TweakGuides - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Author: Koroush Ghazi
Last Modified: November 2013
This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page tries to answer the most commonly-asked questions I get about TweakGuides.com. Some of it comes from the original text of an interview I did for this article on MSNBC.com. Much of it is in response to common questions I regularly receive by email, as well as things readers may generally be curious about. You should also refer to the Contact page on my site for more general details on TweakGuides.com.
Q1. Who are you?
Q1. Who are you?
My name is Koroush Ghazi, I'm 42 and I live in Canberra, Australia. I am the sole owner of TweakGuides.com, and the author of all the material you see on this site. I was born in Iran, but have spent most of my life in Australia. I have a Bachelor of Economics degree, and I'm keenly interested in all things to do with PCs and technology. You can email me using this address: Koroush@tweakguides.com[Back to Top]
Q2. What are 'tweak guides', and how did TweakGuides.com come about?
Many years ago I stumbled upon a wonderful thing called a 'tweak guide'. To my surprise this guide gave me information about all sorts of things which weren't in my game's manual. Tips, tricks, configuration details and advice which helped me understand how I could make my game run faster and/or look better, and in the process also taught me alot about my own computer. Every time I bought a new game or used an application I looked for one of these guides to help me get the most out of it.
A few years back I started noticing that good tweak guides were becoming harder and harder to find. Yet from seeing frantic discussions in forums, I knew there were still a lot of people who needed these guides. So I decided to do something about it - I started researching and writing my own tweak guides. My first tweak guide was for the popular RPG The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, a demanding yet amazing game. This tweak guide was noticed by the owner of TweakTown.com, who eventually helped me release it on his site as my first published tweak guide: The Morrowind Tweak Guide, released on 17 July 2002.
After two years of writing a variety of guides for Tweaktown.com, each proving quite popular, I felt I had found my niche, becoming virtually the only author to consistently release game and system tweak guides. I finally made the decision to set up TweakGuides.com in April 2004 because I felt I needed full control over my guide contents and layout, and wanted to steer clear of the overt commercialization which had beset TweakTown. Several years later and TweakGuides.com has become a popular yet modest site, and I believe it has returned tweak guides to their former position of prominence among computer enthusiasts, hopefully helping people the same way the tweak guides I used to read did.[Back to Top]
Q3. How popular is TweakGuides.com?
To my surprise, TweakGuides has grown in popularity to become fairly prominent. At the moment I get around 300,000 unique visitors and 1.2 million page views a month on average. During periods when a popular guide or article is released over 50,000 people visit the site per day. Given the site only provides guides, and doesn't have hardware reviews, sensationalist articles or use any cheap tactics to increase traffic and page views, I think that's not too shabby.
Part of the reason for TweakGuides' success is that I keep in mind that all the people who come to my site come here to read no-nonsense unbiased information, so that remains my main focus. I know from reader feedback that they like the fact that the site layout is simple, quick to load, and devoid of excessive and annoying advertising or scripts. Readers like the way my guides are written in a non-technical style, but still cover both technical and non-technical aspects equally. All of that will always remain the same.[Back to Top]
Q4. Why don't you write for a big tech site instead?
I've been offered payment to write guides for many big sites like Gamespot and Tom's Hardware. I've rejected all such offers because quite simply I have no incentive to do that at the moment. If my guides or articles appear on a major site they might have a larger audience, but I lose control over the precise wording of the content, I have no say as to the copious amounts of advertising these sites display on each page, I don't even get a decent fee for writing guides for such sites. Basically TweakGuides.com is my way of staying completely in control and providing my content the way I want it.[Back to Top]
Q5. Is TweakGuides.com your full time job?
TweakGuides.com started out as a hobby in my spare time, and continued as such for the first 2 years. However increasingly it started consuming more and more of my spare time to the point where undertaking my full-time (non-tech related) day job and running this site literally resulted in 14 hour days which became quite stressful. When push came to shove, given I didn't like my day job, as of 1 May 2006 I decided to quit my day job and go full-time on the site. This was an experiment as much as anything else to see if I could make a living running the site, since it is something I enjoy. I could focus on the site, and still have free time and hence more of a balance between time at my computer and time away from it.
