The great Lod bias mystery. Amd users must know !

Discussion in 'Videocards - AMD Radeon Drivers Section' started by HiCZoK, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. Seren

    Seren Master Guru

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    Well, from a screenshot the detail is significantly lower, not sure about in-game. At the same time though, some surfaces, like the floor in in the first screenshot appear to be having issues. I've noticed this in a few games and usually changing the surface format optimization or quality fixes it (although at a cost to performance). What you are doing though is significantly lowering the detail (going by the screenshots).
     
  2. janos666

    janos666 Master Guru

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    Yes, I can remember this being one of the "official story(s)" (I heard several over the years). Another one I can recall is that shimmering is caused by using (MS)AA+AF simultaneously (especially at high levels of AF [and less so but AA] and high quality/resolution textures + HQ game texture settings to start with).

    But I think I can remember cases where shimmering appeared with zero MSAA (AF is certainly a prerequisite since you get to see sea of blurriness without it, so nothing to shimmer about).

    I recall I had tried disabling the AF optimizations (nVidia) and later using the Negative LOD Bias = Clamp (rather than Allow) but Valve Source based games were just never completely free from shimmers anymore and I continue to experience them for various degrees (ranging from clearly bothering to rarely/barely noticeable) in various games including DX11 titles regardless of my Texture Filtering (AMD) and similar Catalyst settings (surface format opt., etc).

    So, all in all, I concluded year ago that it's independent from:
    1: the VGA/driver manufacturer (AMD or nVidia) overall
    2: the driver settings I can normally mess with (AF optimizations and such)
    3: Valve's Source's unique (proprietary, "secret") rendering techniques/optimizations

    -> Bottom line: shimmering became sort of "standard" for everyone everywhere several years ago and it's just a matter of countless internal and external factors if they bother you in certain situations or you don't even notice them at all (possibly ever).

    ---

    I am not sure if it's just the JPEG compression but those screenshots in the OP look like SSAA causes an unexpected amount of blur. I wouldn't consider paying that much sharpness and fine detail for better antialiasing on transparent textures.
    I don't remember experiencing that much of blur with SSAA. Though I guess the only time I used it was when I had a GCN based AMD card and I played an older UE3 engine based game. I think it actually looked considerably sharper which I credited to Auto LOD (along with the effective and high quality AA).


    Though, funny enough, it wasn't a long time ago I did an "anniversary HL2 play-though" and I can't remember I was distracted by shimmering (up to date steam version). But I guess I just got used to it over the years. :infinity:
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  3. HiCZoK

    HiCZoK Master Guru

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    Ssaa indeed causes blur. But thats specific hl2 case.

    The question is why the shimmer is not there in old hl2 versions and pirated version of episodes but at the same time its there on legit version. Valve must have updated something
     
  4. janos666

    janos666 Master Guru

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    Try to set the r_lod to -1 in the old and to 0 in the new builds.

    /OFFTOPIC

    Did you ever check out the 2003 version of the engine? :D

    I did because I was always mad at Valve for their mess around their HDR renderer:
    First, for not including the HDR renderer in the original retail version of HL2
    Later, that they tuned their original, back then mind-blowing, realistically-looking HDR from the early days (official post-E3 techdemo video) to be some wishy washy eye-candy poptard version.

    They fine-tuned it a little for EP2 and now it's OK, but just OK still. I would still prefer their original concept idea (the rooftop demo). Too bad the leaked version doesn't have their original techdemo, so I could check it out in high resolution and without the video compression to see if it was really as it seemed on the videos.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015

  5. HiCZoK

    HiCZoK Master Guru

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    The alpha ? Yeah it was very neat. I toyed with it a lot
    Edit found it.
    https://youtu.be/KYf8-NTzfXw
    Shame this version dont exist in any form.

    Retail 2004 cersion still lools cleaner with older revision engine. First episode 2 revisions still look clean
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  6. CrunchyBiscuit

    CrunchyBiscuit Master Guru

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    Yeah, it's a good thing to adjust the texture LOD bias in many games. I've been doing so on a per game basis for ages (ever since the Voodoo5, that one didn't even support Anisotropic filtering).

