TF2 for Potatoes

Mar 23rd, 2013
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  1. So you have an Etch-A-Sketch do you? Here's some guides on how to get the most out of your toaster. Be sure to actually read towards the bottom, there's a lot of useful shit here.
  3. Add me on Steam if you have any suggestions or questions:
  5. >IMPORTANT: "So You Want A Golden Machina And Pony Sound Replacements?"
  6. Any mods you install may not work under sv_pure. Avoid these servers, as they not only block your mods, but may cause the game to be unstable and crash. Configurations in the cfg/ folder and HUDs will work regardless of sv_pure. If you're playing alone on a LAN server, you can use any mods you like, because you are technically "the server".
  8. sv_pure -1 All files are allowed, though no servers tend to run this anymore.
  9. sv_pure 0 All files are allowed, except for a specific blacklist dictated by the server.
  10. sv_pure 1 All files are blocked, except for a specific whitelist dictated by the server.
  11. sv_pure 2 All files are blocked, only the files from the server are allowed.
  13. The more mods you have in your custom folder, you will get longer load times and possibly even a framerate loss. Keep the mods to a minimum and only have them when necessary, and ALWAYS make VPK files, especially if you have a slow hard drive. If you use loose folders, the game will ask your hard drive for the custom files it needs when the game needs to render or load it, meaning framerate drops while playing. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS MAKE VPK FILES, I CAN'T STRESS THAT ENOUGH, DON'T BE LAZY.
  15. >Baby Steps
  16. A tip for newfags out there who just downloaded this game, make sure you enable the console by going to Options > Keyboard > Advanced and checking "Enable developer console". This will allow you to do all kinds of neat commands listed in this guide and in your FPS configs. By default, the key to open the console is the tilde ` key. (Next to 1 or ! on the number row)
  18. Before you do anything, go in to Options > Video > Advanced and change everything to as low as you can go/want. This is pretty self-explanatory and easy for most people. FPS configs do this automatically, so you can skip this if you want to go more in-depth.
  22. >FPS configs
  23. FPS configs execute console commands that change your TF2 graphics and network settings. You can generate an FPS config just how you like it with this website:
  25. If you're too lazy to make your own config, I've made an updated version of Chris' maxframes here, which includes mat_phong:
  27. To install these, simply copypasta the contents into a file called "autoexec.cfg". This file does not exist by default, you will need to create it and save it in "Steam\SteamApps\common\Team Fortress 2\tf\cfg\". Autoexec is automatically executed (hence the name) whenever you start the game or join a server. Edit accordingly to your needs, and READ THE COMMENTS IN THE CONFIG, it's important to read if you want sprays, ragdolls, shadows and so on.
  29. >Reduced Particles
  30. Now we're getting into the mod section of the guide. This particle mod should make the particles more toaster-friendly without sacrificing visual clarity. Some of the particles tend to be blocked by a lot of sv_pure servers to prevent cheating, but it helps.
  34. >NoHats Modification
  35. This mod essentially replaces the hat models with "nothing", meaning theoretically, your computer isn't rendering the hats, which means more performance. Unusual particles are removed as well, so your computer doesn't have to render those either. You may experience longer loading times due to the amount of files, though.
  39. >Oldschool Pack
  40. A bunch of low poly models and textures for TF2. Lower polygon counts and lower texture resolutions means more VRAM for your video card to do other things, which is good.
  42. Latest version:
  44. USE THE PERFORMANCE ONE. You will experience no performance loss with the performance version, because it is compiled into a VPK and has only a small amount of files. This can give you anywhere from 5 to 15 more FPS, but it depends entirely on the computer's needs and results will vary wildly. The readme.txt has its own FAQ that I wrote, and will not be covered here.
  46. Oldschool Pack isn't affected by most sv_pure servers typically because the Oldschool Pack has its own texture filenames and ends up evading being blocked by sv_pure. It should work just fine for regular pub servers.
  48. >TF2 Adblock AKA SourceProtect
  49. Many servers serve up ads with Adobe Flash Player. Even with HTML MOTD disabled, servers can bypass this setting and still play the ads on your computer. This can slow down your game or even crash it, especially for the toasters. First step is getting the adblock config file. The download can be found on Github:
  51. Now, save this protect.cfg file in your tf\cfg directory. If you have an autoexec.cfg (you probably do if you use FPS configs) open it up and add the following line, without quotes: "exec protect.cfg" This will run the protect.cfg script when you start the game/connect to a server. protect.cfg goes into detail about how these ads work and how to block Pinion Pot Of Gold, so be sure to open it up and read it, as blocking Pinion's ip address will not be covered here.
  53. Update July 2013: Apparently servers can get around this now, and will keep popping the MOTD back up after you close it. To stop that, find the server's IP address, and type "connect matchmaking" in the console instead of using the server browser. The matchmaking part is important, it fools the server into thinking you are connecting from quickplay, thus stopping the MOTD from re-appearing. Replace with the server IP obviously. You can use "view server info" to find the IP.
  55. >TF2 Mipmap Hack
  56. NVIDIA users can force their video card to render really shitty looking texture mipmap LODs outside of the default range. Note that you may need to use older versions of NVIDIA drivers to do the trick. NVIDIA 200 series drivers from March 2012 should work. You can get the NVIDIA Profile Tool from the official website:
  58. Start the profile tool and export the profiles. There should be a text file you can edit near the program. Find "Team Fortress 2" (CTRL+F for the slow) and add "Setting ID_0x00738e8f = 0x00000078 UserSpecified=true" in the TF2 profile. Save the file, and import the profile with the tool. No, this will not get you VAC banned. There is a possibility of being banned from ESEA if you are caught, however.
