Secret World Tweak Guide



Product: The Secret World
Company: Funcom
Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: July 17th, 2012

General graphics options, Pt. 1

Presets

You probably aren't concerned with using these, but seeing the game at each different preset does give you a strong idea of where to start when you fiddle with the specific options, and of what you're doing when you do.

Low offers sometimes blocky textures and awful LOD but great performance; Medium boasts significant depth and substantial lighting over Low; High is very respectable in all departments but lacks the full-on depth of Ultra.

If you demand constantly smooth performance and care much less about graphics, Low is the way to go. Otherwise, Medium or High should be your baseline, unless you've got a monster setup, in which case Ultra is the obvious choice.

Resolution

Resolution always has at least a notable impact on performance, and there's no exception with The Secret World. Maximum framerate in particular takes a dive of 10 frames per second (fps) in two results, and nearly so in another. Minimum FPS was less consistent in my testing, but generally speaking, should decrease about five frames for each major increase; an observable but insignificant decrease can be observed in average framerate.

Lowering this setting should be a last resort, as it majorly degrades visual fidelity.

Antialiasing

Antialiasing smooths out jagged edges. Traditionally, it's always taken a heavy toll on performance, but recently developed forms have allowed gamers to minimize this penalty. FXAA is one of these forms, and it's what's offered in The Secret World, alongside a brand new method known as TXAA.

As you may have caught from my technical review of the game, TXAA is developed by NVIDIA, and is said to be superior to other forms of AA in quality. However, it does seem to introduce noticeable blur. Unfortunately I couldn't test this as it's exclusive to 600 series GPUs, which I do not posess.

Anomaly aside, you can see FXAA has almost no impact on performance, and does a lot to reduce what would be very distracting jaggies; FXAA HQ is ever so slightly more effective at this reduction, and no more expensive for it. For most everyone, FXAA HQ is the way to go.

Motion blur

Often a topic of debate amongst PC gamers, motion blur simulates a low framerate to give the impression the world around you is moving as you move. Some love it; some hate it. If you're in the former camp, you can see below how it affects performance.

Results here are peculiar, but the basic message is motion blur has little or no impact on performance. If you prefer it, then by all means keep it on. Note the High setting simply makes the blur a little more aggressive.