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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel PC Tweaks

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Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR)

DSR renders a game at a higher, more detailed resolution and shrinks the result back down to the resolution of your monitor - similar to the Down-sampling/Super Sampling used for high quality screenshots, but using a high-quality downsampling filter specifically designed for the task.

  • comparison (the vertical line slider in the middle can be moved left and right) - The increased resolution combats the game's important if overbearing black outlines, which merge at 1920x1080, hiding detail on the buggy's satellite dish and antenna. In the foreground, textures are sharper and better defined, shadows and shading are more accurate, and everything is clearer. In the background, overbearing black outlines are thinned out, shading is improved, and the mesh on the upper right of the image is far more detailed.
  • 2nd comparison - DSR eliminates nearly all aliasing, with detail reclaimed from the overbearing black outlines, as well as sharper detail and improved texturing throughout. Of more interest is the greatly improved shadowing and shading on the rocks and around the rocket, rendered as a result of the increased sample points provided by the higher resolution.
  • screenshot 1920x1080
  • screenshot 3840x2160

To enable it, open the NVIDIA Control Panel, select 'Manage 3D settings', click the 'Global Settings' tab, find the 'DSR - Factors' field, tick all the boxes, click 'OK', and finally click 'Apply' on the bottom right of the window. In-game, you'll find seven new resolution options.

Subtitles fix

Afterwards, to fix subtitles being 1/4 of the size in comparison, in WillowEngine.ini (see sections below on how to edit these files) find:

SubtitleFontName=UI_Fonts.Font_WillowBody_18pt

change to:

SubtitleFontName=WillowEngineFonts.LargeFont

(Or medium. The reason you can't just change the 18pt to 36pt or whatever size is the fonts are imported into the Unreal Engine from a True Type font, and the point size specified was the only one that got put into one of the engine's packages.)

Super-Sample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA) and SGSAA

Super-Sample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA) (more info, via Dahl!) is a relatively performance intensive form of anti-aliasing. For NVIDIA users, the best method of implementing various types of SSAA is to use the free NVIDIA Inspector utility. Follow the steps below:

1. Download and install NVIDIA Inspector (archived download). Importantly, make absolutely certain that you have also updated your graphics drivers to the latest version, as NVIDIA Inspector requires the Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel profiles from the latest drivers.
2. Launch NVIDIA Inspector and click the small 'Driver Profile Settings' button (the crossed wrench and screwdriver icon) next to the 'Driver Version' box.
3. In the window which opens, click the Profiles drop-down box and select 'Borderlands 2’ or ‘Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel'. If the profile isn't there, see Step 1.
4. For the 'Antialiasing Compatibility' setting, click in the SettingValue box and enter 0x000000C1.
5. For 'Antialiasing - Behavior Flags', select None.
6. For 'Antialiasing - Mode', select 'Override any application setting'.
7. For 'Antialiasing - Setting', in this example we will use '4x [4x Multisampling]'. This won't implement Multisampling, but it is a requirement for making the setting in the next step work properly.
8. For 'Antialiasing - Transparency Supersampling', select an option. In our example, we will use '4x Sparse Grid Supersampling' (4x SGSSAA).
9. SGSSAA can slightly blur the scene. If you want to remove this blurring, you can do so by going to the Texture Filtering section and adjusting the 'Texture Filtering - LOD Bias (DX9)' setting. For 2x SGSSAA enter -0.500, for 4x SGSSAA enter -1.000 and for 8x SGSSAA enter -1.500. Make sure the 'Texture Filtering - Negative LOD Bias' setting is also set to Allow.
10. Click the 'Apply changes' button at the top right to save your settings. You can close NVIDIA Inspector if you wish as it doesn't need to be active for your settings to work.
11. Launch Borderlands 2 or Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as normal to see the changes. It is strongly recommended that you disable the in-game FXAA option to prevent additional blurring or conflicts.

In step 8 above, you can also experiment with the various Transparency Supersampling options to see which looks best to you, but for the most part they will all have a major impact on performance. Screenshot of 4xSGSSAA set up successfully - To undo these changes at any time, click the small green NVIDIA logo button at the top of the profiles screen in NVIDIA Inspector, and the Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel profiles will be returned to their default settings.

Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion (HBAO+)

You can use Nvidia Inspector (NVIDIA GPUs only) to force HBAO+ (more info) provided you disable in-game Ambient Occlusion. This setting can have a heavy impact on frame rate, if you get unplayable frame rates with High Quality try lowering this value progressively:

1. Download NVIDIA Inspector (archived download, right click link and Save As).
2. Open NVIDIA Inspector and click on the crossed screwdriver and wrench icon.
3. Under Profiles select Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
4. Under Ambient Occlusion compatibility insert the compatibility code 0x0000002F.
5. Under Ambient Occlusion setting select Performance, Quality, or High Quality.
6. Under Ambient Occlusion usage select Enabled.
7. On the top right hand corner click on Apply changes.

