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

CraigTWCraigTW Lead Community Manager, The Creative AssemblyPosts: 1,120Moderators, Administrators, CA Staff Mods, CA Staff, Tools Admin, Cakes!
edited June 2014 in Total War: ROME II
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.
Post edited by CraigTW on
«134567

Comments

  • StrategeStratege Senior Member Posts: 647Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    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.
  • i like TW gamesi like TW games Senior Member Posts: 700Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    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 )
    Playing Total War since the original Shogun
  • balrog1987balrog1987 Senior Member Posts: 148Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    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.
    Security rules are written with the blood of idiots (c)
    We are the dark forest (c)
  • jonsnowjonsnow Senior Member Posts: 218Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    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.
  • Lemonater47Lemonater47 Senior Member Posts: 3,372Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    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?
  • balrog1987balrog1987 Senior Member Posts: 148Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    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.
    Security rules are written with the blood of idiots (c)
    We are the dark forest (c)
  • LoperaLopera Junior Member Posts: 19Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Why should I go slower if I have enough RAM? When I activate "Unlimited Video Memory".
  • Crappius MaximusCrappius Maximus Senior Member Posts: 713Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    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
    What we do, we do for the glory of Cat! - Cattus Maximus A.D. 4

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  • jonsnowjonsnow Senior Member Posts: 218Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    balrog1987 wrote: »
    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.
  • YoloYolo Senior Member Posts: 161Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    I don't think the size of your GPU means something.
    If the gpu itself is bad, then the game will lag.
    CA let players choose a setting and suffer the concequences of their option (eg. lag).
  • BloodSpillerBloodSpiller Senior Member Posts: 478Registered Users
    edited September 2013
  • balrog1987balrog1987 Senior Member Posts: 148Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    jonsnow wrote: »
    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)

    Thanks :) I really hope Nvidia drivers will make it optimized, because if Titan ran it at 50 fps, then i guess i can put my 660 ti on a shelf :)
    My rig - CPU i7 4770 3,4 ghz, GPU Geforce GTX 780 TI 3 gb, RAM 24 gb DDR 3, SDD 240 GB.
    Security rules are written with the blood of idiots (c)
    We are the dark forest (c)
  • SheperdSheperd Member Posts: 77Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    CraigTW wrote: »
    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.

    Ok that explains one problem but have you not noticed that the game itself is terrible? Can you address that?
    Let's say I get the game to run properly, I'll play for a few hours and get bored because this isn't the game we were promised. RESPOND TO THAT!!
  • jonsnowjonsnow Senior Member Posts: 218Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    balrog1987 wrote: »
    Thanks :) I really hope Nvidia drivers will make it optimized, because if Titan ran it at 50 fps, then i guess i can put my 660 ti on a shelf :)

    u dont understand. your graphics card is more than okay. there is an issue with the programming code of this game. it doesnt really uses your good graphics card. it nearly uses only your cpu. so it doesnt really matter what graphic card you have.
    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.
  • balrog1987balrog1987 Senior Member Posts: 148Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    jonsnow wrote: »
    u dont understand. your graphics card is more than okay. there is an issue with the programming code of this game. it doesnt really uses your good graphics card. it nearly uses only your cpu. so it doesnt really matter what graphic card you have.

    Well, that is sad, but i hope that developers will address these issues, we'll see in some time how current situation proceeds.
    My rig - CPU i7 4770 3,4 ghz, GPU Geforce GTX 780 TI 3 gb, RAM 24 gb DDR 3, SDD 240 GB.
    Security rules are written with the blood of idiots (c)
    We are the dark forest (c)
  • ShigawireShigawire Senior Member Norway, BrønnøysundPosts: 3,025Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Thanks for the info Craig
  • Legendary WarriorLegendary Warrior Senior Member Posts: 916Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    where is this gfx.log.txt you speak of, i have found the folder but no such file exists for me?
    My Rig
    Processor:
    i7 2600k Intel processor 3.4ghz
    Motherboard:
    ASUS P8Z68-V PRO Motherboard B3
    RAM:
    G.Skill Sniper F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 8GB (2x4GB)
    Power Supply:
    CoolerMaster Silent Pro Gold 1000W
    Graphics Card:
    Gainward GeForce GTX780 Phantom GLH 3GB


    I would rather die on the field of battle ahead of my men than an old man in my bed knowing that good men have died instead of me.

  • i like TW gamesi like TW games Senior Member Posts: 700Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Shigawire wrote: »
    Question:

    I have a Geforce 590 GTX, dual gpu, 2x 1.5gbyte video ram. Why does the game only show 1.5 gbyte video ram? Doesn't it know I have 3 gbyte video ram? Could CA add support for this?

    Because the game can only run on one GPU core.

    I also have a 590GTX and the game uses only one GPU core. That is why it can only see half the memory.

