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Battlefield Bad Company 2 : Tweaking and Optimizing Guide

by: Gabriel Rose ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Most of the problems that people have with BC2 stem from the fact that it is horribly optimized for PCs. There's a lot that can be done simply by editing the settings.ini file and changing some parameters.

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    Battlefield Bad Company 2 : Problems and Bad Optimization

    BFBC2 Box Art   Battlefield Bad Company 2 is DICE’s most recent addition to the Battlefield series. Featuring the in-house developed Frostbite engine and an improved Destruction 2.0 engine that allows destruction of cover elements, Bad Company 2 was a huge success. There have been a lot of issues involving Battlefield Bad Company 2 problems, and for the most part many of those problems haven’t been addressed by DICE. The Bad Company 2 community has come up with many different ways to optimize Bad Company 2 and pull out as many FPS (Frames Per Second) as possible. Most of these changes will occur in the settings file for BC2.

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    Before Editing Your Settings File

    Make sure to back up your original settings file in case something goes wrong and you forget the default values. Re-installing the game or finding a default settings.ini file online is a pain and will only exacerbate your frustration with the game.

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    ATi Video Card Users

    If your game is crashing on startup, simply run the game by right clicking and selecting Run As Administrator. This should solve your startup problems. ATi users can get a significant FPS boost by setting their Catalyst A.I. to Max.

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    Finding Your Settings.ini

    First things first, we have to locate the game settings folder. Bad Company 2 has a very limited settings UI in-game, so we’re going to go through the actual text file and change some values. You’re looking for a file called Settings.ini. This can be found in C:/Users/<Username>/Documents/BFBC2. You’re going to use Notepad to open this file:BFBC2 Location  

    Settings.ini Location  

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    Guaranteed Performance Tweaks

    Once you’ve opened up your settings.ini file, there are some things you can change that are confirmed to improve performance by varying amounts. This is what your settings.ini file should look like:Settings.ini  

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    Render Ahead Limit

    Render Ahead Limit   You can change the renderaheadlimit to 0 instead of 2. This will change the amount of frames your CPU will pre-render and send to your GPU. Turning this down can really increase performance, but it’ll give an odd effect that some may not be able to stand. Certain textures and objects won’t render completely until you get closer to them, and some effects may look fuzzy. This is due to your GPU rendering everything on the fly without storing any frames in the CPU beforehand.

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    HSAO   Change "HSAO=true" to false – HSAO is a form of Horizon Based Ambient Occlusion. Basically, it calculates light in places that direct light doesn’t reach. It has an incredibly minimal effect on what you see, and a very large effect on your performance. Turning this off could give you as much as +10 FPS, and most people barely notice the difference in visual quality. Even if you do, the increase in the performance will make you forget what it looked like beforehand.

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    Setting Your DirectX Version

    Dx Version   Add "DxVersion=9" to the list (without quotes) – This will force BC2 to run in DirectX 9, which will prevent crashes and improve performance substantially. The only downside to running BC2 in DX9 is the loss of anti-aliasing capabilities in-game. This can be altered by changing values in your Nvidia Control Panel or the ATi Catalyst. Expect gains of around 10 FPS from switching to DX9. The difference in visuals besides AA is negligible. The only difference is in water rendering and undergrowth shadows. This is one of the Bad Company 2 tweaks that can really make a difference in your performance.


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    Anisotropic Filtering

    Anisotropic Filtering   Aniso=2 - Set this to 0 to disable Anisotropic filtering This sets the value for how many passes of Anisotropic Filtering should be rendered for each frame. Strangely enough, most people have reported that setting this between 8x and 16x actually improves performance. Experiment with these settings and work with those that offer the most increase in performance. The values in settings.ini are not direct values. 0 is off, 1 is 2x, 2 is 4x, 3 is 8x, and 4 is 16x filtering.

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    Overgrowth Overgrowth=Medium – This will reduce the quality of overgrowth to medium settings. In maps where there is a lot of overgrowth, this will increase performance substantially. This is really a situational edit. In maps like Cold War, this won't make too much of a difference. For some of these Bad Company 2 tweaks, you really need to pay attention to what maps you play most.

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    Water   Water=Medium – Sets water quality to Medium. There isn’t a whole lot of visible water in the game, and you won’t be looking at it very often, so setting this to Medium will offer a performance increase without sacrificing much eye candy.

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    Bloom   Setting Bloom to false will give you a slight boost in performance. The main advantage in turning it off is if you aren't fond of the bloom effects. Often they're overdone and can make sighting your enemies incredibly difficult due to unrealistic brightness. Bloom effects are what make the game's lights reflect off of surfaces and cause that 'glow' effect on objects. Bloom is incredibly strong in Bad Company 2, and it is recommended to turn it off unless you are incredibly fond of it.

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    Closing Comments

    Battlefield Bad Company 2 Title   Play around with the other settings if you still aren’t getting the performance you want. All of these settings affect performance to some degree, but most of them are system-specific. To get exact numbers for your FPS gain, use a program such as Fraps to get a FPS counter in the corner of your screen. If changing your settings.ini isn’t giving you the control you want, or you would prefer to use a graphical application, there are third party BC2 configurators out there that offer more Bad Company 2 tweaks. EM Clan's Bad Company 2 Configurator is one of the more popular ones out there. In the end, it's up to you to decide the visual quality you're willing to sacrifice for performance. Now we wait with bated breath for the day where we have to do the same thing with Battlefield 3!

    Performance info sourced from : EA Bad Company 2 Forums

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Troublshooting

Problems running Battlefield: Bad Company 2? Or perhaps you just want to optimize its performance. Check out this series of articles to solve some of these common problems.
  1. Why Does My Sound Cut Out In Battlefield 2 Bad Company? - A Simple Guide To Solving Sound Problems In BF2:BC
  2. Battlefield Bad Company 2 PC - Fix Mouse
  3. Battlefield Bad Company 2 : Tweaking and Optimizing Guide