Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Ultimate TF2 Configuration Guide For Newbies

When it comes to technical customizations, there's lots of "hidden secrets" in TF2 that can dramatically change the way you play. Since many people just started the game I decided to share with you everything I know about settings, configs, etc. (Also, apparently many veteran players don't know about very important stuff such as hit sounds).
I'm gonna start with pretty basic stuff and go over to more advanced settings, I'm sure every player can find something interesting here, so keep reading. I will be talking about:
1) Settings
  • Advanced keyboard settings
  • Mouse sensitivity
2) Advanced Options
  • Auto reload
  • Dingalings (hit sounds)
  • Damage text
3) Configs
  • General how-to
  • FPS configs
  • Dingalings
  • Reset config
  • Other configs
4) Launch Options
5) HUDs
  • Custom HUDs
  • Modifying damage text

1. Settings

Most users go through the Options screen at some point, so I'm assuming you will know most of the stuff I will talk about in this part, so I'll just go over the stuff you might miss:
  • In the Keyboard tab, press "Advanced" and tick both "Fast Weapon Switch" and "Enable Developer Console". Fast weapon switch means that when you press 2 you switch to your secondary weapon immediately (when it's unticked you will have to 'confirm' it). This is a left-over from Counter-Strike (or, more correctly, Half-Life), where you could carry multiple weapons in the same slot. Developer console let's you open the console by pressing the tilde (~ or `) key (it's next to 1, under Esc). Without ticking this you won't be able to open the console.
  • Mouse sensitivity is extremely important. Go on a server and place your mouse on the left side of your mousepad and move it all across your mousepad to the right. You should do around 1.5-2.5 360 degree spins, adjust your sensitivity accordingly. Of course, every one likes his sensitivity a bit higher or lower, but it's recommend to stay within that range. I used to play with 13 sensitivity (yes, I know...) and could do around 6-7 full spins when I moved my mouse from one side of the mousepad to the other. Now I'm on 3.25 with 2 full spins and I can tell you it's much better, even if I had to take a week to get used to it.

2. Advanced Options

This is the part most people miss, or don't use to its' full extent. There are some extremely useful options here that are usually off by default, I'll go over the most important ones (to access these options either press Advanced Options in main menu or go to Options->Multiplayer->Advanced).
  • Automatically reload weapons when you're not firing:
Pretty self explanatory - when you stop firing your weapon, it'll start reloading it immediately. I know right now any one who ever played an FPS probably says "Are you insane?! What if I need to shoot again but I'm reloading?". Well, good sir, in TF2 you can stop reloading at any time and start shooting instantly. So if you're reloading your shotgun and you see an enemy coming, you can start firing immediately. There is absolutely no down side here.
  • Dingalings (Play a hit sound everytime you injure an enemy):
Oh my god. Please. Do yourself a favor. Tick this. This will make a beep sound whenever you hit an enemy. This means that if you shoot a rocket in a corner and you hit someone, you will know it. Also, you can make the pitch of the sound change according to the amount of damage you did. I will go over how to do this in the Configs section.
  • Display damage done as text over your target:
Oh god. I'm having a seizure again. This is exactly the same thing - tick this, you won't regret this. Whenever you hit an enemy, as long as you can see him when you hit him, it'll display a number on the screen showing the amount of damage you did. This is so damn important, especially when you know how much total HP each class has. For example, when I play Soldier, if I shoot a rocket and hit a scout for 90 damage, I know I can pull my shotgun and finish him off. Just like the dingalings, there's a bit of customization you can do here that will make this even better, I will go over this in the HUDs section.
The rest of the Advanced Options are class-specific so I won't be talking about them, but I recommend you take a look because there's some very important settings there.

