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Usually the skulls chase the Doomers!
Usually the skulls chase the Doomers!

FFA Forum Game 08/21/04
What's your favorite kind of frag?
Standard frags using weapons.
Forced cratering.
One-shot room-clearing carnage (BFG + Quad, etc).
Kamikaze grenade rush.

Generations Arena F.A.Q.

This is the "FAQ" (99e version). While some questions may not be frequent, they might be important. This covers common questions that have cropped up from time to time that we feel are important enough to provide. If you have a question it may be answered here, so hold off on that bug report until you've read through this file. Questions are bolded.

General tweaking and troubleshooting

Why do I keep getting kicked with "invalid pk3 files" from the server?

Why does Gen do some really strange stuff when I connect to a server, but not when I play a local game?

Do you have any other .pk3 files in your generations folder besides these?


These are the only official Generations Arena files for the .99e release. No other PK3's should be in your generations folder except for third-party maps. If you have any older Generations Arena pk3 files please delete them.
I'd like to make some custom binds to be used for each different class so I can get to my favorite weapons easier. Is there any way I can do that?

Absolutely! Generations is very config friendly when it comes to per-class keybindings. Take a look at these files:


You can put any custom key bindings in there. Look at the "1" through "0" and "g" keys as indications of what number corresponds to what weapon, and bind accordingly. Please note that the "flipweapon" command is specific to the DOOM WARRIORS class only. Trying to use it for a different class will result in the game complaining to you about it. Otherwise, tweak away!

Every time I change classes I'm back to using either Sarge, Doom, Ranger, Grunt, or Visor, even though I changed models. What gives?

If you're having problems with models "remembering" on class changes check the files mentioned in the previous question. If there are any "model" statements in there remove them. These files execute every time you become the appropriate class, and having any "model" statements in them WILL BREAK model memory since it is setting THAT model every time you changed class. If you fresh installed Gen 99e it should be no problem, but if you copied over old configs from an older version it could be a problem, so double check that.

How come when I try to change models in a Team Deathmatch or CTF game nothing happens, but in FFA or 1vs1 it works fine?

How come when I set my team model my head stays the same as the old model?

How come I can't change headmodels in teamplay?

Quake 3 uses FOUR variables to set models. They are:


In Team Deathmatch or CTF the "team_model" and "team_headmodel" variables are read, NOT the "model" and "headmodel" variables. Also, in teamplay (due to a Team Arena leftover gib in the Q3 code) your team_headmodel will not switch when you change the team_model variable. Normal Quake 3 does this as well. Our solution is to use this command:

/fmodel [model/skin]

What is "fmodel"? It's mainly just a convenience command we added. This will set ALL FOUR model variables to the same thing, so regardless if you're in teamplay or FFA it will ALWAYS set your model and head to what you specefy. If you want to use a different headmodel you'll have to assign that manually of course. Gen DOES have the capacity to remember separate team models, so if you want to use a different model for Teamplay for a specific class than you do for FFA you'll have to manually set the variables as in normal Q3 instead of using "fmodel". Also note that headmodels do NOT remember independantly of your body. If you were Doom/red and used the Biker/default headmodel, the next time you become a Doom Warrior you'll have Doom/red for your body and Doom/red for your head again.

That sounds complicated. Can't I just use the menu?

Absolutely. The Generations Arena menu for 99e is the recommended method for changing models and skins. Note that in TEAMPLAY you will see your TEAM model. If you are in the main setup menu or are spectating the model skins will default to RED, but the proper team color will display once you join a team. Please note that headmodels must still be set manually at this time.

How come the guy attacking me shows a circle and a slash over his face?

Any time someone changes class, naturally their model changes too. It has to. In order to prevent the game from "hitching", or stuttering whenever someone does this it defers the loading of their model to a safe time. Generations will wait until you either die or bring up the scoreboard before loading player models. In the mean time, you will see the default model for the particular class running around. In spectator mode models will load instantly unless you are "following" another player.

How come I keep seeing "This model cannot be used for this class... forcing default"?

This is Gen's way to prevent the wrong model being shown on the wrong class. Let's say you're a Doom Warrior, and you type the following:

/fmodel biker/cadavre

Biker is one of the Earth Soldiers, so he can't be used if you're a Doom Warrior. This message informs you that you tried to pick a model that does not work for the class you belong to. It will load the default model for the time being until you select a model that DOES work for that class.

I keep trying to change to my favorite model, but it's saying "Cannot find animation2.cfg file for model. Forcing default." What does this mean?

