Far Cry Tweak Guide
[Page 3] Troubleshooting Tips
This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address most of the common problems experienced by Far Cry players. Many of the solutions are actually drawn from one of my guides mentioned in the Essential Optimization section. This is no coincidence, since many common Far Cry problems are not game bugs, but specific sub-optimal system conditions which lead to problems. Far Cry is a new and very system intensive game, and hence brings out instability and problems in all but the most rock-solid of machines. That's not to say it doesn't have a few bugs all its own, but hopefully the advice below can help you find the solution to your particular problem as fast as possible:
Official Support: The very first place to look for a solution to a particular Far Cry problem is the Official Far Cry Support FAQ. Answers to issues such as the "Error 1311 Message" are provided here. Combine this with the specific tips and resolutions provided in the Readme.txt file found in your \UBISOFT\Crytek\Far Cry\Support\ directory. You should also look at this Far Cry Q&A and finally, try hitting the Far Cry Forums and look for an answer, or post your own questions there.
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.
CD-ROM Problems/Errors during installation: The official solution is here. Initially you should try updating all your device drivers, especially your motherboard drivers and CD/DVD firmware. Obviously you'll also need to use the original copy of the game CD, and if you see any Windows errors during installation attempt to ignore them and continue. If you get the "Error 1311" message then first try this solution from Microsoft. If that doesn't work, copy all the CD contents to your hard drive and attempt to install from there. Despite all this, there is still a major issue with Far Cry's compatibility with certain CD/DVD drives (see below) and emulation/burning software. Essentially you may be forced to disable or even uninstall any emulation/burning software especially Alcohol, CloneCD, and in some cases even Nero. This is due to Far Cry's SecuROM copy protection system.
DVD Drive Incompatibilities: If you have the DVD edition of Far Cry, and one of the DVD drives listed here then unfortunately it's unlikely you'll be able to run the Far Cry disk to install and run the game. Ubisoft has announced that these drives are "incompatible" with the Far Cry DVD edition. Attempt to update your drive's firmware as suggested above, and also a solution suggested by some is to leave the Far Cry DVD in your DVD drive for an extended period (e.g. 15 minutes) and it may eventually launch installation. Again these issues are largely due to Far Cry's copy protection system. Don't write to tell me it sucks, I already agree with you.
Invalid CD Key/CD Key In Use/Verification Time Out: Your Far Cry CD Key can be found on the back of the game's manual, on a large white sticker. You will not need to enter it when installing the game, however when you go to login to/create your Ubisoft Account to play Multiplayer, you'll have to enter it there. To start with, make sure you're patched to the latest version of Far Cry (See page 4 for details). If you're having problems getting it to recognize your valid CD Key, make sure you check the key entered and use capital letters where necessary. This may not solve your problems. You may have to disable your firewall to allow the CD Key to be recognised and prevent a time out. If your CD Key is listed as being in use, logout, wait a while (e.g half an hour), log back in and retry joining various multiplayer servers. Sometimes if you previously crashed or were disconnected your CD Key will appear to be "in use" for a while. If CD Key issues still occur, contact Ubisoft through their support site. Your games retailer cannot replace your CD Key if it is genuinely invalid, faulty, or just plain missing - only Ubisoft can give you a new CD Key.
Constant Disconnections/Punkbuster Kicks: While there are many reasons why people may be having problems connecting and staying connected to a Far Cry multiplayer game, the most common reasons are: Firewalls and Punkbuster. To start with, make sure you're patched to the latest version of Far Cry (again, see page 4 for details). If you have a firewall, you will need to allow Far Cry unrestricted access to the net, perhaps even having to disable the firewall. As for the second issue, as of the 1.1 Patch onwards Far Cry has been using the Punkbuster anti-cheat system. On many servers you will need to enable Punkbuster in your settings before you can join. It is common during gameplay however for Punkbuster to detect such things as any modified game files, No-CDs and the use of Alcohol or other virtual drive emulation software as being "cheats" and kick users of such files/tools. Disable all such cracks, virtual drives etc. and remove all modified files from games folders before attempting to connect to a multiplayer game, otherwise you risk your CD Key being permanently banned.
