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Graphics Guide

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Page Contents Current As of Patch: 11/12/12
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PLANETSIDE 2 GRAPHICS GUIDE

This guide is written in order to explain and provide graphical examples of the various graphics settings available in the UI.

FPS SOLUTIONS

For those seeking the quickest solution for the faster FPS, looks be damned, Set Overall Quality to Low and Render Quality to 50 and restart the client from windows.  Then see if the in game framerate says CPU or GPU limited. 

If CPU limited, set Overall Quality to High, then Graphics Quality to Low, Render Quality to 100, restart the client, and it should now be GPU limited.  Now proceed to adjust individual settings below.

Normally though, Rendering Quality, Graphics Quality, and Shadows are the biggest impact on FPS, in that order.


IN GAME USER INTERFACE AND SETTINGS

This is the graphical user interface found within the game.

PS2-Graphics UI

Graphics User Interface

(Note that there is a UserOptions.ini file, but the developers have asked that this guide not cover editing that file directly as currently this can lead to bugs and crashes.)

When you are modifying your graphics settings, you can hit ALT-F in game to see your FPS and if it is limited by GPU or CPU.

Each setting will be listed with its in game description in quotation marks.



Overall Quality - "Setting on Overall Quality will change all of the options below to same quality setting"

It is recommended that you pick an Overall Qualtiy that is close to the values that you want, High, Medium, or Low, as this changes all of the other settings to that value.  When you are ready to change the individual settings, click on Overall Quality and change the value to "Custom"

** The following three screenshots are examples of High, Medium, and Low via the Overall Quality setting **

PS2-Default-High

This is the High Setting of Overall Quality. Notice it achieves 66 FPS limited by the GPU (graphics card).

PS2-Default-Medium

This is the Medium Setting of Overall Quality. It achieves 134 FPS limited by GPU

PS2-Default-Low

And this is the Low Setting of Overall Quality. It achieves 153 FPS in this screenshot, again limited by GPU









(The test machine specs: i7-3770K with 16G Ram, 120G SDD, 2 x ATI HD 7850 graphics running in Crossfire. (full hardware here: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/qi2w)

The CPU is overclocked to 4.3GHz and the 7850’s to 975 for clock and 1250 for memory for those who care.

The machine is using the ATI 12.11 beta drivers which did make a SIGNIFICANT difference over the 12.10 release drivers.

Unless otherwise noted, all screenshots in this guide will be taken from a base Medium Overall Quality with only the specified setting that is being discussed different.)










  • Graphics Quality - "Changes the quality of graphics. Higher qualities may decrease performance"
This one is a little more difficult to understand.  It has some wide sweeping effects, but does not change the rest of the values.  For those wishing to minimize atmosphere haze, setting this to low will achieve that result. This setting does have a large impact on FPS.
Setting this to low will allow you to set most other values to high and still have a decent framerate.

** The following screenshots are an example of Graphics Quality on Medium and Low **

PS2-GQ-Med

Graphics Quality = Medium

PS2-GQ-Low

Graphics Quality = Low









  • Texture Quality - "Changes the quality of textures.  Higher qualities may require more RAM"
This value has a significant impact on the appearance of the game.  Note that it does have a FPS impact

** The following screenshots are examples of Texture Quality on Low and High **

PS2-TQ-Low

Texture Quality = Low

PS2-TQ-High

Texture Quality = High









  • Lighting Quality - "Changes the quality of Lighting. Higher qualities may impact performance"
This value can be hard to see unless there are very prevalent light sources. Does not impact daylight.

** Need good screenshots of Lighting Quality Low and High that illustrates differences **


  • Shadow Quality - "Changes the quality of shadows. Low uses blob shadows, medium draws real shadows at a short distance, and high will draw real shadows at a great distance. Higher qualities may decrease performance."
    • Fog Shadows - "Turning this on will draw shadows though fog. This option may decrease performance (default off)"
This value has a very significant impact on FPS.  Many people turn it off thinking it will help them see people who think they are hiding in shaows.  Sometimes it can save you by revealing someone who is hiding behind something but their shadow appears, or overhead planes.  With shadows on low, individuals will not cast shadows.
Fog Shadows cause the 'beam of light' effect you see cutting through shadows and fog.  No screenshot given.

