Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Tweaks Guide to Improve Graphics and Performance

By   /   Oct 15, 2014

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel boasts the same famous cel-shading graphics technology to give itself a comic, non-serious presentation that further adds to the game’s explosive and extroverted personality.

However, the game does suffer from performance issues on the PC, with frame-rate drops and other nuisances that can hinder the experience.

On the other hand, many of those eye-candy desirers may feel a little underwhelmed by the now-familiar graphic engine and technology being used by Gearbox.

For more help on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, read our Side Missions, Vault Symbols Locations, Heads and Skins Unlock Guide.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Tweaks

Irrespective of which category you fall into, you’re here to look at certain tweaks that can bring the best experience out of Borderlands 2. This guide should give you the required knowledge to tweak your settings according to your need and improve how the game looks and runs on your system.

In-Game Graphics Tweaks

Field of View (FOV)
Field of View determines the amount of the game world you can see on your screen at once. Usually this is a highly preferential setting that can be tweaked by gamers according to their own choice.

The default is set at 90, with the game providing a slider bar which sets it from 70 to 110.

Field of View generally has a minimal impact on performance, though on lower end computers you may notice a difference of a few fps as FOV changes the overall world content in front of you at a given time.

Resolution
Resolution is self-explanatory, and almost always accompanies itself with some sort of performance impact. The thumb rule is that you should play a game on your screen’s native resolution to avoid any loss in quality.

However, resolution tends to have a massive impact on performance on anything above 1920×1080, as the VRAM requirements catapult due to significantly larger texture sizes.

Generally, you should start off with 1920×1080 or less, depending on your screen’s native resolution, and only work higher when other settings are running at their maximum without any performance impact.

VSync
Vertical Synchronization is a method used by many games to tune your GPU and synchronize it with your screen’s current Vertical refresh rate. This will cap the frame rates of your game and prevent it going from past the refresh rate value (usually 60).

The method is used to prevent a phenomenon known as “screen tearing” which misplaces certain portions of the game, hence giving a tearing effect. In Borderlands, tearing is often accompanied with massive drops or rises in frame rates which can make the game stutter severely.

Vsync by default can reduce the performance of your game severely due to a GPU timing quirk, and can induce mouse lag. Experiment with the different settings to see which one suits your hardware the most.

One way to get rid of the negative effects of VSync is by manually capping frame-rates.

Frame Rates
This highly useful option in Borderlands allows one to manually cap the frame rates to a specific value span. While VSync is on, this option will be bypassed and the frame rate cap will be set to the value of your screen’s refresh rate.

If you are experiencing VSync-related performance drops and mouse lag, it is recommended to turn it off and use the Frame Rates option to manually set the fps limit to a desired level.

There are several options in Frame Rates to choose from:

Unlimited – No Frame Rate limit applied.

Smoothed 22-60 FPS – This setting attempts to maintain the frame-rates between a value of 22 and 60. This will offer better responsiveness and improved performance, but stuttering may occur due to the large variation between 22 and 60.

Capped – This offers several options; 30, 50, 60, 72, 120 FPS. This is probably the best option to take as your system will be restricted to a certain frame rate, doing the work of VSync without actually applying the negative side-effects of the option.

For most people, a value of anything between 50 and 60 is optimum.

Anisotropic Filtering
Anisotropic Filtering is a method used to improve the way surfaces angled to the screen are displayed. This filtering technique usually targets surfaces and has a minimal impact on performance on most modern graphic cards.

The options are 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, and 16x. There is very little visible difference between 8x and 16x overall. The recommended setting would be 4x or 8x, depending on your hardware.

Bullet Decals
This setting controls the frequency and presence of marks resulted from weapon ammunitions. These include blast marks on surfaces, and degradation of walls with solid projectiles.

Bullet Decals has a minimal impact on performance, but is also a visual aesthetic that may or may not be a priority. The recommended setting is Normal.

Foliage Distance
Foliage distance determines how far out foliage will draw in the game. These include the likes of trees, grass, leaves, and bushes. The two options are Near or Far.

Near means you will need to be close to the foliage for it to become visible, while Far will draw it out a fair distance from you. Far is the recommended setting as Foliage can play an important tactical role in combat. The impact on performance is also minimal.

Texture Quality
Texture Quality determines the resolution of the textures that cover all the objects in the world.

