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Config Armory - Graphics card settings

To be honest, these are not strictly settings that only set graphics card options and such. These settings have an impact on the more basic options of the RTCW rendering engine. At one time these were mistaken with (graphics) adapter settings, which explains the name of this file.

There are some important settings here that have a big impact on the performance of the game if set correctly... which they are. These are settings recommended by Red, but go ahead and be creative. Know though that any change to these settings will most likely decrease performance.

Remember that this configuration sacrifices looks for performance and clarity. RTCW will look horrible with these values, but enemies will appear more distinct against the background. None of the best players still play with full graphics and the only thing constraining them from doing away with every bit of texture is the rules set by the league and Punkbuster. These values could also have been far more thorough, but limits were set by Clanbase. The values in this config adhere to those limits.

Picture - Screenshot from the game Return to Castle Wolfenstein
seta r_allowExtensions "1" If enabled, OpenGL extensions are allowed.
Red isn't exactly sure, but this is his best guess; OpenGL extensions allow RTCW to use the extra possibilities of OpenGL. You should probably disable this if your graphics card does not support OpenGL. But then again, if your graphics card does not support OpenGL you should not be playing this game... Don't change this setting.
seta r_allowsoftwaregl "0" If enabled, use software rendering.
Software rendering is used when a graphics card doesn't support 3D. It's unlikely that your graphics card does not have some form of 3d support. Leave well alone.
seta r_ati_fsaa_samples "0" tells rtcw how many anti-aliasing passes an ATI graphics adapter should make (ATI specific)
Anti-aliasing removes the jaggies (jagged edges from game-objects) by blurring. The effect works well and is really cool. However, it eats shitloads of resources so is best left alone if you want to win.
seta r_ati_truform_tess "0" if enabled, use truform on ATI graphics adapters (ATI specific)
Truform is a nice effect specific to ATI cards which makes curved objects smoothly curved instead of the usual blocky, polygonal look. However, it also uses resources which are best used for other things, like smooth gameplay instead of smooth curves.
seta r_ext_ATI_pntriangles "0" ? (ATI specific)
seta r_clear "1" If enabled do not fill cracks in textures. Improves performance.
Sometimes little errors slipped into the maps when they were designed. These errors appear as cracks between polygons, the building blocks of a map. If this setting is set to "0", RTCW fills those cracks automatically. This decreases performance so Red has disabled this feature.
seta r_colorbits "16" Colordepth of graphics.
This sets the colordepth of graphics. Higher colordepth means more (possible) colors on screen. Gamers' desktops are usually set to 32 bits, but to gain performance Red recommends 16 bits. This setting was a real pain in the ass... There is a trade-off between performance and nice colors without graininess. Red has this set to "32"... if your computer is up to it my advice is to do so as well.
seta r_customaspect "0" If enabled, custom aspect ratio is allowed.
Usually, monitors use a 4:3 aspect ration, just like ordinary tv's. Some lucky gits have widescreen monitors or want to use more than one monitor. You can change the aspect ratio via the custom resolution settings. This setting unlocks that possibility if set to 1.
seta r_customheight "480" Sets height resolution.
If you want to use a custom aspect ratio or resolution you can change this and the next setting. This one sets the height in amount of pixels. This setting is not really used in this config, but Red has entered 480 because that is equal to what is defined elsewhere in this config.
seta r_customwidth "640" Sets width resolution.
If you want to use a custom aspect ratio or resolution you can change this and the previous setting. This one sets the width in amount of pixels. This setting is not really used in this config, but Red has entered 640 because that is equal to what is defined elsewhere in this config.
seta r_depthbits "0" Sets color depthbits.
Errrr... This is one setting of what Red doesn't really know what it does. Setting it to zero does improve performance though.
seta r_detailtextures "0" If enabled, use detailed textures.
Want pretty textures? Set this to "1". Want raw performance and lots of frags? Leave this alone.
seta r_dlightBacks "1" If enabled, dynamic light will be rendered through walls as well.
This setting determines whether you can see the glow of things such as dynamite through walls. Although it is not really realistic, it's awfully convenient... so this is enabled.
seta r_drawSun "0" If enabled, sun is drawn. 0 improves performance a little.
If this is enabled, players' helmets will have a nice shiny effect as if they reflect the sun.
seta r_dynamiclight "1" If enabled dynamic lighting on.
Dynamic lighting is what produces the nice glow of rockets, dynamite and such. Since it is important to see if dynamite is planted or not this is enabled.
seta r_ext_compiled_vertex_array "1" If you experience flickering textures in the game set this to "0".
Erm... what it says above. This is set to "1" for best performance.
seta r_ext_compressed_textures "1" If enabled, allow compressed texture support.
This setting determines if compressed textures can be used. Compressed textures save memory space. Memory space equals performance... Keep set to "1".
seta r_ext_gamma_control "0" If enabled RTCW will use external gamma settings.
