- 6 - Punkbuster Lag Fix

dnjrdnjr 2013-02-14 19:22:20



No, Mrs. Angelina Jolie is not out of place here. So is her tattoo - Evenbalance, your incompetence destroys beauty.
Quod Me Nutrit, Me Destruit - it's a latin quotation, saying "What nourishes me, also destroys me".
And that is the exact thing Punkbuster has been doing to us.

What is the problem here ? You mad or something ?

The problem at hand is constant lagging. Framerate dropping 250-150, and 125-70, depending on what you use for a com_maxFps value in your game. I always kept thinking - it's not that much of a deal, I still maintain 250 FPS 70% of the time whilst playing, right ?

Until I started staring at my FPS meter during the fights, 1v1 cqb and so on - framerate drops exactly the moment you're about to shoot someone. To be more thorough, and to persuade myself further, I started watching demos from 2-3 years back, whichever ones I could be bothered to save. With same setups and even a better machine now that I have, I cannot achieve same results. It looks so easy to play, watching those demos, and the current situation is making you feel like a cripple - you're disabled in many ways, yet your wish to live and life energy is boiling.

Trust me, if you're getting FPS drops - you should be mad, oh man - should you be mad.

Okay, agreed. So where does the problem lie ?

Around year 2009 or so, Evenbalance (the creators of PB) introduced several major updates to Punkbuster, and how it works. To be short, it made Punkbuster into a vicious AntiVirus program, which cannot be turned off, or put to sleep, until now that is.

What Punkbuster does, is it scans your computer at set intervals, just like an AntiVirus program, searching for all kinds of "hack strings".
Doesn't sound too bad, does it ? All you need a good PC and you're set, right ? Nopers. I'd like to share my system specs for you to comprehend, how hardware-unrelated of an issue this is:
- CPU: Intel i7 2600k @ 3.40 ghz
- GPU: Nvidia GTX590
- RAM: 8gb 1600hz Kingstons
- HDD: Actually, I have an SSD, it's SO fast.

And to put spice to the issue, I have 2 friends, who have less advanced systems (one guy has a system from ~2008), and they don't get any PB lag whatsoever. Magic right ?

Right right, magic, just give me the fix ?

Alright, fix is coming. I have to caution you - it will require extreme patience. About 3-4 months ago, I only practiced 2-3 methods from this fix, thinking that's enough. In comparison to what I'm getting now, I'd say those 2-3 methods only fixed 80% of drop occurances. With everything done in this tutorial in detail, you will be able to slow down the lags in percentage of above 93-95% occurances. While it may sound like I'm selling you a vacuum cleaner on TopShop, all I'm doing is cautioning you to be thorough, otherwise it will all be in vain.

Execute STEP#3 before doing any of the stuff mentioned below - it may prove a fast fix, and you'll evade a lot of mumbo-jumbo.

Alright, let's do This Philosophy in steps:

[c]STEP#1 - Common sense [/c]

The more files you have on your hard drive, the more work for PB's scan. The more lag for you.
If I may suggest - use 2 HDD's, or 1 SSD + 1 HDD combo.
Use one hard drive of around 100 gb for your Operating System and Cod2, the other one, ~500gb or whatever your choice is, to store movies/music/instalation_setups.

Also, use special wires with which you can connect your "500gb HDD" externally. Why ? I don't want to !
Remember - you're striving for speed. If you're willing to stop PB lags, you're a gamer. You strive for competition.
So whenever you think about playing Cod2 - disconnect your "500gb HDD", do a fast Disk Cleanup + Disk Defragmentation for your "OS+CoD2 HDD" (don't do it for SSD drives - you'll break them!), and you're set to go.

About your"OS+CoD2 HDD" - make sure you're not using more than 50-70% of space on them. Which basicly makes such a HDD into a vegetable - if it's capacity is only 100gb, your OS system + Cod2 + several programs will put you at 30gb and above. Not to mention the ever increasing cod2/main/demos section.