Each model in Generations has a file associated with it called "animation2.cfg". In future releases of Generations it will also feature a list of new animation stances so that our combatants can hold their pistols out properly, lob grenades, heft BFG's in a more realistic manner, carry TWO gatling guns (yes, TWO) at the same time from third person view, swing axes with force, slash with knives, and throw punches like they mean it. When this is complete we'll release a SDK for modelers to make their favorite models compatible with whichever class in Generations they like, or build future models with the new stances in mind. Right now it just controls which class the model belongs to. While someone could add an animation2.cfg to a third party model and get it to work we do not encourage nor do we support third-party model conversions to work with this system at present.

Can I use my favorite skins with Gen?

Yes! For the existing models available in Generations we FULLY support skins.

Can I switch handedness for the Strogg Troopers?

Yes! This is an entirely new feature for .99e. Just use the "/hand" variable as outlined under the Console Commands section of the manual.

I keep getting "INVALID CD_KEY. MISSING CD_KEY?" messages. Is that a Punkbuster issue? Is that a Generations issue?

No. This is a CD key issue with communicating to Id's master server. Generations does not require the use of a CD key to play the mod (we assume you own a legal copy of Quake 3, and if you don't then shame on you). However, if the server admin has set sv_strictauth to "1" the server that you are connecting to requires your computer to talk to Id's master server to make sure you're not using a banned or invalid CD key. This is up to the server admin, we neither encourage nor discourage this requirement. Like anything, even Id's computers get squirrely once in a while, so be patient and keep trying.


Why do the maps in Gen look kind of dull compared to normal Q3?

This was a requirement under 99c and before to have the following variable set:

r_mapoverbrightbits 0

This was mainly to correct a blinding issue with the Doom invulnerability and is no longer required. You can return Generations to normal Quake 3 lighting with the following command:

/r_mapoverbrightbits 1

We recommend this setting. You will need to restart Generations in order for this change to take effect. You will almost certainly need to lower your gamma correction slightly afterwards.

Doom's invulnerability blinds me! It turns the entire screen white, so white I can't see ANYTHING! What should I do?

This should be corrected in version 99d and later. You can still check your r_overbrightbits setting. If 0, try setting to 1, or vice-versa. You probably just need to lower your gamma correction.

That didn't help!

Try setting this value HIGHER by a number:


It will wash out the maps a tad, but it should allow you to see with the invulnerability. If you've tried all this and are still having serious problems, talk to us in #wirehead on and we'll do our best to help you in person.

Rocket explosions and other dynamic lights are going crazy colors on me! What's going on?

Open the console and type this:

/r_finish "1". Bear in mind this does enable vertical syncing, so if you notice a framerate drop it is a limitation imposed by your monitor's refresh rate.

I'm trying to load a map but it's lagging forever!

If you're having trouble getting stuck at "awaiting snapshot" for excessive periods of time try the following.

open your q3config.cfg file, and look for this line:

seta r_ext_compressed_textures

If 0, set to 1. Reload Generations. You should no longer get stuck at "awaiting snapshot". If you still experience slow load times try to make sure nothing else is running in the background that might be pulling resources away from your game. Please note that Generations uses a LOT of high definition models and textures, so they will take a bit longer to load than normal Quake 3 will.

Gen looks great, but my framerate is in the cellar. Can you help?

While we want people to play Gen with full-tilt eyecandy whenever possible, we do realize that computers are not all-powerful and are subject to many limitations, even with the fastest video cards and processors. If you are experiencing slow framerates in Generations, try the following:

Reduce FSAA and/or Anisotropic Filtering, expecially at ultra-high resolutions like 1280x1024.

Try lowering your resolution to 1024x768, or 800x600. If that helps, start with a stable, fast resolution that you're happy with and start adding options to that.

Try setting cg_dlightlevel to a lower number. Plasma and blaster bolts can load the scene with a LOT of dynamic lights, and with FSAA or Anisotropic settings turned up at high res it WILL cause slowdowns even on a Geforce 4 ti4600. If you're only experiencing slowdowns with dynamic lights in the scene, this will help greatly, either that or reducing FSAA or Anisotropic.

Try setting r_roundimagesdown to "1". Setting it to "0" WILL give sharper textures, but will result in longer load times and increased video load. "1" is default in Q3, "0" is only recommended for VERY fast machines with the latest graphics accelerators.

Try setting r_detailtextures to "0". Some maps make extensive use of detail textures to add fine precision to their appearance, but at a tremendous cost to speed. Setting this to 0 will help speed things up.

Try reducing your color depth, or bitdepth. These are best set using the menu system, along with resolution.

If r_picmip is "0" try setting it to "1".