** The following screenshots are examples of Shadow Quality on Low and High **

PS2-SQ-Low

Shadow Quality = Low

PS2-SQ-High

Shadow Quality = High









  • Effects Quality - "Changes the quality of effects, such as explosions"
This one is hard to catch in a screenshot as its effect is limited. No normal effect on FPS.

** Need good screenshots of Low and High Effects Quality perhaps video **


  • Terrain Quality - "Changes the quality of terrain"
This one needs screenshots examples and a better description. No noticeable effect on FPS on test machine.

** Need good screenshots of Low and High Terrain Quality **


  • Flora Quality - "Changes the density and draw distance of flora"
Many people turn this off to avoid missing things on the ground hidden by flora.  It is mostly a cosmetic effect.

** The following screenshots are examples of Low and High Flora Quality **

PS2-FQ-Low

Flora Quality = Low

PS2-FQ-High

Flora Quality = High









  • Model Quality - "Changes the quality and distance that you will see higher quality models before they switch to lower quality models"
This one needs screenshot examples and a better description. Can have a minor effect of FPS in heavy battles with numerous enemies at various distances.

** Need good screenshot examples of Low and High Model Quality **



  • Particles - "Changes the quality of particles that are drawn far away"
This one needs screenshot examples and a better description.

** Need good screenshot examples of Low and High Particle Quality **


  • Motion Blur - "Motion Blur offers a more cinematic experience but may decrease performace"
Minor impact to FPS.  Most people leave this off as they do not want to deal with blur while turning in case a target goes past their view.  ( No screenshots, might need video example )



  • Ambient Occlusion - "Ambient Occlusion adds more realistic lighting to objects but may descrease performance."
This one needs screenshot examples and a better description.

** Need good screenshot examples of Ambient Occlusion off and on **



  • Render Quality - "This controls the render quality"
This is probably the hands down way to get increased FPS.  Lowering this from its default value of 100% will have a drastic impact on FPS, but equally drastic lowering of quality of image.  Recommended for those with low end systems.

** The following example is Render Quality of 50 versus Render Quality of 100% to illustrate differences **

PS2-RQ-50

Render Quality = 50

PS2-RQ-100

Render Quality = 100









  • Brightness - "Increasing this slider will change how brightly the game displays in fullscreen"
This is the slider that controls what many people know as Gamma.  It will add an artificial amount of brightness to the world around you.  No FPS impact, but colors will appear washed out.

** The following example is a brightness setting of 30 and 75 **


PS2-Brightness-30

Brightness 30

PS2-Brightness-75

Brightness 75









  • Vertical Field of View - "Increasing this slider to the right will increase the amount of observable world that is seen on the display (default 55)"
This is an excellent setting to change for those with 16:9 monitors.  It actually increases the vertical fov such that you can see more things around you, not just vertically.

** The following example is Vertical Field of View values of 55 and 74 **

PS2-VFOV-55

VFoV = 55

PS2-VFOV-74

VFoV = 74









  • Vertical Sync (VSync) - "Syncronizes your framerate to your monitors refresh rate. Enable this if you see tearing in the world."
VSync basically limits your FPS to the refresh rate of your monitor, for most of us, 60FPS. The benefit of doing so is that it can result in better stability, smooth motion, and no flickering or tearing. A good rule of thumb is if your FPS is greater than your monitors refresh rate, turn it on. If your FPS is less than, turn it off because it can make things look worse.  No screenshot examples of this.


  • GPU Physic (Nvidia Only) - "Enables advanced GPU-based physics for particle effects"
This value is for NVidia cards only.  Need input for FPS impact and screenshot examples if possible.

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