Designed for 1024x768


Visual CVARs Names, Values(Range or Toggle), Default Values, Explanations
and Performance considerations
based on
3Dfx Interactive's
running 3Dfx's MiniGL driver


last updated
8 April 1999







First of all,the author is in no way affiliated with Valve Software.Some correspondence between the author and members of the Valve team helped with this guide.The information contained herein,however, are through the author’s investigative work (either his own or through info gathered from various sources) and by no means are they to be assumed entirely correct or accurate nor have I sought Valve Software’s verification on the correctness and accuracy of the information
Er ….did that come out right?


Download this guide plus ready-made configs


_   This is a pretty long read so if you want to continue your surfing, click the button below and read this later:  
Download the entire package,including ready-made configs!!!


Downloading the Guide would get you this document in its entirety plus 3 ready-made configs : 
the game's Default, this Guide's recommendation and one for Lower-end machines.



Before things kick off.....


Patches...always get'em

First of all, always get the latest Half-Life patch. Every iteration of this guide is based on the latest patch. As of the date of this guide, it's v1.0.0.9 . Go to Planet Half-Life for the latest.    

What the guide's about and how to read it

Okay, the below cvars (console variables) are pertinent to the look of the game and I list only those that matter. However,   
I also list some that don’t – either because the cvar is available but not part of the game’s GL routines i.e. it’s unavailable in the current Half-Life version or that it’s a hardware/driver limitation of the Voodoo2 but listed just the same in case ….   
What is listed is my configuration for best visual and image quality. Those that are important will have a .gif that say so but are not listed in order of importance since many cvars combine to make up the final visual effect. The value in bracket is the default, like so:   

1. gl_texsort 1(0) Toggle - 1 is my recommendation, 0 is default 

Cvars not covered are most of the client-side and server-side values such as various cl_xxxx (with the exception of one listed below), sv_xxxx, fps_xxxx and such other.This document is concerned purely with the visual aspect of the game and how some of these affect performance. I’ll mark the beginning of a performance comment of each cvar with a ** and in redAlso,please read everything carefully as some settings don't work on-the-fly and require a game restart. Settings that require a restart will be mentioned.   

Please note that my settings are what I consider to be the optimal - they improve the visuals of the game but not to the extent that it renders the game unrecognizable even to Valve. 


A 3D primer (sorta)...

Now, this document will attempt to describe in very basic language what each cvar is and do. However, there are some technical terms mentioned here and there and if you don't dig them, don't worry. Each techie term is linked to a section further on which ,again, will attempt a layman's description. Just click them and you'll be taken there. For example: Do you know that Half-Life is based on the Quake/Quake2 game-engine ? (click game-engine for definition, and when you're in that definitions section,click "game-engine" again to get back up here)   
And if you still don't dig them, my advice is to, well, jes fergedaboudit.   

Drivers, drivers...

Before things kick off,again I'll mention that this is based on the Voodoo2 and is intended for Voodoo2 owners.So before you start implementing my config, please make sure of these things  

(1) DirectX 6 is installed   
(2) Latest 3Dfx Interactive drivers for the Voodoo2 (I'd really prefer 3Dfx's instead of your card-maker's) which contain these:   
Voodoo2 Driver kit Version: 3.01.01   
Glide Driver Version: 2.54   
Glide3 Driver Version: 3.01   
Voodoo2 DirectX Driver Version: 2.18   
Voodoo2 D3D Driver Build Number:   
Voodoo2 Control Panel Applet:   

Get these drivers here  

(3) OpenGL and then from the drop-down menu, 3DfxMiniGL is selected within Half-Life's Video Modes in-game menu. Get the latest (as of the date of this guide) 3DfxMiniGL here  

Alternatively, you could use 3Dfx Interactive's Beta OpenGL ICD. This ICD contains a driver named 3dfxopengl.dll .To use this driver instead of the 3DfxMiniGL driver, copy the 3dfxopengl.dll to C:\Half-Life\gldrv\ folder and rename it to opengl32.dll. Then in (3) above select Default instead of 3DfxMiniGL. Note that the driver is still in beta form and you might experience some graphical anomalies, most notably (with the current Half-Life version) some z-buffer full-range inconsistencies. However, you'll still need to have the GLiDe drivers installed.

(those that really matter) : 


     Go here for currently unsupported cvars and here for cool features.  

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