New Graphics Card and Graphics Hell

So I buy this great new graphics card and start pumping up the graphics options in DDO. I quickly find out how not compatible the card is at many levels with the games graphics engine. I found myself in graphcis settings hell and almost could not get back to a working state. What is strange is how the game plays fine until about 3-4 minutes of walking around. (it very much looks more like a bug than a compatibility problem).

badscreenThe screen to the right is a sample of what the game looks like in this state. The problem here is to the novice person they might just stop here and throw the game out and call it quits. I new something was wrong with some setting, somewhere; but of course I had no clue as to which one. So I started to apply basic engineering debugging skills at the subject. I figured it wouldn’t take long to figure this out. Well, as they say you only know what you know and my confidence in my knowledge is pretty high, or at least it was.

I started by playing with the basic settings like “Detect Optimal Settings”, this of course lead to the screen on the right. So you guys at Turbine might want to rethink your optimal logic. So I will put out a disclaimer by saying these problems could be anything (including my PC configuration) and that I might be pointing the finger a bit harshly at Turbine. So this is more of a leason for me and whoever reads this blog.

After realizing the big switch concept didn’t work, I had to start diving on the individual settings. Which brings me to the entire reason why I am writing this rather lengthy blog. Who the heck would want to sift through these settings screens to figure out “which one will let me play the game”. Of course, I did find out that using the big switch setting of Low worked great. The game just looked like crap! And after buying a $300 video card I was not about to settle for that. Here are some shots of the graphics settings you can play with in your spare time – or for 5 hours straight until 1:30 am just trying to get it to work…

ddo-graphics.jpg

The shot above has the Graphics Quality setting which is what I call the big switch – Low, Medium, High, Highest. You will also notice the Adv Graphics button on the right. That is where all of the fun begins. Just to give you a shot of HALF of the settings, look at this picture (notice the scroll bar):

ddo-advgraphics.jpg

This is where I just lose it! While yes it is cool to be able to control many things in a game, you really have to know a lot about the language of 3D graphics in order to understand what to change. I mean, with an Anisotropic Filter Quality of 4 why wouldn’t it work!

In short, I had to go down each setting and change it, test it and possibly change it back or go to the next one.

The big hint!

My big hint is this. With my PC and the GeForce 7800 GS is seems that the Antialising setting is the biggest factor. If this setting is greater than 2x there seems to be problems. I keep it at 2x (even though the screen shot says 4x) and all of my other settings are pretty high in quality. The game has subtle pixelization problems with some text but it quickly disappears. Here is the last shot of the game working in a somewhat high quality.

ddo-allworking.jpg

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