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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Since I haven't seen one, I thought I'd take the time to create a performance guide. Maybe you're trying to play STO on an older system, or have a few hardware pieces that need an upgrade. Well you can still play the game at a playable frame rate, you just need to tweak it. This is a guide to increase game performance meaning, the game will run faster, quicker and give a better FPS rate for playing. Less pretty stuff, more bang for your buck.

Update: 3/16/2011 - Added thread link for more Wine/Linux performance

Legend - In-Game Options - System Tweaks - Utilities and Programs - Playstyle - Recommended Setting for best FPS (RS for abbreviation) - Linux/Mac/Etc

*note* recommended for those in need of FPS

In-Game Options Menu

In game, pres Esc and choose Options -> Video

http://www.redshirtarmy.com/tweak1.jpg

Display Mode - pretty simple, keep the game in Full Screen or Windowed Mode. Depending upon your system, one may have better performance. Even if your hardware is underpowered, Full Screen can still have some benefits, as Windows isn't having to draw the desktop and other applications in conjunction with the game. RS: Full Screen

Fullscreen resolution - How big you want the game, your field of view basically. The chief rule is, the bigger the resolution is, the more is drawn and seen by the game, so more drain on your system. You can always go to a lower resolution and generally see a framerate increase. RS: As low as you want it and/or as low as you can get to gain FPS

Fullscreen refreshrate - The speed at which your monitor will update, generally 60 is a decent setting, some people perform more. However if you're aiming for more than 60 FPS, you'll need to bump the refresh rate higher as it'll be hard capped by that rate.

Brightness - not a general performance drain, though it may make seeing darker colored objects, especially in the dark backdrop of space, easier to see.

Aspect Ration - width basically, of the display. Think, HD vs SD, generally. If you have a widescreen monitor you can crank it up to 16:9 or 16:10 etc or typical 4:3. Smaller might get you a frame or two but generally not since the game is already drawn, this is simply altering how you view it. RS: 4:3 or Auto

Monitor Vertical Sync - This will attempt to keep your fps in sync, but it takes up a little bit of resources, and most often if you're trying to tweak FPS, then you really don't have the power to keep a constant FPS to begin with. Some debate this is better on rather than off, you can experiment but in my gaming lifetime, having this off in a game has always boosted performance. RS: Off

Half Resolution - Now this, is a very very very good way to boost your FPS. Basically, everything but the in-game HUDs, get a massive lowering of quality. Poly count, texture detail, etc (from a visual perspective at least). It will make the game look bad, but a large performance increase. So if you can live without eye candy, and really want a better FPS, this is the option for you. RS: On

Now, onto more options. In the same dialog as seen in http://www.redshirtarmy.com/tweak1.jpg you want to checkmark Show Advanced Video Settings, and scroll down for more options.

Antialiasing - AA for short, it generally rounds off objects that are round. Turning this setting higher makes less "jaggies" on graphics but at a performance decrease. So if you have a way to turn it off, do so. Slightly graphic decrease but a performance increase. RS: None/Off

Dynamic Lighting - pretty colors. generally makes lamps or any lightsource more vibrant and nice, but at the cost of performance. RS: Off

Lighting Quality - simple as it sounds, more quality less frames, less quality better performance. RS: Low

Max Lights Per Object - limitation of how many lights per thing in the game world. Less is better. RS: 2 (lowest setting I can find

Max Shadowed Lights - same as above roughly, but with shadows and effects. Less is better. RS: 1 (lowest setting I can find

Texture Anisotropic Filtering - a method for texture quality/deployment. Some games let you toggle between bi or tri filtering, less is better. RS: Off

http://www.redshirtarmy.com/tweak2.jpg - Scroll down some and we'll look into more settings

World Texture Quality - quality of world objects (planets, items, etc). less is better. 50% (lowest setting I can find)

Character Texture Quality - same as above but for character models, pretty sure this includes ships as well. less is better. RS: 50% (lowest setting I can find)

World Detail Distance - draw distance in a fashion, from a point where the world starts to decrease or increase quality depending upon range. less is better RS: 25% (lowest setting I can find).

