Month February 2010

Video: Boom De Yada WoW

Courtesy of you-know-who-you-are. Hah, I like this one; It’s funny/cute, though the song was stuck in my head for a good day or so. I don’t go out of my way to watch too many WoW music videos, but this…

Tweaking Mass Effect 2 PC’s Graphics

[img_assist|nid=944|title=|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=210|height=118]Whoops, late post is late. Oh well, this is a fairly useless post given that everyone has long since beaten Mass Effect 2 by now. But if there is anyone else who is curious, here is how you force modify some of the PC graphical settings for ME2. BioWare's default PC configuration options are way too inflexible borderlining unacceptable. Which is a damn shame because I love the game. There really isn't any good way of enabling anti-aliasiang or taking screenshots without jumping through a few hoops. No worries, most of these are easy enough to hack into the game.

All of the settings are stored in the coalesced.ini file (BACK THIS UP BEFORE TAMPERING). If you are running Mass Effect 2 through Steam, Coalesced.ini isn't going to be in your My Documents folder. It will be in: Steam > steamapps > common > mass effect 2 > BioGame > Config > PC > Cooked.

The only hitch to editing this file is that, it needs to be edited in UNIX format and it needs to be rebuild after each modification otherwise your game will loadcrash. It's easy enough to make manual changes by loading coalesced.ini in notepadd++ in UNIX format, saving, then running one of the tools from the Steam/BioWare forums that will rebuild the file. Otherwise, just use this tool: Coalesced Editor. Very easy to use.

  • Add a screenshot button: Under [Engine.PlayerInput] add the following line to bind F11 to the screenshot key: (Name="F11",Command="shot")

Super Dark Shadows
The depth of field effect is supposed to give Mass Effect 2 a cinematic appearance (along with that stupid film grain effect, in which I also disabled), but for me it just made most of the shadows extremely dark and hard to see. Unfortunately though, there doesn't seem to be an in-game option to disable it. In order to do so, just do this:

  1. Go to: USER > My Documents > BioWare > Mass Effect 2 > BIOGame > Config
  2. Open GamerSettings in Notepad.
  3. Add the following line to the bottom of the file: DepthOfField=False

Forcing AA
Edit: By the way, nVidia added in forced AA suppport in driver version 197.13. 

Oh, AA was also kind of a pain in the ass to enable. There's no GUI option within the game, so you have to force it using the nVidia control panel. The problem is that, as of 196.21 drivers, the wrong executable is listed in the nvApps.xml file for ME2.

  1. Update your video card drivers. As far as I know, this fix doesn't work for the older drivers (tried).
  2. Find your nvApps.xml file. On my computer it was under C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA (ProgramData is a hidden folder so you will either need to type in the location manually or enable show hidden files/folders in your windows config).
  3. Edit the file in Notepad.
  4. Do a search for "Mass Effect II" and change the following:
    <APPLICATION Label=”biogame.exe”/>
    <APPLICATION Label=”masseffect2.exe”/>
  5. Paste this into the Mass Effect II section:
    <PROPERTY Label=”aa_feature_bits” Value=”0×080100C5″ Default=”0×080100C5″ Itemtype=”predefined”/>

Doing all of this will allow you to set AA in your nVidia control panel normally. Mind you though, it's partial AA but a vast improvement over the default settings. I forgot to bookmark the forum thread that I plucked the instructions, so credit goes to whoever posted it :P

Bad screenshots below the cut. Yeah sorry, these aren't the best screenshots. For whatever reason, I wen through the bother of adding the functionality into the game but just did not use it all that often. Larger, clearer versions of each image are stored somewhere on the server.

I was trying to find a good screenshot comparing the depthoffield fix; preferably two similar screenshots in the same area but I couldn't find one/didn't feel like taking one. But this is good enough. The point was that, almost EVERYTHING was way too dark and now it is not. Stupid site module bug is preventing me from linking them in the manner that I prefer. Too busy to fix or care, good enough: