Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide
[Page 6] In-Game Settings (Pt.2)
Audio Renderer: This setting determines the type of audio device which is used to playback the sounds in the game. The options are Software, Hardware and Creative X-Fi. The Software renderer is the most basic, and provides adequate, at times scratchy sound quality, but gives the best performance for very old machines. The Hardware option should be chosen if you have dedicated sound hardware - even if it's onboard audio - as it provides good quality audio with a negligible performance drop. The Creative X-Fi setting provides the best audio quality and should only be used by people who own Creative X-Fi Hardware or equivalent, otherwise selecting this setting may cause problems so leave it unticked.
In general, I recommend Hardware audio renderer if the option is available in BF2. Note however that some older sound cards don't support this option in BF2 (See the Readme.txt file in your \Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield 2\Support\ directory for a full list.) If your audio device supports it I recommend enabling it - the positioning of sounds is a very important advantage in Battlefield 2, and having Software audio with low quality sound (See Sound Quality below) will make the sounds very unrealistic, and make it very difficult for you to determine enemy positions correctly.
Sound Quality: The options here are Low, Medium, High and Ultra High. Note that Ultra High is disabled for most people except those with very high-end sound cards. At Low, sound quality is quite poor, sounding almost like Mono instead of Stereo. Low is not recommended for the reasons given above, and because the performance difference between Low and Medium is not significant. As such Medium is recommended for people struggling for performance, though High provides the best audio quality for a slight decrease in performance.
Enable EAX: If the Audio Renderer is set to Hardware, and you have sound hardware which supports Creative's Environmental Audio (EAX), you can tick this box to enhance the audio quality. Enabling EAX may result in a slight a reduction in performance, however the sound effects in BF2 become much richer and more realistic. Once again if you have hardware which supports EAX, I recommend you tick this box as it provides you with a good advantage in locating enemies for a minimal performance hit.
If you have problems which you believe are related to audio in BF2, first make sure you have the latest audio drivers for your sound device. Next, untick the EAX option and Apply, then quit and restart the game. If problems persist, try the Software audio renderer. If that doesn't solve the issue, try the +nosound command line switch covered in the Advanced Tweaking section to start BF2 with no sound - if the problem still persists it is clearly unrelated to the audio rendering in BF2, and you should check the tips on page 3 for more things you can try.
Game Volume: The Effects, Music and Voice Over sliders in this section control the volume levels of these particular audio effects. Set to suit your taste - note that reducing the sliders to 0% does not disable any of these effects, so there is no performance improvement from doing so.
English VO Only: If ticked, this option forces all players (enemy and friendly) to speak English and not their native language for voice overs (VO's). Ticking this box can improve performance slightly as less sounds are loaded into memory.
Voice Over IP: If you want to use Voice Over IP (VOIP), tick the Enable box. VOIP allows you to use a microphone hooked to your computer and your headphones to speak to and hear conversations with other Battlefield 2 players on the same server who are logged into the VOIP network. Note that enabling VOIP can introduce more lag into your game due to the CPU overhead, and the additional bandwidth used - so untick the Enable box if you don't use VOIP. Using VOIP in BF2 during a game involves pressing your talk button first (default is B for squad, V for Commander) then talking into your microphone.
You can adjust the Transmit and Receive voice volumes using the two sliders provided, and if you find that even at 100% Transmit your voice sounds weak to others, tick the 'Boost Mic Gain' box and readjust the Transmit volume accordingly. The 'Microphone Threshold Test' section allows you to set the threshold up to which your voice/background sounds are disregarded. For example, increasing the slider to 100% means that unless you speak very loudly into your microphone, you will not transmit any noises over VOIP, whereas a threshold of 10% means pretty much every noise in your immediate environment will be sent over your VOIP channel. Click the 'Start Microphone Test' button to test the threshold for your normal speaking voice, and set it accordingly.
Note that you can also set up your BF2 microphone settings interactively by using Battlefield 2's BattleComo software. To do this, go to your \Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield 2\ directory, and run the BF2VoiceSetup.exe file, and follow the instructions on the application screen. When finished, click the 'Save Settings' button and the relevant settings in the Audio section will be adjusted accordingly.
Don't forget to click the Apply button when done changing the Audio settings to save your changes.
The Community section of BF2 has two sub-sections:
Battlerecorder: The Battlerecorder allows you to play back demos which have been bookmarked from particular servers you've played on which have Battlerecorder enabled, and those which you have saved in your Battlerecorder Library. These demos contain full footage of your gameplay during a particular round. Battlerecorder is an option which must be enabled by servers, and can't be used to record games by clients (i.e. regular players). More details of Battlerecorder functionality can be found here. To record and play back your own custom demos see below:
Creating Demos: To make a custom demo of any length, you must be in Singleplayer mode, or on a server of your own creation (See Local Servers below) - you can't record your own demos on Multiplayer Internet servers. To start recording a demo, use the demo.recorddemo [demoname] command in the Command Console (See the Advanced Tweaking section). When you want to stop the demo, use the demo.stoprecording command in the console. Your demo has now been saved as a [demoname].bf2demo file in your Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Demos\ directory.