Some graphics cards' drivers let you set gamma (brightness...sort of). If this setting is enabled RTCW uses those driver settings.
seta r_ext_multitexture "1" If enabled multitexturing will provide optimal performance.
Unknown... Red needs to do more homework.
seta r_ext_texture_env_add "1" If enabled additive blending in multi texture will be used.
Ermmm... right.
seta r_ext_texture_filter_anisotropic "0" If enabled, external anisotropic filtering settings will be used.
Anisotropic filtering is a nice effect that prevents jagged edges and costs lots of performance. Keep this set to "0".
seta r_facePlaneCull "1" If enabled, brush faces not in view will be culled.
Not exactly sure what brush faces are, but if you can't see them there is no need to have them drawn. Culling prevents that objects that are not in sight are drawn and thus unnecessarily use resources. Keep this set to "1" to keep up performance.
seta r_fastsky "0" If enabled draw simple sky, increases framerate.
If this is enabled RTCW draws an uglier sky that saves performance. Although that sounds good, fastsky presents a dark backdrop that makes it harder to see the enemy. It's worth sacrificing some performance for clarity.
seta r_finish "0" If enabled do not sent out a gl_finish() call at the end of each frame for proper timing.
You might want proper timing if you're a quality graphics nut. We just want the frags, so leave this set to "0".
seta r_flares "0" If enabled, draw lensflares.
Lensflares are beautiful lighting effects. They also decrease performance so they have been disabled.
seta r_fullscreen "1" If enabled use fullscreen.
RTCW is all you need. Forget mIRC and porn for a while and focus soldier! This is enabled to let RTCW use the entire screen. As it should.
seta r_gamma "3" Sets overall brightness.
The brighter the game, the easier it is to see targets. Punkbuster therefore limits this. "3" is the maximum allowed value.
seta r_glDriver "OpenGL32" Sets OpenGL driver.
This lets you choose which driver RTCW should use. Everybody uses OpenGL anyway so leave this setting alone.
seta r_glIgnoreWicked3D "0" If enabled ignore Wicked3D drivers.
Uhm... Wicked3D is used to enable OpenGL on 3dfx Voodoo cards, which were really designed to use glide. It doesn't hurt to keep this set to "0" so why bother?
seta r_highQualityVideo "1" If enabled use high quality in-game video.
RTCW has some nice little videos here and there. If this setting is enabled those videos will be of a higher quality. Does not decrease in-game performance.
seta r_ignoreFastPath "0" If enabled, ignore optimized rendering paths.
Optimized is good. Optimized is your friend... keep this locked to "0".
seta r_ignoreGLErrors "1" If enabled ignore OpenGL errors.
RTCW shouldn't linger about asking itself what the hell just went wrong. We don't notice those errors anyway. Keeping this setting set to "1" makes sure RTCW focuses on what it is supposed to do... deliver the graphics... fast.
seta r_ignorehwgamma "1" If enabled ignore gamma settings of graphics adapter.
To prevent confusion we want everything to be set by the game's own settings. Leave this set to "1" to make sure things don't get mixed up and such.
seta r_inGameVideo "1" If enabled in-game videos on.
Videos do not decrease in-game performance because they only play in menus. Feel therefore free to leave this enabled, which it already is.
seta r_intensity "2" Sets overall game intensity.
Intensity also brightens up your live... if you're playing RTCW that is. "4" is the maximum value allowed by Clanbase Punkbuster settings.
seta r_lodbias "2" Sets level of detail in models.
The higher this setting, the lower the quality on the players' models. Lower quality means better performance. "2" is the maximum allowed value.
seta r_lodCurveError "100" Sets polygon detail distance. Lower setting means polygons will be culled at shorter distance.
RTCW uses a system that makes objects and models less detailed when they are further away because you won't be able to see all the details due to the distance anyway. This setting tells RTCW at which distance objects should get less detailed. Lower settings increase performance, although lower than 100 doesn't seem to make much of a difference.
seta r_lowMemTextureSize "0" ?
If you know... tell Red.
seta r_mapoverBrightBits "2" Sets factor used to brightens up the map.
Again, brighter is better. "4" is the maximum allowed value.
seta r_mode "3" Resolution to 640x480.
There are various modes that refer to various resolutions. "3" is 640x480, "4" is 800x600 etc. This is set to "3" (640x480) to increase performance. Added BIG bonus is that headshots are way easier on this resolution!
seta r_nocull "0" If enabled all object will be rendered, even when out of view.
Like explained before... we don't want objects to be drawn if we can't see them anyway. It will only cost performance if enabled so leave this alone.
seta r_nocurves "0" If enabled no curves will be drawn. Will show faults in map though.
Apparantly setting this to "0" disables the curves used in some objects. However, there is hardly any difference and it increases performance so why change this setting?
seta r_norefresh "0" If enabled will freeze the screen. Leave disabled.
This is a ridiculous setting. Why would anyone not have its screen updated (at preferably 125 frames per second)? We want refresh, so leave this set to "0".
seta r_overBrightBits "2" Sets overall game brightness.
