FAQ: Installation – Operation Flashpoint

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What's in the box?

The international version of OFP comes in a DVD case. Well, actually, some of the DVD cases come in an external box. And, actually again, some of these copies of OFP are bundled with another one of Codemaster's games, 1nsane, a racing sim. And, actually another time, the US version of OFP comes in a CD case - not a DVD case.

Inside the OFP box or case you'll find one CD, an OFP Field Manual, an OFP summary reference card and a Codemasters product pamphlet.

If you purchased the international version of OFP, there might also be a technical notice to Windows 2000 users, regarding potential difficulties in loading OFP beyond the opening logo screens. You may ignore this if you apply the latest upgrades after first installing OFP.

What are the system requirements?

Officially, as printed on the package, it says: Minimum Requirements:

Windows 95/98/ME/2000 DirectX 8 Pentium II 400 CPU 64MB RAM 16 Bit DirectX Sound Compliant Sound Card Compatible 3D graphics card with 16MB RAM (8MB if using a Voodoo2) 8x CDROM 450MB Hard drive space Recommended Requirements:

Windows 95/98/ME/2000 DirectX 8 Pentium III 600 CPU or better 128MB RAM 16 Bit DirectX Sound Compliant Sound Card Compatible 3D graphics card with 32MB RAM (8MB if using a Voodoo2) 24x CDROM 450MB Hard drive space

While Codemasters says that 128MBs of RAM is recommended, if you have 256MB or more, you'll most probably enjoy improved and smoother game performance.

Note that, even though it is not listed, Windows XP is supported, too. Supported 3D Chipsets:

3DFX Voodoo2, Voodoo Banshee, Voodoo3, Voodoo4, Voodoo5 ATI Rage 128, Radeon Matrox G400, G450 Nvidia Riva TnT, Riva TnT2, Geforce 256, Geforce 2MX, GTS, ULTRA S3 Savage 4, Savage 2000 3D Labs Permedia 3 PowerVr Series 3 (Kyro)

Faulty US editions of the OFP Gold CD

At the start of March 2002, numerous posts began hitting the OFP forums and newsgroup about people unable to play OFP or unable to upgrade past OFP version 1.30.

Codemasters issued the following announcement on March 7,2002:

The master disk for the North American version of Operation Flashpoint Gold Edition contains a flaw that prevents it from
This problem does not affect the Gold Upgrade or any other version of Operation Flashpoint in any territory.
When Codemasters discovered the problem they immediately withdrew the product from sale throughout North America. A new, correct, master has been created and perfect product will go on sale across North America next
For those that have already bought the flawed disk Codemasters have implemented a replacement system. Any legitimate owner should contact Codemasters customer service in the USA, who will make quick security checks before sending out a replacement disk.
Any queries regarding games, release dates, technical support etc. can be sent to our Customer Services Department at: support@codemastersusa.com
US Technical Support Queries relating to Codemasters' games can be made to the following numbers. Lines open Monday through Friday, excepting recognized holidays, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Pacific Time.
Tel: +1 559 683-4468

On March 8, I was made aware of this OFP Gold Edition Flaw site that Codemasters set up in order to deal will CD replacements: http://www.ofp-goldedition.com. As of mid-March 2002, people began receiving their replacement CD copies in the mail.

Codemasters support informed some customers that they can verify whether they have a flawed CD by turning the CD over to the shiny silver side and checking the CD's "hub" code. The "hub" is the hole in the center of a CD and there is some information imprinted around the hub. If there's a hub code that starts with "B", you've got a faulty CD. A good OFP CD has a hub code that starts with "M".

The newly produced CD's are identifiable by their universal product code (UPC), printed on OFP's outer packaging:

  • OFP Gold Edition large re-work stock, UPC: 767649400454
  • OFP Gold Edition mini-box re-work stock, UPC 767649400461

So before you start searching through The FAQ to resolve some major problem, check to see if you may have purchased a copy of the faulty US edition of OFP Gold.

To summarize:

  • The faulty CD is the game CD in the US (North American) OFP Gold full edition. All prior OFP editions, as well as the European version of the OFP Gold full edition and all editions of the OFP Gold Upgrade do not have this defect.
  • There are 2 CDs in the OFP Gold edition. The defective CD is the OFP game CD and not the OFP Gold Upgrade CD.
  • CDs having a "hub code" that begins with "B" are bad.
  • The defective OFP game CD will let you install OFP but not play or upgrade OFP.
  • You should contact Codemasters by phone or by email, or through their flawed CD web site, as above, to obtain a replacement CD.

Please don't laugh at me .... How do you get the CD out of the case?

Simply press down on the pronged center circle holding the CD and it should pop out rather easily.

