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 Mass Effect 2 Review and Tweaks V1.2 
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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Mass Effect 2 Review and Tweaks V1.2
Image

=======================================================================================
Last edited: 02/02/2010
- Added gameini.conf tweaks, DepthOfField comparison, GalaxyMap convergence issue
- NVidia 3DVision driver: v196.21
- checkout the Graphics Tweaks section at the bottom of this post...(will keep updating it as we go)

TODO:
- Overall Game (and gameplay) review...
- More details on Graphics Tweaks effects (with screenshots)

History:
01/29/2010: V1.1 added screenshot/structure
01/28/2010: V1.0 Initial Post

=======================================================================================
I have a GTS8800 512Mb card (win7 ultimate) whatever parameters I push, I ALWAYS got the 60fps I needed for 3dVision and no sluttering...
=======================================================================================

Overall I found this game looks amazing with 3d Vision. It looks a little dark even with changing brightness, and ghosting seems to be noticeable in some areas but not all. Hopefully I can reach a point where all settings will be optimal. Please share your own for the benefits of others by replying to this thread.

Thanks

So here we go:

3D Overall Description and Issues

1)Nvidia Crosshair: The cross hair is 2D and using the nvidia one from the driver required to rename MassEffect2.exe into MaxEffect.exe (that should be fixed in next driver release, I hope)

2)To remove the 2D crosshair, a custom ini file should be downloaded from this post on nvidia forum.

3)An issue with LensFlare creates some disconnect light halo at the wrong depth for small point lights and major lines of light halo across the screen for bigger, more distant ones.

Here is an example of the small lights issues:
Image

The following example shows the bigger leakage for large or distant lights when LensFlare is on, and off.

LensFlare turned on (by default) = leakage
Image

LensFlare turned off:
Image
(apparently, this bleed through is not only in S3D)... On this shot, the white is the light, the blue is the flare...

One way to get rid of the small one was to increase convergence like crazy so that it creates a huge separation of that halo out of screen. That doesn't seem to help for the bigger lights' leakage.

In order to turn LensFlare off, add a game ini file: LensFlare=False.

Unfortunately, if you do that, you loose the ability to interact with many objects (HUH ????). :shock:

Yeah, that's right, these light blue rectangles that overlay some objects to interact will not be there anymore. This would be fine if this didn't prevent you from interacting with them altogether...

Here is the proof:
With the default LensFlare, the character is facing a vendor terminal and the blue rectangle indicates he can interact with it (notice the icon at the top indicate "Omega Market, Browse")

Image

Now with LensFlare=False, I can't interact with terminal and instead will talk to the vendor...

Image
Notice that this flare is at the wrong depth too :(

I don't understand why BioWare used these flares as objects instead of real transparent objects that have their own lights... The fact is, if you disable LensFlare, you won't be able to open vendor terminals (as shown on the image link above), or finish some quests (like putting "the cure" vial into the ventilation or use the Galaxy map).... Doors seems to still open...

I hope BioWare will react to fix this because it is the single most annoying issue right now and it transpires everywhere! Put these lights at the RIGHT depth please !!!

4) Dynamic Shadows, as usual seems to create some ghosting and flickering on the characters' armor and face... This is annoying, turning them off is not too bad. I decided to keep them on and play with other parameters (see Graphics Tweaks section below)

Here is an example where the character's armor chest piece was not right...
Image

After playing with some parameters (SEE BELOW), this issue seemed to be minimal (see Graphics Tweaks section below)

5)Film Grain: I don't understand how this can look better when turned on. It is like watching a game in HD and suddenly wondering if it wouldn't look better in black and white as if made in the 50s... (look at the snapshots of some cutscenes in section 10) below)...

6)Background: Looks to me that every objects including VERY distant background objects look like real 3d objects at the correct depth.

Here is one (of many) amazing examples...

Image

7)Fire, smoke and other "floating" particles are rendered correctly in 3d ! Nice. 8)

8)Depth and convergence work (except with the light flares) described above.

Depth works like a charm. Switching between cutscene and play usually doesn't requires changing convergence. I usually use about 60% Convergence and 10-30% Depth.

One issue (again linked to LensFlare) is that if you use Convergence, the light flares are at the wrong depth and this messes up the Galaxy Map navigation. (see screenshot below)
Image

9) Pop-outs: Increasing convergence allowed me to get some amazing pop-out effects (like body parts and objects actually flying in your face). At some point, I crossed a room with some "dust" particles flying around that popped all around my face. Rockets and other projectiles actually makes you blink when they come at you. :o

10)Some of the cut scenes are actually 3d (when taking place inside). Unfortunately, I was waiting for the cut scenes in space to look amazing with S3D, but they are only 2d (bummer!) If you are not exagerating on convergence, there is no pain in switching between play and cutscene.

