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  1. PC Report: Watch Dogs 2

    System Requirements


    Minimum


    • CPU: Intel Core i5 2400s @ 2.5 GHz or AMD FX 6120 @ 3.5 GHz
    • RAM: 6 GB
    • HDD: 50 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 with 2 GB VRAM or AMD Radeon HD 7870 (2 GB of VRAM)
    OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-Bit)

    Recommended


    • CPU: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2 GHz or AMD FX 8120 @ 3.9 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • HDD: 50 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon R9 290 (3 GB of VRAM)
    OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-Bit)

    Editor's System


    • CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K (Haswell)
    • RAM: 16 GB DDR3-2400 (G.Skill Ares)
    • SSD: 500 GB (Samsung 850 EVO)
    • GPU: Sapphire R9 390 8 GB
    • OS: Windows 10 (64-Bit)

    Watch Dogs 2's system requirements are not abnormal by today's standards, a 2 GB graphics card with a decent CPU. The game performed well with a smooth frame rate. On my system the low preset gets around 70-80 fps inside and 60-70 outside while the ultra preset (with ultra textures) gets around 45-55 fps inside and 35-45 outside.


    Graphics settings


    Display Settings

    Display settings are pretty good, window modes include: Windowed, Borderless Window, Fullscreen Borderless, Multimonitor Borderless, Fullscreen. One downside is the lack of Resolution Scaling beyond 125%.
    Video Settings 1

    Video Settings 2

    Graphics settings give the user a good deal of customization when trying to adjust to their computers need.
    Color Settings

    Color settings are brightness, or gamma, and sharpness, which if too high can make the image look very strange.

    Field of View


    Despite being a 3rd person game Watch Dogs 2 gives the option to change the FoV from the minimum value of 70, also the default, to the maximum of 110.


    Resolution Scale


    This setting controls how many times the resolution the game is rendered at. Watch Dogs 2 gives the option of 25% to 125% of normal resolution. This means that using resolution scaling instead of antialiasing on higher end machines will not be as possible as that typically requires around 150% to 200% resolution scaling.


    Motion Blur


    Motion Blur only has 2 options, on and off. It also doesn't have much of an effect on framerate, but your gameplay may look better at high framerates if you turn it off.
    Motion Blur

    Texture Resolution


    Texture Resolution seems to be nearly the same between Low and Ultra, despite the Ultra textures that were several gigabytes in size. The only difference I could notice is guns are largely affected by texture resolution.






    Texture Filtering


    Texture Filtering increases the visual quality of textures at steep angles to the camera.




    Shadows


    Shadows are not bad in Watch Dogs 2 at the lowest setting and ultra shadows are very crisp. Watch Dogs 2 also provides PCSS which allows for progressive shadow resolution.





    Water


    Water has modes, low and high, the only visible difference is the reflections it has.





    Headlight Shadow


    Headlight Shadows are very demanding and has a cap of being enabled on 4 cars at one time.





    Reflections


    Reflections affect reflective surfaces and their reflection of the sky box and other objects. Low only reflects the sky box and High reflects environmental features.



    Anti-Aliasing


    Anti-Alasing is one of the only setting in the game to have a massive hit on the games performance. It can affect the framerate by up to 10fps. The avaiable AA options are TXAA (only available on Nvidia graphic cards), MSAAx2, MSAAx4, MSAAx6, FXAA, and SMAA. FXAA and SMAA cause the game to lose sharpness and just overall blur the screen.

    Updated AA


    Performance analysis


    FPS


    The game preformed very well with out many frame drops, there are some issues though. Pop in is a major issue with objects appearing with in a very visible distance while driving. The game has an unlocked framerate so high refresh rate monitors do not have to worry. Load times are very low on my SSD with wait times being at max 10 seconds and typical under 5.

    Controls


    The game offers a large amount of control customization from changing many items such as sprint and aiming from Hold to Toggle. The game also enables changing mouse and controller sensitivity as well as X and Y axis inverting. The whole game works with mouse controls and no menu can not be navigated smoothly with it unlike the original watch dogs.

    Keyboard Settings

    Controller Settings


    Audio


    Audio settings are lacking, there is only one volume slider for the master volume. Music can be toggled on and off and subtitles can be enabled. The in game audio is very nicely mixed though with no sound overpowering the rest.

    Conclusion


    Watch Dogs 2 is a massive step up in a port from the original game, it offers large number of customization. The PC Port doesn't suffer from meany of the issues other PC ports do such as bad Keyboard and mouse control and bad optimization like its predecessor. The only issue I have had with Watch Dogs 2 is how demanding the game can be, I typically can get in 60 fps in games with high or ultra setting but Watch Dogs 2 pushes my computer past that and it is well deserved as it has beautiful graphics on PC.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor grant0417. For an up to date account of Watch Dogs 2 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed our article and want to us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:

    • Dec 03 2016 07:01 PM
    • by Grant0417
  2. PC Report: Battlefield 1 - Optimized Video Settings

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K or AMD FX-6350
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • HDD: 50 GB
    • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7850, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (2 GB DirectX 11)
    • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (64-Bit)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD FX-8350
    • RAM: 16 GB
    • HDD: 50 GB
    • GPU: GTX 1060, RX 480 (4 GB DirectX 11)
    • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (64-Bit)

    Editor's System

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-6500 (Skylake)
    • RAM: 32 GB DDR4 2133MHz (Kingston HyperX Fury)
    • SSD: 500 GB (Samsung 850 EVO)
    • GPU: MSI R9 380 4 GB
    • OS: Windows 10 (Version 1607) (64-Bit)
    While the minimum system requirements may look pretty high an i5-6500 paired with a good graphics card and enough memory should be enough to run the game at very high framerates with really good graphical settings. Overall most settings will generally not change the look of the game by that much, most settings can easily be hand picked and optimized in order to get the highest possible framerate.

    Battlefield 1 can often use up to 3 GB and even up to 5 GB of RAM, systems with limited memory might perform poorly, heavy stuttering might also be present unless more memory is installed.

    Players are unable to access the main menu right away on launch, they'll be transported into the single player campaign instead, the options menu should eventually become accessible however.

    Video Settings

    Advanced Video Settings


    There aren't too many video options, the depth of field effect, which is heavily used on most menus cannot be disabled, it is often the cause of large performance issues, which could be a big problem on lower end systems, it also misleads players into thinking that their framerate might be worse when in reality their in-game framerate might be much better.

    Overall most settings don't change or improve much. There's no control over the tinting effects the game uses, the sun glare effects also cannot be disabled although these are minor things and aren't too important. There's a lack of a draw distance setting which would've greatly helped, by default the standard draw distance is extremely small, even when enhanched with other settings, the antialiasing modes often might fail to hide some of the problems the new rendering engine has, with lots of objects fading out of nowhere or too close to the player's view.

    This issue is prevalent on the Amiens map, where windows and even certain walls will often change out of nowhere as the player gets closer, however Mount Grappa and other similar maps handle this slightly better.

    On the other hand, there are a lot of options related to the gameplay such as plenty of mouse and keyboard options, extensive audio settings and ways to disable the heads up display and other similar things.

    After reaching the main menu, open the options menu by clicking on More located on the top right or on the gear icon located in the center left area under the Shortcuts title.

    Options Menu Locations


    Field of View


    Only values between Vertical 50° and Vertical 105° can be chosen which translate into Horizontal 64° and Horizontal 120°. The vertical values are also translated as horizontal values in the options menu.

    Click on the Image to Move the Slider


    Weapon Depth of Field Menu.png


    Aim Down Sights Field of View


    Written as ADS Field of View in the options menu. When enabled the game will replace the zoom in effect while aiming with the desired Field of View value.
    Otherwise when set to Off the weapon will zoom in as usual instead. This can be useful to see more things in a larger area and it shouldn't impact the performance.

    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    Motion Blur


    Optimal Setting: 0%

    Things will look smoother while moving the camera around but visibility may be slightly reduced, there's a huge performance drop for such a simple setting however and in most cases it's not worth using.

    1 Motion Blur 100.png


    The effect itself can be pretty subtle when set to values between 10% or 15%. Some artifacts might be present when using the highest value.

    2 Motion Blur 100.jpg


    To disable this setting find the options menu located in the top right corner labeled as More then under Options select Video and set Motion Blur to 0%.

    Weapon Depth of Field Menu.png


    This setting should be disabled in order to obtain higher framerates and to keep the image clear. Otherwise, this mostly comes down to user preference.
    Motion Blur


    Depth of Field and Weapon Depth of Field


    Optimal Setting: Weapon DOF to Off

    The depth of field effect can only be partially disabled. While the game is paused the overall framerate might be lower, this issue is only present on certain maps however. Close the pause menu before checking the framerate number. The framerate might also drop every time the pause menu is brought up, once the pause menu is closed it might take a few moments for the game to stabilize.
    Pause Menu Benchmark


    Weapons have their own depth of field setting, this effect is only applied while aiming and while in a vehicle.

    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    To disable this setting find the options menu located in the top right corner labeled as More then under Options select Video and set Weapon DOF to Off.

    Weapon Depth of Field Menu.png


    This setting should ideally be disabled seeing as it has a negligible visual impact.
    Weapon Depth Of Field


    DirectX 11 and DirectX 12


    Optimal Setting: DX12 Enabled to Off

    Use the DirectX 11 mode if possible, on a few specific maps the framerate might be lower while in the loadout area, however it should be fine while actually playing, overall this mode should be more stable and the game should run well either way.

    The DirectX 12 mode can achieve higher framerates but certain maps have some performance issues which can lead to random microstuttering, there's also a minor issue where the framerate might drop while spawning.

    DirectX Framerate


    While using both modes microstutter might be unavoidable on maps such as Amiens and Empire's Edge, while maps such as Mount Grappa perform as they should. On Empire's Edge the framerate might often drop while inside one of the main buildings, this same building is also present on Mount Grappa where there are no performance issues. Lowering the graphical settings on some of these maps might not solve the problem itself.

    Otherwise try setting the Lighting Quality to High or Low or try lowering the Mesh Quality and even most settings to Medium if needed while playing on Empire's Edge if the framerate drops and if the stuttering become unbearable. Amiens has a few specific spots where lowering the Mesh Quality might very slightly help, although the microstuttering shouldn't be as noticeable if the DirectX 11 mode is being used. Running around in circles while in the DirectX 12 mode in certain areas in the Amiens map might ruin the frametime and cause microstuttering.
    DirectX Frametime


    Resolution Scale


    Optimal Setting: 100%
    Better Graphics (High End Only): 125% up to 150%
    Jaggie Removal (High End Only): 175% up to 200%

    This setting controls how many times the resolution should be enhanced, higher values will also very slightly improve the draw distance, the texture filter will be slightly more effective which means that most textures might have a sharper look from far away, the antialiasing techniques are also slightly more effective. When the player is too close to a texture however this effect is lost and the texture will lose most of its sharpness.

    This setting should be kept at a value of 100% seeing as lower values will ruin the overall image and higher values might be too intensive for certain systems to handle. Lower end systems might need to lower this value in order to gain playable framerates, although there are better settings which can be changed first.

    Most differences can be pretty subtle when using higher values and they might be difficult to spot during usual gameplay. Notice the door, the extra detail around the door and the stone fence, along with the mountains and the trees in the distance.


    Click on the Image to Move the Slider - Look at a Fixed Point and Wiggle the Slider to Spot Differences More Easily





    Click on the Image to See the Animation (25% to 200%)

    Animated.gif


    When using the maximum value this setting can help alleviate the ring effect present on most textures, which is very often visible while strafing left and right or while moving towards or away near a wall.
    Notice the lamp post on the very far left, which has far less holes while using the highest possible value and how the texture on the wall changes.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    Often these changes can be less subtle, such as the tree on the far left, its branches are rendered slightly farther while also reducing the amount of jaggies visible to the player.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    Other subtle changes can be fairly minor but the improvements themselves can be pretty noticeable depending on the model, notice the cables and the crosshair on the gun itself along with the barbed wire on the bottom right.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    This setting doesn't always help with the draw distance issue however, objects which are just very slightly farther away from the player will be full of holes, even while using the best antialiasing mode. This setting cannot replace the antialiasing modes and instead it should complement them seeing as the resolution scale setting does a poor job at masking any jaggies on its own.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    This is a pretty unreliable method seeing as it often might fail to even work properly, while the railing here might look perfectly fine, it still often vanished and reappeared very slowly on screen even when it was not supposed to.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    This setting should only be lowered as a last resort, any values below 100% will heavily ruin the overall image. Any real benefits will only be visible while using higher values.
    Resolution Scale


    Texture Quality


    Optimal Setting: Medium (Normal Trees) or High (Extra Eyecandy)
    Higher Framerate: Low

    This setting has a relatively minor visual impact, it doesn't affect most textures in any meaningful way. The only things which clearly change are the shadows on the player's weapon. When set to Low every texture will have a slightly lighter look to itself, when set to Medium most textures should have their normal look and when set to High or Ultra some textures may also have better reflections or a higher quality look to them.


    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    Certain objects such as these trees may look lighter from far away. Set this value to at least Medium to stop the trees from looking like this.

    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    There are a few extremely specific spots where setting this to High will help with the look of the game, otherwise it can even be left on Low and the game itself will not change much at all. There are no clear differences between High and Ultra, this setting could be left to at least Medium to solve the tree issue or High for the extra eyecandy and to save some extra memory.


    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    This setting does not solve the texture load in issue at higher settings which is visible while using binoculars or while shooting artillery rounds. This is a minor issue and it only happens for a few seconds.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Textures Loading


    This setting has a minor visual impact while using any values and a minor performance impact overall. Most differences will be pretty difficult to notice from far away.
    Texture Quality


    Texture Filtering


    Optimal Setting: High
    Higher Framerate: Medium (Might Reduce Microstuttering)
    Better Graphics: Ultra

    Textures will look very washed out when this is set to Low and overall this setting has a major visual impact for a relatively minor performance cost. Most textures will have a ring effect around them which is mainly visible while strafing left and right or while moving towards or away near a wall. This setting often poorly filters most textures even while using the Ultra setting. See the doorway on the left side in order to find the differences.

    Click on the Image to Move the Slider - See the Doorway on the Left to Spot Differences




    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    This setting has a major visual impact and a minor performance impact. When set to at least Medium most differences might become fairly difficult to spot while playing.
    Texture Filtering


    Lighting Quality


    Optimal Setting: High
    Higher Framerate: Low (Framerate) or Medium (Eyecandy)
    Better Graphics: Ultra (Worse Performance on Maps with Performance Issues)

    This setting mainly controls what the shadows will look like and which shadows will be rendered. Extra eyecandy is enabled after using values such as Medium and higher.

    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    There aren't too many differences between High and Ultra. The lights themselves are often unaffected.

    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    There are a few specific areas where the shadows might be completed disabled when this setting is set to Low which may grant extra visibility.

    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    Overall this setting should have a fairly minor performance impact with a minor to major visual impact depending on the map, certain maps often feature very simple blobby shadows, ideally this value should be left on High seeing as maps such as Empire's Edge have a few specific buildings where the performance might be lower otherwise.

    Texture Filtering


    Effects Quality


    Optimal Setting: Any (Probably Medium or High)

    There aren't any clear differences as to what this setting affects, it didn't seem to have much of an effect over anything, as with most settings Medium or High should probably be enough. Overall there wasn't really any impact over the framerate.


    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    Post Process Quality


    Optimal Setting: Low (Framerate and No Flicker) or High (Minor Eyecandy and Flicker)

    This setting controls which objects should reflect into ponds and rivers and other similar water surfaces, certain surfaces are also enhanced. There isn't much of a point in using values other than Low and High for this setting. Overall this setting might feel a bit buggy because of some odd issues on certain maps. There isn't much of a difference between Low or Medium and High or Ultra. Notice the reflection near the shore and the improved reflections on the boat.


    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    This setting isn't as noticeable as it may seem when it is disabled, there's also a rather jarring problem where reflections will update too often as the camera moves making them flicker, this happens on High and Ultra. Overall this setting is mostly useful for screenshots, otherwise most maps lack any large water surfaces or any large reflectable surfaces for this setting to be effective.

    The effect itself is only visible at certain angles, it may also hurt visibility during gameplay. There's also a minor ghosting effect present while laying into ponds and some other mud like surfaces. The flickering effect is also present on vehicles when using High or Ultra. Most vehicles will look slightly shinier, the effect is barely noticeable however and it's not worth using this setting in its current state.


    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    Ideally this setting should be left to Low, seeing as overall it has a pretty minor visual impact and it also has a huge performance impact and it doesn't seem to be working properly otherwise.
    Post Process Quality


    Mesh Quality


    Optimal Setting: High (Framerate and Draw Distance and Reduced Microstuttering) or Ultra (Increase Draw Distance)
    Higher Framerate: Low or Medium

    This setting controls the draw distance of most objects and whenever they should cast more shadows, ideally it should be set to at least High or Ultra seeing as anything lower will cause models to appear out of nowhere too often and too close to the player, the increased distance itself is already pretty low and even on Ultra this issue appears too often, lowering other settings just to increase this one is worthwhile as it would make the game more enjoyable to play.

    Each value from this setting does very little to help, the differences are pretty extreme and it really shows how invasive this issue is when using the lowest values.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    When using a value higher than Low some extra shadows might be thrown in. In more blocked off spaces the differences won't be very noticeable. Notice the tree and how aggressive the level of detail is, with extra branches being visible on Ultra and other smaller details, along with another tree being rendered on the far left.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    Objects might constantly appear and disappear as the player gets closer to buildings and other facades. Some textures might also look worse and when this is set to Low models will have fewer polygons overall.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    On Ultra shadows will be cast farther away and other smaller objects will be rendered earlier, the increased radius is fairly small. Finer details such as branches, cables, pieces of metal will be visible from closer away.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    The effect of this setting is also visible in the loadout menu, with certain buildings outright disappearing and a lot of detail being lost.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    This setting has a pretty minor performance impact considering its large visual impact over the game compared to other less important settings.
    Mesh Quality


    Terrain Quality


    Optimal Setting: Medium (Enable Parallax)
    Higher Framerate: Low (Disable Parallax and Gain Visibility)

    This setting controls the parallax effect for the terrain, which makes rocks pop out and other similar details. There isn't much of a difference between Medium, High and Ultra meaning that this setting can be left on Medium in order to enable the parallax effect. Depending on the area itself this may slightly hurt visibility for some extra eyecandy. Most surfaces will look flatter than usual however when setting this to Low.


    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    This effect is widely used throughout the whole game and depending on the area it can either have a major or minor visual impact.


    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    Certain areas in the game might not change as badly however, the effect might not be as noticeable while standing.


    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif

    Animated.gif


    Muddy surfaces will look flattened when this setting is set to Low and tire tracks and other details will be completely lost.


    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    On some maps the geometry might be slightly shifted around instead of adding more depth to the terrain.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    This setting mostly comes down to preference, if a higher framerate is needed set this to Low in order to obtain a more consistent and even possibly reduce or remove any stuttering issues or to at least Medium to enable the parallax effect itself. Overall there should be a pretty decent performance boost when this setting is disabled. Larger open areas might have lower framerates than smaller more enclosed ones with this setting.

    Different parts of the game are affected differently, the performance can vary.
    Mesh Quality


    Undergrowth Quality


    Optimal Setting: Ultra
    Higher Framerate: Low

    This setting mainly adds shadows to the grass and other small foliage. Higher values control the shadow draw distance.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated.gif


    The effects of this setting can be seen on the squad screen, although the shadows might not be applied depending on the current weather.

    Loadout Undergrowth.png


    What this is set to mostly comes down to user preference, it has a pretty minor visual impact and it should be disabled if a higher framerate is needed.
    Undergrowth Quality


    Antialiasing Post


    Optimal Setting: TAA
    Higher Framerate: Off (Trees With Holes) or FXAA High (Normal Trees)

    This setting has a huge visual impact over the game, ideally TAA should always be used because of the extremely poor draw distance. When this setting is set to Off trees will have holes and white dots all over them, even on lower end systems the most basic levels of FXAA would really help with this problem. Even then the antialiasing techniques do a fairly poor job at masking most jaggies, with cables, trees and other similar thin objects looking really odd from very close distances. Notice the lamp posts on the left and how some of them have entire pieces of their own models removed because of the different antialiasing modes.


    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    This setting mostly comes down to user preference, although for a better experience FXAA or TAA should be used. Lower end systems might not be able to handle either modes however and should disable this setting in order to gain higher framerates.
    Antialiasing


    Ambient Occlusion


    Optimal Setting: HBAO
    Higher Framerate: Off

    This setting mostly comes down to user preference, models will have extra shadows which add more depth, some vehicles may look floaty without this setting and certain areas or textures might look washed out, the visual impact can range from minor to major depending on the map or area, interior buildings will also benefit the most.


    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    Some levels might not end up looking too different overall, however things might tend to look a bit floatier.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated


    Certain levels and most vehicles will benefit from this setting, rocks and other similar objects will look better.

    Click on the Image to See the Animation

    Animated

    Animated


    This setting might have a major performance impact on slower systems unless other settings are lowered, faster systems shouldn't struggle too much however.
    Ambient Occlusion


    Optimal Settings


    These are the optimal settings used for this system, among the most performance intensive settings are Resolution Scale which should be set to at least 100% and Post Process Quality which should be set to Low.

    Setting the Terrain Quality to Low and the Ambient Occlusion to Off might also improve the framerate and get rid of some of the microstuttering issues.
    The Motion Blur and Weapon DOF settings should also be disabled in order to instantly gain a few extra frames.

    Optimal Video Settings

    Optimal Advanced Video Settings


    An alternative set of settings can also be used, anything below will very slightly change the look of the game. The Texture Filtering setting or the Mesh Quality and the Antialiasing should be given priority if possible.

    Optimal Settings Advanced Alternative


    Lowering the Mesh Quality setting and disabling the Ambient Occlusion might help in areas where the framerate might often randomly drop. Overall the game should still look mostly the same.

