2/12/2000: Quake III Arena Tweaks Explained
This guide is submitted by BONG
are grateful for the time he took to write it and will keep
it updated for us.
the advices given in this guide, you'll increase your framerate
and tweak other aspects of gameplay. The guide won't provide
you with: the variables the default values of which are already
efficient (I'll name only those one would like to alter),
hardware tweaks (consult previous
TechTips) or modem connection tweaks (the guide is optimized
for LAN and singleplayer). Each boldfaced variable is ready
to be pasted into your config; you may want to change the
recommended values after reading the explanations, as some
settings are quite subjective.
variables beginning in "r_" require more testing. If something
works on my CPU (400 Celly) and card (V2 12MB), it doesn't
mean it will do the same on your machine. Hence any feedback
here we go!
Toggles the automatic switching to the weapon the player
has just picked up. Set it 0 as you don't want to have your
RL switched to the GL in the heat of the battle.
set cg_bobroll "0"
set cg_bobup "0"
Set all these variables to 0 and your view won't pitch
forward and back, roll from side to side and bob up and down
Set it to 0, disable ejected shell effects and gain fps.
set cg_centertime "0"
how long messages are displayed in the center of the screen
(3 seconds by default). The messages obstruct your vision
and repeat the function of the frag counter (especially in
duels), situated at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
Toggles the drawing of the 3D ammo, skin and armor icons.
Set it to 0 and gain fps
set cg_drawAmmoWarning "0"
Do you have to be warned when you're low on ammo? You're not
experienced then. Set it to 0 and have a clearer view.
set cg_drawAttacker "0"
Toggles the display of the last guy to do damage to you in
the upper-right corner of the screen. Set it to 0 now and
set cg_drawCrosshair "4"
The default crosshair is 4, a circle with a cross inside.
You can choose from several other crosshairs (1-9). Setting
the variable to 0 will disable the crosshair and your aiming
accuracy will remarkably decline.
Toggles the ID display of other players when your crosshair
is on them. Unnecessary in duels (people say it may help you
to see the enemy a moment before he actually appears from
around a corner).
set cg_drawgun "0"
Setting it to 0 will disable the rendering of the weapon model
and you'll gain fps. Get used to the absence of the gun: it
does obstruct your vision.
Set it to 0. You will still hear "Excellent" and "Impressive"
and that should be well enough to cheer you up.
Toggles the nifty team locator thing at the top of your screen
in team deathmatch. It shows the following information about
all your teammates (positions on the team overlay are static
- the top eight players by score are taken and put in client
order so they won't switch positions on the team overlay):
powerup (flag in CTF), name, location (if the map is complex
enough), health, weapon, amount of armor. The numbers in the
team overlay gradually blend from white to red while you're
losing your health. Black indicates death (as does the red
striked-circle icon in the place of the weapon icon)
The setting of 1 decreases your fps a wee yet helps you to
orientate in time (ie to anticipate the respawn of valuable
items and to be aware of how much time is left). The respawn
time of an item can be set by the designer and may vary from
map to map. Usual times in seconds: armor (red, yellow, shards)
25, health (golden, yellow, green) 35, ammo 40. Power-ups
respawn variously: eg the megahealth shows up every 35 seconds
on Q3DM13 and every two minutes on Q3Tourney4. It's recommended
to verify carefully the respawn times of the main items before
A memory saving option: shows all other players in the same
model you are playing.
The field of vision value is in degrees (default 90, maximum
160). Recommended values are 100 to 120: broader view, the
enemy not too small, railing more accurate.
The unfortunate spray of body fluid and parts on ammo impact,
set it to 0 now and gain a considerable amount of fps.
Set it to 0, disable gunshot marks on the walls and gain fps.
If you set it to 1, you will gain fps but all models will
freeze into a strange posture and move around like ghosts.
Set it to 0, disable all shadows and gain fps.
