The original Unreal Tournament was released in 1999, and eight years later it continues to live on in a new incarnation now simply known as Unreal Tournament 3. For people who've never played Unreal Tournament, UT3 is a good introduction to the frenetic game play that is UT; to existing UT2004 and UT99 players, it's a mixture of the old and the new. Some UT veterans like it, some prefer older versions, but either way UT3 is proof that a venerable online gaming franchise can continue to evolve and possibly gather new fans along the way.
The heart of UT has always been deathmatch, and UT3 provides a deathmatch experience which is at once both new and very familiar to UT players. The theme music, weapons, tactics, environments and sound effects are all altered, but still recognizably 'UT' in nature. If anything the pace feels even faster than before, and there are times when playing UT3 that you may feel it's all just one great big blur of explosions, death and carnage. Fortunately UT3 has four other game modes besides straight Deathmatch which may suit those who want a slower pace, or want the opportunity to use team-based strategy: Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Vehicle Capture the Flag and Unreal Warfare. There's something for everyone in UT3, as long as you're not too squeamish.
Given the game utilizes the new Unreal Engine 3 to full effect, this guide covers all aspects of the new engine in detail, from basic to advanced, and gives you all the information you need to tweak and customize both UT3 and other games based on the Unreal Engine 3 to suit your particular needs. Wade right in and see for yourself what the guide can do for you.
This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address many of the common problems experienced by UT3 players. I can't stress enough the importance of taking the time to go through the checklist of advice below if you're having a problem with the game.Official Support:
The first place to look for official support details is in the ReadmeDemo.rtf file in your \Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3\UTGame\Localization\INT directory. Make sure your system meets all the System Requirements, and check all the known issues. In terms of community support, make sure to check through the Official UT3 Forums. There's plenty of valuable advice out there if you spend some time searching for it. Finally, make absolutely certain you've downloaded the latest updates for the game as it resolves many issues.The Latest Graphic Drivers:
UT3 requires the latest graphics drivers to function correctly, otherwise the game may crash or glitch. ATI users should use Catalyst 7.10 or newer, and Nvidia users need to use the 163.71 Forceware or newer.Stuttering/Freezes:
If you're experiencing stuttering or hitching, first make sure to completely defragment your system, and then refer to the Advanced Tweaking section for a range of variables which can help reduce stuttering and improve performance in the game. If you get long freezes on an Nvidia card, try the 169.28 Forceware or newer which are specifically designed to resolve this issue.Lag:
If you are experiencing lag when playing online, keep in mind that there is no single cause of lag. It is not necessarily related to your network connection or the server on which you're playing - check your Ping using the Stat Net console command, and if it is low (e.g. below 100) then it's unlikely to be your connection. Just to be sure, untick the Dynamic Netspeed setting, and try joining another server to see if this changes things. If lag persists, check your FPS using the Stat FPS command, and if it often dips below 25 or so, especially in heavy combat, then you will need to further adjust your settings to increase your minimum frame rate; low frame rates are the most common cause of 'lag', including mouse lag. Finally, untick the 'Mouse Smoothing' setting as this only exacerbates any feelings of lag.Background Programs:
Game developers recommend that you disable all background applications - especially virus, trojan and spyware scanners and messaging utilities - before playing games. These background applications can and do use up valuable CPU resources, take up precious RAM, cause memory conflicts and crashes to desktop, but most importantly they interfere with read/writes to your hard drive effectively slowing it down and causing even more in-game freezes and stuttering.Overclocking:
UT3 can be sensitive to overclocking, so if you are experiencing graphical glitches or crashing in the game, set everything back to its default speeds and see if this impacts on the problem. If you don't experience the same problems at default speed, or they're reduced in severity, then your overclock is the primary culprit. Either permanently reduce your overclock and/or increase cooling to regain stability. Don't assume that because other games run with stability at a particular speed that UT3 will do the same.
These are just a few of the common fixes for problems in UT3. However if you follow the advice in this guide, you should be able to play the game more smoothly. Just be realistic about balancing eye candy with performance, and focus on tightening up your system as much as possible.
Patches & ModsOfficial Patches
Another major patch has been released for UT3, bringing it up to Version 2.1. The patch has a range of changes in all areas, from gameplay to UI and bug fixes. It also includes all the changes from the previous patches.