    More Alternative Optimal Settings


    Gameplay was overall really smooth even with the occasionally frametime delay now and then.
    The general performance is highly dependent on which map is currently being played on, certain maps, even though they shouldn't, might do worse than others. Lowering most graphical settings might not help with this issue.
    Monte Grappa Benchmark

    Amiens Benchmark

    Empire's Edge Benchmark


    Gameplay Settings


    There are plenty of extra options, if anything there are more gameplay options than video options. There's plenty of freedom as far as to how and which keys should be assigned, the same keys can even be assigned to the same actions if needed.
    Extra mouse buttons can also be easily assigned on their own separate slots.

    Key Bindings


    There are racing games who wish they had this much control over their input methods.

    Controls Advanced 1

    Controls Advanced 2


    For smoother aiming Raw Input should be enabled, which should ideally eliminate any mouse acceleration and provide improved mouse aiming in most cases.

    Controls Basic


    Custom controls schemes can also be set for the controller, the settings are not limited to the presets.
    Click on the arrows until Custom appears, then select Back and open Key Bindings, then navigate to the desired category and set the desired controller buttons under Stick.

    Controls Contoller Control Scheme


    The heads up display should be fairly customizable.

    Gameplay 1

    Gameplay 2


    Most notifications and other tutorial annoyances can be disabled.

    Gameplay Advanced


    Audio Settings



    There are a fair amount of audio settings and there's also an audio setting for the language, however currently the display language cannot be changed which is strange considering how many options there are.

    Some players might be stuck with the first language they picked when they first installed the game, contacting the EA support might be the only solution in this case and its worth trying.

    Italian



    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign.


    • Oct 26 2016 09:15 PM
    • by RaTcHeT302
  3. PC Report: Mafia III - Optimized Video Settings

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 or AMD FX-8120
    • RAM: 6 GB
    • HDD: 50 GB
    • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7870, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (2 GB)
    • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (64-Bit)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 or AMD FX-8350
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • HDD: 50 GB
    • GPU: GTX 780, GTX 1060, R9 290X (4 GB)
    • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (64-Bit)

    Editor's System

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-6500 (Skylake)
    • RAM: 32 GB DDR4 2133MHz (Kingston HyperX Fury)
    • SSD: 500 GB (Samsung 850 EVO)
    • GPU: MSI R9 380 4 GB
    • OS: Windows 10 (Version 1607) (64-Bit)
    While the system requirements may not look like much, expect extremely low framerates for any systems meeting the minimum requirements. Many systems will need to launch the game at a fairly low resolution in order to achieve a stable framerate. Faster higher end systems are required in order to run the game at a smooth framerate.

    Players are unable to access the main menu right away once the game starts. On the very first launch they'll have to sit through a small cutscene before they can change their settings, however the cutscenes themselves can be skipped. Any settings modified in the launcher will be ignored, all graphical settings need to be setup again while playing.

    If by default the game is running at 30 FPS then launch the game, open the main menu and navigate to the Options menu, then click on the third icon called Display, then under FPS select 60 or Unlimited.

    If the game looks blurry after changing the resolution, set Fullscreen to Off and then to On.

    Photoshopped Video Settings


    There are quite a few missing options, such as a texture quality setting seeing as very often most textures might have a blurry look to them. The game has two settings called Geometry Detail and Shadow Quality which are supposed to help with the low entity draw distance, however pop in will be frequent even when these two settings are maxed out seeing as lights and over objects will often appear out of nowhere while quickly moving the camera around. Certain settings such as the Ambient Occlusion, Depth of Field, Chromatic Aberration and the Antialiasing cannot be disabled.

    Certain values lack Off settings and can only be set to Low.

    Depth of Field


    This effect cannot be disabled even when set to Off.



    Ambient Occlusion (SSAO)


    This setting cannot be disabled and most changes are barely noticeable, there is not much point in using any higher values.



    Certain objects and most characters will subtly be darkened, notice the door and the walls around it. This can be difficult to spot while playing.

    Click on the image to see an animated comparison. This image is best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Animated Ambient Occlusion Door


    This setting should be left on Low. Even though the performance hit looks minor cars and other actors might induce extra stuttering.

    Ambient Occlusion Benchmark


    Motion Blur


    This effect is mainly applied while moving the camera, the effect itself is highly exagerated. There shouldn't be a performance hit but this setting might induce some slight stuttering, disable it if desired.

    Motion Blur.png


    Geometry Detail


    This setting mainly controls the draw distance of ground decals, lights, objects and their shadows along with their level of detail. There is frequent pop in even while using the highest setting seeing as the overall extra range is pretty small. Notice the additional manholes and the shadows while using a higher setting. At lower values trees and other foliage will have a blockier look from far away, their shadows will also be loaded only while getting closer.



    This setting also sets when an object should begin casting its shadows depending on how close the player is. The setting itself can also affect other smaller objects. When farther away parts of certain models will also be partially hidden.



    Even while using the highest values lights will often pop in and suddenly appear out of nowhere. This side effect is mostly noticeable while quickly moving the camera around.



    When the higher values are used smaller buildings will begin loading their interiors, along with their objects and textures, any building decals and any lights will also be loaded from farther away.




    Click on the images to see the animated comparisons. They are best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Animated Geometry Detail Comparison


    Even while using the highest value not every object will be fully rendered while seen by the player.

    Animated Geometry Detail Interior Bank Comparison

    Geometry Detail Shop

    Geometry Detail Gas Station


    Because of the tiny distance smaller items such as these water coolers will have missing water tanks while far away. The interior draw distance can often be a little bit extreme, with objects appearing out of nowhere as the players gets closer.

    22 Geometry Detail High Far


    This setting doesn't affect a car's rear view mirror, notice the car's lights being partially hollow.

    27 Antialiasing Rear View Window High


    There shouldn't be a performance impact while using this setting and it can easily be left on High. However higher values may introduce stuttering on slower systems.

    Geometry Detail Benchmark


    Shadow Quality


    This setting doesn't affect the shadows themselves, it mainly sets how close a player should get before certain shadows can appear and it also partially controls their draw distance, although the differences between the three settings are pretty insignificant seeing as the extra range is pretty small and pop in will still be frequent. This setting works best along with the Geometry Quality setting.

    Higher values don't get rid of the shadow banding effect or of the shadow flickering effect which is sometimes present on flat surfaces or over certain vehicles.



    Interior areas are barely affected by this setting, ambient occlusion was mainly used for most shadows.



    This setting can be pretty picky when it comes down to which objects should have their shadows rendered from far away, notice how the water cooler is the only object being affected by this setting.



    Shadows are often inconsistent, with only certain characters having them, notice the two guards on the right. This setting doesn't help with this problem in any way.

    Inconsistent Shadows.png


    Certain shadows are often distorted when displayed over odd surfaces.

    Shadow Distortion.png


    There isn't much of a visual improvement, however this setting shouldn't affect the overall performance and it can easily be left on High.

    Shadow Quality Benchmark


    Reflection Quality


    This setting mainly controls how windows, water surfaces and how certain reflections will look like when cast over other objects. There is a minor visual impact and even on the highest setting certain objects are not affected, car mirrors have a fairly low quality look to them. Reflections will appear as blurrier at lower settings and crisper at higher values. There are minor differences between the Medium and High values.



    When set to a value of Low certain textures, such as the bank's ground floor will appear as blurrier.



    Most differences are very difficult to spot during usual gameplay, most changes will only be clearly visible over the water surfaces. Vehicle reflections are not effected by this setting.



    When set to Medium or High this setting can have a pretty large performance impact over the game, while barely improving the look of most scenes.



    Click on the images to see the animated comparisons. They are best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Animated Reflection Quality Interior Bank Comparison

    Bridge Reflection Quality Animated

    Reflection Quality River

    Animated Shoes


    Set it to Low to ensure a higher framerate. Set it to Medium for the best balance between quality and performance.
    Reflection Quality Benchmark.jpg


    Volumetric Effects


    This setting didn't have any visible visual impact, however it can drastically affect the overall performance. It should always be set to Low in order to maintain a more stable framerate.

    Volumetric Effects Benchmark.jpg


    Antialiasing


    The antialiasing technique present in the game is very weak. It does a very poor job at masking most jaggies.


    Click on the images to see the animated comparisons. They are best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Animated Antialiasing Comparison


    This setting will also affect any objects present in the rear view mirror.

    Antialiasing Rear View Mirror


    Most systems should be able to handle this setting, however the overall visual impact should be minor, if needed set this setting to Low. When set to High everything might look a little bit too blurry.
    Antialiasing Benchmark


    Performance Analysis


    These are the optimal settings used for this system for usual gameplay. These settings are balanced in order to provide the best performance and visual quality possible. Among the most performance intensive choices are the Volumetric Effects and the Reflection Quality setting. Lower any of these options in order to gain a significant performance boost if the game is running poorly.

    For the best experience set FPS to a value of 60 on normal screens or to Unlimited while playing on a high refresh rate screen.

    Photoshopped Optimal Settings


    The overall framerate was extremelly unstable and mostly poor while playing, the system doesn't manage to keep up with the game while driving around. The frametime delivery was never consistent, microstuttering being present almost everywhere. While lowering the more intensive graphical settings helped overall the game never managed to perform too well.

    Driving Frametime Benchmark 60 FPS 1280x720

    Driving Frametime Benchmark 60 FPS 2048x1152


    Audio


    Some fairly standard audio settings.

    Audio Settings


    Controls


    Most keys can be remapped, the game offers some pretty standard settings. The game features an auto centering camera while driving which cannot be disabled.

    Keyboard Bindings


    Conclusion


    Overall most settings shouldn't change the look of the game itself, if a higher framerate is needed lowering the Volumetric Effects and the Reflection Quality settings might help the most, however the system might fail to keep up with the game, currently far more higher end systems are needed in order to run the game at 60 FPS. Stable framerates might not be obtainable by simply lowering most settings, higher end hardware might be needed instead.

    Lower end systems will barely manage to run the game at a playable framerate, systems around the minimum requirements will not be able to run the game at high framerates. Higher end systems meeting the system requirements might also struggle.


    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign.

    • Oct 09 2016 11:22 PM
    • by RaTcHeT302
  4. PC Report: Dead Rising - Optimized Video Settings

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 @ 2.8 GHz
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 8 GB
    • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6770, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti (DirectX 11)
    • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (64-Bit)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i5 Family or AMD Equivalent
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • HDD: 3 GB
    • GPU: ATI Radeon HD 7790, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 (DirectX 11)
    • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (64-Bit)

    Editor's System

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-6500 (Skylake)
    • RAM: 32 GB DDR4 2133MHz (Kingston HyperX Fury)
    • SSD: 500 GB (Samsung 850 EVO)
    • GPU: MSI R9 380 4 GB
    • OS: Windows 10 (Version 1607) (64-Bit)
    These system requirements aren't too demanding but a graphics card which supports at least DirectX 11 is needed in order to actually run the game, along with a 64-Bit system.

    Most modern systems shouldn't have any issues running the game at smooth a framerate, even at ultra high resolutions. However certain resolutions are not listed such as 1366x768.

    Video Settings


    The game currently doesn't have a field of view setting, there's also a depth of field effect present in the game which cannot be disabled.

    V-Sync and Framerate


    Currently the game has some microstuttering issues in larger open areas, as a workaround set the Framerate setting to 60 or Variable (for high refresh rate screens). Set VSync to On.

    Ideally the V-Sync setting should always be enabled to lessen the amount of microstuttering and to ensure a smooth framerate distribution.

    Frametime Benchmark 60 FPS No VSync

    Frametime Benchmark 60 FPS VSync


    While using a Variable framerate, disabling the V-Sync mode can lead to a very large delay in milliseconds before a frame is drawn, causing extra microstutter.

    Frametime Benchmark Variable Framerate No VSync

    Frametime Benchmark Variable Framerate VSync


    Antialiasing


    The MSAA setting does a pretty poor job at masking most jaggies, any differences are very difficult to spot even while using values higher than MSAA X2.




    Click on the images to see the animated comparisons, they are best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Antialiasing Animated Comparison Far

    Antialiasing Animated Comparison Far


    There's a strange flickering effect which is most likely caused by the lack of any proper antialiasing techniques.




    Click on the images to see the animated comparisons, they are best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Antialiasing Animated Comparison Close

    Antialiasing Animated Comparison Close


    On lower end systems this setting can dramatically affect the overall performance, lower or disable this setting if needed.
    Antialiasing FPS Benchmark


    Motion Blur


    As the camera moves blur is heavily applied over the entire scene, some artifacts are also often present. This setting mainly comes down to user preference, otherwise there is very little point in keeping this setting enabled if a higher framerate is needed.

    Frank Blur


    Once this setting is applied the overall framerate will be impacted, even when no motion is present, as such this setting should be disabled if a higher framerate is needed or if the game is stuttering.

    Motion Blur FPS Benchmark


    Shadow Quality


    This setting mainly controls how the shadows will look like. On the lowest settings they will have a blockier look, while at higher values the game will begin using hard shadows instead, these shadows can never be completely disabled.



    It mainly affects very specific entities, such as certain decorative objects and all characters.



    Notice how the door and the main character are no longer brightly glowing.




    Click on the image to see an animated comparison. This image is best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Shadows Animated Comparison


    Not all objects benefit from this setting, certain entities will still be using lower quality shadows such as the electrical's panel power cord. This issue is often visible in certain cutscenes on most characters.




    Click on the image to see an animated comparison. This image is best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Shadows Poor Animated Comparison


    When this setting is enabled all characters will begin casting their own shadows, it also changes how they look when under other shadows.




    Click on the image to see an animated comparison. This image is best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Character Shadows Animated Comparison


    This setting has a minor performance impact in enclosed spaces with no characters.

    Shadow Quality Setting Benchmark (Corridor)


    In areas filled with zombies expect large performance drops, all actors will cast their own shadow. Disable this setting if needed.

    Shadow Quality Setting Benchmark (Zombies)


    Depth of Field


    Currently this setting cannot be disabled, this effect is very heavily used throughout the entire game in order to mask poorly aliased areas. It is also used very often during most cutscenes in order to give the game a more cinematic look.

    Depth Of Field Cutscene 1

    Depth Of Field Cutscene 2


    Notice how the lights and the signs are almost completely out of focus.

    Depth Of Field Hallway


    Performance Analysis


    These are the optimal settings used for this system for usual gameplay. These settings are balanced in order to provide the best performance and visual quality possible. Among the most performance intensive choices are the Antialiasing modes, the Shadow Quality setting and the Motion Blur setting. Lower any of these options in order to gain a significant performance boost if the game is running poorly.

    For the best experience set V-Sync to On and the Framerate to a value of 60 on normal screens or Variable while playing on a high refresh rate screen.

    Optimal Settings


    Whenever an enemy was hit with a melee weapon the game suddenly stopped for a moment. There are constant microstuttering issues in some of the more open areas, however the framerate itself was perfectly fine.

    Audio


    Some basic sound options along with some other general settings.

    Audio And Camera Settings


    Controls


    Most input settings are located in the Options menu. There have been no issues with the mouse and keyboard controls, some of the default keyboard bindings might feel odd however, make sure to rebind some of the stranger keys to anything more comfortable before playing. Certain parts of interface such as the map feel odd to navigate with a mouse. The game also features some mild mouse acceleration which cannot be disabled.

    Sensitivity Settings


    Most keys can be rebound, only certain special keys cannot be used (Print Screen, Scroll Lock, Pause). There's a minor issue where only the Mouse 4 button can be bound, the Mouse 5 button isn't being detected by the game.

    Keyboard Bindings Settings


    All controller buttons can also be reassigned as desired.

    Controller Bindings


    These are the optimal bindings used for this system for usual gameplay, a mouse and a keyboard was overall better over a gamepad due to the rather awkward default control scheme.

    Different Keyboard Bindings 1

    Different Keyboard Bindings 2

    Different Keyboard Bindings 3


    Conclusion


    Higher end systems should be able to comfortably run the game at pretty high framerates, although the more open areas might be affected by some serious microstuttering issues. As a workaround the VSync setting should be enabled and the frame limiter setting should also be set to at least 60 FPS. On lower end systems or while playing at a higher resolution the shadow quality, antialiasing and the motion blur should all be lowered in order to ensure a smoother experience.

    There are some minor gameplay issues, one of these being related to the quick time events, which appear when the player is being grappled by a zombie, if such prompts fail to appear quickly mash the A and D, or Q and E keys, along with the Left Mouse and Right Mouse buttons in order to get past this issue. Whenever an enemy was attacked with a melee wepon, the game would pause itself for a few milliseconds, this could possibly be by design however.

    Overall this is a solid release with a few minor issues, although the video settings could include a few more advanced tweaks but otherwise there aren't any other issues with the game. Performance wise there shouldn't be any major problems.

    • Oct 09 2016 03:40 PM
    • by RaTcHeT302
  5. PC Report: XCOM 2 - Optimized Video Settings for Quality and Performance

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E4700 @ 2.6 GHz or AMD Phenom 9950 Quad Core @ 2.6 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 45 GB
    • GPU: ATI Radeon HD 5770, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 (1GB, DirectX 11)
    • OS: Windows 7 (x64)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Quad Core CPU @ 3 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • GPU: ATI Radeon HD 7970, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 (2GB, DirectX 11)
    While the hardware requirements for this game might not look like much, computers around or below the minimum system requirements are going to have a difficult time playing this game at a comfortable framerate.

    Testing was performed on a system with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 CPU with 4 GBs of RAM and an Asus GeForce GTX 650 Ti, running at a resolution of 2048x1152.

    XCOM 2 Video 1

    XCOM 2 Video 2


    Antialiasing


    On lower end systems even the FXAA setting can largely affect the overall performance. This setting alone does a pretty poor job at masking most jagged lines. While the MSAA itself might behave better visually there's very little point in using it, considering how harsh the performance impact can be, newer systems will most likely struggle to play at a comfortable framerate with it at any settings. Antialiasing is one of the main reasons as to why the game might run poorly. If the game is in dire need of more frames disable this feature, even if it's set to the FXAA mode.

    Antialiasing Benchmark


    Click on the image to see an animated comparison. This image is best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

    Animated FXAA Antialiasing


    Ambient Occlusion


    This setting adds soft shadows to any objects when applied, without it an entity might look like it's floating. It is often used to give a scene or entity a better sense of depth and to evenly light most objects, as they would otherwise look too bright.

    Ambient Occlusion SSAO


    The first setting applies a lighter ambient occlusion effect over any ground tiles or buildings located near the fog of war. It does not affect areas currently in view by the player



    The second setting also applies to objects such as rocks, trees and buildings. Most differences are very difficult to spot during gameplay, daylight areas will however look slightly better because of the darker lighting.



    Objects with edges over the fog of war will smoothly blend in with the smoke screen, the transparency values are automatically adjusted and improved by the SSAO setting.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Ambient Occlusion Animated


    This setting applies differently to every environment, not all entities will behave the same way, the performance impact is also dependant on the level itself.



    Characters are also affected by this setting, along with any objects they might be carrying, which will also in turn begin casting their own softwer shadows. These smaller changes are mainly noticeable during combat.



    The ambient occlusion setting can have a severe effect on the in-game performance. Even on its own it can still be pretty intensive, disable it if in need of more frames.

    Ambient Occlusion Benchmark


    Decals


    Decals are used to add more detail to an area, static ground decals will be disabled on the lowest setting, other dynamic decals such as bullet holes will also dissapear.


    Decals Performance Benchmark


    Shadows


    There are no visible differences between the two lowest settings, if there even are any in the first place. This setting does not affect the shadows themselves in any way, no setting exists in order to completely disable the shadows either.



    On the highest setting characters will begin casting their own shadows, the shadow quality setting can also very slightly influence how they'll look like. To clearly spot the differences, look at the characters on the right side. They will begin casting a silhouette like shadow on the ground.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Shadows Animated


    If the game is running poorly this setting is best left on Directional Only due to how taxing it can be.
    Shadows Benchmark


    Shadow Quality


    This setting mainly controls how the shadows will look like. On the lowest settings they will have a softer look, while at higher values the game will begin using hard shadows instead, these shadows can never be completely disabled.



    What this is set to mainly comes down to user preference. There isn't an in between setting which combines both types of shadows. The differences between the two highest settings are most likely only visible at very specific angles.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Animated Shadow Quality


    This setting did not affect the game's performance in any way, but if the game does slightly stutter when using the Maximum value, try lowering the Shadow Quality setting to either Medium or High.

    Shadow Quality Benchmark


    Texture Detail


    Another pretty self explanatory setting, notice the car on the far left and the walkway on the bottom right corner to spot some of the more major differences.




    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Animated Texture Detail 1


    Even the bullet casings are affected by this setting due to them being actual in-game models.


    Models with an emmisive material will also shine brighter at higher settings.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Animated Texture Detail 2


    This setting can easily be left on High if the game is stuttering or if that one extra frame is really needed.

    Texture Detail Benchmark


    Depth of Field


    This effect is very difficult to spot unless the camera itself is placed at a more specific angle. It is far noticeable on the main menu, but otherwise it does not show up too often during normal gameplay.

    Main Menu Depth of Field Bokeh.png


    Both the simple and bokeh depth of field effects look pretty similar. This effect is mainly active while a character is taking aim or while shooting during the combat phases.

    Depth Of Field Bokeh


    This effect can still affect the overall in-game performance even while it's inactive, there's very little point in keeping it enabled on lower end systems if the game is doing poorly.

    Depth Of Field Benchmark


    Draw Distance


    This setting mainly controls the density of ground details and whenever some of the farther buildings will appear.

    3 Depth Of Field Bokeh Draw Distance High Main Menu


    The effect of this setting is clearly visible during combat and while sitting on the main menu, highly noticeable on the level with the two radar dishes, it is also complemented by the depth of field setting.

