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EverQuest II Graphics Overview - Page 2 of 2

PERFORMANCE CATEGORY - CONTINUED

Within the Performance Category are configuration settings for Graphics Resolution, Lighting Resolution, Rendering Distance, and Complex Shader Distance.

GRAPHICS RESOLUTION

The Graphics Resolution setting determines the number of pixels that are rendered and has a noticeable effect on image quality. The setting ranges from a minimum of 0.500 to a maximum of 1.000 and its effects on image quality are demonstrated in the comparison below.

Graphics Resolution Comparison
Graphics Resolution - 1.000
Graphics Resolution - 0.900
Graphics Resolution - 0.750
Graphics Resolution - 0.500

Lowering the Graphics Resolution increases performance, which is shown in the following bar chart. However, the trade-off in image quality will typically limit the effectiveness of this setting to values of 0.900 and up.

Graphics Resolution Performance

RENDERING DISTANCE

In EverQuest II, the transition from day to night and back again is quite convincing. The screenshot in the following scene was taken at dusk and is used to illustrate the effect of the Rendering Distance setting.

Rendering Distance Comparison
Rendering Distance - 1000
Rendering Distance - 750
Rendering Distance - 500
Rendering Distance - 120

The Rendering Distance ranges from a low of 120 to a high of 1000 and determines the furthest distance at which objects will be drawn in the scene. In this particular scene, the Rendering Distance setting has a minor impact on performance. Similar results occurred when higher resolutions and different Performance Profiles were tested in this scene and others.

Rendering Distance Performance

COMPLEX SHADER DISTANCE

The Complex Shader Distance setting determines the distance when simplified shaders are used in lieu of advanced shaders. The setting ranges from a minimum value of -1, where shaders are disabled, to a maximum of 300.

Areas to pay attention to when cycling through the complex shader distance screenshots include the sky, the water, the waterfall, and the non-player character next to the stairs.

Complex Shader Distance Comparison
Complex Shader Distance - 300
Complex Shader Distance - 150
Complex Shader Distance - 10
Complex Shader Distance - 5
Complex Shader Distance - (-1)

Lowering the complex shader distance provides noticeable improvements in performance. Disabling this feature is recommended for systems that are struggling to maintain a playable frame rate.

Complex Shader Distance Performance

WIDESCREEN LETTERBOX

The Widescreen Letterbox slider control gives EverQuest II a cinematic look and will also increase the game's performance. The slider control ranges from minimum, which will remove the letterbox border, to maximum.

Widescreen Letterbox Comparison
Widescreen Letterbox - Minimum
Widescreen Letterbox - Medium
Widescreen Letterbox - Maximum

A drawback to using the letterbox effect is that textures lose a certain amount of clarity. This effect can be seen by closely examining the building and stairs while switching between the minimum and medium letterbox screenshots. However, this effect does eliminate most of the jagged edges in the scene and is similar to the effect of NVIDIA's Quincunx antialiasing.

Widescreen Letterbox Performance

WRAPPING UP

As time permits, I have been playing and experimenting with the display options in EverQuest II during the past three weeks. One feature that I appreciate is that changes to many of the graphics settings do not require the game to be restarted and will become active as soon as the change is applied. EverQuest II can also be run in a window and what is particularly impressive is that the switch between windowed and full-screen mode is extremely quick.

I have also experienced the "stuttering" effect that many other GeForce 68XX owners have been reporting in EverQuest II. ChrisRay and other forum members have posted a few workarounds that may alleviate the effect. The most effective workaround for me was to disable Fast Writes in the BIOS and in the ForceWare driver AGP applet, which can be enabled in NVTweak.

That wraps up this installment of our graphics overview of EverQuest II. Thanks for reading!

CHANGE LOG

This following is a list of changes that have been made to this preview since it was originally published:

  • January 8, 2005 - Initial publication.


  • January 12, 2005 - Page 1: Added Performance Profile frame rate bar chart.


  • January 15, 2005 - Page 2: Added page 2.

Return to nV News

Last Updated on January 15, 2005


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