Guide: Optimize graphic quality in Starcraft2

Posts: 27

Hello everyone

This guide will show you how to optimize the graphics in Starcraft 2 in order to get the best graphic quality while maintaining playable frame rates.
To do this we will be modifying the Variables.txt file located in Documents/Starcraft II
The first thing you should know is that unless you have a graphic card that is already running the game at Ultra, then you ARE NOT running starcraft at optimal graphics settings because it is simply impossible to do this in the options menu.
I have a Mobility Radeon 4650 with 512mb. By implementing the changes in this guide I was able to go from High and Medium settings to mostly Ultra settings all while keeping the frame rate intact!

On with the guide!

1) The first thing you want to do is open up starcraft II. Go to the options menu and set ALL graphic options to Ultra also set the screen resolution to the highest one. 1366x768 in my case.

2) Next make a copy of Variables.txt file located in Documents/Starcraft II in case you mess up.

3) Now open the Variables.txt

Here you will see most of the settings the game uses and which we will be modifying.

aolight=1

These are the settings that deal with creep quality. These need to be toned down a bit especially creepQuality. Don’t worry this has no real impact on image quality but gives us
some overhead to play with later on. Creep absolutely kills the frame rates if left at default.

creepnormalmap=1
creepQuality=2 (default 3) set to 0
creepreflection=0 (default 1) set to 0
creepselfshadow=0 (default 1) set to 0
creeptrans=1

deff=1
deffspec=1
depthDisp=1
dof=1
fogvolume=1

Another important setting is foliage. We need to tone this down also as it also hammers the frame rate

foliagedensity=0.350000 (default is 0.750000)
foliagequality=3


Add these 2 lines manually in order to limit the frame rates in Starcraft 2 and prolong the life of you graphics card. If you don’t do this Starcraft will run at 100-200 frames in the menu screens heating up your graphic card for no reason.

frameratecap=60
frameratecapGlue=30


gamehdr8bit=0

These are the most important settings which will give us better graphics:

GraphicsOptionEffectsDetail=1 (default is 3) Starcraft is extremely reliant on your cpu, unless you have a powerful cpu you need to tone this down. Don’t worry it’s not really noticeable and worth it for the frame rate.

GraphicsOptionLightingQuality=3
GraphicsOptionModelQuality=2
GraphicsOptionMovies=3
GraphicsOptionOverallQualityVer7[5]=4
GraphicsOptionPhysicsQuality=1
(default is 3) Change this also to free up cpu resources
GraphicsOptionPortraits=2
GraphicsOptionPostProcessing=3
GraphicsOptionReflections=1
GraphicsOptionShaderDetail=3
GraphicsOptionShadowQuality=3
GraphicsOptionTerrainQuality=2 (default is 3) If you have 1Gb ram on your card leave this alone
GraphicsOptionTextureQuality[2]=2
hdr8bit=0
height=768
hotkeyprofile=2_GridLeftSide
LastChallengeId=ProtossPsionics
lastDeviceId=38016
lightingLevel=3
lightmap=0
lightmapcastshadows=1
localao=1
localeidassets=ptBR
localeiddata=ptBR
localight=1
localShadows=1
lowQualityMovies=0
MoviesSeen=1
MusicHeard=1
parallax=1
parallaxshadow=1
particlelod=3
particleobjects=1.000000
particleterrain=1.000000
physicsdensity=16
profanityfilter=1
ribbonlod=3
sampleFOW=1
shadowmapsize=1024 (default is 2048)
soft=1
softshadows=1
softshadowTaps=12
SoundAutoDetectCPUCoreCount=2
soundchannels=32 Very important setting turn this down to free up cpu cycles
soundoutput=Padrão
SoundQuality=1 (Default is 2) Free up cpu cycle without any noticeable loss in quality
speakermode=Stereo
splatlod=3

Change these to the following:

targettexeldensity=1.400000
TerrainTextureHiResCacheSize=8
TerrainTextureLowResCacheSize=50
TerrainTextureSize=768
texQualityLevel=2
texSpace[2]=1024
transparentshadows=1

treadlod=3
voicechat=0
voicechatptthotkey=Pause
voicechatsoftwaremute=0
vsync=0 Make sure this is 0

Lastly modify the water so it looks good but doest drag our system

watercaustics=1
waterflipbook=0
waterreflection=0
waterrendertargetformat=3
waterrendertargetsize=512
watershadow=1

width=1366
winkeydisabled=1

Now save everything and your done!

I hope you have found this guide useful, please post suggestions, comments and success stories!

Ottoman

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Edited by Ottoman on 8/12/2010 1:08 PM PDT
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Posts: 186
Awesome. My brother has a really powerful desktop that I play the game on but hopefully this will allow me to run it on my significantly less powerful laptop. Gonna give this a try when I get home.
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Posts: 155
I play on ultra with no lag, will this increase the graphic quality or it just increase performance?
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Posts: 27
Is there anything that messes with the plylon matrix because I only seem to lag when I start building stuff because of the intensity of the matrix.

Kind of kills the joy of playing protoss.


Try setting these 2 commands lower and see if there is any improvement

set these to lower numbers like 1 or 2

GraphicsOptionPostProcessing=3
GraphicsOptionShaderDetail=3

also set this to 0:

transparentshadows=0 (default 1)




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Posts: 67
Great guide, thanks!
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Posts: 27
I play on ultra with no lag, will this increase the graphic quality or it just increase performance?


This will maintain graphic quality if you are on Ultra while giving you a better frame rate.
Edited by Ottoman on 8/12/2010 1:36 PM PDT
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Posts: 147
hrmmm interesting my fellow watson =P, now lets see what blizz has to say about this
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Posts: 23
Doesn't seem to work for me.
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Posts: 18
Will this allow a computer that can barely play on all low, to be able to play with no lag on all low?
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Posts: 56
Will this allow a computer that can barely play on all low, to be able to play with no lag on all low?

Can someone answer this?
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Posts: 96
I dont know about "no lag" but it should help out a bit.
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Posts: 13
I'll try this when I get home. Thanks for the suggestions!
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Posts: 178
1.Take all the variables, including the ones you edited.

2.Group them all together without anything else in between.

2a. (OPTIONAL) Save it as Variables.txt and upload it to mediafire

3.???????

4.PROFIT!

Translation: FPS CONFIG!
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Posts: 2,415
What is the point of setting everything to ultra if all of these variables are editing by setting the game to high or medium. These are exactly the things that get changed by the individual settings within the game.
Edited by Izzy on 8/16/2010 12:04 PM PDT
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Posts: 83
Some of the changes are confusing. In your write up, you have what the variable is set to, the default, and then tell us to change it to something else. This for example:

creepQuality=2 (default 3) set to 0

Why is '2' in there if the default is set to 3? Are we supposed to change it to 2 or 0? Some just need to be a bit more clear

Also, are we supposed to be changing the bolded fields only? If so, why is anything else here? Just tell me what fields i should change and what I should change them to. The rest just confuses it.

Do any of these values change or improve the in-game campaign graphics (like when you're in the hyperion with Raynor etc)? Those are the graphics I want to improve. I'm content with the graphics while playing the RTS.
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