Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 Tweak Guide

[Page 7] Advanced Tweaking

This section covers a range of things you can do outside of the in-game settings to further customize the game.

To access the advanced settings for GRAW 2 you will first need to go into your \Program Files\Ubisoft\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2\ directory. Under there, in the \Data\Settings subdirectory is renderer_settings.xml, the file containing your Video-related settings, and sound_settings.xml, the file containing your audio settings. Under the \Settings\profiles\[profilename] directory (or \Users\[username]\AppData\Local\GRAW2\ in Vista) are your key bindings (bindings.xml) and general game settings (settings.xml). We will examine the most useful of these files and settings further below, though note that any settings which can be fully changed within the in-game menus will not be covered again below - you should alter them from within the game.

Note: As of the 1.03 Patch, the files hud_visibility.xml and hud_palett_2.xml have been added under the Program Files\Ubisoft\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2\Settings directory. These are covered further below.

To edit these .xml files, open them with Windows Notepad or a similar text editor. Don't just double-click on them as they will open in your Internet browser where you cannot alter them; right-click on them and select 'Open With>Notepad'. And of course, before making any alterations to any of these files, make a backup of each first.

Click to enlarge


resolution = "1280 1024"

This line determines your resolution as per the Resolution setting in the in-game Video options. However if you want to set a custom resolution - as long as you know it is supported by your display - then enter it here in "width height" format. It may only work in windowed mode however.

refresh_rate = "60"

This line determines the refresh rate for your particular resolution. The default is 60Hz, however you can choose a higher one as long as you are absolutely certain your display device supports that particular refresh rate at your chosen resolution. Setting a refresh rate which is too high for your display will result in a black screen on loadup.

<variable name="post_effect_quality" value="off"/>

While you can set the Post Effects quality within the game, either to Low or High, here you can disable Post Effects altogether. To do so, set the value field to ="off" here, as shown above. This will remove the special lighting effects, giving starkly different visuals to that normally seen, in return for a significant performance boost on older graphics cards - see the In-Game Settings section for a visual comparison. Note that setting Post Effects to Off will mean that Night Vision will not work properly.

<variable name="shadow_map_size" value="2048"/>

This option determines the resolution of the Shadow Maps used in the game. If you want to improve performance at the cost of a reduction in the sharpness of the shadows, set this to a lower value such as 1024, 512 or even 256. For example you can choose High Dynamic Shadows to have all objects casting shadows, then lower the shadow map size here so that the performance hit is not as great.

<variable name="texture_quality_backdrop" value="high"/>

By default, if you don't have a graphics card with 512MB or more of Video RAM (VRAM) onboard, you will not be able to select High for the Texture Quality in-game video settings. However, if you want to force GRAW 2 to use High Texture Quality (See In-Game Settings for a visual comparison), regardless of your graphics card, set every variable starting with "texture_quality_" to have a value = "high". Alternatively, you can simply select particular visual components to assign a Texture Quality of High. For example, you may wish to only force high for characters, vehicles and weapons. Using High Texture Quality may cause a decrease in FPS, and more importantly an increase in loading times and in-level stutter, which is why it's normally meant for cards with higher amounts of VRAM.


<has_physx value="false" />

<physics value="0" />

The settings above determine whether a system which has a PhysX card installed will show advanced physics effects in GRAW 2. However even if you don't have a PhysX card, you can enable some of the advanced physics effects (at the cost of a major drop in performance), by changing the above values to <has_physx value="true" /> and <physics value="1" /> (=1 for High Physics or =2 for Extreme Physics). Go into the in-game options, and under Video options you should see the relevant value in the Physics box (i.e. High or Extreme). To make sure the new setting is in force, change one of your graphics settings to another value, then back again to its original value, and click the Apply button which appears. You will now see enhanced physics effects in the game, but once again this comes at a significant performance cost, so it is generally not recommended.

<ret_color value="29 137 151" />

This option determines the color of your target crosshair in the game. The value shown is in RGB Color format, with the default being 29 137 151 which is an aqua blue. You can change this to any color you wish. For example, try 34 139 34 for a military green crosshair color.


