WWIIOL Settings Guide
It's been done before by lots of people, including DOC, but here's my personal take on the settings. It's been done a million times....so instead of just telling you WHAT to set it to, I'm gonna try and explain exactly what everything does in detail, make a recommendation, and then you can try it out and test it for yourself....because I generally don't think there is one RIGHT setting for everything that works for everybody.
If you UNDERSTAND in detail what every setting does, you can try different choices yourself, and see how they work. For example, Because my hardware can handle it, I like to keep the settings fairly high rather than some other people....because I've tested and retested many different configurations and my current settings provide the best balance between graphics and framerate, and that is how my guide is tilted; balance between graphics and framerate.
I'm not a RAT, but I am a lifelong tweaker...and I've been playing WWIIOL for three years.
Click "Visual and Performance" because it is a very good starting point. We won't keep the options it sets, but we will use it as a middle point from which to adjust.
Video card: Some people may have more than one option here. Make sure that the actual name of your card is selected, and if you have more than one, that it is does not say "SECONDARY".
Resolution: If you have an LCD monitor, I strongly recommend you set this to the highest possible resolution. LCDs are different because they have "native" resolutions, and all other resolutions are sort of artificially "stretched" to fit. The highest resolution of your LCD monitor is your native resolution, and you will notice that games look MUCH sharper in this resolution. If you have a CRT monitor (a box), then the resolution is less important. I recommend going no lower than 1024x768; use it as a starting point, and adjust the other settings...then try a higher resolution and see if it's worth the FPS cost, if any.
No Frame Run Ahead: In my personal experience, having this checked seems to reduce "warpiness" and "laginess" of OTHER players as percieved on your screen. (Warpiness/laginess = You shoot an ei and then he stands there for one second, shoots you back, and then you both die.....or a tank turret skips ahead to the future and traverses to look right at you even though it was facing another direction a split second ago).
The setting seems to reduce FPS slightly, however I find it's worth it in the long-run. If warpiness is not an issue for you, then don't check this.
No Lock to Refresh: Most monitors have refresh rates between 60 and 85 hz (and higher). If the FPS of your video game exceeds your refresh rate, you might experience "tearing"....it's hard to describe but very noticable for some people. Basically it's like a minor discrepancy in two halves of your screen as your monitor refreshes and you move to the next frame...
This setting MIGHT aleviate that by capping your FPS at whatever your monitor refresh rate is (also known as "V-SYNC").
If you check this, and your refresh rate is 60, your FPS will never go above 60. I personally prefer to leave this unchecked; you will generally gain performance on average, and there is no limit to your FPS (I sometimes go up to 100+)....supposedly the human eye can't notice the difference, but I've always felt that if I have 90 FPS and my enemy has 60, that extra FPS might mean the difference between life and death....thought that's just purely my point of view.
Sound Card: Make sure the actual name of your sound card is selected, and not "Primary Sound Driver". The name of your sound card may be followed by a short series of numbers.
Sound Options: It's self-explanatory in the settings- 3D sound is better quality, and will give you better situational awareness, at the cost of FPS. 2D sound is lower quality, less SA, but you may gain performance. Obviously this depends on your hardware....I would say definitely choose 3D sound to begin with, and only if you think you need the FPS, switch to 2D sound.
Maximum sounds: It can be very important to be able to hear what's happening around you. If you've ever seen a tank shooting an MG but not heard the MG go off, this is probably why. Generally I recommend either 32 or 64. 32 was long considered a "medium" sound setting, and 64 a "high" setting. This does affect FPS. I would start with 64 (because it is important for survival)...and as before, play the game, and if you think you don't need it, try 32 (although not recommended). If you can REALLY afford to lose FPS, try 128...though I personally find it an unecessary loss of FPS because you rarely need to hear that many individual sounds (and if you do, they'll usually either be far away, or it'll be the MG of one of the fifty tanks that's camping your barracks).
Gnasche Edit:If you have too many 3D sounds enabled in WWII Online Settings, then it will dramatically eat away your CPU power. You should check the specifications of your soundcard to know what your maximum settings are. Soundblaster Live cards can handle 32, while all Audigy cards can handle 64.
Ambient sounds: Only for immersion purposes. Set to infrequent for realism. As far as I can tell, it does not affect performance, but the "ambient" sounds are part of the "Maximum" number we just set, so they may replace sounds of shooting etc on the battlefield (rarely).
Clear Viewport: "This option reduces visual anomalies by clearing the z-buffer for each frame. This can be unchecked and to reduce the time required and video driver cycles used to create each frame. This could yield a small performance increase."
You know how sometimes you're flying and you see the horizon looks like square tiles on the edge of the sky? Clear viewport addresses that, and other issues overall to some degree. Generally recommended to leave on.
Shadow Size: NONE!!!! You don't need them! They're totally unnecessary. Wait until CRS employs a better shadow rendering method. In the mean-time, the shasows are just FPS hogs and I personally see no difference in realism with them on or off. To be frank, the shadows were designed with ancient technology, and in fact a great many aspects of the game have totally exceeded them in the years of dev work on this game. I tend to look at the shadows as leftovers of 2001.
In fact, I think CRS should disable them all together to stop certain people from doing certain exploits, but that's another story.
View Distance: Though it's been claimed this can cause drastic changes in FPS, I have personally found VERY little framerate difference between the far and near settings, though this will vary from system to system. You can change this at any time in the game with the F10 key, so experiment with it. If you can afford it, keep it at distant (far), otherwise use medium (far) (very little visual difference). I don't recommend going any lower than that.
