FAKK2 Tweak Guide
Posted: September 10, 2000
Written by: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
As I'm sure you already know, this game stars the 'leading lady' from the Heavy Metal movie - you know, that Julie Strain chick. They had her model for the heroine as well as do all of the in-game voices for the character. And, to be honest with you, this is one of the first decent 'movie-based' games I've played. Now, I can't say I've had the opportunity to even play through a large portion of the game, but from what I've seen... damn. And that brings me to this point: This game is absolutely gorgeous. Definitely the Quake 3 engine at its best. However, as you might remember with Quake 3, getting the engine to run well takes a little bit of work - and hopefully this guide will help you do just that. Those of you who have Quake 3 and are used to the Q3 console are in for a treat - it's still kicking here in FAKK2 and it uses the same syntax as it did before. Talk about making my life easier…
There are two main installation options for Heavy Metal: FAKK2 - Run from CD and typical (or maximum). Run from CD only copies the barest essentials to the hard drive, while the typical/maximum installs the entire game to the hard drive (sans the CD Music). If you've got the extra hard drive space and you need to increase in-game performance, I would recommend doing a complete (typical / maximum) install of the game. Since the game won't have to search the CD-ROM every time it needs a new file the game will run significantly faster.
Installing the latest game patch is one good way of increasing the performance of the game. And at the same time you get the latest fixes for any game bugs that may have cropped up into the code over time. While the Quake 3 engine works beautifully, it isn't without its small problems that have to be fixed from time to time, and that's what a patch will do for you. You can download the latest patch from Ritual or you can grab it from some place like 3DFiles.
Another thing you might want to consider when you are trying to get a game to run as fast as possible is upgrading your sound and video card drivers. Because FAKK2 is 3D accelerated, like most games today, upgrading the video card drivers will speed up the entire rendering process and leave more CPU time for other intensive operations. Sound drivers take on a special role in FAKK2 - because the game almost exclusively supports 3D sound as opposed to the old methods, having the latest drivers for your sound card won't simply just speed up any 3D sound acceleration you might have, it will speed up the whole game because it takes most of that burden off of the processor.
If you have a 3D accelerator that supports hardware T&L, make sure it is enabled from within the drivers. Since this is a Quake 3 engine game (and hence runs OpenGL through and through), it should fully support T&L.
In-Game Audio/Video Settings
The in-game audio/video settings console in this game is quite good and it includes a good number of quite tweakable items. Here's a rundown of the tweakable functions:
Resolution - You can pretty much choose any resolution between 640x480 and 1600x1200. Higher resolutions are better but they will slow down your system - run at the highest resolution that the game runs well at for the best experience.
Color Depth - This controls whether you are running in 16 or 32 bit color. 32-bit color has more actual colors and looks significantly better than 16-bit color, but 16-bit color is up to 50% faster on many machines and in most cases, it doesn't look too bad. I would personally recommend running the game in 16-bit color if your PC just can't handle 32-bit at the desired frame rate.
Sound Driver - You have four basic options for your sound driver; software, EAX, EAX2, and A3D. Unless you absolutely don't have a 3D sound accelerator, don't choose software. It uses the DirectSound engine to render 3D sound in software - so you are better off choosing the appropriate 3D sound codec for your card - it's better in the long run.
Texture Quality - There are three basic options available for texture quality - default (same as screen bit depth), 16-bit, and 32-bit. For the most part, I would recommend leaving this on default but if you want to use the higher quality textures when you are running in 16-bit color mode, this is how you would do it.
Texture Detail - The higher the texture detail, the better looking the textures will be - and the larger the performance hit that occurs. There are three values for this setting: low, medium, and high. I personally leave this at high, but if you are in need of a bit of a speed boost, setting it down to medium or low will help.
There are tons and tons of different settings available in the advanced video and sound menu - I am going to go over all of the ones that will affect performance (and even a few that won't) here.
Texture Filter - This controls whether the game uses Bilinear or Trilinear filtering for the texture filter. Bilinear is generally a faster method (two bands of texture detail) but trilinear (three bands of texture detail) looks a lot better. If you can, put this on Trilinear but if you need some extra speed go for Bilinear.
Shadows - This controls how complicated the in-game shadows are, or if there are any at all. There are three possible values for this setting - off, simple, and complex. If you are looking for some extra speed but you still like the atmosphere that shadows give a game, go for simple. If you are really in need of some extra speed, turn them off entirely. But for the most part, I recommend leaving this set to complex.
