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Half-Life v1.1 Tweak Guide (Page 6/7)

Posted: June 10, 2000
Written by: Ryan "Xero" Martinez

Other Client Tweaks


Custom.hpk is a file in your game directories (example: half-life/valve, half-life/cstrike, half-life/firearms, etc.). This file stores the spray decals of your various teammates and nefarious enemies. This file loads every time Half-Life loads into the game, and unfortunately, it never automatically empties itself of old, unused decals. As a result, if you frequent a lot of different servers with a lot of players, this file can quickly grow in size, anywhere from 5MB to 35MB+! As a result, load times in Half-Life can be slowed on even the fastest of machines. If you'd like to decrease your loading times, I suggest you delete this file (don't worry, Half-Life will make a fresh new one) about every one to two weeks. This will keep its size down and your load times faster.

Console CVAR Tweaks

Besides the netcode tweaks mentioned earlier, there are also numerous tweaks for the graphical engine and game itself. Many of these only make a tiny improvement on the framerate, so I'll try to stick to the ones that make a big enough difference to framerate or image quality to matter.

max_shells X - The max number of ejected ammo shells that can be seen at any one time. Once it hits this limit, the other ones begin to disappear (if they haven't already).

max_smokepuffs X - Just like max_shells, only this limits smokepuffs. (Duh :)

gl_texturemode - This tells the engine what process to use for texture filtering (Bilinear / Trilinear filtering). With most videocards, setting this to a higher quality value doesn't produce a lot of slow down, and the visual improvement is worth it.


This can be set to other values, but they look far worse, and don't improve framerates nearly enough to justify it.

gl_ztrick X - This option can be set to 1 or 0, and defaults to 0. This reduces the accuracy of the z-buffer, which can cause distant objects to flicker in and out and cause other depth-related inaccuracies. Its benefit is a reduction of memory bandwidth use. Most recent video cards (TNT1+) aren't taxing their memory bandwidth that much with Half-life, so it's not likely to help these cards at all. Older cards can see quite a nice boost however.

cl_himodels X - This turns on/off high quality models in the game, at the cost of polygon power. This improves models in TFC, HLDM, and many other mods drastically, but it tends to make Counter-Strike screwy. Leave it on 0 in CS, and try turning this to 1 for other games if you have the CPU power. 0 by default.

gl_polyoffset XX - This defaults to 4. This setting can cause decals (blast marks and so on) to flicker in and out of surfaces with some video cards. To fix this, you can try setting this to 20 to eliminate the flickering. Otherwise, leave it be.

con_color RRR GGG BBB - This nifty CVAR can be used to change the text color of your console text/in-game text. It works in an RGB method, so con_color 255 255 255 would change the text to white, for instance. con_color 31 72 127 would change it to Tweak3D blue. con_color 255 0 0 would change it to red. This one can be fun boys & girls. :)

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