Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Tweaks Guide to Improve Graphics and Performance

By   /   Nov 11, 2014

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has taken a step forward in the technology being used for the visual performance of the game.

While console users simply play with what they get, PC gamers will have advanced power options available to them, both from within the game and also through formally unorthodox methods.

For more help on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, read our Errors, Crashes, Fixes.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Tweaks

Our tweaks guide will help you tweak your Call of Duty game so it performs in the best manner possible, both in terms of visuals and performance.

The guide is divided into two sections: the In-Game Graphic Options, and the Advanced Tweaks. Before getting into the guide, it is important to learn how to access the configuration files.

Accessing Configuration Files
There are multiple configuration files associated with the PC version of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare which are accessible through:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Call of Duty Advanced Warfare\Players2\

The name of the files are config.cfg and keys.cfg. The former contains a plethora of different command variables that are delicate and should not be altered without guidance. The keys.cfg contains keyboard bindings associated with different actions.

Both of these can be accessed through Notepad. Before altering anything in these two files, make sure you create backup copies of the original files and store them safely – we are not responsible if changes within these files lead to the game becoming unplayable.

In-Game Graphics’ Options

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is quite generous with the Advanced Graphic options available to the player through the in-game settings. These options should be analyzed above all else before dwelling into some of the more advanced commands in the configuration files.

Texture Settings
It is best to set the Texture Quality to Manual, and adjust each setting one after the other.

Most modern graphic cards can handle detailed textures with relative ease, so you should leave all of them on at least High, pushing to Extra if you feel you can afford to.

For Anisotropic filtering, it is recommend to keep it on either High or Medium, depending on the performance output in the game.

Shadow Options
The Shadow options in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are some of the most confusion and impactful. Turn on Shadows, but adjust the Shadow Map Resolution according to your PC.

Normal is the recommended setting. For Cache Sun Shadow Maps and Cache Spot Shadow Maps, keep the OFF at ALL COSTS, as these have extreme impacts on performance even on the most powerful PCs.

The caching process is redundant and does not serve much of a purpose when it comes to visual quality, so having them off at all times is the best way to go.

Post Processing
In Post Processing, Depth of Field can be turned off to get rid of the blurry effect around your weapon when you aim, or in certain other situations where certain parts of the world are out of focus.

Most modern PCs can handle this effect, but those who want better clarity (especially in multiplayer) should turn it off. Ambient Occlusion is a setting that handles the shading of special regions that cast shadows through dynamic lighting.

It is an advanced technique and should be turned OFF for systems that only meet the minimum requirements. Most advanced systems will be able to utilize HBAO+.

If your system can support Ambient Occlusion with relative ease, the other options below it are redundant and should be left on.

Anti-aliasing Options
Anti-aliasing gets rid of the jagged edges of polygons and smoothens them out. It has a massive impact on performance, and for most minimum requirement systems should be turned off.

However, powerful systems should experiment with Supersampling ON and different AA types, keeping it in the range of 2x or 4x for a balance of visual quality and performance.

Shader Preload
Shader Preload is a tricky option that can work well for some, while be horrendous for others. Issues related to Shader Preloading are discussed in the Advanced Tweaks part of the guide.

Miscellaneous Options
Bullet Impacts are essential decals or textures that are left as a result of a bullet hitting an object.

In singleplayer it is unlikely that you’ll come across areas with excessive decaling to actually impact your performance, but for the best multiplayer experience it is usually recommended to turn it off.

Dynamic Light Limit controls the number of dynamic lighting sources present at one time. This has a medium impact on performance. The recommended number of dynamic lights for good systems is 8, while others should lower it to 6 or 5.

Advanced Tweaks

A good number of more advanced tweaks can be performed by accessing the configuration files. The method of doing so is explained above at the start of the guide.

Scoreboard Toggle
A lot of veteran Call of Duty players will absolutely hate the toggle scoreboard option, which is set by default.

