Page Location: Home > Guides > Unreal Tournament: Performance Tweak Guide

Game Guides

Unreal Tournament: Performance Tweak Guide

by: lordnikon

If you play Dreamcast UT, then you know the game can sometimes run great, and othertimes the framerate can slowdown to a crawl. There is a reason for this. Not every map in Dreamcast UT was ported by the same person, and not every map has the same "spacial" qualities. Some maps even run as slow as 10-15 frames per second the entire match. Luckily Dreamcast UT has 69 maps available, so you can choose to never use certain maps, and still have plenty left to play.
  1. Background Information
  2. Command Prompt Preparation
  3. Disable Decals Command
  4. Framerate Display Command
  5. Reconnect Command
  6. Deathmatch Maps - The Top 13
  7. Deathmatch Maps - Average
  8. Deathmatch Maps - Too Close
  9. Deathmatch Maps - Laggy
  10. Deathmatch Maps - Ultra Laggy
  11. Domination Maps
  12. Capture the Flag Maps

1. Background Information

I personally tested every map in the game, comparing their framerate performance by eye, and then sorted the maps based on how well they played. Because Dreamcast UT does not allow for an "average" framerate display, I spent hours comparing maps. Luckily the indicator changes colors depending on the framerate. Without the color variation, it would have been extremely difficult to sort these maps. I did have to compensate during the sorting process due to the lack of an average framerate option. Most of the maps are sorted into categorical groups, and then alphabetically. The Top 13 DM maps, DOM maps, and CTF maps are all sorted in a ranked hierarchy. Any maps with the same number represent a tie.

Each map was tested using 3 bots, set to skilled difficulty level, without any input commands or tweaks. Feel free to use the map list below to experiment, and see which maps will support more bots with the least decrease in performance. Some maps will handle a full bot count better than others. In the end, I would recommend sticking to a 3 bot limit. This keeps the game running smooth, and also is comparable to the same bot restrictions that Outtrigger and Quake 3 use. (Note: DM map Phobos only allows you to play against a single bot.)

This map list will be especially useful during splitscreen matches where framerate is a real concern. I added designations showing whether a map is available for splitscreen, and whether it can support 2 players or more. If you did not already know, not every map is available during splitscreen play. The list truncates depending on the player count.

In addition to the map list, I have a new input command that it will boost Dreamcast UT's framerate by 5 to 7 frames per second during single player matches. You will probably soon wonder, "Why didn't anyone think of this before?" Well nobody had documented this information, until now. It is a rather logical command, but actually took me a while to locate it. The command was just as elusive for the PC version of Unreal Tournament, which even UT technical websites I read failed to mention. After some testing, I figured out the correct command and was extremely pleased with the results. By toggling this in the middle of a match, you will immediatly see the results.

2. Command Prompt Preparation

To enter a command in Dreamcast UT, you will need an actual hardware keyboard. The onscreen keyboard will not work because you have to pull off a keystroke sequence to get a valid command prompt. To do this, first press T to chat. Now press Esc then the space bar immediatly after. If you do it correctly, you should now see an empty prompt. You are now ready to enter valid commands into Dreamcast UT. Commands can be entered this way on both the North American and PAL release of Dreamcast Uneal Tournament.

3. Disable Decals Command

In most first person shooters, textures often called "Decals" are left all over the map. Decals include: blood splatter, bullet holes, fire burns, and impact craters. These elements can greatly affect in-game performance. The following command will completely remove all decal textures, increasing the framerate anywhere from 5 to 7 fps on any given map! The good part is, you will still have the bloody gibs from destroying an enemy. The drawback is, because the Dreamcast flushes out its ram during map changes, you will have to re-enter the command before every single round. Honestly, having used the command for quite sometime now, it is not that big of a hassle to regularly enter it once you have it memorized. To disable the Decals you must enter it exactly as it is written, including upper and lowercase. It is case sensitive.

I should point out that decals are disabled by default in all splitscreen matches. So you do not have to enter this command when playing splitscreen. Also I stress caution if you are planning to make secondary backup copy of this game with the command set to false in the config files. You might be permanently turning it off for single player, but permanently enabling it for multi-player, since the game might toggle the value rather than set it to False. So if it toggles, then False would be set to True.

set DCDrv.DCClient Decals False

4. Framerate Display Command

Entering the following command will display the current framerate. The word choice used here is interesting. I wonder if this was an inside joke at Secret Level as they were developing the game. It will display the framerate number in a variety of color designations (see below). This command is not case sensitive.
  • 30-60 = Blue
  • 20-29 = Green
  • 15-19 = Yellow
  •   0-14 = Red

5. Reconnect Command

It can be a pain to go back to the start menu after every round. If you are playing in one of your favorite maps, and want to keep on playing, there is no reason you should have to go back to the start menu and reconfigure everything. This command solves all of this and lets you restart the match again. The command is not case sensitive. Please be aware that since the map is reloading the ram gets flushed out, so you will have to re-disable decals after the map loads.


