In-Game Settings IMPORTANT NOTE: do NOT use "Relmware" BF3 settings editor. This program has become out of date and supported after recent DICE/EA Patches. Using it can produce -serious- errors in BF3 and is difficult to recover from.
This is where the magic happens.
To open the main Game Menu Options Panel you must first start ORIGIN, Login to Battlelog, Join a server and then Deploy and hit the Escape button. Only from within the running game can you access the main options panels for Battlefield 3.
Hitting Escape after Deployment, brings up the main Game Menu Options panel (shown below)
Hitting the "Options" button in the above screenshot, opens the five sub panels for the in-game settings adjustments. CONTROLS - GAMEPLAY - AUDIO - VIDEO- and -KEY BINDINGS- sub panels
We will be examining each panel in detail in this next section, with emphasis on what settings can enhance the gameplaying experience and what settings can cause issues or problems. *Critical Note: many of the Video settings -require- a complete game shutdown and restart to take effect
________________________________________________________________________________________ That brings us to the most important panel of all, the VIDEO SETTINGS main page.
On the lefthand side are the basic display options. FULLSCREEN MONITOR
This setting is for mutiple monitor users, and allows the user to choose what monitor will be the primary display. FULLSCREEN RESOLUTION
This setting is where you choose the X/Y screen resolution the game will display. Most users will want to choose their monitors native screen resolution. IE: 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200 etc. FULLSCREEN
If this setting is ON, then the game will display fullscreen at the resolution you chose above.
If this setting is set to OFF, then the game will run in "Windowed" mode.
*This can allow some users who are having performance issues, to choose a lower screen resolution and run that resolution inside a window to preserve a crisper image. BRIGHTNESS
The in-game brightness control slider Vertical Sync
The in-game setting to use vertical sync. For most users this setting should be set to OFF.
*Only users with poor monitor performance (tearing) should use this feature, and doing so in BF3 will also use triple buffering by default (engine feature) and may introduce mouse lag. FIELD OF VIEW
This is the FOV adjustment feature. Users may experiment with this setting, but should be aware that choosing higher FOV percentages can dramaticly increase the rendering load on the GPU. MOTION BLUR AMOUNT
If Motion Blur is enabled in the Video Settings panel, this slider can be used to adjust the amount of Blur applied. OPEN SCREEN ADJUST
This setting opens a new window where you may adjust how the games HUD elements are displayed.
*Use the arrow keys to adjust the corners __________________________________________________________________________ PRIMARY VIDEO SETTINGS PANEL
Shown below are the in-game Video Settings, and available options for each setting.
This is where I now go medieval on the technical descriptions of what each setting does, how it works, what the overhead costs are, what the final gaming quality is worth and my MANIAC recommends
multiplayer suggested settings _________________________________________________________________ *Extremely Important note: Changing most video settings -requires- closing the game completly and a restart for the changes you have made to take effect and the Shaders to rebuild with the new settings. __________________________________________________________________ *Disclaimer: The maximum settings possible are listed in the left column in the screenshot above. Running these MAX settings requires a very strong config and is just not possible for the majority of users. My suggested settings below reflect that, and users seeking the highest quality/performance levels will have to test for what will work best on their individual system configs _________________________________________________________________
The first option is the "Graphics Quality" setting
This is the "Auto Detect" and graphics settings preset feature selection function.
Auto Detect attempts to determine your hardware config, and setup the graphics settings accordingly.
LOW/MED/HIGH presets are all general overall settings presets. Custom allows user control of each setting.
For the purposes of this Guide, only users of very lowend GPU and CPU setups should try the LOW and MED presets...
*Everyone else will want to use the "Custom" preset and manually adjust their settings for the best Quality and Performance for their config as the presets will not do the job correctly. MANIAC suggests using the "CUSTOM" preset
The next setting is "Texture Quality"
This is one of the more important settings in running Battlefield 3 well.
The Frostbite2 engine uses a fixed "texture pool" scheme in addition to real time texture streaming. While the Texture Quality setting itself will not greatly effect framerate performance, it has a great impact on the use of VRAM and effects the available amount of Frame Buffer free space for streaming and other tasks. It also combines with other settings (like Mesh Quality) and can incur additional overhead costs when using the higher settings in VRAM/Framebuffer/Streaming.
Failure to properly configure this setting for your hardware performance levels can lead to stuttering even at high framerates, momentary cyclic fps slowdowns and a loss of texture streaming performance (IE popups, tearing and binding).
Luckly the differences between the Texture Quality presets is negligible at the High and Ultra settings..
While it is possible to use the Ultra Texture preset on videocards using less than 1.5gigs of VRAM it is NOT recommended as doing so places a much greater texture streaming load onto your overall system overhead.
The differences between the settings is most obvious between LOW and MED, seen side by side MED is clearly a improvement worth having and I recommend MED as the lowest setting that should be used.
The differences between High and Ultra are hard to spot even when looking for it, it is because of that lack of a clear difference, that I recommend that most users choose the HIGH preset.