Playing Back Demos: To play back a custom-made demo in Battlerecorder, you must copy your demo into the \Documents and Settings\[username]\My Documents\Battlefield 2\Profiles\Default\demos\ directory (if that directory doesn't exist, create it under the Default profile directory). Then when you go into the Battlerecorder section of BF2, you will find that the demo is listed under the 'Battlerecorder Library' area, and you can simply highlight it and play it from there. Thanks to Ryan Nichols for this tip.
If you want to launch the demos from outside BF2, download my BF2DemoPlayer.zip file (4KB). Once downloaded, extract the contents and place both files in your base BF2 directory (typically \Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield 2) - this is an important step, as the player won't work correctly if run from any other directory. These files are a slightly modified demo.cmd file from EA Games, which you can read more about here, and a custom batch file I've made called BF2DemoPlayer.bat. To play back any demo using these files, first make sure the demo is in your \Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Demos\ directory. Then run the BFDemoPlayer batch file, follow the instructions given and your demo will be launched in your chosen resolution. You can stop the demo at any point either by opening the in-game console and entering demo.shutdownDemo, or by pressing the Q key and selecting Quit.
Update: It appears the demo.cmd file no longer works in the latest version of BF2, so this may render the BF2DemoPlayer unworkable. There is no fix I can provide at the moment.
Running a Timedemo: You can also use the demo.cmd file from above to run a timedemo of a benchmark. To run benchmarks using a custom demo, see the instructions in this article Benchmarking BF2.
Note: whenever you run a demo without defining a camera file to use, you can use the movement keys to 'fly' around and use a range of commands to change your view, switching to different player views for example and zooming in and out of the action. The list of commands is shown here, and you can access various demo options by pressing the Q button (by default) while the demo is playing back.
Custom Games: This section allows you to launch any custom games you or someone else have created for BF2. Basically that means mods, and highlighting the mod name and clicking Activate will enable the mod. For installation and usage instructions, check the site where you downloaded the particular mod. For some mods you can download for free, see the Patches, Maps & Mods section of this guide.
Singleplayer mode is a great way of practicing your Battlefield 2 tactics, learning how to use the various vehicles (especially planes and choppers) without annoying online players with teamkills, a place to test out the various weapons and kits, and of course to learn the layout of the maps. Singleplayer mode can be accessed by both multiplayer and singleplayer accounts, however if you are using a multiplayer account you need to be connected to the Internet even when playing singleplayer.
To start a singleplayer game, first select the Level of Difficulty (Easy, Veteran, Expert) - this determines how well the 'bots' (computer-controlled players) in the game behave. The higher the setting, the more CPU power is required and hence the lower your performance may be. Note in particular that your performance may be lower than that online, simply because of the additional CPU overhead of the artificial intelligence in singleplayer mode. Next, highlight the name of the map you wish to play then click the 'Start Singleplayer' button and the game will launch. Note that by default, there are only 10 singleplayer maps available, and they are all smaller in size than their online counterparts. Note that I still haven't found a working solution which alows you to use the larger maps in singleplayer mode along with bots - see the Local Server option below to be able to play the large maps in singleplayer mode with no bots.
Co-Op Mode: If you want to add bots to a local game and play in 'Co-op' style with a friend against them, first make sure you're connected to the Internet, and using your Online account start a singleplayer game. Write down the IP number shown during the loading screen. Then, on your friend's computer once again make sure they are connected to the Internet and using an Online account, then go to the Multiplayer screen and under the Internet server browser click the 'Join IP' button and enter the IP address you wrote down earlier. You should then be able to play with each other against bots on the 16 player singleplayer maps. Thanks to AverageNewbie for this tip.
Update: As of the 1.3 Patch you can now play online in Singleplayer Co-Op mode, with both bots and humans. These options are available to the server creator to modify and include Number of Bots, Bot Ratio (to humans), and Bot Difficulty.
This section is where you can join multiplayer games with other players. The available types of multiplayer games are covered below:
Join Internet: The most common form of playing BF2 with others online is over the Internet. On this screen you should first check the fields under the 'Internet Filters' section. These filters are used to refine the types of servers you will see displayed in the main Server Browser windows. For example I have the 'No Password' filter tick, so that servers which are password protected won't be shown. I also have the 'Populated' and 'Not Full' boxes ticked, so that empty and full servers are not shown, as it is usually pointless to join such servers. Finally, make sure you've selected all the map size boxes, and be absolutely certain that the 'Punkbuster' box is ticked, as Punkbuster protected servers provide you with the best chance of having a cheat-free experience.