Note: If you experience any strange glitches or issues after installing the latest patch, delete your existing UTEngine.ini, UTGame.ini and UTInput.ini files and allow the game to create new ones, then tweak them again from scratch.Copy Protection
UT3 doesn't use any copy protection as such, it is only protected via a serial key - a valid serial number is required to play online. There is no disc check component, so you do not need to keep your game DVD in the drive when playing UT3, and this is an excellent move by Epic.Mods
Unreal Tournament is famous for all the modifications that have been developed for it over the years, whether to change certain aspects of its gameplay, or to turn the game into something else all together (total conversions). This is primarily because the game has always been based on the extremely solid and customizable Unreal Engine, and UE 3.0 is no exception.
For now Epic has released the first free UT3 Bonus Pack, containing 3 new maps including the classic Morbias and Facing Worlds.
A new free official Titan Pack
has also been released, containing a range of new maps, game modes, vehicles and weapons.
It's also worth noting that there is an official modification available for owners of PhysX cards - the UT3 PhysX Mod Pack which provides additonal custom levels in which the environment is fully destructible, and there are a range of PhysX-specific special effects.
The PhysX Mod Pack is now part of the first Nvidia GeForce Power Pack, and all GeForce 8, 9 and 200 series (and newer) owners can now access the enhanced effects on these custom levels with improved performance courtesy of GPU-based PhysX.
This section contains full descriptions and recommendations for UT3's in-game settings. You can use these to get a good balance between image quality and performance on your machine, however I can't give you specific instructions on what to turn on or off, nor can I provide precise performance impacts. It all depends on your particular hardware combination, and more importantly your personal taste for the trade-off between performance and image quality.
To access the in-game settings, click the Settings link in the main menu, then refer to the relevant sections below. Make sure to click the Apply button each time you change any settings, and note that some settings require a restart of the game to be applied properly.VideoScreen Resolution:
This setting allows you to select the resolution of the game image, measured in pixels wide by pixels high. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the image on screen, and also the less jagged lines there will be (See Anti-aliasing further below), but the lower your performance.
The number of resolutions available is limited by what both your graphics card and monitor can handle. Resolution has a noticeable impact on UT3 performance, so if nothing else works to improve your FPS, lower your resolution, or check the Screen Percentage setting further below for an alternative.
Note: UT3 does not have 'proper' widescreen support at the moment, check out the 'Player's FOV' setting further below.Screen Mode:
This option can be set to Windowed or Fullscreen. If set to Windowed, the game will run in a window rather than in full screen mode. In general for stability and performance I always recommend full screen mode, as there can be memory and resource management issues when a game is run in windowed mode.Brightness:
This slider controls the overall brightness of the game, and has no performance impact.Post Processing:
This setting is quite important for overall image quality. The available options are Muted, Default, Vivid and Intense. Each effect is slightly different in the amount of bloom and light contrast it contains, but in terms of framerate, it appears they all perform much the same, at least on more recent graphics cards. Note that if you see a great deal of blurring, make sure your Screen Percentage slider is set to 100 - see further below for details. Also note that the various post processing options all effect the amount of aliasing (jaggedness) shown. There are a range of advanced variables, including DepthOfField and FloatingPointRenderTargets which can further customize the post processing used in the game.Anti-aliasing Support:
UT3 uses a technique called Deferred Lighting, which doesn't allow for the use of normal Anti-Aliasing, at least in DX9 mode. Epic has stated that when running in DX10 mode in Vista, the game will allow the use of AA in the future. For the moment there are two ways to force Anti-Aliasing in the game:
* If you run a GeForce 8 series card or newer you can force AA through the Nvidia Forceware Control Panel using the UT3 game profile in the latest Forceware, or rename the UT3.exe file found under the \Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3\Binaries\ directory to BioShock.exe, and use the BioShock profile.
* You can apply a brute force method called Supersampling - which works on pretty much any game - using a utility such as nHancer to set 'AA Compatibility mode 45' for the game profile. This is not recommended, as it has a major performance impact and can also cause visual glitches.
A better alternative to either of the above is simply to adjust your Post Processing setting to something like Vivid, which helps cover up aliasing extremely well at a minimal cost in performance.Reduced Gore:
If ticked, this option disables much of the gore in the game, removing the large blood splatters when you shoot the enemy for example. While disabling gore may improve FPS slightly, you should set this to suit your taste.Subtitles:
This option enables text subtitles for dialog, but appears to be for the singleplayer campaign mode only.Hardware Physics:
If ticked, this option takes advantage of an Ageia PhysX card to enhance physics effects. More details and a demonstration can be found here, as well as at the bottom of the previous page. If you have a PhysX card, you can tick this option, though it may reduce your FPS. If you don't have a PhysX card, leave the option unticked as there is no benefit to ticking it. Note that regardless of whether or not you have a PhysX card, the PhysX drivers will be installed with the game as these are needed for the normal software physics in the game.
