Dragon Age Inquisition Tweaks Guide to Improve Graphics and Performance

By   /   Dec 6, 2014

The lustrous world of Dragon Age Inquisition features a vast variety of landscapes and locations, all of which offer brilliant eye-candy to players, especially on the PC.

However, you can only reach as far as your system allows you, and the game does have its share of performance related issues that will force you to make visual sacrifices.

Thankfully, you have plenty of options at your hand within the in-game settings to tweak your game to your need, and if that’s not enough, you can always dig deeper and try some unconventional methods, which we have also discussed in this graphics and performance tweak guide.

Dragon Age Inquisition Tweaks – In-Game Graphics

Dragon Age: Inquisition uses the same engine as Battlefield 4, known as Frostbite 3.

What makes the game pretty good for PC (once you manage to get it running) is that it provides a decent amount of graphic options, which you can tweak according to your system to get the right balance between great visuals and efficient performance.

Some graphic options though tend to be more impactful than others, especially when the key is high performance. We’ll take a look at every option and suggest which settings you should have for the best balance.

Mesh Quality
Mesh Quality controls polygon count and has a rather high impact on performance. However, it is extremely important in DA: Inquisition as it controls the quality and detail of the characters during cutscenes.

Since character design and art is a very important part of this story-driven game, you want to keep this as high as possible.

Tessellation Quality
Tessellation is a DX11 technology that renders objects in a specific manner, both to give improved visuals without any impact on performance. However, in DA: Inquisition it has a peculiarly large impact on performance, and should be turned down to Medium or Low, depending on your PC.

Texture Quality
Texture Quality defines the resolution and details of textures. Most GPUs nowadays can handle High or Ultra settings.

Shadow Quality
The sharpness of shadows in controlled by this option. Shadows tend to have a very large impact on performance – you won’t notice much difference between High and Ultra when it comes to visuals, but the performance impact is noticeable.

Turn down Shadows to High or even Medium.

Terrain Quality
Dragon Age Inquisition features large terrains, but this setting will not have a very massive impact on performance. Keep it on High for a good balance.

Vegetation Quality
There is a lot of vegetation in the game, but generally it is easily rendered by any half-decent GPU, and has minimal impact on performance.

Water Quality
Gone are the days where flashy water effects would take a toll on your PC. This setting has minimal impact on your frame-rates.

Post-Process Quality
Post-Processing by the Frostbite 3 engine has a massive impact on performance, and mainly offers aesthetics that are associated with cutscenes. This includes Motion Blur and Depth of Field.

You can gain up to 5-6 frame-rates during cutscenes by turning the setting to Low.

Ambient Occlusion
Ambient Occlusion is an advanced shading technique associated with casting shadows according to placement of light and the shape of the object. There are three types of options available:

  • SSAO: It has a low performance impact. Use this setting for some extra FPS.
  • HBAO: It has a medium performance impact.
  • HBAO Full: It has a high performance impact.

Effects Quality
This setting deals with all kinds of nice effects in the game that add to its charm. It has a medium impact on performance, and can be turned down to Medium if you want a boost of a couple of frame-rates.

Post-Processing Antialiasing
Although Post-Processing Quality has a major impact, the Anti-aliasing associated with it does not. It has a very low impact on performance, and should be used instead of MSAA (Multisample Antialiasing).

Multisample Antialiasing
Multisample Antialiasing has a high impact on performance, and also plays an important part in visuals. It is responsible for getting rid of the ‘jagged edges’ of objects.

If you are running near the recommended specs for the game, you can have this on even 4x, otherwise you should turn it off and use Post-Processing AA instead.

Dragon Age Inquisition Tweaks – Config and ini Tweaks

Anisotropic Filtering
The in-game settings of Dragon Age Inquisition do not have any kind of Anisotropic Filtering options. If you want to gain the perks of A-Filtering, you’ll need to access the Profile settings file, located in:

“%USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Dragon Age Inquisition\Save”

  • Open the ProfileOptions_profile file with Notepad.
  • In this file, search AnisotropicFilter and change the value ahead of it between 0-4, with 4 being the highest.

Increase Cutscene FPS Cap
The frame-rate while playing cutscenes in DA: Inquisition is capped at 30, which can sometimes lead to unpleasant stutters and jerkiness in certain parts of a scene.

To deal with this, go to Origins and right click Dragon Age: Inquisition in the library. Select the Game Properties, then add the following the dialogue box:

-GameTime.MaxSimFps 60 -GameTime.ForceSimRate 60+

User Configuration File
It is possible to create a custom user configuration file for Dragon Age to tweak or tailor with certain graphic parameters.

If you want improved performance in the game, you will need to create a custom config in the main Dragon Age Inquisition folder.

Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\Dragon Age Inquisition, right click and create a new Notepad file.

Edit the file and paste the following:

RenderDevice.RenderheadLimit 0
RenderDevice.TripleBufferingEnable 0
RenderDevice.VsyncEnable 0
PostProcess.DynamicAOEnable 0
WorldRender.MotionBlurEnable 0
WorldRender.SpotLightShadowmapEnable 0
WorldRender.SpotLightShadowmapResolution 4
WorldRender.TransparencyShadowmapsEnable 0
WorldRender.LightTileCsPathEnable 0

Save the file as user.cfg, making sure the ‘txt’ extension is changed to .cfg. The above values will result in a loss of visual fidelity, but will greatly improve performance.

Reduce Loading Times
Loading times are largely dependent on RAM, but you will often notice that games associated with Origin take more loading time than others. There is a registry fix for this that you can carry out.

  • Open the ‘Run’ program from your start menu and type in regedit
  • On the left-hand side, you will need to navigate to the following:
    HKEY LOCAL MACHINE/SOFTWARE/WoW6432Node/EA Games
  • Here, you need to change the GDFBinary & InstallDir paths to C:/Program Files (x86)/Origin Games\Dragon Age Inquisition.

This should speed up loading times in the game.

If you know any other tweaks, tell us by commenting below!

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