Here is a cutscene with my default convergence setting (which is pretty high) - notice FilmGrain is enabled - yuck...:
Image

Here is another cutscene snapshot without FilmGrain:
Image
Notice that apparently for the cutscenes, DepthOfField is turned off which creates the "circular visual artefact" described below in the DepthOfField tweak section... (maybe it's me, maybe not)...

Graphics Tweaks Section

1) My (current) GamerSettings.ini file

As of 02/02/2010, these settings appears to be getting the best results for me (yet some others are still obscure to me).

Code:
[SystemSettings]
Resolution=_1680x1050
ResX=1680
ResY=1050
FullScreen=True
BorderlessWindow=False
QualityBloom=True
DynamicShadows=True
LightEnvironmentShadows=True
MaxCharacterCinematicLightingPasses=5
EnableLightEnvSHLights=True
MotionBlur=False
FilmGrain=False
Bloom=False
DepthOfField=False
LensFlares=True
FloatingPointRenderTargets=False
ShadowFilterRadius=5
ShadowFilterQualityBias=2
ShadowTexelsPerPixel=4.000000
FoliageDrawRadiusMultiplier=2.000000
ParticleLODBias=-1.0
SkeletalMeshLODBias=-1.0
Trilinear=True
MaxAnisotropy=16
MinShadowResolution=64
MaxShadowResolution=2048
EnableHighPolyChars=TRUE

[Engine.Client]
DisplayGamma=1.2

[D3DDrv.D3DRenderDevice]
DisableHWShadowMaps=True

[SaveGames]
Location=

[AppCompat]
MeasuredCPUScore=367.010162
CompatLevelComposite=4
CompatLevelCPU=5
CompatLevelGPU=4
GPUVendorID=4318
GPUDeviceID=1536


2) DepthOfField

Some have suggested turning off DepthOfField (using DepthOfField=false). I find this makes the game brighter but it creates (or rather exagerates) circular visual artifact and separation on the edge of the screen. Keeping DepthOfField turned off also washes out all colors and makes the environment look ugly... Looks at the screenshots below to understand what I mean.

With DepthOfField=False: (lower left edge for artifact and washed out colors)
Image

With DepthOfField=True; (looks much better, even if a little dark)
Image

I played with the Gamma parameters, but so far, not much difference (maybe I am using it wrong).

3) Anisotropy/Trilinear

Boosting up textures rendering was achieved using the following parameters: (very slight improvement)

Trilinear=True
MaxAnisotropy=16
MinShadowResolution=64
MaxShadowResolution=2048
EnableHighPolyChars=True

4) Shadows

It seems the following parameters made some of the shadow ghosting disappear. After using them, I kept all Shadows settings turned on:

ShadowFilterRadius=5
ShadowFilterQualityBias=2
ShadowTexelsPerPixel=4.000000
FoliageDrawRadiusMultiplier=2.000000

5) Bloom

I couldn't see a difference when it is on or off, so I turned it off.

Gameplay

Coming soon!!!

Conclusion

Overall, this is a great game and 3d looks great. Fixing LensFlare and convergence issue would make it outstanding !

More to come later...including more pointers, settings and 3d pics...

:newshutter

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Last edited by christ0ff on Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:30 am, edited 11 times in total.



Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:49 am
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3D Angel Eyes (Moderator)
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What about out of screen effects? Are you able to have pop-out experiences?

Regards,
Neil


Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:15 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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Neil wrote:
What about out of screen effects? Are you able to have pop-out experiences?

Regards,
Neil

I added a little pop-outs: prefix in my previous post since you missed it ;)

-pop-outs: Increasing convergence allowed me to get some amazing pop-out effects (like body parts and objects actually flying in your face). At some point, I crossed a room with some "dust" particles flying around that popped all around my face. Rockets and other projectiles actually makes you blink when they come at you.

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:26 am
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3D Angel Eyes (Moderator)
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Excellent.

With the original Mass Effect, it was much better with camera angles on NVIDIA than iZ3D at the time. Do you have camera angle problems at all with out of screen effects? Especially with the cut-scenes?

Regards,
Neil


Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:40 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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Neil wrote:
Excellent.

With the original Mass Effect, it was much better with camera angles on NVIDIA than iZ3D at the time. Do you have camera angle problems at all with out of screen effects? Especially with the cut-scenes?

Regards,
Neil


No camera angle problem. I am not that far in the game but they actually looked great. I assume if you push convergence too high, there may be a issue with switching back but I did use quite a lots of it and it didn't bother me.

3d screenshots coming up tonight.

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:08 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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Version 1.2 available at the top of this thread...

