ACE/ACRE Installation Guide
This is a step-by-step guide to installing the ACE and ACRE mods from scratch so that you can play on servers such as 'The Wrecking Crew UK ACE/ACRE Public Realism' with absolutely no issues.
1. ArmA II: Combined Operations installed.
Combined Operations means that both ArmA II (paid, not free) and Operation Arrowhead are installed and linked together into one game.
2. If you have a non-Steam copy of the game, you must install game update 1.62 (Steam does this automatically).
Step 1: Install Play withSIX
To install the mods in this guide, we will be using an application called Play withSIX.
NOTE: If you already have an old version of Play withSIX installed, you must uninstall it before you can use the new version of Play withSIX. You should do this via the Windows control panel. When asked whether you want to remove configuration files, click 'Yes'.
Once the download has completed, run the downloaded file. When the 'Welcome to Play withSIX' licence agreement appears, click 'Accept' to continue.
The application will now load for the first time, so please give it up to 1 minute to be ready. You will know when it is finished loading becuase it will give you a welcome prompt.
This prompt is asking you where you would like Play withSIX to install ArmA mods to. While traditionally people have put mods in their game folder, it is actually much better to put them in a location in your documents. It prevents UAC errors and keeps your game folder tidy.
For these reasons and many more, you should click 'No' to this prompt. If you had mods installed before hand then don't worry, Play withSIX will move your mods to the right place when you need them. It handles everything automatically.
Right now you have Play withSIX open direcly as an executable, but it isn't actually installed on your PC. Install it on your PC by clicking 'tools' --> 'check for update' in the top right of the application, and then click on 'Install to PC'.
When the confirmation prompt appears, click 'Restart and Install' for the process to complete.
Play withSIX itself has now been successfully installed.
Step 2: Install the Mods (using Play withSIX)
Now we will actually install the mods themselves.
The vertical bar of iconbuttons on the left of Play withSIX is called the controller. It allows you to switch the current tab of Play withSIX between News, Games, Mods, Missions, and Servers, as well as giving you access to the 'main button', which will switch between 'Install', 'Update' and 'Launch Game', based on the current context.
To switch to the mods tab, so that we can install the mods, click on the mods button on the controller.
You will now see the Play withSIX mods tab, known as the mods browser.
In Play withSIX, you create 'Collections'. Collections are simply mods grouped together so that they can be installed, updated, or launched together conveniently. They do not represent actual folders of mods (ie, mods are not duplicated), they are just for convenience.
Let's create a collection for ACE & ACRE. To create a collection, click 'new collection' under 'Collections'.
Now that is created, rename it by clicking on the large collection name and typing. Press Enter when you are finished to save the name.
Now we need to add the mods to the collection.
Follow this sequence for the following mods:
When you have finished adding all the mods to your collection, it should look like the following. If it does not, go back and check that you haven't missed something.
Now that your collection is set up (you won't have to do this ever again), you can start the download/install process for the mods. To do this, simply click the massive orange 'Install' button in the bottom left.
If you already had ACE & ACRE installed in your game folder, then you will get a prompt asking to move your mods. Click 'Move' to this.
The install process will now run. If there are any other alerts, just click 'ok' to them.
When it is finished, the main button should change to the green 'Launch Game'. It is ready.
Step 3: Configure ACE
ACE is now installed, but the ACE settings need to be configured. Click on the ACE mod in the collection and click 'Settings' to open the mod settings overlay for the ACE mod.
With this overlay open, tick/untick the boxes so that they are exactly the same as the settings shown in the following image, and for the 'Identity' field select the profile that you use for ArmA. It is important that your ACE settings are set correctly, so please do this properly. Once you have finished, click 'Save' at the bottom of the overlay.
The out-of-game ACE settings have now been set, but there are some settings that are set from ingame that must be set, and certain keys must be binded. To launch the game with the mods of the currently activated collection, click the green 'Launch Game' button.
Now that you are on the Main Menu of the game (with the mods loaded), click on 'ACE settings'.
The ACE Clientside settings screen will now be shown.
