Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 Tweak Guide
[Page 7] Advanced Tweaks
Aside from the in-game settings, Knights of the Old Republic 2 has many advanced settings contained in several initialization (.ini) files which you can edit using any text editing utility - such as Windows Notepad. These advanced tweaks are covered in this section of the guide. However before you edit any of the .ini files, make sure you back up each of these files first.
The main .ini files swkotor2.ini and swplayer.ini can be found in your \Program Files\LucasArts\SWKotOR2\ directory and contain the bulk of the performance-related options for KOTOR 2. Details of the major tweaks in each file are covered below, however note that settings which can be easily and completely adjusted using the in-game settings are not covered below. You should change such settings using the in-game options menus, or the Configure button in the Launcher menu, and not here.
While several of the options in this section appear tempting to change, none of them appear to have any impact at all on the game. If you wish, you can change the settings here to match your normal in-game screen resolution and refresh rate, and this may reduce the chance of crashes when KOTOR 2 switches to cutscene movies.
Number 3D Voices=57
Number 2D Voices=64
These settings control the number of channels allocated for various sounds in the game. 2D voices are sound effects which only have 1 channel (button clicks and console sound effects for example) while 3D voices have 2 or more channels. The numbers shown for these settings by default will differ depending on your sound hardware. Lowering these - particularly the number of 3D sound effects - can help you improve performance (the lowest is 16 3D voices and 24 2D voices), reduce 'graphics lag' in certain situations, and may also aid in resolving audio glitches, but will reduce the richness of sounds in the game.
This value controls the relative volume of 2D voices relative to 3D voices. That is, the higher the value of this setting, the softer 2D effects will sound relative to 3D sound effects at any given volume level. It has no performance impact.
Changing this setting to =0 should allow KOTOR 2 to run in windowed mode, but it seems the game does not operate in Windowed mode properly. Changing this setting can result in black screens when movies are playing and various other graphical problems, so it is best left at default.
If this setting is set to 0, the Soft Shadows option will be greyed out (unavailable) under the Advanced Graphics option screen (See In-Game Settings section). If set to 1, the option will become available, however note that certain graphics cards are unable to draw soft shadows correctly or will slow down severely when Soft Shadows is enabled.
This setting allows you to manually set the refresh rate for your chosen resolution (see below). While the Refresh Rate setting should be adjusted using the in-game settings (See Refresh Rate under the KOTOR 2 Launcher section), if you are experiencing problems starting the game due to having set a refresh rate which your monitor cannot handle, or you want to set a custom refresh rate, you can change it here.
The Width and Height settings here determine your Screen Resolution. While you should adjust your Screen Resolution using the in-game settings (See Resolution under the KOTOR 2 Launcher section), once again if for some reason you cannot start the game, or you wish to try a custom resolution, change these settings here. Note that if your current Refresh Rate (see above) at your chosen resolution is higher than your monitor can handle, you will get an 'out of frequency' error and may damage your monitor.
Emitters create special particle effects in KOTOR 2, such as sparks or sprays. Changing this setting to =0 disables some emitters which can improve performance, but will reduce the special effects visible in KOTOR 2.
Disable Vertex Buffer Objects=1
Vertex Buffer Objects are an OpenGL method of storing vertex data in video memory. Enabling Vertex Buffer Objects (Disable Vertex Buffer Objects=0) can improve performance in certain situations, however it seems KOTOR 2 has some issues with this method and you should set it =1 if you want to resolve slowdown issues in the game (e.g. on Dantooine). It may also help reduce the incidence of crashes in KOTOR 2. Note that this setting does not exist by default, so you should create it under this section and set it to =1.
This option shows the number of unlocked songs which are available under the Music screen in KOTOR 2. Generally speaking, the higher the number here, the more songs will be unlocked. Try an extremely high value such as 300 if you want all the songs unlocked.
Keyboard Camera Deceleration=2000.000000
Keyboard Camera Acceleration=500.000000
Keyboard Camera DPS=200.000000
These settings control the rate at which the view camera accelerates, decelerates and the maximum rotation speed when you move the cursor to the edges of the screen for example. The higher the value for the Deceleration setting, the quicker the camera will come to a stop after a camera pan. The higher the Acceleration setting, the quicker the camera will respond to a request to pan. The higher the DPS value, the faster the camera view will rotate and accelerate when spinning.
If set to 1, these settings will indicate that you have completed the game. I'm uncertain as to what impact this has on a game in progress.
This setting controls the 3D image of the character which appears on the main menu screen. The default (=0) shows Darth Sion, =1 shows Darth Nihilus, =2 shows Darth Traya, =3 shows Kriea and =4 shows your character.
Use Small Fonts=0
If set to =1, this setting should substitute the use of smaller fonts for those using lower resolutions (e.g. 800x600) - that way fonts don't appear monstrously large at such lower resolutions. However I have been unable to make this option work without causing KOTOR 2 to crash at startup.
If set to 1, this option is supposed to allow screenshots in KOTOR 2. However whether set to =0 or =1, screenshots are enabled by default already by pressing the PRINT SCREEN key, and a screenshot file in .tga format will be written to your \Program Files\LucasArts\SWKotOR2\ directory. See the Neat Stuff & Conclusion section of this guide for other ways in which you can take screenshots, and how to open .tga files.
This setting controls the delay in seconds before a tooltip message pops up when hovering over certain screen elements - if Enable Tooltips is on (see the In-Game Settings section).
This section is relatively confusing, but determines the movies you've already viewed and hence are unlocked for viewing under the Movies screen in the in-game settings (See the In-Game Settings section). Rather than change these settings, I recommend you use the free RAD Tools to view any movies you like under the \Program Files\LucasArts\SWKotOR2\Movies\ directory instead.
Note that several options appear in multiple locations in this .ini file. If you want to edit a setting, make sure to change all instances of it.
When set to 1, this option is supposed to improve performance by reducing what is visible in the distance. While part of the game engine, I don't believe this setting has any impact on KOTOR 2.
These settings are also part of the basic Odyssey game engine, but don't appear to have any impact on KOTOR 2. In theory, setting both of these to =2 will enable a higher level of violence in the game (e.g. Critical hits will be more gory). There is no performance impact, so you can try it for yourself.
This option determines the speed with which the view camera turns when you move your mouse to the edges of the screen. The higher the value, the faster the camera turns.
If set to =0, this option disables the way in which the camera automatically pans when your mouse is at the edges of the screen. This behavior can be annoying for some people, so it can be disabled here and has no performance impact either way.
The above is a list of known working .ini tweaks for KOTOR 2. Remember, since the KOTOR 2 engine is based on the Neverwinter Nights game engine, there are several items and sections in the .ini files which may have worked in Neverwinter Nights, but are not functional in KOTOR 2. That's why there are multiplayer-based settings at the bottom of the swplayer.ini file for example. Also keep in mind that settings which can be changed fully using the in-game settings are not covered above, so check the In-Game Settings section for descriptions of what they do, and it is strongly recommended you stick to changing them using the in-game setting options.
If you have any additional working tweaks, or any feedback/experiences on the above tweaks (or this guide) that you want to share, please Email Me so that I can update this section with even more tweaks for everyone to use.
The next section brings the guide to a conclusion with some neat tips and links to important Knights of the Old Republic 2 resources.