I think that you'll all have heard of at least some of these things, but it's useful to go over all of the tweaks you can make to TF2 in case there's something in here that you haven't heard of. None of these are essential but I know from experience that some of them are really useful, and when it comes to playing competitive games everything helps.
Field of Vison (FoV)
Let's start with the most basic thing - you'll want your FoV set at the highest possible setting (90 degrees). There are a couple of guys out there who say that a lower FoV makes it easier to aim but if that's even true I think that not being able to see half of what everyone else is seeing is a huge disadvantage. I think that this can be changed in advanced settings or something, if not put 'fov_desired 90' into your console to change set it at 90 degrees.
Other basic settings
This is stuff that you can adjust through your in-game settings. There's stuff in there like automatic reload that I can't think of a good reason to *not* have turned on.* Most of them are self-explanatory so it's worth taking a look through them. People have mixed results with v-sync (under graphics settings), I think that the game feels smoother with it turned off but some people can't stand the screen tearing.
*edit: spy pistol taking up half the screen when it reloads is a good reason actually; see the bit on viewmodels below for that sort of thing
This is mostly personal prefence - I like the default crosshairs, but I have it a bright green colour to keep it distinct from the rest of the map (green usually isn't a prominent colour in TF2). I believe that it's possible to import custom crosshairs but I haven't tried it (and I'm not sure where to find them
), it's just something you might want to look into
You might want to take a look at disco crosshairs
, a script that changes your crosshair colour depending on which direction you're strafing and whether or not you're firing - the theory is that having it constantly change colour helps you focus on it. Some people (particularly scouts) swear by it but I don't think it's that
You can change the position of your weapon model on your screen with the 'viewmodel_fov' console setting. The slider in the options bar only goes as high as 70 degrees because that's as high as the game can allow before the viewmodel starts to look a bit weird, but if you set it a bit higher (I use viewmodel_fov 90 myself) you can see a little more of the screen. Personally I think it makes aiming a bit easier too but that's probably just a psychological thing.
A lot of people like to play with viewmodels turned off so they can see what's going on the bottom right of the screen. Untick the 'draw viewmodels' box in advanced options to turn them off completely. However, there are scripts out there that allow you to use viewmodels for some weapons but not for others (e.g, turn off the viewmodel on your primary weapon whilst keeping it on for your melee). This
is this first thing I found but there are probably loads of similar scripts out there that accomplish the same thing.
Highly recommended! Have a browse through the ones on the ETF2L forums
and see what you like the look of. At the moment I'm using rayshud
but I've used several different ones before.
edit: take a look at huds.tf
, it's a nice way to browse for new huds.
While most HUDs have an optional 9v9/12v12 size scoreboard some only have a scoreboard optimised for 6v6 play - I'd recommend avoiding these as it's a smaller scoreboard that only displays 6 players per team, which is no good for highlander.
There was a while just after the steampipe update that a lot of HUDs had outdated installation instructions. I imagine that most of them have been updated by now but it's something to look out for. Installing them is really easy anyway.
Most big TF2 updates break custom HUDs. Most authors update their HUDs pretty quickly after release so you can just re-download the new version (or a different HUD altogether after deleting the files for the old one), or if you want to go back to the standard TF2 HUD then just delete the folders you installed for the custom HUD and then TF2 should re-download the original HUD when you start it. (Or, to re-download it without starting TF2, open up your steam library > right click TF2 > properties > local files > verify integrity of game cache).
Changing the hitsound
Not something that will make a huge difference to your gameplay but you might like it anyway. You can change the standard 'Ding!' hitsound to whatever you want - a lot of people like to use the old Quake hitsound. I haven't done this before so go and google it if you want to find out more.
Believe me when I say that playing TF2 with a full 60fps all the time makes life *much* easier (put cl_showfps in console to check what your FPS is). If you're using an older PC or a laptop or something and can't get 60fps on the lowest graphic settings there are FPS configs that lower the graphical settings even further. The go-to in the past has been Chris's FPS configs
but as he's no longer updating them I'm not sure if they still work or what the replacement might be. You should be able to find something on the ETF2L forums or somewhere anyway.
As an aside, even if you're having FPS problem I recommend keeping your resolution as high as possible. It won't affect your FoV, exactly, but it helps your vision anyway.
Mouse and sensitivity
There are about a zillion discussions out there about optimising your sensitivity and other related settings. This one
and this one
cover a lot of ground between them.
If those are tl;dr then there's a general consensus that the lower your sensitivity is the better (for deathmatching anyway, it's different for classes like medic who are more focussed on movement and looking around all the time) at least until you get to *really* low levels. The reason is that it makes it easier to follow your opponent's movement with crosshair, which is a more consistent method of aiming than just flicking from one shot to the next. Of course different things work for different people and there are very few people out there who can track their targets perfectly - Cookye's one of them and the yanks think he's a hacker
- but unless you're on a low sens already I recommend at least trying out a lower sens, I know that it made aiming much easier for me when I tried it.
I'm assuming that just about everyone has invested in a decent gaming mouse by now. If you haven't, get one, they're MILES better than a standard desktop mouse. If you want a recommendation I can vouch for the Logitech MX518 - much of choosing a mouse is personal preference but what I can say is that although the MX518 one of the cheapest gaming mouses out there, it's equal or better than many more expensive mouses. Plus it's pretty much bombproof: Razer's are notorious for breaking all the time but this thing is going to be around for longer than I am.
I'm happy with vanilla settings but some people find that adjusting stuff like their polling rates makes the game feel more comfortable for them. Google is your friend for this one as I don't know much about this.
There's probably loads of stuff that I've missed, particularly class-specifics configs and scripts (mostly cos I just don't use them). Places like the ETF2L forums, SPUF and the teamfortress wiki are good places to start looking for them.
Hope you guys get at least something out of this