Change 'Weapon select firemode' to 'Selected' and 'Enable staying brass' to 'Yes':
Now you need to set your ACE interaction keys. Click on 'Keys' at the top left to bring up this menu.
ACE is a mod filled with features, and there are quite a few keys involved. All of the keys can be kept at their default, except for the most important new keys, the interaction keys.
There are two interaction keys in ACE. The interaction key, and the self-interaction key.
The interaction key allows you to use new interactions with other objects such as players or vehicles, such as attatching a towing rope to a vehicle, and the self-interaction key allows you to interact with yourself, to do things such as bandage yourself.
To change the keys for these to your preference, click on the name of the current keys.
Now hit the key you want. If you want to add the shift, control, or alt modifiers, click on them with your mouse so that they turn white. When you are done, click on 'Save'. Remember to do this for both 'Interaction' and self-interaction.
When you have set your keys, click on 'Save' at the bottom.
If you do not see 'Save' at the bottom, go back to the Main Menu, click 'Options', click 'Video Options', click 'Advance' and make sure that 'Interface Size' is set to 'Normal'.
At the Main Menu, click 'Options'.
In the Options menu, click on 'Controls'.
In the Options menu, click on 'Controls'.
Here, de-assign both the 'Voice Over Net' and 'Push to Talk' keys. ACRE does not use them, and while any good ACRE server (including ours) has the default ArmA 2 VON disabled, some might not, and also, it will show the annoying microphone icon every time you transmit on the radio, which we don't want.
Now that you are finished this step, go back to the Main Menu of the game and click 'Exit' to close the game.
Step 4: Configure TeamSpeak 3 for ACRE
As mentioned at the very top of this page, ACRE is a mod for ArmA 2: CO and a plugin for TeamSpeak 3 that interface with eachother.
Having TeamSpeak 3 was listed as a requirement for this guide, so you should already have it installed.
For ACRE to be able to connect to TeamSpeak, it must be run as administrator every time. Click on the Windows start orb in the bottom left of your screen, and type 'teamspeak'. When you see 'TeamSpeak 3 Client' in the results, right click and and click on 'Properties'.
In the Properties window, go to the Compatibility tab, and tick the checkbox beside 'Run this program as an administrator', then click 'OK'.
Now Open TeamSpeak by simply searching for it again and pressing the enter key.
For TeamSpeak to work flawlessly with ACRE, it must be configured correctly. Before you start configuring it, firstly make sure that TeamSpeak is at the version listed in "Pre-Requisites" at the top of this guide.
To check the version, open TeamSpeak 3, click on 'Help' and click 'About'.
If it is not on the correct vesion, you need to go back to 'Pre-Requisies' and download the correct version.
Now that it is definitely on the right version, click on 'Settings' and click 'Options' to bring up the Options.
In the Options menu, click on the 'Playback' tab.
If you have stereo speakers or a stereo headset, set 'Mono Sound Expansion' to 'Mono to stereo'. If you have 5.1/7.1 speakers or a surround sound headset, click on 'Mono to surround'.
Additionally, make sure that 'Always set clients 3D positions when available' is ticked.
Now click on the 'Hotkeys' tab.
Here, ensure that the input mode for the Push-to-Talk hotkey is definitely 'Direct Input'.
Now click on the 'Capture' tab.
While TeamSpeak supports three ways of talking, ACRE only has full support for push-to-talk, so you need to use push-to-talk for ACRE. Click on the Push-To-Talk circle and then set your push-to-talk key. This is the key that you will use for direct speaking ingame in ACRE, so chose it and remember it.
At the bottom, click the checkbox to open 'Advanced Options'. Make sure that both 'Voice Activation while using Push-To-Talk' and 'Automatic voice gain contol' are UNTICKED. This is important.
Now click on the 'Notifications' tab.
Change 'Sound Pack' to 'Sounds deactivated' to disable the annoying audio notifications (eg "User Joined Your Channel!") from TeamSpeak that may play when you are ingame.