Not confirmed by Nvidia:

in WillowEngine.ini is a section called [Engine.SeqAct_Interp], developer version of unreal engine includes the comment "; These control the default rendering overrides for matinee's with director tracks ; By default, some features are disabled to make room for cinematic lighting and shadowing"
Logically, to enable HBAO+ in cinematics also, you would need to set bAllowAmbientOcclusion to false here as well as in the game main settings:
RenderingOverrides=(bAllowAmbientOcclusion=False,bAllowDominantWholeSceneDynamicShadows=True,bAllowMotionBlurSkinning=True)

Subpixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing (SMAA)

Though SGSSAA/SSAA gives higher quality, a compromise for lower performance computers is Subpixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing (SMAA) which can be applied using either the free injectSMAA (archived download) or SweetFX (archived download).

For injectSMAA:

1. To install injectSMAA simply move the contents of the archive's "d3d9" folder into your Borderland's "Win32" folder (which is inside the "Binaries" folder).
2. Make sure that FXAA is turned to off.
3. To toggle SMAA off/on at any time, use the PAUSE key.

For SweetFX:

Start without launcher

View properties of shortcut and add (including the space before the dash sign):

-nolauncher

The configuration files

The majority of tweaks are made in configuration files, which have a .ini extension. Due to this, they are often referred to simply as INIs

These files are stored in:

Documents\My Games\Borderlands The Pre-Sequel\WillowGame\Config\

This folder contains the following files:

The files that most tweaks are made in:

  • WillowEngine.ini
    • WillowEngine contains most technical settings, such as graphics quality.

Config

  • WillowGame.ini
    • WillowGame contains most game options that are neither technical or dealing with input, such as weapon bob
  • WillowInput.ini
    • WillowInput deals entirely with how you control things in game, either with the keyboard, mouse, or gamepad

All these files can be edited directly with Notepad (Right click -> Edit)

Warnings

These tweaks will be reversible only if the .ini files are backed up.

When joining a game, you may be sent the ini files of the host. This is one reason it is best to make the files read-only once you have edited them.

Any tweaks that have permanent effects on your save file will be noted with a star (*)

Before tweaking

This is important: Start Borderlands at least once before tweaking for the first time. Go to Options, and change a control - any control. This is necessary to build a binding list in WillowInput.ini

Next, back up all configuration files.

  • Making a copy of the Config folder inside the WillowGame folder is the simplest method.
  • The SaveData folder should be backed up as well. This is a good idea even if not editing your ini files, as save corruption is unfortunately common.

Finally, make sure all file extensions can be seen.

  • If you're on XP, open a file browsing window and go to the Tools menu.
  • If you're on Vista or 7, press Alt inside a browsing window, then go to the tools menu.
  • Pick Folder Options
  • Go to the View tab
  • Un-check Hide extensions for known file types
  • Press Ok

Tweak format

Each tweak will be under the corresponding category, and will begin with the file to be edited. If there is a relevant forum thread, it will be linked as well.

Commenting INI file lines

Any line of an ini file will be disabled by putting a semicolon before it. An example of this is in the startup movies tweak.

INI file tweaks

Discussion of various in-game console commands on the old Gearbox forums: www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://web.archive.org/web/20160414020335/http://oldforums.gearboxsoftware.com/oldforums/20150309002228/http://oldforums.gearboxsoftware.com/showthread.php?t=148783

Disable mouse smoothing

WillowInput.ini

bEnableMouseSmoothing=false

Disable intro splash-screens when starting game

WillowEngine.ini

Find this within the [FullScreenMovie] section:

StartupMovies=2K_logo
StartupMovies=Gearbox_logo
StartupMovies=2K_Australia_Logo
StartupMovies=NVidia
StartupMovies=Loading

Disable the startup movies in this file by adding a ; before each line EXCEPT the loading one (at least one Bink(tm) video needs to play when the game first loads, otherwise later some cutscenes such as the Moonshot can't play, reason unknown):

;StartupMovies=2K_logo
;StartupMovies=Gearbox_logo
;StartupMovies=2K_Australia_Logo
;StartupMovies=NVidia
StartupMovies=Loading
;SkippableMovies=Loading

Enable developer console

WillowInput.ini

Find under [Engine.Console]:

ConsoleKey=

Replace with

ConsoleKey=` (tilde on American keyboards, or any other button that is not used by the game)

TypeKey=Backslash can also be used which lets you enter stuff on one line quickly

Show/hide HUD (for screenshots)

Follow the instructions for enable developer console, then in the game press either console or typekey and type:

togglehud

Take an ultra-resolution screenshot

More info here.

