Launch options - myths and falsifications

Created 17th May 2011 @ 08:58

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It has come to light that people will still put whatever someone tells them to in their launch options with the hope that it will somehow magically boost their game’s performance, but it might come around one day to bite them in the ass. So here’s some stuff so you can educate yourself before you screw around with your launch options.

-dxlevel … – Sets the both the version of DirectX being used, and appropriate in-game content for that version. DON’T JUST PUT SOME RANDOM NUMBER IN AND HOPE TO GET LUCKY.

* If you want to use DirectX 8, use -dxlevel 81. -dxlevel 80 has a few graphical bugs (especially related to overlays) which are fixed by -dxlevel 81, but other than that there isn’t much difference.
* If you want to use DirectX 9, use -dxlevel 90 or -dxlevel 95. Don’t bother with -dxlevel 98 unless you’re a quality nerd, you’ll get negligible benefit for a sizeable performance loss.
Some people have got evangelical about about putting the dxlevel directly into the registry instead of your launch options. You can input it wherever you like, just remove it afterwards.

-heapsize …Do not use this. Valve even removed it from the OB engine because it was so pointless, but people still insist on perpetuating some myth that it drastically increases performance. It doesn’t, and it never did. The reality is it likely contributed to a lot of crashes for people using it, because in reality they had a very misguided view of what it actually does. Even when it did work, heapsize was automatically set by the engine. Overriding it with some nonsense value like “half your RAM size” was nonsense.

-high – Sets the game to high priority. Can cause input latency if it begins to compete with device drivers. If you get better performance using this option, then you should really work on fixing the cause rather than upping TF2’s priority. Usually if this increases performance it means that you have either a lot of programs running in the background taking up resources, or you have some program eating all of your cycles (your antivirus would be the main culprit).

-full – Sets the game to full screen. Fine.

-sw, -windowed – Sets the game to windowed mode. Fine.

-novid – Removes the video at the beginning. Fine.

-w, -h, -width, -height – Sets width/height. Fine.

-console – Opens console on launch. Fine.

-nojoy – Doesn’t even work in the OB engine. Pointless.

-noipx – Valve removed IPX support from the OB engine. Pointless.

-32bit – TF2 only has a 32-bit client anyway. Pointless.

-useforcedmparms, -noforcemaccel, -noforcemspd – Has no effect on operating systems post-Windows 2000. The first simply allows -noforcemaccel and -noforcemspd. The latter two disable game-specific accel/speed settings, respectively.

-noforcemparms – Was renamed to useforcedmparms, as the name was misleading.

-32bpp – No. Just no.

-nosync – Doesn’t even exist in the Source engine, but some people still insist on using it.

-freq, -refresh – STOP. USING. IT. The frequency used is, by default, the same as used at the desktop. Don’t screw with it, or if Valve removes the restriction to allow -freq to change frequency outside of range some day, a lot of people around here will end up with broken monitors because they entered the thing without understanding what it does.

-gl – Launch the game in OpenGL… except for the fact that OpenGL isn’t supported on Windows, and it’s the only mode on Mac OSX. So this does literally nothing in either case. Pointless.

-threads – Don’t screw with it. It probably won’t do anything for you, and if it does, you’ll probably only cause issues for yourself.

-nocrashdialog – If TF2 crashes, it won’t display a crash dialog. No performance benefit. Do you want to make it harder to debug, or what?

So stop using all of this nonsense. You wouldn’t defecate in your own birthday cake because someone told you it was nutritious, so stop gulping down the crap people tell you like there’s no tomorrow. Thanks.

Last edited by octochris,



And why should I listen to YOU??

jk well done



You should leave the TF2 scene more often

Spike Himself


Stickied this.



umad chris. y u mad?



very informative though, just slightly aggressive :D



I knew it, I just knew that if someone even DARED to oppose him about launch options he’d make a thread about it…

Have you really got nothing better to do?


A very informative post. Whiners can go to their frag clip thread.



Quoted from Pikachu

I knew it, I just knew that if someone even DARED to oppose him about launch options he’d make a thread about it…

Have you really got nothing better to do?



Thanks chris, cleared up alot of issues





Quoted from octochris

-sf, -full – Sets the game to full screen. Fine.

-nojoy – Doesn’t even work in the OB engine. Fine, but pointless.

-threads – Another one for the ‘what on earth are you doing’ bin. This launch option doesn’t exist, and if it did, you shouldn’t screw with it.

-sf doesn’t exist
-nojoy doesn’t exist
-threads do exist and it works.



Quoted from AnAkkk


-sf doesn’t exist
-nojoy doesn’t exist
-threads do exist and it works.


– -sf is a mistype (removed)
– “-nojoy doesn’t exist” is exactly what I just said in the quote…
– -threads is not listed in , and has no effect when I test it on my system



good job :)



good job, thanks!

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