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How can I select highest graphics settings?


I saw a weird 1980's style dialogue box when I first booted up the game that gave me a choice to accept some settings that were ridiculous, 1360x768 or something similarly archaic lol, I cycled through a few but they are all even lower res.

I've seen videos where the game looks ok but honestly on my PC it looks truly dreadful, all blocky and pixelated, nothing like the videos I watched. Really looking forward to playing this game but not in 16 bit


Is there a screen where I can simply select Max settings? 1080p? or higher? Running 2 x GTX 780ti, i5 Haswell OC'd @ 4.6 GHz


Also - I bought the boxed anthology (CM 1,2 & 3), where can I find what versions I am running and do they auto update?




Edited by guetapens
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The games do NOT have an auto update feature unfortunately.


The 'boxed anthology' is the CDV release of the games with no copy-protection (to my knowledge). I believe all but CMAK is up-to-date with that release. CMBO (NW Europe) should be at 1.12, CMBB (East Front) should be at 1.03 and CMAK (Desert/Italy) should be at 1.03, however the boxed anthology may be at 1.02. Download the 1.03 patch and installing it should work as far as I'm aware, though it MIGHT require that you have one of the Anthology CDs in the drive to play the game (1st or 2nd, I'm not sure). The version number should typically be visible in the lower right corner of the initial splash screen when you run the game. Coming back to that menu (after going deeper to make selections) does not show the version number again.


There is a 1.04 patch for both CMAK and CMBB. These do cost US$5.00 each and change the copy-protection system on the game. This patch only fixes an issue that some DirectX 10 video cards had with the game and their drivers at the time that Vista was released. It also, inadvertently, fixes a display bug with some Radeon Catalyst drivers and the games. There are NO OTHER FIXES in this patch. It simply updated some DirectX calls with a slightly newer/more-up-to-date DirectX call that is more likely to be supported.


When it comes to selecting resolutions in the game there are no menu options for this. Instead the game checks for the presence of a 'prefs' file. If it is not present, then the game automatically goes through the resolution selection process. This typically starts at the closest resolution that the game supports that is at or under your current desktop resolution. The CMx1 series of games came out before wide-screen resolutions and displays were common, so these sorts of resolutions are NOT supported. Instead only certain 'discrete' 4:3/standard-aspect-ratio resolutions are supported, with the max typically being 1600 x 1200. There is one or maybe two resolutions supported above this (24?? x 14?? or something like that).


The resolution selection process automatically cycles through certain resolutions and vertical refresh rates. So for an user that has a 1920 x 1080 display they may be offered an initial resolution of 1600 x 1200 at possibly 75Hz (a CRT might start at 160 or 120Hz, vertical refresh). Depending on your display's capabilities you might get a scrambled or black/blank screen if the vertical refresh rate offered is too high for your monitor to display properly. If that happens, just leave things alone and CM should try the next lower vertical refresh at that same resolution. If the monitor supports the resolution and vertical refresh rate that CM is attempting, you should see a greenish/whitish box with the resolution and the vertical refresh rate listed inside with two buttons ('OK' and 'skip', I believe). If this is the resolution that you want, then click the 'OK' button (or potentially press any key). With a resolution accepted the game should then start up. If you click the 'skip' button or just let it time out, then CM tries another resolution and refresh rate combo, using the next defined vertical refresh rate (say 1600 x 1200 at 60Hz). Once the game has reached a resolution with a vertical refresh rate of 60Hz which hasn't been accepted, then the next attempt will be at the next lower resolution, but at the highest refresh rate that is defined by either the video driver or possibly the monitor profile. This might be the 1360 x 768 you saw, etc. This will cycle through the various vertical refresh rates until reaching 60 Hz and then go to the next lower supported resolution. If you don't select the last resolution, then the game quits with an error. This is normal. The game will only cycle through the available resolutions once and can't automatically cycle over again. You simply have to launch the game again to go through the resolution selection process again.


With CMBO the minimum resolution is 640 x 480 at 56Hz or so. This is a 'software rendered' resolution which will look horrible and should be unnecessary. For CMBB and CMAK the minimum resolutions are 800 x 600.