    Woosh Its Cool Man


    At higher values rocks and other ground decals will be displayed throughout the level, along with even more foliage. This setting can have a very large impact on the look of the game.



    The differences between Medium and High are not as harsh however. The differences between these two settings can only be seen at really weird angles.





    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Animated Draw Distance




    This setting can be optimally left on Medium in order to gain some performance. On lower end systems it should be set to Low if the game is running poorly. The game might behave differently depending on which area is currently being played on. The performance in a desert might be worse due to the extra ground details.

    Draw Distance Benchmark


    High Res Translucency


    There were no clear visible changes, but there is no performance impact so it can be left on.

    High Res Translucency Benchmark


    Bloom


    This setting adds a glow like effect to any active light sources or to any emmisive materials. If no antialiasing modes are turned on this effect will not always be visible.



    This effect will only be partially enabled if the FXAA mode is disabled.



    The bloom setting should not impact the framerate in any way, it's a very lightweight effect.

    Bloom Performance Benchmark


    Dirty Lens


    A very subtle effect which mimics a lens flare like light.

    34 Dirty Lens Example


    Textures with any emissive materials are affected by this setting.



    Most if not all light sources should be able to generate their our lens flare like look.



    This setting should have next to no real performance impact.

    Dirty Lens Benchmark


    Subsurface Scattering


    A lighting effect mainly applied on skin like materials when a light is directly cast upon them. It attempts to mimick light passing through skin.

    He Looks Pretty Cool


    This effect is barely noticeable during normal gameplay, but it's a small gimmicky effect which makes things look a tiny bit nicer.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Subsurface Scattering Animated


    Subsurface Scattering Benchmark


    Screen Space Reflections


    The name of the setting itself is slightly misleading, seeing as it also adds a darker shadowy outline to most objects and characters, while partially affecting the environment itself. Notice the outline on the sniper rifle.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Screen Space Reflections Animated 1


    The reflections themselves are actually really difficult to notice and they only appear under very specific circumstances.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Screen Space Reflections Animated 2


    When the effect is seen in action it actually looks really subtle, it's barely noticeable and it's very easy to miss. Desks and other decorative entities only very slightly benefit from the effect.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Animated Screen Space Reflections 3


    It takes a very specific angle for the effect to be visibly more obvious, but even then it's extremely subtle and most players will never notice if they are quickly moving the camera around.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Animated Screen Space Reflections 4


    As far as actual reflections go, only objects such as these billboards actually seem to have proper reflections. The bullet shells also have a shadowy outline attached to them.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Animated Screen Space Reflections 5


    Even when applied to a scene which should have plenty of reflective objects, the effect of the setting over the environment is incredibly minor. No real settings exist to actually disable or enable any other reflections.



    Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

    Animated Screen Space Reflections 6


    This setting should be disabled if a better framerate is needed, even when turned on it doesn't do much in order to actually change the look of the game. This should only be enable for the extra eye candy.

    Screen Space Reflections Benchmark


    Performance analysis


    These are the settings which have been used to setup these benchmarks in the report. Among the most performance intensive settings are Antialiasing (FXAA), Ambient Occlusion, Shadows, Depth of Field, Draw Distance and Screen Space Reflections, disable or lower any of these settings in order to get a significant performance gain if the game is behaving extremely poorly.

    Optimized Settings For This System


    Oddly enough the level which perfomed the worst overall has been the base of operations itself, otherwise even at 30 FPS the game did behave pretty decently, while the framerate might not have been optimal there were no major input lag issues and the game was still playable, anything below 30 FPS was otherwise pretty rough to play with, during usual gameplay however even the camera distance itself affected the framerate, while this might not be a great solution, if the game is performing too badly try zooming in a little bit in order to gain a few extra frames in order to make the game slightly more bearable to play with.

    Certain settings have a placebo like effect, mainly the Texture Detail and the Shadow Quality settings, it doesn't really matter what these two are set to, they won't improve or ruin the framerate in any way. In the worst case the Texture Detail setting has to be set to High, but even then there's such a minor loss in performance, to the point where it actually doesn't really matter too much, unless the average framerate is really low.

    Level Benchmark


    After reading the report most changes should now be pretty obvious.



    Controls


    All keys can be remapped on both the mouse and keyboard, buttons such as Mouse 4 and Mouse 5 will also work for example. There's also a feature which is never explained anywhere throughout the game, hold the Ctrl key, then push the movement button in order to create a waypoint for your soldier to go at.

    XCOM 2 Input


    Audio


    There's nothing really special to talk about here, however there's a very strange issue where no sounds can be completely muted, even when the slider is fully to the left. In order to trigger this, set the master volume to the maximum value, then completely disable the in-game music, then raise the volume of your computer, the background music should still be playing.

    XCOM 2 Audio


    Conclusion


    This game is far more graphically intensive than its predecessor, and as such it might have difficulties properly scaling over different hardware configurations. Lower end systems will end up having some pretty large performance issues but this is most likely not be the game's fault, and it's most likely a hardware issue. After testing every setting maximizing them to their highest values is not very optimal, due to some of them not changing much in the end. Most settings are also incredibly subtle and any differences are very difficult to spot while playing, but otherwise the expensive settings should be turned off if the game is behaving poorly.

    As far as the actual performance goes getting an idea as to how the game is truly supposed to run on this system proves a bit more difficult, due to the way strategy games are generally setup, and simply because the system itself is not strong enough, there's no easy way to properly judge as to why the game is running the way it currently is.

    Otherwise higher end systems should be able to comfortably run the game at higher framerates, as long as the more intensive settings which have been listed throughout the report are lowered or turned off completely.


    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign.

    • Feb 09 2016 07:25 AM
    • by RaTcHeT302
  6. PC Report: GRID Autosport on Linux

    System requirements


    Windows

    • CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon X2 5400
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • GPU: Intel HD3000, AMD HD2000, NVIDIA Geforce 8000
    • OS: Vista, 7, 8

    Linux

    • CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA 640, 1 GB of VRAM
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04.2 64-bit, Steam OS 2.0
    From the above we can see rather heightened requirements with the Linux release. While not at all unexpected at this point, it is still a disappointment just how much further up are the minimum requirements for many high-profile ports of Linux games - of course, what we need to keep in mind is that they are often based on the minimum requirements for SteamOS. Added to this is, as usual, a disclaimer promising no support for AMD or Intel GPUs. Feral have released an official statement detailing the reasons, with plans to extend it to said GPUs in the future, once stable driver releases with required features are available.

    Given the game's and series long support of Intel iGPUs, even going as far as boasting Intel-exclusive graphical features, a minimum of a high-end and seldom available Iris Pro 5200 is a bit of a disappointment.

    The following report is based on experience of playing the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 12 GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM, on Window 7 SP1 64-bit (driver version 359.06) and Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit (driver version 358.16).

    The additional Intel results were gathered on a laptop with an Intel i5-4258U with an Intel Iris 5100 and 8 GB of RAM, on Windows 8.1 64-bit and Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit (using Mesa 11.2 built on 2015-12-14).

    A copy of the game was purchased using personal funds.

    Graphical features


    The game can boast almost full graphical parity with the Windows version. Lightning, reflections, and shadows, as well as every other effect are featured in the Linux version. However, Intel users on Windows get an exclusive feature called advanced blending, an implementation of order-independent transparency. This is the second port to lose this feature in the process, the first being Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

    settings


    With Nvidia cards on Windows, the game also provides the Nvidia-specific implementation of multisample anti-aliasing known as coverage sampling anti-aliasing. Nvidia claims this allows for the same level of quality at a lower hit to performance. Of course, this feature is being phased out in newer GPUs, starting with Maxwell-based cards.

    ingame


    A quite interesting feature that is not present in the Linux version is native second-screen support. This isn't normal multi-monitor support, which is usually just assured by making the system appear as a single desktop, but rather a secondary view into the game, showing the current standings in the race as well as a cinematic view - a nice addition if you're planning any local tournaments.

    secondscreen


    Performance


    It is always interesting to see how does a port stack up against the original Windows version in terms of performance. It has become somewhat of a given that we will see a drop to a certain degree, given previous experiences, but there's always the hope the next port may provide a degree of improvement in this area. The results are based on the default benchmark provided. Error bars represent the minimum frame rate.

    nvidiapresets.svg


    As expected, we can see a fairly steady loss of about 40% regardless of settings. This of course isn't ideal, as a system the could still easily hit a stable 60 on Windows on higher settings may struggle in the same circumstances on Linux.

    nvidiaAA.svg


    We can see a similar story when using the various anti-aliasing settings. The drop remains consistent throughout the available settings. Additionally, it is possible to use higher quality settings on Windows.

    Benchmarks for additional settings like advanced lightning and global illumination were omitted, as the results produced on Linux were mediocre at best, occasionally rendering the game wholly unplayable due to extremely low performance - at best, they only resulted to a drop to around 30fps, but also introduced stuttering and inconsistent frame rates. By comparison, the game remained playable on Windows, still leaving the game at 60fps.

    Frame rate is not the only measure important in rating performance. Thankfully, when using a setting which keeps you above 60 at all times, the game's frame times do not often exceed 16.7ms often. The situation is not as perfect as on Windows - where none of all frames rendered went above 16.7ms, as opposed to a few slower frames always happening on Linux, resulting in an ever so occasional stutter.

    What is a pleasant surprise, is the fact the game is currently fully playable on Intel chipsets, in contrast to many other titles released recently.

    intel720p.svg

    intel1080p.svg


    The performance drop in this case remains at only around 20% on all settings. The game remains playable on Windows slightly higher settings than on Linux, but more importantly, the game is playable on Linux at all. If you'd prefer a higher frame rate at the cost to the image quality you can drop the resolution, though unfortunately, no graphical settings remain to reduce for further gains at that point.

    While playing, the game remained equally stable on the Intel and Nvidia systems, which is after all the most important part. This is also the first of the AAA ports we've seen release so far (with the exception of Civilization V) that was at all playable on my laptop.

    Experience


    The area of user experience is where the port really shines. Feral have put in extra effort to make sure you don't have to spend time to get to enjoy the game.

    Controller support works exactly as expected, thanks to the use of SDL2. But in case you're having any trouble getting the game to recognise your controller, make sure to bind it in Steam Big Picture. More importantly, when it comes to wheel support, the game is quite the opposite of what DiRT Showdown brought. With built-in support for most of the popular wheels available, including force feedback and 900 degrees range, the game leaves very little to complain about.

    Of course, it'd be nice if the in-game icons matched the prompts present on these wheels - and those are usually the same as DualShock's. Interestingly, the game does provide such overrides when on OS X, so hopefully this feature may still come in a future patch, or in the least in upcoming ports.

    On the other hand, the game loses some features as well. With the rise of hybrid laptops and touchscreens, the Windows version also features a touch based UI and input, but these are not present on Linux. Of course, given the fact that there are practically no readily available Linux laptops, and with SteamOS being the bigger concern, this is not a major loss.

    For those inclined to mod their game, you'll be happy to find out mods work great and without issues - among the first things I did after downloading the game was finding a mod that removed the unnecessary blur from the cabin and added working reflections to the mirrors.

    And most importantly, if you use more than one OS, the save files are fully cross-platform and will synchronize across systems as they should. Unfortunately, in a rather random fashion the save file I was using occasionally became unreadable for the Windows version of the game, though this was sometimes resolved by just playing another race and letting the game create a new file. And as one might expect, with this also comes cross-platform multiplayer, so you do not have to worry about playing the game with your OS X or Windows using friends.

    With this port, we also get a nice addition that OS X users had the chance to enjoy for some time now - a launcher. Right now only providing support information and a resolution choice, Feral have confirmed to me that future ports will see the featureset come closer to the OS X version, with additional options being available directly in the launcher.

    Conclusion


    While the performance of the port is a bit of a let-down, especially taking in light the fact the other game on the same engine (albeit older version) is even able to run at a higher frame rate than on Windows, the port is really good over all. With emphasis put on the user experience, you don't have to spend a lot of time fiddling with settings to enjoy the game.

    Hopefully in future releases Feral Interactive will not only be able to provide a superb user experience, but also matching performance. Considering they have quite a few more ports announced as coming, we'll see soon enough.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of GRID Autosport fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this and want to us write more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:

    • Dec 22 2015 04:16 PM
    • by Soeb
  7. PC Report: DiRT Showdown on Linux

    System requirements


    Windows

    • CPU: Intel Pentium D 3.2 GHz, AMD Athlon 64 X2
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8000 Series, ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series, Intel HD Graphics 2500
    • OS: Vista, 7

    Linux

    • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 x2, 3.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia, AMD, 1 GB of VRAM, OpenGL 4.1 compatible
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.10, Mint 17.1
    Rather unusually, the game mentions no specific GPU requirements on Linux. Asking only for OpenGL 4.1 compatibility, one could expect a broader range of support, for once not relying on higher-end equipment - though still bumping the Linux version ahead by several generations of GPUs. Unfortunately, this is followed up by the usual disclaimer that Intel cards are not supported at the moment - though this is stated as purely a drivers limitation, and something that will be resolved in the future. Additionally, you'll need a slightly better processor, and double the RAM too.

    The following report is based on experience of playing the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 12 GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM, on Window 7 SP1 64-bit (driver version 359.06) and Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit (driver version 358.16).

    A copy of the game was purchased using my own funds.

    Graphical features


    Dirt Showdown supports every graphical feature present on Windows, without exception.

    video


    Of course, the same can't be said for all additional features. Once again, additional forms of anti-aliasing besides MSAA are unavailable. Furthermore, the game's native support for Nvidia 3D Vision is not present on Linux, due to lack of driver support.



    Performance


    I'm always curious to see how well a port does in comparison with Windows. While the usual expectation is a general loss, on some level, there's always the hope a port may end up differenty - and in this case, I was very surprised with the results. The following charts are based on the default benchmark provided. Error bars represent the minimum frame rate.

    presets.svg


    From the various AAA ports we've received over the past 2 years, this is the first time the Linux version gets better performance at any point, to the best of my knowledge - with a 50% performance gain over Windows on the lowest settings, and always maintaining some sort of a lead until the highest settings, where the game suffers a drop of about 13%. This can be alleviated by disabling advanced lightning and global illumination, bringing the port close to perfect parity in performance.

    aa.svg


    Interestingly enough with anti-aliasing, picking higher quality AA results in a smaller performance loss compared to Windows. Going to 8x multisampling AA costs you about 20% on Windows and only 12% on Linux - or closing the gap to just 5% between the systems. This speaks volumes of the progress done since the first Linux releases, and shows there's still a lot of potential for other ports.

    More importantly, the frame time seldom strayed above 16.7ms even on highest settings - helping to avoid visible stutter and tearing. However, the game is still prone to occasionally - if very infrequently - fail to hit that target regardless of graphical settings. This situation is of course not ideal, as this means the game is more prone to stuttering. With that said, during the time I spent playing, I have not experienced any noticable stutter.

    Experience


    Of course, there's a lot more to look for in a port than just performance. Especially in a racing game, peripheral support is important.

    Thanks to the use of SDL2, the game's controller support is superb. Unfortunately, this doesn't extend to wheel support. The game does not include built-in support for even the most popular of wheels. For some hardware the wheel needs to be bound to a standard controller layout using Steam Big Picture to work at all, but in many cases even this doesn't solve the issue and the game remains unable to use your wheel. One can hope this may still be resolved in future patches, and better wheel support could be added at some point.

    When it comes to save games, the files are not cross-platform, and you cannot expect to reuse them when playing on another system. If you've already played the game previously on Windows, or if you're looking to continue your progress on a different system, this is not a possibility. On top of this, the save files are still going to be synced to all platforms, which means you will have to wait for cloud synchronization, without any benefits. However, at least in multiplayer full compatiblity is present, and you are able to play together with Windows and OS X users.

    Conclusion


    What can be said without a doubt is that for most players, the port provides a superb experience. While there are miles to go in many areas - wheel support absolutely should be present in a racing game, and in a much more approachable fashion than what's available here - in the least it makes up for it with well above average performance.

    The port is not quite perfect, but still well ahead of other releases. Given the massive strides Virtual Programming have made since their first Linux port - after this, I'm looking forward to what they can bring next.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of DiRT Showdown fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.




    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this and want to us write more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Dec 22 2015 04:07 PM
    • by Soeb
  8. PC Report: Fallout 4

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-2300 2.8 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • HDD: 30 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti or AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB of VRAM
    • OS: Windows 7, 64bit

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 3.6 GHz or AMD FX-9590 4.7 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon R9 290X, 3GB (Nvidia), 4GB (AMD) of VRAM
    The system requirements for Fallout 4 are a little bit on the demanding side. A quad core CPU is a must and the GPUs are from the older mainstream range. Recommended specs are even more demanding with high-end CPUs and GPUs.

    All the tests were done on a system with a Core i7-2700k clocked to 4.6GHz, 32 GB RAM and AMD R9 390 with 8GB of VRAM, Catalyst 15.11 Beta graphics drivers and version 1.1.30.0.0 of the game. Testing was done at 1920x1200, and because there is no built-in benchmarking tool, a test run consisted of one minute of playing the game in one of the larger cities and included a short fight with a pack of ghouls. This resulted in very consistent frame rate measurements so only two measurements were averaged for each effect.

    Graphics settings


    menu options


    Most of the graphics settings have to be set in the launcher. This is rather inconvenient because there are very few graphical options directly in the game. Other that that the launcher offers a fairly standard arsenal of graphical settings and a few presets. The game has also auto detection system that sets options during the first launch of the game. A nice addition are the Windowed and Windowed borderless toggles.

    Field of View and wide screen setups


    Field of view is locked in low 80's by default and there is no direct option to change it from the game. Players have to edit configuration files to set a comfortable field of view.

    Same applies for ultra-wide and surround resolutions as these are not directly supported. Again, configuration files needs to be edited and even that can hide some of the GUI elements, thus rendering the game unplayable.

    For easy configuration file editing and tweaking a special configuration utility can be used.



    Overall performance and image quality


    Fallout 4 offers four image quality presets - Low, Medium, High and Ultra. There is only a 3% difference in performance between Low and Medium. High preset has a more significant performance drop of 33% and Ultra costs almost 40% of Low's framerate.

    The framerate is limited to 60 FPS by default, unlocking it via editing .ini files will unfortunately cause problems, as the game logic and physics are tied to the framerate. I've experienced severe framerate drops in major cities where the game's framerate seemingly randomly falls from 100 FPS to sub 30 FPS.

    The game also loads very slowly on mechanical hard-drives. The loading times were around 30-40 seconds, after moving the game on SSD loading times dropped significantly to only few seconds.

    During my testing I've found only one effect (Shadow Distance) to have significant performance impact on the game. Even the dreaded over-tessellated god-rays effect led only to a 4% drop in FPS. The rest of the effects have negligible or non-existent performance cost so I'm not going to include all the graphs here. Feel free to browse through the measurements though.

    graph   presets


    Visual quality on the Low preset is nothing special, shadows are visibly low resolution and cut not far from camera, vegetation is shown only very close to the player and textures are not very sharp. Medium preset improves shadow resolution and cutoff distance of vegetation. High preset further improves vegetation cutoff distance and increases cutoff for shadows and the scene seems to be less flat. Ultra preset further increases render distance. Overall the game doesn't look particularly impressive visually and the renamed Gamebryo engine very clearly shows its age. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Ultra.



    Texture Quality


    Texture quality controls the texture resolution and can be set in three steps - Medium, High and Ultra. Visual difference between High and Ultra is very small and performance impact wasn't clearly measurable. The textures are not very sharp to begin with so there is definitely room for improvement. Full resolution screenshots: Medium, High, Ultra.



    Shadow Distance


    Shadow Distance setting controls cutoff distance of the shadows and is the most demanding effect in the game. High setting causes almost 30% framerate drop, Ultra costs another 2% on top of that. Full resolution screenshots: Medium, High, Ultra.



    graphs   shadow distance

    Anti-aliasing


    The game offers only two anti-aliasing methods and these are only post process filters FXAA and TXAA. Both have major visual impact and horribly blurs the whole scene, vegetation lose its definition, broken lines are kept broken, textures are slightly blurred as well. At least these effects has only 3% performance impact. Full resolution screenshots: No AA, FXAA, TXAA.

    AA comparisons

    Controls


    The game doesn't offer very large controls options. Mouse sensitivity can be set and the keys can be remapped but there are major problems with controls in Fallout 4. First of all there are multiple actions on one key that doesn't make sense and will cause trouble. Melee attack shares button with a Throw grenade function for example. There is also a system of favorites weapons and items, but slots are locked to the number keys and cannot be remapped. Scroll wheel also cannot be remapped (to navigating favorites for example) and controls camera distance which I find fairly useless.

    There is a mouse acceleration turned on by default and can be turned off only by editing an .ini files.

    Pip-Boy and GUI navigation is nothing short of a disaster. I was expecting it to be bad as horrible controls are Bethesda's trademark but this is a whole new level of awful. Nothing is consistent after more that 20 hours of playing I still have to think really hard about what key is doing what in the menus. For example, exiting or going back a menu is sometimes Tab, sometimes it's E and sometimes it is Esc. Worst is the settlement building option which suddenly has you using the arrow keys and the game doesn't even hint that Shift WSAD can be also used. Alternative GUI mod cannot arrive soon enough.

    On top of that tutorial is almost non-existent and fairly important game mechanics are never explained like VATS or how to assign settlers to jobs.

    Audio


    Fallout 4 offers fairly standard audio options with many volume sliders. The game supports surround sound setups up to 7.1 and audio sound fairly good with one exception though. Voices have very low volume outside of cutscenes and very often are inaudible when speaking character is more than few meters away.

    Conclusion


    Fallout 4 suffers from heavy consolitidis. The underlying game is fun and the world is rich but visually the game looks unimpressive and old, almost like modded Fallout 3. Performance is not terrible overall but there are framerate drops suggesting optimization issues, almost none of the graphics settings has any meaningful performance impact on the game.

