A quick guide to enhancing your Arma 2 experience.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Turn off motion blur: Either download this 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:
-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".
The previous guide of me, which has a lot of imformation but might be hard to digest.
Arma 2 Startup Parameters
Arma 2 and VRAM
Arma 2 Memory Allocators
The various FXAA settings.
25/07/2012 - Revisions concerning 1.62 update.