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Thread: Explanation of low-quality visuals and the new “Unlimited Video Memory” option

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    Lead Community Manager, The Creative Assembly Master and Commander CraigTW's Avatar
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    Default Explanation of low-quality visuals and the new “Unlimited Video Memory” option

    Some people are reporting issues where they are seeing lower quality visuals than they believe their PC is capable of, the below is an explanation of why this may be the case and what you can do to fix it. If this doesn’t address your issue, please post in www.totalwar.com/Rome2Support where our team will help you further.


    Graphics Quality, Video Memory and the new “unlimited video memory” option

    In Rome II (and previously in Shogun 2, Napoleon & Empire), the game auto-detects how much video memory your graphics card has – which is displayed in the Advanced Graphics options UI.
    Before a battle or campaign is launched, towards the end of the loading screens progress, the game will calculate how much video memory is needed to display the scene at your current graphics settings. If it determines that you don't have enough video memory to accommodate all the content in the pending campaign/battle it will automatically downgrade graphics settings e.g. reducing texture quality from High to Low or disabling Anti-aliasing. The game continues to downgrade graphics settings until there is enough video memory for the pending scene, and the scene then loads.
    Because we may downgrade your settings, you may not get the quality you selected in the UI.
    This is the default behaviour of the game ** which would explain why some players are seeing low quality graphics when they’ve maxed out their graphics settings. **
    Note that your graphics settings aren’t being permanently changed; we try to load every scene at your chosen settings, only downgrading behind-the-scenes if we absolutely have to in order to fit all the content on your graphics card.


    Unlimited Video Memory tick-box:

    In Rome2 we have a new custom Advanced Graphics Option checkbox: “Unlimited video memory”.
    If you tick the box, the game will not downgrade your graphics settings, regardless of your available physical video memory.
    If you then proceed and load a scene that requires more video memory than you have physically on your graphics card, the operating system may start swapping graphics resources to-from your system memory or hard drive.
    As a result, while enabling this option ensures that you always run the scene at your chosen settings, you may experience poor performance – e.g. if you select Extreme on a low end card for instance.
    If you’re experiencing consistently very low frame rates with this option enabled adjust your graphics settings by selecting a lower-quality preset e.g. switch use ‘Very High’ rather than ‘Ultra’.
    You may also want to reduce the quality of specific settings in the Advanced Graphics options.


    Silent Downgrading

    By default the “unlimited video memory” option is off and your graphics options may be silently downgraded.
    If you suspect that this is happening and want to know which settings are being auto-downgraded, look in the gfx.log file which you can open by running the following command (make sure you include the open and close double-quotes):
    "%appdata%\The Creative Assembly\Rome2\logs\gfx.log.txt"


    Example contents:

    Downgrading, Over budget by 301 MB
    Disabled Alpha-blending
    Downgraded Extreme Terrain Quality to 4
    Downgraded Shadows to 4

    If you are being downscaled you need to enable the “unlimited video memory option”, or lower your settings.
    Note that auto-downgrading may not lead to improved frame rates, especially on Low end cards. Use the new Graphics Benchmark to adjust performance.


    Using the Benchmark to help find the best Graphics Settings

    If your rig is struggling to keep up decent frame rates, then the Graphics Benchmark is a good feedback tool for adjusting your graphics settings.
    In the Advanced Graphics options there’s a “Run Benchmark” button that launches the in-game Benchmark. This is new to ROME II - benchmarks in SHOGUN 2 could only be run from Steam launcher short-cuts.
    To run the benchmark click “Run Benchmark”, then select the “forest” option in the list box, then click the tick-box.
    The benchmark runs for a minute or so, using your current graphics settings (possibly downgraded if unlimited video memory is not checked), recording your frame rate during a scripted non-interactive fly-through of the Historical Teutoburg Forest battle. At the end of the benchmark a frame-rate graph is displayed along with an average frame rate.
    So, focussing simply on the average frame rate, run the benchmark and note down the final average frame rate displayed.
    Then change to the next lower preset (e.g. drop from Extreme to Ultra) and run the benchmark again.
    Keep going until you get a frame rate that you find acceptable, for most players this will be at least 20fps. On very low spec machines this frame rate may not be achievable, but the process still applies.