Brighter is better. "1" is the maximum value.
seta r_picmip "1" Shrinks textures down 2^x.
Raise the value of this setting by one and textures will be half as detailed as before. Higher settings increase performance and create better contrast and clarity. Unfortunately this is limited to "1" by Clanbase Punkbuster setting, which means texture resolution is 32 times less as when this would be set to "0".
seta r_picmip2 "1" Shrinks textures down 2^x.
Raise the value of this setting by one and textures will be half as detailed as before. Higher settings increase performance and create better contrast and clarity. Unfortunately this is limited to "1" by Clanbase Punkbuster setting, which means texture resolution is 32 times less as when this would be set to "0".
seta r_primitives "2" Primitives have an influence on how RTCW renders its graphics. "0" is auto select, "1" is single gldrawelements, "2" is multiple gldrawelements.
seta r_railCoreWidth "1" Sets the way the railgun looks in Q3. Unknown what it does in RTCW though.
This is a relic from the Q3 days. Still here because RTCW uses the same engine.
seta r_railSegmentLength "32" Sets the way the railgun looks in Q3. Unknown what it does in RTCW though.
This is a relic from the Q3 days. Still here because RTCW uses the same engine.
seta r_railWidth "16" Sets the way the railgun looks in Q3. Unknown what it does in RTCW though.
This is a relic from the Q3 days. Still here because RTCW uses the same engine.
seta r_rmse "0.0" Drops leafs from trees and gives clearer vision. Texts become blurred though.
Increasing this setting is a wonderful way to create better contrast and clarity. Don't increase it to much or you won't be able to read texts anymore! Clanbase Punkbuster settings require this to be set to "0".
seta r_roundImagesDown "1" Smoothens and rounds textures if they need to be resized.
Erm... will be answered shortly.
seta r_simpleMipMaps "0" If enabled, use mipmapping.
Don't get confused by the word "simple"! Enabling this won't increase performance. Mipmapping increases the quality of textures by slightly blurring them so colors flow into each other. This does away with the pixelated look, but also decreases performance. Keep disabled for performance.
seta r_smp "0" Enable this if your computer has dual CPU architecture.
Some people have everything... Enable this if your computer or server has two CPU's.
seta r_stencilbits "0" If you want volumetric shadows, set this to "8".
Red is not really sure what stencilbits do, but setting this to "8" enables lifelike shadows... if shadows are enabled. Leave this alone if you rather spot your opponent than your shadow.
seta r_stereo "0" Enable this if you use VR goggles.
Do you use VRgoggles? Nah, probably not so leave this alone.
seta r_subdivisions "999" Sets detail of curves, lower is more detailed.
Hmmmm... One would think that more subdivisions means more detail. However Red found this explanation on the Internet and everybody knows that if it's on the Internet it has got to be true! This is set as high as possible to gain performance.
seta r_swapInterval "0" Enable this to use RTCW version of vsync.
This syncs RTCW frames per second to your monitor refresh rate. Usually monitor refresh rates are lower than 125, the ideal fps for RTCW that allows higher and longer jumps. Leave this set to "0" unless your monitor refresh rate is set to 125.
seta r_texturebits "16" sets the bit size of textures. "0" is default, set to 16 for optimization.
Over the years the bit size of textures has increased, just as overall colordepth of the graphics. Quake still used 8 bit textures, RTCW probably uses 24 or 32 bit textures by default. Set to 16 bit to gain performance.
This setting lets you choose the method of mipmapping. It is now set to medium detailed method to gain performance while staying within allowed cvars.
seta r_uifullscreen "1" If enabled, no distance fog will be rendered.
Enabling this setting removes the distance fog that is rendered by default. For a long time Clanbase outlawed this, but several exploits that became possible on new adapters
seta r_vertexLight "1" If enabled vertex lighting on.
Vertex lighting lights up the entire map and gets rid of annoying shadows that make the game look cool and leave you dead because you couldn't see your opponent. Keep enabled if you want to live.
seta vid_xpos "3" Sets video horizontal offset value.
Basically this sets the horizontal position of the RTCW window if you play in windowed mode. Position is relative to left side of the screen.
seta vid_ypos "22" Sets video vertical offset value.
And this set the vertical position of the window if you're playing in windowed mode. Position is relative to top of screen.
Latest update. August 26th, 2004.
Changes to settings. Added r_ati_fsaa_samples setting.
Added r_ati_truform_tess setting.
Added r_ext_ATI_pntriangles setting.
Lowered r_intensity from "4" to "2".
Lowered r_mapoverbrights from "4" to "2".
Lowered r_overBrightBits from "4" to "2"
Lowered r_picmip from "5" to "1".
Lowered r_picmip2 from "5" to "1".
Changed r_primitives from "0" to "2".
Changed r_uifullscreen from "0" to "1".
Changes to text. Improved explanation on r_colorbits.
Improved explanation on r_drawSun.
Improved explanation of r_uifullscreen.
Changed various explanations of settings that had to be changed to comply with new Clanbase cvars.