Virus Scan: Do a full scan of all your files using a virus scanner such as AVG Antivirus, a trojan cleaner such as A-Squared, and a spyware cleaner such as Ad-aware. Viruses and trojans can cause unexplained behavior like forced disconnection from the net, ping spikes or crashing of Far Cry to the desktop.
Background Programs: Disable all background applications, especially virus, trojan and spyware scanners and messaging utilities. This is a very important tip. These applications can and do use up valuable CPU resources, take up precious RAM, and raise ping, but far more importantly they interfere with read/writes to your hard drive effectively slowing it down and causing more in-game pauses, decrease FPS, increase load times. They can also cause memory conflicts with games like Far Cry and hence lead to crashes/lockups/reboots. Full instructions on how to identify your startup programs and services and how to correctly disable unnecessary ones are in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion.
Overclocking: While it's extremely tempting to heavily overclock your system in an attempt to pump out better framerates with Far Cry, you will notice a lot of problems if you do so (e.g. flashing textures and graphical glitches, crashes to desktop and sudden reboots), and most of them will be related to overclocking. If you've overclocked any component(s) on your system, set everything back to the default settings and try running the game. If you don't experience the same problems at default then your overclock is the primary culprit. In particular, read through my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for tools and instructions on how to correctly stress-test an overclocked system and determine which components are being pushed too far. Even if all your other games work just fine at your current overclock, Far Cry is likely to want more stability due to its system intensive nature.
CPU Speed: The Far Cry engine is quite CPU hungry, so if you have a reasonable graphics card but a lower powered CPU (e.g. P4 1.6Ghz), or vice versa, then you will find that this will hold back your performance significantly. If you're thinking of upgrading your machine, don't just upgrade to a fast CPU or a fast graphics card - you'll need both to get optimal performance in Far Cry.
RAM & Virtual Memory: Far Cry is extremely memory hungry. This is evident from the long loading times and in-game loading hitches and freezes some people are experiencing. Aside from buying more RAM (1GB or more is ideal), one critical thing you should do to help with this problem is to go through the Memory Optimization chapter of my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. Combined with the tweaks covered later in this guide, this should help reduce most of your problems. Note that with less than 1GB of RAM there will still be some loading pauses, but they should be less severe.
Hard Drive Speed: In conjunction with the virtual memory tweaks above, it's important to remember that Far Cry is a massive game taking up more than 4GB of hard drive space. Quite obviously a lot of that will need to be loaded up at some point. On a modern operating system like Windows XP, memory management is quite good, however it can't work miracles. The whole process of continually loading information from your hard drive into RAM and back onto the drive is dependent on both the speed of your actual hard drive, and your Windows Memory Management settings. You can optimize your Windows memory management settings as covered in the tips above, but if you have less RAM (i.e. 512MB or less) and a slow hard drive then expect a lot more hard disk activity and hence longer loading times and in-game stuttering and freezes as Far Cry data loads back and forth.
Defragging: Make sure that after you've installed Far Cry you run through the System Maintenance and Drive Optimization chapters of my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. In particular it is vital that you run the Windows Defragmentation utility after installing the game. 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. The longer it takes to defrag your drive, the more good it's doing you!
Antialiasing & Anisotropic: The use of Antialiasing and/or Anisotropic Filtering (both covered thoroughly in my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide) will greatly impact on your FPS in Far Cry. Even 2x Antialiasing for example can turn Far Cry from playably smooth (e.g. 30+ fps) to unplayable (e.g. 15 fps) depending on your hardware and in-game settings. For maximum framerates set both AA and AF to 0x or "Application Controlled" as well as turning them off in game (See In-Game Settings).
That's just a basic rundown of troubleshooting tips. Read the remainder of this guide for more specific setting and tweak information, and I repeat that you really do need to go through the various tweaks and tips mentioned above to ensure you get the best performance in Far Cry. There is no simple, single quick fix, and a problem with one area of your PC will result in a lot of grief when playing all new games, not just Far Cry.