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Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:05 am
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So christoff I'm following your invitation ;)

First off: you did a great job reviewing the 3D of the game.

To your question from the other thread:
Quote:
When you say DDD has a cut of function which fixed that... can you be a little more specific.

if you know the old nvidia drivers (that for XP) it was called "Stereo CUt off near depth". You can set a value after wich all objets that are nearer (out of screen) are cuted down to a specivic depth (adjustabel). In case of the selection rectangels:
These objekts are in 3D space, but much infront of the targetted objects, so with my settings the would be "behind my head". So i adjusted that cut off value so that the rectangels are setted to screen-depth, not optimal but more usefull than putting them completly out...

Hope now it is clearer ;)

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Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:16 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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cirk2 wrote:
So christoff I'm following your invitation ;)

First off: you did a great job reviewing the 3D of the game.

To your question from the other thread:
Quote:
When you say DDD has a cut of function which fixed that... can you be a little more specific.

if you know the old nvidia drivers (that for XP) it was called "Stereo CUt off near depth". You can set a value after wich all objets that are nearer (out of screen) are cuted down to a specivic depth (adjustabel). In case of the selection rectangels:
These objekts are in 3D space, but much infront of the targetted objects, so with my settings the would be "behind my head". So i adjusted that cut off value so that the rectangels are setted to screen-depth, not optimal but more usefull than putting them completly out...

Hope now it is clearer ;)


Thanks for the nice comments !

About that variable value, I have a hard time finding out what the syntax is. Looking at some ini values, I see there are specific object attribute for the LensFlare, such as selectable or un_selectable color (blue/orange) etc... The issue seems to be related to how the rectangle is managed; like a light effect, and not like an object (duh). I tried to search "stereo cut off near depth" on google but came up dry.

I am only a newbie in S3D and learned so much in 1 month, thanks to this great site, so any advice and help from more experienced users is highly welcome...

Thanks !

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Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:00 am
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Hey: There's a program called texmod with which you're able to extract and change textures in games. I'm trying to get rid of some artifacts in tomb raider underworld with this if possible. It seems to work with quite a number of dx9-games but i'm not sure about ME1 or ME2. If trying to mod then be sure saving and edit the files as ".dds". There's a plugin both for photoshop as well as paint shop pro which handles this. To apply a mod to a game then simply add the mods into texmod and run the game through texmod. The game itself is untouched so running without texmod leaves it as an original. Proven working with iz3d but i think they should work with nvidia without problems. Maybe even with the tridef but can't tell for sure.
Texmod is only for extracting/changing textures (not models) but some of these are in fact visible objects that can be turned into transparent (incisible) objects and then simply doesn't interfere with stereo.
Just don't know when i'm going to have time for this. :(

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Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:25 pm
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Textmod won't work with DDD sine DDD is also an game launcher (We launch ddd trou textmot and the me2 throu ddd...

The problem with the rectangel is that you can't live with them and you can't without... Since you need them to recognise objects to interact with...

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Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:41 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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The review of MASS EFFECT2 was good but for me it is completely useless, because its not a stereoscopic game at all....and after seeing AVATAR , resident evil 5, dark void, conan the hyborean adventures, the famous Lara CROFT in glorious stereoscopic a long time ago etc...I THINK IS MUCH BETTER TO PLAY IT AS IT IS, not in stereoscopic!!!


ZALMAN+ :polar +nvidia295+w7(32 bit)+AVATAR+FUJI FINEPIX REAL 3D = :D :D :D


Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:18 am
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Hi Gicko,

Given this long list of games, perhaps you can share your experiences with each of those titles in separate threads? That would probably be very useful for fellow members. Just remember to post in the appropriate driver threads.

Regards,
Neil


Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:23 pm
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cirk2 wrote:
Textmod won't work with DDD sine DDD is also an game launcher (We launch ddd trou textmot and the me2 throu ddd...

The problem with the rectangel is that you can't live with them and you can't without... Since you need them to recognise objects to interact with...


I was talking more about light effects which are rendered wrongfully in tru like flares and the pls. By replacing those textures (and yes, those lighteffects could be extracted as textures) with transparent ones should make them invisible. However you're right that i'm not sure if really will work practically since those textures might make a lot more disturbing "hole" in the image. :lol:
I know there are "ghostmods" for tombraidergames which replaces Lara textures with almost-completely invisible ones so i think there might be a possibility that the issue with flares in tru could be "fixed" (made invisible).
However i think i need a newer photoshop for it. Good ol' paint shop pro seems to be aged since the nvidia dds-plugin complains and want a newer version of photoshop...

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Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:23 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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HI Neil
Thanks for your advice but this is a very difficult work for me because i am not native english speaker, so its not an easy task for me to expose all these technical subjects.
So as you understand i am a simple user and all these technical details i like better to read than to explain!
I AM SORRY.