Ultra can certainly be used by users with very powerful videocard setups, but the overhead is more effectively used elsewhere to improve the gaming experience. MANIAC recommends the HIGH Texture Quality setting *This is a setting to turn DOWN for testing, if you are suffering from performance issues or stuttering. Users of limited VRAM GPU configs and highly threaded CPUs, SSD users and users with limited PCIE lanes or a high count of connected USB devices can all suffer performance issues with this value set too high.
Next up is the SHADOW QUALITY setting
For the purpose of multiplayer fairness, the low setting is a sharp edged depthless version of all the other settings. The LOW setting should only be used by those who are having problems simply running the game above 30fps.
*Important note: The MEDIUM setting is to be -avoided- as there appears to be a bug causing objects (or players) to become defuse or render less clearly when in Shadow. Since the overhead difference is 2-3% from the HIGH setting, I recommend not to use the MED setting as it will place you at a disadvantage while gaming.
The High setting provides a great overall quality and can be matched well when using SSAO or HBAO.
The use of the ULTRA setting gives the best effects for multiplayer, but comes at a terrible overhead cost if you wish to turn on SSAO or HBAO, and should only be used by higher end SLI setups. MANIAC recommends the HIGH setting for Shadow Quality
The next setting is EFFECTS QUALITY
Again, for the purpose of multiplayer fairness the low setting is a chunky version of the same effects seen at Ultra, the biggest difference being that at higher settings the smoke and particles are much more realistic.
For users looking to gain some performance, LOW may not look as nice but its not a real gameplay disadvantage. For most users the setting of Medium or High is a matter of personal taste.
The Ultra setting does look very nice, if you have the horsepower but is costly if your going to enable SSAO or HBAO. MANIAC recommends the setting of HIGH for EFFECTS QUALITY
MESH QUALITY is the next setting
The MESH is the wire frame models used to build the objects in the game. As the settings increase so does the number and complexity inside of the wire framed models. In the interest of multiplayer fairness, the difference between LOW and Ultra is in the minor details (railings, windowframes, architectural fluff, ect) rendered at a distance and the overall smoothness on curves and rounded objects. LOW and MEDIUM have a slight effect on Draw Distance but little "first glance" quality reductions. High gives almost everything as the ULTRA setting but the finest details viewed at distance, and ULTRA gives the very best detail and highest draw distance quality. MANIAC rcommends using the HIGH setting for MESH QUALITY.
Next up is TERRAIN QUALITY
This setting controls the geometric complexity upon which everything in the game world is built upon or moving over.
*Important note: -only- DX11 cards are capable of displaying the HIGH and ULTRA presets. Users of DX10 only videocards should never attempt to set anything above the level of medium for TERRAIN QUALITY.
Using the setting of LOW can cause visable issues when moving across the map (small terrain pops and realignment) and for that reason should be avoided. For most users MED or HIGH are again a matter of taste not so much performance. The High and Ultra settings provide the very best quality as DX11 tessellation and displacement mapping are used. MANIAC recommends the HIGH setting for TERRAIN QUALITY
This setting controls objects placed onto the terrain, such as trees, rocks, grass, bushes etc.
In the interest of multiplayer fairness, large terrain objects cannot really be turned down. The low setting effects things like the amount of grass and often will cause objects to pop in or become denser as you move closer. The low setting is not recommened for anyone and MED to HIGH provide very nice quality. The ULTRA setting provides the very best quality and reduces pop in to almost nothing. MANIAC recommends the HIGH setting for TERRAIN DECORATION
This setting is where alot of users will see performance issues because of the confusion with the regular MSAA used in the past. In fact the x2MSAA and x4MSAA settings are NOT the real NVidia multisampling most users associate MSAA with.
Battlefield 3 does not use standard AA, MSAA or SSAA. It uses a custom made frostbite2 engine only version of Supersampling to detect and sample, and is very highly customized. For instance one would assume that maxing this setting would apply to all jagged edges in a scene, yet the DICE programmers (in order to improve performance) specifically exclude certain objects from detection like leaves, railings or wires.
Because of this "selective" use of antialising (when its the leaves, railings and wires I WANT to be smooth), the settings total overhead cost and the fact that the NVidia FXAA setting can do almost the same job quite well at a 40-50% reduction in overhead, for most users this setting should be set to OFF.
For higher end cards, SLI setups and all users with extra VRAM, adding x2MSAA and x4MSAA can certainly complement FXAA, but at a cost in the "haze effect" and FPS that most would dislike when gaming, and it will do little for the things that are really still jaggy, the leaves, bushes, railings and wires since they are excluded from sampling. MANIAC recommends that ANTIALISING DEFERRED be set to OFF *This setting should be set to OFF for testing, if you are suffering from performance issues or stuttering of anykind.
This setting is NVidia's FXAA. This newly developed method applies AA -after- a frame has been rendered and is very very efficient compared to older styles of AA. While it does have a few drawbacks using full frame sampling (the subtle haze effect) it still does a great job with a very low performance hit. For ALL users MANIAC recommends the HIGH setting for ANTIALISING POST *Note for highend users, using HIGH FXAA -and- MSAA can increase the "haze" effect and should be tested.