Will have black lines in between tiles unless vignette shading is turned off. Only way to take over-resolution shots with black outlines still turned on would be to run the whole game in a scaled resolution.

Follow the instructions for enable developer console, then in the game press either console or typekey and type:

TiledShot 6 516

the first number is the multiplier of the current game's resolution, e.g. how many tiles will be put together

The second number is The second parameter is the tile overlap in pixels. Each tile actually overlaps a little bit to ensure that fullscreen blurring or distortion post-process effects will match. The default value is 64 pixels. For instance, if you're using a post-process effect that blurs a lot, you may want to increase this parameter.

Change FOV

To change the Field of View (more info), follow the instructions for enable developer console above, then in the game press either console or typekey and type:

FOV <degrees>

(default is 90, it is 70 on consoles and was in Borderlands 1 - this is also editable in the game settings now)

Third person camera view

Follow the instructions for enable developer console, then in the game press either console or typekey and type:

Camera 3rd

Turn subtitles off (in cutscenes as well)

bSubtitlesEnabled=False
bSubtitlesForcedOff=TRUE

Disable black outlines

WillowEngine.ini

Find under [Engine.Engine]:

DefaultPostProcessName=WillowEngineMaterials.WillowScenePostProcess

Replace with:

DefaultPostProcessName=EngineMaterials.ScenePostProcess 

or (also removes "cel shading" effect)

DefaultPostProcessName=WillowEngineMaterials.RyanScenePostProcess

or (also removes "cel shading" effect and vignette/colour correction effects[1])

DefaultPostProcessName=WillowEngineMaterials.CinematicScenePostProcess

(Screenshot comparison between the 3)

V-sync

WillowEngine.ini Set to either true or false:

UseVsync=

When VSync (Vertical Synchronization) is set to On, your GPU will become synchronized to your monitor's Refresh Rate capabilities, which means your maximum framerate will typically be capped at around 60 FPS. When VSync is Off, there is no FPS cap (depending also on the Framerate setting below), however you may experience a phenomenon known as "tearing", whereby portions of the game image sometimes appear to be out of alignment ("torn") across the screen. This does no harm to your system, but it can be annoying. Fortunately you have several options when it comes to VSync:

  • Enable VSync by itself to remove all tearing, but aside from capping your FPS, it can also reduce your overall performance by up to 50% or more due to a GPU timing quirk, and can introduce noticeable mouse lag.
  • Enable VSync but also enable Triple Buffering along with it, which provides the anti-tearing benefits of VSync but without the loss in performance.
  • Enable Adaptive VSync, available to NVIDIA owners using the latest graphics drivers - open the NVIDIA Control Panel, browse to ‘Manage 3D Settings’, click the ‘Global Settings’ tab, then under the 'Vertical Sync' setting select the 'Adaptive' option (screenshot). Or enable it only for Borderlands through the ‘Program Settings’ tab. This method automatically disables VSync whenever your framerate falls below your refresh rate, preventing the performance loss usually associated with VSync, and also smoothing out framerates and minimizing tearing. However, mouse lag may still occur.
  • Disable VSync, which is the simplest method for providing maximum performance, removing the FPS cap and removing any mouse lag. However, tearing will be visible at times, and you may get large FPS fluctuations which can result in stuttering. In Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel these FPS fluctuations can be overcome by using the Framerate setting as covered below.

If available, use Adaptive VSync. If you experience any problems or have mouse lag, or if Adaptive VSync is not available to you, the next thing you can try is to disable VSync and instead use one of the options under the Framerate setting to cap your FPS and hence reduce the incidence of tearing and large FPS fluctuations, without any mouse lag or performance drop.

Increase graphics quality

WillowEngine.ini

FogVolumes=True
bAllowLightShafts=True 
AmbientOcclusion=True
bAllowTemporalAA=True
bAllowD3D9MSAA=True
FXAA=False
DepthOfField=False
MaxAnisotropy=16
MaxMultiSamples=4
DetailMode=2
bEnableVSMShadows=True
bEnableBranchingPCFShadows=True
TessellationFactorMultiplier=3.000000
HighPrecisionGBuffers=True
NumberOfDecals=2
PhysXLevel=3
ViewDistance=2

Change to 1.500000 or higher:

MaxDrawDistanceScale=1.500000

To stop textures fading in as blurry low quality when first seen, and instead "pop in" as full quality straight away:

