Archive for May, 2012

Enhancing videogame graphics on a Mac (Windows 7, Battlefield 3)

May 16th, 2012

BF3Update 4.5.2013: The methods I originally described in this post did work fine, but I just wasn’t completely satisfied with the image quality (still jaggies here and there even at 2xMSAA and general lack of detail at 0xMSAA). Turns out the only real fix for my eyes is to use 4xMSAA with postAA low, no injector, no sharpening, no color fixes (other settings: textures+shadows low, effects+mesh: ultra, terrain medium, deco high, no AO). I was surprised to find that 4xMSAA actually does work smoothly on my 6750M with measly 512 MB VRAM at 1366×768 (non-native though, but also non-scaled of course) resolution with new 13.5 catalyst beta drivers. Had to free as much VRAM as possible (desktop at 16bit color in non-aero mode, using only some 5 MB VRAM, kill hardware acceleration in Firefox) and remove all injectors though (FXAA/SMAA/SweetFX) because they were hurting performance in combination with 4xMSAA. The game now looks sharp and smooth, is a pleasure to watch and play, graphics are easier on the eyes and spotting enemies is much easier with details so carved out and image so clear. So basically if you can afford 4xMSAA at a decent (laptop) resolution even at some low settings, go with it.

Other honorable mentions: The other method I tried prior to settling for 4xMSAA was to use SweetFX injector (a great injector btw) combo with SMAA, sharpening, color vibrance and contrast correction, ingame PostAA low and 2xMSAA. Looked pretty much great, especially the colours, you might want to try that out if 4xmsaa is not an option. In my “quest” for the perfect image quality I even came across a very interesting SSAA injector (download SSAA-Tool at http://www.tommti-systems.de/start.html). What SSAA (true supersampling which can actually be forced upon BF3) injector did in my case was to render the image at double pixels (2880×1800) and then display it downsampled to display’s native 1440×900 resolution. As you can imagine, the image quality is perfect this way, but it murdered my framerates in BF3 therefore it wasn’t even remotely usable, but with a high-end card (or a less demanding game) that would be a different story.

So the takeaway of this whole bf3 image improving oddyssey would be: some games can look near perfect with merely an FXAA injector (BC2 and countless others), but shader based antialiasing (FXAA or SMAA) alone is not enough for BF3, this game is simply made the way it is made, the injector spells work only partially. Use 4xMSAA with BF3 (or at least 2xMSAA). At least for me, 4xMSAA on low has better image fidelity than 0xMSAA on ultra, the difference between jaw-dropping versus sort-of-ok-but-kinda-sloppy. Happy gaming, over and out.

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The original post 14.5.2012:
This is a follow-up post to the previous one. This time around, we’re going to sharpen BF3 graphics further and improve the image quality in BF3, at no performance cost and start enjoying some high-fidelity visuals. No, it’s not yet another post about DANOC FXAA. » Read more: Enhancing videogame graphics on a Mac (Windows 7, Battlefield 3)

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