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Mohamed Ammar
Mohamed Ammar

Special K for Brawlhalla: The Ultimate PC Gaming Tool


Introduction




What is Special K and why use it?




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Special K is an extensive game modifying framework created by Kaldaien. This framework can be used to modify graphics related settings of games. The focus is primarily on the graphics pipeline but the tool also includes features such as input device blocking/configuring, window and volume management, enhancements for some of the in-game functionality of Steam, and more. On top of this the framework includes various game-specific changes and optimizations that its developer Kaldaien have come across and fixed over the years.


Some of the benefits of using Special K are:


  • It can improve frame pacing, latency, and performance in many games.



  • It can add HDR support to games that lack it natively.



  • It can override the display mode, refresh rate, vertical sync, and other settings of games.



  • It can disable unwanted input devices or fix faulty input behavior.



  • It can play a sound effect when a Steam achievement is unlocked.



  • It can enable games to continue running in the background or when alt-tabbed.



  • It can fix various graphical glitches, crashes, or compatibility issues in some games.



If you are interested in tweaking your PC gaming experience, Special K might be a tool worth trying. In this article, I will show you how to download, install, and use Special K, as well as some alternatives and troubleshooting tips.


Downloading Special K




Stable vs experimental versions


Special K has two different versions: a stable version that gets updated every 6 months or so, as well as a more experimental version where new features and fixes are introduced before being included in the next stable version.


You can download the stable version from . This version is often dated by a few months, so if you run into any issues try using the experimental version as the issue mightve been changed in that one.


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The latest experimental versions can be found over on , where all active development and releases occurs. Its also possible to opt-in to this version from the stable version:


  • Launch the Special K Injection Frontend (SKIF.exe)



  • Open the Settings tab.



  • Change Check for updates to Special K to Discord (updates regularly).



  • If theres a new version available it will automatically be downloaded (10 MB) in the background.



  • Once the download is finished, SKIF will prompt about installing it.



Installing Special K




Global vs local injection methods


The easiest way to install Special K is to use the global injection method. This means that you launch your games through the SKIF app and it will automatically inject Special K into them. This method is compatible with most games and platforms, such as Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG Galaxy, etc.


To use the global injection method:


  • Run SpecialK.exe to install Special K.



  • Launch Special K at the end of the installation or through the start menu of Windows. This is the Special K Injection Frontend app (or SKIF for short).



  • Navigate to the Library tab of the application to see detected games. SKIF detects and lists Epic, GOG, Steam, and Xbox games automatically. Use the + Add Game option in the bottom left corner to add custom games.

  • . Select a game from the list and click on the Play button to launch it with Special K injected.



  • Once the game is running, press Ctrl+Shift+Backspace to open the Special K control panel. You can now tweak various settings and options for the game.



The alternative way to install Special K is to use the local injection method. This means that you manually copy the Special K files into the game folder and launch the game normally. This method is useful for games that are not detected by SKIF or have issues with the global injection method.


To use the local injection method:


  • Download the latest experimental version of Special K from .



  • Extract the contents of the zip file into a folder of your choice.



  • Copy all the files from that folder into the game folder where the game executable is located.



  • Rename dxgi.dll or d3d9.dll (depending on the game) to SpecialK64.dll or SpecialK32.dll (depending on the game).



  • Launch the game normally and press Ctrl+Shift+Backspace to open the Special K control panel.



Using Special K




How to access the control panel and configure settings


Once you have installed Special K using either method, you can access its control panel by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Backspace while in-game. This will open a window that lets you tweak various aspects of graphics, performance, input, and more. You can also access some of these settings from SKIF before launching a game.


Some of the most useful settings are:


  • Display Mode: You can change the resolution, refresh rate, borderless/windowed/fullscreen mode, and vertical sync of the game.



  • Framerate Limiter: You can limit the framerate of the game to reduce CPU/GPU usage and improve frame pacing. You can also enable dynamic framerate control to adjust the framerate based on CPU/GPU load.



  • HDR: You can enable HDR support for games that lack it natively. You can also adjust the HDR brightness, contrast, and tone mapping parameters.



  • Input Management: You can disable unwanted input devices or fix faulty input behavior. You can also remap keyboard and mouse buttons or create macros.



  • Steam Enhancements: You can enable sound effects for Steam achievements, overlay notifications, and screenshots. You can also customize the overlay hotkey and position.



  • Window Management: You can enable games to continue running in the background or when alt-tabbed. You can also adjust the volume of games based on their focus state.



Game-specific tweaks




How to apply fixes and enhancements for specific games


In addition to the general settings, Special K also includes some game-specific tweaks that can fix or enhance certain aspects of some games. These tweaks are usually applied automatically when you launch a game with Special K injected, but you can also enable or disable them manually from SKIF or from the control panel.


Some examples of game-specific tweaks are:


  • Brawlhalla: Fixes input lag and stuttering issues caused by Denuvo anti-tamper technology.



  • Cyberpunk 2077: Fixes crashes, memory leaks, performance drops, and other issues caused by poor optimization and bugs.



  • Final Fantasy XV: Adds HDR support, improves texture quality, reduces loading times, and fixes various graphical glitches.



  • NieR: Automata: Fixes resolution scaling, fullscreen mode, cutscene stuttering, mouse cursor visibility, and other issues caused by poor PC porting.



  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: Adds HDR support, improves performance, enables borderless windowed mode, and fixes mouse sensitivity issues.



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