<button id="detag" binding="2" device="mouse"/>

All the key bindings for your particular profile are held in the Bindings.xml file under that profile's directory. For the most part these can all be changed in the in-game settings options, however if any bindings are not listed in the Controls options, you can change them manually here. For example by default the button that the Scrambler class uses to detag friendly teammates (See the Conclusion section for more details on detagging) is the Mouse 2 button, which is the middle mouse/scroll wheel button. To alter this, you can change the binding="2" option above to 0 (left mouse button) or 1 (right mouse button), or a key - in which case you need to change device="mouse" to device="keyboard" as well.


<xdefine name="A" value="0.9 0.67 0.25"/> <!--(RGB:230 171 64)-->

This file has been added as of the 1.03 Patch, and allows users to customize the color of the various HUD menus and text elements, similar to the way it is done for the target crosshair (see Settings.xml further above).


<hud_element name="health" alpha="1.0" />

This file has been added as of the 1.03 Patch, and allows users to customize the transparency of various HUD elements, such as the health bar (shown above), crosscom, minimap, compass, etc. Find the relevant HUD element you wish to change, and alter its alpha="1.0" value to a number between 0.0 (totally invisible) through to 1.0 (completely solid). Note that the enemy, friendly and objective markers can only be toggled between fully visible and invisible, and you can alter this by changing their visible="true" value to false, or vice versa.

Console Commands

To access the in-game console, during multiplayer any time after spawning press the O key (the letter O, not zero); alternatively type /open or /console in the chat area. A console prompt will show up at the very bottom of the screen, and you can enter one of the commands below. Note that only the first 6 commands below are available to players; the other commands are only usable by server administrators. The full list of known console commands is provided below:

/close - Close the console window

/help [command] - Show help for one or all of the commands

/list [nickname] - Lists all players and their #IDs, or any players with the specified nickname

/login <password> - Login as admin on the server

/maps - Displays the available maps on the server

/vote <type><name> - Start a vote of <type> on <name>

/ban <#n nickname>

/kick <#n nickname> - Kicks a player by #ID or nickname

/kill <#n nickname> - Kicks a player by #ID or nickname

/msg <message> - Displays a system message to all clients

/play_map <#> - End current match and start a new one on the selected map

/print [command] - Listing the current settings

/reload - Reload the map with the new settings

/restart_match - Restart the entire match

/screenshot <#n nickname> - Asks a client for a remote screenshot. Client is identified by #ID or nickname

/set_admin_password - Sets the admin password

/set_anticheat <0 / 1> - Set anticheat true/false

/set_balance <0 / 1> - Set balance team true/false

/set_balance_limit <#> - How many more players that can be in a team if balance is enabled 1-31

/set_clangame <0 / 1> - If the match is a clan game

/set_friendly_fire <0 / 1> - Set friendly fire true/false

/set_immortal_dur <#> - Set immortal duration 0-10

/set_match_points <#> - Set the match points

/set_match_time <#> - Set match time 0-99

/set_max_deaths <#> - Set number of deaths 0-10, 0=unlimited

/set_min_respawn_wait <#> - Set min respawn wait time 0-10 seconds

/set_motd - Set message of the day

/set_password - Set server password

/set_password_enable <0 /1> - Use server password true/false

/set_punish_tk <0 /1> - Set punish tk true/false

/set_punish_tk_limit <#> - Set # of tk before getting kicked 0-60

/set_server_name - Set the server's name

/set_start_condition <#> - 1=All slots full, 2=All players, 3=Server Ready, 4=One per team

/set_switch_sides <0 / 1> - Set switch sides true/false

/set_vote_enable <0 / 1> - Set vote true/false

/set_vote_kick_starters <#> - Times allowed to start a kick vote in one round 1-60

/set_vote_ratio <#> - Set vote ratio 30-100

/set_vote_time <#> - Set time until vote is closed, 10-60 seconds

/set_win_condition <#> - Set the winning condition, 1-4 (HamburgerHill) or 5-6 (MPCoop)

/start - Starts a round if it has not yet begun

/unban <nickname> - Unbans a player with #ID or nickname

If you know any additional working console commands, please Email Me and I will include them in the list above.

The next page brings the guide to a conclusion, but not without providing some important tips and tweaks.