6. Deathmatch Maps - The Top 13

This list comprises the best Deathmatch Maps in Unreal Tournament for the Dreamcast. They run extremely well, and after you disable the decals, they will run even better. Most of these maps have low poly counts, and rooms that keep intense battles separated which allows for a smooth framerate.
Map Rank Splitscreen Max Humans
Damnation 1 Yes 4
Loathing 2 Yes 4
Flux 2 Yes 4
Paladin 3 Yes 4
Depot 4 Yes 4
Sector 9 4 Yes 4
Brickyard 4 Yes 2
Deck16 4 no -
Codex 4 no -
Industrial 5 no -
Barricade 5 no -
Core 6 Yes 4
Cold Steel Pressure 6 Yes 4

7. Deathmatch Maps - Average

The average maps have decent framerates. Their performance also varies throughout the match. Sometimes the framerate will be pretty good. Other times when viewing across a room the draw distance can cut down the framerate. So with these maps you can get some good matches out of them, but the framerate will drop in many areas.
Map Splitscreen Max Humans
Agony no -
Canyon Fear Yes 4
Curse no -
Girder Yes 4
Halberd no -
Hyperblast no -
Infernal Yes 4
Liandri no -
Malevolence no -
Morbias Yes 4
Nebula no -
Phobos no -
Pressure Yes 2
Underlord Yes 4

8. Deathmatch Maps - Too Close

The Too Close maps are a prime example of what can make Dreamcast UT's framerate lag. These are all very small maps, with a low poly count. One would think these maps would be very smooth. In-fact, it is the complete opposite. Most of these maps have central areas which force players to battle within the same space. This causes the framerate to plummet. You have flak cannon ammo, bullet marks, blood, gibs, and every other item in the game being projected from yourself and the 3 bots in 1 central location. This is very interesting, because instead of porting pre-existing maps, the developers could have created new low poly maps which isolated player battles, rather than forcing them all into a single area.
Map Splitscreen Max Humans
Babylon no -
Dust Yes 4
Google Yes 4
HealPod no -
Instinct Yes 4
NeoTokyo Yes 4
Oblivion Yes 4
Sorayama Yes 2
SpaceNoxx no -
Station Control Yes 4

9. Deathmatch Maps - Laggy

These maps have too many polys. Extra items such as boxes, bridges, plants, moving textures, and steel structures all cause these maps to seriously lag. Where as the Too Close maps all suffered from too many decals and weapon objects being on the screen at once, these maps suffer from map geometry and draw distance. Toss in the decals and weapon fragments and you have a recipe for sluggish framerates.
Map Splitscreen Max Humans
Block Party Yes 2
Gearbox no -
Megaplex Yes 2
Pantheon no -
Singularity Yes 2
Stalwart Yes 2
StalwartXL no -

10. Deathmatch Maps - Ultra Laggy

I often wonder how these maps even made it into the game. They are practically unplayable. Morpheus is a low-grav space map, with multiple buildings. The action, draw distance, and poly count send the map dropping to as low as 7 frames per second when using the pulse rifle's secondary fire. If you want a decent space map to play, just go and play Spacenoxx (a Too Close map). Outskirts was one of the unlockable SegaNet maps. This map should have stayed locked. It must have a high poly count, because it's framerate is extremely poor. The best advice is to play these maps once in a while, and restrict them to 1 or 2 bots.
Map Splitscreen Max Humans
Morpheus no -
Outskirts no -

11. Domination Maps

These maps are sorted and ranked by framerate performance.
Map Rank Splitscreen Max Humans
Lament 1 Yes 4
Osiris 1 Yes 4
Gearbolt 2 no -
Hood 3 Yes 4
Coagulate 3 Yes 4
Gharden 4 no -
Cinder 5 no -
Olden 6 no -
Condemned 7 no -

12. Capture the Flag Maps

These maps are sorted and ranked by framerate performance. Face and Face 2 have poor framerates due to the extreme draw distance.
Map Rank Splitscreen Max Humans
Phalanx 1 Yes 4
Sepulchre 2 Yes 4
Spirito 2 Yes 4
Stormfront 2 Yes 4
Coret 3 no -
Sundial 4 Yes 4
EternalCave 4 no -
Dreary 4 no -
Command 5 no -
Niven 6 no -
Gauntlet 7 no -
LavaGiant 9 no -
Face 11 no -
Face2 11 no -
Page Location: Home > Guides > Unreal Tournament: Performance Tweak Guide