Unfortunately in practice the experiment didn't quite succeed. While I managed to write a great number of popular articles and guides, and gain increasing prominence and readership, the end result was that I was working longer hours than ever in return for ever-diminishing income. It's extremely difficult to earn income from the site since everyone expects the contents to remain free, few people donate, most readers use adblockers even though TweakGuides has extremely unobtrusive advertising, and at the same time I don't write biased articles or promote particular products explicitly like most other sites, so getting paid sponsorship is virtually impossible.
As such, in recent years I've scaled back my efforts on the site, focusing mainly on the daily front page news updates, writing a few major articles on topical issues, and on key system guides like the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion.[Back to Top]
Q6. What process do you go through to create a game tweak guide?
I start out by purchasing the game (or downloading the demo) and quickly play it for the first couple of days. I try to 'break' the game, paying attention to any unusual or problematic aspects which arise. At the same time I check the game's directory structure and files, looking for configuration files which can be edited.
Next I launch into the research phase in earnest, searching the web for any existing information on the game's engine, any user problems with the game, and any tips or tweaks which have been discovered, even if they may be dubious. Basically I try to find any leads which give me a clearer picture of how the game works on an intuitive level. Many times the game engine is new or virtually undocumented and I find very few leads.
I then experiment with the game. I test all the regular in-game settings to see what impact they have on framerate and image quality. I try a range of commands in the configuration files, I use various values for the existing commands, I try to access the game's built-in debugging console and try various commands, and I even look into game executable files. It takes some educated guessing and tedious experimentation, but most of the major commands can eventually be discovered and decyphered. Game Developers use logical syntax and leave plenty of clues, so it's just a matter of thinking as they would.
Finally, I document all my major findings - from the in-game settings through to very advanced tweaks - so that anyone who reads the guide has an 'official unofficial' manual to their game, answering the most basic of questions all the way through to the very complex. In the past when pushed I've done the whole process in a matter of days, but usually it takes a couple of weeks. It all depends on the complexity of the subject matter and how busy I am with other things.[Back to Top]
Q7. Why don't your guides just tell me what to turn on/off?
A lot of people ask me why my guides have so much descriptive text. They say "I don't want to read through all that, why don't your guides just tell me which settings I should turn on, which settings I should turn off, and what lines I should insert or edit in my config files?". The answer is that it's not that simple.
Almost every game released today requires that you use your own personal preference for performance vs. image quality when deciding what the settings should be. If you do your gaming at higher resolutions, you might need to turn down some of the settings to get a smooth framerate at that resolution on your machine. Some people think that 30FPS is fine for gaming, while others believe that they need a constant 60-100FPS+ to be happy. Some people prefer to maximize most of the eye candy, but disable Anti-aliasing to maintain playable framerates, while others prefer smoother imagery and will keep anti-aliasing enabled while turning down shadows, or post-processing for example, to maintain FPS. As you can see, determining the "best" settings for a game on your machine requires you to make that choice, not me, as it is largely subjective. Of course if a particular setting should be turned on (or off) for most machines, I will provide explicit recommendations to that effect in my guide.
Furthermore, the same setting may reduce or increase performance depending entirely on your particular hardware. There are literally thousands of potential hardware combinations possible, and to try to categorize these into 'slow', 'medium' or 'fast' categories is a nonsense. Most PCs fall between categories, having a mix of slow and fast components of varying brands, speeds and tolerances. Putting aside the fact that many choices are based on personal preference, even if I were to try to provide 'basic configurations' for various types of computers, some people would see a performance drop or experience visual glitches if they used such preset configurations. Think about games which already try to 'auto detect' your hardware and provide the best possible software configuration - how successful are they in actually doing that? The whole reason why games developers allow user customization in games is precisely because it's as much about personal preference as it is about getting the highest FPS.
