Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Howdy, folks!

Jack here, and today we’ll be talking about the various graphics settings that are available in Crowfall®. How you adjust your graphics can have wide-ranging effects, from performance to immersion in the game. I’m here to walk you through the different options and their individual effects. This way, you can choose the graphics settings that work best for you and your machine. As we get more focused on optimizing the game, you should be able to use higher and more aesthetically-pleasing settings without performance issues.

Quality Settings 01

Recently, we began using a new terrain shader called CTS that comes with a number of options including the use of more textures, height blending, and tri-planar mapping. Essentially, this means that we have a lot more control of the textures and how they’re applied to the world.

Have a look at these comparisons between the lowest settings (Basic) and the highest (Very High).

Basic Quality Settings 01

VeryHigh Quality Settings 01

Basic Quality Settings 02

VeryHigh Quality Settings 02

There are a range of settings in between to give you as many options to balance looks and performance as possible. These settings change a broad swath of options, including textures used, shadows, and level of detail, which is the distance at which you see details on environment objects:
• Highest possible performance
• Lowest texture quality
• Lowest shadow quality
• Lowest level of detail (LOD) quality
• Mid-range for all settings
• Higher range for all settings
Very High:
• Highest possible quality
• Highest texture quality
• Highest shadow quality
• Highest LOD quality

You also have some control over the individual smaller details in your settings menu, including options for the shadows. Shadow quality can give a surprising amount of depth to the lighting and the environment, while breaking up any flat spaces in the world. However, turning off shadows may improve your performance slightly.
• Highest possible performance
• No shadows at all
• Mid-tier performance
• Hard-edged shadows only; more stylized feel
• Highest quality
• Both soft- and hard-edged shadows

If you want to get into even more of the nitty-gritty settings, you can look under post-processing. This is where you’ll find specific settings that go beyond the basics and shadows. They will have different effects on the performance of the game.
Ambient Occlusion:
• Adds shading around objects (slight performance hit)
• Reduces the jaggedness around objects (moderate performance hit)
• An effect that boosts light (slight performance hit)
Motion Blur:
• A cinematic effect that blurs the graphics when the camera is turned - this is currently not tuned, so the effect is stronger than it will be at launch (large performance hit)

Even more in-depth are the Advanced Settings. These are currently available for testing purposes, but will likely not be exposed to the players in the final version of the game. The things currently available include clouds, light shafts, particles, and fog. On some older machines, turning these options off might give you a performance boost.

With optimization around the corner, some machines need a little extra boost to run Crowfall the way they should. At the same time, other machines can enhance their immersion and add some really cool visuals to the game experience. As we continue towards optimization, our goal is always to strike a balance between performance and visuals.

Jack Kirby
Utility Infielder, ArtCraft Entertainment

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