You need all this hard work because of simple reasons - to leave as few files for PB to scan as possible, and to make that scanning smooth as silk. The whole deal may look trivial and "too much work", but when I say it works - oh man, believe me on this, practicing this kind of wisdom is one of fundamental things in fixing PB lags.

[c]STEP#2 - Time travel[/c]

Before taking any, absolutely any steps further, make a quick system restore point, so if you don't like something (it damages your experience with other games or your Os), make sure to do a System restore point, so you could go back to your loved setup !
If you're not sure how to do it, use google. This should be good - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948247 .

Also, I'd like to advocate a fresh OS installation, with drivers for your GPU / Sound / DirectX which came with the CDs, when you bought/assembled the PC. That is very very important, in some cases I've heard people reinstalling Windows, using old drivers and evading PB lags. However, some people say it doesn't work at all. Trying doesn't hurt though. Bake a pie while you do it or something.

To add to the paragraph above - if you don't get PB lags, don't reinstall your OS as long as you can. Fight BSODs and crashes the best you can, with free TuneUp and SpeedYourPC programs as long as possible. However, if you're experiencing PB lags - reinstalling will help you a lot.

[c]STEP#3 - Open the taps on your Operating System [/c]

This step is basicly the same thing, as the "Setting up Windows for Gaming" section, the second big topic I've talked about. I will enrich that section with a few small tips, so if you've done it already - a quick glance will let you know.

Make sure you do everything right - it's quite important.

Optimizing Windows for Gaming ............................. http://dnjr.tek-9.org/blog/-_3_-_optimizing_windows_for_gaming-1591.html

[c]STEP#3 - Punkbuster itself [/c]

Even though this is highly doubtable - you may fix PB lag just by typing in several variables into console. It's not that simple, but we'll get to that.

Make "special" config, name it something like p.cfg and place it in your cod2/main/ folder.How do you make a .cfg file ? You create .txt document first, then rename the .txt -> .cfg.
You will be placing these cvars in it:

pb_sleep 500
pb_security 0
pb_system 0
pb_lan 1
seta sv_fps "250"
bind CAPSLOCK "cg_hudGrenadePointerPivot 12 44; cg_hudGrenadePointerWidth 22;cg_hudGrenadePointerHeight 33; cg_hudGrenadePointerPulseMin -2;cg_hudGrenadePointerPulseMax 3;cg_hudGrenadePointerPulseFreq 15;cg_hudGrenadeIconWidth 33;cg_hudGrenadeIconOffset 112;cg_hudGrenadeIconHeight 33"

What these commands do, is simple - they increase the intervals at which your PC is scanned by PB, change the way it's scanned, and trick Punkbuster into thinking that you're on LAN, making those scans even less harsh ! However - some of these commands reset themselves after map_restart or map change, so every time you connect to a server, or after halftime, make sure you type in console /exec p.cfg (when you're exec'ing a file, to type the whole p.cfg is not needed, /exec p will do just fine).

I've also included the "placebo" commands at the start of it - garand speed improver and the grenade icon modifier. They also reset themselves after every map change, so it only seems logical to put them into the same .cfg file.

Additional thing I would like to advise - is to use commands discussed and sumed up in the TL;DR verdict snippets under "Connection " and "Performance " tabs in the "Call of Duty 2 In-Game section ". It will turn your FPS drop testing a stable and scientific method.

Caution - clanbase players, do not make a bind, like /bind F6 exec p.cfg or something along those lines. Clanbase does not allow it, so be sure to check your .cfg for any exec or vstr commands, and remove them. Still - exec'ing a .cfg once per map via the console is not prohibited, so you're good to go with the whole step.

