Battlefield Vietnam Tweak Guide
[Page 3] Troubleshooting Tips
This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address many of the most common problems experienced by Battlefield Vietnam players. Several of the tips below are drawn from my guides mentioned in the Essential Optimization section. This is no coincidence, since many common BF:V problems are not game bugs, but general sub-optimal system conditions which lead to problems. Battlefield Vietnam is quite system intensive and uses some advanced graphics and audio features. This brings out instability and problems on most systems, so I can't stress enough the importance of taking the time to go through the checklist of advice below, as well as the rest of this guide, if you're having a problem with the game.
Official Support: If you have a problem with the game, the first place to visit is the EA Games BF:V Support Site. You should also read the Readme.txt file in your \Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield Vietnam\eReg\ directory. If you can't find the solutions in these above places, or this guide, try a Battlefield Vietnam support forum, like PlanetBattlefield Forums where other players may be able to help you out.
Recommended System Requirements: The minimum system requirements for Battlefield Vietnam are not incredibly steep, however you should definitely try to meet the recommended requirements otherwise no amount of tweaking can make things completely smooth for you. The minimum, recommended and optimal specs for BF:V are in the Readme.txt file in your \Program Files\EA Games\Battlefield Vietnam\eReg\ directory.
Audio Problems: The Battlefield Vietnam engine seems to spend a great deal of effort and power in creating realistic audio. Unfortunately this results in reduced performance for many people. There are several in-game audio settings and tweaks which will improve performance on your machine, however there is also the issue of audio glitches and sound cutouts. The first thing to tell you is that even after a huge amount of tweaking and adjusting settings on a rock-solid system, even I have experienced audio cutouts and (albeit small) audio glitches. So this is something that's entrenched in the game. However there are several tips you should keep in mind to reduce audio problems - along with the tips in the rest of this guide. Firstly in Windows go to Control Panel>Sounds and Audio Devices>Advanced, and make sure your speaker setup is appropriate. Then under the Performance tab, you can try reducing the Hardware Acceleration slider one notch to see if it removes some of your audio problems. If you have an EAX-capable sound card and are using EAX in BF:V, go to your AudioHQ and open the EAX Control Panel. Click the 'All Effects Off' button at the bottom left. Finally, it seems EAX 2 or 3 can cause problems on some audio cards regardless of settings, so reduce your EAX version to EAX 1 for the most basic (but still excellent) 3D Audio effects. However the bottom line is you may still experience audio glitches no matter what you do, as the game engine appears to have some audio bugs still.
PunkBuster Issues: The PunkBuster anti-cheating software is an important component of BF:V's online gameplay. You must enable PunkBuster to play on most servers (See In-Game Settings below), however if you are continually being booted off servers you will have to manually update your PunkBuster version. To do this go to the PunkBuster Battlefield Vietnam Site and follow the instructions.
Virus Scan: Do a full scan of all your files using a virus scanner such as the following excellent (and free) tools: AVG Virus Cleaner for viruses, The Cleaner for trojans, and Ad-aware for spyware. Viruses, trojans and spyware can cause unexplained behavior, general file corruption and system slowdown, and can also (in some cases) steal your CD Key. So it's best to make sure your system isn't infected before moving on to other measures. However make sure to disable any background scanning programs once you're done (See below).
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, and lag online play, but most importantly they interfere with read/writes to your hard drive effectively slowing it down and causing more in-game freezes and loading pauses. Full instructions on how to identify your startup programs and services and how to correctly disable unnecessary ones are in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. This is an important step you should not miss.
Overclocking: Battlefield Vietnam can be very sensitive to overclocking. If you have overclocked any components on your system and are having problems such as crashes and reboots, or 'artifacting' (graphical anomalies) set everything back to default speeds and try running the game. If you don't experience the same problems at default speed then your overclock is the primary culprit. Just because other games run fine at your current overclock, doesn't mean every game will, especially newer games.
Memory Subset: It is highly recommended that you run Battlefield Vietnam on at least 512MB of RAM. Regardless of RAM size however, you must ensure that you optimize your Virtual Memory settings by following the step-by-step instructions in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. Combined with the tweaks covered later in this guide, this should help resolve many issues. A lack of RAM and sub-optimal virtual memory settings, especially when combined with overclocked memory (and/or aggressive RAM timings), can lead to lots of small in-game loading pauses, longer loading times and memory conflicts leading to freezes, crashes to desktop, and even sudden reboots.
Defragging: Another vital tip is to make sure that after you have installed Battlefield Vietnam you run through the system maintenance procedures detailed in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. If you only do one thing on that list though, make sure you run the Windows Defragmentation utility. Defragging ensures that the game's files are all on the same place on your hard drive, greatly reducing loading pauses/freezes and loading times. It may take a little while but it is well worth it, and you should defrag every time you add or delete any major files from your hard drive (e.g. when you patch a game or update a driver).
Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering: If you have mysteriously low frames per second despite being certain that your hardware is capable of more, then one place to check would be your graphics card's Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering settings. These are explained in detail in my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide. I strongly recommend that you set any forced Antialiasing and/or Anisotropic Filtering in your graphics card's control panel to 'Application Preference'. Battlefield Vietnam seems to have issues with forced AA in particular (such as text problems), so forcing AA or AF in the control panel may conflict with BF:V and cause slowdowns.
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.