Is it worth investing in more RAM to play OFP?

Many people have commented that they see noticeable improvement when upgrading their computer's memory from 128MB of RAM to 256MB.

In the past BIS used to say that more than 256MB will not be used by OFP itself, though it might improve overall performance if you are running other applications concurrently with OFP.

However, in February 2002, Ondřej Španěl, BIS' Lead Programmer, had the following to say regarding the potential benefits of having more than 256MB of RAM:

OFP can use more than 256 MB, as its internal heap can grow up to 512 MB, if necessary, and it can also allocate some more memory out of the heap (like Direct3D resources or memory mapped files). Some memory (actually sometimes a lot) is also used by operating system and its services.
In real life, more than 256 MB is probably almost never used. If an OFP mission would require that much memory, even the most powerful CPU available today would be bottleneck.
This will probably change when faster CPUs will be available. If we consider 512 MB allocated on internal OFP heap, about 100 MB for file access and about 100 MB for operating system, we have about 700 MB used - and that is likely the theoretical limit OFP can really use.
Installing more that 1 GB will therefore not be of benefit to OFP, and installing more that 512 MB will probably have very little effect unless you also have a very fast CPU and you are playing very complex mission. Good way to check the actual amount of memory used by any application is to open WinNT Task Manager and check MEM USAGE field, which the shows current working set size of any process.
Ondřej Španěl, Lead Programmer

BTW, if you've got Windows 98 or ME, you should be aware that having more than 512MB of RAM can actually cause rather than solve memory problems. See this Microsoft Knowledgebase article for details and solutions.

Anything I should do before starting to install OFP?

Yes. If you have any previous version of OFP installed, including the demo or the press release, I recommend that you do a full uninstall of that first, including making sure that any residual files and directories no longer exist after uninstalling. If some do exist, delete them manually. After uninstalling, I also recommend rebooting your PC before starting to install OFP.

Make sure you have the latest level or edition of your Windows version. Also install the latest driver versions for your graphics and sound cards. If you have a proprietary mouse or pointing device, make sure you've got the latest drivers installed for that, too.

Got Windows 2000 or Windows XP? Make sure you have Windows Administrator rights authority levels when you install OFP.

Finally check the Microsoft DirectX page to make sure you have the latest version of DirectX installed. If not, download it and install that before installing OFP. After installing DirectX, I recommend that you restart your computer and run DirectX's DXDiag utility to confirm that everything tests out correctly.

If for some reason you need to uninstall DirectX (e.g., to digress to an earlier version of DirectX because the latest one causes problems), take a look at DirectX Buster or at DirectX Eradicator.

Avoid sharing IRQs!

Before installing OFP, make sure that your system has no IRQ conflicts. Failure to do so can cause all sorts of problem, such as lost sound, multiplayer connection problems and more.

Sometimes, IRQs are shared amongst devices built on-board on your PC's motherboard. These can include sound, video, network and other devices. Usually, these IRQ settings cannot be modified. In some of these cases, the only technical solution is to install a separate normal device card and disable the one on-board.

Make sure your system stays cool.

Your processors and graphics chips and other components in your computer can overheat if your system is not properly ventilated. Most PCs come today with a fan or heat sink for both the processors and graphics chips and possibly for other heat producing components. This is all in addition to the main ventilation/exhaust fan of your system box.

Normally, temperatures should reach no more that around 65 degrees centigrade when your computer is crunching instructions and producing graphics to the max. Overheating can cause computers to freeze up or Windows to fail with all sorts of errors. Make sure your computer's cooling components are sufficient for your configuration and that your power supply can handle your system's power demands.

IMPORTANT: Advice for VIA chipset computer owners.

If your computer's mother board is based on the VIA chipset, you may need to download and install the VIA 4-in-1 drivers. This has resolved a lot of reported cases of computer crashes, locks and freezes, sound card trouble, as well as significantly improved many computer's performance.

Before you download the VIA 4-in-1 drivers, however, Spitfire says that there's a BIOS setting that, if needs to be changed, might resolve your problem without going any further. Make sure that the BIOS "DRAM Clock" value is set to "HCLK" and not to "HCLK + PCICLK". Essentially what this does is to lower you RAM's clock speed to 100mhz. Just remember to set it back to what it should be once you're done installing or updating OFP.

If that doesn't help, before you go on, be aware that installing the VIA 4-in-1 drivers may cause conflicts with your computer's BIOS version, potentially resulting in unpredictable errors.

Sounds confusing? It is. Read on.

Motherboards using VIA133 chipsets and its variants have been known to cause errors when transferring data between two IDE devices (such as between a CD and a hard disk, e.g., when installing software). The transfer error can often lead to corrupted data when transferring large files. OFP's installation involves some large files. What a coincidence!

