Empire Earth – Performance FAQ

by Sierra

This troubleshooting guide can help you solve a variety of issues that will improve the game’s performance.

This guide contains information about:

  • Command Lag – defined as giving orders to your units that take 5 or more seconds before they are acknowledged
  • Improving Performance – for example, low frame rates due to excessive hard drive accesses

Computers with 64, 128, and even 256 Megabytes(MB) of RAM can all experience certain performance issues before they are not necessarily related to the amount of RAM you have. High-end computers with fast CPUs (e.g., 1.0 GHz and higher) and fast Internet connections (e.g., cable modems or DSL) can experience performance issues, as can low-end computers.

Q: How to I get rid of Command Lag?

A: The definition of “command lag” is when you issue orders to your units and it takes 5 or more seconds for them to respond to your command. This fairly rare problem can occur on some systems, regardless if it is a high-end or low-end system. Try the following to address the issue.

Logitech Mouse Drivers:
Some Logitech Mouse drivers are known to cause command lag. If you are using a Logitech mouse and are experiencing command lag, try replacing the Logitech driver with a standard Windows mouse driver. If you are comfortable updating drivers, you can search Internet for a compatible Microsoft mouse driver and install it. You can also try the following (Windows 98 OS):

  1. Right click on the My Computer Icon on your desktop and select Properties from the menu.
  2. Select the Device Manager tab and look for Mouse in the list. Click on it.
  3. Under that, select your mouse and click the Properties button.
  4. Select the Driver tab and click the Update Driver button.
  5. Keep hitting the Next > button until you come to the question “What do you want to install?” Then select a compatible Microsoft mouse driver (you may have to click on “One of the other drivers” and click the View List button to find the driver).
  6. Click Next > again and follow the on screen instructions to install the driver.

Pause and Unpause

A temporary work around for command lag during a game is to pause the game and allow it to “catch up.” Press F11 once to display the game clock, which shows the elapsed game time (FYI, the first number is the game speed). Press F3 to pause the game. When the game clock stops, unpause the game. The command lag should now be gone, though it could come back again after a little while.

Q: How do I improve Empire Earth’s performance

A: You can take the following steps to improve your system’s performance. Remember that pressing F11 once during the game brings up the game clock, and pressing it twice displays the Frames Per Second (FPS) at which the game is currently running – a higher number indicates better performance. Be sure to check the FPS after trying any of these tips to see if it helped. Please remember that the FPS will drop when you have a large number of units in the game, but you can use these tips to make the frame rate drop less.

1. Windows ME – Known Bugs
Windows ME has a known memory problem which may impact the performance of EE on some systems. There is no known fix, except to switch to Windows 2000 or Windows XP, but you can alleviate the problem in one of the following ways:

  1. One thing that will help is to reboot (restart) your computer after a game. This will free up any memory that was lost when playing the game. Please note that this problem IS NOT fixed if you merely exit to the Windows desktop after each game. You must restart your PC to free up the lost memory.
  2. If during a game you experience long command lag, or excessive hard drive activity that results in a low frame rates, you can save your game, exit Empire Earth, and restart your computer. Once Windows has restarted, relaunch the game and resume from your saved game.

2. Turn off your Windows Active Desktop
To do this:

  1. Right click on the Windows Desktop and select Properties
  2. Click the Web tab
  3. Uncheck the box that says “View my Active Desktop as a web page” (or alternately “Show Web content on my active desktop”)

3. Change your Windows Cache Size
You can change your Windows settings to reduce the maximum size of your Cache. Setting the maximum size of your cache to 20 MB improves performance of Empire Earth.

Instructions for setting your cache to a maximum of 20 MB:

For Windows ME only:

  1. Go to your Windows directory and find the file named “Sytem.ini”
  2. Open the file in a text editor such as Notepad
  3. Search for the section called [vcache]
  4. Underneath this heading, add or change the following line to read:


  5. Save the file and exit
  6. Restart your computer

4. Remove all unnecessary programs from your Start Up Menu.
It is not uncommon for some computers to load 30 MB or more, of programs into memory when you boot up your computer. Sometimes the manufacturer does this automatically, and you may not even be aware of it. You should remove all unnecessary programs from the Start Up Menu.

Example: A clean install of Windows ME, with no unnecessary programs loaded in the background takes up approx. 60 MB. The more RAM devoted to other programs the slower Empire Earth may run.

Instructions for removing Start Up programs from your start menu:

  1. Click the Start button and display the Programs.
  2. Look for the folder called “Start Up”.
  3. Hover over the Start Up folder to display its contents.
  4. Right click on an item you don’t need to have running and select Delete from the menu.
  5. Delete any other items from the Start Up list that you don’t need.

More advanced users with Windows 98 can try the following (see your documentation for steps for other operating systems):

  1. From the Start menu, click the Run…button.
  2. For Windows 98, type “msconfig” (without the quotes) in the Open field.
  3. Click on the Start Up tab and uncheck any programs you don’t need starting up. Keep your virus scanner and video card programs. Definitely keep Explorer and SystemTray since without these your computer won’t run!
  4. Click OK. You’ll need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

5. Change Your Game Settings

Of course, you can always lower Empire Earth’s game settings to increase performance. The game won’t look or sound as quite as good, but it will play better. Launch the game and click the Game Settings button on the Main Menu:

  • On the Video Tab:
    1. Switch to a resolution lower than 1024 x 768 (option not available in game)
    2. If you are using 32 bit graphics mode, switch to 16 bit (option not available in game)
    3. Turn off the various Graphics Options
  • On the Audio Tab:
    1. Turn Music off
    2. Turn Ambient Sounds off
    3. Slide the Max Number of Sounds control down to Best Performance
  • On the Interface Tab:
    1. Disable Autosave (set to Off)