Over the course of this weekend, it’s almost seemed as though I’ve spent as much time tweaking RAGE as I have actually playing RAGE. If you’ve been following the launch of the PC version, you’ll know that it’s just that sort of game. The beauty of PC gaming however is that as much as these inconveniences can frustrate and annoy, the rewards are often so great for those who invest the time to fix their own experience. What arrived on my hard drive as a stuttering and inconsistent mess on Friday is now a beautifully refined masterpiece by Sunday; the default popping in textures and unstable frame rates replaced by a consistent FPS outdoors as well as in and not a trace of pop-in no matter how fast I turn my mouse.
[UPDATE]: I’ve had a couple of emails from folks asking what my set up is and how I achieved a stable 60 frames per second with no noticeable texture pop in. The truth is I don’t know. I kind of stumbled across it yesterday afternoon while drinking a cup of tea. I will however try and explain how I roughly got there after the break.
It’s truly something to behold, and it’s mostly thanks to the Megatexture technology employed by id Software to such startling effect. But although Megatextures are responsible for so much that is right about RAGE‘s visuals, the tech also plays a role in some of the game’s quirks and flaws. By blanketing the whole world in a single enormous texture quilt, some of the finer details become a little lost in translation, with smaller items and ornaments drawn into the world and lacking the subtle interaction that can make an environment feel alive. Hug some walls too closely and much of the texture work appears muddy and washed out at a glance. At its best however, RAGE looks breathtakingly beautiful. Walking through the open wasteland feels like stepping through an oil painting or a work of art, with vivid colours and an illuminating sky box creating one of the most visually striking experiences our industry has to offer.
Nowhere is this captured more profoundly than at videogame
pornographers tourists Dead End Thrills, who have compiled one hundred of the best 1920 x 1080 stills of RAGE you’re likely to see this side of Wellspring. If you’re familiar with the art of games such as Brink, Crysis and Mirror’s Edge, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Dead End Thrills before. Their RAGE collection is well worth a second look.
Now for the technical stuff, by popular request and presented to you by a fool who barely knows what he’s doing:
- My Rig: i5 @ 2500k, 4GB RAM and a GeForce GTX 560ti with 1GB of VRAM.
- Custom Config: You’ll want to download this file and place it in your valve\steam\steamapps\common\rage\base folder. Theoretically, this is what will fix your texture pop in and also greatly improve the texture quality.
- Hard Drive Cache: To create a place for your RAGE cache files, either download this file or create your own at C:\users\username\AppData\local\id Software\Rage. As soon as you boot up the game for the first time, RAGE will save two files in here. Check to make sure. This should help with stuttering, freezing and a number of other potential issues.
- Still Stuck?: This thread at the Steam forums will help you. You should also check out this thread if you have an older graphics card with below 1GB of VRAM, or if you have a fancy 1.5GB+ GPU and want to try pushing RAGE even further.
- My In Game Settings: The official patch released yesterday by id adds a few more adjustable graphics settings, but I’ve actually found my performance to be better when I leave them alone. Infact, toggling some of them even crashed the entire game for me. I currently have VSync turned Off (but always enabled on my Nvidia control panel), Texture Cache at Small and Anisotropic Filter Off. I also have Anti-Aliasing set to 4x. Interestingly enough, my frame rates only ever peaked at 30fps when playing outdoors when this was set to off or 2x. At 4x however, this jumped upto 60fps and maintains that indoors, outdoors and regardless of the intensity of the action on screen. This seems a little odd to me, but I can’t complain with something that works. Attempting to change to 8x and 16x crashed RAGE on both occasions.
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