Developed by Avalanche Studios and released in 2010 by Square Enix, Just Cause 2 is an action adventure video game and sequel to the 2006 video game Just Cause. The game received positive reviews as the PC version achieved an average score of 84% on Metacritic.
Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2 uses the Avalanche Engine 2.0, which is an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The PC version runs on Windows and DirectX 10 and supports several features and special effects such as Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) and soft shadows. Later NVIDIA-based graphics cards support enhanced water simulation and stereoscopic 3D.
Based on sales reports ending March 31, 2010, Just Cause 2 had sold over 1.4 million copies worldwide.
Advanced Display Settings
The advanced display settings in Just Cause 2 support a blend of modern graphics techniques such as SSAO, Bokeh Filter and GPU water simulation. SSAO is a real-time rendering technique to approximate ambient occlusion, which approximate the way light radiates. It was originally developed by Vladimir Kajalin while working at Crytek and was used for the first time in the 2007 Windows game Crysis.
Advanced Display Settings
SSAO is implemented as a pixel shader and the scene depth buffer is stored in a texture. Ambient occlusion is a global method meaning illumination at each point is a function of other geometry in the scene. For every pixel on the screen, the pixel shader samples the depth values around the current pixel and tries to compute the amount of occlusion from each of the sampled points. The occlusion factor depends on the depth difference between the sampled point and current point.
Desert Sunrise - In-Game Default Display Settings
In photography, Bokeh is the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image. Bokeh is often visible around small background highlights, like specular reflections and light sources. However, Bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of an image.
Desert Sunrise - In-Game Maximum Display Settings
In PC graphics, the Bokeh Filter is a shader affect used to give a depth of field affect, which basically blurs objects and lights at distance. The original scene does not get altered as the filter is basically added on top of the scene.
Test System and Graphics Settings
The following table lists the key PC system components that were used to benchmark Just Cause 2.
Test System Components
Intel Core i7 940 Quad Core @2.93GHz
6GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 @1333MHz
Graphics Procesing Unit
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
Windows 7 Professional x64
As depicted below, various in-game display settings were used during benchmarking such as objects detail, Bokeh lens effects and antialiasing. This type of benchmarking can help identify a particular display settings affect on performance.
The Desert Sunrise map was used for benchmarking. A video of the fly-by appears below.
Desert Sunrise Benchmark
Note that Fraps was used to obtain the minimum frame rate as the in-game benchmark only provides the average frame rate.
At the in-game default setting, which includes 4x MSAA, the average frame rate on the GeForce GTX 680 was 101 frames per second (fps). Turning on high shadow resulted in a minimal impact on performance and it wasn't until very high objects detail was used that performance was impacted sharply; down to 77 fps. To vary the impact on performance, objects detail includes low, medium, high, and very high settings.
Just Cause 2 Performance
Moving down to the last advanced display setting, using Bokeh Filter took a second hit on performance as the average frame rate dropped to 57 fps and the minimal frame rate was a respectable 46 fps under the Desert Sunrise benchmark. At this point, all options under the advanced display settings were enabled. A 10 minute game play through the initial level resulted in an average of 55 fps and a minimum of 33 fps.
In addition to 4x MSAA, Just Cause 2 also supports higher levels of antialiasing and those benchmark results appear below. The impact of antialiasing is noticeable although not too severe.
Just Cause 2 Antialiasing Performance
For increased antialiasing performance, the Bokeh Filter can be disabled or the resolution lowered. The Bokeh Filter works well, and areas that are out of focus are impacted, but the filter itself comes down to a personal preference.
Just Cause 2 is a desirable game to measure graphics performance as it features an in-game benchmark, which offers repeatable results. Used to test DirectX 10 compatibility, Just Cause 2 was first used in our GeForce GTX 480 First Look back in March of 2010. At that time, the GeForce GTX 480 only managed an average frame rate of 37 fps at 2560x1600 with the in-game default display setting. This type of performance increase indicates just how powerful NVIDIA's flagship single-based GPU GeForce GTX 680 is.