RTCW 4 Dummies old site

Medics 4 Dummies

Why be a medic?

Medics are the nurturing mother figure of a RTCW team. They are vital to ensuring the survivability of a team by providing health to heal the wounded and reviving the dead. A good medic greatly reduces the amount of time team members spend in Limbo or travelling from the spawn site.Medic Factoids

  • A full energy bar is good for 4 med packs. Each med pack consumes 25% of an energy bar. Med packs are the only item which requires a medic to expend energy
  • Each med pack heals 20 points of damage (assuming difficulty = 3)
  • A medic starts out with 10 needles - these never get restocked unless you die and respawn
  • When a team mate is revived, they regenerate back to 60 health
  • Medics are the only class which regenerates health when wounded. You regenerate at approximately 2 points per second
  • The number of medics on a team increase the starting health level of all team members as follows

Number of medics on team
 Starting health (Medic)
 Starting health (Other)

On the downside, medics start off with the least amount of ammunition. Each medic starts out with 30 rounds for the SMG (Thompson or MP40), 32 rounds for his pistol, and 1 grenade. Medics, if not supplied by a Lieutenant, need to practice a little bit of fire discipline when shooting back at the enemy (this means no full auto spray and pray).

Medics are a good starting class for beginners. You can tag along with someone else and follow them - especially useful when you don't know the map. Almost everyone welcomes the company of a medic and will protect you, unless you foolishly put yourself at risk. What I'd like to do now is offer a few tips on how you can become a more valuable medic:

Be a good basic soldier

A team has to count on it's medics being able to fight and move just as effectively as anyone else. You need to practice the basics skills outlined in Tactics and Team Tactics until they become second nature to you. Being a medic is never an excuse for being a drag on the rest of the team.

Understand your HUD

Your heads up display (HUD) presents you with a great deal of information that can make you a more effective, more proactive medic. One of the ways your team can help you out is to make sure they have a key bound to Vsay_team Medic. If a team member needs a medic, all they have to do is hit the bound button and it will sound off with, "Help, Medic!" Here's a screenshot of what you will typically see in the game. Each of the numbered text boxes is further explained below: 

Compass. Team members calling for medics (vsay_team medic) will show up as a white cross in a red circle on your compass. The farther the injured player is from your position, the smaller the marker will be. Use this to help find teammates in need.

Overhead markers. Once you get close enough to have direct line of sight to a player calling for a medic, you will see the same cross within a circle icon over their head. You will either see a needle icon or the same cross icon over the bodies of fallen comrades who need revivals and haven't entered Limbo yet. Buddies calling for medics will show the cross icon while buddies waiting for revival but not calling for a medic will only show the needle icon. Once they enter Limbo, the icon will go away and the body will fade into the ground. Only medics see these icons.

Name and Health Status. If you hold your crosshairs over a friendly player, you will see their class, name, and health status. As the target player takes damage, the health bar will shorten and turn red. Use this to help identify players who could use a med pack or two.

Team Overlay. If you look in the upper right hand corner, you'll see a list of friendly players. It displays name, map location, and current health. Dead players are marked with red 0's. Players very low on health will appear with red health numbers, players with moderates amount of health will show yellow numbers, and relatively healthy players will show white numbers. Use this color coding to identify players who are low on health and might need your help

Charge meter. Monitor your charge meter so that you'll know when you're ready to hand out more med packs

Dialogue box (not shown in illustration). When people send messages, you will see the name of the player, their message, and their map location on the lower left hand side of your screen. You can use this to quickly determine where players calling for a medic are located.

RtCW HUD ingame explained

Tweaking for Dummies

Ever wonder why some people appear to be able to shoot at you through trees before you even see them? Check out what you can do by tweaking various Client VARiableS (aka CVARs). Keep in mind that this screenies shows what is possible if there are NO limits placed on the tweaking. Thanks to Johann for a significant portion of this "how-to" write up which has been heavily edited and paraphrased here and there

What is a CVAR and what do they do?

CVARs are variables that affect how your game is viewed and played. Just keep in mind that there are other CVARs such as cg_drawcrosshairs, mp_playertype, or cg_teamchatlines that are totally configurable, but don't necessarily make targets stand out better or eliminate shadows. In this article, we'll only focus on variables which affect frame rates, visuals, and some game action. Here's an example of what you can do with CVARs

Public config vs. a very tweaked configs (Ice)

OK, everyone take a deep breath. As I just mentioned, this is what is possible if there are NO limits placed on what you can tweak. Realistically, all leagues that I have played in (CAL, TWL, STA) have drawn up a list of cvars and the range of values they feel are appropriate. Additionally, just about every server I've played on set some sort of limits on the values they think are "fair" (very subjective term here). Here's an example of 3 configs - pub, match (CAL), and unlimited - to show the vast difference in visual quality between an unlimited config and what CAL lets me do. I should also note that I DO NOT have my CAL config maxed out, but it is still a good example.

