Call of Juarez Tweak Guide

[Page 10] Neat Stuff & Conclusion

This section brings the guide to a conclusion, but not without providing several important tips and tweaks to further improve performance.

Click to enlarge

Max Frames to Render Ahead - In Reverse

Many of you may have used the 'Max Frames to Render Ahead' tip for games like Oblivion. This tip is detailed at the top of this page of my Oblivion Tweak Guide. This makes games like Oblivion more responsive and resolves input lag problems, but also lowers FPS slightly in return.

Perhaps most of you would have likely left that setting at a value of 0 or 1 and forgotten about it. However here's the part where you can gain a few extra FPS in Call of Juarez: by reversing this tweak. The reason is that CoJ is actually very responsive even at lower framerates. Using the 'Max Frames to Render Ahead' tweak will make no real difference to CoJ in terms of responsiveness, but it does make a difference to FPS. By setting this option back to its default value of 3, you can improve your framerate by at least a couple of FPS if not more by not artificially bottlenecking your system. The actual gain will vary, but any free increase in FPS is useful to have in a game as strenuous as Call of Juarez.

Skipping the Introductory Movies

To date I still haven't found an elegant way of skipping the introductory (or exit) movies and screens for Call of Juarez. The two intro logos are found in the \Program Files\Ubisoft\Techland\Call of Juarez\ directory in the Data3.pak file, which can be opened using WinZip. However deleting the two Logo.jpg files will result in CoJ not starting up properly.

Update: Thanks to Fred Tetra, I can now provide the method for skipping the intro movies. Follow these instructions:

1. Go to the Call of Juarez launch icon, right-click on it and select Properties.

2. In the Target box for the launch icon, add the following to the end: -debugconf=DebugConf.scr so for example your Target box should look like this:

"C:\Program Files\Ubisoft\Techland\Call of Juarez\CoJ.exe" -menu -debugconf=DebugConf.scr

3. Go to your \Program Files\Ubisoft\Techland\Call of Juarez\ folder and open the DebugConf.scr file with a text editor (See Advanced Tweaking section for details).

4. Add the following two lines to the end of the file, then save it:



Now whenever you launch Call of Juarez it will skip all introductory movies and go straight to the menu. Thanks again to Fred for sending me the tip.

Removing the Red X

One of the most annoying aspects of Call of Juarez is the large red 'X' which appears whenever you move your cursor over a corpse or an innocent human/animal. It is understandable that the game's developers do not want to encourage the killing of innocents or mutilation of corpses, but the giant red X ruins immersion and is excessive. Fortunately the game files can be further modified by those using the Chrome Editor or simply using DDS file convertors/editors. Providing details of how to undertake game file modification is beyond the scope of this guide, however I do have a great mod sent in by Kohan69 which removes the Red X and replaces it with no cursor at all when you aim at innocents. Installation instructions for the mod are below:

1. Download the file No-RedX_(Kohan69).zip (135KB) which contains the modified by Kohan69.

2. Extract the contents to your Call of Juarez game directory (typically \Program Files\Ubisoft\Techland\Call of Juarez\).

3. Check to make sure that there is now a new \Data\Menu\Hud\Textures\ series of subdirectories under the main \Call of Juarez directory, and that is where the new file sits.

4. The next time you launch the game, it will detect this modified file and use it instead of the normal one. If at any time you want to remove this mod, simply remove the file and all its subfolders from the CoJ game directory.

I've tested the mod and it works perfectly without any detrimental impacts on the game. Thanks again to Kohan69 for putting this together.

No HUD Mod

The No HUD Mod removes all the graphical elements of the HUD, leaving only small numbers in the bottom border. This is far less obtrusive, and is particularly designed for taking screenshots, or increased realism in gameplay. To install this mod follow these instructions:

1. Download the file No-HUD_(BurningFish).zip (4KB) which contains several modified .dds files by Burning Fish.

2. Extract the contents to your Call of Juarez game directory (typically \Program Files\Ubisoft\Techland\Call of Juarez\).

3. Check to make sure that there is now a new \Data\Menu\Hud\Textures\ series of subdirectories under the main \Call of Juarez directory, and that is where the various new .dds files sit.

4. The next time you launch the game, it will detect these modified files and use them instead of the normal ones. If at any time you want to remove this mod, simply delete all the files/folders created in the steps above.

Note: This mod also contains a modified file, so it can't be used at the same time as the No-RedX Mod above. This mod does also remove the Red X, but it also removes all crosshairs/cursors altogether as well as all graphical HUD elements including the compass. If you wish to have a crosshair showing with this mod, delete all the files.

Hopefully other skillful modders will create more large and small mods to make Call of Juarez even better. Check back here and on page 4 for more details, and if you have a useful mod please Email Me so I can include it in the guide.

