Whenever you install a new PC game that hogs your Graphics Card for its processing power, You might consider tweaking the settings a bit for optimal playable frame rates. There are many different graphics settings which need to be adjusted properly for a smooth gaming experience and today we are going to explain some terms which you commonly see in Graphics setting of games.
This setting affects how in game models look like. The higher we keep the mesh quality, the more details models have. It increases the number of polygons that are used to generate the model.
If you are playing multiplayer shooting games like Battlefield or Call of Duty and you have a decent graphics card then you should keep this setting on High.
Keeping this setting High will make it easier for you to spot enemies from a distance. High mesh quality will affect your frame rates as it is one of those settings that needs a lot of processing power.
This setting ensures that textures don’t look weird when viewed on surfaces that are closer to parallel with the user’s gaze than perpendicular.
The higher this setting, the better will textures look when not viewed straight on.
Anisotropic Filtering increases the clarity and crispness of textured objects in games.
By definition, Anisotropic filtering is the quality of possessing dissimilar coordinate values in space. If you have a weak GPU then we suggest limiting this setting to 2x.
When we set the resolution, we specify the size of the rectangle that the game will render. By default this is set to the monitor’s native resolution, but you can generally change it to any small resolution that your monitor can display.
Changing the resolution is often the single biggest determiner of performance by your GPU. The larger the resolution, the more pixels have to be rendered.
If you are not getting playable frame rates at your native resolution then you can step down the resolution a bit for a slight bump in frame rates.
Scaling to different resolutions is not easy. You will see strange artifacts unless the render resolution is a obvious reduction of the native resolution. For example, Running a 4K display at 1080p is perfectly fine as that just doubles the size of all pixels, but running a 1080p display at 1024p will produce odd images.
This setting controls the type of full screen mode. When set to ‘On’, the game fills the screen, and a Alt+Tab will take you to the desktop, with the game minimized.
When this setting is on, The game renders in a borderless window to match the resolution that has been set.
Running the game in a borderless window may sound funny, but it has its own merits. The game gets rendered like any other window and captures input when active.
When you press Alt+Tab with this setting off, You can drag other windows on top of the game, which may be useful if you are looking up for guides (Read: Cheats xD) for a game.
Vertical Sync, is a frame rate cap that the game or video driver places on the GPU. It limits the number of frames that the GPU sends to the monitor to be displayed.
This might sound counter intuitive, Why are we limiting the number of frames rather than increasing it? There are two reasons for this.
First of all VSync helps us to synchronise the frame rate output with the refresh rate of your monitor. Without VSync you can get what is called ‘tearing’, a nasty and glitchy looking effect.
The image below shows how screen tearing looks like
The screen output can contain portions of multiple frames and when a lot of things change between those frames, you get a horizontal split that is quite visible.
VSync causes frame buffer updates only when the screen output is not updating, this eliminating tearing.
VSync can also help you eliminate some heat. Without a frame rate cap, your GPU churns out as many frames as it, this means that your CPU and GPU both run on full load to process and render those frames.
A cosntant frame rate of 60 or even 30 can feel smoother than bumpy variations from 200fps to 20fps.
Now we have technology to take care of the VSync problem, Nvidia’s FreeSync and AMD’s G-Sync allow your GPU and display to sync updates within a supported refresh range.
If the game is getting less frames per second than the refresh rate of your monitor then keep this setting off.
If the game is getting more frames than the refresh rate of your monitor then you can keep this setting on, However we always recommend to keep this setting off in first person shooter games like CS GO.
The three dimensional objects in games are first rendered by drawing polygons, which are then covered with a texture. This is a fancy word that describes the sub division of those polygons into smaller polygons.
The fewer the polygons in an object, the more blocky it looks. The more number of polygons we use to generate the object, the more round, smoother and defined its characteristics can be.
Have a look at the image below which will give you a clear idea of what we are trying to say.
Tesselation is basically a way to use texture to take a flat object and add depth, by creating a bunch of additional polygons. It looks great but takes a lot of processing power.
This is one of those settings that has a drastic effect on the appearance of the game.
To put it simply, anti aliasing is a type of edge blurring that attempts to make the transition between two adjacent, contrasting colours easier.
If you have ever opened a image you clicked with your camera in Microsoft Paint and zoomed in to it, you might have observed how the edges of object in that zoomed images look ‘jagged’. Anti Aliasing tried to make those edges smooth.
After Screen Resolution, Anti Aliasing is the ‘most expensive’ setting to bump up.
However, there is a limit to its usefulness, Anti Aliasing is typically used to compensate for low pixel density screens. You might not need anti aliasing if you are playing Witcher 3 on a 4k screen powered by a double Nvidia Geforce 1080.
That increased definition and accuracy on 4K screens often lets you do away with anti aliasing, which results in some pretty big computations saving for the GPU.
There are several anti aliasing modes available nowadays, We will try to give a small overview of all those modes
FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti Aliasing)
This will work fine in most cases. FXAA is a type of post processing. A smart blur filter is applied to the final rendered output before it is sent to the scree. It does not always eliminate all jaggies.
SMAA (Subpixel Morphological Anti Aliasing)
This is another post processing filter and is supposed to look better than FXAA with a similar performace hit. It runs slightly slower than FXAA.
SSAA (Super Sample Anti Aliasing)
This is one of the best looking forms of Anti Aliasing. At the same time it is the most hardware demanding mode. It effectively renders the game at a higher resolution that is 2x or 4x of your selected resolution, then samples that down to your native resolution. Unless you have a very powerful GPU – You should keep this setting off.
TAA (Temporal Anti Aliasing)
TAA is concerned with dealing with anti aliasing that appears due to moving objects in a scene. It essentially renders more frames than are displayed, smoothing the movement of objects that are moving significantly faster than the camera’s effective frame rate.
If the objects in a game were like the contours of a object in a sketch, ambient occlusion is like shading an artist would use to bring out the details.
Ambient Occlusion helps accentuate the contours of just about every object in the game to create a sense of depth.
We highly recommend to keep this setting on. If you have a very powerful GPU then you might consider setting it to HBAO+ (Horizon based Ambient Occlusion) as it yields even better results.
Ambient Occlusion estimates how bright should light shine on a particular part of a surface
Depth of Field
Depth of field has to do with the focal plane of a lens. A lens can focus only to a given distance. This setting determines how far away objects can be from that plane while staying in focus.
Let us stay away from Bookish images and let these images do the talking.