Once you've selected your filters, click the 'Apply Filters' button. Now click the Refresh button on the main Server Browser window, and wait patiently as the server list is populated, and each server is contacted and the details shown. The most important number to pay attention to is the figure in the 'Ping' column for each server. Ping represents the time in milliseconds for the round trip between when you do something on your computer, that data being sent to the server through your internet connection, registered, and the impact returned to your computer and displayed on your screen. The lower your ping, the less delay (lag) you experience, and the higher your ping, the more lag you experience. Make sure to sort the servers by Ping from lowest to highest by clicking the small triangle to the right of the word 'Ping' at the top of the column twice, then scroll down past the 0 pings (servers which aren't responding or have yet to respond) and double-click on a server name to join it.
If you know the name or the IP Address of the server you wish to join, next time you come to the server browser instead of waiting for the list to refresh, you can enter the server's name in the 'Server Name' box at the top of the server browser, or click the 'Connect to IP' button at the bottom of the server browser and enter the full IP number to join that server. Alternatively, you can simply add the server to your Favorites list the next time you're playing on it, and go to Favorites (See below) to select it the next time you want to play on it.
Verification: Something to note: after a map has finished loading for an online game, you may find yourself waiting for a while longer as the map is verified. This is done to ensure that the game files loaded up are unchanged, and hence no cheats or unapproved modifications have been made to them. This can sometimes take quite a while, and depends on your hard drive speed, available RAM and internet connection speed. There are no tweaks to decrease this time, except for the general system speedup tweaks throughout this guide and my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion.
Local Servers (LAN): If you want to start a server for you and your friends to play on over a LAN connection, click the 'Create Local' button under the Multiplayer section. This screen lets you configure which maps to play on your server, the parameters for the maps (i.e. time limit, maximum players, friendly fire on/off, etc.). Once you've made your choices, click the 'Start Server' button. This launches your new server on the first map in your maplist, and you will be able to join the game and walk around. There are no other players/bots on a local server until other people on your LAN select the 'Join Local' button and highlight and join your particular server.
One of the useful things about the Local Server option - even if you're not connected to a LAN - is that it allows you to wander around all of the online maps (in 16, 32 and 64 player sizes) and hence learn the layout of these maps.
Dedicated Server: A dedicated server is a machine which is only used to run a BF2 server. That means once you launch a dedicated server you cannot play BF2 yourself on that particular machine. This provides the best performance for the server, and provided you have sufficient bandwidth, will allow more than 4-8 players to join without experiencing severe lag. For more details about starting up and configuring a dedicated server, see the ReadMeServer.txt file in your \Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield 2\ directory.
Rent Server: If you want to have a dedicated BF2 Server for your personal use, and that of others, but don't have the necessary hardware to set up a dedicated BF2 server, click this button to get more details of how you can rent a server from EA Games.
Favorites: As of the 1.03 Patch, BF2 has a Favorites list, which holds the details of the last 20 servers you have played on. You can also add to this list by manually tagging a server as a favorite whenever you are playing on it. This makes rejoining your favorite servers much quicker and easier, since you don't have to wait for the full list of servers to refresh, or hunt around for its name in the server list.
PlayNow: The large 'Play Now' button is on most screens in the in-game settings, and is quite tempting to press. It promises to get you into a BF2 multiplayer game rapidly - however this isn't the case. If you press this button you will find that it will seem to sit forever at the 'Server Search' screen. It's likely because BF2 waits for each and every available server to update before it can find the closest, lowest pinging one with an empty slot, and there can literally be thousands of these. For this reason PlayNow is not recommended - take the time to find a server using the methods above. If you want to try to make Play Now working correctly, try adding the command+Playnow 1 at the end of the BF2 shortcut you normally use (See the Advanced Tweaking section), or just use the BF2 Play Now shortcut to launch the game, this may help you - though it didn't make any different in my testing.
This section contains four sub-sections with details about the player attached to your account:
Kit Info: This section holds details such as when you had your last battle, the last time you played as a Squad Leader, Commander, etc. It has your current score - as you play more and more online games of BF2 on ranked servers, you will gain points which contribute to your score. As you get a higher score and your rank rises, you can unlock new weapons for particular kits. Note also that some servers may be rank-restricted, meaning you have to be a particular rank or higher before you can play on them.
Stats: This section has more details about which weapons you use the most, how accurate you are with them, your wins, losses and score components, your most frequently used kits, the maps you play most often etc.
Leaderboards: This section shows where you rank compared to other players in BF2. Remember once again that any score you compile while playing on unranked servers does not contribute to your score and hence your ranking will not rise while playing on such servers.
Awards: This section shows you the awards you have won for various achievements in BF2.
For more details of how the various ranks, awards and unlocks work refer to this great Unofficial Battlefield 2 Ranks and Awards Guide. Some very useful information there to help you figure out what you need to get to the next rank, and which weapons you may want to choose to unlock next.
Note, if you're familiar with America's Army then you'll know all about the AAOTracker website. Well those guys have started up a new site called BattleTracker, and just like its AA counterpart this site allows you to view player statistics, see other players' stats, etc. You will have to register with the site before they start tracking your stats, so if you want to use BattleTracker I recommend registering ASAP.
The next section goes into detail about the types of Advanced Tweaks you can use in Battlefield 2.