Terrain Detail Distance - same as above but for terrain. less is better. RS: 75% (lowest setting I can find).

Character Detail Distance - again same as the above. less, always better. RS: 50% (lowest setting I can find.

Show High Detail Objects - we don't want high detail if we are aiming for better FPS. RS: Off.

Max Physics Debris Objects - amount of stuff that goes boom when you pewpewpew. Less, better. RS: 0

Postprocessing - debatable if you want it on off, some games in my experience it helps, sometimes not. I play without it. RS: Off.

Visual FX Quality - quality of effects, while nice to look at, more of a drain so less will be good. RS: Low.

Soft Particles - less quality, more bang for your buck. Not 100% sure which all effects in game this involves but less is always better. RS: Off

Shadows - while cool and add a nice graphical touch especially when done right, they are more of a system drain, no need for them. RS: Off

Bloom Quality - that fuzzle glow things can have, its beautiful but not needed if you can disable it. Same goes for Bloom Intensity. RS: Off

Screen-space Ambient Occlusion - basically, pixel shading, with some other geometrics thrown in. Your GPU already has a certain level of pixel shading it can handle, so off this goes. RS: Off

Cinematic Focus - more quality you don't need. less is better. RS: Off

Underwater view - gimmicky setting, you don't really need it. RS: Off.

Reflection Quality - some objects like water or shiny metal of ships have a reflective surface, so while pretty, less is better for performance. RS: Off

http://www.redshirtarmy.com/tweak3.jpg - Now, here's a great place in the Options menu most people over look, the Troubleshoot tab, click this to open some great choices.

Framerate Stablizer - if you've ever seen options in an MMO to maintain a certain FPS, this works similar. Once your frame rate reaches a point of X, sometimes these functions kick in to try to maintain a FPS of a certain level. And it will also help keep things in check, if it sees you heading into a big battle with a lot of frame rate lag, it'll divert more resources to process it all. RS: On

Auto-stabalize Framerate - I'm fairly certain this performs the above function, automatically. More testing to be done, for now it can't hurt. RS: On

Limit CPU Usage When Inactive - if you need to say, Alt+Tab out of the game for something, this feature hard limits the resources STO will use in the background until you bring it to the active foreground again. Trust me, if you're looking up a lot of information while playing STO, this can be handy on a lower end machine. RS: On

Multi-core Rendering - for people who have dual core or quad core CPU's, this ain't too bad. Some might debate against it but it seems to work fine for me and I'm simply running an Intel 2 core cpu @ 2ghz per. It splits up the graphical rendering on the various cores. Try it and see if it helps you. RS: On

Use Full Detail Character Animation - more detail and such for characters and animations. eye candy is again nice but less is better. RS: Off

GPU Accelerated Particles - this offloads some of the graphical work of particles back onto the video card (graphical processing unit). Purdy stuff but less is better. RS: Off

Reduced File Streaming - I believe this lowers how much the game streams and/or loads a zone information to you as you move area to area. I personally don't use it. RS: Off

Now click Apply then Ok, STO may restart but you should see a good increase in framerate if you changed the settings.

Lets go over one tab at the top to http://redshirtarmy.com/tweak4.jpg

Believe it or not but disable some of these can give a small boost. I mean most of these are simply the text or identifier above objects, players, etc. You might want player names displayed, but not Fleet names. Sure, turn off Fleet names. So on and so forth. Imagine being in a full instance with all names displayed, not compare it to with minimal names displayed, there'd be a frame rate or two increase. RS: Personal Preference

Sounds - Believe it or not but churning out the hip vibrations of the game can lower performance some. If you've got a dedicated sound card and a decent system, on is fine. Low end systems with an integrated sound card, might see a slight boost with it off. RS: Off