The bottom line is that I only provide the information you need to conduct tweaking. I can't actually do it for you. You will never see me write a guide which simply provides a step-by-step list of which settings to turn on/off and a bunch of lines to copy and paste into your .cfg/.ini files. Any guide which does so is not doing you a favor, believe me. The minute you run into an inevitable problem, you will have no idea what caused it if you try that approach. If you prefer a 'one size fits all' approach to gaming, then a gaming console will suit you much better.[Back to Top]
Q8. Why do I need to tweak, and when will all this tweaking crap stop?
Most people misunderstand the point of tweaking. They believe it's some sort of thing geeks love to do, but in reality it only provides very little if any noticeable differences. This is completely untrue: tweaking is not about fiddling or 'hacking', it's about customization. Software developers realise that given the variety of hardware on which their games/applications will run, their software needs to be adaptable, hence all recent software comes with the ability to customize it to suit your needs and operating environment. My guides emphasize both internal and external customization of software - that is, the guides provide full details of how to use the built-in customization options in a game or application, as well as the less accessible/hidden customization options. These can be used to make sure the software runs the way you want it, and with maximum stability.
To put it another way, basic software tweaking is like getting into a car and adjusting the seats and mirrors to suit you, while advanced tweaking is like getting under the hood of that car and making sure the engine is purring along smoothly and all the fluids are topped up. It needs to be done regularly, and there is no way around it. You need to understand what you're doing, and not just rely on a preset list of things to turn off/on, as that just doesn't work with PCs.
As for when you can stop tweaking and get back to just enjoying your PC - well in my opinion things are not going to get much easier for PC Gamers in the foreseeable future. Having some understanding of how a PC works, and the ways in which a computer needs to be maintained and optimized are an ongoing necessity for PC users. While Windows has improved system stability and integrity for Windows gaming platforms over the years, given the sheer diversity of computer hardware as well as various hardware and market-related developments, games developers will never be able to make their games 100% compatible or optimal on all gaming systems. Hence some form of tweaking will still be required to keep PC users from experiencing the usual problems.
Believe me, in many ways I wish it wasn't so. We're losing a lot of PC gamers to consoles for that very reason - the ability to simply switch on their console and start gaming straight away without worrying about the need to tweak or optimize anything, or to download drivers or maintain their system. Of course to balance that negative, you have to realize that there are some absolutely amazing PC games which are well worth the effort. Most importantly of all, PCs aren't going to go away given their variety of uses, and in the short term at least they will remain complex and non-standard, and hence require tweaking (customization) to use them properly.[Back to Top]
Q9. What type of people visit TweakGuides.com?
I get a wide range of people who visit my site. The majority are younger casual gamers who just want to play their games without problems. I don't think many of them even know they're setting out to find a tweak guide; they usually start off by searching Google for a general answer to their mysterious game problems, or to find better descriptions of cryptic in-game setting names. They inevitably stumble upon my site and (based on feedback I receive) are extremely happy to find at least some guidance on the types of things they can do to resolve their problems or improve their game performance.
Most 'hard-core' gamers would already be aware of my site, and no doubt go through my guides for relevant games as a matter of course, but I think they're searching for the more obscure tweaks or tips. Sometimes they just need confirmation that a particular setting does what they thought it would do, or they want to know the various values they can try for certain variables. They rely on me to do the legwork for them, and in many respects I'm happy to do that and document it in one central resource for everyone to use.
More recently with the release of my general system guides, such as the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion, I get an even broader range of people visiting, from those completely new to PCs to the highly experienced. Once again, my aim is to try and create a guide which encapsulates all the information anyone would need on a particular subject; from the basic to the advanced. That way I cover my bases and all types of readers find something useful in them.[Back to Top]
Q10. What are the most common PC problems you see?
The most common problem I see is a general lack of understanding by computer users (particularly gamers) of their system. Stuttering in games, crashes to desktop, blue screens, graphics slowdowns and laggy gameplay are quite often the result of people not being aware of the relationship between particular settings and their impacts on games and general system stability, and/or not being aware of the capabilities of their own hardware and where bottlenecks are occuring. To add to that overclocking is a real problem since it is now so easy to do that inexperienced PC users overclock all of their components without any real understanding of the problems which can come with overclocking.
