some stuff i've discovered:
since PoP is such an artistic and colorful game, i hardly noticed until now, but i didn't have any shadows!
but after checking out some screenshots posted by, i finally figured out that i was missing them. i went off to the settings and decided to mess around until my shadows appeared.
now, this isn't my first time having to tweak the new PoP game to make it run right - i had to add -32bit to the launch options so the king's face would show up. so i went off to the settings menu full of hope.
what i discovered, though, is that the settings menu is at least as complicated as one of the puzzles in SoT.
not in terms of options, of course. it's very simple on its face, but each item affects the others - and finding the exact configuration that works is pretty insane. 6 different variables, with 2 or more options for each one.
fortunately, i found a way to get the shadows to appear WITHOUT the AA going crazy (getting that weird-looking, fuzzy edges with the slight light halo around em).
- first, i had resolution. i didn't want to change that, so i left it at my monitor's res: 1440 by 900. throughout my tests, i did not change that variable.
- second is the widescreen option. i found that toggling this on and off had some effect on shadows and AA appearance, as well as microstuttering.
- then we have the Vsync option. i found that it pretty much does what it's labeled, and does not affect the other options much.
- Antialiasing. here's a biggie. it goes from none to 8x, at least on my machine (8800GT). obviously affects AA in the game.
- graphics detail - this is KEY. the slider has low, medium, and high settings. this slider is the true key to getting your game to look as good as the screenshots.
- high-res textures - also key, and also affects performance of other options
whenever i made a change to the settings in the launcher, after clicking OK, i exited the launcher, then restarted before actually entering the game. i found this helped the settings to 'stick'.
without further delay, my findings: the 'High' graphics setting is the source of many, MANY problems. through all the permutations i tested, the 1-per-second slowdown appeared ONLY with the slider set to high. secondly, while the lower fidelity settings would work with AA that actually seemed to work, putting the slider to High would cause the edges to appear degraded, blurry, edged with a white halo, and overall very ugly. even with AA turned off completely, the high setting would mess up the edges, making them appear extra-sharp.
now, if i had the slider set to high, and AA on 4x before, why wasn't I experiencing these problems? well, that ties into why my shadows weren't showing up. every time i adjusted the settings, i'd immediately pop into the game and they wouldn't 'stick'. so i was actually playing on low graphics. why didn't I notice? well, i had the high-def textures box checked, which overrides the textures chosen by the graphics slider.
when i finally learned how to make the settings 'stick', all of these problems cropped up.
so what settings did i end up with?
- 1440x900 resolution
- no widescreen
- Vsync on
- AA set to 4x
- graphics fidelity set to MEDIUM
- high-def textures on
you may be thinking "but i don't want to play on MEDIUM, i want to max it out!" well, it turns out medium and high are identical in looks, but definitely not in performance. high will mess up everything, but medium looks the same as high (if you have the high-def textures on), and you can't tell the difference. this comparison proves it:
so, if you've got that 1-per second slowdown problem, or your edges look like crap, or your shadows aren't showing up, try moving that slider down to medium.