All GeForce 8, 9 and 200 series (and newer) owners can now access the enhanced effects of PhysX courtesy of GPU-based PhysX.AdvancedScreen Percentage:
This slider controls the amount of screen space to render the game world in, and the lower the screen percentage, the smaller the game image will be on the screen. However, what actually happens is that the game takes this smaller image and by default upscales it to fill your screen (if UpscaleScreenPercentage=true in your UTEngine.ini file. The result is that the in-game image becomes noticeably more blurry the lower the screen percentage setting is taken, and in return you gain more performance. In practice this is very similar to running the game at a specified proportion of your current resolution. For example a 50% screen percentage on a 1280x1024 resolution gives the visual equivalent of running at half the resolution. The difference is that your main menus and in-game HUD elements (graphics and text) will not be reduced in resolution, which helps legibility, particularly for people using LCD screens at native resolution, and the setting can also help those already running a low resolution, or those who want to only slightly decrease their resolution. If you want the best image quality don't reduce screen percentage below 100, unless you're truly struggling for FPS.Texture Detail:
This setting controls the appearance of textures, which are the surfaces of all objects in the game world. The further to the right the slider, the clearer and crisper textures will be, but you may experience reduced performance and possibly increased stuttering. The setting not only controls texture resolution, it also controls the level of Anisotropic Filtering applied to textures to make them clearer as they recede into the distance. At level 5 on the slider, 16x AF is automatically applied; at Levels 4 and 3, 4x AF is applied; and at Levels 2 and 1 on the slider, no AF is applied. Note that you can manually adjust the level of Anisotropic Filtering regardless of the texture setting, by altering the MaxAnisotropy variable, as well as the base type of filtering used with the Trilinear variable.World Detail:
This setting controls the world geometry, but in reality it also controls a wide range of special effects in the game - more than 14 .ini variables can change based on where this slider is set. As such it can have a significant impact on performance. So aside from geometry, the following are the main impacts at each level:
* At Level 5 on the slider, all effects and maximum detail are used.
* At Level 4 Motion Blur, Quality Bloom, and High Quality Characters are disabled, and Shadow Filtering Quality is lowered.
* At Level 3, additionally Dynamic Shadows are disabled, and Dynamic Lights and Particle Effects are lowered.
* At Level 2, additionally both Static and Dynamic Decals, Lens Flare, and Light Environment Shadows are disabled.
* At Level 1, on top of all the other changes, Dynamic Lights and SpeedTree foliage are also disabled.
It is generally recommended that you set World Detail to 5 to start with, and then manually go into your .ini file and selectively enable or disable the various effects to get a better balance of performance and image quality.Enable V-Sync:
Vertical Synchronization (VSync) is the synchronization of your graphics card and monitor's abilities to redraw an image on the screen a number of times each second, measured in Hz. When VSync is enabled your maximum FPS will be capped at your monitor's maximum refresh rate at your chosen resolution, and more importantly in some areas your FPS may drop by as much as 50% or more if the graphics card has to wait to display a whole frame. Thus setting VSync to On can have a major negative performance impact, though you can counter the performance drop by enabling Triple Buffering. Note that the game also has two other FPS caps regardless of what you set VSync to.Framerate Smoothing:
When this option is enabled, the game engine is capped to a maximum framerate, as determined by the value of the MaxSmoothedFrameRate variable (see Advanced Tweaking), which is 62FPS by default. This is done by the developers to prevent FPS spikes and thus provide smoother performance. However, by disabling this option you can completely remove this FPS cap. Keep in mind though that if you then find your framerate varying a great deal and causing jerkiness, this option is best enabled again. Also note that uncapping your FPS doesn't increase overall performance as such, i.e. if you have 35 FPS in certain areas with the cap, you'll still do so without the cap. Finally, the game is capped to a maximum of 90FPS online, and that cannot be altered using this or any other setting, it is a hard cap.FOV:
This slider controls the Field of View (FOV) for the game, which is essentially how many degrees your character can see of the game world at once. The default is 90 degrees, and raising the value means your character sees more; conversely lowering the FOV slider will show less of the game world. The main purpose of this slider is for subtle adjustments to the FOV, as some users prefer a slightly different Field of View, such as 85 degrees. Note that changing FOV may impact on performance as well.Motion Blur:
Ticking this box enables Motion Blur, a form of effect most noticeable when you change your view rapidly; the resulting slight blur in the image may improve visual quality and realism for some people, while others may find it distracting. For the most part the performance impact of motion blur should be minimal, but if you find it annoying or need the extra FPS, leave this option unticked. Note that the Screen Percentage setting needs to be at 100% for this option to work properly.AudioHardware OpenAL:
