Over the last few weeks, Nvidia has posted two tweak guides for the just-released RPG from Bethesda, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The first guide offers ten pages of tweaks, ranging from general system optimization to general video settings to playing around with Object Fade and Actor Fade. The second guide is designed for PC gamers who don't want to sift through ten pages, and are looking to make quick changes to make the game look better.
Up first is Nvidia's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 10-page Tweak Guide, written by Koroush Ghazi and naturally focuses on the GeForce customer. "The aim of this guide is to allow you to better understand and utilize all of the configuration options available in Skyrim, as well as a selection of advanced tweaks to enhance the game," he writes. "What follows are full descriptions for all of the settings available in Skyrim's options menus. Performance information is also provided for every setting, although bear in mind that the precise impact on your particular system depends on your specific hardware combination and and your other game and system-wide settings."
But before gamers dig into all the options, Ghazi suggests that users download and install the free FRAPS utility to objectively measure the changes in Frames Per Second (FPS). He also said that VSync is enabled by default, and cannot be disabled using the in-game settings. To get an accurate FPS reading, VSync will need to be addressed which is covered in the Advanced Tweaking section of the guide. An enabled VSynch means the FPS will be capped to the refresh rate of the display, thus framerates won't go beyond 60 FPS on a monitor with a 60 Hz refresh rate.
The second Skyrim guide actually appeared just before Thanksgiving, and offers "Five Fast Skyrim Tweaks Guaranteed To Make Your Game Look Even Better." This one requires the use of a 3rd-party tool called Nvidia Inspector, and covers the following settings: ambient occlusion, high quality anisotropic texture filtering, shadow quality, tree self-shadowing and uGrids. The latter setting refers to the hundreds of thousands of sections that create Skyrim's world, and by default, Skyrim loads the five nearest sections within your line of sight, plus the one your character inhabits.
"On a mid-to-high end system this setting can be tweaked, forcing the game to load seven sections, dramatically improving scene quality in many locations," the guide reads. "Higher values, such as nine and eleven, are extremely unstable and therefore only recommended for users wanting to create wallpaper-worthy screenshots. By rendering this extra detail your frame rate will be reduced (to what extent is impossible to say as this reduction can vary wildly from scene to scene)."
If you haven't started tweaking Skyrim already, Nvidia offers plenty of reading material and advise to get the game running optimally on your Nvidia-based system. Most of these tweaks also applies to AMD GPUs until the guides discuss the Nvidia Control Panel, but these settings could easily be translated for the Catalyst Control Center.
- "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Tweak Guide" by Koroush Ghazi
- "Five Fast Skyrim Tweaks Guaranteed To Make Your Game Look Even Better" by Andrew Burnes