TeamSpeak 3 is now configured for ACRE, however there is one thing that you need to note about it. When TeamSpeak updates, ACRE does not always immediately support the new TeamSpeak version, so if you open TeamSpeak and get a prompt to update, do not accept this unless ACRE supports it. To find out the latest version that ACRE supports, come back to this page and look at the following line:
Current ACRE TeamSpeak Version Support: 18.104.22.168 (Latest)
Step 5: Joining Servers
As well as just launching the game with the mods of your collection, as you did when configuring ACE, Play withSIX is also a replacement for the outdated ingame server browser. The Play withSIX server browser is both more user friendly and more powerful.
If you don't have Play withSIX open, you can launch it by simply searching for it in the start menu and pressing enter. Or, if you made a shortcut on your desktop, just launch that. Every time you want to play ACE/ACRE you'll be launching through PwS, so you'll be relieved to see that the loading time is very small.
To view the PwS serverbrowser, click the 'select a server' button on the contoller.
On the right of the app, you will see the filter. The servers you see now are running ACE, but there is no guarentee that they are actually running ACRE too. Also, some are unreponsive, full, or empty.
To filter for working servers running ACRE, enter the follwing filter parameters into the filter:
With these filter settings entered, you should now see a list of proper servers. However, the experience that you have with ACE/ACRE will vary greatly depending on which server you play on. On some servers you will have the greatest gaming experience you have ever had, while on others it will be a low-quality headache which will put you off the mods.
We at The Wrecking Crew UK are different from other groups, in that our primary focus is to introduce new players to ACE/ACRE with both this installation guide, and a high quality, realistic, and immersive public server, played on by our members who are happy to help out new players.
We recommend that you at least try out our server, and see if you like it. If you don't, you can go hunting through servers for a different one to play on. We dedicate a huge amount of time and effort to our server, so unless you catch us on a bad day, we think you'll really like it.
To select a server, double-click on it. You can favourite a server so that you can easily find it later even when the 'Name' filter is blank, by clicking on the star on the left of the server, just as you did with the ACE modset.
The PwS ServerBrowser is "smart" in that it will automatically scan the server for any mods that it is running, and the main button will change to 'Install' or 'Update' so that you have these mods before joining the server. This is very useful if a server is running a custom map or unit pack.
For accessibility, performance, and quick joining, our server runs only the ACE and ACRE mods, so the main button will say 'Join'. If you click on this, PwS will automatically launch your game and join our server for you.
Both ACE and ACRE introduce a lot of new features and change many core game concepts. Before actually playing on a server, I highly recommend that you watch the 'Basics' video tutorials linked in Appendix B of this guide. If you have a fair idea of how to use ACRE and would like to just play though, I'm sure there will be someone on the server at base to help you out, so just ask!
The application that you use to install, update, and play ACE/ACRE, Play withSIX, is a application that required thousands of hours of work by its team, all for free. They also incur heavy server costs to host the mods.
Before Play withSIX (or SIX Updater which came before it), installing these mods was a very difficult and manual process, prone to errors and issues of all sorts.
If you appreciate the work that they have done, and will continue to do in updating and improving the application, consider donating a small amount to keep them going. Additionally, if you would like to help TWC keep this website, our server, and our TeamSpeak running, or if you found this guide to be very helpful, you can donate to us at the very top left of this page.
If you have any technical issues relating to ACE, ACRE, Play withSIX, or TeamSpeak, you can register an account on this website and make a post in the technical issues section of our forums, and we will deal with it as quickly as possible.
While you have everything necessary to go ahead and play installed, your current game settings may not be optimal for gameplay, and may hinder your experience.
To solve these problems, I highly recommend that you go through the appendix.
Appendix: Recommended Settings
While we have set ACE settings, there are settings in the core game itself that should be set that you may not be familiar with. If it is not open already, launch the game by selecting the ACE & ACRE collection in Play withSIX and clicking 'Launch Game'.
When you are at the Main Menu, click on 'Options'.
I will now outline the recommended settings for each category, giving an exlanation of which are important and what they should be set as.
When you first get into Video Options, make sure to click 'Advanced' to expand it fully, making all options available.
Visibility: Doesn't Matter
In ArmA II: CO, visibility only affects singleplayer. In Multiplayer, the server decides your viewdistance. On the TWC server, you can change your view distance on your self-interaction key.