For the most part the majority of problems relate to people not setting up their systems correctly, and not actual software bugs. I don't believe in "blaming" the user; rather I want to highlight to people that your PC is a delicately balanced machine which needs to be correctly configured, well maintained and understood if you want it to run with speed and stability. There's no way around it unfortunately, that's just the nature of the beast.[Back to Top]
Q11. Do you provide any tech support?
No, I can't provide any tech support in any form whatsoever. The reason is simple: I provide detailed information which is accessible to the largest number of people possible. I simply don't have the time to then retype variations of this information for particular individuals over and over again, day in, day out. Nor can I provide highly personalized information to suit different peoples' needs and circumstances. All of that is beyond the scope of what I do, and what this site is designed to do. One reason is time: the more time I spend providing free personal tech support, the less time I can spend writing material for a wider audience. So instead of helping a handful of people by email, I want to help a larger number of people more efficiently and in much more detail through my books and guides.
An equally important reason is that this site is based on the concept of trying to teach people to read, research, think and learn to help themselves. TweakGuides was created as a central resource for computer-related customization and optimization information. My writing is lengthier than most other sources precisely because I try to explain the rationale behind making certain changes - to encourage you to understand and make educated decisions, not just to blindly follow whatever I tell you to do. My suite of guides are specifically designed to cater to all audiences, from newbie to advanced, so if you put in the time to read through them you will be rewarded.
I usually get emails telling me the writer is desperate and that he's tried everything but he still has such and such a problem. Believe me, I'm completely sympathetic. I know how frustrating it is to have a computer problem you can't solve - that's what got me into tweaking in the first place. I would love to help, however it is simply not practical nor appropriate for me to do so. My guides come from a combination of my intuitive understanding of PCs, my experience and time-consuming research. That means that even if I try to help you personally, while I may have some idea of what the problem is, it would take a lot of time for me to research the problem, and email back and forth with you as various solutions are tried. This is very time consuming and again, something I'm simply not going to do under any circumstances.
So the bottom line is please don't email me with tech questions, or PC troubleshooting questions, or questions on what hardware to buy, or to seek my personal advice on a particular setting or tweak. I'm truly sorry, but I won't provide any reply to such emails. I write detailed guides, and I include almost everything I know in those, and that's the only way I can provide tech support. It is up to you to take the initiative and read these guides if you really wish to solve your particular problem. The aim of the site is to help you to help yourself by giving you appropriate resources in the form of guides, not to provide you with a free personal tech support channel.[Back to Top]
Q12. Which one of your tweak guides is the most popular?
In terms of sheer numbers of readers, I believe my Oblivion Tweak Guide, released in 2006, has proven to be the most popular. The reason I believe is that Oblivion was an amazingly beautiful and complex game, but could also be quite problematic and system intensive, which inspired users to try to find any information that could to help them to get it running smoothly. In more recent times, the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion and Firefox Tweak Guide, as well as PC Game Piracy Examined have proven to attract a large number of readers.[Back to Top]
Q13. Can you do a [insert name here] Tweak Guide?
I wish I could fulfil requests for guides, but I just can't. The main reasons for this include:
As you can see there are a variety of reasons why I will never write certain guides. It may annoy you, but I'm only one person and I've already done over 70 guides and major articles in the past 10 years, something like 3000+ pages of material, almost all of which I have attempted to keep up to date to a reasonable degree. I'm not a guide-writing machine, and although everyone wants a guide on their particular favorite game, application or piece of hardware, in practice it is not viable for me to invest huge amounts of time into writing guides for every topic.[Back to Top]
Q14. Where are the TweakGuides Forums?
In late 2005 I started the TweakGuides Forums as a means of providing readers of the site with a place where they can interact with each other in a friendly, non-abusive environment. It's a place to discuss the latest developments in the tech world in a mature and thoughtful manner. It is definitely not designed to be a free tech support forum, and the reason for this is explained in detail in the Forum Philosophy.
