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September 2005



Call of Duty 2 Demo Tweak Guide - Soon

30 September 2005


Just want to confirm for those of you who are waiting that my Call of Duty 2 Demo Tweak Guide will be out within the next day or so. I personally think the demo looks fantastic, and even though it's not a revolutionary leap beyond the original Call of Duty, it is a worthy successor. The upcoming tweak guide isn't so much about boosting the demo performance - let's face it, the demo's only about 10 minutes long. The guide is more about letting you see if you can tweak the game to the point where you're happy with image quality and performance, so you can judge whether it's worth purchasing the final retail version, and how smoothly it will run on your machine. For those of you who can't wait, you can download the full list of COD2 Command Variables I've compiled here: COD2_Cvarlist.zip. The full guide with descriptions of in-game settings and the main command variables will be out tomorrow.



Steam Update Released

29 September 2005


Another Steam update has been released, hopefully resolving some of the earlier problems with the previous Steam update. This update is specifically aimed at issues with Day of Defeat: Source, but also includes all games based on the Source engine - read the details here



Office 2003 Service Pack 2 Released

28 September 2005


Microsoft have released Service Pack 2 for the Office 2003 suite. If you run any Office 2003 applications, it is suggested you download this service pack which can range in size from 50MB to 104MB depending on how many of its updates you've installed previously. The updates include bug fixes and security fixes.



New Games, New Guides?

27 September 2005


Two new and popular games have just come out today. The first is Day of Defeat: Source, which you can purchase and download from Steam for $19.95. The second is the single player demo of Call of Duty 2 which is 665MB in size. Now the obvious question is, am I going to do guides for these games? Well the answer is that Day of Defeat: Source is based entirely on the Source engine, which in turn is already covered thoroughly in my Half Life 2 Tweak Guide. In particular, check page 7 onwards for all the major advanced tweaks possible on the Source engine. As for Call of Duty 2, well I'm downloading the demo right now, and in the next day or two I'll see if I can get a COD:2 Demo Tweak Guide up to help you out. It all depends on how tweakable the game engine is, but I'll give it my best shot.


Update: Note that Nvidia users must use the beta 78.05 Forceware drivers (see below) for Day of Defeat: Source to work properly.



Nvidia Forceware 78.05 Beta Released

27 September 2005


Nvidia have released their Beta Forceware 78.05 graphics drivers. These drivers resolve compatibility issues with Half Life 2: Lost Coast and Day of Defeat: Source brought about by the recent Steam update, so if you plan to play these games it is strongly recommended you install this driver. Despite the fact that it's a beta driver, it should be fine to use. I won't be updating my Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide for these drivers as they are betas, however the guide should apply to these drivers since they seem to be virtually identical to the official 78.01 drivers.



Steam Update and Steam Issues

25 September 2005


A new Steam update has been released which paves the way for the release of Day of Defeat: Source in the next couple of days. You can read about the changes from this Steam update here. However, apparently this Steam update is causing some people a few problems. This is confirmed by this thread over at the Steam Forums. Apparently the new patch overwrote the Config.cfg file, so if you have tweaked this file following my Half Life 2 Tweak Guide for example, you need to reapply the tweaks. That's not the case however if you used an autoexec.cfg file to hold your tweaks (as recommended in the guide) - in that case you should be fine. Another problem is that the update may have deleted your gameinfo.txt file, and Valve are working on another Steam update to fix this issue.


Update: Valve have released three new FAQs to try to help you resolve problems with the Steam update: Crashing & Lockups, Game Stops at "Preparing to Play" and Game Locks up at Loading Screen. Please don't write to me asking me for a fix - aside from what is in my Half Life 2 Tweak Guide and TweakGuides Tweaking Companion, I can't provide tech support.



I'm Starting to Get Worried!

24 September 2005


Worried about how many great games are coming up in the next couple of months that is. It's going to be tough for me to produce guides for all these great games. There's almost literally a flood of awesome games coming up, including FEAR, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Quake 4, Call of Duty 2, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Serious Sam 2, and Day of Defeat: Source to name but a few. For the moment, I can guarantee that FEAR, Oblivion, Quake 4 and Star Wars Battlefront 2 will get tweak guides. Mainly because these games are personal favorites of mine (sorry that's the way it goes!). DOD:Source won't get a guide as such, since it's based on the Source engine and hence my Half Life 2 Tweak Guide already covers 90% of the tweaking for it.


As for the other games - well it all depends on how much time I have and how popular they become. Let's not forget that I do this for a hobby, and I don't want to spend all my spare time writing guides; I actually want to play the games too! My procedure for writing guides is outlined here, and each guide is more of a defacto game manual than it is just a handful of tweaks, so it takes me quite a while to put together. Also remember that I constantly have to update existing guides for things like the BF2 1.03 Patch, America's Army 2.5, new versions of Forceware, Catalyst and Firefox for example. Sometimes the changes are small, but sometimes they're not and updating takes quite a while.


