Aside from the in-game settings, you can adjust some additional "hidden" settings and resolve a problem or two through the configuration (.con) files for BF1942. These are all located in various folders, typically under the C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\Battlefield 1942\Mods\bf1942\Settings directory. You can edit these .con files with Wordpad (recommended) or Notepad. Before you change any file, back it up first - that is, copy it and rename it e.g. Videodefault.Real_con. That way if anything goes wrong, you won't lose the original settings and I won't get angry emails.
I cover the settings you can change below, but if a setting can be changed using the in-game menus, I recommend you do it there instead of in the .con files, and I won't cover such settings in this section (See In-Game settings for more details). Also, as a general rule, don't change any of the files in the \Default\ folders, as these hold the game's default settings.
This is an important setting. By default it is set to 0, however if you have a refresh rate fix installed in WinXP/Win2K (so your refresh rate can exceed 60Hz - which I recommend), then BF1942 will not start up unless you change this setting to 1. I recommend you change it to 1 in any case, as it will improve performance and ease eye strain by utilising the monitor's maximum refresh rate at your chosen resolution.
If you're having graphics problems, try inserting this line into the con file to disable trilinear filtering (and use bilinear filtering). When set to 0, bilinear is used. If absent or set to 1, trilinear is used (which is the default). Disabling trilinear can help Radeon users (and some older GeForce card users) in gaining extra performance with no noticeable graphics quality loss.
If for some reason you want to start BF1942 in a window as opposed to full screen, set this to 0 to do so. This is not recommended however, as you may experience problems.
The default is 1. Values between 0 up to 1 (e.g. 0.85) will give you a closer (zoomed right in) Field of View (FOV) than normal, while values over 1 (e.g. 1.5) will give you a farther FOV than normal. Experiment with values close to 1 to see if it suits you better than the default.
LOD is the Level of Detail. As objects get further away from the camera, the number of polygons rendered by the graphics card will be gradually reduced without any noticeable reduction in detail. This improves performance, particularly with large numbers of objects on the screen. The Global LOD Radius setting determines the radius around the character (imagine a bubble) beyond which LOD starts to reduce (at a rate based on the scale factor below). The higher this setting - given a constant (non-zero) scale factor - the higher the graphics details on objects, but the lower your fps. Increase this setting if you want crisper, more detailed objects around you, but at the cost of some fps. The default is 1, which is the lowest practical setting.
Having set the radius beyond which the Level of Detail begins to drop (see above), the LOD Radius Scale Factor setting determines the rate at which polygons are stripped from objects the further away they are from the camera outside this radius. The default is 5. Values lower than 5 decrease LOD decay (meaning higher graphics quality), values higher than 5 increase it (meaning lower graphics quality). If you want the absolute best level of detail, at the expense of some fps, choose 0, which means no reduction in LOD regardless of distance. The default 5 is a good balance, but experiment with slightly lower or higher values (e.g. 4 or 6) to see which increases your fps at the cost of minimal, if any, noticeable reduction in graphics quality.
This option is the same as the one explained in the Console Commands section below. Setting it to 1 will automatically display game engine statistics when BF1942 loads up. You can turn off this display at any time by using the same command in the console with a 0 setting.
Mipmap bias determines how clear the textures appear. The lower the value, the sharper the textures, with values ranging from -8 to 14. Experiment with different values (note however that values above 0 typically strip away too many textures) to see the impact on visual quality and performance. Note this line doesn't exist in the Videodefault.con file by default, so you'll have to add it if you want to set a custom mipmapbias level at startup.
Determines which level loads up by default as BF1942 is loading. You can change the default name at the end of the directory path to the map you want to load (e.g. Bf1942/Levels/Berlin/). I particularly recommend Berlin because it's the smallest map in total size to load and hence will speed up loading and minimize memory usage at startup. Deleting this line or pointing to a non-existent map loads up Midway by default.
Turns off the Menu screen on loadup if set to 0. Useful for troubleshooting, as you will now see which files are loading up as BF1942 loads, how much memory is being taken up, and (if the game crashes during loadup) how far the game progressed the load before hitting a problem. Leave at default if not troubleshooting.
Turns off the Heads Up Display (HUD) at loadup if set to 0. This is similar to the console command. Turning off the HUD improves performance but removes important information, so it's recommended you leave the HUD on.
When set to 0, this setting allows use of callback functions to debug the program for troubleshooting purposes. Leave it at default of 1 for best performance.
The above two .con files are the main global settings which affect performance. The remaining .con files either do not affect performance or contain settings which can be changed in the In-Game menus, and so won't be covered here. I do not recommend editing any setting you can access through In-Game menus.
Skipping the Introductory Movies
The introductory movies in BF1942 showing the EA and DICE logos and the long main movie sequence are fun to watch the first few times. However they add to memory overhead and certainly add to loadup times. You can quickly and easily skip these movies automatically each time you start BF1942 by right-clicking on your BF1942 game icon and selecting Properties. Then in the Target box you'll see something like: "C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\Battlefield 1942\BF1942.exe". Now simply put a space after the last character and add "+restart 1" (without the quotes).
If for some reason that doesn't work, the second method to skip the intro movies is to go to your Movies folder (typically C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\Battlefield 1942\Movies) and rename the existing .bik movie files to something else. This method may only work if you're using a No-CD patch.
Either way, now each time you run BF1942 you will rapidly be taken directly to the Menu screen where you can load a user profile and get underway in much less time.