    Further Support

    We have found that tweaking settings appropriately will solve the majority of players concerns in this area, but we appreciate it may not address yours - please post in www.totalwar.com/Rome2Support where our team will help you further.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Major Stratege's Avatar
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    Thank you for the explanation. I was confused as well because on the one hand the performance was quite good despite extreme settings. But on the other hand had graphics that looked pre-Shogun 2.

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    Senior Member Major i like TW games's Avatar
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    Well written, thx for the explanation.

    I would just add that options that influence the FPS the most are:
    Vegetation Alpha, Shadows, Particles, SSAO, Distortion Effects. +5 FPS each
    While less so trees, terrain and grass. + 3 fps each
    Even less so sky, water, building and unit detail. +2 fps each
    (I tested this on my PC in over 30 benchmarks(I7 3.2Ghz, 590GTX(only one core working so it's like a 580gtx )
    Last edited by i like TW games; 09-05-2013 at 11:55 AM.
    Playing Total War since the original Shogun

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    Senior Member Corporal balrog1987's Avatar
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    Much thanks for the explanation!
    My rig - CPU i7 4770 3,4 ghz, GPU Geforce GTX 780 TI 3 gb, RAM 24 gb DDR 3, SDD 240 GB.
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  5. #5
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    It improves the visuals somehow (shogun 2 still looks a bit better) but the reason why a lot of people have a bad performance with this game is that the game uses only the CPU for the graphics. Your GPU doesnt really count even if you have a gtx titan. it depends on the CPU. its poor programming CA
    Varus! O Quinctilius Varus, give me back my high FPS

    Quote Originally Posted by Maeda Toshiie View Post
    I think the only way not to lag as much when zooming in, is to overclock the CPU (no, I'm not kidding). However, the usual caveats on overclocking. I/CA/Sega/this forum, is not responsible for how you overclock. If you don't find out enough about CPU OCing before hand, we can't help you.

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    Senior Member Master and Commander
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    So how much graphics card memory do you need for extreme? 4GB? Its saying 3GB downgrading the graphics settings and still getting performance issues.


    Its failing to predict something.


    Personally I think you should remove the whole predicting thing.

    And my CPU is an intel i5 3570k. That's no potato.


    Though serious question actually. What specs do you actually recommend for the EXTREME settings with AA on?

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    Senior Member Corporal balrog1987's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemonater47 View Post
    Though serious question actually. What specs do you actually recommend for the EXTREME settings with AA on?
    This is actually a very interesting question, that i would also like to hear an answer to. What would be the needed hardware to run this game on 1920x1080 on Extreme with AA(maybe without the alpha vegetation) ?
    My rig - CPU i7 4770 3,4 ghz, GPU Geforce GTX 780 TI 3 gb, RAM 24 gb DDR 3, SDD 240 GB.
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    Junior Member Private Lopera's Avatar
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    Why should I go slower if I have enough RAM? When I activate "Unlimited Video Memory".

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    Senior Member Major Crappius Maximus's Avatar
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    Finally there's an easily accessible and official explanation. I'm as happy as Larry and will see what the benchmark and unlimited video memory options come up with
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    Quote Originally Posted by balrog1987 View Post
    This is actually a very interesting question, that i would also like to hear an answer to. What would be the needed hardware to run this game on 1920x1080 on Extreme with AA(maybe without the alpha vegetation) ?
    Few days ago i posted the benchmark which the german site PCGAMESHARDWARE posted. An i7 3930 or something like that (high end cpu) and a GTX Titan could play the game on extreme with about 50 fps (framesdropes included)
    Varus! O Quinctilius Varus, give me back my high FPS

    Quote Originally Posted by Maeda Toshiie View Post
    I think the only way not to lag as much when zooming in, is to overclock the CPU (no, I'm not kidding). However, the usual caveats on overclocking. I/CA/Sega/this forum, is not responsible for how you overclock. If you don't find out enough about CPU OCing before hand, we can't help you.

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