GFX settings and their meaning?

GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby forum » 27 Jul 2020, 21:29

Hello!

Is there a webpage where the different GFX settings, their meaning, and maybe even their limitations with regard to hardware requirements are explained?

I find it rather hard to tune them without really understanding their impact and the look in the game on the one hand site and which of them need especially high hardware power (CPU, GPU, or even both).

As I commented also on GitHub, I wonder whether in the future there could maybe be an "auto-adust" function that puts all GFX settings to their respective optimum while keeping a playable FPS. I have seen this e.g. in Riptide GP 2 and Riptide GP Renegade (works nice on Amazon's Fire TV).

By the way, what is the minimum FPS for an enjoyable game? Is 25 FPS enough?

I have observed that with the same GFX settings, some tracks are great and some others not really playable due to too low FPS. Would it make sense to add a track category that shows how complex/demanding a track is? (e.g. number of tris, or different Tris groups)
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby QwertyChouskie » 27 Jul 2020, 22:45

Some of these features are covered here: https://supertuxkart.net/Antarctica:_Overview

But here's a more complete list (performance costs are anecdotal, and vary depending on factors such as hardware used, GL/GLES build. etc.):

Advanced pipeline: Lighting, shininess, etc. Disabling this causes STK to use a very basic renderer that basically just shows the textures as-is, though this can significantly improve performance on very low-powered hardware.
Shadows: Pretty self-explanatory here, enabling this renders dynamic shadows. Medium-high performance cost.
Bloom: Creates a bloom/lens flare effect around bright light sources. High performance cost.
Light shaft: Renders the sun and the related lens flare effect when looking at it. Low performance cost.
Ambient Occlusion: Makes crevices/etc. dark. High performance cost.
Depth of field: Creates a Bokeh (blur) effect on distant objects. Medium-high performance cost.
Glow: Provides an outline effect on collectibles (Gift boxes, bananas, Nitro cans, gum, etc.), often making them easier to spot. Low performance cost.
Anti-aliasing: Avoids aliased lines when rendering. Low-medium performance cost.
Motion Blur (Unintuitively) Enables a radial blur effect when you activate a speed boost. Low performance cost.
Image-based Lighting: Causes metallic objects to reflect a texture rather than just a solid color. On desktop (a.k.a. non-GLES) builds, also enables Screen-space Reflection. Low (GLES) / medium (GL) performance cost.
Light scattering: The air around a light will glow. Performance cost largely dependent on how many lights a track has.
Animated characters: Whether karts/etc. have their animations enabled. Very low performance cost.
Texture compression: Compresses textures on the GPU. Enabling can improve performance (especially on iGPUs), though at the cost of slightly reduced texture quality.
Particle effects: Enables or disables various particles. Very low performance cost.
Rendered image quality: Unintuitively, this many controls the quality of textures (anisotropic filtering, maximum texture size, mipmapping quality, etc.)
Geometry detail: Enables or disables rendering of various extraneous objects. To ensure no issues when playing online, this option only takes effect when playing offline. Low performance cost.
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby eltomito » 27 Jul 2020, 23:46

Lemme chime in on this. I got a really shitty computer (i5-2340m, onboard gfx) and I can only play STK with the advanced pipeline off. I was thinking if it would make sense to introduce a mode where the game is rendered into a frame half the size of the screen and then zoomed to your actual screen size. It would look a little blocky but hopefully, it would render faster and still allow you to play Black Forest online. Does it make sense or is it feces of a bovine male?
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby QwertyChouskie » 28 Jul 2020, 01:13

Actually, there is a such option, it's just hidden in config.xml. It's called "scale_rtts_factor", I have mine set at 0.7 (70%), it lets me play with maxed out graphics on most maps on my UHD 620 iGPU at 1080p.

Also, you could upgrade to a 3rd-gen i7 for about 50 bucks (e.g. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Core-i7- ... SwQJ9e6Q5J for a laptop or https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Core-i5- ... SwAbBe8nzV for a desktop). Just make sure you update your BIOS before installing the new chip. Also, make sure you have a dual-channel RAM config (two identical RAM chips), iGPUs need this for decent performance. :)
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby forum » 28 Jul 2020, 09:19

Thank you so much for all these very useful hints! I will try the different config on my little box ("GigaByte" with Intel Pentium Silver J5005 CPU with 4x 1.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, and iGPU Intel UHD 605).

Until now, I could play with the advanced pipeline, but with the detailed boxes ticked off, only (else, performance was very bad).

And still, sometimes, when I fire a plunger ahead, the display almost completely turns to light blue (heaven?) and back to normal after a few seconds. This never happens when firing the plunger backwards.

Maybe this gets better with the settings described by you.
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby forum » 28 Jul 2020, 10:38

sorry, double-post
Last edited by forum on 28 Jul 2020, 12:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby forum » 28 Jul 2020, 11:17

A footnote says to restart for changed settings to take effect. Does this apply to all GFX settings? If only for some, I do not see the asterisk of the footnote at any of the GFX settings.

When setting scale_rtts_factor to <1, do I also have to change the resolution? My max. resolution (on the connected TV) is 1920x1080. I will try scale_rtts_factor = 0.6. Do I then have to turn the resolution also down by that factor?

Specific questions for STK under Windows 10:
How do I know if my iGPU uses GLES?
Any recommendations about vertical sync?


PS:

What is the meaning of the different FPS numbers (when enabled) shown in the top left corner? Which one should I pay most attention to?

Should I reduce the max_fps from 120 to e.g. 25? Would that help to increase performance or quality?

Similar for max_texture_size: reduce from 512 to e.g. 256?
(remember that my iGPU is not very performant)


PS2:

Setting scale_rtts_factor = 0.6 increases performance a lot and quality is still ok.
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby QwertyChouskie » 28 Jul 2020, 19:07

Setting scale_rtts_factor is an alternative to reducing resolution (it reduces the rendering resolution of the 3d world while rendering the GUI at full resolution), you don't need to do both. As for GL vs GLES, if you are using a desktop build of STK, it's GL, while Android/iOS (and also desktop builds for ARM, e.g. RPi) use GLES. The FPS values are min/current/max, e.g. 23/36/41 would mean that the current FPS at that moment is 36, but it went as low as 23 and as high as 41. Changing max_fps is generally not recommended except for special circumstances.
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby forum » 28 Jul 2020, 22:09

Thank you very much! :)
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby Calinou » 19 Sep 2020, 14:52

QwertyChouskie {l Wrote}:Setting scale_rtts_factor is an alternative to reducing resolution (it reduces the rendering resolution of the 3d world while rendering the GUI at full resolution),


Would you accept a pull request that exposes it in the graphics options menu as a "Render Scaling" option? For instance, it could accept values between 25% and 100% by increments of 5%. (Unless it uses nearest-neighbor filtering, in which case it can only accept 25%, 33%, 50% and 100% to avoid artifacts.)
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby forum » 19 Sep 2020, 21:07

Thank you for this good idea, which I favour, too, over editing a file. ;)
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby QwertyChouskie » 25 Sep 2020, 02:51

There's a PR open for mobile (Android/iOS): https://github.com/supertuxkart/stk-code/pull/4358
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Re: GFX settings and their meaning?

Postby forum » 25 Sep 2020, 07:51

Thanks for the reminder about the PR. I have both desktop and mobile (phone, tablet, Fire TV) to test, if that helps. What can I do?
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