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Dark Messiah of Might & Magic Tweak Guide

[Page 5] In-Game Settings



In this section I provide full descriptions and some recommendations for Dark Messiah's in-game settings, allowing you to achieve a good balance between visual quality and performance. I note the performance impact of each setting, although bear in mind that it is impossible for me to give exact performance impacts because it all depends on your specific hardware combination and your other game and system-wide settings.


To access the in-game settings start DMOMM and on the main screen select the Options item. The various items under Options are covered in detail below:



Click to enlarge

Keyboard


You can assign the various game commands to specific keys on your keyboard here. Highlight the command you wish to change, double-click on it or click the 'Edit Key' button and press the key or mouse button you wish to replace it with. If you want to remove a key from a function without replacing it with another key, highlight the function and click the 'Clear Key' button. You can return to the default key assignments by pressing the 'Use Defaults' button. None of the keyboard assignments affect performance, so set to suit your taste.


Advanced: The Advanced button leads to an important additional setting: the 'Enable developer console' option. If enabled, you can open and close the in-game console at any time by pressing the '~' key (the key under ESC). Access to the console is critical in allowing you to use the advanced tweaks later in this guide, so I recommend you tick this option and see the Advanced Tweaking section for more details. It has no impact on performance either way and shouldn't get in your way if enabled.



Mouse


Reverse Mouse: If ticked, this option means that when you push the mouse forward, your character will look down, and vice versa. This has no impact on performance so set to suit your taste.


Mouse filter: If ticked, this option attempts to smooth your mouse movements by averaging the movements over two frames. If you find the mouse movements are too jerky, enable this setting, but in general I recommend it be left unticked. Note that this setting does not resolve mouse lag, and might actually make it worse - see Mouse Sensitivity below.


Mouse Sensitivity: This slider allows you to adjust how sensitive your mouse is to movements. The greater the sensitivity slider (the higher the number shown), the more sensitive your mouse is to your movements. Set it to suit your taste, and note that while this setting has no impact on performance, if you are experiencing a 'laggy' mouse which is not being resolved by using this slider, then you will need to reduce your graphics settings in order to increase your average framerate - mouse lag is almost always due to low framerates. You can also try the 'Max frames to render ahead' tweak as detailed here.



Audio


Game Volume, Music Volume: These sliders allow you to adjust the general volume of sound effects, voices and music in the game (Game Volume), and the background/menu music by itself (Music Volume). These have no impact on performance, and setting either slider to the far left (0) will not remove sounds from memory, so set to suit your taste.


Speaker Configuration: This drop down box allows you to select the number of discrete audio channels Dark Messiah will provide for your speakers. You must make sure that the number/type of speakers chosen do not exceed that connected to your system, otherwise you may experience audio glitches and/or missing sounds. On some systems with a 7.1 or 5.1 speaker setup, you may find better audio performance from choosing the '4 Speakers' setup or even '2 Speakers'. The less the number of speakers (channels) chosen here, the better your performance since more audio channels require more audio processing which is shared by the CPU and your Sound Card. For most systems the 2 Speaker setup provides the most trouble-free sound performance.


Note that changing the speaker configuration here will also change your default Windows speaker configuration under Control Panel>Sounds & Audio Devices to match, so keep this in mind if you notice your sound output sounds different for other games or in your media player for example. Also note that to minimize problems you should disable any additional special effects in your sound card's control panel. On the Audigy range of cards for example this involves going to your SoundBlaster AudioHQ or Creative Audio Console, opening the EAX Control Panel and clicking the 'All Effects Off' button to disable additional EAX effects. You might also want to disable CMSS 3D effects as well.


Sound Quality: This setting controls the quality of the audio effects used in the game. The options are Low, Medium and High, and in experimenting with this setting I found that the general sound quality (sample rate) remains the same for each setting level. At High however the audio has additional special effects which affect its pitch and ambience, while at Medium and Low the audio becomes progressively less rich. There are additional reverberations and more of a 'depth' to sound effects at High compared to Medium or Low. Striking a sword against a metal surface for example has a richer and more satisfying sound to it at the higher quality setting. In reality though the quality difference between the various levels is quite subtle (but it is there), so if you need to boost your performance and help reduce stuttering I recommend Medium or Low. Alternatively if you want to improve the atmosphere of the sounds even further see the dsp_enhance_stereo command in the Advanced Tweaking section.


Captioning: This option lets you select whether or not the game shows captions for the hearing impaired or for translated text in foreign language editions for example. 'No Captions' provides the best performance and is recommended for those who don't require any captioning/subtitle functionality. 'Subtitles (dialog only)' is recommended only for those who want text subtitles for spoken dialog in the game, and there is a mild performance hit.



Video


Resolution: The resolution box allows you to select the resolution for the game, as shown in pixel width by pixel height. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the image due to the larger number of pixels used, but the greater the performance impact on your machine. For more details of resolution see my Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide. Dark Messiah can be a strenuous game, and if you find your FPS is low regardless of your other settings, consider lowering your resolution a notch or two. Note that only the resolutions supported on your graphics card/monitor combination are shown here. Also note that the Aspect Ratio setting (see below) affects the resolutions shown in this box. To set a custom resolution, see the Advanced Tweaking section.


Display Mode: You should be able to select whether to run Dark Messiah 'Full Screen' or Windowed mode here, however the option is fixed at 'Full Screen'. This is primarily because in windowed mode there will be problems because of the way Windows manages memory for applications which run in windows as opposed to running full screen in the foreground. Dark Messiah needs to be run in full screen mode for maximum stability, and furthmore if you ALT-TAB out of the game this will further increase instability.


Aspect Ratio: There are two possible settings under this section: 'Normal (4:3)' and 'Widescreen 16:9'. The aspect ratio is the ratio of the width to the height of a display. The traditional ratio for most monitors and standard TVs is 4:3, and this is the recommended (and only) choice for most people. A Widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio is the display ratio for a standard Widescreen TV or Widescreen monitor which is much wider than it is tall. Note that as you change the aspect ratio, the list of available resolutions under the Resolutions drop-down box will change, since you are changing the width to height ratio of the display. Note that 16:10 is not officially supported in Dark Messiah, so if you want to try using it, or If you set the wrong aspect ratio and can't get into your display settings again, see the r_aspectratio command in the Advanced Tweaking section.


Adjust Brightness Level: Click this button and use the Gamma slider to adjust the overall brightness of the onscreen image in Dark Messiah. As the setting recommends, you should ideally be able to see all three lines of text, with the 'Barely Visible' text exactly that. This setting has no effect on performance, the main aim is to make sure the game image is not too washed out and not too dark. The default setting is 2.2 for CRT monitors and 1.7 for LCD monitors, however there is no particular recommended setting as this is also influenced by your monitor's brightness and contrast settings.



The next section continues the In-Game settings by covering the Advanced video functions.