Windows tweaks and troubleshooting

Urban Assault usually runs well on modern Windows systems but there are certain problems that occur on Windows Vista and newer. Some issues are dependent on hardware. This page contains solutions for common problems.

Helicopter problems

Unresponsive helicopters are common on all modern computers regardless of the operating system. Helicopter problems are covered in another article.

Choosing the rendering mode

On modern computers, software rendering mode can cause too fast or inconsistent performance. Change Direct3D device to Primary display driver (hardware rendering) in UA options. Using hardware rendering often helps in helicopter problems as well.

Rendering mode can also be set by editing guid3d.def file in the ENV folder. Known possible options are <font inherit/courier new,courier,monospace;;inherit;;inherit><software></font> and <font inherit/courier new,courier,monospace;;inherit;;inherit><primary></font>

If hardware rendering does not work, enable DrawPrimitive first (see below). If it still does not work, switch to software rendering.

Changing the rendering mode can also help in startup problems.

Startup problems, black screen, color distortion

If the screen gets distorted or black during startup or after any intro video, disabling the videos may help. This can be done by deleting or renaming the MOV directory (located in the data directory), or by editing nucleus.ini.

Disabling desktop composition (Windows Aero) may sometimes help too:

Right-click UA.exe (ua_xp.exe for Metropolis Dawn) → Properties → Compatibility tab → Check Disable desktop composition.

Graphical glitches and in-game crashing / DrawPrimitive

It's almost always recommended to turn DrawPrimitive on in UA options. It can be especially useful if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Game crashes when playing
  • Major graphical issues such as game scene not rendered properly or at all
  • Minor graphical issues such as the preview model not visible or not spinning properly in mission briefing

UAC file system virtualization (Vista/7/8/10)

If Windows User Account Control (UAC) is enabled and UA is installed into the default program directory (<drive>:\Program Files\ …) and run without explicit administrator privileges, it cannot write files such as configuration and saved games into the program directory. In this case, the UAC file system virtualization redirects the write requests to another directory, VirtualStore. This can be very annoying if you want to manually edit the game files. There are a few different ways to prevent it:

  • Install UA into a directory that is not protected such as your home folder (recommended!). Do not install it to any Program Files folder.
  • Run UA as administrator (inadvisable). Compatibility modes do this automatically, otherwise you must do this every time and it can lead to slight problems if there are already files in VirtualStore.
  • Disable User Account Control and use administrator account (not recommended for security reasons)

More information:

High-definition resolution patch

UA originally supports resolutions up to 1024×768. A patch has been made to allow higher resolutions up to 4k level.
More information:

Setting up DirectPlay

UA requires DirectPlay to work, even if multiplayer features are not used.

DirectPlay is not included with Windows 10 by default, but when a program that requires it is started, Windows should ask about installing DirectPlay and install it automatically. If this does not happen, you may have to manually enable it.

Go to Control Panel → Programs and Features → Turn Windows Features on or off → check Legacy Components (DirectPlay).



UA_Source is a game engine reconstruction project. It's already playable and can be used to solve most problems related to modern computers and operating systems. As of February 2018, it does not support multiplayer.

windows_tweaks.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/27 10:56 (external edit)
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