While texture quality in most games also brings out the realism, Borderlands uses cel-shading technology to give a comic-styled look to the game, so this setting will mainly deal with the sharpness and detail of the objects.

Texture Quality usually has a small impact on performance, and most modern systems will be able to withstand the High setting.

Texture Fade
Texture Fade can help avoid the appearance of low resolution textures streaming in. This has no impact on performance, so it is usually recommended to enable it.

Ambient Occlusion
Ambient Occlusion is a modern shading technique that creates more realistic shadowing from ambient lighting in the surroundings.

AO’s impact on performance varies according to the situation; areas with more ambient lighting and shadows will generally utilize AO more than others, and hence have more fps drops.

If you are running on high resolutions, you may wish to disable this setting for better fps stability.

Depth of Field
Depth of Field is often confused with Field of View despite being two completely different graphic options. DoF is an effect that will make objects in the foreground appear sharper and distinct, while those in the distance blur out. This is especially evident when zooming in.

While it gives a very satisfying and realistic effect, DoF may not be favored by most players as it can result in sudden drops in fps while aiming.

View Distance
View Distance controls the maximum range at which objects are visible. Usually, with higher settings more details and objects are visible in the distant horizon, which means more polygon count and (hence) additional rendering and shading effects.

View Distance has a significant impact on both performance and visuals, and it is usually recommended to keep the setting at Medium.

FXAA
Full Screen Antialiasing is an advanced technique to smoothen the jagged edges of objects in the game. This has a massive impact on visuals and performances in most games, but in Borderlands its performance impact is minimized thanks to the cel-shading technology.

Objects with higher AA tend to appear smooth and well-finished, so it is highly recommended to turn this On for Borderlands. On very high resolutions, FXAA has a less visual influence, so you can even afford to keep it off if you are running Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on 4K resolution.

PhysX Effects
PhysX is a highly advanced effect that deals with how particles move about.

If you are using an Nvidia graphics card, you can have hardware accelerated PhysX. This will add to the explosiveness and collateral damage of your surroundings, enhancing the high-energy, high-intensity gameplay of Borderalnds: The Pre-Sequel.

However, PhysX has an enormous impact on performance, and many users tend to use a dedicated card for it. It is highly recommended to keep this setting on Low if you do not have a dedicated GPU for PhysX in your system.

INI Tweaks

If you are looking for more control and some advanced tweaking, you might want to take things a step further and access the .ini files of the game.

The three important setting files to edit for further visual and performance options are WillowEngine.ini, WillowGame.ini, WillowInput.ini, and DefaultInput.ini.

You can find these files in the following directory:

\Users\[Username]\My Documents\My Games\BorderlandsThePreSequel\WillowGame\Config\

NOTE: Make sure you create a backup of the original files before editing them. We are not responsible if your game is rendered unplayable from fiddling with these system files.

WillowEngine.ini

Texture Popup
If you’re having problems with texture pop-ups and delayed texture loading, you might want to change the “Mip” settings to 0. These are under the [Engine.Engine] section, and will look like this after change:

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

Dynamic Shadows
Under the [SystemSettings] section, there is an option for Dynamic Shadows that can determine advanced shadowing effects like self-shadowing and moving shadows.

Enabling this will have an impact on performance, but will greatly add to the visuals. Similarly you’ll want to disable this option by changing it to False if you want improved performance at the cost of shadow details.

DynamicShadows=True

Light Shafts
Light Shafts is an attractive looking effect that projects out “God Rays” when objects are looked at through strong light. This really adds to the visual experience, but generally has a strong impact on performance. If you’re having issues, consider changing the value to False.

bAllowLightShafts=True

Detail Mode
While the in-game Detail Mode adjusts certain other aspects of the game’s visual, the one inside the ini file will get rid of very minor and subtle details in the surroundings that can result in a decent performance improvement on older machines.

The default value is 2, but you can set it down to 1 or 0 to get rid of these details.

DetailMode=2

Shadow Resolution
This option controls the resolution of shadows in the game. Higher resolution shadows use up more VRAM and have a significant impact on performance, but make the shadows appear much sharper and realistic.

The default value is 2048, but it can be increased to 4096 or decreased to 128. 4096 will result in super-sharp shadows but with huge performance impacts, while 128 will result in nothing but dark blocks, but give a tangible performance boost.

MaxWholeSceneDominantShadowResolution=2048

Don’t forget to share your own tweaks to improve graphics and performance.

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