Far Cry 3 Tweak Guide

[Page 10] Geometry & Vegetation

Geometry: This setting controls the level of complexity of world geometry, which is basically the general shape of the landscape and any visible structures. The available options are Low, Medium, High, Very High and Ultra. As this setting is raised, land masses and buildings become more detailed and realistic, and less polygonal, especially in the distance. Importantly, this setting also controls the way in which foliage is distributed, including its view distance and complexity.

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Click here for an interactive comparison between Geometry at Low And Ultra.

The screenshots above show that at Low, the landscape looks acceptable, but is quite sparsely covered in foliage. Some of the trees from the middle distance onwards are rather generic and fake looking. At Medium, suddenly a large number of trees and bushes are added, particularly in the far distance. From Medium to High, the changes are barely noticeable. At Very High, a range of the generic trees are replaced with more realistic ones, a few more trees are added in the distance, and the face of the hillside in the middle fills out and gains more detail. From Very High to Ultra, there is another big jump, as more trees, bushes and grass is added throughout the scene, and the terrain also gains more curves. Notice the hut to the far right, and the one at the bottom - they gain additional details at Ultra.

Keep in mind that because Geometry controls vegetation complexity and distribution, it is also the setting that has the most impact on vegetation pop-in as you wander the game world. If set too low, you will see relatively barren areas nearby suddenly become populated with vegetation as you walk towards them.

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Click here for an interactive comparison between Ultra Geometry with DX9 And DX11.

An additional screenshot comparison is provided above to see whether there is any tessellation under DirectX 11 to give additional noticeable terrain complexity, and whether there are any differences in the quantity of foliage between the two render paths. Both shots were taken using the Ultra preset. As the shots prove, aside from some Ambient Occlusion shadowing differences, the two scenes are much the same in terms of object and vegetation detail, complexity and distribution.

An indication of the performance impact of changing this setting is shown below:

Geometry performance graph

The graph shows that the real performance impact of the Geometry setting appears at around the High level and above, with a very sharp decline when at Ultra. The most noticeable visual impact of Geometry is in the level of foliage throughout the world, which of course is a major stylistic element for a game set on a lush tropical island. As such, Low is definitely not recommended, as it strips too much vegetation, leaving the world looking quite barren. High is a reasonable compromise, but I recommend Very High or even Ultra to start with. Try turning down other visual settings instead, or even reducing your resolution, to maintain playable performance; reducing Geometry results in too much of a drop in the atmosphere of Far Cry 3.

Vegetation: This setting controls the quality of the vegetation, such as trees, bushes and grass, of which there is plenty in Far Cry 3. The available options are Low, Medium, High and Very High. Raising this setting should make the surfaces of vegetation appear more realistic:

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Click here for an interactive comparison between Vegetation at Low and Very High.

The screenshots above show that in practice, there is virtually no detectable difference in the quality or quantity of vegetation at the different levels of this setting. There are some small changes that you might see between each scene, but these are due to minor changes in world lighting. Any difference in the appearance of vegetation is barely noticeable. Note that a full engine restart was used before each of the screenshots above was captured, ruling out the possibility that the change was not being implemented correctly in our testing. Furthermore, identical results were found across DX9 and DX11.

In short, vegetation quality and distribution appears to be primarily controlled by the Geometry setting further above, and not by the Vegetation setting - at least not to any significant practical degree.

Vegetation should control the surface appearance of leaves for example, but it doesn't appear to do so in any noticeable way.

An indication of the performance impact of changing this setting is shown below:

Vegetation performance graph

The graph shows that just as any visual difference between each level of this setting is difficult to detect, the performance difference is also extremely minor. If you want to improve performance without a noticeable drop in image quality, you can use Low or Medium; alternatively, if you want to be sure of the highest quality, just select Ultra, as it has only a slight performance hit compared to Low.


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