There are far more important things to focus
on if you want to get better at CSGO, but changing the graphics settings can give you
a slight edge. In this video I’ll be covering the pros and cons of various settings, though
to cut a long story short, the optimal settings depend on which map you’re playing. There
isn’t a magic formula to get the best results every time, it requires tweaking.
Onto the graphical settings. I’ll be starting out with everything on full. I’m going to
assume that you can run this game decently on highest everything, you should be getting
at least 60 fps at all times or your aim WILL suffer. Type net_graph 1 into the console
to see what sort of framerate you’re getting. It’s better to test this online against real
people than against bots as bots will only sap your framerate in singleplayer mode. If
you can’t get 60 fps, buy a better PC as this alone will improve your performance more than
any of the tweaks mentioned in this video. Remove motion blur. It only gets in the way
of seeing things when the action gets going. Now, disable vertical sync. This renders frames
in advance, which pretty much means it keeps the action hostage for a split second before
showing you it. We don’t want that. Disable it completely.
Next, remove FXAA. This is a post-processing effect which pretty much means it gets what’s
there and BLURS it. That’s not a good thing, though if you really can’t stand the sight
of aliasing it’s a cheap way to remove it without losing too many frames per second.
The next thing to go is the shading. This is a real shame since it’s what gives CSGO
its graphical sheen compared with CSS, but it adds distracting water reflections and
a horrible smeary mess over the screen, all of which is disgusting. I believe it also
disables colour correction, adding more contrast to the textures. You’ll also notice that it
gets rid of the distracting rain. On de_lake having shading set to the lowest 2 settings
makes a HUGE difference. In some cases it’s beneficial, others it actually reduces contrast
between the background and the characters. Anisotropic filtering is something I love.
People insist on the highest texture detail possible and this setting ensures that the
textures are all clear- without it, if viewed from an angle like this, the textures lose
their quality even if the texture quality is set to highest. However, this high detail
adds clutter to the screen and more harsh edges to the details so setting this to bilinear
will give distant scenery a flatter, muddier appearance that will make objects standing
on it stand out even more. I guess that you might as well reduce the
texture detail so that even things up close have this muddy appearance. Okay, poor example.
Let’s try de_overpass, which will likely use newer textures. Uh, maybe another location
will show it. You know what? Screw it. The texture detail makes such a small difference
that even in this, the most nit-picking video around, I’m going to say leave it on high.
It just makes the game look a little bit nicer. Spread the word to everybody! Pros, up your
texture detail! It’s not worth the sacrifice! I mean, it would be if it made a difference
like THIS, but it doesn’t. Out of curiosity I loaded up Counter Strike Source and YES
it does make a big difference on there. But not on CSGO. If anybody can find any meaningful
examples where lower texture detail could possibly give anybody an advantage, do let
me know with screenshot proof and I’ll eat my proverbial hat. I don’t have any real ones…
and I don’t play Team Fortress 2. Don’t get me wrong, increased contrast is
GOOD, but only when it’s between players and the backdrops. More contrast and definition
on the backdrop textures themselves serve to camouflage other players.
As for character models, their shape and outline remains the same regardless of model detail.
In the levels themselves, plants and other sticky-out things tend to be kept at a minimum
on CSGO to improve visibility but there are SMALL differences between settings. On high
texture detail you get more detail in the leafs- at some points there are holes where
there aren’t on low and vice versa. I’m going to remain neutral regarding which setting
allows for players to be most easily seen. If I had to state my opinion I’d say that
low would be better far off, and high would make it easier to see through up close. Once
again we’re really splitting straws here. Next, say good bye to the shadows by setting
it to very low. Now most of the shadows will be a pre-baked, low quality blur which reduces
the complexity of the screen even more and makes various parts of the maps brighter.
You’ll still have real-time ones up close so you’ll still spot characters by their shadows.
Very low and low have the same distance on the real-time shadows, but low adds shadows
to more models and ups the quality a bit. Medium increases the distance that shadows
are visible from and high does it even more so.
At lower settings it makes the transition between near and distant shadows more obvious
which can distract you in-game as it did for me here. However, practicing the maps with
low settings will help you to overcome these problems. You’ll retain the benefits of increased
contrast between models and the backgrounds. Antialiasing is a difficult one for me. It
enables a more accurate representation of a single pixel, which is almost like playing
the game at a higher resolution than it actually is. I’m going to remain neutral with this
setting, as enabling it is almost like having a ‘more equal’ mode. Sometimes it’s better,
other times it might be worse… so effectively it cancels it out.
Enabling it also reduces the distracting shimmer that high contrast models can have which may
prove to be less distracting. I play with it enabled, and would go as far as to recommend
SSAA if your PC can run it, as this smooths fences and other sprite-based items as well
as the edges of models. I don’t know if this setting is available in-game, I enable it
through my Nvidia control panel, but find that AA also has to be enabled in CSGO for
it to take effect. AMD users may have to do the same. Intel GPU users should buy a dedicated
graphics card. Don’t confuse AA with FXAA, which is only a post-processing effect.
Effect detail was a bit of a revelation for me. I figured that it would alter the distance
and detail of particles, gun shots, blood, smoke and explosions, but I could find literally
NO difference between the detail settings. In Nvidia’s Geforce Experience it shows the
effect detail as determining the amount of dust. I’d wager that at some point it did
make a difference but was altered in a bid to make this game more fair for everybody.
The game seems geared up towards making the graphics matter as little as possible. I’d
say to either leave the effects on high as a psychological feel-good, or to set it to
low and to feel like a real hardcore pro. Something that can make a tangible difference
is to increase the contrast and/or brightness using your graphics card’s options menu. The
optimal settings depend on your monitor, type of GPU you have and your game settings. Upping
the contrast really brings out detail in previously murky areas, as you’ll see in this comparison
shot here. Upping the vibrancy of the colours makes everything stand out a lot better as
well, which is essential for picking out enemies when they’re standing in front of a similarly
coloured wall. These windows on lake may ultimately go the
same way as the ones on nuke, where a patch literally rendered them more transparent,
but until then, the settings don’t make much of a difference. Upping the contrast enough
may help but will hinder the rest of the level for you. I wouldn’t bother.
Or alternatively, don’t do that, keep the settings on highest and enjoy the game in
all its graphical glory. Ultimately it’s up to you as to what you want from this game.
I can spot the differences and compile it into an educational video like this one for
you to enjoy, and I’ve enjoyed doing so, but at some point you have to draw the line and
question what will give you the most pleasure from this game.
Just shoot them out or EMBRACE their cloudiness. WINDOWS?! Best settings for seeing through?