In the Forums...
Posted: June 10, 2000
Written by: Ryan "Xero" Martinez
Tweaking the New Netcode (Client, cont.)
cl_updaterate XX - This CVAR controls the number of network updates it requests per second from the server. It's similar to the "snaps" setting in Quake3, which the exception that you don't have to set it to divisors of 40 for optimal results. It defaults to 20.
People with broadband connections might want to set this to 30-40, but in larger games, 25 or less is recommended. Modem users should find the best mix of bandwidth usage/smoothness at 20, but if you are joining large games with a 33.6 or worse connection, setting this to 15 will cut your bandwidth use enough to keep you in the game. For those of you gaming on a LAN, 50 is an optimal setting.
Just to note, choppiness of average player movement is hard to notice until it's set below 13. The only times lower update rates become noticeable are when objects in game move very quickly (for example, a rocket flying towards your face).
cl_cmdrate XX - This CVAR is similar to cl_updaterate, but instead of updates from the server, this controls updates to the server. The separation of these two allows you to adjust them individually for your up/downstream bandwidth. This defaults to 30.
Due to the fact that your outgoing bandwidth doesn't change as much as your incoming bandwidth in large games, modem users can get away with keeping this CVAR set to 30. Broadband users will want this set to 40-50. 50 for LAN gamers.
fps_max XXX - This is the new all-in-one framerate limiter CVAR for the new Half-Life. This affects LAN, Internet and Single player play modes. Due to the fact that setting this high will no longer create lag, I'd suggest that users set this to its maximum value of 100.
This could be changed to a lower setting if the user wishes to reduce CPU load for some reason (such as running a dedicated server and client on the same machine).
rate XXXXX - This is an important setting. This CVAR controls how much data your connection will try to download at any given time from the server. We recommend:
Unfortunately, many connections are rarely consistent enough to be able to download at a constant speed. As a result, you'll frequently find yourself adjusting this in game. These settings will give you a good general idea of common limitations, but don't be afraid to experiment in case your connection quality doesn't fit into "common limitations". :)
To find a setting that works well for you, keep an eye on your netgraph in the game. If your rate is set too high, you'll experience unstable ping and packet loss. If it's too low, your machine will begin dropping net updates to reduce bandwidth use. It's much better to err on the low side, so be conservative.
cl_allowupload X - Setting this to 0 stops your client from uploading any files to the server, such as your spray logo. This will keep other players from seeing it, and since it only lags you a little bit when you join the first time, leaving this enabled is probably fine. This is 1 by default.