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Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:42 pm
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Whats your native tounge? my we can find a volunteer to translate.

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Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:57 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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Hi cirk2

I have had my tongue cut!
can you fix it please? :?: And of couse if you like Mass Effect 2 in stereoscopic ,means that you surpassed all its visual problems. If this is the case i must accept that you are a master!!!



:polar = :D :D :D


Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:58 pm
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So you mor the silent type?


What I meant: What is your native language? When it is german I can translate for you ;)

But I have to admit that Mass effect isn't very good for 3D. All drivers have problems with shadows and with the scene changes. The drivers with aoutofocus sometimes "freak out" and going to insane amount of convergence... That causes horible eyestrain...

Surpassing all the difficulties Isn't possible you have to use compromises, rughly you reduce the seperation until it mostly fits everywhere (ca. 50%) and adjust the convergence so that the main action is on screen depth (the back of the character in 3rd person games). This may sound complicated but you get used to it ;)

Avatar and Resident Evil don't realy need to be reviewed, since they are made for 3D. Avatar is making loving awsome pictures on nearly every solution, since it is native. Resident Evil 5 is Nvision optimized, only the iz3D and DDD reviews would be intresting.

Dark void and Conan I don't own gicko mabe can give some input here?

Lara croft (at least underworld) I can review, just need to reinstall it...

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Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:46 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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HI cirk2
i understood from your post that we we think the same for many things about stereoscopic games, so there is nothing to explain more...I precised also before, in another post, that i am not really interested in writing reviews and technicals in general, because i prefer reading such things and even that not always...Because i prefer to have a self experience of anything!
As far Conan(mmog) is concerned is a game i love it a lot because of its game play and graphics and i think FUNCOM made an excellent work there! The stereo view has some flows but very few, not as Massive effect2. Dark void too is interesting in stereo but with some problems...You know its not like Avatar!
Finally i was born in small european country but on the contrary very well known for its ancient civilization.
Thanks for your reply
CICKO


Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:23 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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gicko wrote:
The review of MASS EFFECT2 was good but for me it is completely useless, because its not a stereoscopic game at all....and after seeing AVATAR , resident evil 5, dark void, conan the hyborean adventures, the famous Lara CROFT in glorious stereoscopic a long time ago etc...I THINK IS MUCH BETTER TO PLAY IT AS IT IS, not in stereoscopic!!!


ZALMAN+ :polar +nvidia295+w7(32 bit)+AVATAR+FUJI FINEPIX REAL 3D = :D :D :D


So does it mean that no other game should be played in S3D ?

Sorry but I think the idea is to try to tweak settings as best as possible so that you can get a good feel playing it. To me, only Avatar and Lara Croft were awesome in S3D using both convergence and depth.

I am still new at it, but I don't think I will play another game in 2D.

Mass Effect 2 is still very enjoyable in S3D, but some ways the developers handled a few things should be corrected (like that rectangle flare instead of an object)...

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Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:41 pm
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Quote:
So does it mean that no other game should be played in S3D ?


No, you got the wron idear of it.

nearly every game is "better" in 3D than in 2D, but in games like Mass Effect (2) you have to trhread in mouch of the expirience and still get some eyestrain/headache. I played it the most time in 3D, but I couldn't stand long sesions in 3D, so ich switched between 3D and 2D, specialy in mor dialoge oriented missions I disabeled it, and enabeld it in the action parts.

I also will not play any game in 2D, except quake 3, but sometimes not everythin works well in 3D...

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Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:40 am
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Hi

I have just bought this game and have applied your gamersetting thingy

Now it seems to have resolved many of the main issues - well done! - but some of the textures now look very low res. e.g. the log in screens look like the colour has been set to 256bit instead of 32m if you know what I mean. Is that a necessary evil or do you think it can be adjusted?

I started playing this 2D, and goodness, 2D really looks flat now!

Thanks


edit

That's a bummer. I found the command line which was causing my grief:

FloatingPointRenderTargets=False

it seems to put a nice shimmer over objects and adds mists etc - unfortunately it also causes anomolies in the mists it creates. Never mind.


Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:27 am
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Anyone knows if it works similar for ME3?
My main Problem there is, that light "overlays" are totally wrong placed (split).

2nd thing was that 3D sometimes turns itself off when talking (only on main-Ship?).
Most times it's already ok (with bit outdated driver)

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:32 am
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That post is 2 years old.
Go here for me3 http://helixmod.blogspot.com/2012/03/ma ... pdate.html
here for me2 http://helixmod.blogspot.com/2012/02/mass-effect-2.html
here for me1 http://helixmod.blogspot.com/2012/03/mass-effect.html


Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:11 am
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