Thursday, January 26, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic Gets Anti-Aliasing - NVIDIA vs AMD/ATi Still Image and Video Comparisons

I haven't played SWTOR in a while and it was great to see when logging in that a patch installed a much-asked for anti-aliasing capability to the game engine (which came out only days after our post poking fun at it, but it was something asked for since Beta). Great job listening to your customers, devs!

To turn it on, simply open up the Preferences in SWTOR and under Graphics, it's a pulldown menu that allows Off, Low and High settings.

The HERO engine was said to not have this capability, so either they injected it, programmed it, or it must be a post-processing filter, similar to Skyrim's FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing) and BF3's Post Filtering, where the calculations (the detecting and blurring of the edges) isn't done at the drawing stage but afterward.
It works well:

Having now a set of good mid-range video cards, one NVIDIA and one AMD/ATi, I thought I'd see what the difference was in-game, when each was set to High.
Here is a short video showing the two side by side, in a short clip speaking with an NPC, and a pan and still shot of a FRAPS captured frame from the game:

There aren't really any big differences by the look of it, unless you really want to nit-pick. Both do a great job. Textures seem to be slightly crisper with ATi, slightly clearer, and NVIDIA seems to use higher-quality settings for AA from the get-go, just picking High makes it look great. I find with the newer ATi cards that forcing Higher Quality Anti-Aliasing (Supersampling, HQ A.I., etc.) results in a higher-quality picture overall versus the NVIDIA, using a GTX560 as a comparison against an HD6870. Again, both do a great job though - if you have those cards or higher the game is smooth as silk to play. Hopefully your video card can handle turning on Anti-Aliasing. If it can, things will run a little slower but the sometimes-distracting jaggies are heavily reduced with this great addition to the game.

To celebrate this new option from the developers and my upgrade of a monitor (Thanks, P!), I present a larger size Star Wars Loading Screen Desktop Wallpaper at 1920x1200, from us to you:

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Loading Screen Desktop Background Wallpaper at 1920x1200

See you in there!

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