    You can input the memory manually in the file preference located in :
    C:\Users\USER NAME\AppData\Roaming\The Creative Assembly\Rome2\scripts

    open it with note pad and find the line
    gfx_video_memory 0; # gfx_video_memory <int>, Override available video memory (bytes) #

    Change the 0 with 3*1024*1024*1024 = 3221225472

    It will say : gfx_video_memory -1073741824; # gfx_video_memory <int>, Override available video memory (bytes) #
    after you save it and run the game. But in the game it will read 3072MB of video memory.
    Playing Total War since the original Shogun
  • EptesicusEptesicus Senior Member Posts: 415Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Well we all new this. The big problem is gpu usage. What cpu do CA suggest we use? I have an i5 2500k @4.4ghz and any large battle is unplayable regardless of settings. I have sli gtx 670's , I know sli doesn't work yet but I'm getting gpu usage as low as 25% in large battles.....
  • Edge Of PainEdge Of Pain Junior Member Posts: 9Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    That was a very informative post, thank you :)

    I read the part about the unlimited video memory, and it's given me an idea as to why I'm NOT having performance issues except for in extreme cases e.g. 20 units vs 20 units slugging it out.

    You mentioned that when there isn't enough video memory available the OS will swap some on the system's page file.

    I have a 3GB 7970 GHz edition and all my page filing is done on my SSD (only 512MB page file). Therefore, the 'unlimited video memory' allows me to run the game at max settings without much of a performance compromise. If it really does use all 3GB of my video memory, then page filing isn't an issue for me since SSDs are fast for page filing/loading etc.

    So, could it be that other people are having problems due to a lack of video memory, OR, the game is not using video memory efficiently? I am not a programmer, so I wouldn't know, but that's what I think. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • SOSLICK22SOSLICK22 Senior Member Posts: 534Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    I ran the benchmark on low and got 58 FPS, but I am never anywhere near that in the game, and even on the campaign map I drop to single digit FPS. Also, my game will freeze for a split second every several minutes and I will get 0 FPS until it unfreezes and then it climes back up to what it is usually at.

    IDK I am hoping it will get fixed in a patch.
  • cheesegodcheesegod Senior Member Posts: 137Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    In my opinion Ca should have tested and optimised the game on lower end specs rather than their i7 monsters they use however for me I am only experienceing small fps drops however it is enough to notice
  • ChrisNHChrisNH Member Posts: 70Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Can we get some guidance on what settings impact video memory directly? I know some things result in multiple passes which can increase memory use, especially at higher resolutions. I am getting downgraded to "1" which is fine, but by only 200mb. I would like to see what I can do to free up that 200mb..
  • Edge Of PainEdge Of Pain Junior Member Posts: 9Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    SOSLICK22 wrote: »
    I ran the benchmark on low and got 58 FPS, but I am never anywhere near that in the game, and even on the campaign map I drop to single digit FPS. Also, my game will freeze for a split second every several minutes and I will get 0 FPS until it unfreezes and then it climes back up to what it is usually at.

    IDK I am hoping it will get fixed in a patch.

    Odd, I get about 30 FPS in the benchmark but MUCH better performance elsewhere. I also had an issue in 1 battle where the frame rate was fine, but something weird happened. It was zooming in and out, moving around the map as though it was 60FPS just fine. But, the units themselves looked like they were moving around at 10FPS. All other animations were fine O.o
  • AngryBearAngryBear Member Posts: 97Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    yeh thanks so much, except that button does absolutely nothing regardless of specs for so many people.
  • Chris42899Chris42899 Senior Member Posts: 1,022Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    I'm sorry but the game lags terrible even on lowest graphics settings. Shogun 2 ran fine on mid - high settings on my PC.
  • DaviusDavius Senior Member Posts: 518Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    where is this gfx.log.txt you speak of, i have found the folder but no such file exists for me?

    I don't think the game makes the log if it has never downgraded you. I don't have it either.
  • abram730abram730 Senior Member Posts: 106Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    balrog1987 wrote: »
    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) ?

    A pentium 4 running at 16Ghz would be the ideal CPU for Rome II. It seems to be coded for that.

    You'd get good FPS with that, but no such CPU exists.

    Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete. Choose task manager and then the performance tab. Run the benchmark and exit to see the CPU usage.
    Note that it's thrashing Core 0. That's why it doesn't matter what GPU you have or what settings you choose. There will never exist a CPU that can handle that much single threaded code.

    single core @ 7Ghz on liquid nitrogen? Somebody should try.

    PS: try lowering unit size and see if that actually effects your low FPS. Let me know if it helps.
  • WaxWax Junior Member Posts: 11Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    The problem for me is the benchmarking tool is in no way indicative of the actual performance in game. I consistently get good results on ultra-settings with the tool (averaging 45 fps, which is acceptable, even though I expected higher with a 7950 and a i5-3570k) but in the actual game I lag at some distinct moments.

    When selecting a unit on the campaign map, fps drops about 50%
    When pressing spacebar while in a battle after I ordered a lot of units, fps drops to below 10
    when combat starts and I zoom to the level that the low poly models change into the actual units, if I put unit detail on extreme, it just lags when combat starts no matter the amount of I'm zoomed in, fps drops below 10

    mind you that I have little trouble viewing a large amount of units marching while zoomed in, it's only when the actual combat starts that the lag starts too and makes the game extremely frustrating to play.
  • KristKrist Member Posts: 90Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    im sure you guys are working to fix this, i hope you are at least. Guys just be patient and stop being little girls, you bought the game so deal with it, im fairly certain that once the game gets fixed everyone will get their usual 600 hours of gameplay and not whine anymore.
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