FEAR Tweak Guide
[Page 8] Conclusion
We're coming to the conclusion of the guide, but make sure to read the following information as it might come in quite handy.
ATI Performance Boost
It seems the ATI Catalyst Driver Team have made a mistake in customizing the Catalyst AI function in such a way that while it improves performance for the FEAR Demo, it actually reduces performance for the final version of FEAR. This has been discovered on the Beyond3D Forums, and the simple workaround for ATI users is to rename the FEAR.exe file (found in your \Program Files\Sierra\FEAR directory) to something else (e.g. Feat.exe) and then launch that new executable, and the game will perform much faster without any loss in image quality.
ATI have admitted to this mistake, and although they haven't been able to issue a fix as part of the 5.11 Catalysts, it will be included in the next set of Catalysts. For the moment it is recommended that you rename your FEAR executable as described above, create a new icon for it on your desktop, and use that to launch the game for a nice performance boost if you are an ATI graphics card owner.
Update: This issue should be resolved as of the latest Catalysts (6.3 or newer), however you can still experiment to see if renaming the executable still provides a boost or not.
Dual Core vs. Single Core Performance in FEAR
FEAR has been touted in a variety of places as being optimized for dual core CPUs, so given my main system has an AMD X2 4400+ CPU, I thought I'd put this to the test. I did this in two simple ways. Firstly I asked the TweakGuides Forumgoers if someone had a similar system to mine, except with a single core AMD CPU rated at the same speed (2.2GHz), and if so, could they post their FEAR timedemo result running FEAR at 1280x1024, all settings on maximum possible (except Soft Shadows to off), 2xAA and 4xAF, using the 81.85 Nvidia Forceware drivers. Two single-core CPU users (TroyBoy and Bagman) posted their results.
Secondly, I opened up Task Manager, switched to the Performance tab which shows the CPU usage graph, set Update Speed to high under the View menu, and then launched FEAR and played through a short saved game in which I battled against a number of enemy AI in a fairly detailed room. I then quit and looked at the CPU usage history shown in the graphs.
In both cases, I found that using a dual core CPU seems to have no benefit at the moment in FEAR. My performance figures from the timedemo seem to be within a few % of users with similar (single-core) systems, while the Task Manager exercise showed that only one core is actively being used at 100% while the other sits around the 1-2% throughout.
If FEAR is optimized for dual core CPUs, it shows no practical difference in performance terms - at least none that I could detect. Perhaps this is because FEAR is heavily dependent on the graphics card and hence any boost to CPU usage is not going to make much difference regardless. Perhaps a 'dual core' patch will come out for FEAR at some point in the future to enable these optimizations. Who knows - either way you single core users are not missing out on anything.
Disabling Introductory Movies
Just in case you've missed this tip in the Advanced Tweaking section, I thought I'd highlight it again here. If the Introductory movies which appear each time you start up FEAR are annoying you, the quickest way to skip them automatically is to tick launch the FEAR Config Tool and tick the 'Disable Movies' option. Note that this only disables the startup movies, not the in-game movies. Alternatively, you can edit your Settings.cfg file and add "DisableMovies" "1" to the last line - see the Advanced Tweaking section for both methods.
Taking screenshots in FEAR is simple - by default the Function 8 (F8) key takes a screenshot in BMP format and places it in your \Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Monolith Productions\FEAR directory. Note that these files can be quite large - up to 5MB each - so periodically check this directory and remove any unnecessary screenshots.
The easiest way to measure your framerate accurately is to use the free tool FRAPS. It displays a small yellow counter in any corner of the screen you choose with a very accurate FPS readout, and doesn't impact on your game performance.
Well that brings this FEAR Tweak Guide to a close. I've tried as much as possible to fit in every known performance tip and tweak in this guide. However it is a bit of a disappointment that I've been unable to crack the mystery of the command console for FEAR. As mentioned, please let me know if you figure it out so I can share it with all the guide's readers. If you have any other feedback or suggestions on this guide, or more importantly any additional working tweaks please Let Me Know as soon as possible. Please keep in mind I can't offer any tech support or advice, however you are most welcome to join the TweakGuides Forums and share your thoughts, opinions and problems on this and anything else with a bunch of like-minded members - as long as you observe the strictly-enforced Forum Rules.
Finally, make sure to check back regularly as this guide will be updated over the coming months with new tips and tweaks. I hope you've found the guide useful.
Credits & Links
Until next time, take care!