Let me preface by saying that I love Battlefield 3. Once the game is up and running successfully and I’m in a match, it’s awesome – BEAUTIFUL graphics, awesome class-based teamwork strategies, and a variety of objective-based maps. When I’m able to actually get into a game, it’s hard to find much that I don’t like about it.
Notice that keyword “when”? Battlefield 3 isn’t exactly the most stable of games. I found that I suffered from three main problems: first, the game would take an inordinately long amount of time to load a map; second, that the game would often crash when I alt-tabbed (I’ll be damned if I’m gonna sit and stare at a loading screen that whole time); and third, that the game would sometimes crash when changing maps, even when I didn’t alt-tab out.
All these issues seemed incredibly strange given that I upgraded my PC just about two months ago – I’m now running the Phenom II 965 quad-core CPU and 4 GB of RAM, and it’s been able to handle anything else I threw at it. So I tweaked the graphics settings in the game to confirm that it wasn’t my PC that was causing the performance issues. I also changed the in-game settings to make Battlefield run in a window, which didn’t seem to help much.
Solution 1 – Long Load Times: ATT (ATI Tray Tools)
As I said before, my PC is typically able to run anything without a hitch, and even runs Battlefield 3 perfectly at max settings; so why the long load times? It could be partially due to an overloading of EA’s servers (just an initial guess), but I suspected there was more to it. I found a blog post on a community called Up In Smoke that basically hypothesized that Battlefield 3 did not natively make use of multithreading; that is, you’d have to tweak your GPU’s settings to allow it to make use of the multiple cores on your CPU. For me, that meant downloading a tool called ATT (click to go to the download page) since I have an ATI graphics card. After installing ATT, I went into the Tweaks menu, clicked Advanced Tweaks, chose Multi Thread Support from the drop down box, and entered 4 into both fields, to force it to make use of all four cores in my CPU.
If you’ve got an Nvidia card, however, you can simply open your Nvidia Control Panel, click 3D Settings, then Program Settings, find Battlefield 3 in the drop-down box, and turn on Threaded Optimization.
Solution 2 – Alt-Tab Crash: Realmware BF3 Borderless
So after a bit of Googling, I came across Realmware, the website of a small software development team that provides, among other things, software fixes for Battlefield 3. In particular, they have a tool called BF3 Borderless (click to visit the download page), a program that forces Battlefield 3 to run in a borderless windowed mode – the same trick I use with my Steam games, only Origin doesn’t provide such sophisticated launch settings. This essentially makes it look like you’re running the game in fullscreen mode, but makes alt-tabbing a lot smoother. So far, it’s not perfect, but without a doubt has made the game crash much less frequently upon alt-tab.
Solution 3 – Crash During Map Change
While I’m not quite as confident about this solution as the others (after all, BF3 Borderless already took care of most of my game crash issues), it certainly hasn’t cause MORE problems, at the very least. I came across a video (click to view) that suggested the following solution: go to http://www.evenbalance.com, download and install pbsetup.exe (PunkBuster support for many games), and run it. Click on “add a game,” choose Battlefield 3 from the drop-down box, and click “check for updates.” This will automatically download and install PunkBuster updates for the game.
All three of these programs seemed to solve the problems I’d been having most of the time. I do personally recommend them, and can confirm that they do not contain malware, spyware, or any other malicious software. However, as with any new install, please use your best judgment before installing. Additionally, just because these fixes worked for me, it does not mean they are guaranteed to work for you.
Although I am recommending these three programs, I did not have any part in their development, and I cannot be held responsible for any hardware or software issues that could occur for you as a result of using them.
Hopefully these tools help you out as much as they helped me. Good luck, and see you on the battlefield!
~Jessica “Ruckus” Brohard