Though this problem is not specific to OFP, it is easily discernable during the installation of OFP's upgrade patches, since OFP's patch installation procedures check the integrity of the files already on your hard disk before they are updated to a newer version.

If you have a VIA chipset based motherboard and OFP has displayed CRC/checksum error messages for large OFP files (such as DATA.PBO, 1985.PBO, MUSIC.PBO and more) while installing an upgrade or an addon patch, this may very well be the source of your problem.

Here are some BIS and VIA FAQ links discussing this problem:

BIS Troubleshooting FAQ - AGP 4x problem on VIA

Alive! - VIA 686B Southbridge Data Corruption article and links

Elsewhere, the FAQ previously stated that disabling DMA mode for both your CD drive and hard drive may fix this problem. However, this leads to slower performance on your PC and may leads to several other problems on certain ABIT motherboards, such as sounds crackling and popping. If you've disabled DMA before installing or upgrading OFP, try enabling DMA again when you're ready to play.

Some VIA FAQs state that installing both the VIA 4-in-1 drivers and the latest BIOS version resolves this problem. However, some motherboard manufacturers have fixed the problem on their own by releasing an updated BIOS. If such a corrected BIOS version is used in conjunction with the corrected VIA 4-in-1 drivers, the data corruption problem may persist and, worse, may cause additional problems.

To summarize the above, you should install either a BIOS version that corrects the problem or install the fixed VIA 4-in-1 drivers but usually not both.

As an example, Spitfire, the OFP player who first publicized this information, decided to install the new VIA 4-in-1 drivers and to downgrade his ABIT KT7A motherboard's BIOS to an older version (because his CPU runs 10 degrees cooler with the older BIOS version). Since then, he has installed OFP several times and no longer encounters corrupted file errors.

ADDED October 14, 2002:

VIA chipset owners who have through all of the above and still have CTDs and freezes, might want to look into the PCI latency patch for VIA chipsets (this link will display Google search results for the patch). This helped OFP reg Amarak resolve his problems.

ADDED November 5, 2002

A lot of the issues mentioned above and some additional information are documented in this BIS troubleshooting FAQ item.

ADDED June 11, 2002

OFP player Piotr says that, from his experience, Windows 98 users may have better success installing version 4.35 of Via's 4-in-1 drivers. Later driver versions may not be optimized for Windows 98.

Install DirectX before installing OFP.

I recommend making sure that Microsoft's DirectX program is installed before you install OFP. Also make sure you have DirectX version 8.1 or greater. Then, when OFP's setup program prompts you whether to install DirectX or not, simply don't.

The latest version of DirectX can be downloaded from Microsoft's DirectX page.

A very important DirectX 8 tweak.

OFP player RALPH has confirmed that the following tweak applies to DirectX versions 8.0 and 8.1. However, if you previously performed the tweak for DirectX version 8.0 and have since upgraded to version 8.1, the tweak settings should be retained. If you're not sure or you want to check to be sure, go right ahead.

As supplied by Microsoft, DirectX versions 8.0 and 8.1 run a sound debugging program in the background under Windows. This debugging program may cause performance degradation and possibly execution errors in Windows applications using DirectX (such as OFP).

The DirectX sound debugging program can be safely disabled by downloading [file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/user/Desktop/theofpfaq/theofpfaq/downloads/dxapplet.zip this DirectX applet] and following these instructions:

  • Extract the DIRECTX.CPL applet file to your Windows 98 SYSTEM subdirectory or your Windows 2000 or Windows XP SYSTEM32 subdirectory.
  • Go to Windows Control Panel and open the DirectX properties utility.

Click on the DirectSound tab. You should see a Debug Output Level slide control on the upper left. Slide it all the way to the left, where it says "Less".

  • Click APPLY and then OK to save the settings and exit the utility.

This tweak has noticeably helped some while it appears useless to others. However, it is absolutely harmless, So it is worth giving it a try.

(With thanks to Brother Desloc and to Uncle Ahl, who notified the OFP player community about this).

IMPORTANT! Check your CD drive's ASPI layer.

Whether you have a SCSI or an IDE CD or CD-R drive, many people have resolved various OFP problems by installing or updating what's know as their system's ASPI software layer.

ASPI (Advanced SCSI Programmer's Interface) is a layer of software which manages communication between all kinds of software and your peripheral devices. A small general primer on ASPI can be found here. (Thanks to OFP player ALDEGA for the link).

The ASPI drivers are the property of ADAPTEC. For the latest ASPI drivers from Adaptec, see this page. If that link no longer works, go to ADAPTEC's site and search the site's support and downloads section for "aspi".