Unless there is something wrong with your monitor, these values should be kept at 1.0 for the best balance. Some people increase the gamma value when it is night ingame to cheat, but for immersion reasons you shouldn't d this.
Quality Preference: Doesn't Matter
This doesn't matter, as you'll be setting everything manually yourself.
Interface & 3D Resolution: Monitor's Native
This is the most important of all settings, and the most common mistake that people make. Resolution in ArmA 2: CO is not handled how it is in other games. It MUST be set to your monitor's native resolution or your game will look like crap. Your monitor's native will usually be the resolution that is listed as '100%' in the 3D resolution list.
Texture Detail: Dependant on GPU & HDD
This is simply the resolution of the textures ingame. This is dependant on the amount of VRAM your GPU has, as well as the speed of your hard drive.
Video Memory: Default
Regardless of your system, always set the Video Memory to 'Default'. This will allow it to use all of your VRAM, and if you had it set as something else, setting to default may increase your FPS.
Anisotropic Filtering: Very High
This value affects how textures look at an angle. Modern GPUs can easy have this at Very High with no loss of FPS.
Anti-Aliasing: Dependant on GPU
Anti-Aliasing removes the "jagged edges" effect. It is quite demanding, so this depends on your GPU completely.
ATOC: All Trees + Grass
This makes trees and grass look much better than default.
Terrain Detail: Dependant on GPU
This is simply the detail of the terrain mesh, and in singleplayer it affects the grass but in mutliplayer the grass is locked on 'Normal'. I recommend not putting it at Very High, because that is very intensive.
Objects Detail: Dependant on GPU
This affects the distance at which objects switch to their lesser quality LOD models. This is highly dependant on your GPU, and if you experience low FPS in cities like Zargabad, then lowering this will help.
Shadow Detail: Very High
Shadow Detail is different to other games. On every setting except for Very High, shadows are rendered on your CPU. ArmA 2: CO is a simulator and so uses CPU very heavily. On very high, your GPU can take the load of shadows.
HDR Quality: Normal
HDR is very intensive in ArmA 2: CO. It should not be set above 'Normal' to retain performance, with minimal loss in framerate.
This is a peformance-cheap method of Anti-Aliasing, but I personally find that it has little effect. I recommend that you simply disable this.
Posprocess Effects: Low
Postprocessing is both GPU intensive, and adds ridiculous blur effects. Many people turn it off completely, but setting it to Very Low or Low will give you the good effecs, while retaining performance and not having unrealistic blur.
Interface Size: Normal
So that ACE interfaces, as well as other interfaces, work correctly, this must be set to Normal. Any other setting will cause issues for you in the future.
Aspect Ratio: Monitor's Native
Your aspect ratio must be set to your monitor's. For the vast majority of monitors, this is 16:9. Only for 1680x1050 will you use 16:10. This is also important for interfaces ingame.
Vsync ensures that there is no screen tearing while moving your view quickly. Modern GPUs do not suffer from the added latency that older GPUs did with vsync, due to Triple Buffering.
Setting this to zero will mean you won't hear the stupid "enemy man at our 12 o clock, 200m" nonsense from AI.
This is the main volume of the game world, including gunshots, movement, vehicles, explosions and other such sounds. This should be set to about half, so as to hear ACRE volume (which comes through TeamSpeak) better.
Set this to about a quarter. TWC uses it in some loading screens. Don't worry, it won't bother you.
VON/Microphone: Doesn't Matter
This is used for the default VON, which is turned off with ACRE. It does not matter.
Setting the samples to 128 will mean you can hear more independent audio sources, and is unlikely to affect framerate more than 1fps. If you have a dedicated sound card it will not affect it at all.
Radio subtitles: Disabled
Aiming deadzone: Very Low
Set this to just a very low amount, to give weapons a better feeling.
Head bob: Very Low
One of the biggest criticisms of 1st person only servers in ArmA 2: CO is the head-bob, but those people do not realise that it can be adjusted. Set it to a very low value to give a realistic feeling without any nausea.