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[H] Battlefield 3 Single Player Performance and IQ Review

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Anti-Aliasing in Battlefield 3

More and more, we feel that hardware multisampling is in danger of becoming an obsolete technology. Battlefield 3 gives us more ammunition to support that idea. As it is currently implemented, it is limited to old-school rendering pipelines without considerable hacking. It is workable with deferred shading models, but it still has its limitations. It can't address edge aliasing produced by lighting stages, and it inflicts a far more damaging performance penalty than its image quality improvement justifies. It is a nice old technology, and it has served us well, but there are better options.

Shader AA technology has gotten better. One of the first times we ever saw it was in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. At that time it was, to be frank, ugly and ineffective. But times have changed and shader AA has steadily improved. With the advent of technologies like NVIDIA's FXAA and AMD's MLAA, computational AA is now a legitimate threat to the legitimacy of traditional multisampling. While we have seen FXAA and MLAA to be great systems, it still wouldn't have been possible without the rampant increase in computational horsepower we've witnessed in desktop GPUs. Even the inexpensive Radeon HD 6870 didn't even flinch when we enabled High FXAA at 1920x1200. In fact, it barely seemed to notice that there was an extra processing load.

In Battlefield 3, MSAA is disadvantaged. With a deferred shading engine, MSAA is challenged from the beginning. There are things it just can't do. It can't address edge aliasing that is exaggerated by the lighting stage, because it happens before lighting. it can't reduce aliasing due to shaders (sometimes referred to as "specular aliasing") or transparent textures without external help from AMD and NVIDIA control panel options. FXAA doesn't share any of these problems. It's not perfect, but FXAA does exactly what it sets out to do: it is an effective and very fast approximation of multi-sampling in a single-pass shader program. It smoothes geometry edges, alpha texture edges, lighting edges, and specular aliasing. And it does these things very quickly.

Let's not forget that MSAA and FXAA can be used together uniquely in this game. DICE talked up that possibility, and even mentioned that they "complement each other," but we feel that the reality of the situation does not warrant much excitement. Yes, they work together, but there is no immediately and persistently noticeable reason to do it. If you take still screenshots and zoom in a few hundred percent, it is easy to find differences side by side. But if you play the game, chances are you'll never actually see what is different with MSAA and FXAA as opposed to just FXAA.

In AMD's own review guide for this game AMD recommends to use FXAA in this game instead of MSAA. This is a bold statement from AMD since FXAA is the competitors technology. This leads credence to the benefit and positive effect that today's shader based AA technology provides. It is very easy to see that FXAA is more effective than MSAA in this particular game title.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/...ce_iq_review/1

Very interesting info on MSAA and FXAA/MLAA in BF3 and beyond.

Looks like when you take the lack of any "persistently noticeable" IQ Gain from msaa the AMD 6970 is a tremendous buy for the price.
Edited by bce22 - 11/2/11 at 3:32pm
post #2 of 18
Results achieved in Singleplayer are no guarantee for the Multiplayer. (Much much MUCH heavier)
post #3 of 18
The numbers for the 6970 seems about right.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deluxe View Post
Results achieved in Singleplayer are no guarantee for the Multiplayer. (Much much MUCH heavier)
Of course, Multi is much more severe. However there are things about the review that will carry over into the multiplayer side of the house.

For example, MSAA has a huge performance penalty in single player, it does in multiplayer as well. It has negligible impact on IQ in singleplayer, it does in multiplayer as well.

It is the same engine on both sides of the house.

Out of all of the "performance" articles that have come out since the release, I find this one to be the most comprehensive and useful when talking about BF3 settings.
Edited by bce22 - 11/2/11 at 3:56pm
post #5 of 18
Inb4 jokes about console players having lower IQ.
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post #6 of 18
I was wondering if anyone enhanced the AA beyond 4x in the nvidia control panel and saw an improvement. How about transparency AA?
    
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post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
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Originally Posted by lordikon View Post
Inb4 jokes about console players having lower IQ.
Honestly, I thought that it was all the same between xbox and the pc?
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bce22 View Post
Honestly, I thought that it was all the same between xbox and the pc?
He wasn't referring to image quality... boom!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TFL Replica View Post
He wasn't referring to image quality... boom!
What other type of IQ is there?
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmanuel View Post
I was wondering if anyone enhanced the AA beyond 4x in the nvidia control panel and saw an improvement. How about transparency AA?
Made a huge difference for me in Caspian Border during the beta; the aliasing on the fences killed my eyes. I have it on now; can't remember what it looked like off, so I'll have to do some testing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bce22 View Post
What other type of IQ is there?
Not sure if you're serious, but Intelligence Quotient.
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