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Grizzly
19-07-2012, 11:44 AM
A quick guide to enhancing your Arma 2 experience.

Introduction:
I have compiled a list of settings and tweaks that can make Arma 2 smoother, score higher framerates, improve stability, and increase controllability. This is basically an update of my older guide. This guide is written with as little explenation as possible to increase readibility. The tweaks are sorted in the order that I recommend them. The lower you get, the trickier stuff becomes, and the more it either has a non-noticable effect, a difficulty to apply, or an impact on stability. For more background information on various tweaks, please read the links.

To change your startup parameters:
If you have bought the game on steam: Right Click Arma 2: OA, then select "Properties", then select "Set Launch Options"
If you launch the game directly: Right click on a shortcut to the game, and then add the startup paramaters next to the Arma2oa.exe (or after the accolades).

The game's most demanding areas:
Usefull for benchmarking purposes. Playable performance in Single Player here will ensure playable performance anywhere:
Chernarus' cities - Try SP mission "Counter Attack" or the Harvest Red campaign.
Zargabad (the city itself) - Try the quick mission maker (missions > my missions), The last missions of "Arrowhead", or the first mission of the PMC campaign.
"Proving Grounds" - Try the quick mission maker, very few missions are set here.

Note that performance in multiplayer generally increases due to your CPU having to work less hard (AI calculations are done server side). If you notice decreased performance in multiplayer as opposed to single player, the mission is poorly optimized or the server is about to crash.

The Tweaks:
ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY TWEAKS:
In Graphic Options:
Set "3D resolution" to 100%, so it equals your interface resolution.
Set "Video Memory" to "Default". <-- The setting named default (Below very high). Not the setting Arma 2 sets when you first start the game.
Set "Vsync" to disabled.

Making it boot (significantly) faster:
Add this to the startup parameters:
-nosplash
-skipintro.

Sharper image quality at no performance loss:
Set 3D resolution to 100% (Equalling your interface resolution) in the graphical options.
Setting 3D resolution to 75% actually yields LOWER performance.
However, lowering interface resolution and 3d resolution equally (so it stays at 100%) will still increase performance normally.
Depending on your card's memory, texture settings can safely be set to a higher setting with no loss of performance.

Enhancing input.
Turn off Vsync in the graphical options.
Turn down "Smoothing" in the control options.
Turn down "Head Bobbing" in the Game Options.
open my documents/ArmA 2/Arma2OA.cfg with notepad:
Lower "GPU Max Frames Ahead" - this increases input at the cost of more stuttering. 0 sets it to the driver's default.

Performance Hogs:
Turn off motion blur: Either download this (http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?97853-oktNoBlur-Signed-Blur-Remover-Addon) mod or set post processing settings to "very low".
Turn off Anti-Aliasing: Use PPAA in the graphical options instead of normal Anti Aliasing. Normal Anti Aliasing has a unreasonably significant performance impact. There are reports that forcing it trough the driver is actually quicker!
Turn down "Terrain Detail" to "Very Low" - The grass in Arma 2 has some unreasonbly high performance hits, especially on Chernarus.
Turn down View Distance to something like 1600 or even 1200 - You don't really need anything higher then that for the FOLK sessions, unless you plan to do some very very long range stuff (which we usually do not). View distance might not be a hog, but it defines performance.

Getting more out of your machine:
Set "Video Memory" in graphical options to "Default". If you have 512 MB of VRAM, set it to "Very High" (Very High utilizes 512 MB of VRAM. Default allows for higher VRAMs to be utilized).
-
Add this to the startup paramaters. This may or may not increase performance and/or stabiltiy, depending on how well Arma 2 autodetect got it:
-maxmem=(yourmemory)
-maxvram=(yourvidcardmemory)
-cpuCount=(availableCPUcores)
-exThreads=1 if you have a dual core, 7 if you have a quad core or higher. Feel free to experiment with this setting to see if anything grants you higher performance.

Assign a different memory allocator:
Check the link below, "Arma 2 Memory Allocators".

Links:
The previous guide of me, which has a lot of imformation but might be hard to digest (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?2565-A-few-simple-notes-on-performance).
Arma 2 Startup Parameters (http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/Arma2:_Startup_Parameters#Available_parameters)
Arma 2 and VRAM (http://www.vaaf.net/forum/index.php?topic=844.0)
Arma 2 Memory Allocators (http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/ArmA_2:_Custom_Memory_Allocator)
The various FXAA settings (http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/arma2.cfg#ARMA_2:_Operation_Arrowhead).

Updates:
25/07/2012 - Revisions concerning 1.62 update.

Grizzly
19-07-2012, 11:45 AM
I'd also like this guide to be stickied - and hints on how to increase readability, as well as further tweaks.

harakka
19-07-2012, 12:57 PM
Solid post, would read again. A++. Few things to note:

To disable motion blur from video options, you have to disable postprocessing completely. Your link to what I assume to be okt_noblur (http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?97853-oktNoBlur-Signed-Blur-Remover-Addon) is broken.
Disabling motion blur will also improve FPS. This is particularly evident in low FPS situations because the blur calculation actually gets more expensive the lower the FPS is. You will need to have an exactly matching okt_noblur version if running the betas, otherwise game will crash on start.

