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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 12-18-99
   

Tech Tips
This is where your gaming and hardware needs are met.  Be all that you can be or get out of the game!  This won't be a forum for techno-geeks to find more ways to impress their non-technical friends, it's for plain folk who need help to better their gaming experience. But don't blame us if you blow your machine sky high; we're offering tips, not the Bible on computers. The mailbag is alive and well - send in those questions to TechTips.

— by Love2Play


12/18/99: Quake 2 Configs

 

In our last article we brought you Quake 2 tweaks for graphics lag and to help reduce those phone jack icons from popping up when you least expect it. Then we followed with some PantherXL strategies and configs to give you a new way to game. We didn't want to leave you short handed but also don't want to stray too far from the fact that this is TechTips, not Deathmatch 101. That site already exists and is the most comprehensive site for Quake 2 multiplayer learning there is. So after this one we'll be back to all that techie stuff. Okay, mixed with the occasional straying…

Now we would like to briefly cover more aspects of Quake 2 configs. We won't be giving you a copy/paste for all mods, but help you understand what the possibilities are. We also don't want to argue the age old fight about the use of aliases anymore than we wanted to argue about the use of particles on or off. That is all personal choice.



More binds

Some of the old arguments are, "using alias scripts is for sissy's." Okay, they don't actually spell it that way, but the censors are watching. Aliases are the scripts you write that accomplish two or more things with a one button bind. But before we get into that, for the newbies we would like to cover a few simple facts.

1. Plan out your keyboard and mouse movements. Try NOT to bind your movement keys on the keyboard so that you:

a. have to look at what you are typing.
b. have to keep moving all over the keyboard.

Make your binds as close together as possible for quick hits on those keys.

2. Make your keyboard binds comfortable. If you plan on playing for hours, you don't want to end up with muscle weakness and not be able to beat on your little brother after dinner <g>. Make sure your arm and hand are at a comfortable place on the keyboard and you're not twisting to reach keys.

A few words of caution and some rules when making your configs. Config files for Quake 2 cannot be any larger than 8 KB in file size. This is one important reason we stress you use Notepad. Using Word places a bunch of funky hidden characters in there that actually increase the size of the file, wasting valuable space. Another thing you need to know is that if you are going to use multiple configs, executing one config with another, the line that executes the next config needs to be at the bottom of the config you are adding that line to. For example, you have your lag config and then you want to execute a special config for moves. You place the line "exec moves.cfg" (without the quotes) at the end of your lag config. That is the last command your lag config will execute.

So, if your configs are so full of binds that you have run out of space (the 8 KB limit) then you can execute one config with another, executing several in a row.

Now decide what movements have priority. Normally, forward, back, strafe right and strafe left take priority. These are your main movements on the keyboard. The majority of users use the mouse for looking and the attack bind as mouse1 ( this is normal, but not mandatory). So start planning your keyboard movements around those binds.

Other than movement binds there are two binds that are frequently asked about. Those are the grapple and the hook. These binds are like any other - you have to pick a key to bind them to and add them to your config. They are not standard binds. If you don't know how to edit your config, go back to the Quake 2 Tweak column to see how. The grapple is the grappling hook in the CTF mod; the hook is the grappling hook in the Lithium mod. Their binds will look like this:

bind x "use grapple"
bind x "+hook"

x is whatever key you want to bind them to.

There are a few basics to get you started creating your configs. We will refer you to a few places for more advanced configs shortly. First we would like to give a few tips on configs with mods.

One simple way to keep track of the configs you use are to name then for the mods they are used for. You can then either place them in the mod folder with the autoexec.cfg that executes them, or you can place them all in baseq2 and only place the autoexec.cfg in the mod folder to execute the config for that mod. Use whatever system works best for you. I personally keep all of mine in baseq2 and manage them from there.

Now some of the other binds you may find in there that had nothing really to do with lag (but we feel are important to mention) are:

set cl_run "1" 1 is always run
set cd_nocd "1" turns off the CD-ROM playing
set vid_gamma this number will vary according to your card. Many people tell others to set it for brightness. Many cards these days are not affected by this for game brightness. The 2 following settings are more effective for brightness control:
set gl_modulate "1" default is 1, turn it up for a brighter game.
**set intensity choose a number starting at 2 or higher to turn up the brightness.
**set cl_footsteps "1" so you can hear your enemies coming

** are not in the config by default, must be added

 

 
Config Troubleshooting

This section is about what to look for when your config doesn't seem to be working. One of the best ways to test whether or not your config is working is to bind a key to say something in the game. Like bind x "yea baybeeee". Then go join a game and hit the key you bound it to. If it doesn't work, you know you did not get execution of that config. You can also look at the loading screen, it will list the configs as it executes them or it will say "couldn't execute blah.cfg".

Click on the image and notice that you can see the configs listed as they are executed. Go back and review your autoexec.cfg, the size of the configs, and look for mistakes.

When you have downloaded a new mod, sometimes they will supply an autoexec.cfg with the download. Get familiar with it and read the readme. Understand what the differences are in weapons and etc. in that mod. Then you can begin changing it to suit your way of doing things. Also see what binds are in that autoexec.cfg that may conflict with binds you use. One of the biggest problems people have is that they end up with two different binds on the same key. One will cancel out the other. For example, if you have bind mouse2 "use grapple" followed by bind mouse2 "bestweap" then bestweap wins. Whichever the last bind the config calls up wins. So make sure you have no duplicates.

Another common mistake people make in editing their config is typos. This I know a lot about. A simple typo can make a line unusable. Also, when you start the game, look at the screen; it will tell you what binds are bogus as it reads the config. Then you will need to go back and look at those lines, or make sure that mod supports those binds. But most commonly, it's a simple typo. For example in the config, you have changed the bind for using grenades. bind x "use grenade" Looks ok right? Nope. It's bind x "use grenades" Grenades is plural. It can be something that simple, so take a good look.

The last mistake people make is not having followed the instructions from our article on Quake 2 tweaks and have saved their config file as a text file. If you have file extensions hidden in Explorer, you will not see that your config is now called lag.cfg.txt and of course, will not work. Make sure you have saved it as a .cfg file.

 




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