UT2004 Tweak Guide

[Page 9] Advanced Tweaking

While the in-game settings for UT2004 cover almost all of your customisation needs, this wouldn't be a TweakGuides.com tweak guide if we didn't go a lot further than that. As most people know, games based on the Unreal Engine can be tweaked by editing the game settings in the initialisation (.ini) files. UT2004 follows that tradition by having a lot of tweakability if you know where to look in the .ini file and what each tweak actually does.

In this section of the guide we examine the two main .ini files which hold all the major UT2004 settings. These files are UT2004.ini and User.ini. They both sit in the \UT2004\System\ directory. Now before you do anything with these files, firstly make all the changes you want using the in-game settings as covered in the section above. The changes you make there are recorded in both of these files. Next, exit UT2004 and make a copy of each .ini file, rename the copies and put them somewhere safe as a backup.

Note that the default UT2004.ini settings - the settings which ship with UT2004 the first time it's run - are in a file called Default.ini in the same directory as the other two .ini files. Don't delete, rename, move or change the Default.ini file at any point.

Now, having safely backed up these files, you can open them up using Notepad or any other text editor and begin the tweaking journey. I won't cover any settings which can be changed using the in-game settings screens - you should stick to changing these within the game. I'll only cover the tweaks which are purely accessible through the .ini files, and which can't be changed using the in-game options.

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This setting holds your online character's name. Whether you use the in-game settings or enter a name here, you're limited to 16 characters maximum being displayed on a server. The only point of entering/changing it here rather than in-game is that you can paste in special characters here if you so like.


All the key commands assigned under the Controls and Speech Binder sections of the in-game settings are recorded here. You should change key and taunts in-game. However you can assign special key commands in the User.ini file, such as in the example below.

To edit a key function, find the key entry you want to change (e.g. the E= line for the "E" key on your keyboard) and insert/edit the code following it to change its function. For example, to assign two weapons to one key, where pressing the same key will switch between the two weapons, use the following command (example shows the command bound to the "E" key):

E=pipedswitchweapon 5 | pipedswitchweapon 7

This now allows you to switch back and forth between the Link Gun and the Flack Cannon by pressing E. Note the character after the 5 above is the "pipe" symbol, and is usually inserted by pressing the SHIFT key and the \ key. There are other commands you can assign to keys, and a range of taunts.



Set this option to False if you want to turn off shadows cast by vehicles, gaining a slight performance improvement on maps with vehicles.



This is a vital setting. It determines your network rate in bits per second. Tweaking this setting can improve lag problems.

For 56K modems, depending on your connection speed try values between 2400 and 3000 for optimal ping. As a rule of thumb, try and match your average connection speed (in kbps).

For ADSL/DSL/Cable and faster connections try higher values, ranging from 6000 - 8000. You can try the default value of 10000 but I find this is just too high to maintain a steady low ping, and use 8000.

Remember that depending on the ping of the server you join, where its located, who else is playing and how many others, you may still experience some lag regardless, particularly at the start of each round, or when lots of people join. Also remember that servers have a cap on this rate, so even if you set it very high it may still be limited by the maximum bandwidth the server is set to allocate to each player.

Something interesting to note is that your frames per second are limited by your netspeed. Netspeeds below 5000 will noticeably cap framerates for those with faster machines. For example, I get 60 FPS maximum with a netspeed of 5000, but 90 FPS maximum with a netspeed of 8000. You can adjust Netspeed "on the fly" using the Netspeed command (see Console Commands section below) to find which network rate gives you the best ping and framerate on the current server.



Set this to True if you don't want any sound effects while you're navigating the UT2004 menus. No performance impact.


Set this to True if you want to disable the small grey description boxes which popup every time your mouse moves over a setting or option in the UT2004 menus. No performance impact.



This setting affects how fast/slowly your mouse moves by taking samples at more/less frequent intervals (in seconds). As this number decreases from the default the more responsive your mouse will seem as samples of your mouse movement are taken at more frequent intervals. Experiment with this setting if the default sampling time doesn't seem to help your mouse speed.



Setting this option to False will turn off the sound of your own footsteps.



There are three special characters which you can only access by completing the single player campaign. These show up as "?" in the Character Selection screen. However if you want to access these characters without completing the game, enter the text shown above next to this setting and they will become available to you. Oh, and shame on you if you do this ;)

That covers the major User.ini tweaks. While looking around the file you'll notice a lot of commands that can be adjusted in-game. Again, I would recommend that you change these in-game where possible to minimise the possibility of errors and hence problems down the track. Next up, we look at the UT2004.ini file.