The Witness

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FAQ: Launcher, Tweaking graphics settings
Update:

The latest build on the main branch has launcher and in-game options that allow you to safely tweak these settings without editing the .variables file, it's recommended that you do that instead.

Also, there are various forum posts out there in which people have figured out how to edit even more settings. Be aware that doing so can break certain puzzles and game functionality in subtle non-obvious ways, which is why they're not included here.

If you want to suppress the launcher once you've got your settings how you like them, you can still do that via the .variables file:

In Library in the steam client, right click on The Witness and go to:
Properties -> LOCAL FILES -> BROWSE LOCAL FILES...
Go in into the "data" folder and open Local.variables in a text editor.
You should see this section near the bottom:
:/display
vsync true
Add this extra line underneath:
show_config_dialog false



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(original post)
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The Witness has a lot of settings under the hood that you can tweak, here's how:

First find your Local.variables file:

In Library in the steam client, right click on The Witness and go to:
Properties -> LOCAL FILES -> BROWSE LOCAL FILES...
Go in into the "data" folder and open Local.variables in a text editor

There's a few things in there already, but ignore them, we'll just be adding new stuff.

Add a section for the Render Quality setting you want to edit, followed by the variables you want to set. You only need to add the variables you want to change.

Here's how it looks if you wanted to edit the high setting (the others are :/render/low and :/render/medium). These settings are the defaults for high:

:/render/high
low_res_reflections false
sun_shadow_resolution 1024
point_shadow_resolution 1024
antialias_panel_rendering true
skip_mipmaps 0
msaa_sample_count 4
aa_mode 2
panel_render_width 512
render_width 1920
render_height 1080
dynamic_resolution false

And here's what they do:

  • low_res_reflections - pretty self explanitory, true or false
  • sun_shadow_resolution - must be one of 256, 512 or 1024
  • antialias_panel_rendering - true or false, improves the quality of the puzzle panels
  • skip_mipmaps - 0, 1, or 2, changes texture resolution LOWER NUMBERS FOR BIGGER TEXTURES
  • msaa_sample_count - 1, 2, 4, or 8. Higher numbers give better visuals at performance cost.
  • aa_mode - 2 for FXAA, 0 for no FXAA. Other values are the same as 0
  • panel_render_width - must be a power of two. I wouldn't go lower than 512. 1024 is nice if you've got a top end GPU
  • render_width and render_height - the size of the backbuffer that's rendered to. Note that if you're using SET LAUNCH OPTIONS to set -width and -height, that'll override these.
  • dynamic_resolution - true or false, reduce resolution dynamically to preserve framerate at the cost of (a lot of) visual fidelity. This is really a last resort to make the game run on low-end GPUs.


Save your changes, and then run the game in the Render Quality you edited!

And finally, if you think you've broken your game, or made it worse, you can just delete everything you added and it'll go back to defaults.


Update: do NOT edit the shader or shadow quality.
Last edited by The Invisibl; Apr 4 @ 11:47am
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Showing 1-15 of 100 comments
Is there any preference for the Shader Cache and Threaded Optimization settings for Nvidia? I have seen a lot of devs suggest turning these off to fix issues, especially for games that aren't on major engines.
kavaari Jan 26 @ 11:56am 
Is there any setting to change the field of view?
Last edited by kavaari; Jan 26 @ 11:56am
Thanks
himmatsj Jan 26 @ 12:22pm 
Is there anything to change the draw distance?

Any chance you could post the default settings for Medium as well, so that we can see what the best midpoints are between the two?
Changing the shadow quality setting causes a crash (changed it form 2 to 1 on high). ANother user had the same issue.
Originally posted by kavaari:
Is there any setting to change the field of view?

Yes, find your Local.variables as described above, there will already be a :/misc section at the top. Add this line:

fov_vertical 54

54 degrees is the default vertical fov; the horizontal fov is calculated from this using your screen (or window) aspect ratio.

I make no guarantees for what happens with crazy wide fov! :)
Originally posted by himmatsj:
Is there anything to change the draw distance?

Any chance you could post the default settings for Medium as well, so that we can see what the best midpoints are between the two?

