Far Cry Tweak Guide

[Page 8] Advanced Tweaking (Pt.2)

Far Cry Configuration Tool (Cont.)

Environment Quality

r_VolumetricFog [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. Turning Volumetric Fog off will increase FPS in areas which contain fog at the cost of realism.

r_EnvCMResolution [0,1,2] - 0=64 pixel, 1=128 pixel, 2=256 pixel. Determines the level of detail cube maps have. Cube maps are images on reflective surfaces such as glass which imitate the reflection of surroundings. The lower this setting, the more blocky cube mapped images will be, but the higher the FPS around such surfaces.

r_EnvCMResolutionInterval [0.001-1.0] - Determines the intervals at which the cube mapped images are updated on a surface. The lower this number the quicker they update, but the lower FPS will be around them.

r_EnvTexResolution [0,1,2,3] - 0=64 pixel, 1=128 pixel, 2=256 pixel, 3=512 pixel. Determines the quality of textures on Environment objects like birds, fish, decals (explosion/bullet marks). The lower the setting the more blocky these textures will be, but the higher the FPS and less RAM used.

r_EnvTexUpdateInterval [0.001-1.0] - Determines the intervals at which environmental textures are updated. The lower this number, the quicker they update, but the lower FPS will be around them.

e_decals [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. Decals are the marks left on the environment by bullet impacts and explosions. Turning decals off will remove all such marks but improve FPS, particularly during combat.

e_decals_life_time_scale [0.5-infinity] - Determines the length of time decals remain visible before being removed. The higher this value, the longer decals remain but the lower your FPS as more and more decals are created. Affects FPS most during combat.

ca_EnableDecals [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. Determines whether decals on characters (i.e bullet holes, slash marks, explosive burns) are visible or not. Turning this setting off will improve FPS during combat at the cost of realism.

e_overlay_geometry [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. Determines whether Overlay Geometry is enabled or not. Unclear as to what Overlay Geometry is.

e_obj_lod_ratio [5-infinity] - This number determines the Level Of Detail (LOD) for objects like vegetation, bushes and animals. In my testing the setting appeared to have no impact on LOD or FPS.

e_vegetation_sprites_distance_ratio [0.9-infinity] - Determines the range at which vegetation objects begin to turn to sprites. Increasing the ratio can reduce vegetation jaggedness, especially with Antialiasing enabled, but the higher this value the lower your FPS is areas with large views of vegetation.

e_cgf_load_lods [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. Determines whether LOD models for CGFs are loaded.

e_vegetation_min_size [0.0-infinity] - Determines the minimum size of vegetation which will be rendered. The higher this value, the less vegetation is rendered and hence FPS will be higher in areas with views of vegetation. Values above 30 generally mean no vegetation will be rendered.

e_flocks [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If set to Off, removes all birds and fish from the game. Will improve FPS in outdoor areas at the cost of realism.

e_EntitySuppressionLevel [0-infinity] - Determines the minimum size of entities which can be spawned. I assume this means creatures like pigs and birds. Setting appears not to have any impact.

sys_skiponlowspec [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If enabled, this setting considers your machine low specification and turns off all optional objects like birds, fish to gain FPS. If disabled, these objects are rendered (based on your other preferences) at the cost of some FPS.

Shadow Quality

e_stencil_shadows [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. Stencil shadows are moving or static shadows cast onto moving or static objects, like waving palm leaves on a moving character. Disabling stencil shadows will improve FPS at the cost of realism.

e_shadow_maps [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. Turning off Shadow Maps removes all shadows except those of the terrain and some fixed objects, even if Stencil Shadows are enabled. This improves FPS at the cost of realism.

e_active_shadow_maps_receiving [0,1,2] - 0=Off, 1=On, 2=High quality. When turned off, this only allows animated objects to receive shadows from other animated objects, like vehicles. This can improve FPS at the cost of realism. When enabled and set to High quality this reduces FPS but improves realism.

r_ShadowBlur [0,1,2,3] - 0=Off, 1-3=Shadow Blur methods. This setting when enabled allows the blurring of the edges of shadows cast, giving greater realism, with a reduction in FPS based on the method used.

e_shadow_maps_view_dist_ratio [10.0-infinity] - Determines the distance at which shadows are visible. The higher this setting, more distant shadows are visible but FPS is reduced.

