Wing Commander Saga

[Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

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[Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby GODzilla » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:43 pm

.

Today, while trying to get antialiasing (AA) working in the game, I noticed something odd. I followed the official recommendation in the WCSA-readme which says to get AA working via driver. The latest AMD Catalyst comes with the feature to automatically activate certain settings automatically, when you point it at the game exe, called "3D application settings".

However, this does not seem to work properly for Wing Commander Saga. I figured I might let everyone know who tried this and got negative results, because it is not the AA not working, but rather the "3D application settings" feature of the driver. :(

I tried to point it to a) the launcher, or b) the exe and even tried c) the batch file I use to start both the game and Xpadder at the same time. Everytime the driver failed to recognize the game and thus did not activate AA or any other special driver setting I setup for WCSA. :x

Bottom line: You have to do it manually! :!:

Meaning you have to adjust the general driver settings and leave them be, then start the game and return them to normal when you exit the game.


There is another driver feature that might make this a little more comfortable though. It's the second-upper option in the Catalyst sidebar, probably called "Presets". There you can define driver presets and add a button shortcut to it.


For example:

Set everything to normal; settings to where you'd like to have them for the average game or on the windows desktop. Then go to "Presets" and click "Add Preset". Assign a name, for instance "Normal". Then scroll down and assign a button-shortcut, for instance "Alt" and "F1". So everytime you press Alt + F1 on the desktop (Catalyst interface does NOT need to be open for this to work) the driver is set to "Normal".

Now for WCSA change the settings. I set mine to "4x" for the "SMOOTHVISION HD: Anti-Aliasing", with the "Filter" set to "Edge" detect. I also setup "SMOOTHVISION HD: Anisotropic Filter" to "8x". Then I went back to the Preset-tab, clicked "Add Preset", named it "4x Edge-AA 8x Aniso" and assigned the buttons "Alt" and "F2". Now everytime I press Alt + F2 driver is setup for these settings, which will work in WCSA. LIKE A CHARM! :)


Hint: This does not work ingame / not "on the fly" so to speak. You have to do it before you start the game (or any application) and then reset to normal (Alt + F1) after exiting the game.


Be careful: Some driver settings in combination with the above two for AA and Anisotropic filter made my game lock-up on two occasions. It was either the manually set V-Sync or the OpenGL triple buffering. You don't necessarily need the first setting and the second is not important, so just leaving these two as it / disabled should be okay. ;)



Feel free to add your own tipps.
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby Herr_Koos » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:06 am

I added AA via the Catalyst profiles and it seemed to work, although I've removed the profile again since VSync was stuck to "On", causing some bad stuttering. I will play with it again later to see if the AA can be enabled this way.

Also, I had the same crashing problem with VSync/Triple buffering. I suspect Triple buffering is the culprit, since VSync by itself works fine, it just slows the game down.
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby GODzilla » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:17 am

I see. Thanks for your inout. :)

Where did you aim the driver exactly? To the launcher or the game exe? Also, are you sure it works? When I thought it worked at first, I suffered from a stupid...placebo-effect. :D Then when I activated it manually it was a difference like day and night.
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby Herr_Koos » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:30 am

GODzilla wrote:I see. Thanks for your inout. :)

Where did you aim the driver exactly? To the launcher or the game exe? Also, are you sure it works? When I thought it worked at first, I suffered from a stupid...placebo-effect. :D Then when I activated it manually it was a difference like day and night.


At the exe. You are quite right, I may have been suffering from the same "placebo" effect! I will play a mission or two as is and then try enabling AA again to see if the driver method really works.
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby GODzilla » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:53 pm

Some screesnhots before and after:

BEFORE -------------------------------------------------------------- AFTER

Image --- Image

Image --- Image

Image --- Image


It's much more noticeable ingame, because the edges mostly stop flickering when AA is enabled. :)
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby Herr_Koos » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:07 pm

Does it make enough of a difference in-game to be worth the effort? I'm not sure I'd notice the tiny jagged edges on a Dralthi while chasing it at 500+ klicks/h... :-)
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby GODzilla » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:16 pm

Herr_Koos wrote:Does it make enough of a difference in-game to be worth the effort? I'm not sure I'd notice the tiny jagged edges on a Dralthi while chasing it at 500+ klicks/h... :-)


The game is beautiful imho. That's why I set up my controls on the keyboard in a way to easily change the camera to outside view, or target view. So in the more calm situations during a mission I do exactly that. And that's where the antialiasing truly shines. :)

The only other situation where you would obviously notice it is the flight deck. With all the crossing steel work the flickering edges are very noticeable. With antialiasing it's almost completely gone. Plus you see it with the landing-stripe texture, which stays sharper in the distance with anisotropic filter enabled. :)

Lastly, I got no performance hit whatsover. I haven't been in a really big battle so far, so I have to wait and see if AA is performance factor in the end. But for now it's a nice bonus with no disadvantages. ;)
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby Herr_Koos » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:22 pm

Good to know. The games seems very easy on graphics hardware, which is understandable considering the age of the FS2 engine. It does chew a single CPU core quite heavily though (the other three are just idling...). I was hoping that I could take some load off the CPU by switching on more eye-candy.

Anyhow, I will probably give it another go tonight.
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby GODzilla » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:27 pm

CPU stress will most likle always stay the same, no matter the amount of eye-candy. My quadcore (Intel Q9550) seems to fare quite okay, maybe it runs even better on those newer cpus that are capable to clocking one core considerably higher for single-core applications.

But since I only need a stable 60 fps (v-sync is essential, otherwise my display shows tearing) at best it should be okay. As I said, though, bigger battles are yet to come. Being an old engine can be a disadvantage too, when it comes to scaling, LOD and such.

Big battles, with a polycount far exceeding what the developers originally intended, can slow down a game significantly, while a potential modern-day equivalent of the engine could do the scene with fluid fps.

...pah, who needs a modern engine anyway...*can't stop looking at the arrow modell* :D
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Re: [Tipps] For setting up antialiasing with ATi

Postby Herr_Koos » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:38 am

OK, I can now confirm that pointing the Catalyst profile at the .exe does NOT work. I tried your preset approach and it works beautifully, so well done!

I vote this thread get stickied or that the method gets added to a list of tips for ATi/AMD users.
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