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AMD Catalyst Control Panel (CCC) Settings to make ISI / RFactor Engine Based Games BEAUTIFUL

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I have noticed over the years that getting ISI based games to look great while using AMD graphics cards is very straightforward and always follows the exact same formula....

 

NOTE:  If you don't feel like reading everything below then just basically make sure the in-game/game config AA is set to none/0x, and in your AMD graphics card's control panel set AA to override app settings, with 2x, 4x or 8x, and type being supersampling.  The key here is supersampling.

A. Anti-Aliasing Mode - Override Application Settings - Unlike most games, make sure to disable all game controlled Anti-Aliasing and leave it up to your graphics card's control panel.

B. Anti-Aliasing Samples - 2x, 4x, or 8x - 8x will most likely kill your framerate (supersampling AA method, see "D" below) even on new hardware and an older sim, but looks pretty much perfect. Everything, and I mean everything is sharp, clear, clean, defined. Fences, trees, painted lines on the ground, leaves, poles, wires, even when they are far off in the distance all look great, like a photoshopped/edited picture but in live gameplay motion of course :).  It makes, for example, Toban at RFactor 1 (w/ high res texture mods) look beautiful and real. Don't worry though because 4x is a VERY good compromise. 4x gives you much more frames and less slowdowns than 8x but it is very, very close to the image quality of 8x. 2x gives even more frames and is what I mostly use because I play with triple monitors and like frame rates to be between 90 & 120. Unlike the IQ of 4x which is hardly a reduction in IQ compared to 8x, 2x does see a noticeable decrease in IQ and you do start noticing the jaggies. I would always though, 100%, rather have 2x supersampling over even 16x or 32x non-supersampling (multisampling or adaptive multisampling) in most ISI based sims, see option "D" below for the reason why.

 

NOTE:  Experimented tons with quality versions of AA for each respective AA sample amount, for ex. 4xEQ instead of 4x, doesn't do much, if anything, for ISI engine IQ.

 

C. Filter - Standard - Experimented tons with edge-detect, doesn't do anything for ISI engine IQ, regardless of AA mode.

D. Anti-Aliasing Method - Supersampling - The image quality of ISI's engines hardly improve when using regular multi-sample AA even if you're using something insane like 16x or 32x, and unlike most DX9 games the adaptive AA setting (I believe NVidia calls this Transparency AA) hardly improves the image quality as well. This is where Super-sampling AA comes to the rescue, and boy does it ever. The problem with non-supersampling is that many of the things on screen don't get affected by your AA, so even setting the amount of samples to 10000x wont do anything because certain objects/things on screen are just not affected by the AA, period. Supersampling is different because it doesn't care about what's on screen, it affects the entire picture. It uses a technique where it sort of upscales the entire image to a higher resolution and that's why everything looks incredible with supersampling, but also why it kills frames especially with 8x.

 

NOTE: Raceroom Racing Experience doesn't seem as dependant on supersampling AA in order to get a clean picture as other ISI engine based games. Simbin seem to have worked the ISI engine in RRRE very nicely in terms of getting a pretty clean picture while not using supersampling.

 

E. Morphological Filtering - Off - AMD's version of FXAA. Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of post processing forms of AA. They are POST-processing which means they affect the image after it's already been drawn so they don't really "talk" to the game much and therefore they affect and blur out entire objects/surfaces and textures themselves. FXAA in Battlefield 3 at 1080p turns the ground from insanely sharp, detailed and beautiful to looking like a blurry, console, low resolution, game from 2005. I might as well just buy a console or turn down my game's resolution to 800x600 if I am going to be using FXAA/Morph AA. SMAA is the only one that seems "intelligent" to not affect textures too much while still getting rid of jaggies, but it has to be "injected" with Radeon Pro and can be picky depending on the game you're using, settings, etc. Some games that have badly designed AA programming, and are too intensive to use supersampling AA with, do need a bit of FXAA/Morph AA though. For example, the FXAA in BF3, I still have to keep it on "Low", (1 tick from off) rather than off like I really want to, because BF3 is like RFactor, you can use 10000X regular AA but some things like power lines and many other things just don't get affected by the regular AA mode. Also, if you don't mind/don't notice the lower IQ of FXAA/Morph AA then, for the most part, it is a great and extremely efficient way (fps wise) of getting rid of jaggies. I imagine in a racing sim, as opposed to a shooter, that you would hardly notice or care for blurred textures if it means getting rid of jaggies without having to resort to frame-per-second killing supersampling.

F. Anisotropic Filtering Mode - ...

1. Use Application Settings - Set it in-game for the sims that have that option like RFactor 1, RFactor 2 and sims based on those engines (ex. Game Stock Car 2013, ARCA Simracing, Simulador Turismo Carretera, Formula Truck 2013, etc.)

2. Override Application Settings - For sims based on an older/custom version of ISI's engine with no in-game AF setting (ex. GTR2, GT Legends, Race 07 series, possibly RRRE, etc.).