If ticked, the game will use your sound card's OpenAL driver, allowing for hardware acceleration which can improve audio quality and performance. I recommend ticking this option if your sound card has its own OpenAL driver, which most do - check under \Windows\System32 for the file OpenAL32.dll. Note that you will need to tick this option if you have a multi-channel audio system and want to use more than 2 channels. Vista users with Creative sound cards in particular should enable this option, as it allows for proper hardware acceleration without the need for ALchemy.SFX, Music, Voice, Ambience, Announcer Volumes:
These sliders control the volume level for the various effects, dialog and announcements in the game. Set them to suit your preference, as they have no performance impact. Note that you can also individually adjust the volume of (or turn off) certain effects such as the menu selection noises, weapon sounds, etc.Announcement Type:
This setting controls the in-game announcements, such as "Killing Spree" and "Multi Kill". You can select to disable them altogether (Off); only have the announcer read out the main announcements (Minimal); or have all announcements read out (Full). The difference between Full and Minimal doesn't seem to be much, at Minimal most announcements are still read out. There's no performance impact, so set to suit your taste.Automatic Taunts:
If unticked, this option disables the taunts which are automatically played when a character completes a successful kill.Mute Voice:
If ticked, this option disables the voice chat system in multiplayer. If you don't use voice chat, I recommend ticking this option.Text-to-Speech Mode:
This setting controls whether the in-game chat text is read out loud by a synthesized computer voice. If set to All, all chat text will be read out loud; if set to Team, only teamsay text is read out; if set to None, this disables Text-to-Speech mode. The performance impact is negligible so set to suit your taste.InputInvert Y:
If ticked, pushing your mouse forward will make your character look down, and pulling your mouse back will make him look up. Set to suit your taste, has no impact on performance.Auto Aim:
This option assists you in aiming at the enemy, but as expected it does not have any effect in online multiplayer, it is only for offline singleplayer mode.Mouse Smoothing:
Ticking this setting will mean your mouse movements will be smoothed. While it doesn't impact on framerate, using this option may result in a greater feeling of 'lag' at times, so untick it if this is the case. Note, see the bViewAccelerationEnabled setting in the Advanced Tweaking section if you want to disable mouse acceleration.Mouse Sensitivity:
As of the 1.1 patch, this slider has been converted into a text box. The value you enter here controls how sensitive the mouse will be to your movements. The default is 2500, and the higher the value, the greater your view movements will be in the game when you move the mouse. If you're experiencing 'mouse lag', that is a feeling of reduced sensitivity or sluggishness in your mouse, regardless of how high you set the mouse sensitivity slider, you should first make sure you are consistently getting sufficient FPS, especially in more complex scenes with lots of effects. Use FRAPS or the Stat FPS console command to check your FPS, and keep in mind that typically anything below 15-20FPS will bring about mouse lag in any game, so you will have to lower your settings appropriately to prevent this as much as possible. Next, make sure to disable VSync as not only is it know to cause mouse lag, it also reduces performance which can make mouse lag even worse.Dodge Double Click Time:
This setting controls the time period within which two clicks of a key counts as a double-click. For example if you press the A key twice within a set period of time as specified here, it counts as a dodge to the left. Raising this value makes triggering a dodge easier, while lowering it can prevent accidental double clicks. The default here is 25, which equates to 0.25 seconds between clicks.Enable Gamepad:
This option should be enabled if you wish to use a gamepad otherwise disable it.PlayerClan Tag:
This option allows you insert a clan tag in front of your player name.Network Connection:
This is an important setting, as it determines the network rate at which UT3 communicates with the game server when you are playing online. Make sure to set it correctly to your connection type, and if in doubt select Unknown. If you're experiencing a lot of 'lag', see the Dynamic Netspeed option below as well as the Troubleshooting Tips section. Of course you should always make sure you only connect to servers with the lowest Ping when checking the server browser, as regardless of your connection type, connecting to servers with high ping will always cause you to lag.Dynamic Netspeed:
If this option is ticked, the game will automatically attempt to adjust your Netspeed to suit your connection type and the server you are connected to. This should result in an optimal Ping, and I recommend that people tick this option to start with, and then if you find you're having periods of lag or other connection-related problems on a range of servers, untick this option.Allow Custom Characters:
If ticked, this option will allow players to customize their characters and have those customizations shown when playing online. You can access the customization screen by clicking 'Customize Character' at the bottom of the screen, and going through the various prompts to alter your character's appearance accordingly. If this option is unticked, you will only see generic character models.WeaponsCrosshair Scaling:
