Originally Posted by Gaco
I'm not quite sure where you're going at pony, I hope you elaborate later on when you learn more and I hope you can do a seperate characterization of the the different variables and their effect on visuals/performance
Ok basically what this guy was trying to do was make the whole lighting scheme more dramatic and after going from what I was initially playing through the game looking at to what I think may be a close to final revision on the whole HDR/SSAO value tweaking, he's right in that darker shadows do make a whole heluva lot of difference.
The new values I'm using make the shadows a little darker and the environment overall less washed out (if you could even call it that) but the screen shots speak for themselves.
Below are screen shots. One is original config and the other is my currently modified config and then 2 random screen shots using the current config that I just took becuase I think the buildings in particular look better with this new SSAO/HDR.
I know some of these are redundant. and there are still things I'm working on trying to improve
r_ssao_radius=0.1 the lower the better. the higher this number gets, the darker the shadows get. Try going from like .1 to 10 and you'll see.
r_ssao_quality=2 not a huge difference changing this but it does affect the way the shadows look that objects cast. I think 2 looks most realistic.
r_ssao_amount=.7 controls how much shadow effect happens in a way. similar to the radius but not the same effect. past a value of 1 and it starts looking un natrual dark. Too low and it's faded and washed out and shadows aren't as real looking
r_SSAO_darkening=0.6 kinda obvious but it controls how dark globally everything is relating to shadows. Anything past .6 or so looks way too dark and loses texture detail. Where this guy is pulling values over 3 from is beyond me. It looks horrible at anything over 1 and there is no FPS benefit at all.
r_TerrainAO_FadeDist=1 this defines how much shading you see from things like tress and vegetation. The higher the number, the less self shadowing the shrubs and vegetation produce. A value of 1 looks by FAR the best. No affect on FPS. The last 2 pictures in this thread illustrate a fadedist value of 1 and 10.
r_HDRlevel=.8 this one can be adjusted to suite your own tastes. Personally I prefer a little bit extra glow but that's just me. I think a value of .7 or .8 look best and anything past .9 or 1 will start to be too bright and bloomy and cartoon looking but under .6 or so and you won't get the nice sun shine reflection off shiny surfaces like your gun or metal siding and palm tree leaves. **EDIT** at night this level is too high and going back to the default level works best but during the day, the higher HDR levels look better.
r_TexturesStreaming=0 this one is been beaten into the ground at this point.
r_ColorGrading=1 leave as is for more real looking atmospheric colors
r_ShadowJittering=1 again, I leave as is
r_ShadowBlur=0 ok heres another personal preference. This controls how the shadows are blurred (duh). level 1 is sort of speckled and higher than that, it seems like the shadows look too fake. level 1 is ok but on the edge of the shadows you still get the little tiny speckles of black where they're trying to blend it into the surface of the texture or something. Setting this to zero just looks most real to me and it's directly correlated with the shadow texture size. see below
e_gsm_lods_num=4 HUGE performance killer/booster here but also makes a big impact on shadows. Essentially, this controls how near or far the shadows are drawn to you. A value of 4 (default) gives the best performance for what you get on screen ratio. Lowering the value to 3 will give you about 4 extra FPS but you'll now be able to see the shadows coming into view. On the other hand, cranking it to 5 or 6 was absolutely awesome on the eyes as it drew more and more tree self shadowing into the jungle and vegetation but the FPS took a massive nose dive.
e_shadows_from_terrain_in_all_lods=1 This has no real affect near you but when set to 1, will essentially draw shadows up on the mountain. A ridge will cast a shadow onto the mountain surface behind it. A must have and no impact on FPS.
r_UseEdgeAA=1 another highly discussed cvar. there is no performance difference on any values but I think at zero, it looks too thin and jagged and on 2, it's too fluffy. 1 is just right to me.
e_shadows_max_texture_size=1024 another big performance item I've discovered. Higher is not better with this. This controls the detail level of the shadows. an example of the 3 values of 768, 1024 and 2048 are shown below with the screenies. I think 2048 looks a little un natrual.. like the shadows are too well defined. Not real at all. On the other hand while, in the 768 screen shot, the low LOD of the leaf shadows does (to me) look most real life like, looking elsewhere, the shadows are big ugly blobs with no definition and I would have preferred to have the 768 near surface level of detail while having just less shadows period drawn on the ground for big long palmtree shadow, but I don't want to have to mess with that since 1024 is a great compromise between the two.
e_view_dist_ratio=60 draws more. I saw no performance hit in any of the areas I took screen shots... may be different in big sprawling locations
e_particles_lod=0.7 couldn't see any difference going from zero to 1 to 5, etc
e_vegetation_min_size=1.5 again, no real difference
e_view_dist_ratio_vegetation=60 draws more plants, cost 1 fps.
q_ShaderShadow=1 didn't mess with this one. I forgot.
r_EyeAdaptationBase=0.1 controls how quickly your eyes adjust to the HDR. the lower the number, the faster they adjust.
r_EyeAdaptationFactor=1 seems to be an off/on effect more or less. the lower the number, the less your eyes adapt to hdr. A value of 0 is full blast acid trip hdr bloom all over.
r_sunshafts = 1
r_UsePOM=0 This sucks up more resources than I thought. In some areas with muddy tire tracks, it ate up 5 fps. Yeah you can tell it's not being used when you stand still and look down at the ground but I don't think it's worth 5 fps when you're moving around the whole time... because you don't notice it not being on when you're actually moving but you DO notice the extra FPS from it being turned off.
All of these screen shots are my original config I was using vs ssao/shadow tweaking config (all listed above)
Shadow texture size comparision 768 -> 1024 -> 2048 Note the frame rates
r_TerrainAO_FadeDist First picture is default setting of 8 and second picture is value of 1 (low as it will go) Not the bushes in the far right.
My head hurts... I'll let all you guys play around with these settings and see what you think and let me know and we can all tweak from there. Remember that I did all these tweaks under 1 time of day lighting condition in 1 location so they could look worse or better depending on location or time of day.