Your antialiasing settings will be deprecated once 1.61 hits. Here's a link to the upcoming settings (http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/arma2.cfg#ARMA_2:_Operation_Arrowhead). FXAA/SMAA generally cause smaller FPS hit than FSAA because they're done completely via shaders, and depending on the settings image quality may actually be better than FSAA. Hopefully we'll get a proper GUI for these in 1.61...

The -cpucount and -exthreads parameters are rarely necessary. On quadcores the number of threads will be set to 7 automatically. Details on these parameters (http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/Arma2:_Startup_Parameters#cpuCount).

Grizzly
19-07-2012, 01:30 PM
Solid post, would read again. A++. Few things to note:

To disable motion blur from video options, you have to disable postprocessing completely. Your link to what I assume to be okt_noblur (http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?97853-oktNoBlur-Signed-Blur-Remover-Addon) is broken.
Fixed. Also - "Very Low" actually also disables the motion blur, as well as the bloom. Very low is basically off except that the NV filter and the "80s filter" still work. Low however, enables it.


Your antialiasing settings will be deprecated once 1.61 hits. Here's a link to the upcoming settings (http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/arma2.cfg#ARMA_2:_Operation_Arrowhead). FXAA/SMAA generally cause smaller FPS hit than FSAA because they're done completely via shaders, and depending on the settings image quality may actually be better than FSAA. Hopefully we'll get a proper GUI for these in 1.61...

I will remove them once 1.61 is out ;).



The -cpucount and -exthreads parameters are rarely necessary. On quadcores the number of threads will be set to 7 automatically. Details on these parameters (http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/Arma2:_Startup_Parameters#cpuCount).

I included them anyway because some may want to tweak them (should make that more clear). Those settings are mainly to prevent problems caused if Arma gets it wrong.

Black Mamba
19-07-2012, 05:48 PM
Looks like we're actually going for 1.62 immediately, without ever stopping at 1.61. Don't know what it will change though, seems to be mainly MP fixes.

Wolfenswan
22-07-2012, 03:45 PM
Can anyone confirm/disprove that setting shadows to "very high" can increase FPS as it puts the load on the GPU instead of the CPU?

harakka
23-07-2012, 09:03 AM
Can anyone confirm/disprove that setting shadows to "very high" can increase FPS as it puts the load on the GPU instead of the CPU?

Yessir! Here's the relevant post by Dwarden on the BIS forums (http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?118053-Answered-Shadows-and-AA-problems%21%21%21%21%21%21&p=1909167&viewfull=1#post1909167). Keep in mind though that doing shadows on the GPU doesn't automatically mean you get more FPS, but it's certainly worth trying out.

Wolfenswan
25-07-2012, 09:25 PM
An update on what to put the new settings introduced with 1.62 would be appreciated, namely ATOC and PPAA.

harakka
25-07-2012, 11:04 PM
ATOC only does anything if you have the normal antialiasing (not either of the PPAA options) turned on. It affects how selected vegetation is drawn when AA is on, I don't know if there's a significant performance hit involved but if you use normal antialiasing, you probably have a decent rig anyway. Test it out to see if you like how it looks. It'll make the vegetation look more bushy but also adds a stipple pattern to the vegetation.

PPAA gives you two pixel shader based antialiasing techniques, which on a modern GPU should give you better results than the normal antialiasing available, for much smaller framerate hit. I understand SMAA should have best image quality. You'll have to test them out too, to see where your performance/visual quality breakpoint lies.

Performance-wise, if you want antialiasing, ignore the normal antialiasing and test out SMAA and FXAA to see which works better for you. Ignore ATOC. If you don't want antialiasing, just keep ATOC and PPAA disabled.

Zergra
29-08-2012, 11:00 AM
I have a laptop which uses 4 cores: i5 2410m 2,3 ghz and a technology called intel turbo booster which should boost it to 2,9 ghz however it does not which gives me 30-15 fps if i am lucky. I mailed support and they said since arma 2 uses all 4 cores turbo doesnt work.can i do something in arma which makes it only use 2 cores?

Aqarius
29-08-2012, 04:49 PM
4x2,3>2x2,9 by at least 25%, I think.

Besides, I'm playing on E8500 and get about 30-15(-5) at absolute minimum detail, depending on the map.

Grizzly
04-12-2012, 08:11 PM
I have a laptop which uses 4 cores: i5 2410m 2,3 ghz and a technology called intel turbo booster which should boost it to 2,9 ghz however it does not which gives me 30-15 fps if i am lucky. I mailed support and they said since arma 2 uses all 4 cores turbo doesnt work.can i do something in arma which makes it only use 2 cores?

Start Arma 2 with this parameter:
-cpuCount=2

Also, see the OP.

Besides, I am quite sure that you will do a LOT better using all your four cores. 30-15 fps is reasonable depending on your graphics card, actually. Perhaps sorting out your graphics settings will help.