    Keyboard and mouse controls are awful and should be redesigned from the ground up. Many of core PC features like FoV, widescreen support or unlocked framerate are absent and has to be edited in via configuration files. Another six month of polishing would greatly benefited the game, but obviously Bethesda is counting on modders to fix the game for free and that is not a good sign.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Fallout 4 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed our article and want to us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Dec 16 2015 04:36 PM
    • by LDK
  9. PC Report: ARK: Survival Evolved

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: 2 GHz Dual-Core
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 20GB
    • GPU: DirectX10 Compatible GPU,1 GB VRAM
    • OS: Windows 7, 8 (x64)
    System requirements for ARK: Survival Evolved are not very demanding. The minimum hardware is currently on the low mid-range.

    All of the following tests have been completed on a system with a Core i7 4790K at 4GHZ, 16 GB RAM and an AMD R9 290 with 4GB of VRAM. ARK: Survival Evolved was running on version v221.3 at a resolution of 1920x1080 with the 15.7.1 AMD Catalyst Control Center drivers.

    No benchmarking tool was available in the game so testing consisted of walking around The Island map near the shoreline, then into a forest area and then back to the shoreline. Each test was completed three times using FRAPS to record the frame rate and then an average was taken.

    Video settings


    ARK: Survival Evolved offers a range of graphics settings, with four presets available. Each setting with a drop down menu can be adjusted between ‘Low’, ‘Medium’, ‘High’ and ‘Epic’. You can see the changes a setting has made as soon as you apply it however three settings from the post-processing section of the video settings do require you to restart the game when applying. Nevertheless, the game was restarted between changing settings to benchmark the game.

    Video Settings


    Resolution scale is a setting that stands out. If set to 100% the game will be rendered at full the maximum resolution that is set, however any other percentage will render a lower resolution. This allows you to lower your resolution and increase performance while maintaining scaling of things such as the in-game HUD and any overlays.

    Oddly, V-sync is left out in the graphics settings, but this can be manually enabled (it is off by default) by changing a value in a configuration file.

    Field of View


    The field of view slider (listed as ‘Camera FOV’) does not state what degree the FOV is at, however the developer had stated that the game would have a slider which would have a range of 70-110 degrees.



    Overall performance and image quality


    Graphics Preset Performance Bar Chart

    The performance impact between Low and Medium is a lot bigger proportionally than the difference between Medium and High, and High and Epic. The change from Low to Medium resulted in 37% decrease in performance whilst the change from Medium to High caused a decrease of 46%. High to Epic caused a performance decrease of 38%.

    Graphics Preset Performance Line Graph


    The Low preset did have the most fluctuating frame rate over the course of the two-minute benchmark. Large dips in FPS would be apparent when looking away from objects, looking towards the sky and during combat. The frame rate in the Medium, High and Epic presets was a lot more consistent with occasional dips in framerate when new environment was loaded.

    Overall the performance was quite poor with the game only running at a playable framerate on the low and medium settings. However this is to be expected as the game is in Early Access in a poorly optimised state. The game was virtually unplayable when the Epic preset was applied, with movement and combat both becoming difficult.

    Image quality on the Low preset was extremely poor. Textures look flat and boring, shadows are non-existent (albeit shading is still present on 3D models), and the draw distance is extremely poor, to the point where huge boulders only a few metres away are being drawn in as you move closer to them. On the Epic preset, the game at best looks average. Even with a high draw distance, textures and shadows are still popping in which can be immersion breaking while navigating in the game. Trees and foliage that isn’t very far still use very low quality textures, only changing to higher ones as you move very close to them. Although, shadows and clouds in the sky are very well rendered.

    Texture quality


    Low textures have very few visible details. Details can only be made out if they vary greatly in contrast to other parts of the texture (such as dark spots on a tree log). The textures themselves are very blurry and look flat. All details are visible on Epic textures and they do look very nice. Both textures still have shading so putting them on a lower setting doesn’t make them ‘stand out’ too much from other textures on other objects



    Shadow quality


    There are two shadow quality settings, General Shadows and Terrain Shadows. Putting general shadows on Low gets rid of all the shadows completely. Lowering it from Epic to any other setting but Low will cause the shadows to get more and more pixelated.



    Post processing


    Post processing controls the shading and ambient occlusion on/around objects and textures. Putting it on Low gives everything a washed out, almost flat look. Colours become bright and unrealistic and gives the game a cartoonish feel, especially the trees. Increasing Post processing gives everything a darker more realistic tone. Stones in the ground texture have a shading and shadows around them and don’t look flat.



    Sky quality


    The clouds in ARK: Survival Evolved do look very good and aren’t simply an image. However this comes at the cost of reduced FPS. Decreasing the Sky quality reduces the number of clouds visible and also their density making them more transparent. If the setting is put on 0% then the clouds completely disappear.



    Ground clutter


    This setting controls how many stones, debris and small plants on the ground are visible to the player. Setting it to 0% gets rid of nearly all stones and shells you would find on the ground, while at 100% they become very abundant.



    Anti-aliasing


    The anti-aliasing the game uses doesn't look visually impressive. It’s a simple blurring of the pixels and could look a lot better.






    Controls


    The controls settings in ARK: Survival Evolved allow you to rebind almost every key in the game. The game supports gamepads, however gamepad controls cannot be remapped.

    Audio


    Sound settings are quite basic offering four different volume sliders. Surround sound is not apparent in the game but as the game is in early access. Consequently there is no positional audio so you won’t know if someone is sneaking up on you! Hopefully this will be added in the future alongside stereo sound.

    Conclusion


    The game is poorly optimised which is expected for an early access title. The system requirements should definitely be changed as even the hardware I used to benchmark this was struggling and is well above the minimum requirements. A mid to high end system is definitely need to play the game. The developers are aware of the optimisation issues of the game and are constantly trying to improve it. For a game that isn’t visually impressive, it’s performance is ultimately very poor. Controls are intuitive and can be rebound, and I experienced no bugs or crashing while benchmarking and playing around with the game.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor M0nster. For an up to date account of ARK: Survival Evolved fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.


    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign.


    • Nov 07 2015 06:16 PM
    • by M0nster
  10. PC Report: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 @ 3.40 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 28 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 (2GB) (DirectX 11)
    • OS: Windows 7, 8 (x64)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 @ 3.60 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 (DirectX 11)
    While the system requirements may look harsh, the game isn't that demanding and can comfortably be played on a system meeting the minimum requirements. The secret is the game’s very aggressive level of detail system - which tends to be a little too eager, causing higher-quality versions of characters and objects to suddenly ‘pop’ into existence. Furthermore, the drawing distance setting seems a little too low by default, causing entire mountains to suddenly appear, and you can’t change this setting so better systems can mitigate or eliminate this. While the lack of overall settings are a bit of a letdown, the engine manages to scale very well over various hardware configurations.

    Testing was performed on a system with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 CPU with 4 GBs of RAM and an Asus GeForce GTX 650 Ti, running at a resolution of 2048x1152.

    Video settings


    There are quite a few video options, however the game lacks any separate anti-aliasing modes. Some options are not labeled correctly, but that's a minor issue.

    Video Settings


    Most notifications can easily be disabled, along with any elements which are part of the game's main UI system, which does certainly allow for a far more immersive and customizable experience.

    Display


    The game doesn't feature any general graphic presets. In our slider comparisons, the lowest and highest values of each setting have been compared, and most differences should be fairly obvious and noticeable.


    Fullscreen Screenshots - Lowest Settings - Highest Settings

    While using the highest available settings, the game will be able to render more entities over larger distances, the textures and the shadows will also look far sharper.

    Everything High


    Motion Blur


    Framerate Hit: Minor
    This setting controls the intensity of the motion blur effect which is activated by quickly moving the camera around, this effect can be disabled entirely if desired.



    Depth of Field


    Framerate Hit: Minor
    The depth of field effect is heavily used during most cutscenes and during most combat-heavy situations, such as while aiming or crouching and whilst grabbing actors.



    The effect can easily be triggered by simply aiming at a certain entity, enemy or any other actors. Anything else around the object will be out of focus.





    Fullscreen Screenshots - Snake - Wolf

    Model Detail


    Framerate Hit: Minor (Low, High), Medium (Extra High)
    This setting controls how much clutter, grass, rocks, props, barriers, and other details will be visible over certain distances, while also changing which and how many entities will appear before the player gets too close to them. The setting itself doesn't affect the models in any way; however, the game will begin using the higher quality versions of the existing models whenever possible at higher detail values.


    Fullscreen Screenshots - Low - Extra High

    The Afghanistan environment is already pretty detailed on its own, all the extra geometry might be slightly difficult to spot at first.


    Fullscreen Screenshots - Low and Extra High - Extra High

    This setting can optimally be kept on High; most modern systems, however, should be able to easily cope with this setting on Extra High without any major framerate hits.

    Textures


    Framerate Hit: Minor (All Settings)

    On the lower settings most textures will have a very washed-out look.





    At the highest settings most differences will become pretty small and hard to spot. Most changes are really subtle: in the following image the pipes and the drainage channel have slightly better textures while everything else looks pretty similar.





    Curiously, the texture quality setting also affects elements which are part of the user interface, such as the mini map and certain smaller buttons.


    Fullscreen Screenshots - Low - Extra High

    Shadows


    Framerate Hit: Minor (Low, High), Major (Extra High)

    Shadows Very High Mountain.png


    Next to the lighting setting, this is the most intensive setting in the game. On Low most shadows look blurry and have many jagged edges, while on Extra High the shadows are far sharper and cleaner.



    The most obvious changes can be seen while playing in the outer environments. Smaller models and other entities will also begin casting their own high quality shadows at higher values. However such differences are very hard to spot during normal gameplay.



    Lighting


    Framerate Hit: Minor (Low, High), Major (Extra High)

    This setting sets the overall draw distance for any distant lights. On lower values the player has to get really close to a light before the light itself can begin casting itself onto the surrounding environment.


    Fullscreen Screenshots - Low - Extra High

    This setting can be a huge performance killer on slower systems; even more modern systems might suffer quite a bit from this setting. If there's any issue with this setting, keep it set to High.



    Post Processing


    Framerate Hit: Minor (Low), Medium (High, Extra High)

    The post processing setting mainly applies bloom onto certain models, along with some anti-aliasing levels.





    The anti-aliasing setting is directly tied to the post process setting and is very lightweight. It can easily be raised to the maximum value with next to no loss in performance.



    Notice the ground on the far right and how it becomes excessively-bright on Extra High. The post processing may also affect the surrounding terrain in other odd ways when set to any values lower than Extra High. However, these issues are ultimately inconsequential.


    The post process effect will also make any decals in the world shine in the light.





    Effects


    Framerate Hit: Minor (All Settings)

    This setting controls various particle effects such as rain and dust particles. This isn't very demanding performance-wise and doesn’t display well in screenshots; however, most differences are far easier to spot while playing the game.



    This setting can also affect any weather effects such as the rain, on the Low setting the raindrops look far worse than the Extra High ones.





    Ambient Occlusion


    Framerate Hit: Minor (High), Medium (Very High)

    The game has a fairly simple and light ambient occlusion implementation which can easily be set to High or Extra High without having to worry about the resulting performance. The shadows and the ambient occlusion settings greatly affect how the outer environments look and are perceived to a large extent.



    Without the ambient occlusion most entities look like they are floating. Most interiors also look pretty bare without this setting, and any characters will also be affected.



    Even though this game’s ambient occlusion is very basic, the difference is instantly noticeable. Note how the staircase in the below screenshot stands out on Extra High compared to Off, where it almost seems to float in the scene.



    Volumetric Clouds


    Framerate Hit: Minor (All Settings)

    This setting replaces the cheap clouds with far more realistic ones. The effect is pretty lightweight performance-wise while greatly improving the game's look.





    Performance analysis


    The game performs amazingly well, it also manages to scale incredibly nicely on slower hardware, the loading times are also incredibly short and in the end the game behaved better than expected.

    Benchmark


    Testing was done on a system running an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 CPU with 4 GBs of RAM and an Asus GeForce GTX 650 Ti, running at a resolution of 2048x1152.

    Controls


    While the game performs very well, there are still glaring issues with the way controls are being handled. Very few keys can actually be bound; however, this is a minor issue. Most menus have very poor mouse input, the map and the quick action menu being among those, being very finicky and awkward to use. Furthermore, certain menus can only be controlled using the keyboard, which also behave poorly.

    Keyboard Bindings


    Controller


    The horse controls themselves also tend to be pretty unresponsive on both a keyboard and a controller. The default controller scheme in general can occasionally be pretty awkward to play with; mouse aiming also has its own issues. It doesn't feel as precise as it should be, and it feels very floaty.

    Audio


    There are only two audio options - the game lacks basic separate volume settings for sound effects, music, ambient noises and voices, which you'd might expect.

    Audio Settings


    Conclusion


    While Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain performs excellently on PC, the lack of good mouse and keyboard support, along with the basic audio options might ruin it for some. A controller might be needed in order to properly enjoy the game, which is really a shame considering this is otherwise a joy to play - and being able to play a modern Metal Gear Solid game on PC is completely priceless.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor RaTcHeT302. For an up to date account of Game Name fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.


    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign.


    • Sep 10 2015 10:13 PM
    • by RaTcHeT302
  11. PC Report: Killing Floor 2

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Core 2 Duo E8200 2.66GHz or Phenom II X2 545
    • RAM: 3 GB RAM
    • HDD: 10 GB
    • GPU: GeForce GTS 250 or Radeon HD 4830
    • OS: Win7 64-bit, Win8/8.1 64-bit

    Recommended

    • CPU: Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz or Phenom II X4 955
    • RAM: 4 GB RAM
    • GPU: GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6950
    System requirements seems to be very reasonable, minimum required CPU is a just dual core and a rather old one. Similar story with required GPU, which is very old mainstream. Recommended specs are little bit more demanding, as a quad core and a newer GPU is needed, but again nothing anywhere close to the current high-end hardware.

    All the tests have been done on system with Core i7-2700k clocked to 4.5GHz, 32 GB RAM and HD 6870 with 1GB of VRAM, Killing Floor 2 version was 1003, Catalyst version 15.3 Beta. Testing was done in a 1650x1050 resolution, the game doesn't offer benchmark tool, so test run was me playing the first round in a solo mode on the Burning Paris map and killing all zombies which took about one minute. Each effect was tested three times and results were averaged to eliminate inconsistencies between each run.

    Graphics settings


    graphics

    Graphics settings menu offers wide variety of effects and setting to tweak. Some of the effects require restarting the game, so set them before you enter an online match. These effects are: Environment Detail, FX, Realtime Reflections and Shadow Quality. Other effects can be adjusted on the fly with immediate effect, but I've restarted the game after each change for benchmarks just to be sure.

    Killing Floor 2 supports any resolution, some more exotic ones can be accessed by switching Aspect Ratio to Any. The game supports Borderless, Windowed and Fullscreen modes, and Variable Framerate can be turned on for high refresh rate displays. I've encountered slight problem when lowering resolutions, but restarting game fixed it.

    Field of View


    Field of View slider is hidden under Game Settings options menu. It doesn't say exact degree of field of view, there is percentage adjustment instead with 100% - 125% range. Killing Floor 2 apparently uses vertical implementation of field of view. This implementation works much better on a variety of aspect ratios, ultra wide monitors and AMD Eyefinity or Nvidia Surround setups. Bellow you can see two comparisons, upper one is the game's field of view on ordinary 16:10 aspect ratio screen, lower one is field of view behavior on ultra wide screen. Even when slider is set to 125% on both cases, ultra wide screen properly offers more visibility. Surprisingly there was no measurable impact on framerate. Full resolution screenshots: 16:10@100%, 16:10@125%, 21:9@100%, 21:9@125%.




    Overall performance and image quality


    Killing Floor 2 offers four image quality presets - Low, Medium, High and Ultra. On the Low preset the game performed very well and the framerate rarely fell under 100 FPS. Switching to the Medium setting framerate dropped 30%, same drop was when the High setting was used. The Ultra preset offers the best image quality, but with severe framerate impact of 40% from High and more than 70% from Low setting. The game's performance scales very well with each preset.

    graph   graphics quality

    Performance also scales fairly well although not linearly. Doubling the resolution from 1280x800 to 2560x1600 results in 62% framerate drop.

    graph   resolution performance

    Image quality even on the Low settings is very good. Lighting is dynamic, some textures are blurry and there are only basic reflections. On the other hand, the Ultra setting have textures very sharp even on 1600p, environment has more objects and realtime reflections are also present and very apparent. Below are comparisons from three currently available maps. Full resolution screenshots: Paris Low, Paris Medium, Paris High, Paris Ultra; Outpost Low, Outpost Medium, Outpost High, Outpost Ultra; Lab Low, Lab Medium, Lab High, Lab Ultra.






    Controls


    Controls settings menu in the Killing Floor 2 offers basic mouse sensitivity settings, there is no mouse acceleration or smoothing toggle, but I haven't felt any additional mouse processing and aiming seems to be very precise. Keyboard binding menu offers basic key binds, only one key per action can be set. There was an issue with Caps Lock key, the key was binded to the Voice Chat by default and cannot be binded to anything else unless Voice Chat action is binded to other key first.
    Controllers are also supported, but buttons cannot be reassigned.

    bindings

    Audio


    Killing Floor 2 Audio Options menu offers three volume sliders for Game, Music and Voice Chat volume. The game supports surround sound setups and positional audio worked flawlessly on my 7.1 system. The audio quality is exceptionally good, the everything sounds very authentic. Killing Floor 2 is probably taking distance of the sound source and applying some filters on it for added realism. I was very surprised how good the game sounds.

    audio

    Performance analysis


    In this section we are going to look at how each effect impacts framerate and how does each setting looks on screenshots. Be sure to check full resolution uncompressed PNGs linked in each section. There are full resolution screenshots linked in each section for better comparisons as the images in the sliders are compressed. Be sure to check our gallery for additional screenshots and graphs.

    Ambient Occlusion


    Killing Floor 2 offers two ambient occlusion methods - SSAO and HBAO . SSAO adds very subtle shadows to the corners and around some objects. HBAO is much more pronoun and these shadows are much more noticeable. Full resolution screenshots: AO Off, SSAO, HBAO.


    Performance impact is around 10% for SSAO and almost 30% for HBAO from Off setting. As usual this is rather performance expensive effect, but not very noticeable with SSAO setting.

    graph   ambient occlusion

    Texture Resolution


    This setting affects quality of textures and can be adjusted in four levels. On Low setting some textures are very blurry and lacks any detail (glove on the screenshot for example), but other textures are surprisingly sharp and detailed even on Low. Larger quality boost comes with the High setting and the textures are obviously the sharpest at Ultra setting. Full resolution screenshots: scene 1 Low, Medium, High, Ultra; scene 2 Low, Medium, High, Ultra.



    Performance impact depends highly on amount of VRAM available, average framerate drop is only around 5% for each additional level. But heavy stuttering started to appear with High setting on my 1GB card.

    graph   texture resolution

    Shadow Quality


    Killing Floor 2 offers four levels of Shadow Quality settings. Each level increases resolution and view distance of the shadows. At Low setting some of the shadows are barely visible and the rest is very blurry. With each additional settings level, shadows are much nicer, sharper and farther visible. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Ultra.



    As usual, shadows have substantial impact on the performance. Medium setting causes around 7% framerate drop, High setting costs 16% and the most expensive Ultra setting costs 20% of performance.

    graph   shadow quality

    Environment Detail


    This settings affects how many objects are in the game world. These objects have no impact on the gameplay, usually they are there just for decoration (chairs, garbage..). Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Ultra.



    Performance impact wasn't measurable, This is probably due to the fast CPU in the test rig. I'd imagine this setting will have much more pronoun impact on dual cores and CPU with weak single core performance.

    graph   environment detail

    Character Detail


    Character Detail setting affects model's level of detail. Polygon count is higher with each setting level, but it is not very noticeable directly in the game. Full resolution screenshots: Low, High, Ultra.



    Performance impact of Character Detail was only 5% for High setting and 8% for Ultra setting.

    graph   character detail

    Texture Filtering


    Texture filtering offers few filtering methods, unfortunately I haven't noticed any difference. There should be massive reduction of blurring on a distant textures, but the textures looks exactly the same. Performance impact is negligible for all but Anisotropic 16x setting where it is 13%. Full resolution screenshots: Bilinear, Trilinear, Anisotropic 4x, Anisotropic 16x.

    graph   texture filtering

    Depth of Field


    Depth of field setting offers only Off and On options. If turned On, DoF just blurs the gun when aiming down the sights. I'd like to see more of the blurring dependant on distance from player, but otherwise I much prefer this implementation. Some games have DoF forced on everything that is little bit farther from the camera just to hide horrible low resolution models or billboards however Killing Floor 2 is using DoF correctly. Performance impact is around 7%. Full resolution screenshots: Off, SAT DOF.


    Anti-Aliasing


    Killing Floor 2 offers only FXAA as its anti-aliasing method. This is only post processing filter and not a proper anti aliasing method. Fortunately KF2 implementation is done fairly well and jaggies are moderately blurred without impacting sharpens of the textures. Performance impact is around 9%. Full resolution screenshots: Off, FXAA.

    Aa comparison

    Realtime Reflections and rest of the effects


    Realtime reflections adds reflections on some surfaces. This effects is very performance expensive, but it is well worth it as the game's world becomes much more realistic. This is the most demanding effect in the game, turning reflections On results in more than 40% framerate drop. Full resolution screenshots: scene 1 Off, On; scene 2 Off, On.

    Rest of the effects have negligible performance impact and I haven't noticed any visual difference.


    graph   misc effects

    Conclusion


    PC version of Killing Floor 2 is very well done. The option menus are offering many setting to play with, controls are spot on and the sounds are awesome. Optimization is also very good as the game scales nicely and performs well. For a game, that is just entering Early Access, this is very polished product. Developers are actively pushing updates (I've downloaded two large updates just last week) and if first Killing Floor taught us anything, devs are not going to abandon Killing Floor 2 anytime soon.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Killing Floor 2 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.