  60. NVIDIA Inspector can accomplish the same thing, but you also need an old version of that program. You can find the old version of NVIDIA Inspector here:
  62. When you open NVIDIA Inspector, it will show your video card specs. There should be a box displaying your driver version, and next to that is a button with a wrench and a screwdriver. Click on that to edit some profiles. Type in the filter box "Team Fortress 2" to find the TF2 profile, and scroll down until you find something along the lines of LOD Bias. Edit this value to 10.0 or 15.0, and click Apply. Congratulations, you are now playing TF2 on the Nintendo 64.
  64. If you have a newer NVIDIA card that previously didn't exist on 200 series drivers, you can change the lod bias on new 300 series NVIDIA drivers by looking around here:
  66. >THE CLOUD
  67. If you have trouble with your settings getting rolled back every time you start TF2, go into Advanced Multiplayer Options and disable "Synchronize with the Steam Cloud". You must also go into your Steam library, right click Team Fortress 2 > Properties > Updates tab and uncheck "Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for Team Fortress 2". Alternatively, you may also disable Steam Cloud for all games in your Steam settings.
  69. If it still happens, add the following launch option (you should know what this is if you use an FPS config) to TF2, without quotes: "-autoconfig" This will reset your config.cfg and other settings back to default, and you can start fresh without >MUH CLOUD COMPUTING bullshit. As a last resort, try deleting the userdata folder in your Steam folder (the one with Steam.exe) or just reinstall Steam. I've often found that the userdata folder contains sprays and config files for TF2 that I don't want.
  71. >Special Snowflake Linux Users
  72. The native Linux build of TF2 uses the same console commands, so FPS configurations are still functional. Linux TF2 uses OpenGL, but forcing DX8 or DX9 in the launch options does the same changes as on Windows.
  74. You'll find your Steam folder usually in ".steam" or ".local/share/Steam" in your home folder; everything else is exactly like Windows. There is literally no reason to run TF2 in wine these days unless you need the SDK compiling tools (required if you want to submit gold star workshop items). The Linux TF2 comes with a native VPK executable out-of-the-box, so you can make VPK files without having to install Wine.
  76. If you still can't get any performance out of Linux, or Linux performs worse than Windows out of the box, try getting a proprietary graphics driver. >MUH FREEDOMS dictates that Linux distros shouldn't use proprietary software, and thus come with a shitty open source driver that barely works and can only do 2D stuff reasonably well. So you will need to download official NVIDIA drivers seperately. Now there's about 90 million distros so just google around for instructions on how to install a proprietary driver for your distro/graphics card. For Ubuntu-based distros, you can likely find the drivers in your package manager or driver manager.
  78. Note: Linux users can't easily do the NVIDIA profile trick (if at all) as described in the below section like Windows users can, so you're screwed unless you can configure your OpenGL environment variables or change your driver settings manually. It may be possible to change this with the new Ubuntu NVIDIA 325.15 drivers with an application profile, but I am not sure. Google found literally nothing on this, so good luck.
  80. Note #2: Occasionally Linux users will get huge performance drops when joining a server (only being able to reach 5 FPS while playing) even with an accelerated proprietary driver. This is caused by mods from what I've seen, and you'll likely have to reconnect to the server or restart the game. You may also encounter 0 FPS and stuttering when joining a server as well, which appears to be caused by the client downloading something in the background. Just wait for it, and eventually the game will be playable at full framerate again.
  82. Frequently Asked Questions:
  84. >Why don't my sprays work anymore after doing X in this guide?
  85. This could be a number of things. The most common reason is because the r_decals and/or mp_decals cvar is set too low. Decals are sprays, bullet holes, etc, that are rendered on the walls in the game. If this is too low, they will simply disappear once the limit is reached. Setting r_decals and/or mp_decals to 4096 should solve this. Make sure you have sprays enabled in your config, and in Advanced Multiplayer Options. By default, Chris' configs disable sprays. Uncomment the lines as needed to re-enable them. A more rare spray problem involves SourceProtect. Protect.cfg blocks cl_allowupload, which also blocks your client from sending your spray to the server. This ends up in you seeing your spray, but other people seeing you spray "nothing". To fix this, remove all lines relating to cl_allowupload in protect.cfg, then start up Team Fortress 2, open the developer console, and type "cl_allowupload 1" without the quotes. (You can also enable it by editing your config.cfg and changing cl_allowupload there.)
  87. >I don't have an NVIDIA card. How do I change the LOD bias of my video card to get super ugly textures?
  88. For AMD users, ATI Tray Tools or RadeonPro let you change the LOD bias. If you have an HD4000 or older card, use ATI Tray Tools to change the LOD bias. If you have an HD5000 or newer, use RadeonPro to change the LOD bias. A LOD bias of 3 in RadeonPro is the same as a LOD bias of 15 in NVIDIA Inspector. You can see what it looks like here, left is NVIDIA, right is AMD:
  90. Tips n shit:
  92. - Fullscreen mode usually gives you more FPS than windowed mode, because windowed mode still has your desktop environment rendering behind the game. Give that a shot to squeeze some extra frames.
  93. - Run TF2 in the lowest resolution possible. 640x480 is the lowest resolution TF2 can run in, if I recall. You can make this even smaller with mat_viewportscale, but there is little performance boost changing that cvar.
  94. - mat_filterlightmaps 0 does not give you much performance, but gives a neat blocky Minecraft light effect. If you use this in a config, go to the console and set it to 1 and then back to 0 for it to work again.
  95. - Using CCLeaner (or BitBleach equivalent on Linux) and keeping your OS optimized is also a good step into getting more frames. If you have 100 Firefox tabs running, all with Adobe Flash Player creating memory leaks, then you are going to get shit performance obviously.
  96. - Defragment your hard drives (if you use NTFS filesystem) and verify your game cache, that also helps.
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