Tweaking Guide by DrLucky

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 05/10/04 | Printable Version

			Far Cry "tweaking" FAQ

To be posted ONLY on


I   - Introduction
II  - System Requirments
III - Video Settings
IV  - Tweaking Intoduction
V   - System Tweaks
VI  - Advanced Tweaks
VIII- DrLucky On Far Cry

I - Introduction -

Hello, and welcome to my Far Cry Tweaking FAQ.  Far Cry is one of the
most visually impressive games to date, which also means it can be one 
of the most taxing on system requirements.  This initially led to a very 
unhappy gaming experience for me, as I didn't have the aid of rich parents 
to buy me a new video card.  Fortunatly, with a little dilligent effort, I 
discovered that I could get a LOT more out of my current computer than I 
ever though possible.  With this guide, hopefully you can too!

*Note* - All the information provided was gathered using Far Cry v1.1

II - Far Cry System Requirements -

According to the box, Far Cry requires the following AT MINIMUM:

Windows 98/2000/XP
1ghz PIII or Athlon Processor
256 MB RAM
64mb DirectX9 video card
Directx9 Sound card
4gb hard drive space

MY SPECS - all the tweaking in this guide was performed on my computer, which
I consider low end in terms of gaming capabilities:

Windows XP
PIII 933mhz
384 mb RAM
128mb GeForcefx5200 video card
40gb hard drive

As you can see, my specs are not too different from the minimum.  My 
processor is slightly BELOW the requirements, the RAM slightly above, and of 
course the fx5200 is the lowest-end Dx9 video card money can buy.  


I run Far Cry on the above machine at the following settings:

RESOLUTION: 1024x768
AA: none
AF: 1
LIGHTING QUALITY: Low (not because of FPS but becuase anything above low 
causes weird negative effects indoors)

FRAME RATES: Indoor  - 60+
	     Outdoor - 28 (heavy battle with water and a lot of backround) - 
		       41 (walking around in jungle)

I have posted these settings and results on several messages boards, and in 
all cases was told to be flat-out lying.  I can understand why these results 
would be considered fictional by some.  When I first played this game on the 
listed machine but WITHOUT any tweaking, I was only able to achieve 
"playable" framerates (I didn't get FPS readings then because I didn't know 
the command) at 800x600 resolution, with ALL settings on "low" except for 
water, which remained on high.  (The fx5200, despite all it's shortcomings, 
has never had a problem with water)  Far Cry and the good people at Crytek 
did me a favor, though, they put out a game that is really well optimized and
scalable, and in the end proved to run infinitly better than, say, Halo, a 2
year old game.  It still took some work to get it working properly, but I did
it WITHOUT UPGRADES.  How?  Read on.

Basically what tweaking comes down to is getting the most out of your current
system by freeing resources BEFORE playing the game, and some more advanced 
software tricks to push your video hardware further than it's ever gone.  The
"advanced" section will contain information about overclocking and altering 
video drivers, and is not recomended unless you feel you have a good 
understanding of it.  I can attest to it's effectiveness, but proceed at your 
own risk!  


The first, and by far MOST IMPORTANT step to achieving better game 
performance is also the simplest one.  That is: make sure that when you are 
running Far Cry, you are ONLY RUNNING FAR CRY.  Windows is full of things 
running in the backround that will leech sytem resources and slow your 
computer down to a crawl.  The easiest way to take a look at what's running 
is to press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE at the same time, bringing up the task manager.  
Now, look for the list of PROCESSES that are running.  In Windows XP, these 
processes are conviently grouped by user name.  Look at what's running under
 your name.  Chances are that if you don't check in here religiously, you will
 be running a LOT of processes under your name.  
Things like "AIM", "Aoltray", "QTPlayer" you will recognize as familiar 
programs, but you may also find weird stuff like "pmpK.exe" or "yqahsh.exe".  
Guess what?  SHUT IT ALL DOWN.  Everything, with the SOLE EXCEPTION OF 
"EXPLORER".  Explorer is windows itself, and if you shut that down, you will 
have to restart.  It is also possible that your particular system may require 
another process or two to work properly, so experiment with shutting things 
down and see if it effects anything.  Remember, you can always RESTART if you
make a mistake with no ill done to your machine.  
Now that you've gotten the hang of shutting processes down, it's time to 
start with a fresh boot.  Restart your computer EVERY TIME you want to play 
Far Cry.  It's a pain in the ass for sure, but it will free up RAM that was 
used for internet surfing or letter writing or whatever and make it instantly 
available for use in the game.  
Speaking of restarting, I personally find that pulling the plug on my 
internet connection when my computer boots GREATLY speeds the process up.  
This is because of things like adware, which even if you check for 10 times a
day always seems to end up coming back.  Restarting without an internet 
connection prevents all the adware from doing it's job: sending you pop-up 
ads.  Now you can shut down all those crazy processes as we learned above, 
and THEN plug your internet back in if you're going to play online. Other 
helpful Windows "tweaks" include freeing up hard drive space and/or 
defragmenting the hard drive.  The more space you have on your drive, the less
crap it has to go through to find Far Cry, which can be important.  However, 
for a 4gb game like this, it is VERY important to have it all on one place on
your drive.  Typically, most computer hard drives are messy and out of order 
because of all the deleting-moving of files we do in our daily lives.  By 
going to "accessories-system tools" on your start menu, you will find a 
program called "disk defragmenter".  This rearranges your hard drive so that
similar programs and files are all grouped together, cutting down on the time
Far Cry spends bouncing around the hard drive looking for stuff.  
Defragmenting takes a while, so doing it overnight is usually the best option.
Also it doesn't always arrange things perfectly.  The real best step would be
will ensure it is all grouped in one place on the drive, which will increase 
performance and loading times.  It's really up to you if you want to spend 
the time re-installing those five discs, though.  Users with better machines 
than mine may fine the simple act of restarting and shutting down backround 
processes to be the answer they were looking for, and God bless you.  
However, if this hasn't helped enough, or you've already been doing this like
a smart monkey, the next section is for you.   