    In some games you might want sharper textures (when using SSAA for example), in other games you'll want a bit more blur (counters shimmering, many games force a higher LOD than the default of 0 and other games don't even use any mipmapping at all).

    Don't go overboard, maintain a sharp eye and you'll find out what works best for you!

    Sometimes the texture LOD setting refuses to do anything at all. Usually it works, but sometimes the game just forces its own bias and you cannot overwrite it. Keep that in mind.

    I wouldn't use a global setting either, I prefer to tweak it per game individually using profiles. Even games based on the same engine can have vastly different default texture LODs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  7. janos666

    janos666 Master Guru

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    Yeah. I imagine this is how HDR would look like in their games if you could tweak the tone mapping parameters to significantly reduce the strength of the 'iris-adaptation emulation' and especially the 'bloom' effects, well..., may be by an order of magnitude... as a start? (As I recall, they did significantly cut back on these effects between EP1 and EP2 or may be later on after the EP2 release but hard to tell after they essentially merged these three games and the engine received further updates.) It's hard to really tell from this low quality video if these effects were present at all in this demo (they were either tuned to be really mild or might were completely nonexistent / turned off). Yet, Valve's HDR (after a long delay) became a mad bloom rage. (I still like their games though. Don't get me wrong...)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  8. PrMinisterGR

    PrMinisterGR Ancient Guru

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    I believe that the problem lies more with the engine/game developer than with AMD or NVIDIA.
    I had similar problems with Mass Effect, and it was the engine mipmapping settings. A lot of developers hardcode them for extra performance.
     
  9. HiCZoK

    HiCZoK Master Guru

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    I am starting to believe this too.

    The easiest way is jsut to play it with ssaa, but that makes it blurry. No biggie. Will compensate with sweetfx
     
  10. janos666

    janos666 Master Guru

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    I hate that.
     

  11. chinobino

    chinobino Maha Guru

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    I completely agree, blurring is the lesser of 2 evils.
     
  12. HiCZoK

    HiCZoK Master Guru

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    Just to finish on the topic and add to research:

    I've reinstalled windows7, deleted steam folder, reinstalled and disabled cloud saves, Then downloaded hl2 and it's still shimmery mess. So it's totally some conflict of updated source engine with amd or something.
     
  13. PrMinisterGR

    PrMinisterGR Ancient Guru

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    Nah. If you notice when you walk in the game, there are three distinct layers in front of you. One very far away, one a bit more away, and the last one. The shimmering you get is when the first layer "starts" I bet, and it becomes worse after each subsequent layer. That's problematic mipmaping.
     
  14. HiCZoK

    HiCZoK Master Guru

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    exactly.
    But it's caused by some bug because enabling fxaa from radeonpro fixes it (even tho fxaa itself dont seem to apply)
    Still, ssaa is ok. But only in case of hl2 because it's older game
     
  15. jason

    jason Member

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    this
     

  16. HiCZoK

    HiCZoK Master Guru

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    Shame I don't have any nvidia card around, so I could test it. Was looking for some screenshots and found out that it looks exactly the same on one guy's screenshots on neogaf but he dont have a signature stamp so I have no idea if he have ati card
    edit: Found another thing.

    if I will force half-life2 to run in dx 8 or 8.1, the shimmering is gone !
    So this only affects dx9. now.. the question is, what does that engine does different in 8.1 vs 9... or what driver does differently
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  17. PrMinisterGR

    PrMinisterGR Ancient Guru

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    Since the game renderer is different for DX 8, I'm not even sure it is a valid comparison. But it is interesting.
     
  18. Jysoul

    Jysoul Member

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    Give Reshade.me a try which can be done custom for each game.
     
  19. PrMinisterGR

    PrMinisterGR Ancient Guru

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    I don't believe that any extra shaders are gonna help with engine level mipmapping. Maybe if something was more intrusive like ENB, but I still doubt it.
     
  20. Jysoul

    Jysoul Member

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    Reshade.me and SweetFX combined I should have said
     

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