Set it to 1. Weapon, ammo, powerups, health and armor entities
will be drawn as sprites (not models) and you'll gain fps.
The default value of your field of vision when +zoom is active
equals 22.5 degrees. It may be good for vast maps like Q3DM17
but generally you zoom in too much and severely hurt your
ability to orientate. Setting it to something like 45 you
get both moderate zoom and chance to engage adjacent enemy.
And don't puzzle over various user-created variables (vstr)
to decrease your sensitivity when you zoom in: it scales automatically
(moreover, the +/- option doesn't work in user defined vstr's).
Mouse acceleration basically means that the faster you move
the mouse, the quicker you turn in Q3. With mouse acceleration
enabled you can lower your sensitivity and slowly move your
mouse to take aim with the railgun and quickly flick the mouse
in a close rocket fight without running out of space on the
mouse pad or do effective sideways rocket jumps. You must
get used to mouse acceleration, as to just about anything
new to you. However, mouse acceleration shouldn't be too high
(I recommend values between 0 and 1, speaking of the cl_mouseAccel
variable) because you may find yourself doing a 540 degree
turn instead of 180 which doesn't help you at all to orientate.
Mouse acceleration can be set: a) via special software, eg
Logitech MouseWare, b) the variable in question. I prefer
the second way because mouse acceleration can be tuned very
precisely with the variable and sofware usually offers only
several choices (low, medium etc).
This variable emulates lag. If you set it to 10, you will
shoot 10 milliseconds after you push your fire button. So
if you usually play in LANs, keep the setting between 10 and
20 when fighting bots and if you play via modem use an appropriate
setting too (150 or whatever).
Sets the effects color for the railgun (1=Blue, 2=Green, 3=Cyan,
4=Red (default), 5=Magenta, 6=Yellow, 7=White). It's for you
to decide, of course, but avoid choosing a color that makes
the rail trail poorly visible in certain surroundings.
Set it to 0 and there will be no blood (it's helped to legalize
Q3 in Germany, AFAIK).
The value represents the amount of memory that QUAKE3.EXE
will allocate for itself. ID's FAQ says "if you have 128MB
of RAM installed on your system you might want to replace
X with a value no higher than 96. Always leave at least 32MB
of RAM out of the total amount you have for other operations.
If you have 64MB of RAM in your system, leave the setting
at its default." I got 64 megs and set the variable to 56
with no problems (70 worked too:).
Set the variable to 1 and you'll illogically get no intro
on the game start. If you aren't planning to connect to pure
servers and you want to get rid of the ID Logo clip, open
pak0.pk3 with WinZip and delete idlogo.RoQ (you can do the
same with *.RoQ, fla2*.wav, son*.wav, win.wav and loss.wav:
saves up about 165MB on your hard drive). Make sure you have
lots of free space on your hard disk and patience: WinZip
will extract all files to RAM, delete what you need and then
zip all the files again. After your drive stops growling,
fire up Q3 and you'll get thrown straight into the menu.
you do want to able to connect to pure servers and you want
to get rid of the ID Logo clip, open the folder where quake3.exe
lies, right mouse click, New, Text Document, open it, type
in "quake3 +map" without the quotes, close the document, rename
it to whatever.bat, run the bat file (generally, one can put
many useful things into the file and it is called the command
This one sets the fps cap (100 by default). A good machine
will squeeze out some more from time to time and you should
make use of it (for online play, one should use a value of
about 30, they say it lags less then; playing on Q3DM13 cap
your high framerate to approximately 83: you'll be doing the
megahealth jump with no problems)
If you can't wait for the console messages (eg other players'
babble) to disappear from the screen after the default time
of 3 seconds, lower the value.
The size of your crosshair is a subjective point. Some like
it bigger, some don't. The default value is 24.
This variable with the default value "games" toggles the writing
of GAMES.LOG which logs gameplay events in the current session.
If you play Q3 for 10 hours non-stop, you'll find a BIG file
in your baseq3 folder afterwards.