3. Configs

Configs are configuartion files that are executed when the game is launched or when other events happen (for example, when you change a class). They contain console commands, and whenever a config is executed it executes all the commands in it. The config files can be found in steamapps/<username>/team fortress 2/tf/cfg.
The first and most important config file is the autoexec.cfg. When the game is launched, it executes autoexec.cfg. You may not have one, so create one because you'll need it. (leave it empty for now)
Next up are class specific configs (for example spy.cfg). These configs are executed whenever you change to that specific class. It's very helpful when you have class-specific configs.
FPS (Frames per second) Configs are extremely important, especially in a game like TF2 which actually requires a pretty damn good computer (considering its' not-that-great graphics, when compared to other PC games). High FPS configs alter the way the game looks dramatically (beyond what you can find in the graphics options in-game), but also increase your FPS dramatically. I have around 30 FPS without a high FPS config, and a costant 120 FPS with it. You may think now that playing with 20-40 FPS is fine, but when you play with 120 FPS you'll realize how much better you play. There are a couple of different configs, but I personally like Chris' maxframes config. To use it, press "maxframes" on the left and copy-paste that to your autoexec.cfg. You might also want to go over it because there are some customizable settings in it.
When it comes to dingalings, you can customize them a bit to help you even more. Here are a couple of helpful commands:
tf_dingaling_pitchmaxdmg "#"
tf_dingaling_pitchmindmg "#"
These settings will change the pitch according to the damage you do, again very helpful in determining not only whether you hit a target, but how hard you hit it.
tf_dingaling_wav_override "x" This will override the default hit sound with your own sound.
EDIT: I stand corrected. This has been updated, you must now name your sound hitsound.wav and place it in /tf/sound/ui. Thank you Gentmn and maxerize for letting me know. There's a great website with many hit sounds to choose from. I personally like the good ol' Quake 3 hit sound.
To save you the trouble, here's a config that will do everything I mentioned above, put this into your autoexec.cfg:
tf_dingalingaling "1"
tf_dingaling_pitchmaxdmg "50"
tf_dingaling_pitchmindmg "150"
Next up: Reset configs!
When you start adding many class-specific configs, you will find yourself in a lot of trouble when you switch to a different class and find out the key binds from the previous class are still in effect. For example, if I made "Q" call for help as a medic and I switched to scout, Q will still call for help. This is where a reset config comes to play - you can probably skip this if you don't plan on using any class-specific configs, but I still recommend it.
Make a new config, call it reset.cfg. Now, open each class config (scout.cfg, soldier.cfg, etc...) and put "exec reset.cfg". That's pretty much it! Now whenever you change a bind in one class, make sure you reset it in the reset.cfg. For example, if I put 'bind MOUSE2 say_team "UBER USED"' in my medic config, I will add a line in the reset.cfg - 'bind MOUSE2 +attack2'. If you have more questions about this let me know.
Other configs: I recommend checking out the tf2 wiki scripts page for other great user-made configs.

4. Launch Options

Launch Options are special commands that are performed when you launch the game. To change the launch options, right click Team Fortress 2 in Steam, press Properties and press Set Launch Options.
I will not go over these in detail since there's not much you can do here, but a couple of useful ones are -novid which will skip the annoying intro when you launched, -windowed which will launch in windowed mode and -noborder which will remove the annoying window border if you're in windowed mode. There are many more, if you're interested google it.

5. HUDs

HUD stands for "Heads Up Display", but I'm sure you already knew that! It basically stands for anything that you see on the screen that isn't part of the game world (your HP, ammo, score, damage text, etc).
And let's face it - the default HUD sucks. There's way too much useless information in it. If you want to change your HUD to a more useful one, I highly recommend Community HUD. It's very simple and neat. To install it just copy the files over to your /tf/ folder.
You can also modify your Damage Text to suit it to your needs (font size, color, etc). Note that I'm using Community HUD so some settings may not be the same for you if you're using a different HUD.
To change the Damage Text you will need to find 2 files - the first one is tf\resource\ui\HudDamageAccount.res and the second one is tf\resource\ClientScheme.res.
When you open HudDamageAccount.res you will see a variable "NegativeColor". Change that to whatever color you wish (I'm using Yellow, 255 255 0 255). Next up is delta_item_font and delta_item_font_big (not sure what's the difference between the two). These indicate the font size of the damage text. To change it, you will need to find the font names in ClientScheme.res. Search for "Fonts" in ClientScheme and you will find a bunch of them, just pick one. (I use HudFontBig in Community HUD).
If you're having trouble, here is the "CDamageAccountPanel" part of my HudDamageAccount.res: (If you're not using Community HUD this will NOT work since you don't have the font HudFontBig defined in ClientScheme.res):
            "fieldName"             "CDamageAccountPanel"
    "text_x"                "0"
    "text_y"                "0"
    "delta_item_end_y"      "0"
    "PositiveColor"         "0 255 0 255"
    "NegativeColor"         "255 255 0 255"
    "delta_lifetime"        "3"
    "delta_item_font"       "HudFontBig"
    "delta_item_font_big"       "HudFontBig"
    "visible"           "1"
    "visible_minmode"       "1"

Well then. I think I'm done! I can't think of anything else. Enjoy :)
If you have some questions please post here and I'll answer, or add me on Steam.

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