If you’re fairly new to the world of PC gaming, you’ll probably find yourself baffled by the large number of graphical options available in most games. The sheer number of possible hardware combinations, combined with the number of tweaks and other graphical settings, is what puts a lot of people off PC gaming, instead turning them towards consoles However, with a little tweaking and even a fairly basic understanding of PC hardware, gaming on a high-spec desktop machine offers a great deal more potential than the relatively restricted consoles.
Before we take a look at the various settings you’ll encounter, it’s important to understand the goal — to achieve the best quality graphics at an acceptable frame rate. Most garners consider anything upwards of 30 frames per second (FPS)to be playable, with 60 being optimal. Any less than around 30, and the game will start looking choppy an unresponsive. Keep in mind, that most monitors have a 60Hz refresh rate, which means that they are not capable of displaying more than 60 EN anyway, even if the video card is.
If you want to tweak your graphics settings to achieve the best quality and performance ratio, this guide is here to help you out.
Where To Find Graphical Settings
The obvious first place to start Is the in-game graphical settings themselves, and most garners will only use these. After all, a casual garner should generally be able to find everything they need here. When you run a game for the first time, the first thing you should do is take a look at the in-game settings to ensure that everything is tweaked to run flawlessly with your computer. The default settings will often not give you the opportunity to make the best out of your hardware.
More advanced users looking for a larger number of settings can take a look at the control panel for their video card. The video card control panel will allow you to change settings for all of games at once or just specific ones, making it a useful tool for tweaking games which do not have the settings you’re looking for in-game. To open your video card control panel, simply right-click on the desktop and open up the AM D Catalyst Control Center if you have an AM D card or nVidia Control Panel if you have an nVidia card.
Power users may also want to try a third-party graphics tuner or one provided by their video card manufacturer. These programs allow you to experiment with more advanced settings and configure profiles for your games. Some games also store more advanced settings in . INI files, but you’ll need to find a more in-depth guide specific to the game in question before you start tampering with such files.
Screen resolution used to be a matter of running the game at the highest resolution that your monitor and video card could handle, but all of today’s flat-panel displays have a native resolution which they are designed to display. The most common resolution for desktop monitors these days is igzoxio8o, and trying to run a game at a lower resolution than what your monitor is designed for won’t look anything like as good. In conclusion, only decrease the screen resolution as an absolute last resort.
The purpose of anti-allasing is to get rid of those jagged edges which you see in 3D rendered scenes, particularly at lower resolutions or on larger screens. There are many different anti-allasing techniques, one of the most common being MSAA (Multi-Sample Anti-AllasIng). Anti-aliasing is measured by the number of samples of the rendered image; the more samples, the less noticeable the jagged edges will be. On a typical 22-24″ desktop monitor running at a resolution of 1920×1080, you’ll ideally want to have 2x anti-allasing at minimum, whereas 4x is usually optimal. Higher than 8x starts to become pointless unless you have a particularly large screen. Keep In mind that higher levels of anti-aliasing often have a major impact on performance. In games which support it, FKAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Abasing) Is often a much better bet, since the performance impact is usually minimal.
Texture Quality Texture quality levels can vary greatly from one game to the next, but they often have a major impact on graphical quality. In some games, such as Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the difference in appearance between the lowest and highest settings is enormous. Textures are basically the images placed over the 3D model, and lower quality levels start looking blurry with a lack of detail, while higher settings make modern games look much more photo-realistic. You should always use the highest texture quality levels that your computer can handle, since the performance impact is usually minimal, particularly with video cards sporting 2GB of RAM or more.
An isotropic Altering Without an isotropic filtering, textures will start to blur With distance, greatly reducing the overall quality of a rendered scene. Fortunately, turning on an isotropic filtering usually has little or no Impact on performance, so ifs a good Idea to turn It on as a global setting in your video card control panel. Typically, the highest available setting of 16x should work fine even for low-end systems.
Shadow Quality Shadows in video games require a great deal of computing power, which is largely due to the fact that the hardware has to work out where the light is coming from as well as how far away it is and how your player character is moving. Higher quality settings mean smoother, anti-aliased shadows, while lower quality settings tend to look relatively blocky. Many games provide a range of shadow settings, allowing you to configure shadows separately for things like characters, static objects and grass, and in many cases, you can turn certain shadows off entirely. Given the major performance impact that high quality shadows have in most games, decreasing these settings is a good place to start if you’re having issues with frame rates.
Many of today’s games are set primarily In large rendered outdoor worlds, unlike the games of old which were more often set indoors. Increasing viewing distance in games which provide such a setting will allow you to see further into the distance rather than having objects rendered and pop up suddenly as you walk closer to them. In huge open-world games like the aforementioned Skyrim, higher viewing distances can have a significant performance impact, but you should still avoid decreasing viewing distance as much as possible. Note, that in Skim and many similar games, you can also set viewing distances separately for different in-game objects such as characters, stationary objects and animated grass.
Vertical Sync If your graphics card is churning out the frames faster than the refresh rate of your monitor can actually handle, you’ll experience some vertical tearing, which greatly reduce the sense of immersion and lead to eyestrain. Activating vertical sync will cap your frame rate to that of the monitor, getting rid of the tearing entirely in most cases. Vertical sync can have a major performance impact in certain situations, so only try activating it if you are experiencing tearing issues.
Automated Tweaking and Conclusion
Most graphics cards ship with automated tweaking software which will scan your computer hardware and installed games and optimize graphical settings accordingly. Additionally, it is becoming more common for games to automatically select the optimal settings when they are first launched. However, while these tools can be helpful to an extent, you should still review and tweak the settings yourself to get the best results.
In conclusion, be sure to spend a bit of time tweaking and testing your favorite games, particularly if you do not have top-of-the-range hardware. On the other hand, If you have the very best hardware that money can buy, feel free to run everything at the highest available settings, scaling them down only if you need to.