In the Forums...
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Advanced Display Options
In this section you get to define your own game detail level - much like you get to do in flight and space simulators like Freespace 2. There are a bunch of options in here so I will go over what I can. Draw sky, if enabled, will set the game to draw a detailed sky with clouds and the like. Disabling it will get rid of the 'pretty sky' but will increase frame rates in outdoor areas. Reflections, if enabled, will let reflective surfaces such as glass and water reflect its surroundings. If you disable this setting, any scene with a reflective surface in it (which is just about every scene in the game) will become quite a bit faster. 3D UI heads, if enabled, will show you the characters status not only using the bars but also through the condition of the head next to the bars. This is a really cool feature but disabling it will give you a slight performance increase.
Texture bit depth is something of an interesting beast. You can choose to use 32-bit color textures even if the game is only displaying 16-bit textures and gain a bit in visual quality but you will lose a bit of speed in the process. Leaving this at 16-bit is probably the best bet for speed. As for the texture filtering, theoretically bilinear filtering should be faster but I have noticed no speed decrease by setting this to trilinear - so that is what I recommend. It is a lot better looking this way as well.
For the games static lighting setting, I would recommend setting this to lightmap and leaving it that way. In my opinion it looks better and it is also a bit faster than vertex lighting. Styled lights is similar to the colored light setting in other games - disabling it will give you a speed increase but you might lose a bit of the game atmosphere. Dynamic lightblobs are similar (although I have no idea why they are calling them lightblobs) to styled lights except they are omni-directional, so the same as above goes for them.
There are three settings for LOD, or level of detail. These are model, UI head, and particle. The first one controls the detail level of the character models (your characters and the monsters you fight); the second deals with the UI head on the, well, UI; and the third deals with any particles (blood, etc) that show up in the game. For these settings, high looks better but low is faster. Because they are on a sliding scale you can tweak them to your hearts content.
The next three slide bar settings are decals, # of automatic mip levels, and mip selection. The decals setting is easy - disabling them (set the slider all the way to the left) increases performance but you don't get to see any cool effects. The second two settings have to deal with a property of the graphics engine called mips. Generally, setting these high is good for visuals but may cause slowdowns or graphical anomalies (only if your video card doesn't support them properly, though). Lowering these settings can speed up your system but you will sacrifice visual quality for it.
The last three slider settings are number of character dynamic lights, number of character shadows, and shadow detail. The first setting has to do with how many dynamic lights you want active on the character models at once (assuming you didn't disable them). Fewer is faster in this case once again but more will look better. For the number of character shadows and shadow level detail, if you leave the shadows enabled, might as well be high. One person having a blocky shadow while the others have no shadow at all would look very silly.