I don't want to emulate the many spam-filled childish and abusive forums there are around the Internet. For this reason, while the contents of the forums are freely available for anyone to read, to have full posting privileges you need to become an 'Invited Member' through the Invitation System. The system has been implemented because over the years, it became quite clear to me that most people simply wanted to use the TweakGuides Forums to beg for help and post questions they could easily answer themselves with a bit of effort. I want the forums to actually complement the guides on the main site rather than being a substitute for them. The forums are now firmly focused on providing a protected environment for people to discuss things maturely and productively, free of abuse, spam and lazy people. If you feel you have something to contribute then I encourage you to post an Introduction, but the decision is up to the community. If the Forum Philosophy does not suit you, I strongly encourage you to seek out and join another forum, as there are many others to choose from.[Back to Top]
Update: As of November 2008 the Forums were effectively closed and made read-only, as unfortunately I did not feel they were serving the original purpose for which I had created them. In mid-2011 I completely closed down the Forums as their content was now quite out of date. I have no plans to re-open them at any point in the near future.
Q15. If I write to you, will you write back?
Send me an Email and I will always read the contents. However you must understand that I won't answer emails which don't follow these simple rules:
If you keep the above in mind, I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about my site or my guides, point out any mistakes in the guides, or problems you've had when using a particular guide. Provide me with any genuine tech tips or tweaks you've seen or come up with yourself. Even just an email to say 'Hi' is absolutely fine! I'll try to reply to most of these types of emails. However don't take it as a personal insult if you don't receive a reply, and above all keep in mind that I'm not a personal tech support channel.[Back to Top]
Q16. What items make it to the TweakGuides front page?
A lot of people wonder what exactly makes it to the front page of TweakGuides.com - what's the criteria? Well I spend a lot of time each day browsing the Net to make sure I personally get across new developments and to post news updates as they happen.
The things I do post include:
The things I don't post include:
My primary goal is to bring you unbiased and non-sensationalised news about the most important updates the majority of Windows-based systems require, particularly drivers and patches for the most popular hardware and software. I keep the front page as uncluttered as possible, so each item has only a brief description with a link to the original source of the relevant software. Over time updates for some software may cease and new ones will be added, based primarily on popularity of usage. I use a range of factual sources to determine which hardware and software is the most popular, such as the Steam Hardware and Software Survey.
I exclude a lot of things to maintain the clarity of the front page. For example, almost every day there are dozens of betas/pre-release versions of a range of software, as well as many new and dubious applications. But I exclude all but the most important of these as I neither recommend them nor want to clutter the front page with 20-30 items every day. I also avoid anything that is illegal, based on unsubstantiated gossip, sensationalized, or politically-motivated news. I try to report only factual news of updates which are useful to the widest group of readers. I try to be as accurate as possible, but bear in mind that some updates lack a version history or change list, and I certainly can't test every single update personally before reporting on it.
Note: I live in Australia, and some tech news appears in the morning US time, which can be in the middle of the night my time. So at times I may be a few hours behind in posting an update. This is unavoidable, as I'm not going to get up at 4:00am to update the news. Furthermore, some software may be released early on some sites or via FTP, but I wait until it is officially posted on the author's site before announcing and linking to it, both to confirm its validity and to ensure that it is the proper final version.
I don't pretend for a minute that TweakGuides.com will cater to all your tech news needs. There are many other sites which report all the tech minutiae and gossip if that's what you're interested in. This site is designed specifically so that you can glance at the front page every day and quickly see the most important software updates of the day, particularly Windows-related updates and hardware drivers, many of which should be relevant to you in some way.[Back to Top]
Q17. Why are you so strict about other people using your guide material?
People often wonder why I'm so strict with giving permission to others to use my guide material. I get emails from people who want to host my guides or articles (or parts of them) on their own sites, and of course a few people also go ahead and mistakenly think they can reproduce my material without even asking me in the first place. Unfortunately I don't find this acceptable - the home of my guides is right here on TweakGuides.com, where they are provided completely free, in a non-obtrusive layout, and are always easily available to everyone. In general I do not give permission for anyone to host my guides and articles anywhere else for any reason, and there are several important reasons for this.
