A Crawler poses nicely for the camera once his AI has been paused by PlayersOnly.

Recently I played through BioShock 2 to take screenshots and made some amusing discoveries.

I always use console commands when taking screenshots. The ones I find most useful are:

  • Shot - of course, since this takes the screenshots and saves them.
  • ToggleHUD - to remove Delta's arms and health bar, etc.
  • LockCamera - This forces the camera to remain stationary while the player's body keeps moving. It's useful for getting shots of Delta's weapons while he is holding them. (example)
  • PlayersOnly - This messes with the AI in BioShock 2, ensuring that Splicers are less likely to distract me when I am trying to line up the perfect shot.


PlayersOnly is supposed to freeze all actions besides the player's movement, however in BioShock 2 it only works partially. What it actually does is prevent any scripts from advancing. This means that if you have PlayersOnly activated, you won't set off any scripts that cause enemies to spawn or that play radio messages, etc. Most Splicers will not even notice your presence since they are stuck perpetually in "idle" mode and can't advance to "enemy detected" or "aggressive" status. However, the bot AIs are a major exception to this. The turrets, security bots, and security cameras will target you and fire on you.

But things get funny when it comes to the scripts for projectiles, such as rocket propelled grenades or the flame darts of Houdinis. The projectile will appear to explode when it hits a target, but with PlayersOnly active, the projectile doesn't disappear like it normally would. Instead, it sticks around. In the case of the RPGs, the heat-seeking propulsion causes it to keep following the player around with whatever momentum is left after its impact. This makes for some amusing screenshots.

Other Discoveries

When I was taking screenshots, I became frustrated by the fact that all textures on walls and objects etc. would fade to blurs once I was more than a dozen paces away. This made it near impossible to get the quality that I wanted, not to mention that it was disappointing while I was playing the game and trying to enjoy the beauty of Rapture.

Finally I did some fiddling around and found a cure!

(View the full size of these images for the full effect.)

The solution was fairly simple. I had to change a few settings in the file Bioshock2SP.ini (which is in the same folder as User.ini). Here's how to do it:

  1. Open Bioshock2SP.ini in a text editing program such as Notepad
  2. Scroll down to a section near the end labeled [Engine.RenderConfig]. There you will find the following values:
    • TextureStreamingMemoryLimit=112.000000
    • TextureStreamingDistanceLimit=9000.000000
  3. Depending on how god-like your gaming rig is, you should increase these values to something that will give you high quality visuals without hurting your frame rates. For the screenshots above, I used the following values:
    • TextureStreamingMemoryLimit=200.000000
    • TextureStreamingDistanceLimit=9900.000000

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