The bottom line however is that you shouldn't worry: I will try and get the guides out as quickly as each game comes out. I guess I'm worred and excited. Some great games, some tough guides to write, but I'm sure in the end both the games and the guides will all be worth it. Stay tuned!



ATI Catalyst 5.9 Released

22 September 2005


ATI have released the latest version of their Catalyst graphics drivers, Version 5.9. This update contains a range of fixes and improvements to video and HDTV functionality/image quality. It is recommended all ATI graphics card users upgrade to this version. I will update my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide for this release, however not much has changed.



Firefox 1.07 Released

22 September 2005


A new version of the Firefox browser, Version 1.07, has been released. This is a security update, and as such has no new features. It is recommended that all Firefox users update to this version so that their Internet browsing remains as secure as possible. I have updated my Firefox Tweak Guide to correspond with this latest version of Firefox.



SoundBlaster Audigy Driver Version 2.08.0002 Released

21 September 2005


Creative have released a new Driver Version 2.08.0002 for the SoundBlaster Audigy series of cards. Note that this driver set is beta, and was available earlier in the month from other sites. However now it is available on the Creative website - indicating that it should be fairly safe to use. It provides full OpenAL support and enhancements for the Audigy series, which should mean better sound quality and performance in most games.


Note, after installing these drivers, most of your audio settings will revert back to their defaults. Go through and re-adjust all your settings.



PhysX Card Coming Soon

21 September 2005


I don't usually post about new hardware, but this one is fairly revolutionary. The Asus PhysX Card looks like it will be ready for release soon. What is a PhysX card? It's a piece of hardware dedicated to processing physics information for games, taking the load off the CPU. Most modern PC games have extremely complex and detailed physics modelling, and Ageia have developed a technology for processing this information separately and hence allowing faster performance in games. So it looks like soon we may have yet another component we'll have to buy for our systems to be able to run games in all their glory!



Opera Browser Now Free

20 September 2005


In a surprise move, the popular Opera Internet Browser is completely free to download and use as of Version 8.50. In the past the free version of Opera had an ad banner which could be removed with payment. Now it is completely free - no ad banner, no need to pay.


For the record, my favorite browser remains Firefox, and as an update I want to mention that since using Firefox 1.5 Beta, I've not had any problems at all. So Firefox is also heading in the right direction. And of course Internet Explorer 7 will soon be out for IE fans. The browser wars are truly heating up, and this sort of competition can only be good for consumers.



Microsoft Office 12 - New User Interface

18 September 2005


The next version of Microsoft Office, Version 12, will receive a new set of user interfaces for popular Office applications. The new Word interface will look like this, the new Powerpoint interface like this, the new Excel interface like this, and the new Access interface like this. Sadly there won't be a "classic" mode, so if you don't like these new interfaces, you'll be stuck with them when Office 12 comes out.



Windows Vista Games

17 September 2005


We all know how exciting the games which come standard with Windows are. Well it looks like the standard Windows Vista Games will be a little bit flashier - I particularly like the look of the chess game that will come with Vista.



Quick Update

16 September 2005


It's been fairly quiet on the guide front here at TweakGuides - as you know I've been fairly busy with work and other things. In the next month or so things will hot up again as several new and cool games arrive. I'm personally eagerly anticipating Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, but games like F.E.A.R are also top of my list for holiday gaming. These will be out soon and the guides will keep rolling.


Since it's fairly quiet here ("only" 10,000 visitors a day) and the site load is less than normal, now would be a great time for you to spread the word about the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. Tell your friends, neighbors, forum buddies - whoever you think would benefit from the guide - to give it a try. After all it's completely free, and I still see lots of people struggling with PC problems that could be resolved if they just read the guide.



MS Malicious Software Removal Tool

15 September 2005


Microsoft has released another Malicious Software Removal Tool patch on the Windows Update site - run Windows Update and install the tool to make sure your system is secure. Note that the rest of the regular monthly Windows Update patches/fixes which were due on Tuesday this week have been held up due to some problems they're experiencing.



Google Personalized Home Page

15 September 2005


If Google is your home page, you might be interested to know that Google have now made available their Google Personalized Homepage. This allows you to take the familiar Google search page and customize it with your own weather, news, bookmarks, gmail etc. all visible at a glance whenever you bring up your home page. Give it a try, it looks nice.



IntelliPoint and IntelliType Version 5.3 Released

12 September 2005


If you use a Microsoft mouse, you can download the new IntelliPoint 5.3, and if you run a Microsoft keyboard, you can download the new IntelliType 5.3 software. These drivers allow you to use extra functionality on your keyboard/mouse, such as hotkeys and extra buttons. However if you don't use these additional functions (like me), then stick with the default Windows XP drivers.