[c]STEP#4 - Packet Flow [/c]

Some may argue - this step is useless, as PB inflicts lags on clientside only, however, I've noticed that this step not only helps to stable out your connection to the server, but also compliments the dark magic from cl_maxpackets and cl_packetdup .
What we will be doing here, is installing a program to modify your networking. In no way am I a technical person, but from what I've read here and there, this program is advertised as one which controls your internet protocol, improving how well your client talks with any server you're connected to. I've noticed myself in the lagometer, that the green line starts travelling faster, and is less "bumpy". That may be because I have a stable internet connection - so be cautioned.

"Laetrix's Latency fix " can be found here - http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info13581-LeatrixLatencyFix.html

Download button is in the top right corner. It's a fairly straight forward program to use - you'll be having to put a "tick" on an option to turn the program on, and after clicking OK, restart your PC.

[c]STEP#4 - PnkbstrA.bat [/c]

This is a a fix presented by cod's community effort. I'm really not sure who to thank for it, but we can surely thank floe for his amazing post:
However it may turn out for that topic, I'll still be re-writing it here, so that this artile could stand on it's own feet, whatever the weather.

Let's go:

- STEP#1 - downalod this, and place it somewhere easy-to-reach on your desktop - www.sendspace.com/file/z4uvl1
- STEP#2 - Go Start -> Run -> type in Services.msc -> press Enter, to open ServiceManagement window;
- STEP#3 - Find PnkbstrA process, open it's "Properties " tab;
- STEP#4 - Go to "Log On " tab, put a tick on "Allow service to interact with Desktop ";
- STEP#5 - Move on to "Recovery " tab. On first line, which says - "First Failure " put "Restart the service " as choice;
- STEP#6 - Apply + OK, and leave the PnkbstrA property window;
- STEP#7 - How to use it ? Whenever you connect to a server, Alt-Tab to Windows, or make a Macro on your keyboard/mouse, which runsPnkbstrA.bat . Whenever map changes, run the .bat file.

First, do this only for the PnkbstrA process in the Service Management window. And that is how post by floe recommends it. However, later in my experimentation I did this to PnkbstrB service as well, and I found it as a positive tweak, evening out the lags even more.

[c]STEP#4 - BES.exe, aka The Beast [/c]

This program is a beast, to begin with. It enables you to limit any process to your desired percentage. Coolbeans.
Here is the download link for the program - http://mion.faireal.net/BES/#download .

Firstly, I'll post a picture-tutorial on how to use it - it may be enough for you. However, still go through the steps briefly, some are essential.


You'll be having to run this program in conjunction to PnkbstrA.bat, so place them near, conveniently;
On first run, make sure you tick an option called "Override Security Restrictions " in the Options menu;
- STEP#1 - When in Cod2.War, Alt-Tab to Windows, run BES.exe;
- STEP#2 - Then click the sassy "Target " button;
- STEP#3 - Click "List All " in the bottom right corner;
- STEP#4 - Go through the list, and find PnkbstrB.exe ;
- STEP#5 - A window to caution you will open, click "Yes " there;
- STEP#6 - Find - and this is important - "Control" button in the main window of the program;
- STEP#7 - In it, on the top value Bar, drag the slider to something like 95% ;
- STEP#8 - Done. "Close " the "Control " window you've just set your percentages in;
- STEP#9 - Alt-Tab back to game, and enjoy your FPS;

Every time you connect to a server, or sometimes even on a map change, what will happen, is that PnkbstrB.exe will restart itself. That will remove your 95% restriction on it, and you'll be having to Alt-Tab again, and retracing your steps like this - "Target" -> "List All" -> "PnkBstrB.exe" -> "Limit this" -> "Yes" -> and you're done. The 95% value is remembered for each process, so you won't be having to re-enter it.


Sometimes Punkbuster doesn't like to be restricted to a whopping 95% rate. It may kick you for "Pb stopped working" or some bizzare "No packet flow" problem. It's easy to fix, by changing from 95% to 93% or even 90% - whichever is stable for you.

Also, I have not experimented with this, but - don't restrict PnkbstrA.exe. Effects are unknown, but from the tutorial I read a long time ago - it's best left alone.

