Call of Duty 2 Tweak Guide
[Page 3] Troubleshooting Tips
This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address many of the common problems experienced by Call of Duty 2 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\Activision\Call of Duty 2\Docs\TechHelp\Readme directory. Importantly, 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 doesn't meet the requirements then you will experience problems with the game, or quite simply may not be able to run it. Read through the list of compatibility issues and suggested fixes as well. If you want to read the game's manual online, there is a PDF version of the manual in your \Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty 2\Docs\TechHelp\Manual directory. If you want to see further tech support information, go to your \Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty 2\Docs\TechHelp directory and double-click on the index.htm file.
If you're still having problems you should visit the Activision Support Site, and the Official Call of Duty 2 Forums to look for solutions or post a question. If you want unofficial support, try joining one of the many forums discussing Call of Duty 2, such as the Planet CallofDuty Forums or our own TweakGuides Forums. Remember however to do some basic research and run through this guide (and associated guides) before jumping on a forum and asking a question - most forum users tend to ignore (or unfortunately abuse) people who post "Help me please!!1!1" type posts which show no prior research or troubleshooting effort.
Windows Vista Users: If you're having problems running this game under Windows Vista, first make sure that you're using the latest Vista graphics and audio drivers for your hardware, and the latest version of this game (see page 4 for patch details). Next, make sure you don't change your UAC settings after the game has been installed, as due to Virtualization this can change the location of the game files and settings. If you can't launch the game successfully when UAC is enabled, you will need to run the game with full Admin privileges. To do this either right-click on the launch icon and select 'Run as Administrator', or right-click on the launch icon, select Properties and under the Compatibility tab tick 'Run this program as an administrator' then click OK. I strongly recommend that you refer to the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for Windows Vista for more information - in particular check the 'Gaming in Vista' section of the Graphics & Interface chapter; the UAC section of the PC Security chapter; and the 'Personal Folders' and 'Directory Junctions & Symbolic Links' sections of the Windows Explorer chapter. These will tell you how you can fix game-related issues and also explain the relevant differences of Vista.
PunkBuster Issues: As of the 1.2 Patch COD2 incorporates PunkBuster anti-cheat software. To find out more about this software, and how to fix various PunkBuster-related issues, check out the PunkBuster Call of Duty 2 Page.
Loading Issues: If you're having issues loading the game, check these answers on the Activision Support Site. I've noticed two specific loading issues which are relatively easy to fix. Firstly, on some systems when launching COD 2 Multiplayer you may find the loading screen comes up but nothing seems to happen - be patient, it can take up to a minute for it to load into MP. I don't know what is causing this issue, but hopefully it will be fixed soon. Secondly, when loading levels or maps in Singleplayer, sometimes your loading bar will stay at a particular point and no further loading will occur. To resolve this, simply press CTRL+ALT+DEL to bring up the Task Manager, click anywhere on the task manager box, then switch back to COD 2 (either by clicking on the main COD 2 screen or pressing ALT+TAB) and the loading should continue.
Lag vs. Graphical Slowdowns: While playing COD 2 online, make certain to bring up an FPS counter in your display, and whenever you notice things are getting laggy, check your FPS. If it's falling into the low double-digits then it's likely that your lag is either wholly and at least partly to blame on your graphics settings - reduce your settings accordingly. If however your FPS is relatively fine yet you find yourself warping around or there is a noticeable delay between your actions and their results, check your Ping by pressing the TAB key (default) to look at the scoreboard - the ping shown at the far right next to your name should be below around 150 for smooth gameplay.
The Latest Graphic Drivers: Since Call of Duty 2 is a new game, and is quite dependent on your graphics card for its performance (especially in DX9 mode), make absolutely certain you have updated to the latest graphics card drivers. This means the ATI Catalyst 6.5 or newer; or the Nvidia Forceware 84.21 or newer. See page 4 of my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide or Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide for details on where to download the latest drivers and how to install them cleanly and configure them optimally.
In-Game Lag/Freezes/Stuttering: To reduce any stuttering/loading pauses in Call of Duty 2, make sure you have made the correct Texture Settings choices under the Options>Graphics section of the game menu. Read the In-Game settings section of this guide carefully, and experiment with various levels of particularly the Texture Quality setting (which has the greatest impact on stuttering). Check the com_hunkmegs command in the Advanced Tweaking section, and also keep in mind that systems with 512MB of RAM or less will experience a lot more stuttering than those with more system RAM. And of course, make absolutely sure that you have run the Windows Defragmenter after installing COD 2, as the game is 3.5GB in size and if its files are fragmented this can greatly increase your stuttering and in-game loading pauses.
Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering: To make sure Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering work properly in Call of Duty 2 it is recommended that you first go to your graphics card's control panel, and for Nvidia cards under the Performance & Quality Settings in the Global Driver Settings section select 'Application Controlled' for Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering. For ATI cards go to the 3D section of the Control Panel/Control Center and select 'Application Preference' for both Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering. Now go into Call of Duty 2 and set the level of Antialiasing under the Options>Graphics>Antialiasing setting, to use Anisotropic Filtering first set the Options>Graphics>Texture Filter setting to Anisotropic, then see the image_anisotropy command under the Advanced Tweaking section. If you are unfamiliar with what Antialiasing or Anisotropic Filtering do, see my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide. Keep in mind that any Antialiasing can noticeably reduce performance. Also remember that COD 2 uses 8x Anisotropic Filtering automatically when the Texture Filter setting is set to Anisotropic.
Virus Scan: Do a full scan of all your files using the following excellent (and free) tools: AVG Virus Cleaner for viruses, A-Squared for 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 optimization measures. However make sure to disable any background scanning programs once you're done (See below).
Background Programs: The game's developers recommend that you 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 freezes and stuttering. 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: Call of Duty 2 can display some sensitivity to overclocking, and if you are experiencing graphical glitches or crashing in the game, set everything back to its default speeds and see if this impacts on the problem. If you don't experience the same problems at default speed, or they're reduced in severity, then your overclock is the primary culprit. Either permanently reduce your overclock and/or increase cooling to regain stability. Don't assume that because other games run with stability at a particular speed that Call of Duty 2 will do the same - it is a very demanding game.
These are some of the more common problems for Call of Duty 2. I really do urge you not to just throw up your hands and say "the game is badly coded!" if you are experiencing problems. The majority of problems I have seen from users stem from unoptimized systems, systems which are overclocked, systems which don't have the latest drivers installed, etc. It is up to you to take the time to maintain your PC, and with my guides like the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion you have detailed instructions on exactly how to do it from start to finish.
Read the remainder of this guide for more specific settings and tweaks which can help improve your performance and resolve any problems.