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Render Quality Tests


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I've got an Nvidia GTX670 and I'm wondering what affect the Nvidia application settings via the Control Panel has on TDM render quality. In TDM everything is maxed - 16x AA and TA with the resolution set to my monitor's native 1440x900. I then did a few tests using the following settings on TheDarkMod.exe in the Nvidia Control Panel as follows:

  1. Default - nothing changed - everything left on "global setting"
  2. Only one setting changed - forced 32 CSAA - presumably this overrides the 16x setting in game
  3. All application settings overridden and set to their max

I took a screenshot from a saved game on each setting and zoomed in 200% so you can see better what's going on (zoom out to 50% in your browser to see the images to original scale). Look to the far right of the image to see the biggest differences. Results are shown here:



It's subjective but my feeling is that either the default setting or 32CSAA gives the best results while everything maxed looking the most rough. If you keep your eye on the lower edge of the black step, you can see jagged black and white edges on the maxed settings. Perhaps the forced AA and TA isn't actually working for some reason even though we've told it to max.


The 32CSAA setting appears to smoothen everything overall while losing detail which you may or may not prefer on the whole. I may need to play with default and 32CSAA to get a feel for them before deciding which I prefer.

Edited by delatroy
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The panel maxed looks like it's doing some texture transcoding, or perhaps just different AF. The CSAA is just destroying the texture resolution, I think it's getting really confused by the alpha channel use. If you have an overlay attached to the TDM window, it might also have some influence.


Either way, that texure isnt exactly good quality -- it is very rough between the stones. It's an interesting texture, but the normalmap has not been blended very well around the rocks, and the mortar is far too flat. In the past I have tried to fix it a few times, but never found a nice middle ground which respects the original enough, while looking better.


At the end of the day, CSAA should not be causing the texture to look this way. The texture needs work, more than anything else.

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Here's another test where I only changed the in-game AA and TA settings:




I also had a play with some video commands. The only one that I found worth experimenting with was tdm_lod_bias which I set at -0.5.

Edited by delatroy
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