FUEL was sold in the following flavors:
X360 (X-box 360) PS3 (Playstation 3) PC (CD / DVD) PC (Steam)
X360, PS3 & PC CD/DVD install should be straight-forward. (IE: Everything you need to install should already be on the disc). However, you may need to download/run some patch files to get the game up-to-date after install.
The game is playable in single-player / solo mode, but online / multi-player is basically screwed:
- PS3 version used GameSpy, and that's been discontinued
- X360 & PC used Games For Windows Live (GFWL), and that's also discontinued
There's no LAN support, so basically everyone's getting a nice taste of how it's like when someone else controls / hosts your online games; IE: they pull the plug, and you basically lose that functionality of your game. It's sort of a big middle finger to folks that paid good money for a full game, and are now finding out that part of their game is pulled out from under them. (And it was one of the best parts, because you could race with real, live people).
FUEL on PC (Steam) Install
Problem ... After installing FUEL from Steam, you can see the setup screen, but when you try to run the game either nothing happens or you get a pop-up saying:
The ordinal 43 could not be located in the dynamic link library C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\xlive.dll
Cause ... When Codemasters listed and supported FUEL on Steam it would auto-install GFWL when you installed the game. But, when Microsoft announced GFWL was retiring Codemasters patched GFWL out of their popular games while simply delisting less popular ones ... like FUEL. This means titles like FUEL still need GFWL installed to play. Unfortunately, when you install FUEL from Steam now the GFWL won't auto-install.
Solution (Win 7 & Perhaps Win 8 / 8.1)
- Start the FUEL Launcher
- Click "Games For Windows Live" button
- GFWL should install itself
Solution (Win 10)
The GFWL client that shipped with FUEL doesn't work in Win 10, but the last version you can download from Microsoft's old GFWL site does. So, you'll need to download and install it from http://www.xbox.com/en-IE/Live/PC/DownloadClient.
Problem ... GFWL asks you to login when FUEL starts.
Solution ... You don't need an online account to play. You can create a local profile.
- Start game
- On GFWL pop-up, select "Create Profile"
- Scroll down, and click "create local profile" link
You can also set up GFWL to auto-login a profile. You can also log your profile out, and create other local profiles to either experiment around or let other family and friends run their own race career w/o screwing yours up.
FUEL's startup loader lets you set Video Options. Some work. Some don't.
- Resolution ... (works and is self-explanatory). Setting a higher resolution has a greater impact on FPS performance, but also has the greatest impact on visual appearance of any other option available.
- Anti-aliasing ... (doesn't work) The "fx.phl" shader file has code for anti-aliasing, but it doesn't work. (you can literally delete those functions out of the file, and the shaders will still compile). However, you can use your graphics card's control panel set some. (See "Advanced Setup" section below).
- Texture Quality ... (doesn't work). Texture quality is controlled via the shader files. There are high-res textures stored in the DPC archives. FUEL runs them through the shaders that have a compression routine. This effectively reduces texture size by 1/2 (lower-res). This code is branched to allow compression or not allow it. Seems on PC, FUEL forces compression on by default, and doesn't give the end-user a way to disable that. So, you're stuck with what you get.
- Anisotropic (Filtering) ... (doesn't work). Playing with the options in the setup loader does nothing. You can set this via your graphics card's control panel, though. (See "Advanced Setup" below)
- Advanced ... lets you select / deselect shader maps to use:
- Normal Maps ... Makes some textures better, eg: certain vehicles will have better tire textures (bump mapping), and show panel damage when banged around too much.
- Dirt Maps ... When enabled, your vehicle gets progressively muddier when running off-road, and cleaner when running through water. Your screen borders also get progressively caked in dirt and cleaned off (which can be annoying... see "Advanced Setup" section below for how to disable).
- (Ambient) Occlusion Maps ... should provide some extra shading around objects to give them more depth/realism. I don't really notice anything with this on or off. However, if it does work, Ambient Occlusion tends to have a pretty big FPS hit on older systems in some games. So, you might want to leave it off if running an older gfx card. Digging in the shader code, occlusion is used here and there, but doesn't seem to be some major thing (IE: no major calculations for it). So, either some precompiled thing is doing all the dirty work, or it's not as big of a deal in FUEL as it is in other games.
- Shadow Maps ... work, but look atrocious. They dynamically generate shadows from objects based on the movement of the sun, but they tend to be blocky, smudgy messes that crawl along the ground like a cluster of furry bugs. I've been playing in the shader files to see if I can make the shadows better, but so far there's no "easy switch" to magically make them better.
So, basically for best ...
|lowest resolution you can stand||highest resolution playable|
|turn off all shader maps||turn on all shader maps|
This can be done by editing files, registry and so on:
- Skip Setup Launcher (stop wasting time on launcher just to click "Play")
- Cap FPS to Optimize Performance (Very important for modern gfx cards)
- Advanced Graphics Setup (how to get AA, Anisotropic, etc working)
- Triple Monitor Support
- G25 Wheel Workaround
- Windowed Mode
- Disable Bloom
- Disable Motion Blur
- Disable Mud, Dirt, Water FX On Screen
- Disable Movies
- Edit Game Text (Disable Loading Tips, Customize AI Racer names, etc)
- Edit Landscape Object Frequency (man-made objects like buildings, wrecks, signs)
FUEL: REFUELED Mod
If you're an avid FUEL fan, then you've probably already stumbled across this mod. The author, Vetron, has basically worked about as much magic as anyone possibly could without having access to the source code of FUEL.
The base mod itself has many tweaks that go under the radar, but you'll appreciate (eg: sorting vehicles by type). However, the mod lets you install modules to also tweak the menus, give you access to the debug console, and other things.
Why is it listed here? Because the mod also has options to remove Bloom & Motion Blur. Bloom is that "eyes adjusting to the bright sunlight" effect you get when cresting hills towards the sun, or going in and out of tree lines. It can range from mildly annoying to down-right blinding at times. While it makes for interesting screen shots, it can be a handicap during races. Motion Blur can also be a handicap, as it blurs things in the distance and around the edges of the screen when going at high speeds. Using this mod lets you nix that visual cruft, so you can focus on the racing instead of the pretty graphics.
FUEL: RESHADED Mod
I feel a bit pretentious adding my own mod here, but.. hey, it was a lot of work, so I'm going to toot my horn.
FUEL: RESHADED is basically a graphics shader overhaul for FUEL's shader files. The ModDB page lists all the stuff in more detail, but basically the new shader files:
- cut unused code that was wasting gpu cycles processing, but not impacting anything
- corrects faulty code (eg: code to calculate specular reflection was wrong)
- optimizes code by replacing chunks with intrinsic HLSL functions, and optimizing math and formulas where possible.
- implements code that Asobo wrote but didn't finish (eg: they had code to make rain cause vehicles to look wet, but didn't implement it. I reworked the code and got it to apply to everything: vehicles, ground, plants. So, in storms everything looks wet now.)
- adds new feature (rain wetness mentioned above, anti-aliasing options, darker nights, brighter colors, etc)
- setup file lets you turn things on/off (eg: bloom and eye adapt/dynamic luminance) and adjust values on other things to make them look how you want.
The reason list it under "Game Setup" is because it provides options for things lacking in FUEL's game setup:
- better control of shadows and ambient occlusion
- ability to turn bloom and dynamic luminance on/off
Much like Vetron's REFULED mod, RESHADED mod provides both utility and enhancement.
- Happyhamster (aka Tundrowalker on ModDB)