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FPS Improvement Checklist. 13 May 2014


nobby's picture
Posts: 779
FPS Improvement Checklist. 13 May 2014
#1 Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 09:51

Our lead Programmer, Si, has put together the following guide to the Visual Settings for Carma:R, based on where we are in Pre-Alpha as of 13th May 2014. If you're currently having problems getting the game to run at a smooth FPS, then hopefully the information below will help you to set up your Visual Quality settings so that the game runs better.

Also as a general note, Si mentioned that, "some of the issues on Bleak City are due to people expecting to be able to run it on ‘High’ Image Quality, which isn’t going to work without VTs."

The default Visual Quality settings are equivalent to 'low', and obtained when the game first installs or following the deletion of your config.lua file (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Carmageddon_Reincarnation).

To lower settings further you can:

  • Run game
  • Visit Options menu
  • Visit Visual sub-menu
    • Select ultra-low
    • Reduce screen resolution
    • Ensure full screen is on

At this point the only options likely to have an positive impact on performance are the distance culling options.

If you now have an acceptable frame rate, you can start enabling/increasing various options until you get a visual quality / performance trade off you are happy with.

The biggest cost features are:

  • Image quality (if you go beyond your available VRAM)
  • Shadows on
  • Post Processing
  • Ambient Occlusion

Due to the way different features have different costs in terms of PC performance it's not always clear the relative cost of any given feature. For example if you enable Shadows, Post Processing or Ambient Occlusion individually you'll see a significant drop in performance, whereas the high CPU cost of Shadows complements the high GPU cost of Post Processing/Ambient Occlusion, so enabling Shadows with Post Processing may not cost much more than Shadows alone.

In short, experiment.

If you're unable to get a decent frame, it'd be helpful to have as much information about the platform as possible. It'd be especially helpful to be supplied with a full dxdiag, and the config.lua with an idea of the FPS you are seeing on specific levels (and whether that’s with AI cars or Peds).

Graphics Quality (Ultra Low/Very Low/Low/Medium/High/Ultra High)
This selects from a number of presets for the following visual settings:
Image quality
Shadows (enabled on/off), Quality, Culling Factor
View Distance
World/Accessory/Pedestrian/Vehicle culling distances
Particle Effect Quality
Car Reflection Quality
Headlight Shadows
Post Processing, Ambient Occlusion, Anti-Aliasing
Skid Marks

At this stage of development don't take the quality setting name too literally. We currently have:
Low: This has been tested running on a minimum spec configured PC (2.9GHz i3, 4GB RAM, 1GB DX11 GPU
Medium: This has been tested running on a recommended spec configured PC (i5, 8GB RAM, 2GB DX11 GPU

Other configurations tested for relative performance, but not linked to any specific target platform.

Image Quality (Very Low/Low/Medium/High/Very High)
Again, at this stage of development, the quality names don't necessarily correlate to typical expectations. This setting controls the down sampling of textures at load time to reduce total VRAM usage and roughly map to:
Very Low: <1GB VRAM GPU
Low: 1GB
Medium: 2GB
High: 3GB+
Very High: Obscene (but future proof)

This setting can have by far the largest detrimental effect on performance (<1FPS on systems that should be able to do >60FPS).

Massive VRAM cost.

NOTE: As this setting is currently part of the 'Graphics Quality' presets, it's possible to unintentionally configure this to a higher setting. This could be particularly destructive on Bleak City.

Shadows (On/Off)
Shadows are probably the single most CPU expensive item to render.

High CPU processing cost. Small VRAM cost.

Shadow Culling Factor (0-100)
Only valid when shadows are on. Cull objects from the shadow buffers based on their size/influence. 0 throws away only the smallest of shadow casters, and 100 only includes the biggest (faster). Reasonable impact on rendering performance.

Full screen
Enable to have a small increase in performance. Windowed mode will have slightly less VRAM available.

High resolution will make lower end cards struggle. Dropping resolution can have a significant positive impact on the cost of other features (e.g. ambient occlusion).
Small-medium impact on VRAM requirements.

Virtual Textures (On/Off)
Turning on should see a small decrease in VRAM usage, but benefit from a significant increase in texture quality for the environment and accessories (it's magic!). Unfortunately there are some bottlenecks still to be worked out, so you will likely see a drop in overall performance with them enabled (esp. on lower spec machines).

Post Processing
Enables bloom, HRD auto-aperture, etc. A high GPU processing cost, not ideal for low-end cards/machines. Processing cost can be significantly mitigated by using lower screen resolutions.
Medium-high VRAM cost.

Part of the post-processing system. A negligible overhead, but requires post processing to be enabled.

Ambient Occlusion (Off/On)
A reasonably high GPU processing cost, not ideal for low-end cards. Processing cost can be significantly mitigated by reducing screen resolution.

Particle Effect Quality (Low/Medium/High)
Reduces number/complexity of particles in scene. Minor impact on CPU and GPU processing requirements.

Car Reflection Quality (Low/Medium/High/Very High)
Low uses a static cubemap for vehicle reflections.
Medium to Very High enables dynamic cube maps. This is a very high impact on rendering performance, small to medium impact on VRAM usage.

