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Posted: June 10, 2000
Written by: Ryan "Xero" Martinez
Recently, Valve released the 126.96.36.199 patch for Half-Life, and contained therein was brand new netcode and many engine changes. With these new changes came many new CVARs and commands that could be tweaked, and so your favorite (haha) Tweak Minion, xero, set out on a 5-year journey to boldly... uhh no wait, I set out to find the tweakable stuff & show Half-Life who's boss! This guide is the result, and I hope you all find it enjoyable. If you have any suggestions and so on, feel free to e-mail me. I'd also like to thank Yahn Bernier of Valve Software for his help with this guide.
Command Line Options
Half-Life has some command line options that allow you to tweak up the game a bit. These command line options can be entered in the game's shortcut command line. To reach the game's command line, just right-click on your Half-Life shortcut and click properties to bring up this box.
In the command line, you can enter the following options to enable/change certain options:
This one is one that everyone should have in their command line. Besides disabling the annoying intro movies, it allows you to access the console from the main menu and from in single player mode. After enabling this, you can open the console in-game using the ~ key.
This option is used to enable 32-bit color in Half-Life. If you have a good video card or run in high resolutions, this will allow you to make the most of your excellent hardware. Note however that 32-bit color can be significantly slower than 16-bit color. With lots of transparencies on your screen (the smoke grenade from Counter-Strike 6.5 being a perfect example), having 32-bit color will multiply the slowdown caused. We recommend 16-bit for resolutions 1024x768 and above when seriously gaming.
This option allows you to see actual ping times to servers instead of stupid dot ratings in the Half-Life server browser. Even if you use other game browsers, it's still informative, and doesn't have any drawbacks.
This disables joystick support in the Half-Life engine. It shaves a little bit off the memory footprint of Half-Life, so add this if you don't use a joystick.
This disabled IPX support in the Half-Life engine, and like nojoy, it reduces memory use slightly. If you don't use IPX in your network, add this to your command line.
Where XXXXX is, you can place a number, and Half-Life will allocate that much memory (in kilobytes) for use with the game. While many recommend setting this anywhere from 75 to 100% of your system memory, I have generally noticed performance seems much better when Half-Life does its own memory management. I leave this in the guide for you to experiment with however.