Firefox Security Flaw Fix

12 September 2005


The Mozilla team have released instructions on how to fix a security flaw with the Firefox browser (and all Mozilla products). Basically it involves turning off IDN by going to your About:config, finding the network.enableIDN item and setting it to False.



Rage3D Tweak CCC Version 1.1 Released

12 September 2005


A new version of the ATI Catalyst Control Center tweaking tool Rage3D Tweak Version 1.1 has been released for the 5.8 Catalysts. I cover use of Rage3D Tweak CCC in my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide, however due to popular demand I will also incorporate advice for ATI Tray Tools when I get the chance.



BF2 Patch 1.03 - Rumor Control

10 September 2005


It looks like some details of the much-anticipated BF2 Patch 1.03 are arriving. I don't usually post about leaks or rumors, however given how eagerly people are awaiting this patch, if you want some more (unconfirmed) details of what will be in it, read this post at Neowin, and this page (translated from Dutch) from Battlefield2.nl. Unfortunately it looks like the patch won't be out until early October, an outstanding effort by EA to release a set of much-needed fixes/balances 3 months after the game came out...



Firefox 1.5 Beta Released

9 September 2005


Firefox has been my daily browser for quite some time now, and you may already be familiar with my Firefox Tweak Guide which tells you all about how to get Firefox up and running optimally. It's a great free browser, there's no doubt. However the guys at the Mozilla Project keep improving it all the time, and the next version of Firefox has significant improvements, and hence will be called Firefox 1.5. Currently you can download the Firefox 1.5 Public Beta 1 and start using it yourself in anticipation of its final release at the end of October. I'm using it as we speak and it seems almost identical to 1.06 in most respects - hence my current tweak guide should still apply. Hopefully soon I'll be able to tell you more about its new features, and of course update my Firefox Tweak Guide with more details when the final is released.



TotalBF2 Map Pack Released

8 September 2005


The Battlefield 2 fan site TotalBF2 has released their TotalBF2 Map Pack 1. It weighs in at a hefty 125MB, but contains 6 great new maps which you can use in BF2 multiplayer (but not singleplayer). If you're a BF2 fan I suggest you download and install these now, because you never know when your favorite server starts putting these maps into regular rotation.



QuickTime 7.02 Released

8 September 2005


Apple has released the final version of QuickTime 7.02 for Windows. Note that it comes bundled with Apple iTunes and both must be installed together. However if you don't want iTunes, simply install both applications, then go to Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs and you can separately uninstall iTunes, leaving only QuickTime installed.


Update: You can download Quicktime 7 by itself here.



Quick Update

7 September 2005


Another quick update for TweakGuides readers on my plans for the immediate future. At the moment things are a bit busy at work, but it should die down within the next couple of weeks. Fortunately nothing huge is happening in the PC or gaming world, so by the time I have more spare moments, there should be some good games out for guide-writing purposes. F.E.A.R is the most likely candidate to be out soon, so that will probably be my next full guide.



Winzip 10 Released

3 September 2005


A public beta of the new Winzip 10.0 has been released. It has several new features, such as being able to zip files directly to a CD - across multiple CDs if necessary. It also boasts improved compression and a new interface. I'm still using Winzip 8.1 and it works fine, and to be honest in all the years I've used Winzip it hasn't changed dramatically (aside from appearance). However if you're game, give Winzip 10 Beta a try - just don't trust it to archive any valuable files just yet.



Nvidia Forceware 78.01 and 78.03 Released

3 September 2005


Nvidia has released the Official Forceware 78.01 drivers for Nvidia graphics cards. Apparently the only difference between these drivers and the last 77.77 official Forceware drivers is additional support for GeForce 6500 graphics cards. It looks like the 'texture shimmering' issue is not fixed in these drivers - for that you'll have to try the Beta Forceware 78.03 drivers released on Nzone.com. I personally would recommend the 78.03 drivers, particularly for 7800GT/GTX users as they improve image quality without any noticeable drop in performance. Note that I only update my Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide for official driver versions, hence the guide is now up to date for the 78.01 drivers. But in reality, since nothing significant has changed since 77.77, the guide is applicable to both the 78.01 and 78.03 drivers.



Winamp 5.1 Released

2 September 2005


It was leaked onto the net a few days ago, but the latest version of Winamp - Winamp 5.1 has been officially released. I personally use Windows Media Player 10 for all my media playing needs, but if you don't like WMP, then Winamp may suit you better.



WinFS Preview

1 September 2005


Microsoft released a beta version of the Windows File System for Windows Vista (WinFS) recently. Since the final version of WinFS still won't be out by the time Vista arrives in mid 2006, and since it will be available for both Windows XP and Windows Vista when it is finally released, you may want to see what exactly WinFS is and what it does by reading this brief WinFS Preview.



RealTek AC97 Driver 3.76 Released

1 September 2005


If you run an onboard sound solution, it's likely to be based on the RealTek AC97 chipset. RealTek have released a new version of their sound codec Version 3.76 which you might want to install.



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