However, now ADAPTEC has new version 4.70 ASPI drivers available for all versions of Windows (except for W95) here. Unfortunately, warns this detailed ASPI article at RADIFIED.COM, so far users are reporting major errors and failures with these. So beware!

It has been reported to your truly that various CD ripper and burner utilities, such as EZ-CD Creator, NeroBurn and especially CloneCD may overlay an otherwise perfect ASPI layer in your computer. As an example, OFP player Ralph was suffering from the "Insert correct CD" error on his Windows 98 system when he tried upgrading OFP.

Ralph said installing EZ-CD Creator version 3 completely ruined his machine's ASPI layer. Furthermore, NeroBurn no longer worked, and, as mentioned, he could not install the OFP Ultimate Upgrade 3 patch.

At first Ralph installed the ADAPTEC ASPI layer patch. This fixed NeroBurn but did not help with the OFP upgrade patch. So Ralph re-installed the ASPI layer from his original Windows 98 CD. Not only did NeroBurn continue working but he was now able to successfully install OFP Ultimate Upgrade 3. Way to go, Ralph!

If you still have problems determining whether your ASPI level is up-to-snuff or with any of the above available installation procedures, your only choice is to go for something more radical yet ultimate, like the FORCEASPI utility by Flexion.

Unfortunately, Flexion's site is down because of the site's overwhelming popularity for many things, including FORCEASPI. So, until Flexion is back online, yours truly is offering you all the latest version, 1.7, of FORCEASPI, for download from The FAQ. This offer is good until ADAPTEC's attorneys attempt to haul me into court.

== Windows XP users: Check your DMA settings! ==Perform the following steps to make sure that your Windows XP installation has DMA enabled for IDE devices:

  2. On the PRIMARY and SECONDARY IDE CHANNELS, open up their PROPERTIES display.
  3. In PROPERTIES click on the ADVANCED SETTINGS tab.
  4. Make sure that TRANSFER MODES is set to DMA IF AVAILABLE. and not PIO.

If any changes wre made, reboot your computer.

Joysticks can make you sad if you don't watch out.

As of OFP version 1.20, BIS enabled joystick support for control of vehicles in the game. However, there are some quirks in the support that can cause some not-so-pleasant side effects if you don't take preventative measures.

Some people have reported OFP stuttering, lag or freezing up every 3 to 5 seconds. Others report that their screens looked as if they were shaking their mouse rapidly left and right.

This was caused by their having one or more joystick or gamepad controller devices defined under Windows Control Panel's Gaming Options but not having one of those devices physically connected to the PC when OFP is started.

The solution is to either have only game controller device defined to Windows and connected before running OFP and/or to remove all non-connected game controller device definitions from Windows Control Panel's Gaming Options before starting OFP.

Even if you don't have any of the above-mentioned side effects, if you've got more that one gaming device connected to your PC, you'll only be able to use the first one listed in Windows game controller list.

Got a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live audio card?

Lots of not-so-nice things have been said by many a gamer about Creative's Sound Blaster Live audio card. What is of concern to the OFP player community specifically is the consequences of hardware errors discovered this audio card was distributed with.

The combination of a Sound Blaster Live card and an VIA chipset based motherboard seems to be a worst case scenario but the Sound Blaster Live card can theoretically cause problems on any PC, based on this VIA Technologies FAQ entry, fully quoted below for your reference:

Category: Sound
Question: I am having trouble with a system using a VIA chipset including a 686b southbridge and a Creative Sound Blaster Live card.
Answer: When the 686b Southbridge was first released, motherboard manufacturers and VIA discovered a problem when trying to transfer files between the primary and the secondary IDE channels on motherboards using ultra-DMA, when a Sound Blaster Live was plugged in and drivers activated. This issue was caused because too much noise is transferred across the PCI bus by the Sound Blaster Live driver set. In an attempt to fix this issue, some motherboard manufacturers modified their BIOS. In some instances, these modifications to the BIOS caused a data corruption error even when not using a Sound Blaster Live. VIA released a patch which resolves this issue, which is incorporated in the 4in1 drivers from the 4.31 version onwards. Motherboard manufacturers were advised to change the modifications made to thier BIOS to elimate the data corruption issue. If you are experiencing data corruption or lock up when transferring files between two IDE drives: 1) Make sure you have the latest BIOS from your motherboard manufacturer. 2) Make sure you have the latest 4in1 drivers 3) Make sure when you set up your system that you install the 4in1 drivers both before and after you install the SBL to make sure that the drivers see your SBL and install the correct patch. The patch will only install if the SBL is installed.

To sum up, this may affect any PC with a Sound Blaster Live audio card. So make sure your BIOS, chipset and Sound Blaster Live drivers are all up to date and installed correctly and in the proper sequence.