There is simply not enough time in multiplayer to press Tab twice – if you prefer it the old fashioned way (holding tab will display the score, and releasing it will remove the window), then you’ll need to dig inside the key mapping config file.

Inside the file, change:

bind TAB “togglescores”

to

bind TAB “+scores”

This will bring it back to the old ways, which would suit majority of the regular CoD players.

Mouse Acceleration
Certain players have reported issues with Mouse Acceleration. While casual gamers can actually take benefit, acceleration of the pointer becomes a bit of a nuisance for those looking for precision, especially in multiplayer.

In order to fix this issue, you need to fix the mouse acceleration both form within the game’s configuration settings, and also the default acceleration through Windows.

In order to address Windows enforced mouse acceleration, it is recommended that you take a look at MarkC’s Fix.

In addition to this fix, you should also change the polling rate of your mouse to 125/250MHz – this is done through the mouse specific drivers, so be sure to check according to your product’s brand on how to do so.

For in-game settings, open the main multiplayer config file and search for the following commands:

seta cl_mouseAccel “0”
seta in_mouse “1”

Make sure mouseAccel is set to 0 (default value). Change the in_mouse value from 1 to 2, so it reads:

seta in_mouse “2”

This will allow raw mouse input into the game.

Muddy Textures
There are two notorious in-game graphic options that are a culprit for a number of performance related issues, of which one of them is extremely muddy or unclear textures.

In order to address this issue, make sure that these two options under Shadows are set to OFF:

  • Cache Sun Shadow Maps
  • Cache Spot Shadow Maps

Frame Lag in Single Player
If you are facing stuttering problems in Singleplayer, you will need to go into your config file and change the following commands:

seta r_elevatedPriority “0”
seta r_preloadShadersAfterCinematic “1”

You need to change these two to opposite numbers, so they read:

seta r_elevatedPriority “1”
seta r_preloadShadersAfterCinematic “0”

Shader Preloading
If your Graphic Card has 3GB or more RAM, then you should have this setting on at all times to prevent stuttering of any kind after the loading screens. This will vastly increase the loading times, but will allow for smooth performance when the game in played in singeplayer.

However, often you will come across the game giving errors during Initialization that there is not enough storage ‘to perform this operation’.

If that is the case, it is likely that you do not have adequate VRAM to preload shaders, in which case the setting should be turned OFF.

Also, if you are facing micro-stuttering and mouse-related issues, it is generally recommended to turn Shader Preloading OFF.

For multiplayer, this setting should stay OFF at all times, as it tends to give problems while Synchronizing Game Settings whenever a map is changed.

Skip Certain Cutscenes and Videos
There are certain cutscenes that are unskippable and can be quite a nuisance to watch again and again during the singleplayer mode. In order to address this issue, head to SteamLibrary\SteamApps\common\Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.

Find a file called seoul_load.bik. Before continuing, make sure you have file extension visible through your Windows options (check ‘File name extensions’ under View in Windows 8/8.1).

Create a backup of this file, then delete the original one. Now, create a new empty text file renaming and saving it as seoul_load.bik.

Make sure you use the Save As feature and select type as ‘All Files’.

Once you are done, right click the file, head into Properties, and select ‘Read Only’ so that the file isn’t altered if the game goes through a repair or update.

Enabling SLI
The game originally did not support SLI, but now has the option thanks to the new Nvidia GeForce Game Ready 344.60 WHQL drivers, which can be downloaded from the official GeForce Website.

Video Memory Boost
For certain users the Memory Scale for Call of Duty is lowered by default, which can cause the amount of VRAM being utilized by the game to be less than what your graphic card has.

If your video memory is being detected less than what it is (it is shown in the bottom right corner of the screen when accessing Advanced Video Options), check the config file of the game for the following command:

seta r_videoMemoryScale “1”

If the value of this command is below 1, you should change it back to 1 to take full use of your available VRAM.

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