    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed our article and want to us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Apr 18 2015 02:45 PM
    • by LDK
  12. PC Report: Grand Theft Auto V

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2,40 GHz (4 CPU) or AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core (4 CPU) @ 2,5 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 65 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1 GB or AMD HD 4870 1 GB
    • OS: Vista, 7, 8 (64-bit only)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3,2 GHz (4 CPU) or AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4 GHz (8 CPU)
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 660 2 GB or AMD HD7870 2 GB
    Testing was performed on a system with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 CPU with 4 GBs of RAM and an Asus Geforce GTX 650 Ti, running at a resolution of 2048x1152. A review copy has been provided by Andytizer.

    Video settings


    While Grand Theft Auto V does offer quite an extensive list of options, some of the more subtle post process effects, such as the chromatic aberration, cannot be disabled. The game also includes some more uncommon options, such as the game pause when out of focus, which forces the game to use less power from the CPU while idling, and some startup settings. Otherwise, no other options truly stand out.

    Graphics 1

    Graphics 2

    Graphics 3

    Advanced Graphics


    Most notifications can easily be disabled, along with any elements which are part of the game's main UI system, which does certainly allow for a far more immersive and customizable experience.

    Display


    By default the subtitles and other elements which are part of the UI might be a bit too close to the edges of the screen, however, the game does provide a safezone setting, which should very slightly help solve this issue.

    Field of View


    Even though the game does feature a field of view slider, it's limited to the on foot, first person camera mode. The first person driving mode is not affected by this setting. The field of view slider is not numbered, which makes it harder to pick a more specific and suitable value. The standard field of view should be around 85 degrees.



    Andytizer


    Modder DrDaxxy has created a modification in which one can set a specific field of view setting manually. Again, this only affects first person camera mode (not driving), and it remains to be seen whether Rockstar recognises modding of files in manner. This mod modifies game memory and could result in a ban, use at your own risk. Full instructions can be found on the main PCGamingWiki article. The results can be seen below (images used with permission):



    Texture Quality


    On the Normal setting, most ground textures will have a very washed out look, while on the higher quality settings the textures start looking far more sharper and a whole lot more detailed. Even when using the high quality textures, the overall framerate hit should be pretty minor. The textures play a big part into how the game does look, along with the shader setting.


    Cars will also look slightly different, notice the tires, although the reflections themselves matter more than anything else.


    Even at the highest settings, most textures don't look as great as they should be, although while playing the effect isn't as noticeable.



    Shadow Quality


    The differences between Normal and Very High aren't overly large. On Normal most shadows usually look really good, on Very High the shadows do have far less jaggies and they also affect some of the more distant elements. The soft shadow setting also does slightly help, while not being too performance intensive in itself, it can be found under Graphics, Soft Shadow, the Soft value has been used in some of these screenshots. The long shadows setting isn’t as performance intensive, but again most changes are minor at most and very difficult to spot.



    On the other hand, high resolution shadows are a framerate killer, most differences are pretty hard to spot and otherwise there’s not much point in using this setting during usual gameplay. The shadow quality setting can be left on High if there's any performance issues, High and Very High shadows don't differ as much.





    Reflection Quality


    Reflections play a very important role in Grand Theft Auto V, they can completely change the game's entire mood and look to a greater effect. However reflections at the maximum setting can be quite a huge performance killer on lighter systems, a value of High should probably be used instead, they do however, give the game a far more well defined look, while adding some more subtle details to certain objects which can change how some environments might be perceived.



    The MSAA setting can be quite performance intensive when set to it's maximum value, there doesn't seem to be much point in using it. Car mirrors do not cast their own reflections, even though most mirrors in the game are able to, none of the settings appear to affect them.



    Reflections also do apply to most characters, most notably while being wet, and even the eyes themselves will change depending on the setting. However, Michael doesn't seem too happy with his new look, can't blame him though, he's wet. Most cars in the game will display a far more cheaper look on the Normal setting, similar to Michael's jacket.



    Water Quality


    Rather self explanatory, there's a very minor framerate hit as a whole.



    Depending on which reflection setting is being used, most objects should be cast on the water's surface.




    Grass Quality


    The grass setting mainly affects the density of the grass itself, instead of the actual quality.



    On the Ultra setting grass may also begin casting it's own shadows. While the framerate hit is pretty small, lesser systems might not be able to cope with the higher settings. It's best to set it to High, if there's any problems, otherwise it shouldn't be too bad.



    Performance analysis


    Most players should be able to comfortably play the game at a stable framerate even on the normal settings, while possibly bumping up the shader and texture settings up to High, in order to make things look less washed out, seeing as those two settings mainly change the overall look of the game. Even on such a system the game does behave fairly well.

    However, sometimes some of the loading screens do tend to get quite long, but they don't honestly really get in the way too much, this problem could probably be mitigated by running the game on an SSD, although that would be a very expensive solution. There were also some issues while alt tabbing, as the game may sometimes fail to fully recover, however, switching back to the windowed mode and back to the fullscreen mode can help.

    The MSAA antialiasing mode is incredibly performance intensive, any values over X2 were overkill on this system. NVIDIA's TXAA can only be enabled once the MSAA setting has been set to it's minimum value. Most, if not all the advanced video settings are incredibly performance hungry, the extended distance scaling setting is another large framerate killer, there were no real differences while using it.

    On weaker systems, closing any background software might be necessary, due to the very intensive way most resources are handled. Leaving a browser open may possibly interfere with the game's framerate, causing it to even possibly strutter due to the already limited memory. When out of focus during a loading screen, the game might pause itself for an indefinite amount of time, this can however be disabled from the options menu.

    The Post FX, Tessellation and NVIDIA PCSS settings can also pretty demanding, the tessellation itself isn't very noticeable and NVIDIA's PCSS might behave rather poorly.

    Andytizer


    Grand Theft Auto V for PC is a well-optimised game, especially compared to how abysmally GTA IV's port ran on PC at the time of release.

    For more in-depth graphics card benchmarks, be sure to see these links:

    Controls


    Gamepad

    Keyboard Or Mouse


    The game does feature quite a few options just for the controls, most, if not all keys should be rebindable and otherwise the controls menu is pretty complete. However, there are some issues with the mouse controls, for the most part aiming never truly felt as precise as it should have been. Even the keyboard settings have some small issues. Certain keys are bound into some rather awkward positions by default, and even the controller somehow managed to suffer from the rather awkward and cluttered control scheme. The weapon's wheel system can very often get pretty fiddly to use, and often feels very wonky when compared to the far simpler systems which were present in the previous games.

    Andytizer


    Thankfully switching between controller and keyboard is totally seamless. You can go from playing on a keyboard with keyboard and mouse prompts, and as soon as one nudges the controller, all the icons will be replaced with the appropriate controller icons. I tended to enjoy first person shooting controls with keyboard and mouse, and then switch to controller for driving and flying.

    Audio


    Audio

    The dialogue boost setting is fairly self explanatory, along with the newly introduced custom radio station. Windows shortcuts can be created into the appropriate folder if needed in order to save up some space.

    Conclusion


    While the game might certainly not be a poor release, Grand Theft Auto V suffers from quite a few technical issues which might constantly get in the way of the player. The game is plagued by a fairly large amount of serious issues, however even though the game does perform amazingly well, some of these issues do add up quickly, certain features either downright not working properly, or behaving incredibly poorly.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor RaTcHeT302 and edited by Andytizer. For an up to date account of Grand Theft Auto V fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.





    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign.


    • May 02 2015 07:42 AM
    • by RaTcHeT302
  13. PC Report: Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas

    System requirements


    Minimum


    OS: Windows 7
    Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core or faster
    Memory: 1 GB RAM
    Graphics: DirectX 10 compatible, 256 MB VRAM
    DirectX: Version 10
    Hard Drive: 700 MB available space
    Sound Card: DirectX 10 compatible
    Additional Notes: Even slower systems may run the game.

    Recommended


    OS: Windows 8
    Processor: 2.2 GHz Dual Core or faster
    Memory: 2 GB RAM
    Graphics: DirectX 10 compatible, 512 MB VRAM
    DirectX: Version 10
    Hard Drive: 800 MB available space
    Sound Card: DirectX 10 compatible
    Additional Notes: Even slower systems run the game.

    Test machine specifications


    OS: Windows 10 Technical Preview (64-bit)
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz
    Memory: 2 GB RAM
    Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6450, 1 GB VRAM
    Drivers: AMD Catalyst Omega

    A review code for Steam was supplied by the developer. The tested version was v3.0.40.905.

    Video settings


    Oceanhorn provides quite a few video settings. There are presets for Low, Medium, High and Ultra as well as selective control over each feature. Note that Ultra sets a frame rate target which might make the game run in slow motion (see FPS max below for details).

    Game performance has not been assessed in detail for this report because the game currently has major performance issues on AMD video cards which affect the test system (the test system had frame rates in the low 30s with everything on Low). Nvidia users are reporting that they are not affected by this. The developer is aware of this issue and is looking into it. Refer to the Steam discussion topic for further updates.

    There is a lens-like blurring effect at the corners of the screen. There is no setting for disabling this.

    Oceanhorn video settings

    The display's native resolution is used by default. 4K is natively supported according to the developer but has not been tested for this report. Refer to the WSGF entry for further widescreen behaviour details.

    A native borderless fullscreen mode is included in the settings. There is no regular windowed mode available.

    If you have multiple displays note that the mouse cursor is not locked to the game window.


    FPS max


    The frame rate can be set to 30, 30 (locked), 60, or 60 (locked).

    Note that the "locked" options are not simple caps; these settings make the game always run at the specified value, so if performance dips the game will be slowed down in order to maintain that frame rate. Gamers with less powerful systems will want to use one of the non-locked choices.

    Soft shadows


    This setting eliminates the noticeably aliased edges of shadows.


    Ambient occlusion


    Ambient occlusion (listed as AO in-game) is present with a choice of off, AO, or Realtime AO. The Realtime AO setting has the highest visual quality.


    Clouds


    This setting determines whether clouds cast shadows on the world below. The clouds themselves will still be visible with this setting disabled (such as in water reflections and when sailing).


    Decoration objects


    This setting hides non-destructible decoration such as these loose stones and small bushes. This setting doesn't affect destructible bushes and other interactive objects.


    Draw distance


    This determines the draw distance for decoration objects (if the decoration objects setting is enabled), object shadows, and some other minor details. The "close" setting has very noticeable pop-in, while "far" puts the pop-in nearer to the edges of the screen. At the "full" setting there is no visible pop-in (everything is loaded with full detail even if only part of an object is visible on the screen).


    Anti-aliasing


    This setting is on/off only and deals with most visible aliasing.


    Reflection quality


    This setting determines the visibility of reflections on water and other surfaces. Low reflects only clouds, medium adds reflections for terrain and characters while high adds reflections for all other objects (such as the barrel, boats, and dock in this comparison).


    Controls


    The mouse and keyboard controls work well but note that it is not possible to play this game with just the keyboard or just the mouse. The mouse is used to control the attack direction and targeted attacks while the keyboard is used for movement and other actions. Remapping is limited to buttons of the same type (shown in blue and green in the settings). Extra mouse buttons are not supported.

    This game has full controller support. Controller support is totally seamless (it does not need to be enabled or toggled). The controller is automatically detected even when connected while the game is already in progress. The HUD and on-screen prompts automatically change to whichever control type is being pressed or moved.

    Only XInput controllers are supported. There is no vibration support and no analog sensitivity. Start, Back, D-pad and the analog sticks cannot be remapped. Remapping is limited to buttons of the same type (shown in blue and green in the settings).

    Oceanhorn input settings

    Audio


    There are sliders for effects, speech, and music. Subtitles are always enabled.

    There is currently a bug where pausing the game during cutscenes mutes some sound effects for the rest of that scene and the voice for the rest of that spoken line. All cutscenes can be replayed from the menu at any time to get around this issue.

    Conclusion


    Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a solid port, although the experience is currently marred for gamers with AMD video cards. The game provides a wide variety of settings for adjusting to both low- and high-end systems. The quality settings do not affect models and texture resolution, so the visuals are quite detailed even with everything on low.

    Stability is very good. The tested version crashed on launch very occasionally but never crashed during gameplay (the main storyline was played to completion).

    There is no way of changing the camera zoom distance, so gamers with very large displays may feel that the action is too close. The camera can be moved slightly when holding the middle mouse button (or with the right analog stick when using a controller) but otherwise uses pre-determined angles.

    There are some minor clipping issues where it is possible to partially squeeze past destructible scenery objects. This did not lead to getting stuck during testing. The position in the world can be reset by exiting to the title screen and loading the save again.

    Music lovers will be happy to know that the game's entire soundtrack is accessible from the installation folder in Ogg Vorbis format, but note that this is not compatible with Steam Music (which currently only supports MP3).

    The performance issues on AMD video cards currently make this game a disappointing experience for AMD users. Nvidia users are reporting that they not affected by this. If the developer can resolve this and some of the other minor issues this will be an excellent port.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Garrett. For an up to date account of fixes and improvements for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.


    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this report and you would like us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Mar 21 2015 12:36 PM
    • by Garrett
  14. PC Report: Dying Light

    System requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 3.3 GHz / AMD FX-8320 3.5 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 40 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 / AMD Radeon™ HD 6870 1 GB
    • OS: Win 7 (64-bit), Win 8 (64-bit), Win 8.1 (64-bit)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K, 3.4 GHz / AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • HDD: 40 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 / AMD Radeon R9 290 2GB

    Test machine specifications

    • CPU: AMD FX 8320, 4.2 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce Gigabyte Windforce GTX 970 4GB
    • OS: Win 8.1 (64-bit)
    • Drivers: Nvidia Game Ready 347.25

    Video settings


    I was very surprised when I initially turned the game up to the highest settings for testing, as there was a lot more aliasing than at lower options. The culprit is view distance, which is actually a LOD slider. You see, at higher settings, the game uses overly complex geometry considering how far away you are. For example, the distant trees and scaffolding under the highway created a lot of aliasing in motion and is unnecessary, so I actually prefer the lower settings for a smoother, simpler scene. Another thing to keep in mind is that this is biggest hit on framerates. At maximum view distance in the scene below, I got an atrocious 18FPS. At minimum I hovered at a stable 35. One thing to note is that zombies aren't affected by this, as you can see in the comparison, the distant zeds are identical. I definitely recommend turning this down regardless. Full resolution screenshots: Min, Ultra.



    Texture quality


    Texture quality only has two settings, medium and high and it has minimal impact on visual fidelity. If you're having issues running low on VRAM, turning down the textures isn't a horrific fate. Full resolution screenshots: Medium, High.



    Anti-aliasing


    For anti-aliasing, the only option is a binary on/off. I'd wager with it's low performance impact that it's most likely FXAA. A little disappointing considering Dying Light is DirectX11 only and all DX11 games are capable of more advanced AA methods. Full resolution screenshots: Off, On.

    DL Aa comp


    Ambient occlusion


    The HBAO setting is rather light and subtle, with virtually no impact on performance. In the below scene, I had 72FPS with it on and 72 with it off. Full resolution screenshots: Off, On.



    Depth of field


    The depth of field is an Nvidia only feature so I'm sure AMD users will be glad to hear that the setting actually makes no difference. It also doesn't affect performance. Full resolution screenshots: Off, On.



    Shadow quality


    The shadow setting has a major impact on image quality but not framerate. I definitely recommend turning this up to atleast medium, as some scenes do look really great. Full resolution screenshots: Low, High.



    Controls


    Mouse smoothing by default is off and while the sensitivity slider isn't numbered, it has a lot of steps so it isn't difficult to find a sensitivity that you're comfortable with. Leaving the mouse menu sensitivity at default means that the in-game cursor behaves exactly like it would in windows, so I recommend leaving that where it is.

    Dying Light is the first game from Techland that has an in-game functional FOV slider and its numbered too! This is a very nice surprise, as both Dead Islands and their latest Call of Jaurez required editing a text file with rather unreliable results. The FOV slider goes from 68 degrees to 104 so covers a nice range, however you can get higher (or lower) FOV by using this guide.

    DyingLight game settings


    The key bindings in Dying Light are fairly good, with support for side mouse buttons. Every in-game action can be rebinded which is a good start.

    settings Kb And keybinds


    Performance analysis


    The performance of Dying Light is a very odd case. All settings apart from view distance have very little effect on your framerate. What does matter is your processor's first core.

    DyingLight CPU usage


    The picture above is why only view distance effects framerate, it's why GPU intensive settings don't make a difference and it's why framerate drastically varies from person to person. It's such a shame that a modern game running on a brand new iteration of Techland's Chrome Engine still can't get multithreading right, especially in an age where more cores seem to be every chip manufacturer's goal.

    To illustrate my point, I conducted a few benchmarks. The first one is a comparison between max settings with view distance and it's highest and max settings with view distance at it's minimum. The difference is astounding, almost doubling my minimum FPS and gets the average FPS to a much better ~50.

    graph view distance


    To further highlight this single thread bottleneck, I'll show you the difference in performance between max settings with highest view distance and minimum settings with highest view distance.

    graphs presets


    As expected, the frame rate is almost exactly the same. The CPU intensive LOD and poor use of multiple cores combine to cause this serious issue.

    Conclusion


    In conclusion, the game's a fairly well rounded port excluding the multithreading and view distance issues. I can't wholeheartedly recommend Dying Light just yet as the performance issues really are disappointing, but if Techland are able to fix the CPU utilisation in the coming days or weeks, I think this would be a very good purchase.



    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this report and you would like us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Feb 01 2015 09:37 AM
    • by Dillonator
  15. PC Report: Civilization: Beyond Earth on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: Intel Core i3
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 260
    • OS: SteamOS, Ubuntu 14.04

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT, ATi Radeon HD 3650, Intel HD 3000
    • OS: Vista SP2, 7
    From the above it is immediately obvious there's still a bit of a discrepancy in system requirements, but there are marked improvements over Aspyr's previous Linux ports. Most importantly, this Aspyr release does not carry a warning about being unsupported on non-Nvidia GPUs - though there are still reports of AMD GPUs having a severely worsened performance.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM, and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, both fully updated. The GPU driver version used on Windows is 344.75 and on Linux 343.22. At the time of writing, these were the latest stable drivers available.

    Graphical comparison


    This time around, the Linux version largely matches the graphical capabilities of the Windows release. With every setting being present, including anti-aliasing, it seems like one could say there's 100% parity - however, taking a closer look, there are still some differences in place.

    We've reached out for comment, but with it being the holidays, it seems unlikely we will receive an answer any time soon.



    Water quality


    The most noticeable difference is in water quality. While graphics are never a priority in strategy games, they are nonetheless something to enjoy while waiting for others to finish their turn.



    As demonstrated above, the impact is huge. The drop in quality is immediately apparent, with worsened lightning and effects. However, the "lower" quality water not only does not change the game's enjoyment one bit, and it may even be preferable to some - as the water seems to grow clearer and allows you to see the depths of the foreign oceans.

    Terrain detail


    The difference in terrain detail seems to be the least visible. While on Linux, users will only get to see what's called Medium, and to the untrained eye the loss is negligible.



    After spending a fair bit of time pouring over a fairly large number of images, I can only conclude with one opinion - this is of absolutely no loss to us. Most of your time will not be spent zoomed in looking at the unimportant details - and you'd have to spend quite a bit of time to find the differences here.

    Anti-aliasing


    Unlike Civilization V before it, Beyond Earth features anti-aliasing on Linux. But just as we finally get a more fully-featured product, the game gets updated. Though the original release only featured EQAA on supported AMD cards, the latest patch brought in Nvidia's equivalent: CSAA. Linux and Intel users are limited to using only MSAA.

    AA comp



    (click to view full sized)

    At a closer look, there are visible differences between MSAA and the higher quality CSAA. The game is left with less aliased edges and an overall softer tone. Looking at a scene from afar however will show that there are very few benefits to going over 2x MSAA in the game, and even without anti-aliasing the game still looks good.

    Performance


    In the past couple of days lots of reports about the game's performance appeared, complaining about poor and unacceptable performance. None have simultaneously compared to Windows however, so let's take a look at that - though our sample size is a lot smaller since I do have just that one card.

    The benchmarks are based on the framerate over a 60 second period at "Ultra" settings while moving the camera, zooming in and out, and performing basic unit commands. The load times are based on performing multiple same start ups, starting games with the same settings, and loading the same late-game save file (map on massive, quick, turn 250) and averaging the results.

    Framerate


    Let's start by taking a look at the game's performance on Windows compared to that of Linux. I omitted benchmarks for threaded optimizations as they resulted in severely worsened results, the game rarely reaching 60 frames per second.

    Framechart


    From looking at the image I would say it isn't as bad as made out to be. While we're losing some performance and are unable to retain a stable 60 fps, the game's performance doesn't differ as wildly from Windows. There are a few notable differences, though: for example, zooming in/out looks a lot uglier on Linux than on Windows because of huge stuttering issues. Another problem - present on both systems - is the visibility of "black tiles" whilst the game loads textures. The performance hit is essentially identical between systems, but the game does recover and load textures on Windows faster than on Linux.

    Looking at frametime, on Linux about 15% of frames took more than 16.7ms to render, whereas on Windows only under 2% did. This of course means that some visible stutters are present, and the experience isn't as great as it could be, but the game is far from unplayable. As seen from the framerates, neither version really hits it for 120Hz or better screens.

    Load times


    A big discrepancy in Civilization V's release were load times, with the game taking significantly less on Windows to start-up or load a game. This time around however, it is a lot better.

    Loadchart


    Linux performs as good or better than Windows in all cases. With only 15s spent on start-up, and almost 10s less when loading a game, the load times can only be described as great.

    We should note that to even out the score we disabled intro videos - as the game doesn't start loading until after they finished playing, and the Linux version has a significant disadvantage in the additional 10s Aspyr video.