Yep, here are all the defaults:

:/render/high
low_res_reflections false
sun_shadow_resolution 1024
point_shadow_resolution 1024
antialias_panel_rendering true
skip_mipmaps 0
msaa_sample_count 4
aa_mode 2
panel_render_width 512
render_width 1920
render_height 1080
dynamic_resolution false

:/render/medium
low_res_reflections true
sun_shadow_resolution 512
point_shadow_resolution 512
antialias_panel_rendering false
skip_mipmaps 1
msaa_sample_count 2
aa_mode 2
panel_render_width 512
render_width 1280
render_height 720
dynamic_resolution false

:/render/low
low_res_reflections true
sun_shadow_resolution 256
point_shadow_resolution 256
antialias_panel_rendering false
skip_mipmaps 2
msaa_sample_count 1
aa_mode 2
panel_render_width 512
render_width 1280
render_height 720
dynamic_resolution true


Looking into that shadow_quality thing now...
Last edited by The Invisibl; Jan 27 @ 5:56pm
Eero Jan 26 @ 12:31pm 
This calc can be used to calculate horizontal fov

http://www.rjdown.co.uk/projects/bfbc2/fovcalculator.php
Dirty Dan Jan 26 @ 12:33pm 
Originally posted by kavaari:
Is there any setting to change the field of view?

add fov_vertical 90

under :/misc
himmatsj Jan 26 @ 12:34pm 
Aha, so medium setting defaults to 1280.720 even on 1080p screen? That explains why it was so blurry.

Also, anything about draw distance?
voxtex Jan 26 @ 12:34pm 
Originally posted by The Invisibl:
Originally posted by himmatsj:
Is there anything to change the draw distance?

Any chance you could post the default settings for Medium as well, so that we can see what the best midpoints are between the two?

Yep, here are all the defaults:

:/render/high
low_res_reflections false
shadow_quality 2
sun_shadow_resolution 1024
point_shadow_resolution 1024
antialias_panel_rendering true
skip_mipmaps 0
msaa_sample_count 4
panel_render_width 512
render_width 1920
render_height 1080
dynamic_resolution false

:/render/medium
low_res_reflections true
shadow_quality 1
sun_shadow_resolution 512
point_shadow_resolution 512
antialias_panel_rendering false
skip_mipmaps 1
msaa_sample_count 2
panel_render_width 512
render_width 1280
render_height 720
dynamic_resolution false

:/render/low
low_res_reflections true
shadow_quality 0
sun_shadow_resolution 256
point_shadow_resolution 256
antialias_panel_rendering false
skip_mipmaps 2
msaa_sample_count 1
panel_render_width 512
render_width 1280
render_height 720
dynamic_resolution true


Looking into that shadow_quality thing now...

Is the resolution really hard coded at 1920x1080 with NO way to edit it unless you modify a config file? How can you release a game like this in 2016...you realize people have different resolutions right? 1440p? 1200p?

Do you think people are going to search on the steam forums so they can make the game playable? Completely unacceptable.
Last edited by voxtex; Jan 26 @ 12:36pm
What are the most impactful settings? I'm having extreme framerate drops looking in certain directions and I'm not really sure what's causing it.
himmatsj Jan 26 @ 12:40pm 
Originally posted by Soüp® Classic:
What are the most impactful settings? I'm having extreme framerate drops looking in certain directions and I'm not really sure what's causing it.

I would first drop down MSAA Sample Count from 4 to 2, and then drop the various shadow settings from their High values to Medium values. That should do the trick. If desperate, drop MSAA to 1.

Edit: What GPU do you have?
Last edited by himmatsj; Jan 26 @ 12:41pm
prok Jan 26 @ 12:41pm 
Is there a way to skip the launcher? Setting a launch command with desired settings without the launcher prompt?

Thanks.
Originally posted by himmatsj:
Originally posted by Soüp® Classic:
What are the most impactful settings? I'm having extreme framerate drops looking in certain directions and I'm not really sure what's causing it.

I would first drop down MSAA Sample Count from 4 to 2, and then drop the various shadow settings from their High values to Medium values. That should do the trick. If desperate, drop MSAA to 1.

Edit: What GPU do you have?
GTX 970. I run at 120 constant, and then I look a certain direction and it drops to 25 and stutters really badly. It's very strange.

Edit: Turning MSAA down to 2x seems to have fixed it.
Last edited by Soüp®: Legendary Edition; Jan 26 @ 12:49pm
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The Witness > Technical Support > Topic Details