[c]STEP#4 - the Routine [/c]

So many steps and things, what do I do ?!

It's quite easy - do them all. The only step I would hold back if I were you, is the Beast program (BES.exe) step. I got mixed results with it. On my first tries, I used to use only two things, from this whole tutorial - PnkbstrA.bat + BES.exe. Results were alright, but I still lost fights in-game because of the occasional lag.
Later on as I kept googling and googling on my spare time, I devised a routine, which is displayed above, with every step having a significant impact. However, what I found out, was that every step was necessary, except for BES.exe - for some reason FPS drops seemed more frequent whilst using. You may have different experience, but if you feel that something's not right - experiment with BES.exe on and off.

Man, you talk so much it's like wow wow wow. To the point, please ?

Ok, here's a simple routine for you. After you do all the passive OS optimisations, continue with these steps:

- Let's say you have an important war timed at 21:00 ;
- Restart your PC around 20:00 (to clean your RAMs of faulty structures);
- Use registry Fix , thenDisk Cleanup , thenDefragment it - the whole processs will take up to 30-40 minutes;
- Get into game, as in - connect to your war server;
- Wait for the map to change, and untill people join teams, so that someone doesn't think of restarting the map out of the blue;
- Then ALT-TAB to Windows;
- Run PnkbstrA.bat;
- Run BES.exe - limit your PnkbstrB.exe;
- Then ALT-TAB back into the game;
- Open console, type in /exec p.cfg ;
- You're set to go.
First 20-40 seconds you may experience FPS drops, but after that everything should be smooth;
- When the map changes after the Half time - repeat the highlighted steps.

I've highlighted most important steps for everyday play. It's quite simple, when you get used to it. Alt tab - bang bang, alt-tab back.
I wouldn't play cod2 at all, or just play pub matches or matches against clans I can trust for sure - with NO Punbkuster on the serve.
Without this fix it's so laggy, it's just plain gamebreaking. Goodness gracious, I'm so pissed with it !

[c]STEP#5 - Setting up a lagless server [/c]

Nearly forgot to mention this - S1mzooR has kindly made a thread on how to set up your server to fix Punkbuster lags, perhaps - altogether. I think this fix should not be taken lightly, and could well be our only way to solve competitive play, as an enjoyable environment in CoD2.

Here is his topic, will be having to catch him later and asking to do something in even greater detail for nubs like me and you:

[c]VOID in AVOID [/c]

This is directed at people, who move the huge cogs in ClanBase, and it's ruleset. At people, who have the power to force things one or the other way. While these words of mine are not a plea or any kind of "moral", I still would like to put them in front:
- All this huge wall of text and work for every single student of the game would not be necessary, if only one thing changed - there was no Punkbuster ;
- Do we really expect newcomers from other games to follow this tutorial ? Or even find it on the interwebs ? No, they'll uninstall faster before one manages to blur out "tuto-"
- I do know it's hard for you, so much pressure from the community, wouldn't like to be in your shoes. However, I urge you to consult your reason, and put other things aside for a moment - with GV-Streams gone, Punkbuster Lagging, Cod2.TLS LAN coming up, free and paid online Cups incoming - CallofDuty2 won't have another chance. Restore hope in people and go for drastic changes, we'er here to stay, and to let everyone know about it.

[c]My thanks [/c]

I've gathered these tips from all over internet, testing and trying to improve every single one of them for CallofDuty2. I'd like to thank Battlefield, WorldofWarcraft, CallofDuty2 and Callofdut4 communities for their hard work experimenting and enabling us to play the games we love, which are ruined by a**holes, who not only don't do their job responsibly, it almost feels like they're trying to kill our community on purpose.

i forgot a few useful tips + not sure about step5, be sure to check it in 3-5 day time.
all of this to play such a fun and community-packed game

really?! omg lets go.
shallgood !
this was really helpful for me
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