    Linux perspective


    The biggest worry for Linux users are delayed patches. Any delays in this region lead to Linux users being unable to play with their Windows using friends. Though so far there's nothing we can speak about for this game, Aspyr's speed at delivering patches for Civilization V hopefully points to us not having to suffer delays.

    Similarly, Steam Cloud is also not cross-platform. Though save games are fully compatible, to avoid any potential mistakes caused by version mismatch, Linux, OS X and Windows saves are all named differently and require manually moving if playing on multiple systems.

    However, the biggest and most exciting change here is mod compatibility! This time, the Linux version features mod compatibility from the start, together with workshop support. For those that enjoy modding the game, or just seeing the creations of others, this is great news!

    As a side note, unlike Civilization V's original release, the Linux port features support for all officially available languages.

    Conclusion


    Far from what a lot of people are saying, I would confidently state this is a solid port. While we should hope to see some improvements to performance still, as well as hopefully catching up in graphical fidelity, the game already works beautifully.

    We hope to see more ports from Aspyr soon, as their Linux work is improving with each release.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Civilization: Beyond Earth fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.



    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this report and want to us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Dec 24 2014 02:28 PM
    • by Soeb
  16. PC Report: Elite: Dangerous

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Quad Core CPU with at least 2Ghz
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • GPU: DX 10 hardware GPU with 1GB VRAM (Nvidia GTX 260 or ATI 4870HD)
    • HDD: 4 GB
    • Internet connection
    The minimum system requirements are surprisingly low for a PC exclusive title and developer didn't specify recommended specs at all. Minimum GPU's are six years old so even current low-end graphics cards and laptops should run this game without significant problems assuming CPU has at least four cores. Elite: Dangerous unfortunately requires constant internet connection even for single-player game. When servers are not available, only tutorials can be accessed. Single-player version of the game should be playable even on low quality connections according to the developers.

    All the tests were performed on a system with an Intel Core i7-2700k clocked to 4.5GHz, 32 GB RAM and HD 6870 with 1GB of VRAM at the 1920x1200 resolution. The game doesn't have built-in benchmarking tools, and achieving repeatable results wasn't easy. Test run consisted of three one minute fights in the Wolfpack Tactics training and averaging the results. I've found this test to be a good benchmark for gathering data because it takes place in asteroid field with many simulated objects with a large effect on performance. In other parts of the game, flying in open space effectively doubles the framerate as there are fewer objects being simulated.

    The game key has been provided by the developer.

    Graphics settings


    Graphics option menu is very well done and offers some unusual settings. The game supports windowed and windowed borderless mode and additionally there is a monitor selection for systems with multiple screens. Wide variety of resolutions are also supported including ultra-wide and 4K screens.

    menu graphics

    There are three settings for managing framerate. Vertical synchronization, monitor refresh rate and frame rate limiter. Vertical synchronization and frame rate limiter can be disabled to achieve maximum frame rate on those lovely 144Hz screens. The game also features few options for stereoscopic display (3D). On my system I could set only anaglyph 3D (I'd need glasses with green and red lenses) and side by side. I'd imagine it is prepared for VR support (Oculus Rift should be supported already).

    And at last there are several graphics quality options, field of view slider and preset selector.

    Overall performance and image quality


    I was pleasantly surprised how the Elite: Dangerous handles multiple cores. As you can see in the screenshot from Process Explorer, the game creates many threads. Two threads are doing majority of the work, then there is a thread by graphics driver (atidxx32.dll) and a bulk of additional threads. I suspect the game is heavily parallelized any many game processes are divided into separate threads. CPU utilization by the game fluctuated between 10 to 20% depending on what was on the screen. Dual-core processors with strong single thread performance would probably run it OK but need for quad-core is justified.

    CPU utilization

    The game features four quality presets - Low, Mid, High and Ultra. Performance scaling seems to be balanced fairly well. At Low the game performed nicely and on my ageing GPU the framerate never went below 60 and was averaging around 80 FPS. With Mid preset around 18% performance was sacrificed and the minimum framerate fell under 60 with average around 65 FPS. High preset resulted in almost 40% performance loss from Low preset, but the game was playable with average around 48 FPS and with drops to 38 FPS. Performance drop with Ultra preset was only 7% from High preset and 43% from Low preset and the game was playable with framerate abode 35 FPS.

    Graph preset performance

    Unfortunately there is little difference in image quality. Polygon edges are smoothed by anti-aliasing, asteroids have slight glow from their insides and ambient occlusion is visible on some objects. Nevertheless the game looks very good even on the lowest settings. Full resolution screenshots: Scene 1 Low, Mid, High, Ultra; Scene 2 Low, Mid, High, Ultra.




    Field of view


    Elite: Dangerous features field of view slider but in its default state it is fairly limited. Its maximum value is 60 degrees vertical (85 degrees horizontal on 16:10). Fortunately is can be changed in config files.


    To change field of view:
    • Navigate to %localappdata%\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous\Options\Graphics\
    • Open file Settings.xml and change FOV value on line 8.
    • Elite: Dangerous is using vertical field of view, so use field of view calculator to find out horizontal equivalent.
    Full resolution screenshots: FOV on min, FOV on max.

    Controls


    I haven't seen that complex controls option menu for a very long time. The game supports vast variety of joysticks, ordinary controllers and last but not least mouse and keyboard. I was very surprised that my obscure 3D mouse was immediately recognized and I could assign every one of the six axes the device offers. And yet some bigger titles has problems with common mice...

    menu controls Alt

    The game offers few very basic presets, but majority of players are going to customize controls anyway. Every analog input has invert axis toggle and its own deadzone slider, if there is no analogue input, digital key presses can be assigned instead. Some of the ships functions can be set to key press or to keep key pressed to function.

    Mouse implementation in Elite: Dangerous shames almost every other game. Not only the game offers direct input, but there are sliders for two sensitivities, deadzone, relative mouse rate and mouse power curve. Both axes can be inverted independently for ship control and head movement. I have one small issue with mouse though. The game offers two control schemes for mouse movement: relative and absolute. I've found absolute mode much better for navigating with flight assist on, but pretty much unusable with flight assist. Opposite with relative mode. I would like to see another toggle, where I can assign different mouse modes to flight assist toggle.

    Keyboard support is also almost spotless and the game allows assignment of every key and if that is not enough, you can assign combination of keys up to four keys (Shift Q W for example). There is only one primary setting so only one key or one combo can be assigned to one action though.

    Audio


    Audio options menu is similarly complex and features several volume sliders and plenty of toggles, there is no master volume slider though. I'm very happy to see Dynamic Range setting with options for standard speakers/headphones, home theatre with high dynamic range and night time for low dynamic range. The game also support surround sound systems and positional audio on my 7.1 system was spot on. Frankly the Elite sounds awesome and I think I'm enjoying sound of the game more then anything else.

    menu audio

    Performance analysis


    In this section we are going to look at how each effect impacts framerate and how does each setting looks on screenshots. Be sure to check full resolution uncompressed PNGs linked in each section. Or visit gallery for list of all screenshots for this article.

    Anti-aliasing


    The game offered me several anti-aliasing methods, post process filters FXAA (by Nvidia), MLAA (by AMD) and combination of post process and sub pixel sampling called SMAA. Performance drop is the worst with the FXAA, activating this methods results in 19% framerate drop. MLAA has considerable smaller footprint and performance cost is 4 and 8% respectively. SMAA performance drop is around 8%.

    Graph anti aliasing performance

    As usual FXAA softens edges fairly well but also washes textures making this method pretty much unusable. MLAA 4x has the same strength of edge blurring as FXAA and the textures are left almost intact. SMAA has similar image quality as MLAA 4x. Unfortunately the game really suffers from disconnected lines (shown at the top of comparison screenshots) as the game is filled with many one pixel wide lines and curves. This can be avoided by using any true anti-aliasing methods like MSAA of SSAA. Full resolution screenshots: No AA, FXAA, MLAA 2x, MLAA 4x, SMAA.

    Anti-Aliasing comparison


    Ambient occlusion


    The game only offers toggle for ambient occlusion effect. Performance drop is only around 3% and image quality impact is not very strong due to the nature of the game. Full resolution screenshots: Off, High.

    Graph ambient occlusion performance



    Material quality


    Material quality affects some materials and on screenshot additional sub surface lighting can be seen on the asteroid. Performance drop is around 6% from Low to Ultra. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Ultra.

    Graph Material Quality performance



    Shadow quality


    Shadow Quality affects resolution of shadows and has substantial performance impact of almost 30% from Off to High setting. Again by the nature of the game I haven't found strong difference apart from ship self shadowing ship on the cockpit. Full resolution screenshots: Low, High.

    Graph shadow quality performance



    Model draw distance


    This setting should control object cutoff distance from the camera, but I haven't found any difference. I could not even measure performance impact and framerate fluctuated around normal levels. Full resolution screenshots: Min, Max.

    Graph model draw distance performance



    Galaxy Map Quality


    Galaxy Map Quality should enhance details of galaxy map but I haven't found any difference. Performance drop is 30% for both Medium and High settings.

    Graph Galaxy Map Quality performance


    Rest of the effects


    Rest of the effects has small or negligible performance and visual impact. Visit gallery for unpublished graphs and screenshots.
    • Texture Quality - no measurable change in framerate, I haven't noticed any visual change. Maybe textures are already high enough for 1920x1200 and the game is prepared for 4k.
    • Environment Quality - no impact of Medium setting, 10% drop of High setting.
    • FX Quality - No performance impact from Off to Low, 3% drop from Off to Medium or High.
    • Reflection Quality - 5% framerate drop from Low to High setting.

    Conclusion


    Frontier Developments have managed to release a very well done PC exclusive title. Elite: Dangerous' main strength is its unbelievably complex controls menu with support of many joysticks, controllers or whatever analogue input device works with Windows. Keyboard and mouse support is also very well done: the game features mouse direct input, complex mouse settings and advanced keys assignment.

    Performance of the game could not be better and the game should run on majority of current system without any problems. Image quality impact of some of the settings is questionable, but the game looks very nice even on lowest settings.

    With only few minor issues Elite: Dangerous is nice example of how PC title should look like from the technical stand point. The game is also still in very active development and developer listens and interact with the community on daily basis. Again, it's a prime example of what PC game development should be like, and not the "release, two patches and forget" tactics of many AAA studios.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Elite: Dangerous fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed our article and want to us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Dec 20 2014 08:42 PM
    • by LDK
  17. PC Report: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

    Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes was released on December 18, 2014 and is available on Steam.

    System requirements:


    Minimum requirements:

    OS: Windows Vista SP2 x64, Windows 7 x64, Windows 8 x64 (64-bit OS Required)
    Processor: Core i5-4460 (3.40GHz) or better *Quad-Core or better
    Memory: 4 GB RAM
    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 (2GB) or better (DirectX 11 graphics card required)
    Hard Drive: 4 GB available space

    Recommended:

    OS: Windows 7 x64, Windows 8 x64 (64-bit OS Required)
    Processor: Core i7-4790 (4.00GHz) or better *Quad-Core or better
    Memory: 8 GB RAM
    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 (DirectX 11 graphics card required)
    Hard Drive: 4 GB available space

    Tested on:

    OS: Windows 8.1 x64
    Processor AMD FX 8320 (4.20GHz)
    Memory: 8GB RAM
    Graphics: Nvidia GeForce Gigabyte Windforce GTX 970 4GB
    Drivers: Nvidia Beta 347.09

    Some things to note about the minimum and recommended specs; first is that a quad core is recommended even at the lowest level. This is because the game is brilliantly multi-threaded using my 8 cores almost perfectly evenly. This works out for everyone, for Intel users with their higher performance quadcores and AMD users with their lower performance hexa/octocores.

    Secondly, DirectX11 is required. While there are no features like tessellation or HDAO (at least not specified in the options menu), this may mean some people might not be able to play MGS straight off the bat and will need to upgrade. Make sure your card is compatible before purchasing the game to avoid disappointment.

    Thirdly, the 4GB VRAM requirement on the minimum is almost definitely a mistake on their behalf. During my tests, just over 2GB VRAM was being used at the highest settings at 4k. On top of that, the memory usage of the game hovered very closely to an incredibly lean 1GB of RAM, so 4GB should be totally fine.

    EDIT: As predicted, the 4GB VRAM requirement was a mistake and is now updated on the Steam store page. Cheers to WhiteZero for pointing this out to me.


    Controls and keybinds


    The first thing you'll notice when you boot the game is that the menus are controlled by the keyboard, which isn't ideal but is the worst thing you'll encounter. You can use WASD instead of the arrow keys and left mouse button or space instead of enter, meaning that despite menu navigation not being optimal, it's a non-issue. Aside from that, keyboard and mouse control (and binding) is generally good. There's no mouse acceleration and keys are fully rebindable, excluding side mouse buttons. I say it's generally good because there are occasional oversights, for example when you're interrogating an enemy, you have to hold down Q while also pressing 1, 2 or 3. Climb is bound to E and move body is bound to holding R. Again, these aren't serious issues but they're minor oddities, hopefully a patch will correct them post-launch. Aside from these small issues, I find that Snake controls really well on keyboard and mouse, even with only the 8 directions of WASD, you'll still fluidly navigate environments.

    MgsGroundZeroes Mouse


    Here you can see above the mouse sensitivity options, which give you a selection between 0-10/20 depending on the setting.

    MGS Keys1


    Above the general keys rebinding section which includes on foot, map, weapon selection and interrogation.

    Graphics settings



    MGS OptionsVid


    The graphics and display settings are well fleshed out but one option is mislabelled, screen filtering. It seems to be anti-aliasing and depth of field under one setting. With screen filtering, low seems to make no difference, high applies anti-aliasing and very high applies depth of field to Snake and his surroundings.



    Field of view (FOV)


    The field of view in MGS is generally quite low but isn't a major problem as you play with an over-the-shoulder camera for the majority of the time. People who are sensitive to low first person FOVs will encounter difficulty when in crawl spaces, however there is a little workaround I discovered. If you hold W and gently tap aim once (default right mouse button), the FOV will expand to a comfortable 90 degrees (see below).



    Image quality


    In this comparison of all the general settings, we see that the main difference between low and very high is post processing effects and the amount of general items and foliage there is. So, if you have a slower PC, if you emphasis the model detail setting, you'll have a comparable experience to faster PCs.



    First is model detail. There seems to be some primary effects of this setting, the first being the general foliage and objects placed in the scene. The second being how far away things like large rocks and portaloos are rendered, with them being completely missing on low. Third and finally, the detail of buildings and terrain. As you can see in the comparison bellow, on very high the tents get a curve to them, they have sandbags and a fence surrounding them that isn't there on low.



    Next is textures. In the comparison I use a rock heavy scene, this is because I think nature is really difficult to texture well. As a lot of the base in Ground Zeroes is made of concrete and brick, it's easy to hide low resolution textures under monotone building design but you can't get away with that with rocks. As you can see, particularly the boulder to Snake's left, at very high it looks okay and the cave in front looks good. At low, the textures look particularly poor. In my testing I found that textures make no difference to frame rate and there is no reason to use anything below very high unless you don't have enough VRAM.



    Going further down on the list, next is shadows. The effect here is quite pronounced, with the shadow edge directly next to Snake losing it's sharpness. On high, shadows can be seen for a long distant and remain sharp, in contrast to low where even close shadows are very low resolution.



    To show the next setting, lighting, I loaded up a night mission. There doesn't seem to be any advanced techniques like global illumination and this option just adds a lot of lights but it does look very good on max.



    MGSV uses traditional SSAO methods for extra lighting effects. It's one of the few settings you can completely disable. Here you can see that the foliage off the left has a bit more contrast where light is obfuscated by leaves. Off to the right, the sandbags and barrier have a little more depth with AO on.



    Lastly, the effects setting. The most prominent effect that this has is on the rain. On very high, the water droplets have a little transparency to them as compared to low where they just look light grey. You can see the difference much more in motion and I personally believe that very high looks great.



    Performance


    So, me and the team at PC Gaming Wiki encountered a tough problem with Metal Gear Solid's frame-rate. It was something that I knew immediately when I started to play it and when I brought it up with the team, a few members had different ideas on how to deal with this struggle. The problem is that the game rarely budges from 60FPS excluding one or two scenes where I experience a 5FPS drop. This is because the game has a 60FPS cap built into the engine (which is a pitfall for players with 120/144Hz monitors). One of the suggestions was to use 4k in my testing and I think that's a magnificent step forward, just the fact that I had to use 4k because standard resolutions run too well.
    Testing methodology: conveniently, the intro cut-scene is one of the most demanding parts of the game, making heavy use of cinematic effects with lots of lighting, shadows and post process effects meaning it's a great benchmark. All tests were done at 4k.

    First I compare the Nvidia 347.09 beta drivers to the standard 344.75WHQL drivers. The beta drivers are specifically for MGSV:GZ and Elite:Dangerous.

    graph driver


    As you can see, the minimum FPS is high on the beta drivers but the maximum is higher on the WHQL drivers, with the average being almost completely identical. So what drivers to use is personal preference, whether you prefer a high minimum or higher maximum. I used the beta drivers for all my tests.

    In the next chart, I show the general performance of all the settings.

    graph preset


    Here you can really see the 60FPS cap coming into play at the lower end. On the higher end, take into account that is 4k on a single card with a brand new, gorgeous game. I'm personally very impressed that the average is over 30FPS.

    While benchmarking all the settings, I discovered that the majority of them have virtually zero impact on the performance. The two major settings that did cause drops were screen filtering and AO.

    First up is screen filtering.

    graph screen filter


    There is no difference between low and off and at high the depth of field and anti-aliasing kicks in. At very high, the depth of field effect strengthens. Personally, I'd recommend the high setting instead of very high as I'm not a fan of blur.

    Next is ambient occlusion.

    graph AO


    Weirdly, there's minimal difference in performance between high and off, which is very interesting. Turning it up to very high drops the frame rate considerably and again, I recommend the high setting as a middle ground.
    One of the elements that FPS graphs can't show is stuttering and I'm glad to report that I encountered virtually no stuttering through my testing and play-through. There is a few seconds of shakiness when you initially load into a game but after that, the game is very smooth, even when frame rates fluctuate.

    Audio and general settings


    Unfortunately, are no audio sliders anywhere in MGSV, however they do have a robust selection of languages with subtitles. Alongside the subtitle settings, there are options to disable different parts of the HUD which is great for people searching for a minimalist feel.

    MgsGroundZeroes subs


    Conclusion


    In conclusion, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a phenomenal PC port. There are flaws but they are small, few and far between and easily patchable. As Kojima Production's debut game on PC, I'm impressed by the lack of crashes, the stable frame-rate and fluid controls. If anything, this goes to show that the next gen experience does not require 16GB of RAM, 4GB of VRAM and 50GB HDD space and I think that speaks volumes about the quality of production on their behalf.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Dillonator. For an up to date account of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes' fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.


    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed our article and want to us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Mar 09 2015 05:56 AM
    • by Dillonator
  18. PC Report: The Crew

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620, 2.6 GHz or Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300, 2.5 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 15 GB
    • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 4870 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 with 512 MB of VRAM

    Recommended

    • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 940, 3.0 GHz or Intel Core i5 750, 2.66 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6870 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 with 1024 MB of VRAM
    The minimum system requirements are nothing to be afraid of, required CPU's are five years old and GPU's even more so the game should run on majority of today's hardware without any problems. Similar with recommended hardware specs, CPU's are also five years old, but newer architecture with higher clocks. Recommended GPU's are two generations newer then minimum and even those are in the mainstream range.

    All the tests have been done on system with Core i7-2700k clocked to 4.5GHz, 32 GB RAM and HD 6870 with 1GB of VRAM. The testing was done in 2560x1600 resolution to eliminate 60 FPS limiter. Benchmark consisted of driving one lap in test drive mode in New York car dealer during the day.

    Graphics settings


    menu video

    The game is running on the Babel engine developed in-house by Ivory Tower and offers few tweaks in the graphics options menu. Every common wide-screen resolution is supported and that includes 4k and ultra wide-screen resolutions. 4:3 aspect ratio resolutions are not supported at all and even if you force it by editing configuration files or by using borderless windowed mode, the picture will be stretched from wide-screen resolution.

    There is field of view slider, but for some strange reason this slider is not enabled for single screen setups. There is a cvar in the configuration file and editing it moves the slider in the menu, but it has no impact on the game. It should work for multi-monitor setups with AMD Eyefinity or Nvidia Surround technologies, but I was unable to confirm it on my system.

    Another issue is forced framerate limiter. It can be set to 30 or 60 frames per second, but higher framerate is not available. Other options in this menu are common effects that can be tweaked or turned off completely.

    Overall performance and image quality


    The Crew has four quality presets - Low, Medium, High and Ultra. On the Low setting not every option was turned off so be sure to check them if you have performance problems. Also Ultra preset is not setting anti-aliasing to maximum and keeps it to MSAA 4x instead of MSAA 8x.

    Graph - Presets performance


    At the Low preset the game performs very good on my aging GPU considering it has to run at 4Mpix resolution. And even on Low the game doesn't looks half bad. Medium preset offers better shadows and higher resolution of environment mapping and costs around 12% of performance.


    Performance drop of High preset is above 18% and further enhances shadows and mirroring on the car. Overall level of detail is better as cutoff for objects to disappear is further. Ultra preset means almost 32% performance drop from Low but I haven't noticed much difference from High. The testing was done with only FXAA instead of presets default anti-aliasing, because I was unable to get consistent results. More about that later.

    I've experienced stuttering on some skill races. The game runs on stable framerate, but it stutters a bit when I reach specific point in a few skill races. Other than that, the game runs very nicely. Full resolution screenshots: Scene 1 Low, Medium, High, Ultra; Scene 2 Low, Medium, High, Ultra.