CVARs, when altered, as you have obviously seen, can limit or increase the visual quality of how textures and models are rendered in the game. When a CVAR is tweaked so as to limit/lower the quality, it usually increases the frame rate (FPS = frames per second) and that means smoother game-play; more snapshots of the map as you see it are drawn. So with a frame rate of 135, there are 135 frames being drawn in one second. Some low end computers with older hardware (ie graphics card, processor, etc.), can be very challenged to generate even minimal FPS. This in turn can make for a very choppy game. Obviously, the higher the FPS, the smoother the game and is easier for the eyes to process info compared to the twitching one's eyes can do with a frame rate of 10 FPS. Tweakers tend to tweak CVARs that greatly affect FPS because their hardware can't reach reasonable FPS with default settings; hence, their lack of capable hardware warrants them to alter the game's default graphics in order to make it playable. But even then, they can't achieve that much of a boost in FPS without taking CVAR values to extreme.

Isn't this considered to be cheating?

Nope, at least not in my opinion. CVAR tweaking is available to anyone who can open a configuration file, copy, and paste - this is simply not rocket science limited to the upper strata of l33t players. Furthermore, in my version of the world, server admins set the rules. They set boundaries around what they consider to be acceptable play (CVAR limits, use of profanity, mods used, mod settings, etc). To enforce their game standards, they have a couple of tools (WAB, RCON, Punkbuster, personal presence etc) with which to "police" and moderate their server, I stress their. As players, we have two obligations: 1) play nice according to their rules and 2) if you don't like the rules, then leave and find another server more to your liking.

So what does this mean to the tweaker? Each server admin will set the range of "acceptable" CVAR values for their server and use Punkbuster to control observation of the limits. Players are allowed to modify CVAR values within those limits, but no more. Tweakers who find the stated limits unacceptable, simply get to find another server. Cheating? Hardly - it's just a matter of knowing the rules and exercising your choice to accept them or not - on a server by server basis.

OK, so what does each CVAR do?

Here's a quick and dirty guide. I've classified a couple of the most common CVARs according to what they do for you:

Increase FPS

CVARs such as the following increase FPS by drawing less of the intended map or less objects (the less you have to draw, the faster your rates). Weaker computers can get a needed boost by eliminating unncessarily drawn items:

    r_picmip (default 1) [high picmip alone eliminates tree limbs]
    r_picmip2 (default 2)

r_mode (default 3) [changes screen resolution]
r_rmse (default 0) [note: r_rmse used by itself just changes the level of detail in textures (first screenie) but when used with r_picmip > 4, and r_rmse > 120, tree limbs go away. This is restricted by most leagues]

r_subdivisions (default 0) [adjusts the granularity of faces drawn in curved surfaces]
r_lodbias (default 0) [adjusts level of detail]
r_texturebits (default 16 or 32)
r_colorbits (default 16 or 32)
r_dynamiclights (default 1) [can be turned on and off from the in-game menu]
cg_marktime (default 1250) [can be turned on and off from the in-game menu]
cg_brassTime (default 1250) [can be turned on and off from the in-game menu]

cg_gibs (default 1)
cg_drawgun (default 1) [can be turned on and off from the in-game menu]
cg_shadows (default 1)
cg_simpleitems (default 0) [causes 3d items to be rendered as 2d stencils]

Remove Map Elements

Then there are cvars that remove elements from the map. Many of these are restricted by the leagues and most servers simply because they remove elements that were not intended to be removed:

r_uifullscreen 1 (default 0) [will remove fog on some maps. However on tram and some custom maps, which use fogclipping, it won't be useful. test it and you will see why]

r_fastsky (default 0) [can be turned on and off from the in-game menu, also improves FPS]

r_drawsun (default 1) [can be turned on and off from the in-game menu]
cg_wolfparticles (default 1) [can be turned on and off from the in-game menu, also improves FPS]

Increase Brightness and Eliminate shadows

these below will increase brightness and help eliminate shadows. Sometime older monitors are very dark and some tweaking of visual CVARs can help make the game playable.

    r_gamma (default 1.3 - in game max value 2.0)
    r_intensity (default 1)
    r_mapoverbrightbits (default 2)
    r_overbrightbits (default 1)
    r_vertexlight (default 0)


There are also other variables that people will tweak such as:

    cg_fov (default 90) [usually increased to widen the field of view (FOV) - some players tend to use around 110, or their personal preference]
    cg_bobpitch (default 0.002)
    cg_bobroll (default 0.002)
    cg_bobup (default 0.005)
    s_mixahead (default 0.20) - lower values improve FPS at the cost of some sound choppiness

CVAR Experiments - Comparion of 5 Configs (Ice)

To see what actual effect various CVAR combinations had on my system, I tested 5 configs for comparison sake and also tested two other variables: ui_fullscreen and r_rmse:

  1. Default settings. This is what RTCW looks like out of the box with the one exception of changing screensize from 640 x 480 to 1156 x 864

  2. Max settings allowed within the Setup menu (Lightmap off, brightness slider all the way to the left)

  3. Evenbalance recommended limits. Fairly restrictive. This is my public server config.

  4. CAL cvar limits. (r_subdivisions 999; r_color/texturebits 16; r_picmip 3; r_ignorehwgamma 1; r_gamma 4; r_intensity 2.7; r_mapoverbrightbits 3). These limits have also been adopted by TWL and STA. This is my match config.

  5. Extreme config. picmip, gamma, and intensity jacked way up - not legal in any known league.

If you look at my config settings, you'll see that I really haven't maxed out all of the settings, but I have them set where I like them while still being in compliance with the limits. For pub play, I keep lightmap on, even though vertex lighting isn't a restricted setting.

Credits goes to Michael, Ifurita =)

RtCW 4 Dummies 2003

Juan García