Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide
[Page 4] Patches, Maps & Mods
After several years, EA Games has finally released the latest 1.50 Patch. The patch contains a large amount of new content, gameplay tweaks and bug fixes, and is required to play on most official servers. Most significantly, the latest patch improves Vista support, adds proper widescreen support, adds a new map called Operation Blue Pearl, allows the game executable to use more than 2GB of RAM, adds the Euro Force and Armored Fury booster packs as free content for all BF2 players, and removes the disc check component.
Note: You must have the 1.41 Patch installed before being able to use the 1.50 Patch; the 1.50 Patch does not contain all the previous patch changes. Alternatively, if you have purchased the BF2 Complete Collection online from EA, you can install 1.50 directly over the top of it without any previous patches.
Update: There is also a 1.50 Hotfix which can be applied on top of the full 1.50 Patch to address problems when using ALT+TAB in BF2.
If you are having problems with the latest patch, see page 3 for troubleshooting tips.
Battlefield 2, much like most other modern games, has a copy protection system based on a CD check. While the game also requires that you enter a unique CD key when installing the game, and even though it is actually this CD key which is the key to preventing pirated versions from being able to play online, EA Games still insists on requiring that legitimate BF2 players keep their BF2 CD/DVD in their drives to play the game. A disc check is a highly undesirable method of protection.
Note, I am well aware of various methods of playing BF2 without the CD/DVD in the drive, but I cannot provide details of these due to legal reasons. It is up to you if you really want to research and find such methods. I strongly recommend against using any such hacks if you're not an experienced user, as aside from potentially being kicked and banned by the PunkBuster anti-cheat system in multiplayer, most No-CD patches for BF2 are actually designed to steal your legitimate serial number instead.
Update: As of the 1.50 Patch, you no longer need to keep your CD/DVD in the drive when playing BF2.
One of the factors which made BF1942 such an incredible success was quite simply the fact that it had dozens of mods released for it. Mods are modifications to the game which can change it slightly, all the way to completely and totally changing the game to virtually be another game altogether. The most popular of these mods was Desert Combat which ironically took the WWII theme of BF1942 and converted it into modern day warfare - pretty much what Battlefield 2 does. Battlefield 2 is having a similar sort of run with mods, since the engine is future-orientated and highly modifiable. EA Games have now released the Battlefield 2 Mod Editor as an Open Beta. This tool allows existing and aspiring modders to create new maps and modifications based on the BF2 engine. There is a User Manual & Tutorial you can download to go with the editor.
For those of us who aren't interested in creating the actual mods ourselves, try the following popular maps and mods:
To start with, I suggest you look at the BF2 Advanced Tactical Center, which provides an interface for you and friends/clanmates to plot out your tactics for all the BF2 maps. This is an official product, and I highly recommend you give it a go.
To download new user-made maps, try this TotalBF2 Map Pack 1 which is a hefty 125MB but has 6 excellent maps to use in multiplayer BF2. There is also a TotalBF2 Map Pack 2, and a TotalBF2 Map Pack 3 as well.
A range of community-developed mods can be seen at places like Total Battlefield, BF2 Mod Database and PlanetBattlefield Mods. In general, to examine/activate any mods you've installed in BF2, start up the game, go to the Community section of the in-game settings, and you will see the names of the 'Custom Games' on your system. Simply double-click on one to activate it instead of the regular BF2.
Finally, remember once again that the Punkbuster anti-cheat system in the game does not look kindly on modified game files and major alterations to the game's directory structures. Therefore I recommend that you be careful as to what you install for BF2, and if in doubt check with other players on a BF2 community forum. If you find yourself constantly being kicked from multiplayer games mysteriously, I recommend you uninstall any recently installed mods and try again.
Update: See this post for details regarding mods on the 1.50 Patch.
EA Games have released three official Expansion/Booster packs which add new weapons, new vehicles and new maps for the game: Special Forces, Euro Force and most recently Armored Fury. None of these expansion packs is free, and none is necessary to play the core BF2 game. You can purchase and download each of these packs through EA Downloader. The tweaking advice in this guide applies equally to systems which have installed these packs or not.
Update: The Euro Force and Armored Fury booster packs are now available for free for all BF2 players as part of the recent 1.50 Patch release.
The next section goes into the details of all of Battlefield 2's In-Game Settings.