    Controls


    The Crew is racing game and as such it offers variety of control options. You can drive with keyboard, controller or a steering wheel and each can be separately configured. Even controller buttons can be remapped. Unfortunately I don't own steering wheel so I cannot comment on that, but controller and keyboard controls seemed pretty well done. Button prompts on the screen are changing on the fly and depends on the last input from controller or keyboard.

    menu controls


    Plugging the controller in the middle of the game can cause problems though. The game crashed once when I turned controller (wireless 360) on and commonly D-pad was not responding after the controller was connected after the game loads.

    Audio


    Audio settings menu has several sliders to adjust volume of different aspects of the game's audio. The Crew is also supporting 7.1 surround sound, however surround sound is utilized only for few effects such as bypassing cars, roadwork etc. Radio, voices and car engine sounds only from front speakers. When driving, you can choose from a few radio stations and skip the songs on the fly.

    menu audio


    Performance analysis


    In this section we are going to look at how each effect impacts framerate and how does each setting looks on screenshots. Be sure to check full resolution uncompressed PNGs linked in each section. Or visit gallery for list of all screenshots for this article.

    Anti-aliasing


    I've got a few issues with anti-aliasing in The Crew. The main problem is very unstable performance regardless of resolution. MSAA 4x was running fairly OK with expected framerate drop when my car was stationary. When the car moved, the framerate plummeted to unplayable levels. Same with MSAA 8x but much more unstable. This is the reason, why there is no benchmark for each AA method. The FXAA had only small FPS drop as it is just a post process filter. I wasn't able to select TXAA on my AMD card.

    Comparison - Anti-Aliasing


    As expected the game is heavily aliased and running lines are very much visible on the car without any AA applied (middle section of the comparison above). FXAA offers much better image quality and the textures are almost not affected, however there is slight moire around shard edges on the textures. MSAA preserves texture quality, but the edge blurring is not that strong and I've noticed light glow on some edges (same issue I've encountered in Far Cry 4). Full resolution screenshots: Off, FXAA, MSAA 4x, MSAA 8x.

    Ambient Occlusion


    The Crew features only two ambient occlusion methods: SSAO, SSAO plus or you can turn AO completely off. SSAO is much stronger than SSAO plus, but not as precise. Performance drop is only 8% for SSAO, but almost 30% for SSAO plus. Full resolution screenshots: Off, SSAO, SSAO plus.

    Graph - Ambient Occlusion performance


    Shadows


    Dynamic shadows can be turned off or set to one of four level. Each level is increasing shadows resolution and Contact hardening Soft Shadows should blur some of the hard edges, but I haven't noticed any major difference from High setting. Performance drop noticeable from Off to Low (around 10%), but negligible for additional levels (around 2%). Soft shadows option is exception with performance drop of 21% from no shadows. Full resolution screenshots: Off, Low, Medium, High, Contact Hardening Soft Shadows.

    Graph - Shadows performance


    Geometry


    This setting is managing polygon resolution of the game's assets and object's cutoff distance from camera. Performance impact is not very substantial and from Low to Ultra the FPS drop is only around 6%, image quality is much better though. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Ultra.

    Graph - Geometry performance


    Textures


    Textures is the only setting, that requires resetting the game (that is why the car in the screenshots has different color). Impact on the game is rather questionable. From the screenshot the roadway on the right side of car has little bit more details on Low setting and I haven't found any difference on other textures. But that could be affected by weather or the bump map could be generated every time the game is loaded. Nevertheless other textures stayed pretty much the same regardless of texture setting and average framerate also stayed at the same level. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Ultra.

    Graph - Textures performance


    Environment Mapping


    This setting affects resolution of real time reflections on player's car. The game looks much better when the effects is set to Ultra as the reflections are very sharp and almost at the same resolution as the rest of the world. Performance impact is around 10% for Ultra setting, 8% for High and 2% for Low. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Ultra.

    Graph - Environment Mapping performance


    Depth of Field


    I haven't noticed this effect during gameplay but it is heavily used during cutscenes and in the garages. Performance impact is around 5% for Low and 10% for Ultra. Full resolution screenshots:Off, Low, Medium, High.

    Graph - Depth of Field performance



    Grass


    Grass setting controls amount of grass billboards in the world. Performance impact of Medium setting is almost none, High setting will cause 5% framerate drop. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High.

    Graph - Grass performance


    Conclusion


    PC version of The Crew is running very well and offers some graphics tweaking. Controls can be heavily adjusted and the game supports controllers and steering wheels apart from standard keyboard and mouse combo (which is more than capable).

    There are some issues though. Anti-aliasing was bugged on my system, field of view slider is not enabled for single screen setups and the game stutters occasionally (not as badly as in Far Cry 4, but it is there). Then there is the whole always online thing. The game will not start at all when the servers are offline. This is not good, because every race can be played in single-player and what happens, when Ubisoft decides to pull the plug?

    Overall The Crew is an average port without game-breaking issues. Which sadly is success after Ubisoft's disastrous this year season.

    The game key has been provided by the publisher and contained the game, several cars and the season pass.

    • Dec 20 2014 03:47 PM
    • by LDK
  19. PC Report: Far Cry 4

    System requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-750 2.5 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 30GB (31GB installed, 26GB without localization files)
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 or ATI Radeon HD 5850; 1 GB of VRAM, DirectX 11 compatible

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-2400S 2.5 GHz or AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz
    • RAM: 8GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 or AMD Radeon R9 290X; 2 GB of VRAM
    The minimum system requirements are rather modest with five years old hardware, quad-core CPUs and mainstream GPUs from that time is needed. Recommended hardware is different story though and developer suggests using current generation quad-core CPUs and high end GPUs with at least 2 gigs of VRAM.

    All the tests have been done on system with Core i7-2700k clocked to 4.5GHz, 32 GB RAM and HD 6870 with 1GB of VRAM. The testing was done in 720p resolution to eliminate stuttering caused by the lack of video memory and streaming problems. Benchmark consisted of one minute running at the top of the bell towers in the game during sunny weather, again to eliminate stuttering during streaming additional data from HDD test run stayed only at one location.

    Graphics settings and overall performance


    options graphics

    Graphics and video options in Far Cry 4 are rich and allows to set many different levels for each effect. Display modes are also nicely done and the game supports many resolutions, common aspect ratios and even borderless windowed mode. Unfortunately the game is forcing 16:9 aspect ratio by using letterboxing (black bars) on different aspect ratios. Far Cry 3 didn't have letterboxing and it is shame to use it in this title.

    The game unfortunately doesn't support multi-monitor setups very well. There are problems like field of view slider not working, stretching 16:9 aspect ratio, letterboxing and other similar issues. More information about it can be found at Widescreen Gaming Forum.

    Additional setting contains field of view slider and few modes of vertical synchronization with option to turn on 30 FPS frame limiter to smooth out performance.

    Overall performance and image quality


    The game offers five quality presets - Low, Medium, High, Very High and Ultra. Ultra preset does not set maximum anti-aliasing but leaves it at post process SMAA instead of MSAA 8x. Although MSAA 8x has massive performance impact so I can understand this reasoning.

    graph preset performance


    At low details the game runs very well even on older GPU. Medium preset cost about 10% of performance but it looks much better with added ambient occlusion effect. High preset is rather costly and prepare for losing about 30% of framerate. In this preset ambient occlusion is much stronger, textures are sharper and mountains are much more detailed. Anti-aliasing is also turned on. Very High preset is not very different from High preset. Shadows are in little bit higher resolution and billboards of distant trees are more detailed. Performance drop is about 5% from High preset. Ultra preset is turning on several advanced volumetric and post process effect that has very strong performance impact of 20% from Very High preset and almost 50% from Low preset. Performance scaling in different resolution is rather linear.

    graph resolution performance


    Here we can see drastic difference between Low and Ultra presets. At Low details the image is very flat without any ambient occlusion effect, textures are blurry due to lack of anisotropic filtering. At Ultra the game comes to life and show beautiful scenery with detailed environment.


    The game unfortunately suffers from heavy stuttering during faster movement in game's environment. Developer suggest to install it on SSD but I've went further and created virtual hard drive in system memory and copied all the game's files directly into RAM. But even that didn't leave a dent and game kept stuttering.


    After few tries I've managed to completely eliminate stuttering after all. The key was lowering VRAM heavy effects and resolution. Anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion turned off, textures kept at medium helped a lot so I suspect the game is not very economic with its graphics memory utilization. I suspect this is due to bad optimization from console code as the current generation of console have unified pool of system and graphics memory that is much larger (4-5GB) then graphics cards today normally have.

    After getting rid of stuttering the game performed flawlessly on my system with framerate around 60FPS with few effects turned to moderate settings.

    Full resolution screenshots: Scene 1 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra; Scene 2 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra.

    Field of view


    We are very happy to see Far Cry 4 featuring field of view slider. Unfortunately the implementations is not consistent and on few instances it can completely break the game. First of all the slider is not working at all in windowed borderless mode and on multi-monitor systems. There are reports, that field of view slider completely disappeared with 1.4.0 patch for some users, but personally I have not encountered that.



    Then there are annoying issues with this slider. The slider is working nicely when character is running in the game, but any other activity is on default and very low field of view. Activities like riding in a vehicles, using grappling hook and in a cutscenes.

    And then there are game breaking bugs: Conquering bell tower starts cutscene where camera fly though few locations but after that field of view reverts to ridiculously low value about 50 degrees. Messing up with slider does not help, only remedy is getting back to main menu and reload save.

    mortar Fov Bug


    Completely opposite story is flying with wing-suit where field of view jumps to ridiculously high value above 150 degrees. With this jump game obviously stutters for a moment as it has to render much more of the scene often resulting in players death. Same thing with mortar aiming where field of view is much, much higher.

    graph field Of view performance


    There is also no indication of what field of view values slider represents but its maximum value seems to me to be just about right for a single large screen. Performance impact is noticeable with about 20% of framerate loss from lowest setting. Full resolution screenshots: FOV on min, FOV on max.

    Controls


    The game offers nice controls customization even for gamepads although no full button bindings. Keyboard keys are fully customizable though with the exception of Tabulator key which can be fixed. There are few multiple actions on one key scenarios, but I haven't found them problematic. Very nice addition is plenty of toggles for GUI elements.

    options controls gamepad

    options controls


    What is problematic though is mouse acceleration. There is a switch and a slider that can turn off mouse acceleration, then there are additional entries in the configuration file but none of these can turn mouse acceleration completely off, only reduce its strength. But at least there is no negative acceleration as it was in Far Cry 3. Additionally the mouse movement felt jumpy and not smooth at all although I got used to if fairly quickly.

    Audio


    The audio options menu is very disappointing. There is only one slider for master volume and toggle for turning off music. Surround sound is supported but only up to 5.1, additional channels are ignored. Positional audio is nicely done though and the game otherwise sounds very good, I'm particularly impressed with weapon's sounds as each gun has very distinct and rich sound with slight echo.

    options general And audio


    Performance analysis


    In this section we are going to look at how each effect impacts framerate and how does each setting looks on screenshots. Be sure to check full resolution uncompressed PNGs linked in each section. Also visit gallery for additional benchmark and screenshots.

    Textures


    This setting is little bit complicated as it contains several different effects. I haven't found increase in resolution with higher levels of this options, however there is increase of anisotropic filtering that results in much sharper textures. Another effect bundled in "textures" is parallax mapping that adds very strong 3D relief to the textures. I don't know, why these effects cannot be separated as both have very different performance and memory impact.



    Performance impact is around 8% up to High level, Very High and Ultra cost 12% and 15%. This setting is very dependent on graphics memory and even if your framerate is high and stable in static scenes, not enough VRAM will cause the game to stutter when camera is turned quickly or character moves fast. Full resolution screenshots: Scene 1 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra; Scene 2 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra; Scene 3 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra.

    graph textures performance


    Shadows


    This option sets up shadow resolution and distance of shadows level of detail. There is special level of Soft Shadows that blurs edges of shadows to appear more natural.


    graph shadows performance


    Performance impact is surprisingly not very high and Soft Shadows are causing only 10% FPS drop. But as with Texture option, this is very memory demanding effect that can cause stuttering. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra, Soft Shadows.

    Terrain


    This sets terrain details. Low and Medium options are almost identical, very strong difference is on High level and Ultra offers very little improvement. Performance impact is very little, up to 3%. Full resolution screenshots Low, Medium, High, Ultra.


    graph terrain performance


    Anti-Aliasing


    The game offers few anti-aliasing methods, three levels od MSAA (up to 8x), SMAA and Nvidia specific TXAA which I was unable to test.

    Anti-Aliasing comparison


    MSAA is very performance heavy and surprisingly does not offer very good image quality. MSAA is for some reason creating slight bright outline around some edges that can be noticeable. SMAA on the other hand soften edges very nicely and does not blur textures at all. Additionally SMAA also blurs edges on foliage as these are in a form of transparent texture that is ignored by MSAA. Performance impact is not very strong with SMAA, as it is form of post process filter. Full resolution screenshots: No AA, MSAA2, MSAA4, MSAA8, SMAA.

    graph anti aliasing performance


    Ambient Occlusion


    Far Cry 4 also offers three methods of ambient occlusion - SSAO, HDAO and Ubisoft brand new SSBC. Ambient occlusion adds subtle shadows around objects and in corners that creates much richer scene. Performance impact is moderate from 5% of SSAO and SSBC to 11% of HDAO . Full resolution screenshots AO Off, SSAO, SSBC, HBAO.

    graph ambient occlusion performance



    Godrays


    This option creates light shafts in a fog and dust. Additionally it tweaks contrast of sky and clouds resulting in very nice dramatic sky. Performance is between 13 to 14%. Personally I prefer option Volumetric Fog instead of Enhanced.

    graph godrays performance



    Rest of the effects


    Rest of the effects only quickly as they didn't seem to improve image quality dramatically. Post FX and Water quality performance drop is around 5%, but without noticeable visual impact, same with Vegetation and its 2% FPS drop. Geometry affects level of details of further objects and has 11% FPS drop from Low to High and 16% from Low to Ultra. Fur is switching advanced fur on animals with 16% FPS drop, but the effect is noticeable only when animal is very close. Trees Relief should turn on tessellation on trees, but I haven't found any changes. Performance impact is 11%.

    Conclusion


    Far Cry 4 is a step in right direction, there are many toggles and sliders for tweaking, the game runs rather well and looks very nice. Unfortunately as with the previous Ubisoft games, Far Cry 4 suffers from premature release and severely lacks polish. There are unnecessary problems with field of view implementation, mouse acceleration, multi-monitor support (or lack of), limited audio option and stuttering. Sad thing is, these problems could have been easilly avoided if the game was in development little bit longer.

    • Nov 30 2014 12:37 AM
    • by LDK
  20. PC Report: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad, AMD Phenom II X4
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 13 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 260
    • OS: SteamOS, Ubuntu 14.04

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: 2.4 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 13 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 8500, ATi Radeon HD 2600, DirectX 9 compatible
    • OS: XP SP3
    With the Pre-Sequel release, we can once again see a small discrepancy in the minimum requirements. As the game relies on the same engine and technology fully, it should not come as much of a surprise the requirements are shared with the game's predecessor.

    One thing to note, is that the requirements on OS X are much closer to Windows. This can only suggest that with time, as Aspyr become more comfortable with Linux and have more experience working on this platform, we should see the situation improving for the better. Unfortunately, Aspyr are currently still unable to provide support for non-Nvidia graphics cards, as with Borderlands 2. This doesn't mean the game won't work if you have an AMD or Intel GPU, but just that you're not guaranteed to receive help from the developer - the current driver situation for non-Nvidia cards may lead to degraded performance.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, both fully updated. The GPU driver version used on Windows is 344.11 and on Linux 343.22. At the time of writing, these were the latest stable drivers available.

    Graphical comparison


    As the Pre-Sequel is very similar to Borderlands 2, especially in terms of graphical fidelity, just as its predecessor, it has all graphics options available on all systems.



    The only notable omission is the lack of higher levels of PhysX. At the time of release, hardware acceleration from PhysX on Linux was only available for a few days. Because of this, the situation might be addressed in the future, but just the availability of the feature is in no way a guarantee. Due to the version difference between PhysX used, and the new SDK release, it's far more likely this won't happen, as issues from the transition might have risen. Hopefully, Aspyr will be able to go the extra steps towards an even better Linux experience, but it's not a major issue.



    The game looks at its best on all systems, and that's by far more important than the lack of one tiny feature.

    Performance


    While the experience is generally stutter-free, by default it will not be close to a fluid 60 fps. Though the style of the game lends to the poor framerate being forgivable, the difference is hugely noticeable.

    Chart 1


    The above results were based on benchmarking a 90 second period of the game multiple times, and then averaging the result for each system. Because of the lack of higher PhysX effects on Linux, we set the option to low on Windows as well.

    Performance is quite a repeat of Borderlands 2 - which is not entirely unexpected. With the games sharing quite a lot between each other, so do the ports. With Nvidia's threaded OpenGL optimizations enabled, the game was a lot more playable, with there barely being any falls to below 60, and roughly only 2.7% of frames taking more than 16.7ms to render - a swell improvement over the 53% without threaded optimizations. On Windows, the number of frames is practically insignificant.

    I decided to look into how Linux users may be able to get the same or similar performance to Windows, without sacrificing graphics too much. The simplest way proved to match Aspyr's approach to using unsupported hardware. The biggest hits in performance were caused by bloom, lens flares and dynamic lights. Disabling these in the configuration files lead to comparable performance, with Linux and Windows barely having a noticeable difference, though at a small cost in the graphics department.

    Chart 2




    Aspyr have already stated they are planning on improving the port's performance in the future, meaning that hopefully, we may be able to achieve similar performance without having to disable some of the graphical options. Only time will tell how much further can the port be pushed.

    Linux perspective


    The Linux version of the game brings with it a few enjoyable differences. The first thing you'll notice when playing on Linux, is the complete lack of a launcher. The developer's have once again opted to remove the launcher completely from the Linux version, as all its features are provided already in-game.

    A major improvement that makes all controller using players happy, is the vastly improved controller support. Thanks to the use of SDL2, every controller that works under Linux will work with the Pre-Sequel - which in practice means almost every controller. In certain cases, you may need to configure your controller at least once in Steam Big Picture, but from that moment forward, the controller will be usable in all SDL2 titles.

    On the compatibility front, it's all good. You can play in any combination of the three systems, meaning that Linux, OS X and Windows users can enjoy each other's company in the game without any hassle. At times, this may be impossible, as patches to the game will be released on Windows first, and other platforms later, leading to a few days where users attempting to play together will get version mismatch errors.

    For similar reasons, cross-platform save synchronization is disabled. While save data can be moved between systems without a worry, you will have to do so manually for the time being. Hopefully at some point in the future this will be addressed in some way, but in the meantime, you can find the correct save paths in our wiki article

    Conclusion


    As a first in a long time Linux release, this is without a doubt, a brilliant port. The lack of performance and some missing features, like PhysX, are still a tad disappointing, but the compatibility and general quality of the port still remains great. When taking future plans into consideration, it may become one of the better ports so far.

    We're excited to see how Aspyr's next big release fares. While we already know that they're working on brining Civilization: Beyond Earth during the holiday season, they may still surprise us with something else between now and then.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Oct 22 2014 05:34 PM
    • by Soeb
  21. PC Report: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz/AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4 GHz
    • RAM: 3 GB
    • HDD: 40 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460/AMD Radeon HD 5850
    • OS: Vista, Win 7, Win 8 (64-bit)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz/AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • HDD: 40 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660/AMD Radeon HD 7950
    Testing was performed on a system with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 CPU with 4 GBs of RAM and an Nvidia Geforce GTX 650 Ti running at a resolution of 2048x1152. While the system requirements might feel a bit steep, the game itself is surprisingly well optimized. The game manages to perform very decently without any stuttering issues, and even when there are many enemies on screen at onc.

    Video settings


    The most notable setting has to be the native super sampling option along with the more unusual independent transparency. Otherwise there's a lack of any basic anti-aliasing techniques and the game is locked at a maximum of 100FPS. Having to restart the game each time in order to apply a setting gets very often pretty tedious. Video options are sparse and not as extensive as we might expect from a PC port, and there aren't exactly a huge variety of graphical options to pick from. While the game features really nice reflections and other weather effects there's no options related to them.

    Video Settings

    Advanced Video Settings


    The game in total features five presets namely, Lowest, Low, Medium, High, Very High and Ultra, comparing the Lowest preset with the Ultra preset was rather difficult because of the required hard restart when applying the new settings. Texture settings were tested while having the free HD pack installed.

    On the Ultra preset, the game looks really sharp, however, motion blur, tessellation and the alpha transparency settings may hurt framerates on lesser rigs. The High preset is not quite as sharp as Ultra but looks nearly as good, and has the benefit of performing better when large numbers of enemies are on-screen. The biggest difference Ultra texture will make are on specific doors, characters or floors, but most differences are extremely subtle, meaning that playing on anything above High doesn't seem too worthwhile considering the very large performance differences between the two settings.

    Field of view (FOV)


    Andytizer: One of the glaring omissions from this port is the lack of a field of view slider. In this case it seems clear that the FOV was designed with consoles in mind with a long distance between the player and the screen. However I can see that many PC gamers may experience motion sickness when playing on the traditional desk setup, as the FOV is extremely tight and claustrophobic.

    Thankfully one enterprising modder has found a way of increasing the FOV range by entering values into the third party application Cheat Engine. The method for the fix is listed on the wiki article, and until a slider is patched in or someone creates a more elegant solution, it remains the only way to increase FOV to an acceptable level. Below shows a comparison between the original FOV versus the adjusted FOV, which feels much more comfortable.



    Anti Aliasing


    Andytizer: The game lacks any explicit antialising options, which is surprising considering how common these options normally are in PC games. Instead we have 'downsampling'. When selecting a resolution, the game gives the option to set a resolution that exceeds the native monitor resolution ('supersampling'), which is then downsampled to the correct monitor resolution. While downsampling may make most jaggy edges non-existent, it is also be incredibly performance-expensive to use compared to simpler and normal anti aliasing techniques. However it is an effective way of removing jaggy edges.



