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Homefront: The Revolution Tweaking Guide

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Graphics Options and Performance:

While not as deep as some games offer, Homefront: The Revolution does have a respectable number of graphics options to play around with. On the first page you get to set resolution, the window setting (labeled Fullscreen), antialiasing method, if temporal antialiasing is used, texture resolution, V-sync, System Spec, brightness, and "Safe Area." I cannot say I have heard it referred to as "Safe Area" before, but this is the bounds of UI elements, such as the minimap. If you want the UI elements moved in from the screen edges, which is the default, this is where you go to change that.

You set the brightness when you first launch the game, so you will probably not have to revisit this.

System Spec is actually for the quality presets, stepping from Low to Very High. You can change the specific settings in Advanced Graphics, if you want to. I will get into those settings after I finish covering this page.

 

The window settings under Fullscreen are No and Yes, referencing exclusive fullscreen, and Borderless Window. I initially ran the game in exclusive fullscreen and it did not misbehave when I Alt-Tabbed, but I prefer to use borderless window/borderless fullscreen whenever possible. It makes Alt-Tabbing always safe, and should not allow a game-crash to take the computer with it. Of course there can be a performance hit due to background windows still being rendered, but it should not amount to much.

Texture resolution should be fairly self-explanatory. The higher the setting, the more detailed the textures loaded onto the GPU will be. This means your GPU will need enough VRAM to hold the textures, and the 4 GB on my GTX 980 appears to have enough for the Very High setting. If you notice intermediate stuttering while moving around in the game world, try turning this option down a step, as this is what I have experienced in other games when I pushed the texture setting too high. If your GPU does not have enough VRAM, the game will stutter as the textures are loaded into the VRAM from your primary storage or system RAM. Either way, it takes time, which delays the rendering of the frame, causing the stutter.

Temporal antialiasing is meant to deal with the aliasing that can occur as the camera moves around and looks like a shimmer. I have been running with it on and it did not seem to impact my performance significantly or noticeably, so I have left it on. This option can only be enabled or disabled. Now that I have experienced how the game performs with it on, I intend to disable this setting. I find it negatively impacts the visuals, as it removes clarity from some objects and adds a kind of motion blur to others.

 

The options for Antialiasing are Disabled, FXAA, SMAA Low (1X), and SMAA Medium (2TX). I find it interesting that FXAA and temporal antialiasing can be enabled at the same time, as FXAA does not have native support for temporal antialiasing, but that does not mean it could not be applied some other way. SMAA does have native support for temporal antialiasing, which is one of the advantages it has over FXAA. Both are post-process AA methods, with SMAA considered the superior option. I have been running with it set to SMAA Medium (2TX). Post processing AA methods tend to be rather easy on modern graphics hardware, so you will hopefully not need to lower this.

The resolution and V-sync settings are straightforward, so time to explore the Advanced Graphics options, but first my specs as I will be talking about performance:

  • Processor: AMD A10-5800K @ 4.40 GHz (44.0x100)
  • Cooling: Corsair H110
  • Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 980 4 GB
  • PhysX: EVGA GTX 770 2 GB
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4x8 GB (32 GB total) at 1866 MHz 10-10-10-27
  • PSU: OCZ Fata1ty 750 W
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

 

Under Advanced Graphics we have options for Game Effects, Object, Particles, Post Processing, Shading, Shadows, Water, Supersampling, Anisotropic Filtering, FOV, Motion Blur Amount, and Lens Flare. The options ahead of Supersampling all have steps between Low and Very High and obey the System Spec setting of the previous page, so changing them puts you to the Custom System Spec setting.

When I was first playing the game, prior to the multicore patch, I played with the System Spec set to Very High, no supersampling, 16x anisotropic filtering, motion blur disabled, and lens flare turned on. (FOV is a personal choice for each one of us, so I am not going to mention it now.) Later I turned it down to Low, to see how much performance improved, and it did, noticeably. At Very High, the game was definitely playable, but would drop below 30 FPS and when this happened, the stutter was noticeable and more than I wanted to put up with. On Low, the performance was better, averaging more around 40 FPS, so I started messing with settings to see if there was any one option that was particularly responsible for the hit. It is important to note that the performance is very much based on your in-game location. I did play for a time after changing each setting, before changing the next, to minimize this, but did not keep to any set path or routine.

I went down the list, so I started with Game Effects and turned it up to Very High. While there was a performance hit from this, it was not much, so I have continued playing with it on. This was actually the case for all of these settings, except Object. This is the singular setting that when turned to High was hitting my performance significantly. At Medium I still lost some FPS, but it was not that bad, so that is what I am running the game with: everything at Very High, except Object at Medium.

After some testing, and finally finding a location that revealed what was going on, the Object setting appears to influence the distance objects will be rendered in at, meaning it is a Level of Detail (LOD) setting. I made a video to show the visual differences of a vehicle wheel from the Low to High settings. (Unfortunately switching to the Very High setting broke the captured video, so I cannot show that.)

 

Now that I know what the setting actually does, it makes sense that I saw an improvement from the multicore patch. Prior to the patch I had to keep the setting at Medium to maintain that 40 FPS framerate I mentioned above, but after I could kick it up to High with approximately the same performance. Staying at Medium obviously allows the framerate to go higher, but not to the highly desirable 60 FPS, at least in the areas I was testing in.

The Shading and Shadows options do have a profound effect on the game's appearance. Definitely turn those up if you can. Here

Moving on to the other settings, Supersampling will set the game to originally render at a higher resolution than you have set, and downscale the frames before passing them off to the monitor. This should have an inherent antialiasing effect, but also should cause higher resolution versions of models and textures to be utilized for rendering, especially for objects farther from the camera. It can also be a significant hit to performance, and turning it up to 1.5X did drop my FPS more than I was willing to accept. The maximum option is 2X, which I did not bother trying.

Anisotropic filtering is something I am not sure many people know what it is. It has to do with how textures look when they are near-parallel to the view of the camera. For example, the textures of a road that stretches off into the distance. As the camera's angle to the road becomes more extreme, it can look worse and anisotropic filtering is meant to improve this by increasing the number of samples taken of the original texture. The default option was 16X and I have not bothered changing this, but its option are 1X, 2X, 4X, 8X, and 16X, which are pretty standard. The reason I have not changed it is because I cannot think of any game where this setting negatively impacted performance much. That is not to say it will not impact your performance if you have a weaker GPU, but that it has been a relatively cheap setting for improving image quality.

Motion blur I have Disabled because I personally do not like the appearance of motion blur in practically every game I have ever played, but its options are Disabled, Low, Medium, and High.

Lens flare I left enabled because this effect does not bother me and I doubt it will affect performance much. Also where I was testing it I could not find any difference in the visuals.

 

 

Conclusion:

After having constructed most of this from the release-day state of Homefront: The Revolution and then performing some additional tests after the June 3 patch with a patch for multicore CPUs, I have found that the Object graphics setting still has a significant impact on the game's performance. It is better following the patch, but I would still recommend shifting it down if you experience any performance issues as you play. The Shading and Shadow options have a tremendous impact on visuals, so definitely try to have those turned up if you can.

The save files are located in a somewhat obvious, yet still uncommonly used location, the Saved Games user folder Windows puts in your user folder. The game downloads all of the localization files it might need, even if you only need one language. While this could negatively affect the stability of the game, it appears to be possible to delete the unneeded localization files to reclaim some space. If you need them back, verifying the game cache should trigger Steam to re-download them.




  1. Homefront: The Revolution Tweaking Guide - Introduction and Info
  2. Homefront: The Revolution Tweaking Guide - Graphics Options, Performance and Conclusion
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