FUEL's setup loader has some video options that don't work (anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, etc).
- If you're running an ATI or Nvidia card you can use their graphic card control panels to work around some of that.
- If you're running an embedded graphical solution (like Intel's HD on a laptop), I'm not sure if its control panel allows for advanced graphical control like what we're going to tweak. So, your mileage may vary. (Sorry I can't be more help)
Where To Go Edit
Right-click a blank spot on your desktop. You'll hopefully see one of the following in the pop-up menu:
- Catalyst Control Panel (aka: CCC ... ATI's control panel)
- Nvidia Control Panel (Nvidia's ... obviously)
(If you don't see anything, try going into Start > Control Panel ... it should be there at least. If not, you may not have installed it when installing drivers. Try going onto ATI or Nvidia's respective site to look for downloads. If your driver install didn't install it automatically, then you might be able to install it as a separate download. Likewise, I think RivaTuner and Nvidia's Inspector can also tweak Nvidia cards if they support your graphics card.)
I'm running an Nvidia card, so I'll be using it as an example.
- 3D Settings > Manage 3D Settings
- "Program Settings" tab
- Select "FUEL.exe" from dropdown (should show up. If not, then click "Add", go to your FUEL folder, and click on the FUEL.exe file)
- Edit settings (see more below)
(The ATI CCC works in much the same way, because there were forums I read that first explained how to do this in it. I simply figured out how to do it on my Nvidia card.)
What To Set Edit
ATI CCC seems to do ok with you messing with settings. However, the Nvidia cards blow up if you set "Anti-aliasing - Mode" = "override". Instead, you want to set it to "enhance". That's pretty much the only real major warning. Let's dig into other options...
- Occlusion - Mine was disable. FUEL doesn't seem to have real occlusion working via DirectX even though they have the word "occlusion" thrown around in their shader files right and left. The "ambient occlusion" setting in FUEL's setup loader just sets a flag to bypass those shader inclusions. But, you really can't tell much of a difference in the game. So, Asobo's version of occlusion that they hard-baked into their game seems lackluster. But, you can't change it via the control panel, so ... moving on...
- Anisotropic Filtering - This works, and generally has negligible performance impact. So, set it to 16x. What it does is make textures in the mid distance less blurry.
- Anti-aliasing FXAA - This works, and seems to have more of an impact then normal AA. FXAA is a newer AA type that generally looks at the scene as a whole and algorithms blending of aliased edges. It's fast, generally has decent results, and generally has less performance impact then other AA options. (Problem is you either take it or you don't; there's no slider switch to increase or decrease how much FXAA works. So, that sometimes rubs some folks the wrong way, since they don't like how blurry it can make some edges).
- Anti-aliasing Gamma Correction - You can try turning it on and off. I didn't notice much difference.
- Anti-aliasing Mode - As I said, for Nvidia cards set this to "enhance" (not "override"). If it's set to "override" then when you start FUEL you'll see a huge graphical distortion that makes the game unplayable.
- Anti-aliasing Setting - My graphics card has the usual 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, and also has CSAA options for 8x, 16x and 32x. I experimented with all of these. Generally, CSAA didn't seem to do anything. No, really, it seemed like it actually turned AA OFF by choosing those options. So, sticking with the normal AA's seemed to work. There wasn't much difference between 8x and 16x. However, I was running 1200 x 1600 or so resolution, so that already smooth quite a bit of things out. I recommend sticking in the 2x to 8x range. However, FXAA seemed to have a better result then normal AA. You can try using both to see how things go. But, normal AA adds quite a bit of overhead. You may just skip over this in favor of FXAA if you deem the improvement not worth the performance hit on your card.
- Anti-aliasing Transparency - I cranked this up to 8x, and it seems to make the fences and other objects that have transparent areas smoother-looking. (IE: the fence mesh isn't a jagged mess anymore, it seems to blend together nicely now.)
- Vertical Sync - "On" or "Adaptive". This forces FUEL to cap FPS to your monitor's refresh rate. This is important, because when FUEL pushes too many FPS it starts to go wonky (mystery trucks skating down the road super fast, vehicles lose responsiveness, some to the point of being undriveable (like the Barracuda)). FUEL was coded to run at a certain FPS (I'm guessing 60 max), and modern graphics cards being able to blow past that with 250+ FPS hoses up the game.
Those are the main ones. You can mess with other options as you see fit.
NOTE: for these changes to take effect when you run FUEL, you'll need to have whatever service your graphics card drivers installed running when you start FUEL. EG: Nvidia installs a "Nvidia Display Driver Service" that automatically starts when Windows starts. If I disable that, then nothing in the graphics control panel takes effect, which includes altering games I start. If you're a computer geek that likes to tweak services on your computer to gain performance, just make sure you have your graphics cards service(s) running and set to start automatically. Otherwise, all of this stuff will be for nothing. (You can check on your services by going into "Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services" or "Start > Search for Programs and Files" and type in "services.msc".)