Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Tweak Guide

[Page 7] Advanced Tweaking

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is, as the name suggests, based on the Quake series. This not only applies to its game world, but also the game engine used, which is a recent build of the same engine used in Quake 4, which itself was based on the excellent Doom 3 engine before it. In this section we delve into all the advanced tweaking possible with this build of the game engine, and if you've read either my Doom 3 or Quake 4 tweak guides in the past, this section will look very familiar to you, as many of the tweaks from those games carry over to ET:QW. There are a range of notable differences however, so make sure to read the instructions carefully and go through the variables in detail.

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Using the Advanced Tweaks

The most common mistake made in tweaking is to quickly apply several tweaks without knowing what exactly they do, or apply them incorrectly and wonder why they don't work, especially if you're new to tweaking the ET:QW/Quake 4/Doom 3 engine. Read this section carefully and pay close attention to the descriptions of how tweaks are applied in ET:QW and what they do. I've tested all of them and only working tweaks and methods have been provided.

There are three main ways in which you can access and alter Command Variables (cvars) in ET:QW: through the game Console; through .cfg (Config) files; and via the Command Line. I detail all the major commands one by one starting on the next page, and you can then decide the best method to use to implement particular ones. The methods are essentially interchangeable, meaning changing the variable using one method has much the same impact as doing it another way - the only difference is which is more convenient for you, or which is most appropriate to that particular type of command.

ET:QW Console

The console is the closest you can get to having direct real-time access to the powerful game engine. Through the console you can enter commands to change engine variables during the game, and usually see their impacts immediately. This is a great way to experiment with certain tweaks before implementing them permanently via other methods. To open the console, start ET:QW and then press the CTRL ALT and ~ keys together at once. You will see the console come down, and you can enter text at the command prompt. A list of commands you can enter are covered on the next page. To make regular access to the console easier, enter the following line into the console:

seta com_allowconsole 1

This means that you can now open and close the console by simply pressing the '~' key (the key above TAB), and not three keys at once.

ET:QW Config Files

Although you can alter many variables by entering them into the console, most command variables need to be set each and every time you start ET:QW. This is because the game engine usually resets these variables to their default state as the engine initializes at startup, or they need to be implemented before the game engine loads up to be effective. Fortunately by default, when the game engine starts, it automatically detects the presence of, and runs the command variables from two specific files: etqwbinds.cfg and etqwconfig.cfg, both of which can be found under your \Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\id Software\Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars\base directory in Windows XP, or \Users\User\Documents\id Software\Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars\base in Windows Vista. The file etqwbinds.cfg holds the general key bindings and control configuration, while etqwconfig.cfg holds your in-game settings such as audio and video configuration. There are also two more files which hold additional control and UI settings specific to your player profile, called bindings.cfg and profile.cfg, found under the \Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\id Software\Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars\sdnet\profilename\base directory in XP, or \Users\User\Documents\id Software\Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars\sdnet\profilename\base in Vista. These are loaded up when you login to that particular profile in ETQW.

You can edit cfg files using a text editor like Windows WordPad or Notepad. However typically changing the settings in the existing config files will see them reset to default values again the next time you restart ET:QW and hence is not the recommended method. Rather than editing any of these files, the best thing to do is create a new text file, rename it to autoexec.cfg (not autoexec.cfg.txt), and place it in your \Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\id Software\Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars\sdnet\profilename\base directory in XP, or \Users\User\Documents\id Software\Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars\sdnet\profilename\base in Vista. You can now edit this file and enter all your custom tweaks and settings into it, and they'll automatically come into effect each and every time you start ET:QW. This makes it easier to keep track of what you've tweaked, and if ever you want to remove your custom tweaks, you can simply delete this autoexec.cfg file, or see which commands need to have their values manually reset to the default.

Note: If you ever want to reset all your settings to their defaults, delete all the .cfg files above; the next time you start the game it will create new copies of them and all your customizations will be removed.

There is another way of executing a config file, and that is to firstly create a config file with any name you wish (e.g. mytweaks.cfg), place it in the same directory as the etqwconfig.cfg and etqwbinds.cfg files, and then in the ET:QW console at any time type exec [filename.cfg], e.g.:

exec mytweaks.cfg

This will immediately run all the command variables in your new .cfg file, however unless you actually execute this file it will not be automatically run at startup - only the config files named further above are automatically detected and run by the game at startup.

ET:QW Command Line

There is one more way you can run command variables for ET:QW - enter them as part of the command line for the game's launch icon. To do this, first right-click on the icon you use to launch ET:QW, and then select Properties. In the Target box, you will see something similar to this - it varies depending on where you installed the game:

"C:\Program Files\id Software\Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars\etqw.exe"

You can add command variables to the end of this line by using a space and then a '+' sign in front of each command. For example, to fully unlock the game's rendering mode (as covered on the last page of this guide), change the target line to the following:

"C:\Program Files\id Software\Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars\etqw.exe" +set com_unlockFPS 1 +set com_unlock_timingmethod 0

Note that there are quotes around the target to the game executable file, but after that, simply add a space and a plus sign before each command. Also if you're wondering what the 'set' command used after the + sign means, and why it's necessary, see the top of the next page.

So Which Way Is Best?

Now you know the different ways to apply command variables in the ET:QW engine, as I mentioned before, there is no single 'best' way. Each method works, it just depends on what you find more convenient or appropriate to the particular command. I personally prefer to place all my tweaks in a single autoexec.cfg file, because that way I can see at a glance all the settings I've changed, and if need be I can remove the file (e.g. for troubleshooting purposes), or change each setting back to default. I can also easily back up this file so I can quickly reapply the same tweaks if ever I reinstall the game or if my settings are lost after I patch the game.

However, I suggest that you first use the in-game console to try out most commands and see what effect they have on the game. Then you can insert them into your autoexec.cfg file once you've determined if they're worth using, and which values work best for you. For the commands which don't come into effect until the game is restarted, you may have to experiment by temporarily placing them in your autoexec.cfg first to see what they do, but do this carefully, and depending on the results determine whether you want to keep them or not.

The next two pages provide a list of all the game's most useful commands/command variables along with relevant descriptions.