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Performance Issues

Right-handed and Left-handed Models

Team Fortress 2

To switch to left-handed models in Team Fortress 2, please use this process:
  • Launch Team Fortress 2.
  • Go to Options and then to the Multiplayer tab
  • Click Advanced
  • Check the box next to "Flip viewmodels"


Gold Source games (Counter-Strike, Half-Life)

If you cannot switch your weapon to the right-hand, please go to your advanced video options and change the renderer to either OpenGL or Direct3D. The software renderer does not support right-handed models.

You can select left or right-handed models by typing the following command into the Console:

  • To use your left-hand: cl_righthand 0
  • To use your right-hand: cl_righthand 1

To permanently use left-handed models, you may create a userconfig.cfg file with the cl_righthand 0 command. Please follow these instructions to create a userconfig.cfg file:

  1. Locate the subfolder in your game folder that holds the config.cfg file
    For example, you can find the config.cfg file for Counter-Strike at [Steam installation directory]\steamapps\[your Steam account name]\counter-strike\cstrike\config.cfg
  2. Create a new text file in that directory called userconfig.cfg
  3. Open the file with Notepad and enter cl_righthand 1 (to use the right-handed model) or cl_righthand 0 (to use the left-handed model)
  4. Save the file
  5. Launch the game to test the userconfig.cfg settings


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Setting Client Rates


Client rate settings are useful in troubleshooting lag and poor multiplayer performance. Please see the Troubleshooting Lag topic for further recommendations.

Steam Download Speed

If you notice connection problems during Steam downloads, or want to limit how much bandwidth steam can use, go to the Limit downloads to the following bandwidth drop-down menu in the Download tab in your Steam client's settings pane. You can find it in Steam's File > Settings menu.

Note that the rates listed here are in kilobytes and megabytes a second, while most Internet connections are rated in bits per second.


Game Server Browser Ping Rate

If you have connection problems when you open the Steam server browser, try turning the Game server browser: max pings / minute setting to the minimum, then re-test the issue. If that resolves the problem you are seeing, try testing at higher rates until you find the highest rate that doesn't cause a problem.


In-game Rate

Most connections work well with the default rate, cl_updaterate, and cl_cmdrate settings. Most servers prevent changing your in-game rate settings.

Default Settings vary between games, but the following is a safe baseline for most broadband connections:

  • rate 30000
  • cl_updaterate 20
  • cl_cmdrate 30


Test Script

You may try this test rate settings script to see what different settings do, but the default settings are the best for most internet connection types.


Download this rate.cfg file and put it in your game folder, then add the line exec rate.cfg to your userconfig.cfg file:



Download rate.cfg

56K modems are usually best set to a rate between 3500 to 5000 - you may need to edit some of the rate settings to find the best range for performance.

Once you have loaded the rate.cfg test script you can execute the following commands in the developer's console to determine which rate offers the best performance:

  • rates - see all the current settings
  • dslow - only useful for minimal testing, probably not playable
  • vslow
  • slow
  • norm - default settings
  • fast
  • vfast
  • lfast - LAN and high-speed connections only

You may also use the F2 key to cycle around to all the settings.


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Setting Game Launch Options

Game launch options can be used to change game settings before running the game. Launch options allow the user to supercede internal settings of the game. This is an effective means to recover from incompatible video settings and well as troubleshooting a wide range of issues.

This topic covers setting game launch options from Steam's Library. Launch options may also be set by creating a game shortcut and Setting Steam Launch Options for the shortcut.


Set Launch Options

  1. Right-click on the game title under the Library in Steam and select Properties.
  2. Under the General tab click the Set launch options... button.
  3. Enter the launch options you wish to apply (be sure to separate each code with a space) and click OK.
  4. Close the game's Properties window and launch the game.


Common Launch Options

These launch options apply to Goldsrc and Source engine games only. They do not apply to most third party games.