Bullet Holes: Immersion and possible gameplay enhancement (you can see where shots land...though technically they're not landing there). This is personal preference obviously....32 or 64 are good options, with 64 being recommended.
Suppress.... : These are pretty self-explanatory, and will give you performance boosts if checked. Experiment with each, though I recommend leaving "Suppress Muzzle Light" UNCHECKED because it is part of your situational awareness and survival.
LOD... : The first setting alters the LOD of images within your field of view, meaning that if a tank is in front of you, it will appear at a higher LOD than a tank behind you (that you can't see), rather than using a general radius. This may cause blocky-looking or poor quality LODs that will switch in front of you to sometimes appear when you turn or look around. Checking this will improve your FPS: It is recommended if you're struggling for FPS, not recommended if you can do without it.
The second setting limits the number of objects, visible and non-visible, which are affected by the first setting (only applies if you have the first setting checked), and I *think* it attempts to correct the issue of transitioning low quality LODs. I recommend that if you have the first setting checked, also check this setting.
Visual / Visual Limits
Dithering: Dithering only applies to people running at 16bit color depth (as was selected in your resolution option in the Video tab). If you run 16bit, leave it checked. If are running 32bit, I recommend that you UNCHECK it for a slight overall performance increase.
I repeat, if you are running 32bit color depth, this setting is USELESS for you.
Texture reduction: This setting generally affects the texture LODs of all objects in the game so that they look poorer quality at shorter distances. Checking it will improve your FPS. Some people may not even notice the image quality difference, but I definitely notice it, and I recommend leaving this setting UNCHECKED unless you are struggling for FPS.
Anti-Aliasing: This smooths out the edges of all objects in the game to remove "jaggies", or ugly jagged edges that are natural in 3D rendering in games. I tend not to notice the jagged edges, though they are noticable in iron sights for rifles. This setting comes at the cost of a significant amount of FPS, but if you have a good system, experiment with it.
I recommend leaving it unchecked, it is generally not worth the cost of fps.
Specular / Multi-Texture... : Leave these both checked, unless you are EXTREMELY EXTREMELY EXTREMELY desperate for FPS; the image quality will be significantly reduced.
Water: Most decent modern systems with up-to-date video card hardware can run the water shaders, and they are definitely an awesome piece of eye-candy, though they come at the cost of FPS. If you can afford the FPS, check "Enable Shaders", as I think the eye-candy is worth the cost, but if you can't spare the FPS, set it to disabled. Note that some video cards may not be able to use the shaders at all.
Visible player limit: This all has to do with CPU, not really video card. If your CPU is 3ghz or more, I recommend setting it to high (important for situational awareness and survival). If your CPU is less than 3ghz, set it to medium.
This is becoming an important setting these days, as brigade play has made battles bigger, with more players concentrated in an area.
Sadly, it does have a big impact on FPS, and even if you have a 3ghz CPU, you may not think it's worth the FPS loss. If you have the hardware, I recommend setting it to high and instead lowering other settings to compensate if you really need FPS.
Radial Clutter: Personal prefence has a lot to do with it, but I personally like the radial clutter a lot. It can help make the terrain look less like "golf fields" and much more realistic, IMO. Some people hate it...go figure. Radial clutter does have significant FPS impacts at higher levels.
For overall balance I recommend keeping the "Density" low and the "Radius" high. For a good performance balance, try the "Density" at about the third notch, and the radius at about the fifth notch.
Better hardware can tolerate more, but generally keep the radius higher than the density, it will look great and cost you less FPS.
For immersion, I do not recommend you turn it off unless you are absolutely struggling for FPS.
Distance... : Always move the sliders so that both move at the same time. By moving the "high detail distance slider" to the right, the "low detail distance" slider moves right, and vice versa. These set how far away from you the trees will stop being 3D and change into 2D (which with the current trees is pretty noticable...the 2D LOD of the new 1.19.5 trees is of better quality, IMO)
Keeping the sliders in the dead center is a good trade-off on image quality and FPS. For realism and immersion, I like to set the sliders as far right as possible, and I recommend you do the same...as far right as possible until the FPS loss is unacceptable...everyone will have a different drop-off point.
Tree Resolution: If you have an Nvidia card, you can set this to enhanced for higher quality, sharper looking trees at close range. After testing I did not notice an FPS difference whether it was on or off, but I assume that this setting does influence FPS. If do not have an NVIDIA card, this setting might be available anyway, but if you check it, it will have no effect.
Vertex Shaders: As with the water shaders, up-to-date video cards will be able to handle this, and the vertex shaders are worth it for the eye-candy. If you are absolutely gasping for FPS, uncheck this setting and you will notice an FPS increase. Note that you may not be able to enable the shaders at all if your video card does not support them.
Render Options: It is pretty self-explanatory, but I was confused about the performance impact of this setting in the past, and did a few experiments. I personally noticed no discerbable FPS difference whatsoever, but that will change depending on your hardware. It seems to me that in general it would usually be better to have SYSTEM RAM selected, and I strongly recommend you have it checked, no matter what your hardware is. I believe selecting the Video RAM may possibly cause CTDs, though I have no evidence of that.
The size of your system RAM will almost certainly exceed the size of your video ram, and though the video RAM may be faster, memory space and availablity is very important for a game like WWIIOL, and your video RAM would be better served by being totally devoted to the other parts of WWIIOL rather than share another burden with the system RAM.
Recommend leave at System RAM, unless you have a monster video card with 256+mb of vram (in which case you may see an FPS boost, I think).
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