To start with, I firmly believe that all content creators have the moral right to determine the fate of their content, whether it be an Internet article, a book, a movie, or music for example. If someone puts the time and effort into creating something, they are morally and legally entitled to control how that creation is used to a reasonable extent. This is why Copyright exists, and I encourage you to read this simple Copyright Myths article to understand why most people go about breaching Copyright based on falsehoods they believe to be true. Copyright is not just about the big bad record companies trying to prevent you from downloading MP3s, it exists for a reason, and that is to encourage people to create new things, safe in the knowledge that their hard work won't be ripped off by someone else who's put in no effort at all.
I've invested a huge amount of my time and effort into writing the material on TweakGuides.com and keeping it up to date. Because of this major commitment in time and effort, I earn some of the income I need to eat, clothe myself and pay my bills comes from the advertising on this site as well as from donations and purchases of the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion Deluxe Edition. I'm not forcing you to pay me for writing guides, nor do I write my guides out of "greed" - the income derived from this site is a mere fraction of what could be earned in a regular day job. I write guides mainly out of my desire to help people and because I enjoy it. However I'm not a saint, I need income to survive, and every time someone hosts my material elsewhere it reduces the number of people who visit this site directly, and in turn reduces my advertising and potential sponsor and e-book income and also prevents people from seeing the other material on offer here.
Let's be honest, most people who reproduce my material are simply doing so to draw traffic to their own websites and hence easily benefit from something they didn't put the work into in the first place. If you really want to help people, all you need to do is give them the link to my guides, there is absolutely no need to reproduce the contents elsewhere. My guides are easily and quickly accessible and completely free right here on TweakGuides.com. The bottom line is that the more people rip off my material and spread it around the Internet, the less I will receive in return for all the time and effort I put into the guides. This means that eventually I will simply stop producing any new material, as it will not be a viable use of my time. This is one of the reasons I've already ceased writing game tweak guides, so please think twice before ripping off my (or anyone else's) work for any reason.
The following things are both legal and appropriate, and do not require my permission:
The following things are both illegal and inappropriate, and require my explicit written permission - though usually I don't permit these:
If you still have doubts, or don't understand if/how you can reproduce my work, read this short Plagiarism vs. Copyright article for more details.
People who disregard the above will be pursued to the best of my abilities, including contacting their Host/ISP for breach of Terms of Service, contacting their Domain Name Registrar as required, using the Google DMCA provisions to delist them from Google search and potentially disqualify them from Google Adsense, and of course if severe enough, action through a Court of Law. Please respect my rights and support my work by linking to TweakGuides.com, not by copying my writing and putting it elsewhere. Just because something is free, doesn't mean it's worthless or up for grabs by anyone. Giving is a two way street, so if you want me to continue producing free material, you need to give my work the appropriate respect, if only out of recognition of how much time I invest into it.[Back to Top]
Q18. Have you stopped writing game tweak guides?
The game tweak guides launched TweakGuides.com into prominence around the net, and have continued to be incredibly popular, so much so that with each new game release I still receive many emails asking me to do a guide for that game. However as of late 2008 I decided to stop writing game guides altogether for a combination of reasons:
The primary reason is that it is simply not viable for me to invest countless hours researching, testing and writing guides for each major game. Neither the game developers or publishers, nor any sponsors or readers pay me to write these guides; I don't even receive free games or background material from games companies to assist in the process. Furthermore more and more readers are using adblockers despite the fact that TweakGuides has only ever had one small column of unobtrusive text-only Google ads down the right side of the page. Of the hundreds of thousands of people who use the site each month, few people donate or purchase the TGTC Deluxe Edition. So while I never expected or sought massive income from writing game guides, pouring hundreds of hours a year into writing game guides for virtually no income is not something I could sustain.
People have suggested that I charge for viewing the game guides, possibly through some sort of subscription arrangement. On the surface this would appear to be an ideal solution, however aside from the fact that I would no doubt be called 'greedy' for attempting to implement such a process, in the end people would simply copy-and-paste the guide material elsewhere and distribute it for free without my permission, as there is currently no way to truly secure a document against piracy.
