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Port Report: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

By LDK on Sep 09 2013 09:50 PM in Port reports
Port Reports are a new series of quick first impressions of the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs's fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is an indirect sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, great first person horror adventure. Unlike its predecessor A Machine for Pigs is developed by studio The Chinese Room, which created very atmospheric Dear Ester. We are going to look at technical aspects of the game - performance, options, controls and overall technical quality. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is released on September 10th, 2013 on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

System requirements

Minimum

  • CPU: 2.0 GHz Core i5
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • HDD: 5GB
  • GPU: Mid-range nVidia GeForce 3x0, AMD Radeon HD 5x00

Maximum

  • CPU: 2.0 GHz Core i7
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • HDD: 5GB
  • GPU: High-end nVidia GeForce 5x0, AMD Radeon HD 6x00
Testing was done on system with 3.5GHz Core i7, 32GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6870 in 2560x1600 resolution. Download size is slightly above 2GB, decompressed on hard drive game will take around 5GB.

Video settings


As other games based on HPL engine, you can set almost everything from launcher and few additional effects can be set directly from game menus. However a lot of effects and settings require restart of the game so it is best to use launcher.

Amn launcher


Amn graph basic


Amn graph Adv


Launcher offers three basic presets - Low, Medium and High. Unfortunately High preset does not set everything on max and you will have to manually set it if you want the best graphical settings. During first launch the game will choose the best preset for your system.

Field of view


Every first or third person perspective game should have customizable field of view, unfortunately A Machine for Pigs does not have FoV slider in menu. This can cause problems on setups with large screens and multi-monitor setups. I personally prefer FoV around 100 on my system but I didn't mind preset field of view in this game.

Fortunately, for those who cannot be the default cramped FoV, it can be customised using a configuration file fix that also happens to work with Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Here are the instructions:

1. Navigate to config folder within game install location (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Machine for Pigs\config\ for example)
2. Open game.cfg in text editor
3. Locate line FOV = "70" in section Player_General and change its value to your desired field of view value.



Anti-aliasing


Game features anti-aliasing which can be only switched on or off, it is not however post-process AA that just blurs everything (FXAA). It is proper edge smoothing solution and can be found in menu under "Smoothing" check box under Misc section. This form of AA is very dependent on angle of the edge so its effectiveness will vary. See screenshots for comparison - detail is enlarged 4x with nearest neighbor algorithm to prevent additional blurring.

Anti-aliasing is performance demanding effect and require considerable amount of resources. Unfortunately the game has frame rate limiter set on your refresh rate so I can't tell you precisely fps drop. Without AA set on, my system could run the game on steady 60 FPS, GPU utilization was 60% on average. With AA turn on, my FPS droped to 55 and GPU utilization rose to 95-100%. So in conclusion AA will eat roughly 40-50% of your GPU power.



Ambient occlusion


As its predecessor, A Machine for Pigs is using screen space ambient occlusion effect. This effect will have drastic performance impact but you can set its properties and tweak it for your system. You can set resolution to Medium or High which will soften ambient occlusion shadows with massive frame rate drop. On my system switching from normal to high cut framerate in half with not very noticeable visual upgrade. Then there is a setting for amount of samples that engine will need to create shadows. More samples means more precise shadows and less dark glow around objects. See screenshots for comparison.



Amn performance Ao


Performance


Apart from anti-aliasing and ambient occlusion the game runs smoothly and it is properly optimized. The game only uses a single thread so any dual-core CPU should be able to run it without problems despite requirements claims about i5 as minimum CPU. In RAM the game didn't exceed 700MB so specs are on par with my measurement. As for graphic memory A Machine for Pigs takes around 700MB of VRAM with AA and AO off on High preset. AA and AO are memory hungry features and you'll need more than 1GB of VRAM to use them effectively.

Here is a graph of framerates on default presets and High preset with two most demanding features turned off:

Amn performance overall


Controls


Basic control settings are present, you can turn off mouse smoothing, invert mouse and set sensitivity. This is the first game that I remember that I had to increase mouse sensitivity instead of put it immediately all the way to the left. Mouse acceleration cannot be set but is taken from your system settings. Gamepads are supported and Xbox 360 controller works fairly well. During first part of the game there are tutorial hints that shows both control schemes. Keyboard can be rebinded easily and for one action you can set two keys.

Amn input1


Audio


Sound tab under Options menu hide very basic settings and you can set only master volume and sound device. Subtitles and language settings are under Game tab. To my surprise surround sound is not supported by default. This is because of HPL2 engine and first Amnesia had the same problem - the game is using old implementation of OpenAL sound system. Luckily there is a fix:

1. Download OpenAL
2. Extract archive on your hard drive, locate file soft_oal.dll under Win32 folder
3. Copy said file to game folder
4. enter game launcher, navigate to Sound tab and select "Unsupported" device

For troubleshooting and additional info follow wiki article about this issue.

Amn sound


Amn game


Conclusion


Apart from surround sound issue I haven't encountered any other technical problems with the game. Some effects are very performance demanding but that is expected due to nature of these effects. If you turn them off, game runs smoothly and should run fine on most mainstream PCs.

Port Reports are a new series of quick first impressions of the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs's fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

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5 Comments

Great writeup LDK :). Also great to find out that the previous game's FOV fix also works here, which is a relief.

    • NORDAAi likes this

Great writeup LDK :). Also great to find out that the previous game's FOV fix also works here, which is a relief.

Quite frankly it should have been implemented fully into the game without having to hack it, but I suppose this is decent enough.

Great reading, can't wait to play this, last time I scared myself was in the first Amnesia!

great work thanks :)

Great work on the report, very accurate and honestly the game runs almost perfectly with max settings on my rig except for the part where you arrive outside of the meat factory there is a sudden drop of 4 or 5 fps but all is fine.

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