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Thread: Playing H:S on a Weak Machine

  1. #1
    Viper114 Guest

    Default Playing H:S on a Weak Machine

    NOTE 1: This mini-tweak guide is meant for any and all individuals who are the owners not-so-great computers that have difficulties playing H:S due to graphical capabilities. If you are able to play H:S at a DirectX level greater than or equal to 8.0 with little to no problems in performance, ignore this.

    NOTE 2: All tweaks performed here were initially created using an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 IGP with Omega Drivers V3.8.205. Your GPU and drivers may vary.

    Are you one of the poor individuals in the world with a less-than-spectacular computer, incapable of running Source-based games and mods at a DirectX level greater than 7.0? I am, and for a long time I was to suffer when playing H:S, unable to clearly see the Hidden, relying on sound and other players primarily to play properly. It was becoming quite aggravating after a while, so I set out to find a means to play H:S at a decent performance, while being able to see the Hidden as he initially should (a water ripple/heat wave effect).

    And thanks to the helpful individuals within this very forum, and the list of cvars primarily found at, I have found that we users of weak computers to play H:S the way it's meant to be played, without having to shell out wads of cash for a new graphics card, or worse, a whole new computer! And I am going to give you the means to do so.

    The Fundamental Problem

    H:S is unique in its premise that it's a game of 8v1, where that one person is invisible, fast and strong. When I say invisible, I don't mean he's completely invisible. As you no doubt see in the screenshot in the Media section of the main site, you'll notice that he has somewhat of an outline, and everything that you can see through him is somewhat warped and twisted in shape.

    Unfortunately, this effect that he is given is quite complex. So complex, in fact, that if you are running H:S on the DirectX level of 7.0, this effect is non-existant. What you actually see is a very faint, gray/black shape where he should be. This practically does make him completely invisible. Only at certain angles and with a bit of luck are you able to catch the glimpse of him on this DirectX level. And, because of this, it severly detracts your playing capabilities, and makes you quite the easy target.

    Only on DirectX level 8.0, 8.1 or 9.0 is he actually shown as he should be. And, this can also be a problem, because those DirectX levels can be quite taxing on your computer resources with more complex graphics. Even on my lowly machine, I was lucky enough to get 10 to 25 FPS.

    The Tweaks

    But, there is a solution. One that can be done in a manner of a few quick keystrokes, but give the most SIGNIFICANT results. Let's begin.

    1) Setting Launch Options

    While in Steam, go to Games, right click on Hidden:Source B2 and select Properties. Then click Select Launch Options. Now, type these in the text line you're given.

    -heapsize XXX000 +exec mytweaks.cfg -console -dxlevel 80 OR 81

    Where you see XXX, put in the number that is equal to HALF of your RAM size. Say, if you have 512MB of RAM, put in 256. Also, where it says mytweaks, you can actually put whatever you want there, but it has to match the name you give to the CFG file we create in Step 2. Character for character.

    Now, close the Launch Options box.

    2) Creating the CFG file.

    Open Notepad. Now, starting on the first line, type these:

    bindtoggle z cl_showfps 2 (doesn't have to be z, set to any free key)
    cl_forcepreload 1
    sv_forcepreload 1
    cl_smooth 0
    cl_ragdoll_collide 1
    r_fastzreject -1
    r_decals 1000
    r_maxmodeldecal 25
    r_waterforceexpensive 0
    mat_compressedtextures 1
    mat_bumpmap 0
    mat_specular 0

    Then save this text file as XXX.cfg, where XXX is whatever you want it to be (like mytweaks, as above). But, DO NOT NAME IT EITHER CONFIG.CFG OR AUTOEXEC.CFG. These have already been spoken for and overwriting them could cause big problems. Save this file in .../Steam/SteamApps/SourceMods/hidden/cfg.

    3) In Game Options

    Load H:S. Go to your Video options and set whatever you believe will work out, but make sure to set Shader Quality to HIGH. This is required to give the Hidden his invisible effect.

    And there you have it. By doing these three steps, you will see that the texturing will look like it did in DirectX 7.0, but both the water and the Hidden will retain their >= DirectX 8.0 quality, without any degradation in framerate!
    Last edited by Viper114; 28th March 2006 at 14:21.

  2. #2
    M_C Guest


    Nice! Geat idea and very well put together. You might explain what some of those setting do though?

  3. #3
    Viper114 Guest


    Well, if you want to know...

    bindtoggle z cl_showfps 2 - Sets a desired unused key (such as Z) to show the FPS at the top of the screen and what map name you are running on. Doesn't have to be set to Z, use anything within comfortable reach.

    cl_forcepreload 1 & sv_forcepreload 1 - Forces the game to preload ALL information, reducing suttering by not loading anything on the fly. CL stands for client-side (your machine) and SV stands for server-side (the server that you join).

    cl_smooth 0 - This prevents the game from smoothing the view after prediction errors, which causes increase in stuttering.

    cl_ragdoll_collide 1 - Prevents character models from merging into each other due to ragdoll effects, which improves realism with no real performance hit.

    r_fastzreject -1 - Allows the game to automatically detect whether or not your system can use the fast z-setting algorithm which takes advantage of hardware fast z reject for improved performance.

    r_decals 1000 - Specifies the maximum number of decals possible at any one time.

    r_maxmodeldecal 25 - This number determines the maximum number of decals which can be drawn on a model.

    r_waterforceexpensive 0 - Forces game to NOT use the highest quality water effect, increasing performance with no real drop in water realism.

    mat_compressedtextures 1 - Uses compressed textures to improve performance.

    mat_bumpmap 0 - Disables bump-mapping. Reduces the texture quality for increased performance.

    mat_specular 0 - Disables specular lighting. If you use disable bump-mapping, your character's arms and weapon will look like they made of chrome metal. Disabling specular lighting removes that effect.
    Last edited by Viper114; 28th March 2006 at 14:21.

  4. #4
    M_C Guest



    Now do one for lag/choke/latency/etc.

  5. #5
    Viper114 Guest


    If only...

    Perhaps this thread should be stickied?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    The Vastness


    Oh, but it is.
    Dispossible a fetter hein and bemay kine a sinder's tock.

  7. #7
    Payback Guest

    Thumbs up

    Good tweak list.

    I've always wondered about the RAM commands. I used to use one back in the day for Counter-Strike and I never really remember noticing a difference. I see it recommended all the time too, but has anyone actually ever done a test to see what difference it makes? My point being, shouldn't the game automatically use up as much RAM as it needs to like any other program would?

  8. #8
    Viper114 Guest


    Not really. Source games use a default of 64MB as a cache to store the information. Increasing the value to something higher allows more information to be stored in the RAM and reduces loading pauses.

  9. #9
    Blueflame Guest



    finally i can play docks, discovery, and train depot, without signifigant loss of framerate!

    *hugs laptop*

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005


    Just a note - as far as I'm aware, mat_bloom shouldn't have any impact on performance, the code that uses it just isn't functional.

    "The enemy gate is down"

    The Hidden - Source
    Calibre Studios
    Developicus Videogameos (Dev Blog)

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