenade just above the slider to see how see-through HUD elements will be.
Custom HUD Color: If ticked, this setting allows access to three sliders (Red, Green and Blue) which you can use to alter the color of the HUD elements. Change to suit your taste, has no impact on FPS.
Crosshair: There are seven weapon crosshair types to choose from here. Select one which suits your taste, none of them have any impact on your FPS.
Selecting this button gives parents the tools to set up a Language Filter (blanks out identified swear words), turn off all blood in the game, limit play to MILES servers (simulation laser-tag), and disallow the ability to play as an Advanced Marksman (sniper). Once the chosen settings are ticked, a password protection system stops kids from overriding them. Enter a Password, re-enter it in the Confirm box, then click Set and these settings cannot be changed without entering the same password again.
If you don't want any filtering to occur, make sure all the options here are unticked, make sure the Password and Confirm fields are blank, then click on Set to remove it so you don't see **** every time someone swears.
Well you're done with the In-Game settings. Come back and fine tune them as necessary, but for now we move on to the advanced settings which can't be accessed through the in-game menus.