Where's my CD key?

Your OFP CD key is in the inside the back page cover of the OFP Field Manual booklet. Now's a good time to jot your CD key down on your OFP CD, using a thin-tipped permanent ink marker.

Why does OFP say my CD key is bad?

It's very common for people to type similar looking letters and numbers. Examples of mistyped look-alike characters are: 0/O/D, 1/l, 8/B, 5/S, 6/G, 2/Z, etc. Just look carefully at the printed CD key and you should eventually recognize what you mistyped while installing OFP.

If you've purchased OFP's Game Of The Year (GOTY) Edition and cannot get OFP to accept the CD key printed in OFP's Field Manual, the CD key may be bad. Codemasters has stated that some of the GOTY manuals had incorrect CD keys printed in them.

If you think that this is the problem that you're encountering, your best bet is to contact Codemasters and tell them so.

What do I do if the CD key was not printed properly in my Field Manual?

Several people have reported that some of the CD key characters didn't get printed at all or were smudged in the printing process.

Some people are reporting that Codemasters is now willing to give you a valid CD key over the phone if you've got a CD key printing error. Just have your original OFP CD on hand, as they'll ask you about some unique information printed on your CD. Here's CM's worldwide contact page.

If for some reason, CM refuses to deal with you over the phone, your alternative is to either contact your attorneys or repackage everything and exchange your copy of OFP for a new one at the place of purchase. If you ordered it by mail, make sure you follow the seller's return/exchange instructions and include a note describing the problem.

Can I get a replacement for my damaged or scratched OFP CD?

Yes. There are various scenarios, however. If the CD came damaged out of the box, you should be able to replace it from the store or company you purchased it from. Check their replacement terms.

If that's not possible, Codemasters' games are covered by a ninety day warranty. As long as you have a proof of purchase and the full packaging for the game, Codemasters will replace faulty media within ninety days of purchase.

If the CD was damaged or scratched by your dog or cat or you rolled over it with your office chair, Codemasters may still be willing to let you exchange it for a fee.

For more information, contact Codemasters.

Anything I should do after installing OFP? Are there any patches or upgrades available?

Yes. First check the BIS download page (dead link), and Codemasters patch page and upgrade page. Future patches, containing fixes and add-ons, may follow, although BIS has announced that this is unlikely.

If you've installed from either the OFP: Resistance version 1.75 CD or from the OFP GOTY Edition version 1.85 CD, the most recent patch, released in March 2003, will upgrade you to version 1.91. There are separate upgrade patches for the Resistance and the GOTY versions. You need to download the one for your CD. The results of applying them, however, is the same, with exactly the same fixes and features being installed.

In addition, for OFP Resistance CD installations only, there is a Campaign 1985 update patch as well as a Red Hammer Compatibility patch. If you've already applied these after an earlier patch upgrade (e.g., 1.85 or 1.90), you should not apply them again.

If you're planning on hosting OFP multiplayer games, be sure to download the latest version of the dedicated standalone server as well.

For those of you who have installed the Resistance or GOTY edition, skip down this page and continue reading from the title "Codemasters Advice".

For those of you who have only installed the original version of OFP Cold War Crisis, the last patch for that version, OFP Ultimate Upgrade 4, upgrades OFP version 1.30 to version 1.46. The patch can be downloaded from one of the links on the pages mentioned above.

Prior to installing OFP Ultimate Upgrade 4, you'll need to have already installed or upgraded to OFP version 1.30 using either the OFP Ultimate Upgrade 3 patch, the OFP Gold CD or the OFP Gold Upgrade CD. If you inadvertently installed the Red Hammer Campaign from the OFP Gold CD after installing OFP Ultimate Upgrade 4, simply rerun the Ultimate Upgrade 4 patch again after Red Hammer was installed from OFP Gold.

The OFP Ultimate Upgrade 3 patch can be downloaded from one of the links on the pages mentioned above. The Ultimate Upgrade 3 patch will update OFP version 1.20 directly to version 1.30. You must already have installed OFP version 1.20 before installing this upgrade. Before you take the plunge and install Ultimate Upgrade 3, I suggest you first read about my experiences, just to be on the safe side.

If you have purchased and installed OFP Gold or the OFP Gold Upgrade, you already have version 1.30 and you do not need to install Upgrade 3 or any prior official addons.

If you currently have OFP version 1.20 installed and want to install OFP Ultimate Upgrade 4, you must first upgrade to OFP version 1.30 using the Ultimate Upgrade 3 patch.