    Lighting Quality


    There weren't any clear differences between each setting, although other areas of the game may be affected differently. Otherwise the performance hit for the High settings is minor.




    Shadow Quality


    The quality of the shadows itself isn't really affected - for the most part Ultra shadows will appear as being solid while at lower settings shadows will be far softer. Otherwise most differences are pretty subtle, however on Ultra some objects may also cast detailed shadows themselves adding some extra detail to the scene. Oddly enough it's not possible to entirely disable the shadows and Ultra is a bit more performance intensive than High while they don't really differ too much.



    Ambient Occlusion


    Mostly applied on nearly every building throughout the game, there's a major framerate hit on Ultra even though Medium or High don't look too different.



    The Ambient Occlusion is heavily applied onto most objects on Ultra, however, Low and Medium aren't such performance hogs and even then the Ambient Occlusion can be turned off completely.



    Vegetation Range


    Affects the foliage display range, and some buildings might also be slightly affected by this setting, with more foliage being displayed on top visible from wider distances. Rocks are also affected, spawning at longer ranges. It is also curious how rocks and such may always randomly spawn in different formations.



    Depth of Field


    For the most part the the Depth of Field setting is very often used in most main menus.



    However while actually playing the effect might only appear during certain combat sequences such as finishers and executions.



    Independent Transparency


    Although minor it does make most character's hair look much better and the framerate hit is rather minor.



    Performance analysis


    Shadow of Mordor comes bundled with a benchmark test, however the data obtained from it was rather messy, so we opted to perform manual benchmarks instead.

    Shadow Of Mordor Benchmark


    Generally, the performance of the game is very good especially considering the graphical fidelity, the open world and the number of buildings and enemies rendered at any one time. However several settings could easily be sacrificed for additional performance without much loss in graphical quality - for example Tessellation and the Motion Blur could be easily turned off, Shadow Quality and Ambient Occlusion could probably be left on Medium for a good balance.

    Controls


    The game plays surprisingly well on a keyboard, with sensible and convenient key binds along with the fact that aiming with a mouse is easier and quicker. On controller the combat feels a bit more chaotic seeing as some finishers require pushing two buttons at the same time. On the other hand, character movement does feel much more natural on a controller due to the analogue sticks offering more variable movement control.

    General Settings

    Keyboard Settings

    Controller Bindings


    The controls menu is fairly standard, most keyboard keys apart from some very specific ones are bindable along with the mouse buttons, allowing multiple keys per action. However there's only one controller preset, and buttons cannot be rebound which is disappointing.

    Audio


    Nothing unusual here, however one slight annoyance would be the lack of global subtitles for every enemy.

    Sound Settings


    Conclusion


    While it might not be a poorly laid out port, it certainly could've been a bit better and while it does feature great mouse and keyboard support, it does slightly lack more video options, more importantly a native field of view option seeing as certain players may simply dislike the default setting.

    Thankfully there's no major performance or stability issues even if during testing my savegame was sadly erased, ending up with quite a huge amount of progress lost being unable of testing the secondary area in the game, the cause is still uncertain.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor RaTcHeT302 and edited by Andytizer. For an up to date account of Shadow of Mordor fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Mar 01 2015 12:50 PM
    • by RaTcHeT302
  22. PC Report: Borderlands 2 on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Quad, AMD Phenom II X4
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 13 GB
    • GPU: NVidia GeForce 260, 1 GB of VRAM
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04, SteamOS

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: 2.4 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 13 GB
    • GPU: ATI Radeon HD 2600, NVIDIA GeForce 8500, 256 MB of VRAM
    • OS: Windows XP SP3
    Though the current system requirements may appear to be a little inflated, the store page for the game notes that these are just the weakest tested configurations, and if you have a weaker or older system you may still be able to run the game. Currently, non-Nvidia chipsets aren't officially supported on Linux - this does not mean the game won't work on an Intel iGPU or a recent AMD card, just that the porter isn't able to provide support for them at the moment if you experience any issues, though they already announced they are working on supporting a broader range of configurations.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, nVidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, both fully updated. The GPU driver version used on Windows is 344.11 and on Linux 343.22. At the time of writing, these were the latest stable drivers available.

    Graphical comparison


    One word describes the situation perfectly: parity. Every feature present in the Windows release is present on Linux, thusly you will still be able to experience the game at its best. This isn't that surprising, as we already knew that the situation was the same on OS X, as the engine used only a Direct3D 9 renderer.



    It may be worth noting that there is a single feature missing - availability of higher PhysX effects. In this case, I would point the finger towards Nvidia, as to date hardware accelerated PhysX on Linux is not available, despite being announced two years ago. This of course means that games utilising PhysX suffer a bigger performance hit on Linux than on Windows. Hopefully, in the case that Nvidia do address the situation, the Linux version of the game will have this addressed in an update.



    Thankfully, this is the only feature missing from the Linux version of the game, and it does not affect one's enjoyment to any degree. Many users opt to keep PhysX features set to low on Windows already, purely because of how much it degrades their performance. Having the option still be there would be nice, permitting the user to choose whether they'd like higher quality physics at the price of potential hit.

    Performance


    I've found the game able to run without stuttering regardless of the situation. Though the framerate was not consistent at all times, the lack of rapid fluctuation led to this not being at all noticeable, meaning a generally pleasant experience for Linux users.

    Chart


    The above benchmarks were performed by repeating a 90 second section in the Three Horns - Valley map, where we found it possible to experience the largest drops in framerate. Because of the lack of availability of high PhysX effects on Linux, we set the option to low on all systems.

    As visible in the chart, the game's framerate wasn't always stably above 60, with more than 40% of frames taking longer than 16.7ms to render. This however does not prevent the game from being fluid, and even if you're used to higher framerates, there is no stuttering that would cause problems. When enabling Nvidia's threaded OpenGL optimizations on Linux, a major increase can be noted and a stable rate over 60 is close to guaranteed for the majority of the game. During the benchmark, we found only about 3% of frames taking longer than 16.7ms to render, granting us a much improved experience. In most other areas of the game, this would be even less visible.

    Of course this means that one still wouldn't be able to play with a framerate high enough to comfortably work on a 120Hz monitor. Using Windows for this is still unfortunately necessary, so some improvements to performance could be desired, but for the broader audience, the game is pretty good already.

    Linux perspective


    The first major difference you may notice upon launch is the complete lack of a launcher. The developers have opted to remove it entirely, and only rely on the in-game menus for the available settings. This leads to a more console-like experience, but thanks to the well-executed Linux release, it never leads to any problems.

    Everything in the game is fully compatible between all systems, so you need not worry about playing with your friends, whether it's from the living room on your Steam Machine, on the go on a Macbook or at your desktop. At times, there's a possibility of the game versions going out of sync due to patch delays, but at this point in the game's life it's unlikely to still happen.

    The saves can be transferred between systems, and Steam cloud works completely. For potential compatibility issues, cross-platform synchronization is disabled - delays in patch releases can cause issues, so at the moment, you will need to copy them yourself. You can find the locations in our wiki article.

    Conclusion


    It can be said with confidence, that this is a really well-made port. Though still not the perfect port in the performance department, the improvements in this area will require effort from both game and driver developers. The lack of discrepancies and the overall stability of the port do more than enough to make playing on Linux as comfortable as on Windows.

    We hope that the soon to be released Pre-Sequel, the first in a long-time day one AAA game release on Linux, will be just as good on Linux, and we're eagerly awaiting what else Aspyr Media will bring to Linux soon.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Borderlands 2 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Oct 11 2014 02:43 PM
    • by Soeb
  23. PC Report: Tropico 5 on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: 2 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 400, AMD Radeon HD 4000, Intel HD 4000
    • OS: Ubuntu, SteamOS

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: 2 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 400, AMD Radeon HD 4000, Intel HD 4000
    • OS: Vista SP2, 7, 8
    The system requirements between Windows and Linux are comparable. The expectation from this should be that the game runs equally well on all supported systems. We look into whether that's the case further in the report.

    An interesting thing to note is that the Linux version requires only OpenGL 3.3. While the Windows release requires full hardware support for Direct3D 10.1, which only became available in some 200 series and later Nvidia graphics cards, the Linux release could theoretically work on cards from the 8 series onwards. Whether it's practical to run the game on such ancient GPUs, and whether the game will be playable in other terms is a different issue, but the possibility remains.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, an nVidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit. The driver version used on Windows is 344.11 and on Linux 343.22. At the time of writing, these were the latest stable drivers available.

    Graphical comparison


    The game matches the Windows version in its graphics featureset, not omitting anything. This is a pleasant surprise, though not entirely unexpected.



    While the game may not be the one of the prettiest out there, there's still a lot of enjoyment that can be taken away from what was achieved. Looking at your island from afar shows the island in the best light, but zooming in makes the low resolution textures painfully obvious. Thankfully, the looks aren't downgraded just for Linux, but equal across all three systems.



    On Linux, the game does seem to occasionally experience some problems still. From time to time, texture load times may prove themselves an annoyance and flickering shadows during movement may become a distraction when playing for longer times. These are however minor issues, and rather infrequent, thus not being a major detractor from enjoyment of the game.

    Performance


    In many areas, the game is on par with Windows. Starting the game, loading, and saving all perform equally well or with nearly indistinguishable differences.

    The Linux version seems to degrade in performance far more over time - while initially, you'll not notice much of a difference between systems, with Windows easily getting a stable rate over 120 frames per second, and Linux close behind at about 90-100, as you progress through the game, you will find a much more noticeable drop leading to very visible stuttering. This is a major cause for worry, as if you intend to keep your tropical paradise working throughout the times, the experience towards the end may lose some enjoyment.

    Chart - moving


    The above averages are based on a 60 second period of camera movement, following a road around the island and having the game run at normal speed. As noted above, on Windows, during the whole period the framerate stayed above 60, with less than 0.1% of frames taking more than 16.7ms to render. No perceptible drops could be experienced while observing the lives and construction going on around the place. On Linux, this situation was not so ideal. While the average framerate was close to 60, more than 50% of frames took more than 16.7ms to render, leading to frequent stuttering.

    Chart - static


    For this measurement, the camera was focused for 60 seconds on a single busy part of the island, with building and fighting going on around the place. While not that much time in the game is spent observing those events, it's likely you're going to follow the fights, in case the rebels, or maybe the Nobel committee, are starting to overwhelm your forces.

    As noted in the chart, Windows still stayed with an average over 60, though this time a lot lower, only achieving 78 frames per second and occasionally dipping below 60. 3% of frames took more than 16.7ms to render, meaning that the player would be more likely to notice some minor freezes this time. Unfortunately on Linux, the situation was a lot worse. With the average only being 45 frames per second, less than 5% of frames were rendered in under 16.7ms. As expected from a low framerate with high fluctuations, the stutter is persistent and hard to ignore.

    Linux perspective


    One of the most satisfying features of this port, is the lack of a "Windows-exclusive" bonus. In this, I do mean the Kalypso launcher. Before running the game on Linux, you never have to register a second account, log into any secondary services, or do any extra work. You can just download the game, press play, and start oppressing your trusting Tropicans, with no additional fuss!

    Along with the Linux port, came great controller support. This feature is not exclusive to the Linux version, as the improvements have made their way back to the Windows release. In addition to this, the SteamOS release also brought a default configuration for the Steam Controller.

    The save games are already compatible between all three systems, as is online multiplayer. While Steam Cloud support is missing at present, the developers have stated that they're working on adding support for the Linux and OS X versions of the game soon.

    Conclusion


    Despite the lower over-all performance, I think it's safe to say this is a very solid port. With graphical parity, improved experience in places, and what is after-all the first foray into Linux and OpenGL development by the developer, the game still behaves very well.

    Hopefully with time, we may see some improvements to the rendering performance. Optimistically, the response to Tropico 5's Linux release will prove the support worthwhile, and lead the developers to give higher priority to Linux performance and support in future titles.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Tropico 5 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Oct 05 2014 03:43 PM
    • by Soeb
  24. PC Report: GRID Autosport

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.4Ghz or AMD Athlon X2 5400
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 15 GB
    • GPU: Intel HD3000 or AMD HD2000 Series or NVIDIA Geforce 8000 Series Series
    • OS: Vista, 7, 8

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i7 or AMD FX Series
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 20 GB
    • GPU: Intel HD5200 or AMD HD7000 Series or NVIDIA GTX600 Series minimum 1 GB RAM
    Although the system requirements might look rather concerning for some, GRID Autosport isn't exactly a very demanding game by itself, and it does manage to have it's moments where it looks very nice, but otherwise the art style on some of the tracks slightly ruins this impression which is a shame seeing as some tracks are downright beautiful while others do look rather bland in comparison.

    Testing was performed on a system with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 CPU with 4 GBs of RAM and an Nvidia Geforce GTX 650 Ti running at a resolution of 2048x1152.

    Video settings



    GRID Autosport features a surprisingly vast array of video options, the choice being rather staggering. The most notable option being the native multi-monitor support, otherwise nothing else really stands out, other than the local split screen mode which is something very rarely found in a PC game but that's unrelated to the video options.

    Video Settings

    Advanced Video Settings

    Advanced Video Settings 2

    Advanced Video Settings 3


    Having to deal with such a vast amount of options can get slightly confusing and tedious, meaning that some tooltips explaining very briefly what each setting changes could've been pretty useful, seeing as some of the options did not clearly display any obvious new changes when turned on.

    The differences between Ultra Low and Ultra are pretty extreme and instantly noticeable.



    However Ultra and High do not appear to differ as much, the differences between each preset being rather more subtle at the maximum settings.



    Setting everything to the max might seem pointless, seeing as some options behave rather inconsistently, only affecting a few select entities instead of the game as a whole, which the player might not usually pay attention to. The Ultra settings are far more useful for players who love to take high resolution pictures in order to get the most out of their picture quality, but from a gameplay standpoint most values can easily be set to High without any huge loss of details.

    Night lighting



    A pretty cool effect, although it is only applied to the car's headlights during night tracks instead of actually affecting the ambient lighting of the level itself.



    Ground cover



    This setting mainly affects the outer parts of the racing track, where dirt and such may be found which adds some extra details such as foliage, the main difference between Ultra and High is the quantity of grass being rendered at the same time. The grass also appears to dynamically move.



    Vehicle details



    The most obvious change at lower settings is the fact that the game will stop rendering the player models for other drivers which are located in the cockpit.



    This setting also mainly affects how other cars will look on the track, the player model itself only suffering from a very slight lighting change at higher values, although the player's own model is still going to be rendered at a value beyond Ultra Low but again the differences are very subtle and on more higher end systems what this value is set at doesn't exactly matter.



    Reflections



    The difference between reflections is far more noticeable while actually driving, Ultra reflections being slightly less exaggerated than reflections on High although they are slightly more demanding framerate wise, some surfaces or objects may also cast reflections in a slightly differently way, Low and Medium still look pretty similar to High otherwise.



    Shadows



    The differences between Ultra Low and Ultra are clearly pretty large, on the other hand Ultra and High are much more similar. On Ultra the shadows are slightly blurred out looking more realistic while on High shadows have a slightly fuzzier and simpler look which is not the case at the maximum setting.



    Advanced fog



    The fog helps the skybox blend in better with the rest of the ambient which may also be used in order to mask some of the less detailed areas.



    Particles



    The differences might be harder to spot during usual gameplay, High and Ultra look pretty similar while Low and Medium particles will appear as being slightly less well-defined, the particles themselves having a cheaper look.



    Crowd



    At lower settings members of the crowd in the distance will appear to be rendered as 2D figures while on Ultra the LOD isn't really used anymore, the crowd being fully rendered at all times using the highest quality settings and details. The difference from High to Ultra however is pretty minor, the only obvious change being the improved lighting while the LODs will start loading a whole lot more aggresively at lower settings.



    The crowd can also be turned off completely, it is curious however how the crowd itself is randomized each time a new race is started.

    Cloth



    Nothing exactly special here other than some extra eye candy. Some shadows are still somehow being cast although this is a very minor issue anyway.



    Ambient occlusion



    The HBAO in GRID Autosport is rather more subtle than most games but it still manages to add some extra depth to the overall scene.



    The soft HBAO setting also goes along to add even more depth to the shadows which does not affect the framerate too much.



    Trees



    Trees follow the same logic as the crowd, being always perfectly rendered on Ultra, the LODs progressively starting to load far more aggressively on lower values, on Ultra Low however trees always use the lowest possible LOD available. Maps featuring large amounts of trees in the skybox are not affected by this setting.



    Objects



    Most smaller or less important entities appear to be affected by this setting which mainly changes which LODs are being loaded, some buildings may even appear as taller.



    Advanced lighting



    Again, this only appears to be applied for very few specific light spots or entities along with some very minor lighting changes affecting cars. The performance difference is certainly not worth the very small benefits it does showcase.



    Texture quality



    The new vehicle textures from the HD texture pack appear to have modified how the Low, Medium and High values function, meaning that the same textures are always being loaded at all times somehow. Without the texture pack itself there were still no clear differences between the three quality settings, other than the vehicles looking slightly different.



    Shader quality



    There's a very large difference between Ultra Low and Ultra, most decals not being rendered at all. On Medium and High the shader appears to apply a Depth of Field effect around most objects which looks fairly nice in motion. Setting the shader to Ultra Low will also stop it from rendering any cosmetic related damage or even some very specific decals located on the player's car.



    Oddly enough the changes between Low and Ultra aren't as large, setting the Shader to Low will also allow players to disable the rather odd DoF effect in the cockpit view, some effects such as the lens flares and such will otherwise be missing.



    Anisotropic filtering



    This can easily be set to Ultra or High seeing as there is pretty much no performance loss, what's interesting is the fact that this setting also appears to affect the crowd.



    Performance analysis



    GRID Autosport comes bundled with an already included benchmark test which can be very handy, the automatic settings have been pretty much spot on and overall the performance has been pretty great.

    GRID Autosport Preset Benchmark


    Controls



    The game features full controller support along with fully customizable keybinds. By default the game also has a preset for left handed people, allowing one player to play with a controller while the second player uses a keyboard. It is disappointing however that the game features no mouse controlled menus whatsoever, and using the mouse in-game is not possible either.

    Controls Settings


    Audio



    There's a wide array of audio options too although it is rather odd how some settings cannot be completely muted and the lack of a master volume setting is a minor issue but otherwise it is still very complete.

    Audio Settings


    Conclusion



    GRID Autosport is a very nice PC game which comes bundled with pretty much anything one might imagine to be available by default, although it still does miss some features which would truly make it complete, the video settings menus feel a bit too spread out seeing as some sort of categorization would greatly help. It is surprising however how nicely the game was handled showing that indeed nice PC ports are clearly a possible feat, the only downside being that they do require a whole lot more effort than most normal games, which might in the end be slightly detrimental towards other aspects.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor RaTcHeT302. For an up to date account of GRID Autosport fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Sep 24 2014 03:09 PM
    • by RaTcHeT302
  25. PC Report: XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: 2 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 16 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia 600 series, AMD 6000 series, Intel Iris Pro, with 512 MB of VRAM
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: 2 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 20 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT
    • OS: Windows Vista
    The current system requirements on Linux are a few notches higher than the Windows and OS X versions. The reasoning for listing them so high might be quite similar to Aspyr's for Civilization V - they just didn't have the time to test it on different configurations.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, nVidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit.

    Graphical comparison


    The Linux version happily and fully matches the Windows version in the graphical area. All features available on Windows are also available on Linux, leading to a high quality experience for all players - precisely what should always be expected!



    As we can see on the screenshots, there are no differences when the game is running at high settings. If you'd like to inspect the screenshots more closely, all images from this article are available here.

    Performance


    While the game may not be very demanding by appearance, verifying it performs just as well is always important. While at a quick glance, I assumed the game was running just as well on Linux, doing some benchmarks revealed slightly poorer performance compared to the original. These results are based on same 60 second mission segments being run on each system at the same settings.

    Chart v2


    As can be seen, there's a significant degradation in performance on the Linux version. While the game is able to smoothly hit 60 frames per second most of the time, playing on a monitor with a higher refresh rate would not be optimal.

    When doing a more in detail analysis of the frame time for each frame, I ran into a worrying result - almost 15% of all frames took longer than 16.7ms to render on Linux, explaining many noticeable hangs during play. By comparison, less than 0.1% of frames was above 16.7ms on Windows.

    Compatibility


    On the compatibility front, the game happily matches the Windows version. With multiplayer being compatible between any systems, saves fully working, together with Steam cloud synchronizing them across all your machines, there's little to be dissatisfied with.

    Unfortunately, as the game features no official modding support, the modding scene on Linux looks very similar to OS X - that is to say, there isn't one. If you enjoy mods like Long War (which, keep in mind, requires significant changes on Windows to make work), then you're out of luck. This is not to say that modding isn't possible on Linux or OS X at all, but so far, there have been no significant attempts at remaking these mods for the other systems.

    SteamOS


    The game works fully with a controller from start to finish (this includes the launcher) on SteamOS, as well when just using Steam in Big Picture mode. If desired, you never have to touch a mouse - although the game did not select the controller input mode when launching using one, requiring you to make use of a mouse for a moment longer. For the few who do have a Steam Controller - unfortunately native support for it does not appear to be included just yet.

    Conclusion


    While one can still run into some minor bugs in places, most of these are unrelated to the port and present on all platforms the game was released on. The game satisfies expectations by being fully compatible with other versions and supporting the full graphical capabilities of the original release. The rather decreased performance is a major worry, as presumably the gap can manifest itself even further on weaker systems. Thankfully, an update that may address these issues to a degree is already being worked on.

    We do not know what ports Feral Interactive is working on now, but we're all looking forward to what else will they bring to the system.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of XCOM: Enemy Unknown fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Sep 26 2014 09:10 PM
    • by Soeb