Gen runs fast, but looks kind of blurry. I've got a REALLY fast rig and I want to see everything as sharp and groovy as possible. What can I do?

We've included some of the same settings in the documentation with Gen as above, but in reverse. If you've got an Athlon XP2100+ with a GFti4600 or Radeon 9700 or better graphics card, we recommend trying the following, in the following order, to maximize the stunning visual beauty that is in Generations Arena:

Go to the Setup menu, and choose "system". Set that to "High Quality".

Set r_picmip to 0.

Set r_roundimagesdown to 0.

Set cg_dlightlevel to 2 or 3 (depending if you like the secondary missile lights)

Set cg_dlighttype to 0 or 1, to preference.

set cg_dlightshaft to 1, or 2 for more energetic lights on the Slipgate Thunderbolt's effects!

set cg_dlightflame to 1 or 2 to let the fireballs light things up with the Napalm Launcher!

Experiment with Anisotropic filtering and FSAA to taste, but be sure to try this out incrementally. If the Doom plasma rifle is causing your screen to lag to 20 fps, you need to back off a bit somewhere.

Are there any other optimizations I can use to smooth Generations out a bit?

Yes. By default, Quake 3 sets com_maxfps to 85. It is best to match this setting as closely as you can with your monitor's refresh rate. 100Hz refresh with com_maxfps 100 (modem users: see a cautionary note below) will give a nice smooth movement to the world, but might result in some visual tearing, and it can be smoothed some more. Try these settings:

com_maxfps 100 (or your preference)
r_swapinterval 1
m_filter 1

r_swapinterval may induce some video slowdown in complex scenes with extremely high detail settings, but otherwise will smooth the world's movement out a LOT. m_filter smooths the mouse input to make it less jittery. Put together this makes things in Gen move slick as glass as long as your framerate keeps up.

Network Connection

I'm on a modem, and I'm experiencing excessive lag in Gen. I KNOW my server browser told me I ping 200 to this server, but it's up in the 400's for some reason. Is there anything I can do to help this?

Yes and no. Try the following settings:

com_maxfps 60
rate 3500

com_maxfps DOES have some control over how many data packets get sent over the net for some reason. If you're getting a 200 FPS framerate in Q3 and you're on a CABLE modem it will add 50 or more to your ping. On a modem it will practically kill your connection. Experiment with this until you reach a happy medium. Same with the rate command. Both of these will make the game chop a bit more when set low, but will keep the dreaded "Connection interrupted" message from rearing it's ugly head as often. Sometimes you just can't get past the limitations of the modem, however. We've taken every step we can to make Generations as modem-friendly as possible and to keep the game enjoyable for everyone, regardless of connection. I played on a modem for years myself, so don't worry, we don't leave the 56k'ers behind in our design plans.

Does Generations work with Punkbuster?

Yes, Generations should have no compatibility issues with Punkbuster.

I don't see the Punkbuster button in Generations. How do I enable punkbuster?

Bring down the console, and type the following:


This will work even during mid-connect to a server, so if you're trying to connect and getting a "punkbuster required" message just hit ~ and type that in, and you can get your game on.

How do I DISABLE punkbuster?


This will take effect the next time you load Generations, but not before then. Bear in mind that you do not NEED to disable the punkbuster client to connect to a server that is not running punkbuster. Modem users might want to disable it before connecting to non-PB servers so the occasional "security validation" doesn't result in a lag frag for someone else...

I'm on a modem, and the lightning guns and flamethrower are rather hard to use and look kind of weird when I run forward. Are there any settings to help make them more effective?

Yes. Try the following settings:

cg_nopredictlightning 1
cg_nopredictshaft 1
cg_nopredictflame 1

These control the Q3 lightning gun, Q1 shaft, and Earth flamer thrower, in order. As you may or may not know Quake 3 "predicts" your movement so that on your system you're movements are actually slightly ahead of where the server says you are at the time. It takes time to update that movement. Setting any of these to 1 will visibly "disconnect" the stream from your gun's muzzle flash in order to render from the point the server says you are located at the time. The visible effect will match the exact path the damage is taking place over. This may look a bit odd, but once you get used to it you can employ it with much more effective results. It will never make up for having a high ping, but it will help balance things out a bit.

Help, I'm getting choppy play! Is it my connection? If so, can I see what's going on?

