Half Life 2 & Source Engine Tweak Guide
[Page 10] Neat Stuff & Conclusion
Here we are, almost at the end of another guide. Stick it out for a few more minutes and you'll find some useful tips and links to valuable resources for the game below.
Speeding Up Startup Time
While this is covered under the relevant command variable in the Advanced Tweaking section, I thought I'd spell this one out here for those that may have missed it. You can speed up the time it takes to load to the main game menu by adding the following commands to the end of your game icon's Target box under its properties, or to the Set Launch Options box under Steam (See the Advanced Tweaking section for details):
The -novid command skips the introductory Valve movie, while -console starts the game with an open console, the main change being that the animated 3D background which appears at the main menu won't load, further speeding up startup time.
If you don't want the game to constantly save your progress automatically - as this can increase stuttering at times - you can use the sv_autosave command in the Advanced Tweaking section, as using this will disable the autosaving which occurs at the start of new levels. You'll have to insert sv_autosave 0 in the autoexec.cfg file to disable it. If you want to disable all autosaving altogether, go to your \Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\[username]\[game name]\[game name]\SAVE directory, and find the following files:
Right-click on each file, select Properties and tick the 'Read Only' box to make each unable to be written to. This now prevents the game from actually performing a save onto these autosave files, and in the process you reduce all the saving pauses within levels as you pass certain autosave points. Of course if you do disable both forms of autosaving then it is strongly recommended that you make very sure to manually save often, either by using the Save option or your Quicksave key.
Measuring FPS, Taking Screenshots, Capturing Videos
If you want to display your FPS in any Source game, open the command console and use the cl_showfps 2 command to display an FPS counter. If you want to take a screenshot at any time, open the command console and use the screenshot, or jpeg commands. Note that you can also bind these commands to a particular key for easier access. Full details are in the Advanced Tweaking section.
Alternatively you can use FRAPS, a free utility which can not only measure FPS and take screenshots, but also allows you take in-game videos in .AVI format.
Source Multiplayer Games
In any Source-based multiplayer game, your performance depends on two factors: your graphical performance (measured by your FPS), and your Latency (measured by your Ping). If you are noticing that your multiplayer experience is choppy or unresponsive, first check your framerate - particularly during heavy combat - and if it is below around 20FPS then you will need to reduce your settings to ensure consistently high FPS. If this doesn't improve your gameplay performance, you can initially check your Ping by pressing the TAB button during online play. Ping is a measure of the round trip in milliseconds to the server and back, and the lower the better. A ping which is fluctuating, or is relatively high (e.g. above 100-150) will cause a 'laggy' sensation, and you will find you often miss your target. Check the detailed instructions here to diagnose and improve your connection and multiplayer-related settings. Note that if you are a long distance from the server (e.g. the server is overseas) then your ping will be higher regardless of any tweaking, hence your gameplay will be laggier. Again, it's important to distinguish between Ping lag and FPS lag, so always check your FPS first during heavy gameplay before blaming the server or your connection.
Well that brings this revamped HL2: Episode 2 / Source Engine guide to a close. Over the past three years the guide has taken a lot of time and effort to compile and maintain, so I hope you find it useful. Please Email if you want to give me constructive feedback on this or any other of my guides. Please keep in mind that I can't provide any tech support/advice under any circumstances. If you want this game to run at its best, all the information you need is already in this guide and in the associated guides mentioned in the Essential Optimization section, particularly the completely free TweakGuides Tweaking Companion downloadable PDF guide.
Until next time, take care!