If you want to change the resolution again after making a selection, then you will need to delete the Prefs file for the game and the next time you launch the game it should automatically go through the resolution selection process. This file should typically be written to the game's directory. However with the security features of Windows Vista and later, this file could be written to the 'VirtualStore' directory that Windows creates when programs attempt to write to a directory within the 'Program Files (x86)/Program Files' directories. The VirtualStore directory is hidden from the user and you have to turn on seeing 'hidden files and folders' and 'hidden operating system files', etc. within the File Manager in order to see it and possibly delete the file.


This resolution process may seem a bit arcane, but it most likely originated with the way some programs select resolutions on the Mac (a long time ago, OS 9.x). The newer CMx2 series of games have a menu to select the resolution (with a few discrete options) or a file to write a custom resolution to. The default for CMx2 games is your current desktop resolution.


With Windows Vista and later there are no graphical fog effects visible in the game. The 'fog table' graphical DirectX calls were no longer supported with Windows Vista and later. The 'effect' of fog is still there, just no graphical representation of it on screen.


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I forgot to mention the issue with the 4:3 resolutions on a 16:9/16:10 display. Your monitor may have the option (within its menus) to select how it displays resolutions. Right now it is stretching the 4:3 aspect ratio resolution to a widescreen one to fill the entire screen, which results in the stretched and blocky graphics. Hopefully there is a setting that will allow the display to display the resolution at its native aspect ratio (which will result in 'black or gray bars' on the sides of the display). If your monitor has no such feature, then it may be possible to have the Nvidia video card drivers do this, but it involves a bit of adjustment with the Nvidia Control Panel. This Nvidia Forum question regarding 4:3 aspect ratio displays might tell you how to do this if necessary.

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One mistake with my example above...


If the user has a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 (as their display's maximum/native resolution), then they will NOT see the 1600 x 1200 resolution because the '1200' vertical resolution is larger than the display's '1080' vertical resolution. The first displayed resolution may be the 1376 x 768 or 1280 x 1024, etc. Any resolution that will have a larger vertical component than what the display can work with will either not be offered or will appear scrambled/blank/black on the display (and thus not be useable).

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  • 9 months later...

Great - at last my display problem for CMAK is solved. Thank you Schrullenhaft.

I have bought a 4K monitor (res 3840x2160) and an ASUS GTX 970 graphics card so I wanted the best possible display.

Easy - just delete the .pref file in the Game Folder in Programs(x86) and a restart will allow to set a higher res - maybe even 3840x2160.

No way - shock, horror - there is no .pref file, and every time CMAK starts it throws up a very course and ugly image.

But - Schrullenhaft has fingered the problem - after Vista, Windows writes the .pref file to a hidden folder. Perhaps I can find it !! not guaranteed.

But, again - there is another way. Go back in time to before Vista, right click the CMAK shortcut on the desktop, click properties and open compatibility mode.

Easy now - just select something before Vista (Win XP SP3, of course) and restart CMAK.

Sure enough up comes the res selection boxes - first one offered is 2048x1536x60 - that's a 1.33 to 1 aspect ratio (native to CMAK) so I grab it. Display is great, panning a bit jerky but the control boxes are postage stamp size and too hard to read.

So - delete .pref, restart CMAK (still in XP mode) and select 1920x1440. 

WOW - Is Good.

Still one more thing - on NVIDIA Control Panel (right click the desktop) you get the choice of 'Aspect Ratio' or 'Full Screen' or 'No Scaling'.

'Aspect Ratio' gives you black side bars on  the wide screen monitor - 'Full Screen' lets you use all the display but widens and flattens the Shermans (no bad thing) and makes the Tommies look even tougher. Forget 'No Scaling' - you just get a postage stamp (on the high res monitor)

On the NVIDIA Control Panel you can also choose to let the GPU or the Display to do the scaling- I have chosen Display.

And another last thing - the image which is displayed at any resolution is the same size and is the same portion of the map - just far superior quality at higher resolution. Up to a point which is determined by the game I suppose.

Res is easy to set on CM -2 games using the display size.txt file in the game folder (not in Programs(x86) so it cant be snaffeled off sometime later LOL) I tried a few settings and settled for 2048x1536 (1.33 : 1 aspect ratio and 'Full Screen') The trees and water at Arnhem are beautiful and the cabbages in Ukraine are ready to eat.


So, don't delay - go buy yourselves a Christmas present. 



Edited by rangerover
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