Water Quality

r_WaterRefractions [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If turned on, simulates the way in which objects underwater appear distorted due to refraction of light. If turned off, can increase FPS at the cost of realism.

r_WaterReflections [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If turned on, many surrounding objects will reflect onto the water. If disabled this will only reflect basic landmasses onto the water, increasing FPS but decreasing realism.

r_WaterUpdateFactor [0.001-1.0] - Determines the intervals at which reflections on the water are updated. The lower this number, the quicker they update, but the lower FPS will be around water.

r_Quality_Reflection [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If turned on allows reflection of all surrounding objects in the water. This decreases FPS in areas with water but increases realism.

e_beach [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If turned on, waves lapping on the shoreline are visible. This can reduce FPS in watery areas but increase realism.

e_use_global_fog_in_fog_volumes [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If turned on uses global fog in place of volumetric fog to simulate water murkiness with less than appealing results. This may improve FPS on older graphics hardware but reduces realism.

Lighting Quality

r_Quality_Bumpmapping [0,1,2,3] - 0=No bumpmapping, 1=Low quality, 2=High quality, 3=Very High quality. Disabling bumpmapping removes the raised surfaces effect on textures, but improves FPS. Enabling it at progressively higher quality levels improves the realism of the effect at the cost of some FPS.

r_Vegetation_PerpixelLight [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If turned off, reduces the realism of lighting effects on vegetation but improves FPS in areas with vegetation.

e_light_maps_quality [0,1,2] - 0=Low quality, 1=Medium quality, 2=High quality. In areas where light maps are used (i.e fixed lighting effects drawn on objects) Low quality lightmaps will result in graphical anomalies like missing walls and objects. Obviously this improves FPS but ruins realism and gameplay. Medium and High resolve these glitches, with minimal FPS reduction.

ca_ambient_light_intensity [0.0-1.0] - Determines the intensity of ambient lighting around the player, which is lighting with no visible light source. The higher the value the brighter ambient light becomes, at the cost of minimal FPS but some realism.

ca_ambient_light_range [0.0-infinity] - Determines the range to which ambient lighting extends from the player. The higher the value, the lower your FPS may be if ambient light intensity is greater than 0.

e_max_entity_lights [0-infinity] - Determines the maximum number of lights which impact on objects. The higher this number, the more visible light sources are allowed to interact with an object (i.e. cast shadows, reflections, shine etc.), and hence the lower the FPS in areas with many lights.

e_stencil_shadows_only_from_strongest_light [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If enabled, this restricts Stencil Shadows to only being cast by one source of light (the strongest visible source). This can improve FPS if Stencil Shadows are enabled and in places where there are multiple sources of light.

p_lightrange [0.0-infinity] - Determines the range of the player's flashlight when switched on. The higher the value, the lower your FPS depending on the size and complexity of the environment in which flashlight is used.

r_EnvLightCMSize [4-64] - Determines the pixel size of environmental lighting cube maps. Reducing the size will improve FPS in areas where such cube maps are used.

r_EnvLCMupdateInterval [0.001-1.0] - Determines the intervals at which the environmental lighting cube map is updated. The lower the value, the lower your FPS in areas where such cube maps are used.

cl_projectile_light [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If turned on allows projectiles such as missiles to shed dynamic lighting as they move. This will reduce FPS especially in combat.

cl_weapon_light [0,1] - 0=Off, 1=On. If turned on allows your weapons to cast dynamic lighting as they fire (from their muzzle flash). This will reduce FPS especially in combat.

That ends the settings which can be edited through the Configuration Tool. I want to repeat something very important about the information above: the precise performance and visual quality impacts of these settings can and will vary based on your particular hardware and also on the combination of other options you have enabled in Far Cry. For example some effects reduce or increase FPS or RAM usage much less at lower resolutions than at higher resolutions. That's why my commentary is very general - it's impossible to note the exact performance impact under every circumstance and type of hardware used. The visual quality impacts will also vary because many of these effects use advanced shader techniques, which means a GeForce2 for example can't render any of them, while a GeForce3 will not look as nice as a 9800 Pro due to the different versions of shaders being used.

All of the settings covered in the last two pages relate to advanced video effects. However you can customize many more settings in the .cfg files and through the use of the game's Console. These are examined in the next sections.