To add to the lack of financial viability, there are also several other practical issues involved. Firstly, more and more readers were simply skimming the guides looking for quick fixes. That is, despite all the time and effort I invested into the guides to make them as comprehensive as possible, most of the guide contents were being ignored because most readers lack the patience to read and think about an issue. This was reflected in the ever-increasing emails I'd receive, and forum posts I'd see, asking me questions which were already answered clearly in the guide. It seems few people want to face the fact that complex problems often require complex solutions; there are rarely any quick fixes in the world of PCs, especially for gaming.
Secondly, I would often find people ripping off my guide contents and posting them in their entirety elsewhere or incorporating them in tweaking software (which I strongly oppose), typically to draw traffic and income to their own sites or applications. Aside from the fact that this further deprived me of already meagre potential advertising revenue, it also made me realize that at best I was simply doing the legwork for other people to come along and capitalize upon and in effect take much of the credit, which further discouraged me from bothering to write such guides.
Thirdly, as PC games have headed towards being console ports rather than PC exclusives - an issue I cover in my PC Game Piracy Examined article - the concept of game tweaking has changed dramatically. Since around 2008 onwards PC game engines and the games themselves are not conducive to a great deal of basic tweaking. They often lack the ability to enter detailed console commands and/or have restricted or non-existent configuration (.cfg) files that at best can only be used to change settings which already exist within the in-game menus. This doesn't apply to all PC games of course, but the majority of PC games now fall within this category, making tweaking much harder and hence it would take me even longer to research and come up with useful tweaks and tips for games.
Ultimately, while I was happy to provide free game guides for several years without asking much in return, it came down to the fact that logically it is downright silly for me to continue to do something which can actually drive me broke; which fewer and fewer people actually take the time to genuinely read and understand; and more and more people find ways to abuse for their own benefit, and which has become much harder to do in recent times to boot. Obviously if I get a major sponsor or something else changes to make game guides viable again I will reverse the decision, but this seems unlikely so for now there will be no new game guides for the foreseeable future. I apologize to those of you who found the game guides useful.[Back to Top]
Update: As of mid-2010 I commenced writing new game guides for the Nvidia website GeForce.com. Nvidia approached me with an offer to commission new game guides for their newly redesigned website. After careful consideration I accepted the offer on the basis that I would not be writing my guides solely for users of Nvidia products, and that they would still be available for free and devoid of intrusive ads. This arrangement has also allowed me to alter my approach to writing game guides in two ways: Firstly, since most PC games now have few options for advanced tweaking, and as most readers were just skimming the guides anyway, the new game guides are shorter and focus on the in-game settings and the most significant advanced tweaks. Secondly, through Nvidia's hardware labs it is now possible to provide indicative performance data for every setting. At the moment this is the only viable way of continuing to produce game guides. However my arrangement with Nvidia does not involve any changes to my approach to running TweakGuides.com, nor will I allow it to compromise my ability to write material in an unbiased manner. I am not under contract to, nor an employee of, Nvidia.
Update 2: My sponsorship arrangement with Nvidia ended in early 2013. I chose to cease the arrangement because of repeated delays in the clearance and publication of my guides. The clearance issues had nothing to do with any concerns regaring the accuracy of the content. The delays resulted from Nvidia's internal clearance processes, which dragged on due to commercial sensitivities and lengthy developer sign-off. This meant that despite completing a guide usually within 7 days of a game's release, I would be forced to wait anywhere from two to six weeks or more before I saw that guide published. The end result was a game guide that typically came out up to a month or more after game release, which is far too long to benefit the majority of the game's players. Between late 2011 and early 2013 several attempts were made by Nvidia and I to resolve this issue, but it became apparent to me that Nvidia's internal processes were simply not flexible enough to allow for timely publication of my material, so I had to end the relationship. For anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes details of my three years of work for Nvidia, and just what went wrong, I've prepared an article entitled My Nvidia Story.
At the moment, no new game guides will be published until I can find another suitable sponsor.
For the moment that covers all the basic questions in this FAQ. This FAQ is updated from time to time.