If you are sure the choppiness is not due to limitations of your graphics hardware or CPU, it may be that your network connection is giving you trouble. Enable the lagometer:

cg_lagometer 1

Here's how it works. The upper graph (with either blue or yellow triangles) shows how Quake 3 is rendering (network) frames. If everything is going smoothly, it will show consistently sized blue triangles. That means frames are being drawn nicely in sync with the net information. If there are yellow triangles, your system 'lacks data' to draw the next frame. This can be because cl_timenudge is cranked up too high (and missed predictions mess up the frame rendering process), or simply because the data coming from the server doesn't reach you in time for the next frame.
If you're getting a lot of yellow triangles, it might be a good idea to see if you can fix it. Make sure your 'snaps' is set at the default (20), and play around with your 'rate', setting it anywhere between 3000 and 30000, to see if that makes it go away. Sometimes it simply can't be helped, and the server (or your connection to it) is having some bad hitches.

The bottom graph displays your latency and packetstream to (or from?) the server. Green shows normally sent and received packets, red means packets are lost. The lower this graph is, the lower your latency (your ping) will be. If you're getting weird spikes, first make sure that you have a 'clean' connection: if you're downloading files, running filesharing software or internet servers, make sure that activity is not clogging your connection. Try connecting to other servers to find out if it is your connection in general, or just to that specific server. Usually red spikes (packet loss) means something bad is happening with the connection, so be sure to investigate that thoroughly.
I've got a good broadband connection to the server. How do I make the best use it?

There are two settings that greatly improve the smoothness of your connection. Default settings in Quake 3 are based slow connections of the old days, when 56k6 modems were standard fare. Nowadays, people commonly use high quality broadband connections, such as cable or ADSL. If you have more than 8 kilobytes per second for down- and upload, you can improve Quake 3 net quality, which helps improve your game, and that of others around you. Try:

cl_maxpackets 125
rate 25000

Enable the lagometer (cg_lagometer 1) to see if your connection can take it. If you don't see huge yellow spikes in the upper graph (which should be blue, mostly) or red spikes in the bottom graph (which should be green), you can safely use those settings.
If you do see those, cut back on cl_maxpackets in increments of 10, and rate in increments of 1000, until the spikes disappear.
If they are present even at the default settings (cl_maxpackets 30, rate 3000) there's something else amiss.. first trouble-shoot your connection (by getting an expert to look at it, preferrably) and then come back and try fiddling with these settings again.

You may note that your ping (if it is below 50) will suddenly rise to a consistent value of 48. This does not mean you have an actual ping latency of 48 to the server! It shows 48 merely because of a bug in Quake 3 Arena. If you set your cl_maxpackets to 30, Quake 3 will show you your true ping. You will still have this ping with higher settings of cl_maxpackets, even though the game tells you otherwise. Don't worry.

Does Generations feature "unlagged", or will it in the future?

Generations does not feature "unlagged". The reasons are twofold. First, Generations has a LOT of projectile-based weaponry that cannot be predicted as such. This disparity between "instant hitscan" and "laggy rockets" breaks gameplay consistancy. It also tends to penalize low pingers worse than high pingers since someone with high ping can in a sense "see into the future" by popping out from behind a wall, clicking "fire" and popping back with enough time to see someone else, target them, and duck out of the way. To the low pinger he'd be "dragged back" to the spot he was at when the high pinger's gun went off. This is a kind of reverse-lag that we feel is not a feature we desire to see in Generations and robs people of any benefits of a good connection they paid good money to get. Second, it would be extremely complex to integrate this system into the already complex Generations mod.

Generations MAY in the future include an option, based upon Unlagged's code, to artificially INCREASE one's ping. Why would anyone want to do this? Two reasons. The first is that on a local game high ping players can practice "as they'd play on the net". This would be a very nice feature to have. Second, low pingers could voluntarily set their ping more in line with other players to make a more even match if they desire. I run my own server, and I ping 6 there. That kind of makes it unfair to anyone else who plays. Third, server admins could in theory force an artificial ping onto extremely low ping players. For example, say a server admin wants 200 to be the "minimum ping" and run his "HPBland modem-friendly Gen server". Someone with 30 ping would have 170 added to his latency. If his ping jumped to 50, it would add 150. This would be a dynamic system. Anyone with ping 200 or higher would not suffer any penalty. While the ideal situation is for nobody to ever have any latency whatsoever, that is a pipe-dream and even ultra-low latency networks are years away. In the mean time this could allow an admin to custom tailor their server and make the gameplay consistant for the majority of their target audience and balance the ping factor at a reasonable level with the tools at hand.

Bear in mind this is NOT set in stone as a definite feature for a future release of Generations, but it is something we might do if we have time and can make it work, if it's even possible. We have more pressing matters to take care of in the mean time.

This ends the current Generations v99e FAQ. If we can think of anything else we'll add it as we go.