If you currently have OFP version 1.00 or 1.10 installed and want to install OFP Ultimate Upgrade 4, you must first upgrade to OFP version 1.20 using the Ultimate Upgrade 2 patch. (OFP version 1.00 users do not have to upgrade to version 1.10 before upgrading to version 1.20). After successfully installing the Ultimate Upgrade 2 patch, you must then install the Ultimate Upgrade 3 patch prior to installing OFP Ultimate Upgrade 4.

Codemaster Advice

Codemasters is urging gamers to download OFP patches only from the official site or recognized mirror sites which can be found at www.codemasters.com/flashpoint or at www.flashpoint1985.com (dead link).

Rich Blenkinsop, external producer at Codemasters comments: "We are aware that the recently released patch has been hacked by people trying to circumvent the FADE anti-piracy system. However, using one of these hacked versions on authentic copies of the game, will render them unplayable. We would advise gamers who own a legitimate copy of Operation Flashpoint to use the Codemasters site as a first port of call for information on genuine patches and upgrades."

The warning above about hacked versions of OFP refers to no-CD cracks as well. If you're using one, you stand the risk of having FADE ruin your OFP gameplay experience.

If you receive error messages during the upgrade installation process, this might be caused by one of the following:

  1. The copy of the upgrade patch file that you downloaded is damaged.
  2. Your computer has problems copying OFP's large files. See this FAQ item on CRC/checksum errors.
  3. The upgrade patch file is fine, even though the error messages say otherwise. However, if you previously installed an unofficial upgrade, addon, patch or other file, these messages might be displayed. If you have installed an unofficial upgrade and you cannot fully uninstall it, you should reinstall OFP (make sure you have your CD key readily available) and then run all required upgrade patches.

I personally recommend that everyone, regardless of the Windows version that you have, should reboot their computer at this time before initially playing OFP.

After you've patched or upgraded OFP, I highly recommend that the run the OFP preferences program, OPFLASHPREFERENCES.EXE, and click on the AUTODETECT button. This will cause OFP to check your system's configuration and adjust OFP's execution parameters accordingly. The OFP preferences program can be found in OFP's main directory.

If you're getting file error messages when installing an upgrade patch, look here.

Should I install optional addons?

If you chose not to install any official addons, be aware that you will not be able to play any single or multiplayer mission that makes use of an addon your are missing.

What is "HW T&L" and should I set my DISPLAY TYPE to it?

HW T&L stands for Hardware Transform and Lighting. It is a graphics capability available on many of today's video graphics adapters. HW T&L essentially offloads some of the graphics processing from your computer's main CPU chip to the graphics adapter's chip, freeing up the CPU to process additional instructions, which makes programs execute faster.

If you've got a graphics adapter that supports HW T&L, you should be able to enable OFP's T&L support by running the OFP preferences program, OPFLASHPREFERENCES.EXE, and selecting an appropriate HW T&L entry in the DISPLAY TYPE drop-down list. If your graphics adapter doesn't support HW T&L or if you experience problems using OFP's HW T&L support, choose an non-HW T&L based setting in the DISPLAY TYPE list.

BIS has stated that there were HW T&L related bugs in versions 1.00 and 1.10. As for version 1.20, they have corrected a number of these problems but some folks may still experience problems, which may be caused by OFP, by the video drivers installed on your system or even by problems in DirectX 8.0. It's pot luck but, if you can, give it a try.

Can I verify that OFP is installed correctly?

Well, yes, but only for OFP versions up to 1.20. BIS put out a little OFP installation verification program, CheckOFP, which you can download from here. If you're still back there, you can run CheckOFP and see if it detects any errors.

If you get the following messages, don't panic:

   Error found in file AddOns\SU25.PBO (42efdc11!==e8965a02) 
   Error found in file AddOns\TRAB.PBO (26ffd21a!==92577b72) 
   Error found in file AddOns\VULCAN.PBO (f0ec93a8!==0e112b4a)

As BIS admits, this means that that the copy of the version 1.10 upgrade that you installed had some minor kinks in three of its addon files that are hardly noticeable anyway.

To eliminate even the slightest trace of these problems, download the version 1.10 ultimate upgrade patch from here and reinstall. When you run CheckOFP again, the error messages should no longer appear.

3D Spotlight's OFP Tweak Guide.

3D Spotlight, a PC hardware resource WEB site, has introduced a fantastic OFP Tweak Guide, by [mailto:thomas@3dspotlight.com Thomas McGuire]. The guide will give you a detailed rundown on all of the regular and advanced settings available in the OFP preferences program and the OPTIONS settings, accessed from OFP's main menu. If you've always wanted to know what the GEOMETRY PERFORMANCE, AUTO DROP-DOWN and OBJECTS LOD settings were for, this is the place to go!