Motion Blur is a added effect that "blurs" a scene against forground objects like your gun when a player makes a fast motion like a snap turn. While the effect is cool and certainly adds to immersion and gives a cinematic feel when playing, it should really only be used for singleplayer. Enabling Motion Blur in multiplayer will cost you in distance target acquisition, seeing enemies peripherally and has a FPS performance hit when your in the mix and spinning for targets. MANIAC recommends setting MOTION BLUR to OFF
Many users confuse this setting with AA and think that higher settings will impact performance. That is not the case. For anyone using a Nvidia 8800 or better, this setting should be set to x16 as the setting increases the clarity of textures at distance as is vital to good target acquisition. MANIAC recommends the setting of x16 ANISOTROPIC FILTERING for all users
This setting refers to a way of introducing lighting shadows and reflections from "ambient" light sources.
While this setting has been used before by DICE in BFBC2, I am going to make a personal comment and say that the implementation of HBAO in Battlefield 3 is the very best example of the feature to date. While HBAO has a serious performance impact, it looks so good and has great enough gameplay advantages in BF3 that if your config has the horsepower, the HBAO setting should be used.
*note, the SSAO setting in BF3 is much much less dramatic and is NOT worth using for the performance cost. MANIAC recommends AMBIENT OCCLUSION be set to OFF for most users *This setting has a huge performance cost and should be weighed very carefully against your framerate. (MANIAC suggests using the HBAO setting if your config can support it, it's that good) _________________________________________________________________________________ The "CONTROLS" panel is self explanatory
The only known issues in this panel are the "Raw Mouse Input" setting and the "Vertical Flight" setting.
The "Raw Mouse Input" setting is designed to bypass the Windows HID device registers and funnel the mouse inputs directly to the BF3 game engine unaffected by any changes you might have made in your mouses behavior using the OS input device panel. *It is suggested to try turning this setting to OFF, as some users have reported that with the setting ON produces stuttering. Maniac suggests testing this setting for what works best for you
The "Vertical Flight" setting is what controls up/down when using a mouse. *This settting is what to change to invert your mouse flight controls ________________________________________________________________________________ The GAMEPLAY panel is also self explanatory
The only issue here is the "Allow Punkbuster" option, which should always be set to YES
______________________________________________________________________________________ Next up is the AUDIO sub panel
This panel is critical to enjoying the game properly -and- avoiding some overhead problems.
Incorrectly choosing the wrong settings for your audio device and its output, can severely effect the quality and positional data of the soundstage and in addition can cause serious performance drops and even game crashes.
Battlefield 3's Frostbite engine allocates a entire core/thread to the rendering of sound effects. As such, the need to match your audio devices output capabilities is critical. Mistakes or overeaching by attempting to set a higher level of quality than your output devices can handle, will simply use up CPU cycles and cause a loss of audio and soundstage (positional data) quality, and on lower end CPU configs will come with a cost in FPS performance. For users of onboard sound devices or USB outputs, incorrect audio settings can cause instablity, performance issues and crashing.
-Battlefield 3 contains 5.1 channel surround renders as its maximum quality output.- Anything higher is unsupported.
The available settings are: Your Speaker System (output) TV / Hi-Fi / Home Cinema / Headphones / War Tapes Enhanced Stereo Mode (engine feature) ON / OFF
___________________ TV Is for televisions (2.0) and Monitor speakers (2.0) of a lower wattage and super cheap desktop speakers.
The TV setting works best for those output devices, by reducing low end sounds on smaller speakers.
(Overhead cost=MED) Hi-Fi Is for 2.0 and 2.1 speaker systems with wattages above 10-15w, and high quality headphones.
The Hi-Fi setting works best for most mid range desktop speaker setups and headphones costing more than $100+.
(Overhead cost=MED) Home Cinema Is for higher end 5.1 speaker setups, and is the best gaming output BF3 can produce.
This setting should not be used without a true 5.1 channel speaker setup.
(Overhead cost=HIGH) Headphones This setting is for all headsets and most headphones (costing below $100)
This setting is perfect for most users and works even better with "Enhanced Stereo Mode" enabled with a high quality soundcard.
(Overhead cost=MED) War Tapes This is for DICE's idea of over the top battle sounds, its confusingly raw, massive and its loud.
War Tapes lacks a quality soundstage, but what it lacks in hearing your enemies correct location, it more than makes up for with booming, ripping and screaming action
It's the goto setting for showing off and just having fun if your not too serious a player.
(*Warning, this setting has the HIGHEST audio overhead requirements.) __________________ "Enhanced Stereo Mode" is a audio rendering feature in the game engine that attempts to "expand" the soundstage. This features effect can be quite dramatic if you have decent output devices.
(Overhead cost=MED) *I suggest users try out the ESM setting and use what works best for them __________________ **Please see the "Additional Tweaking Options" section for more details on Sound Devices and Device Drivers __________________
*Important note: There is a editable BF3 config file. *There is a custom file that can be created to "force" in-game console commands to run automaticly at game start. Example Config file These Battlefield 3 features will be covered extensively in the "Advanced Tweaking Options" section
<message edited by maniacvvv on Saturday, January 19, 2013 9:06 PM>