Curve Detail - This controls how many polygons are used to calculate the curved surfaces in the game - left being the most polygons and right being the least polygons. Turning this setting down (right) will definitely give your system a performance boost. Thanks Jason C. for the news on this one.
Model Detail - This setting controls how many polygons are used to calculate the models within the game (this includes character models). The farther to the right that this slider is pushed, the more detailed (the more polygons) the game will use to render the models. Sliding this to the left will increase performance.
Sound Quality - This setting determines the sampling rate of the sound files used by the game. The lower sampling rates (11 and 22 kHz) will let the game perform better but are lower quality than the 44 kHz sounds.
Force 8-bit sound - 8-bit sound uses far fewer resources than 16-bit sound does but at the cost of quality. I would personally never use 8-bit sound, I would rather lower the sample frequency than resort to lowering the bit depth.
GL Extensions - Enabling GL Extensions allows the program to use some special OpenGL extensions that will increase visual quality and performance. I recommend enabling this setting.
Vertex Lighting - If you ever compared vertex lighting to lightmap lighting in Quake 3, you probably remember how much worse vertex lighting looked... well, this is based on the Quake 3 engine, so as you probably guessed, it's basically the same rule. It's not as bad though; vertex lighting doesn't look too much worse. I would personally leave this enabled unless your computer has a video card that has onboard T&L (or it's relatively fast), because otherwise you could take a very significant performance hit (if disabled).
Dynamic Lighting - Enabling dynamic lighting will turn on colored lights and some other fancy things within the renderer that really look nice but can cause a performance hit. If you are hurting for a higher frame rate, try disabling this first.
Multitexturing - This setting turns on and off the process of applying more than one texture to a pixel during a clock cycle. I would recommend enabling this unless you have a very old card that doesn't support multitexturing.
More Advanced Options...
Compiled Vertex Array - This setting turns on and off vertex array compiling. As far as I have been able to tell (I've never run into this setting before), enabling this is the best way to go - however, it is possible that on some systems disabling it could give a performance increase. You will have to try this one for yourself.
Reverb - This setting turns on and off reverberation in 3D sound. Disabling this might give you a little extra speed, as it can free up CPU power.
GL Fog - This setting lets the computer use OpenGL accelerated fog calculations to create fog as opposed to using software to calculate it. Unless you have a video card with a really bad implementation of OpenGL, I would recommend enabling this.
Wall Decals - This setting enables/disables wall decals. Decals are the 2D pictures that are painted on a 3D object when something like blood is splattered on it. Disabling this can give a slight performance increase.
Crosshair - This setting enabled/disables the in-game crosshair. I would recommend leaving this enabled as disabling it will have little or no effect and could possibly make the game more difficult to play.
Mouse Filter - This setting enables/disables the mouse filter, which stops the game from jumping around so much when you move the mouse quickly, but at the same time, can slightly impact performance. If your computer is fast enough it is likely that you won't even notice a difference in the game if it is disabled.
Console - This setting allows you to access the console using the tilde [~] key.
Small Console - This setting enables a mini-console that pops out whenever the game has extra information to tell you (like the music didn't load or your video card doesn't support trilinear filtering). I would leave this enabled for convenience sake since it doesn't impact the performance of the game.
Screen Size - If the game is too pixilated at your current resolution but you can't play the game at a higher resolution because of speed restraints, one possibility would be to choose a higher resolution and then size down the actual game resolution (without changing the monitor resolution) by using this slider. Left is smaller and right is bigger.
Special Effects Detail - This slider determines how detailed the special effects (like the splattering of monster blood) is - sliding this to the right increases the detail while sliding it to the left decreases the detail.
As I previously mentioned above, you can use the tilde [~] key to get into the console in FAKK2 if it is enabled. Since this game uses the Quake 3 engine, you will find that many of the same console commands will work for FAKK2 as they did for Quake 3 (and this means even some parts of our excellent Quake 3 Autoexec Creator will help as well). Now, I'm not going to give you a rundown of all the available console commands or anything like that, mainly because the important ones are already covered by the in-game settings manager, but sometimes it is convenient to be able to bind keys and the like in the middle of the game.
Well, I hope this guide has helped you speed up FAKK2 on your system. If you are still having trouble or want to milk that last bit of tweaking goodness out of the game, I would recommend taking a look at the documents we have available for Quake 3 - they share a common rendering engine and as such share a lot of configurable settings. Also, just like always, I'd recommend taking a look at our general system tweaking guides to further boost your performance. Feel free to e-mail me with your comments and questions.
Want to return to the normal guide? Click here!
All Content Copyright ©Dan Kennedy; 1998-2000