A Neat Thing Inside Shadow Of War’s Settings

A Neat Thing Inside Shadow Of War’s Settings
Image: Shadow of War

If you’re being honest, do you really know exactly what every setting in the video settings does?

Most people don’t. And even in games where a description is provided with each setting in the video or graphics options, it can be hard to visualise the actual impact each specific setting will have not only on your frame rate, but the overall look.

So Shadow of War has an idea. In a chat at the NVIDIA briefing before Gamescom, Matt Allen, director of technical art at Monolith, told me that Shadow of War would ship with a before and after primer for each setting so users knew exactly what each option changed.

“One of the things we’re actually doing is that on the PC options menu, we have tons – flip all the bits you want – one of the things we’ve done is take screenshots of the same area, so you can basically say, ‘What does it look like if I turn this off?'”

Allen explained that the feature was inspired by a graphics engineer, who wanted to be able to show users what they were giving or gaining with each setting. It’s not too dissimilar from the before and after screenshots in NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience middleware, although developers haven’t typically offered such precise comparisons in-game.

Given the numbers of AI that can fill the screen, along with the effects, post-processing, lighting and everything else going on at once, most PC users will probably have to turn down a setting here or there if they want a nice, high frame rate. That’s a job made a lot easier when you know precisely what the trade-off is – and hopefully it’s the kind of detail that other developers will mimic before too long.

The author travelled to Gamescom as a guest of NVIDIA.


  • You mean exactly what ghost recon wildlands did like a year before this comes out? and im sure there were games before that.

    But yes i agree it is fucking fantastic, i love that feature in wildlands

    • It does to some extent, although there’s a bit of inconsistency in the presentation. And yeah, the more games that do this, the better off we will all be.

      • Is there? i haven’t played it in a while, what were the inconsistencies with wildlands version of this?
        As far as i remember all other settings are set to ultra in the ‘description’ image when looking at a specific setting and you only see what the different levels of that setting look like with everything else on ultra (hope that makes sense), so i guess in a way it may not represent exactly what you are getting. Is that kind of what you meant?

        i really hope it catches on because it is so handy. But there are still games that need to be completely restarted if you change one or two settings so apparently developers struggle with settings so im not going to hold my breath on it happening

      • Also, sorry if my first reply sounded a bit rude, i didnt mean it to sound like “hey dummy didnt you see this other game already did that”. It was aimed more at the fact that the developers doing it are acting like they just invented something new even though its been done before ages ago.

        • Nah, didn’t take it like that at all. Just meant that some of the shots had specific close-ups, kind of like how GeForce Experience does it, whereas others were just a single full-size shot that changed as you changed the setting. Going before/after across the board, I think, is the clearest for gamers.

          • Oh yeah i remember that now, But i think it made sense for the ones they had an extra zoom picture of, i think it was texture resolution, anti aliasing and AF, so they had zoomed in pics of stuff that was far away showing how much clearer it was for resolution and AF and how the edges were much straighter for AA. I thought they were appropriately used, because it still had the full pic as well as the zoomed one.
            For a lot of the other settings i dont really think it needed it because in a way they arent improving something thats there like the above settings, they are adding something, which was shown clearly enough in a full screenshot. for example AO adds extra shadows around object edges, it doesn’t improve them (well i think there was an on, off and improved version so its half and half there), vegetation added more leafy plants, turf effects added tufts of grass etc).

            I will likely be getting Shadow Of War so it will be interesting to see what their version is like.

    • Didn’t one of the Dawn Of War games let you test a scene filled with action to determine whether your settings were achievable as well? Seems more effective than a single screenshot, but ideally if i played PC i’d want both.

      • Yeah lots of games have a “benchmark”, you change all your settings then run that 30s-1m long section of the game and see how it went and if you need to change settings again. Is that what you meant (i haven’t played Dawn Of War)

        • Benchmarks are usually done to test how powerful your rig is though as most scenes are usually the most extreme conditions that wouldnt normally happen during gameplay

          • Sure, yeah you do a benchmark on your favourite games when you get new hardware to see how it performs with all the settings higher. But you use benchmarks to find a nice balance of settings and see what the difference looks like as well, and then keep changing and benchmarking to find a nice balance. And not all of them are more demanding, lots of them go through areas that are in the game so it will be decently accurate.

  • They should include a function that screenshots your bank account balance before and after each microtransaction purchase. They should include another function that shows how much time you’ve ‘saved’ by purchasing said mtx.

    • Im begining to think that WB just wants to destroy Monolith’s reputation. After all for Shadow of Mordor there was the moronic case of only allowing people to review it on the proviso that they say nothing negative about it. Though WB says that was the PR firm that was hired fault.

      And now with Shadow of War we have the bullshit microtransactions in a 60USD singleplayer title with no competitive MP ( leaderboards are worthless and do not count). Before the mircotransactions were announced, Shadow of War was looking like it would be a Game of the Year contender. now its lost all hype and will not make it on any game of the year awards except from sites that never say anything negative about loot boxes and mircotransactions.

      Jim Sterling put it best, Shadow of War is looking to be the next Evolve with its shitty microtransactions and marketing deals, one of witch is now with some US food thing that will give “gold” codes in the packets

      Edit: I also suggest that if anyone does want to buy the game despite the mircotransaction, then get it for as little as possible, though do not pirate it as it just goes back on monolith and not WB

      • WB are the worst publisher by a long shot. If there is a shady business practice or predatory design decision to be made, they’ll make it. I was actually pretty interested in Shadow of War – I enjoyed the first one much more than I expected to – but the microtransaction bullshit layered on top of everything else has pretty much killed my interest.

  • This games microtransaction model is a huge disappointment. As is the amount of people defending it.

    • exactly, no one should be defending the mircotransaction or loot boxes. what makes it even stupider is that on PC at least we have Cheat Engine and Trainers so we can get as much currency as possible or freeze it from depleting. Just like the praxis kits in DX:HR and the Golden keys in Borderlands 2 and Presequel (though the keys were free and just require you keep an eye on twitter and shit)

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