Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Increasing Far Cry 3 PC Performance With A Few Tweaks

Far Cry 3 is a beautiful looking game but turning up to ULTRA DX11 settings killed my performance on my somewhat decent computer which at it's core is a I7 2600k clocked at 4.5ghz and a GTX 480.  Sure it's not top of the line but a capable system that eats up most games at their highest settings.  So I waded through the options available and found that shadows were the biggest culprit.  So there are two tweaks that I changed that would otherwise be a low 30 fps experience at ultra and increased my framerate to a consistent 50 fps which is much more playable at 1920x1200 resolution.
  • Turn off SSAO
  • Set shadows to HIGH
SSAO is usually a very nice looking graphical setting if implemented correctly but it looks downright ugly in Far Cry 3 because it sort of surrounds every object and human with an unnatural dark glow.  To turn SSAO off go into your documents folder and open GamerProfile.xml in notepad which is usually located in your C:\Users\profilename\my documents\my games\far cry 3\gamerprofile.xml and the variable you want to change is.
SSAOLevel="0"
By default it's set 1 but to turn it off you want to change it to 0. If the setting by chance doesn't save, you might have to set the file to read only after you change it.
The next tweak is to change shadow quality to High.  There is a big performance drop when you put shadows on Very High and Ultra. Almost taking a 10+ fps dip going from high to very high.  You sort of miss out on some soft shadows and whatnot but I personally prefer a higher framerate.  So with these tweaks the frame rate is better while you can keep every other graphical setting at their Ultra default and it becomes a much more playable experience.

 1920x1200 Ultra Settings - Shadows=High  SSAO=Off  51 FPS

1920x1200 Ultra Setting Default - SSAO=SSAO 38 FPS