Please refer to this list of Valve titles for titles that support these launch options

Many Console Commands can function as a launch option by adding a "+" in front of the console command, but some cannot be used in this fashion. The most common launch options are listed below.

  • -autoconfig - Restores video and performance settings to default for the current hardware detected. Ignores settings inside any .cfg files until this parameter is removed.
  • -dev - Enables developer mode. Also disables the automatic loading of menu background maps and stops the quit dialog from appearing on exit.
  • -condebug - Logs all console output into the console.log text file.
  • -console - Starts the game with the developer console enabled.
  • -toconsole - Starts the engine directly in the console, unless a map is specified with +map.
  • -dxlevel <level> - Forces a specific DirectX version when launching the game. This is useful if your graphics hardware is older, and gets significantly better performance in an earlier version of DirectX. Below are the most common modes used:
    • -dxlevel 80
    • -dxlevel 81
    • -dxlevel 90
    • -dxlevel 95
    • -dxlevel 98


      Our games no longer support DirectX 7 as a launch option. Using this can cause crashes. If you are using -dxlevel 70 make sure to remove it from your launch options.

  • -fullscreen - Forces the engine to start in fullscreen mode.
  • -windowed or -sw - Forces the engine to start in windowed mode.
  • -16bpp or -32bpp - Forces the selected color mode (bit depth). GoldSource only
  • -w <width> - Forces the engine to start with resolution set to <width>.
  • -h <height> - Forces the engine to start with resolution set to <height>. This launch option does not need to be set in the presence of -w. The width value with determine the height automatically.
  • -refresh <rate> - Force a specific refresh rate.
  • -heapsize <kilobytes> - Specifies the heapsize (in kilobytes) which the game will use.
  • -nocrashdialog - Suppresses some memory could not be read unhandled errors.
  • -novid or -novideo - When loading a game with this parameter, the intro Valve video will not play.
  • -lv Enables some low violence options in Left 4 Dead.
  • -sillygibs Enables low violence for Team Fortress 2

Launch Options to Adjust Detail Levels and Graphic Rendering

  • +r_rootlod # - Adjusts Model Detail where # is 0 for high, 1 is medium, and 2 for low
  • +mat_picmip # - Adjusts Texture Detail where # is 0 for high, 1 is medium, and 2 for low
  • +mat_reducefillrate # - Adjusts Shader Detail where # is 0 for high and 1 for low
  • +r_waterforceexpensive # - Adjusts Water Detail where # is 0 for low and 1 for high
  • +r_waterforcereflectentities # - Adjusts Water Reflectiveness where # is 0 for low and 1 for high
  • +r_shadowrendertotexture # - Adjusts Shadow Detail where # is 0 for low and 1 for high
  • +mat_colorcorrection # - Adjusts Color Correction where # is 0 for low and 1 for high
  • Filtering Modes:
    • +mat_trilinear 0 - Use Bilinear Mode (least system-intensive)
    • +mat_trilinear 1 - Use Trilinear Mode (more system-intensive)
    • +mat_forceaniso # - Use Trilinear Mode (where # is 2, 4, 8, or 16 - higher levels of filtering require more system resources)
  • +mat_hdr_level # - Adjusts High Dynamic Range lighting effects where # is 0 for "off" (requires least resources) and 2 for "full"

Launch Options for RAGE

  • +r_swapInterval # - Forces V-Sync to be on or off, # is 0 for off and 1 for on
  • +vt_maxPPF # - Adjusts GPU Transcode to improve texture streaming performance where # is 8 for processors with 2 or 4 cores, 16 is processors with 6 or more cores
  • +vt_pageImageSizeUnique 8192 - Increases texture data stored in video memory
  • +vt_pageImageSizeUniqueDiffuseOnly 8192 - Increases texture data stored in video memory
  • +vt_pageImageSizeUniqueDiffuseOnly2 8192 - Increases texture data stored in video memory


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