OFP player Mister Frag does, however, have quite a few notes about the tweak guide:

"The suggestion to run in 16-bit mode will cause more problems than it will solve; the explanation of how memory is allocated between OFP and Windows is wrong; moving the Geometry Performance slider position to the right will generally give you lower performance in the game; the explanation of Auto Drop-Down is backwards (i.e. suggesting that people with lower-end systems try lower settings); the information on the maximum number of lights is wrong; and the section on textures is a cut-and-paste job (compare the text for Cockpit textures and Special Effects textures).
I'm not saying that using 16-bit mode won't increase frame rates, but it will also reduce the Z-buffer depth and cause clipping errors and rendering artifacts. Whenever you hear stories about people being able to see through their character's helmet in third-person view, for example, that is the reason.
With some video cards you can work around this to some extent using a W-buffer, which OFP now supports. But W-buffer biasing may also require tuning using a program such as RivaTuner, available from Guru3D.
Overall, if the card is fast enough to handle 32-bit mode, 16-bit mode isn't worth the hassle.
The W-buffer is a work-around for people who are forced to run 16-bit mode, because the latter doesn't have the precision for proper clipping in scenes with a lot of depth.
This is also why I said that the W-buffer requires tuning using a program such as RivaTuner. I don't think the Detonator drivers even expose the settings in the Control Panel, but they can be changed nevertheless.
You basically have to tell the driver how the bits in the W-buffer are allocated to increasing distances. If you want to avoid clipping problems with complex nearby objects such as other soldiers, you will probably wind up with roads or trees in the distance that appear and disappear. If you want to fix the latter problem, you'll wind up with being able to see through a soldier's head or helmet.
Again, the W-buffer is an attempt to fix a problem that is most easily avoided by using a 32-bit video mode."

Can I make OFP start up faster by getting rid of those CM and BIS credits splash banner screens?

Sure! To bypass the BIS and CM promotional splash screen displays at OFP startup, simply edit your OFP desktop shortcut's properties and append -nosplash at the end of the properties TARGET field, just after the program name. For example, this is what my OFP shortcut's TARGET field looks like:

   "C:\Program Files\Games\OperationFlashpoint\OperationFlashpoint.exe" -nosplash

Boohoo! My PC Doesn't meet the requirements!

Wait a minute! You may still qualify to install and play OFP.

Are you using Windows NT? Nope, sorry, can't help yah!

Do you have another graphics card, not listed as being supported? You might still qualify. For example, I originally had an S3 Savage IX 8MB chipset and OFP worked like a charm. How can you find out if your unlisted graphics card will work or not? Well, search the forums for the name of your graphics card or ask a question there. Also, try installing and playing the demo first. If it works, that's a promising sign that the full retail version will most likely work as well. Just remember to uninstall the demo before installing the full retail version afterwards.

Gamespy Arcade installation and notes

If you're planning on playing OFP online with other players over the Internet, Codemasters recommends that you download, install and use Gamespy Arcade for finding online multiplayer (MP) games and connecting to them (for alternatives to Gamespy Arcade, look here).

While a copy of Gamespy Arcade is included somewhere in the bowels of the OFP installation CD, you should always install the latest downloadable version available at Gamespy instead. If you've previously installed Gamespy Arcade on your PC, check now if your installed version is the latest.

Note that on from Gamespy Arcade download page, you can download and ad-free version for a cost or an ad-ridden version for free. Scroll down to the bottom of the download page for the free version.

During Gamespy's installation, you will be prompted as to whether you would also like a few spyware products, such as WebHancer and Gator, installed on your system. Unless you adore spyware, I highly recommend that you opt out and just say no when prompted. If you want to know more about spyware and how to find and get rid of it if it is on your PC, go to Lavasoft and read about their popular Ad-Aware product. Highly recommended!

Sometimes, even after Gamespy Arcade has scanned your PC for recognized games, which OFP is supposed to be one of, OFP still does not display on Gamespy Arcade's 'Installed Games' list.

To resolve this problem, click on Gamespy>Options on Gamespy Arcade's menu bar. Under Options, click on the Games tab. On the left side is a Layout area. Irregardless of whether OFP is listed there or not, click on the Browse button and manually select the OFP game EXE file from your OFP install directory. Click the Apply button and go back to Gamespy Arcade's main screen.

On the left side, under the GS logo, and gray menu buttons, there's a NETWORK button. Under that there should be a GAMES button. If OFP is not showing under the GAMES button, click on the GAMES button to reveal it and then click on the OFP entry.

If that works and you now simply have a total lack of comprehension understanding how to use Gamespy Arcade, well, that's your headache! I suggest you go to Gamespy Arcade's support page for help.