Shadow Quality (Low/Medium/High)
Alters the size of shadow buffers used. This has a minor impact on fill rate limited GPUs, and a small impact on VRAM usage.

Headlight Shadows (Off / Player Only/ All Cars)
Small GPU VRAM cost. Medium CPU/GPU processing cost.

View Distance (Low/Medium/High)
Somewhat detached from the distance culling values. This reduces the far clip plane. Reduces CPU/GPU processing, no impact on VRAM usage.

World/Accessory/Ped/Vehicle Distance Culling (1-100)
The different areas map the 1-100 scale in subtly different ways, but ultimately the smaller the number, the near things will be removed from the view. This is purely a CPU/GPU processing saving (and potentially a very significant one).

Skid Marks (Off/Player Only/All Cars)
Currently not optimised and has a reasonable CPU/GPU processing impact. Negligible VRAM cost.

Multi-Threaded Crushing (Off/On)
Probably shouldn't be in the visual options menu! When enabled, the game processes vehicle crushing damage over multiple hardware threads. Should be a reasonable speed improvement in multi vehicle collisions. Still very much a 'work in progress'.

Edited by: shane on 14/02/2015 - 16:15

I was in the war.

hazardic's picture
Kickstarter Backer
Posts: 519
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 10:03

clear-cut explanation, thanks Nobby
as i see, Very High image quality is indeed obscene, having 3gb vram i was only been able to launch the game using vt.
anyway, my predictable question is - will this option be better in final release? i love your maximum quality textures very much, especially peds lol, such a personalities

lemonrev's picture
Velociraptor Fister
Kickstarter Backer
Posts: 1630
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 10:09

Great post. Thanks for all the great detail. Will keep it in mind next time i jump into the game :)

The Urban Spaceman's picture
Kickstarter BackerCompetition Winner
Posts: 536
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 10:17

Couldn't have hoped for a better explanation. Thanks :)

nobby's picture
Posts: 779
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 10:23

hazardic wrote:
anyway, my predictable question is - will this option be better in final release? i love your maximum quality textures very much, especially peds lol, such a personalities

Yes hazardic, things will improve when the VT is optimised and working correctly. Believe me, the guys are still working flat out to get this sorted as soon as possible.

I was in the war.

HEX1GON's picture
Cunning Stunt Licker
Posts: 261
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 10:37

The default settings run beautiful on my system. I still haven't experimented much with other settings other than the presets.

Kejnel's picture
Kickstarter Backer
Posts: 721
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 10:40

Excellent explanation, Nobby. Thank you.

If you want to report bugs or want to ask for features DO NOT USE FORUM FOR THAT! Instead send it to developers HERE:

twisted's picture
Kickstarter Backer
Posts: 727
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 10:58

nobby, do you think 2gb of vram will be enough to run at high settings in the final game? Great post btw! :)

Edited by: TwIsTeDMiNd on Tue, 13/05/2014 - 11:04

nobby's picture
Posts: 779
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 11:34

TwIsTeDMiNd, I have to be honest - I don't know! So I'm going to get some more info from Si and get back to ya.


This is Si's replies:

2GB is our recommended spec and it makes sense for that to be our High image quality. Once we can rely on VTs not being a performance hit (or not too much of one), we can work on balancing the vehicle texture sizes so that they’re not globally down sampled at this setting (which they currently are on 2GB).


There was a question on the forums tucked in a thread that asked something like ‘with the virtual textures on, the cars still look low res. e.g. twister’s number plate. Is this as good as they’re going to get?’

The answer being no! (see above :))

Hope that helps too!

Edited by: nobby on Tue, 13/05/2014 - 13:19

I was in the war.

twisted's picture
Kickstarter Backer
Posts: 727
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 16:19

nobby wrote:

Oh yeah, interesting stuff nobby! It's interesting to know a little more about where the game is aiming at in terms of optimisation. I was kindly regretting my new GPU (I bought specially for Carma) having choosen only the 2GB VRAM one. Now, hopefully at least, it will be enough! :)

skyNET's picture
Cunning Stunt Licker
Competition Winner
Posts: 478
Submitted: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 16:51

Great, in-depth, foolproof information.

Pretty much figured it out that resolution is eating up my resources like breakfast, and VT seems to be a must for Bleak City unless using ulra low settings - or at least low image quality, but I'll shoot myself in the knee before using that setting. Car reflection set anywhere above low + ambient occlusion simultaneously is also a big no-no for me. Relieved that skidmarks are unoptimized yet, as the game lagged hard then eventually crashed after doing an obscene amount of doughnuts when testing the feature.
Considering I have view distance & cullings maxed and still have an acceptable framerate, I have high hopes for the future.

It would be great if my rig could run the game @1080p with pretty reflections + occlusion (as with other games with a lot of eyecandy).

Prost processing effects look nice (shoot me) but from a close-up view things get unpleasantly blurry, especially ped's faeces (see what I did there?).
Shadows choke my CPU when set above low, and are looking weird, sometimes flickering, or "striped".

left behind words + celebrating 50th post

also mah specs for reference

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Thanks for stroking my e-peen :)
(even if mah specs are mediocre)

CPU: i5 4570

Edited by: skyNET on Tue, 13/05/2014 - 17:53