Serious Sam tweak guide


Load Serious Sam, select Options then Video Options.

OpenGL Driver. This setting allows you to select the OpenGL driver that you are using for rendering. If you have a 3dfx Voodoo 1/2 select 3Dfx Voodoo 1/2 as your OpenGL driver, otherwise leave it set to Default. For best performance/stability with 3dfx Voodoo 3/4/5 Graphics cards you should try out Megabyte's WickedGL.

Preferences. This option allows you to select pre-defined selections for your graphics settings. Id recommend you ignore this setting altogether & use Custom settings instead.

Resolution. Selecting a lower resolution can improve performance & maintain a stabler, higher frame rate. Higher resolutions look better (sharper & smaller jagged edges), they also tend to run slower. This all depends on how slow/fast your system (Particularly Graphics card) is of course. 1024 * 768 would be ideal in Serious Sam for most.

Full Screen. Set this to Yes to display Serious Sam in Fullscreen mode, as opposed to windowed mode if set to No. You should leave this setting set to Yes.

Bits Per Pixel. Select 16 BPP for best performance, but reduced visual quality (More apparent banding). Select 32 BPP for best visual quality (Less apparent banding), although performance will be reduced especially on older graphics cards. Using a 32-bit colour depth will also reduce graphical errors as it uses a higher Z-Buffer precision for performing depth calculations. Setting this to Desktop will set the colour depth the same as the Desktop setting, as a result you'd be better off setting it yourself in case you make changes to the Desktop colour depth & can't figure out why the game is performing slower/looking worse. NOTE - Textures can use a combination of 16/32-Bit colour even if the Colour depth is set to 16-Bit, depending on Graphics card.

Now select the Rendering Options button.

Texture Size. The Higher this setting the sharper textures in the game will appear, although performance can be lowered (Especially on low memory graphics cards). The Lower the setting the more blurred textures will appear in the game. Selecting a lower setting can improve performance on graphics cards with low video memory (Or with Texture compression disabled). Id recommend setting this to the minimum if you have a Graphics card with 12MB or less of Video memory.

Texture Quality. This setting controls the format used for textures in the game. Options available are 16-bit, 32-bit, Compressed & Optimal. The option to select here should be determined by your Graphics card. If supported then Id recommend setting this to Compressed & using the options listed later on to adjust the texture sizes compressed, although should you have a Graphics card with 32MB or less of Video memory then you should set this to either 16-bit or Optimal (This would be the preferred selection) for best performance. NOTE Selecting Optimal uses a combination of 16 & 32-bit textures (With 32-bit textures being used in more appropriate areas for best visual quality, e.g. Sky).

Those with Graphics cards with 64MB of Video memory should use 32-bit texture quality for best visual quality with minimal performance loss.

Detail Textures. A detail texture is a very small, fine pattern that is faded in as you approach a surface, for example wood grain, or imperfections in stone. Setting this to Enabled will improve visual quality, although it can cause a performance hit, particularly on older graphics cards. Set this to Disabled for improved performance, although with reduced visual quality.

Shadowmap Size. Shadow mapping is a method of creating shadows in an environment. With this setting you can adjust the resolution of the Shadowmaps used in levels. Moving this slider to the Right will increase the resolution used, which will result in sharper, more defined shadows.

Lens flares. This controls the LOD used in rendering of lens flare effects from certain light sources in Serious Sam, most noticeably the Sun. Options available are Simple, Standard & Disabled. The screenshots below illustrate the different methods available.


The performance hit of using Lens flare is minimal although it can well affect your visibility.

Wait vertical retrace. Using this setting you may disable/enable vsync in Serious Sam. Vsync effectively limits the frame rate to your current refresh rate at a given resolution. Performance can improve by disabling vsync (No), as frames are rendered as fast as they can be regardless of refresh rate, although you may experience image tearing &/or controller lag as a result of this. With vsync enabled (Yes) you wont experience image tearing or controller lag, although frame rate will be limited to your current refresh rate. As such Id recommend enabling vsync for best image quality & disabling it when you intend to benchmark performance with Serious Sam.

Wide screen. Setting this to On will scale Serious Sam's resolution into Widescreen format. This is of most use to those of you outputting the Game for display onto Widescreen TVs as you can guess. Id recommend setting this to Off as a result should you not be outputting to such TVs. This option may also be of use to those wishing to improve performance by using a lower resolution, although this would be better achieved by lowering the Resolution, which will have the same effect albeit at Full screen, rather than running in Fullscreen with black borders on the Top/Bottom of the screen.


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