G. Anisotropic Filtering Level - Use Application Settings unless if "F" (above) is set to 2 then use 16x or 8x. In some games 8x may give a boost in frames while hardly being a reduction in IQ from 16x. I can rarely notice a difference in far off angled texture sharpness/blurriness (ex. the ground as it gets further and further away from you) between 8x and 16x, but the reason I keep it on 16x is because most games nowadays get like literally a 2 fps improvement when going from 16x to 8x so if that's the case then I might as well max the IQ. There are rare exceptions though, there is a sim (not ISI/RFactor based) that, to my surprise, receives some pretty large gains in fps when going from 16x to 8x, and even from 8x to 4x. Real rare though but it happens.

H. Texture Filtering Quality - High Quality...

I. Surface Format Optimizations - Off...

- My OCD makes me always put these to their highest IQ settings for just about all games, period (unless there's a special circumstance for a specific game, which I don't know of any as of now). However, don't be shy in experimenting. You may not notice IQ reduction and may notice fps improvements from changing those settings to "Standard"/"Performance" and "On".

The last 4 options are for vsync, openGL, and tessellation. Pretty much leave vertical refresh to "Off, unless application specifies" as the game itself should handle vsync on/off unless a special circumstance makes you need to force it from the control panel (very rare). OpenGL triple buffering I leave to default Off, but it's mostly irrelevant as the setting only affects OpenGL based games while most games (including just about every race sim out there) are DirectX based. The 2 tessellation options I actually keep on "Use application settings" instead of the default "AMD Optimized". It won't make a difference to almost any current racing sim, but for any games and benchmark programs that do use some tessellation I like to just use the pure/raw way the tessellation was designed in-game, without any graphics card control panel driver "optimizations" going on.

NOTE FOR RFACTOR 2 USERS: When using supersampling AA you can go ahead and disable Transparency AA in your PLR file in order to save some FPS. Supersampling AA takes care of all this, so using both offers no image quality benefits while still slightly negatively affecting your FPS (post #4 HERE confirms this, includes pics. Thanks Prodigy). Go into your PLR file and make sure the specific line says "Set Transparency AA=0" (you want it to equal "0" so it's disabled), then save. Make sure you remember to re-enable it (set it back to equal "1") if you decide to not use supersampling, or else your trees, fences, crowds, etc. will look much worse. Aside from disabling this while using supersampling AA in order to save some FPS, this should otherwise always be enabled.

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I have been running supersampling since a few years back when I had a 6850 (or was it a 6870?).  Then with a 6990, 6970, crossfire 6950s, trifire 6950s, and currently with a 7970.  Just waiting for a 4x Displayport R9 290 / 290x to come out, getting really frustrated that there isn't one yet.  Really want to sell my ASUS 7970 Matrix Platinum and upgrade, don't know whats taking forever.

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AHA a frustrated PC mechanic  :ugeek:, I think I'll wait on the R290's to come down in price before entering the next gen, and that's beside the fact I need to upgrade the Mobo first! Any suggestions on mobo cpu bundles under £200?

You in the UK or somewhere warmer!

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AHA a frustrated PC mechanic  :ugeek:, I think I'll wait on the R290's to come down in price before entering the next gen, and that's beside the fact I need to upgrade the Mobo first! Any suggestions on mobo cpu bundles under £200?

You in the UK or somewhere warmer!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/cart/view.html/ref=lh_cart_vc_btn this will work well, dual core yes but hyperthreaded so same amount of cores (4) as an i5 cpu ;)

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/cart/view.html/ref=lh_cart_vc_btn this will work well, dual core yes but hyperthreaded so same amount of cores (4) as an i5 cpu ;)

 

Your link don't work but I googled what you were trying to share, the - Asus Sabertooth Z87 comes in at £310 from the likes of ebay, just a little out of reach for now. I mean all is good with my pc but the mobo is where I would upgrade, given enough cash.

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You can get a good cpu, but don't need to get an expensive motherboard :). Get a nice Intel processor on an affordable motherboard, you don't need a fancy expensive motherboard, just make sure the cpu and gpu are good. Save money on a lower priced motherboard and put that saved money towards a better cpu or gpu.

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Original post updated with the following:

 

NOTE FOR RFACTOR 2 USERS: When using supersampling AA you can go ahead and disable Transparency AA in your PLR file in order to save some FPS. Supersampling AA takes care of all this, so using both offers no image quality benefits while still slightly negatively affecting your FPS (post #4 HERE confirms this, includes pics. Thanks Prodigy). Go into your PLR file and make sure the specific line says "Set Transparency AA=0" (you want it to equal "0" so it's disabled), then save. Make sure you remember to re-enable it (set it back to equal "1") if you decide to not use supersampling, or else your trees, fences, crowds, etc. will look much worse. Aside from disabling this while using supersampling AA in order to save some FPS, this should otherwise always be enabled.

Every frame counts, especially for some of us.

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