In-Game Settings - Continued
Music and Sound Volume are fairly obvious and should be adjusted to taste.
3D Audio Mode: The available options are covered below:
Software - This is the most basic audio, and uses your CPU to process the sound. It's actually quite acceptable, and does provide good 3D audio. If you have a sound card or decent onboard audio, you can use that instead to provide better quality audio. However software audio will provide the best framerate performance.
Hardware - If you have a sound card, this option will make use of your sound card's hardware capabilities to extend the audio experience. It sounds better than Software 3D, but may reduce your fps slightly.
Hardware + EAX - This option will only work correctly if you have a sound card which supports EAX 3.0 or higher Environmental Audio. This means only Creative SoundBlaster Audigy1 and Audigy2 cards. For all other cards it won't do any harm, but you won't get any EAX and it is effectively like selecting Hardware audio (see above). EAX adds special effects to the sound and gives you advantages such as being able to determine with greater accuracy where people are (true positional), and being underwater or behind walls will sound more realistic (occlusion culling). However with this option enabled, you may notice a slight drop in fps. Note also that you will have to update your drivers (See my System Optimization Guide for more on Drivers and where to find them) for the Audigy to get proper 3D sound without problems.
Safe Mode - This option is only provided for those having sound problems with other sound modes. If your sound problems are resolved by switching to Safe Mode, then chances are you need to update or reinstall your sound card driver, or in the case of some VIA chipsets, install the VIA Latency Patch to reduce crackling for example.
Audio Channels: Depending on your audio hardware's capabilities, you can select the number of audio channels to dedicate to sound and music. The more the number of channels, the clearer and more distinct the sounds. Usually 32 channels is supported by, and fine for, most modern sound cards. Audigy1 and Audigy2 owners in particular with the latest drivers can enable 64 channels for even greater clarity, but with some level of performance hit due to the extra processing.
Reverse Stereo: Does as it implies, it switches left and right speaker output. Not quite sure why you'd want that except to confuse yourself.
Low Sound Detail: If you really need a performance boost, then you can select this option to lower the sampling rate of the sound, in effect lowering its quality. This might improve fps, but mainly on older systems and especially older sound cards, and is not really recommended.
Disable Music: Will turn off all music in the game, and might give a minor performance boost for those with less system RAM.
Message Beep: Selecting this option allows a small beep everytime a message is sent in-game. If you don't like the beeps, unselect this to turn them off.
Choose the type of network connection you have from the four presented - Modem (56kbps or less), ISDN, Cable/DSL, LAN/T1. Note that once you've chosen your connection here, to get the very best ping and hence the least possible amount of online "lagging", you'll need to optimize your Netspeed setting in the console or Armyops.ini file. Instructions on how to do this are in the Advanced Tweaking section below.
Most of these settings are obvious and depend on personal preference. The quickest way to view and set all your player controls is to click the All button, and work your way through the list to the bottom. Pay particular attention to the Communication section, which has some very important keys. These include the Talk, Teamtalk, Report In and Medic commands which are vital to gameplay. One tip I have is if you use a mouse with a middle scroll button, set the Report In function to that button. That is, Report In should have "MiddleMouse" as the assigned key. Now every time you want to report in, you can simply click (press down) on the middle mouse button - quick and easy, and prevents a lot of confusion and teamkilling in the game. Also pay attention to the Action button, as you will be using this to open/close doors, pick up weapons and activate objectives.
Under the Options button, it is recommended that you tick the Auto-Swap from Grenade option so that you automatically switch back to your primary weapon after throwing a grenade. The Toggle Lean option when selected will mean that once you press a lean key, you will remain leaning until you press the lean key again. If unselected, pressing lean will mean you only remained leaned left or right as long as you're holding the lean key down.
Mouse Sensitivity: The higher the number, the more sensitive your character movements will be to mouse movements. This setting only applies to the actual game movements and not moving the mouse around the user interface. There is no "correct" setting...it all depends on your mouse, the surface it's on, your general Windows mouse speed and your preference.
Menu Mouse Sensitivity: Just like the above option, the higher the number, the more quickly your cursor will move in response to a mouse movement in the user interface (menus, settings screens, etc.). If you experience some lagging while using the interface this is normal, and is a known issue with this version of AA.
Invert Mouse: Ticking this setting will mean that pushing your mouse forward will make you look down, and pulling your mouse backward will make your character's view tilt upward.
Reduce Mouse Lag: If you have issues with your mouse "lagging" on screen during play, then ticking this option will help resolve them. Unfortunately it will also reduce your performance to some extent, so if you have no mouse lag problems leave it unticked for an increase in fps. The best way to resolve mouse lag is to make sure you have a good ping, and more importantly that you optimize your Video/Audio settings for consistently high fps.
Enable Joystick: Fairly obviously, if you have a joystick connected and wish to use it with this game, you'll need to tick this option, otherwise leave it unticked if you're using the default mouse and keyboard configuration.
The HUD is the Heads Up Display - the area around the screen which shows important information about your soldier and his surroundings. You can choose to hide various elements of the HUD here. Select which to disable according to taste, however I recommend you leave most unticked if you want to be truly effective. You can also change the HUD color and Alpha (color brightness) here, as well as the shape of your crosshair. None of these options have any noticeable effect on graphics performance, so choose whichever suits you best.
Selecting this button gives parents the tools to set up a language filter, turn off all blood in the game, limit play to MILES (simulation laser-tag) servers only, and disallow the ability to play as an advanced marksman (sniper). Once the chosen settings are ticked, a password protection system stops kids from overriding them. Most people don't realise that the Language Filter is selected (on) by default, so if you don't want to use this filter, untick it and make sure the Password and Confirm fields are blank, then click on Set to remove it so you don't see **** everytime someone swears.
Well you're done with the in-game settings. Come back and fine tune them as necessary, but for now we move on to the advanced settings which can't be accessed through the in-game menus.