MipFadeInSpeed0=0
MipFadeOutSpeed0=0
MipFadeInSpeed1=0
MipFadeOutSpeed1=0

To make any texture that hasn't been rendered in the last 5 minutes fully load in at highest resolution (uses a large amount of video memory):

OnlyStreamInTextures=True

Removing the frame-rate lock is usually best(more info), "6" is the uncapped setting:

FramerateLocking=6

Always use highest texture quality:

MaxProcBuildingLODColorTextureSize=4096
MaxProcBuildingLODLightingTextureSize=4096
TEXTUREGROUP_World=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage,IgnoreTextureLODBias)
TEXTUREGROUP_WorldNormalMap=(MinLODSize=1,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_WorldSpecular=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Character=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage,IgnoreTextureLODBias)
TEXTUREGROUP_CharacterNormalMap=(MinLODSize=1,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_CharacterSpecular=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Weapon=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage,IgnoreTextureLODBias)
TEXTUREGROUP_WeaponNormalMap=(MinLODSize=1,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_WeaponSpecular=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Vehicle=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_VehicleNormalMap=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_VehicleSpecular=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Cinematic=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Effects=(MinLODSize=1,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Linear,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_EffectsNotFiltered=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Skybox=(MinLODSize=1,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_UI=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Lightmap=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Shadowmap=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,NumStreamedMips=1,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_RenderTarget=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_MobileFlattened=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_ProcBuilding_Face=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=1024,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_ProcBuilding_LightMap=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=256,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Terrain_Heightmap=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_Terrain_Weightmap=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)
TEXTUREGROUP_ImageBasedReflection=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Aniso,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_Blur5)
TEXTUREGROUP_Bokeh=(MinLODSize=4096,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0,MinMagFilter=Linear,MipFilter=Linear,MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage)

Enabling this will ensue a performance hit on your PC but will greatly add to the visuals of the game. This gives you some Advance Shadowing effects like Self-Shadowing as well as moving shadows:

DynamicShadows=True

Setting these options to from False to True will allow for a better percentage of closer filtering shadows and Shadow Maps which will increase the overall quality:

bEnableVSMShadows=True
bEnableBranchingPCFShadows=True
MinShadowResolution=2048
MinPreShadowResolution=2048
MaxShadowResolution=2048
MaxWholeSceneDominantShadowResolution=4096
ShadowFadeResolution=16
PreShadowFadeResulotion=512

To Increase the LOD points and make shadows transition smoother when getting closer or further:

ShadowCascades=10

Below the above mentioned line, there are 4 more lines that set the resolution of the shadows according to your distance to them. The closer you are the better they look. Right now there are only 4 shadow resolutions LOD points, the below will add more so the shadows gradually lose their resolution in a smooth manner instead of all of in a choppy manner as you get further away. This change will also add more variety to shadow resolutions according to their distance. This will make 10 different shadow resolutions instead of 4.

The 4 lines start with "ShadowSplit=x" where x is a different number. Copy the lines below and replace the 4 existing lines with the 11 lines below. (eleven, not ten):

ShadowSplit=0.0
ShadowSplit=0.05
ShadowSplit=0.05
ShadowSplit=0.05
ShadowSplit=0.1
ShadowSplit=0.18
ShadowSplit=0.29
ShadowSplit=0.45
ShadowSplit=0.60
ShadowSplit=0.85
ShadowSplit=1.0

To cast the lower quality shadows further away and make better quality shadows surround you further (this can be changed to suit):

ShadowCast_Near=5000
ShadowCast_Far=20000

WillowLightmass.ini

MaxTriangleLightingSamples=16
MaxTriangleIrradiancePhotonCacheSamples=8
bAllowCropping=True
EmissiveSampleSize=256
DiffuseSampleSize=256
SpecularSampleSize=256
VoxelSize=90
VolumeMaxDistance=2000
NumVoxelDistanceSamples=1200
NumShadowRays=12
DominantShadowSuperSampleFactor=15
bUsePhotonsForDirectLighting=True
bOptimizeDirectLightingWithPhotons=True
bUseIrradianceGradients=True

WillowUI.ini

Increase the zoom on the map in the menu. If you don't want a more up in your face looking map in the menu, You can just leave these as is:

MinScale=400
MaxScale=650

Change the info box for lootable items making it bigger and allowing information to all fit in the box:

These will be found under [WillowGame.StatusMenuMapGFxObject]:

InfoBoxDistance=100
ZoomSpeedFactor=0.75

WillowGame.ini

InteractDistance=768

Reducing Physx Particles

WillowEngine.ini

Find under [Engine.Engine]:

MaxParticleResize=0

Replace "0" (Infinte) with the desired number of particles processed in real-time, for example:

MaxParticleResize=50

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