Ok, it's go time.  The two things that really pushed my computer over the 
edge were ditching the NVidia drivers and getting CUSTOM VIDEO DRIVERS, and 
the much-feared act of OVERCLOCKING my video card.  Both were much less 
painful than I expected.  

CUSTOM VIDEO DRIVERS- You'd think that Nvidia would know how to get the most
out of it's own hardware, but apparantly this is not the case.  A fellow 
named Omega has made his own set of drivers for both Nvidia and ATI cards; 
they rock the house, and they're FREE.  My game suddenly went from bland and 
flickery to crisp and glorious, with a skyrocket in FPS to boot!  I don't 
know what he did exactly, but it works.  As I said, read up on this stuff and
make your own decision, but I have experienced o problems thus far.  Check 
out if this sounds good to you.

OVERCLOCKING - Many people tremble at this word.  Overclocking is the act of
making your video card, processor, or even RAM run at a faster speed than it
claims it can.  I have limited understanding of how this works, but I 
believe it has to do with increasing the power draw of the item ever so 
slightly, causing it to run faster.  Obviously this can be dangerous, because
if too much power is drawn the card can overheat and melt.  I made my choice
to give it a shot because I'm a graphics junky and I wasn't too concerned 
about destroying my $60 video card in any case.   I used an outstanding piece
of software called RIVA TUNER to overclock.  You can get it at  This thing lets you push your card's clock
speed up in 1mhz increments.  I overclocked from 200/350 to 250/400mhz, that
is pushing the core clock and memory clock up 50mhz each.  I saw a SUBSTANTIAL
increase in performance, mainly in the FPS rate.  Suddenly the game was 
playable AND looked good.  Overclocking is not something you want to jump 
into blind.  I found several message boards where people listed optimal 
settings for my exact card, and you should seek out similar information for 
your hardware. 


Well, after all this technical mumbo jumbo I've almost forgotten there's a 
game at the end of the tunnel.   So, if you will tolerate, here are my 
thoughts on Far Cry.

RATING - 9/10

I wasn't expecting much more than pretty graphics when I picked this one up.
I basically wanted something I felt would be a good benchmark for Half-Life
2, to see if I could get away with my current rig or if I'd have to bite the
bullet and upgrade.  Well, if you've read the above FAQ you know that I can 
get away with my current rig.  So why do I even care anymore?  Because this 
game rocks.  The visuals are certainly above and beyond anything I've ever 
seen, and the gameplay is superb.  One of the things that gives a game 
staying power in my opinion is the ability to amuse oneself totally on 
random situations presented by the game engine.  Deus Ex 1+2, Half-Life,
Halo all lived up to this requirement.  Throwing grenades into crowds in Deus
Ex, killing Barnies in Half Life, and driving the worthog into the silent 
cartographer are all good examples of this phenomenon.  But Far Cry has blown
them all away.  I've had too much fun for my own good blowing mercs off 
cliffs, or shooting bridges and letting mercs fall to their doom, or shooting
wires and laughing as mercs get turned into jelly by swinging objects....I 
think you see the picture here.  It's a hell of an outlet or sadism if 
nothing else.  Another thing Far Cry reintroduced me to was the "fear factor"
in video games.  Every time I hear the word "Trigen" come over the radio, I 
shudder and have to take a minute to collect myself.  The trigens are a 
really unique monster in a FPS - a creature who alone is a handful and in 
numbers are utterly unkillable by force alone.  Stealth and trickery and 
careful thinking are required.  And I like it.  Enemy AI is outstanding in 
this game, with the sneaking mercs suddenly giving you a heart attack and 
the flanking and group assaults and helicoptor drops...yeah.  I'd like to 
see a group of mercs take on a Covenant squad from Halo...but that's just 
geekary. The only reason this doesn't rate a 10 is the difficulty is off 
putting at times.  I like a challenge, but even on normal this game is tough.
Random merc headshots killing you at full health, and a trigen raping you in
one second are commonplace, and wouldn't be so bad except for the lack of 
quicksave.  Some areas become a matter of memorizing enemy locations and/or 
renforcement patterns, and I don't like that.  But it's a minor issue in an 
otherwise amazing game, and I hear quicksave is coming in a future patch.  
Finally, this game BEGS for a co-op mode, at least for those of us who live 
with fellow losers and have a home network.  

At any rate, I hope this guide was helpful.  If you're an Xboxer or just 
considering buying one of the best games ever made, check out my other FAQ- 
THE HALO PC ADDITIONS FAQ, also available at Gamefaqs.  PEACE.