Crysis Warhead is not beautiful and hardware intensive enough? You want more eye-candy? What do you think about better quality with only a slight performance reduction? We have been working for hours to find the appropriate graphics settings.
There have been several configuration files for Crysis that improved the graphics. One of the most popular is the mster config (also known as "Ultra-High-Quality-Config). If you use it for Warhead, you don't necessarily get better quality, since in the meantime several options were changed. We took a closer look to uncountable parameters and adjusted them to the new game. The result: Three autoexec.cfg files - "Performance”, "High Quality” and "Uber Quality”.
We focused on improving the graphics without alienating it. Many mods on the web for example deliver excessive HDR Rendering. We kept our hands off those parameters if possible. The result is a more or less drastic improvement of the visual quality that still has the look Crytek created. To explain all the adjustments would go beyond the scope of this article, so we just name the most important ones:
• Increased texture quality
• Increased range of visibility
• More details at higher distances
• More detailed shadows that are visible at greater distances
Crysis Warhead: in-game "Gamer" setting (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
Crysis Warhead: in-game "Enthusiast" setting (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
Crysis Warhead: PCGH "Uber High Quality" setting (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
Of course those improvements require more calculating power. Since the game is not known for high framerate, we created the "Performance” configuration that offers noticeably improved graphics at a bearable fps loss. The latter is 20 percent at the most compared to the in-game Enthusiast setting. The "High Quality” config offers the same lighting settings, a higher shadow resolution and inactivates the object LOD system. This adjustments cost only an additional 10 to 15 percent.
Crysis Warhead: PCGH "Performance" setting (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
Crysis Warhead: PCGH "High Quality" setting (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
The "Uber” config offers the best quality, but the ratio between graphics improvements and performance loss is relatively bad. UHQ (Ultra High Quality) offers quadrupled shadow resolution (2,048² instead of 1,024²) and they are visible in the full resolution. On our test graphics cards this barely visible step costs 34 percent performance (19 instead of 29 fps with HQ). Especially graphics cards with few VRAM will have to chew on that - 512 MiByte are already filled at 1,680 x 1,050 without FSAA.
During our tests with an HD 4870 we noticed, that you get the improved details of the HQ config almost without a performance disadvantage, as long as the graphics card is the limiting factor. In 1,680 x 1,050 with 4x adaptive AA/16: 1 AF the workload is directed to the CPU: More polygons because of the missing LOD are stressing the processor. The high-res shadows mainly stress the video memory and the GPU.
If you are interested in the files, you can, as a registered user, download them at the bottom of the page. To use the congigs, you need to rename the file of your choice and rename it to "autoexec.cfg” and copy it into the \Crysis Warhead\
folder. On the next pages you can find some more comparative screenshots.
What do you think about out config debut? We are always open for constructive comments.