Experimenting with Other Weapons

If you want to try a range of weapons in Call of Juarez, you can add them to your inventory at the start of each chapter by editing the relevant .scr files in the game's main Data0.pak (for the demo) or Data1.pak (for the full version) file archives. These .pak files are found under your \Program Files\Ubisoft\Demo\Techland\Call of Juarez [SP Demo]\ directory, and can be opened using a program like WinZip or WinRAR.

For the demo version, open Data0.pak and find the files saloon01_PublicDemo_StartProp.scr which is for the Ray chapter, and Ranch_PublicDemo_StartProp.scr which is for the Billy chapter. In the full version, open Data1.pak and select which map you want to alter, making sure to select a file which ends in _StartProp.scr (e.g. Hunt01_StartProp.scr).

To edit them, you can either extract them to a suitable directory and use a text editor just like a normal .scr file (See Advanced Tweaking section), or you can right-click on them while they are still in the .pak file and select 'View' or 'View with Notepad.exe' (in WinZip). Make sure to backup the contents of each before editing them. Now towards the bottom of the .scr file where it lists the various starting items (e.g. StartItem("WeaponWhip")), you can edit to add any of the following items:

StartItem("WeaponWhip") - Whip

StartItem("WeaponRifleWinchester") - Winchester Rifle

StartItem("WeaponRifleRemingtonSawOff") - Sawn Off Shotgun

StartItem("WeaponRifleRemington") - Normal Shotgun

StartItem("WeaponPistolSchofield")- Schofield Six Shooter

StartItem("WeaponPistolLemant") - LeMat Pistol

StartItem("WeaponPistolFrontier") - Pistol

StartItem("WeaponPistolDerringer") - Derringer Pistol

StartItem("WeaponHatchet") - Hatchet

StartItem("WeaponDynamiteStick") - Dynamite

StartItem("WeaponBow") - Bow

You can also start with the relevant ammo:




Add all the items you want to the file in place of the existing ones, save the file and update the archive with it. If you extracted the files to another location, make sure to add them back to the relevant .pak archive using the exact same directory path the file originally used. You should now be equipped with these items when you start that particular chapter the next time you boot up the game.

Fixing Ragdoll Physics

To fix an issue with the ragdoll physics on corpses in CoJ, check out this thread on the CoJ Forums. It provides detailed instructions on how to fix this minor - but annoying to some people - issue. Thanks to Beef for the fix.

Speeding Up Loading Times

We've already discussed ways of improving loading times in the Troubleshooting Tips section. One additional method some people are recommending to speed up loading times and perhaps boost performance is to unpack the zipped .pak files Call of Juarez has in its main directory. These .pak files contain all of the files CoJ uses to run the game, and each time you launch the game are unpacked and loaded up. If you want to try this method, extract the contents of each .pak file found under the \Program Files\Ubisoft\Techland\Call of Juarez\ directory to that same directory. Then rename the original .pak files to something else (e.g. .pack) so the game does not recognize them.

Now, make sure to defragment your hard drive as these unpacked files may be fragmented. Then the next time you launch the game, it may load up more quickly. Note however that the longer loading times in Call of Juarez are still influenced by your shader cache and other factors such as your hard drive speed, so just by unpacking these files you won't magically get a performance boost or a dramatic decrease in loading times. However it is a tip some people recommend so I've included it here for completeness.

Update: Note that some people have found that using this method gives them an error and can require reinstallation of the game to resolve, so please approach this tweak with caution.

Taking Screenshots & Measuring FPS

To take a screenshot in Call of Juarez, simply press the PRINT SCREEN key and a screenshot will be saved to your \Documents and Settings\[Username]\My Documents\call of juarez\Out\ScreenShots\ directory - this directory is created the first time you take a screenshot this way. The screenshot will be saved in .tga format, which can be read by Photoshop or the free IRFanView viewer.

If you'd prefer, you can use the Fraps utility instead to take screenshots, as it can take them in other formats and save them to the directory of your choice. Fraps is also very useful because it allows you to measure your framerate in Call of Juarez. Given I have not yet worked out how to enable the FPS counter via the game's own console, Fraps is the main alternative for FPS measurement, and an accurate one at that.


This brings the guide to a close for now, but of course given that Call of Juarez has piqued such interest across the web, both for presenting a rather different genre than most FPS games, and for having a demanding game engine, I expect that this guide will expand to contain much more about the game as time goes by. Check back regularly as I keep the guide updated with new information and details about the game, especially when the full version of the game is released.

If you know of any major tweaks which are missing from this guide, or if you have any constructive feedback, please Email Me. Your feedback is important in making sure that the guide contains all the information people need to tweak this great game. However bear in mind as always that I can't provide any tech support, nor can I provide personal tweaking or purchasing advice.

For now, as I have a habit of saying: until next time take care!