Can OFP be run windowed rather than full-screen?

Yes! Edit your OFP desktop shortcut's properties and append -window at the end of the properties TARGET field, just after the program name. For example:

   "C:\Program Files\Games\OperationFlashpoint\OperationFlashpoint.exe" -window -nosplash

What is the W-BUFFER video option for?

OFP version 1.30 introduced a new option setting, W-BUFFER. This is for systems that have an Nvidia based graphics adapter and are running OFP in 16 bit mode.

The W-BUFFER setting is forced to enabled and cannot be disabled for Geforce3 graphics adapters, which always run in 32 bit mode, and for Voodoo 3 cards running in Glide 16-bit resolution.

So, what does W-BUFFER do? Here's a quote from Rage3D.Com:

   The W-Buffer is another way to determine the depth of pixels in a scene. (for the techies, the Z-Buffer stores the actual depth of each pixel, the W-Buffer interpolates 1/w or 1/z, then (1/(1/w or z)) is performed per pixel, which then is stored in the depth buffer.) The advantage of the W-Buffer is that it distributes the depth values evenly for a 3D scene, whereas the the Z-Buffer uses most of its precision for objects close to the viewport, leaving fewer values available for objects deeper in the 3D scene. This more uniform distribution of depth precision can help avoid pixel/polygon popping within 3D scenes but the application has to support the W-Buffer for this setting to matter.

Does the downloaded version of Red Hammer affect OFP's version level?

If you've installed the pay-and-download version of Codemaster's Red Hammer campaign, you don't have to worry about the Red Hammer installation affecting your OFP installation. You can safely install Red Hammer in this way whether you've got OFP version 1.30 (minimum version required), 1.40 or any later version that will come out.

However, care should be taken if you are installing OFP from the OFP Gold CD or upgrading from the OFP Gold Update CD and you've already got OFP version 1.40 or later installed.

An enhanced colors graphics tweak for some Nvidia based graphics adapters.

For certain models of Nvidia based graphics cards (such as some GeForce cards and others), there may be a simple tweak that will enhance OFP's and other game's color rendition on you PC.

OFP player Tracer, on this SIMHQ forum thread, says that if you've got an advanced display setting option named DIGITAL VIBRANCE, you can easily enhance your graphics color displays.

To see if you can do this, right-click on your desktop and select PROPERTIES. Click on the SETTINGS tab and then click on the ADVANCED button. If you see a tab called COLOR CORRECTION, click on it. If you see there a DIGITAL VIBRANCE option, slide its setting to low or medium. Remember to check the small box that says "AUTOMATICALLY APPLY THESE SETTINGS AT STARTUP" - otherwise the settings will be reset next time you boot.

For some cards, the path to click on to eventually find this option's setting might be more elusive. If so, you should be able to find it by installing and using a popular utility, such as RivaTuner for Nvidia and Radeon graphics adapters, available from Guru3D.

How can I change OFP's menus and text messages to a different language?

When you installed OFP, you were prompted what language interface you preferred OFP to play in. You can change this anytime afterwards through the OFP Preferences Program. You can choose between English, French, Italian, Spanish, German and Czech.

What does the AUTO DROP-DOWN setting in the OFP Preferences program do?

AUTO DROP-DOWN determines to what extent OFP should dynamically reduce the texture details during gameplay. A setting of NONE means OFP will not reduce texture detail, resulting in higher quality visuals at the expense of requiring more processor power. Those on lower performing systems may wish to try setting AUTO DROP-DOWN to 4x or 2x to improve performance.

More information on tweaking OFP can be obtained through this FAQ item.

What are "addons" and how do I use them?

Addons are files that define one or more new soldiers, weapons, vehicles, structures or effects (or a combination of these) to OFP.

Addons are produced both by BIS themselves and by the OFP player community. BIS' addons are "official" addons, that is, they normally are or become an integral part of OFP's installation. Other people's addons are considered "unofficial".

To make use of a given addon, a reference to the addon must be defined in a mission, made by someone else or by yourself, should you ever become a mission maker. In other words, addons don't automatically become available for use in any mission you play. If you want to fly an F-18 Hornet in OFP, you have to have both the addon's file installed and a mission that was designed to incorporate the addon.

Addons normally come in PBO type files. They can be placed into one of several OFP AddOns subfolders. The best place to keep addon files is in mod folders.

I've got two OFP CDs. Does it make a difference which CD key I use with either one?

No. If you're installing OFP on two separate PCs, using two original CDs, it makes no difference which CD key is used for which installation.

However, it is illegal to use the same CD key for more than one installation of OFP. Furthermore, if you do so, you might trigger FADE and this may be detected during multiplayer games and automatically force you off the MP game server.