This setting controls the size of the weapon crosshairs in the game. The further to the left the slider is taken, the smaller the crosshairs will be.Crosshair Type:
This setting controls your weapon crosshairs in the game. The available options are Normal, Simple and Hidden. Hidden completely removes all crosshairs; Simple uses the same generic crosshair for all weapons; Normal uses a different type of crosshair for each weapon. Has no impact on performance so set to suit your taste.Weapon Switch on Pickup:
If ticked, this option automatically switches your weapon if you pick up (run over) a weapon which is higher on your weapons priority list than your currently equipped weapon. Has no impact on performance so set to suit your taste.Weapon Hand:
The options here are Right, Left or Hidden, and determine which hand your weapon is depicted as being held in. If you choose Hidden, no weapon is shown - this may improve performance slightly since weapon models are complex - however it may also cause confusion if you're not aware of which weapon you're holding at any time.Small Weapons:
Ticking this option changes your weapon models to slightly smaller versions, more reminiscent of classic UT. Using a smaller weapon can provide a small FPS improvement in some circumstances, but generally you should set this to suit your taste. Note that using smaller weapons may provide a gameplay advantage since you can see slightly more of your surroundings at any time.Display Weapon Bar:
If ticked, the weapon selection bar will be displayed at the bottom of your Heads Up Display (HUD). This bar shows small icon depictions of weapons you are currently carrying, and even those you aren't if 'Only Show Available Weapons' is unticked (See below). There is no performance impact as such, so set to suit your taste.Only Show Available Weapons:
If ticked, your Weapon Bar (if enabled) will only show weapons you are carrying. If unticked, all possible weapons are shown. There is no performance impact, but it is recommended you tick this option if you are using the Weapon Bar, since there is no real point in displaying weapons you don't currently have.HUDZoomed Minimap:
If ticked, and you have the map enabled, in some modes you will see a zoomed-in top-down minimap of your surroundings in the top right hand corner of the HUD.Show Map:
If ticked, a small map is shown in the top right corner of your HUD in some game modes. By default it shows the entire map and your location on it, but if you have the 'Zoomed Minimap' option (see above) ticked, it will show your more immediate surroundings.Show Clock:
If ticked, a clock counting down towards the end of the match is shown in the top left hand corner of the HUD.Show Objective Paths:
This setting determines whether to display the white arrow pointers which lead to the objective on objective-based modes such as CTF or Warfare. If unticked, these arrows are removed. Obviously this is only recommended for more experienced players.Show Scoring:
If ticked, shows the scoreboard for the game at the top of the HUD, which can differ by game mode.Show Leaderboard:
If ticked shows the names of the current three leaders in the match in the top right corner of the HUD.Show Vehicle Armor:
If ticked, when you are using a vehicle you can see the vehicle armor status on the bottom right of your HUD.Console Commands
In UT3 you can open and close the in-game command console at any time by pressing the TAB key by default for smaller command line, or press F10 to open the full console. There are a range of console commands you can use, and below is a list of the most common commands and a brief description for each:General Commands
Say [text] - Shows specified text in global chat
Teamsay [text] - Shows specified text in team chat
FOV [degrees] - Changes the Field of View to the specified degrees
Slomo [speed] - Alters the speed of the game to the value specified. Values above 1 speed up the game, values below 1 slow it down
Showhud - Toggles whether to display or hide the HUD
Togglescreenshotmode - Toggles 'screenshot mode' which removes all text, the HUD and your gun
Setbind [Key,Command] - Binds the specified command to the specified key
Setsensitivity [value] - Changes your mouse sensitivity to the specified value
Shot - Takes a screenshot in .BMP format
Exec [filename] - Executes a file under the \Program Files\Unreal Tournament 3\Binaries directory
Brightness [value] - Changes the brightness to the specified value
Contrast [value] - Changes the contrast to the specified value
Gamma [value] - Changes the gamma to the specified value
Demorec [demoname] - Starts recording an in-game demo with the name specified
Demostop - Stops recording a demo
Demoplay [demoname] - Plays back a demo with the name specified
Switchlevel [mapname] - Changes the level to the map specified
Switchteam - Toggles you to the other team
Suicide - Kills your character
Open [mapname or IP] - Loads up the specified map, or joins the specified IP address
Reconnect - Reconnects to the last connected server
Disconnect - Disconnects from current server
Exit, Quit - Exits the game to desktop immediatelyInformation Commands
Stat FPS - Toggles the display of your framerate
Stat Net - Toggles the display of network statistics including Ping
Stat Audio - Toggles information about the audio system
Stat Engine - Toggles information about the rendering system
Stat Game - Toggles information about the game engineConclusion
That brings the guide to a conclusion for now, and I hope it improves your UT3 experience.