Mass Effect: Tip (Game Tuning and Optimization)

Mass effect created on the Unreal Engine 3.0 and therefore has quite a lot of hidden settings that affect graphics, gameplay, performance. All game settings are stored in ini files at \ Documents and Settings \ Username \ My Documents \ BioWare \ Mass Effect \ Config in Windows XP or \ Users \ Username \ Documents \ BioWare \ Mass Effect \ Config in Windows Vista. These files can be opened and edited with any text editor such as Notepad. If something goes wrong, and you want to return the default values, you can simply delete these files. When the game starts, they will be recreated using files in the \ Mass Effect \ Engine \ Config folder. For this reason, I do not advise changing the files in the game folder.

The main ini files are BIOEngine.ini, which stores graphics and sound settings, BIOGame.ini, where are the various settings of the game world and BIOInput.ini, which stores your control settings.

Some settings are located simultaneously in several groups of settings, for example, DepthBias is available in the [Engine.Engine] and [Engine.GameEngine] groups of the file, and the setting from [Engine.Engine] has no effect on the game, and [Engine.GameEngine ] – works as expected. Therefore, change the settings only from the group indicated below, otherwise it will not lead to anything. Many options do not work at all, and some can be changed through the game menu, so they are not covered here.



bSmoothFrameRate = True
Enables or disables FPS caps. Possible values ​​- True (on) or False (off).

MinSmoothedFrameRate = 22
       MaxSmoothedFrameRate = 62

This is the setting of the minimum and maximum FPS. If the previous option is enabled, the game will try to prevent sudden jumps in FPS.

bUsePostProcessEffects = True
Enable (True) or disable (False) all postfilters such as Bloom, DOF, Motion Blur, Film Grain. Disabling them will dramatically raise FPS, but reduce the quality of the picture..

bEnableBranchingPCFShadows = True
This is the adjustment of the shadow quality using the PCF filter. If set to False, the shadows will be more “square”, but the speed will increase.

bUseSound = True
Turn all sound on or off.

bUseMusicSound = True
Turn on or off music in the game.

ShadowFilterRadius = 2.000000
Adjusting the shadow filter. The higher the value, the more rounded and weaker the shadows become, decreasing the parameter makes the shadows more distinct.

DepthBias = .01200
This is the setting for the amount of dynamic shadows. Increasing the value gradually decreases the amount of dynamic shadows; a value close to 1.0 removes dynamic shadows completely, but remains static. Decreasing the value increases the number of dynamic shadows.

MinShadowResolution = 32
       MaxShadowResolution = 512

These two parameters determine the minimum and maximum resolution of the shadow maps. The higher the minimum value, the better the shadows; conversely, a lower maximum value will make the shadows less clear. However, values ​​over 512 for MinShadowResolution result in artifacts and similarly values ​​that are too low for MaxShadowResolution. For best quality, set the minimum to 512 and the maximum to 2048 or even 4096.

This is the setting for the distance at which shadows disappear from view. A higher value decreases this distance and makes all dynamic shadows dim. A value of 0.0 forces the game to show all shadows, even at large distances

ShadowVolumeLightRadiusThreshold = 1000.000000
This setting adjusts the distance to the light source at which the object casts a dynamic shadow. The higher the value, the greater the distance.



Here you can set the desired screen resolution.

MinDesiredFrameRate = 35.000000
The number set here is the minimum FPS that the game will try to maintain, lowering the graphics quality on the fly if necessary. But this option does not actually work, perhaps it will be included in new patches..


MaxChannels = 64
This setting specifies the number of audio channels used by the game. Older sound cards (or built-in ones) can handle only 32 channels, while higher quality cards can support at least 64 channels (eg Audigy 2) and even 128 channels (eg X-Fi series). If you observe sound artifacts, try decreasing this value, or increasing it if you are confident in the strength of your sound..

NoHALSupport0 =
There are several lines starting with NoHALSupport, they indicate the names of sound cards for which the game cannot use hardware acceleration, even if you put it from the game menu. Surprisingly, there are even Creative cards here – from Audigy to X-Fi. If you have such sound system and want to enjoy all the beauties of hardware surround, then you can try the following.

 You can delete the BIOEngine.ini file, and when you start the game, a new one will be created, while the game should correctly detect the capabilities of your sound card.

 If that doesn’t work, put a “//” in front of the desired NoHALSupport () line. For example, owners of a SoundBlaster Audigy 2 can change the lines like this:
       // NoHALSupport3 = Sound Blaster Audigy
       // NoHALSupport4 = SB Audigy

 The “//” sign forces the game to ignore the marked lines.

 If it still does not work as it should, you can change the DeviceName = line by deleting everything after the “=” sign, that is, leaving DeviceName =, and set UseEffectsProcessing = False (both parameters are discussed below).

DeviceName = Generic Software
This setting determines whether software or hardware sound is used. If hardware sound is used, then there should be = Generic Hardware or the name of your sound. If you have sound problems, remove everything after the “=” sign.

UseEffectsProcessing = True
Enables or disables additional sound effects. If your card cannot handle them, and you see sound artifacts, set False.


StaticDecals = True
Enable (True) or disable (False) static Decals – objects like labels or pictures on walls and other surfaces, the performance impact is subtle.

DynamicDecals = True
Dynamic Decals are traces of bullets or explosions. Disabling them will increase FPS in combat, but reduce realism..

DynamicLights = True
Enable (True) or disable (False) dynamic lighting. Keep in mind that disabling it, although it will seriously raise FPS, can lead to artifacts.

Enable (True) or disable (False) dynamic shadows. Static shadows (from buildings, terrain objects) are not affected.

CompositeDynamicLights = False
If set to True, a simpler method of dynamic lighting will be used, which will increase the FPS, the differences in picture quality are subtle..

ShadowFilterQualityBias = 0
Shadow quality control. The higher the number here, the better the shadows..

This option uses the improved surface quality – additional detail, volume. Disabling it will raise FPS well, but all textures that used DirectionalLightmaps will just turn black.

DepthOfField = True
Enable (True) or disable (False) post-filter DOF (blur image). You can turn this off to get more FPS or if you just don’t like this effect.

Bloom = True
Enable (True) or disable (False) the Bloom post-filter (enhanced lighting effects). If you are struggling for every FPS, you can disable all postfilters at once by setting bUsePostProcessEffects to False (see above).

QualityBloom = True
Enable (True) or disable (False) high-quality Bloom. Disabling it can add FPS without much degrading graphics.

SpeedTreeLeaves = True

These two control the foliage quality of the Speed ​​Tree. Disabling them in most cases is not reflected in the graph, but the speed can improve slightly.

Enabling this option can improve the smoothness of the game by preloading textures.

LensFlares = True
Enabling (True) or disabling (False) the Lens Flares post filter (manifests itself when looking at bright objects – the sun, flashes of shots).

Trilinear = True
Enable (True) or disable (False) trilinear texture filtering. When you disable it, the textures will become less clear, but the FPS will increase.

SkeletalMeshLODBias = 0
       ParticleLODBias = 0

Adjusts the level of detail of living things (SkeletalMeshLODBias) and particle effects (ParticleLODBias). Positive values ​​reduce detail, while negative values ​​make the picture clearer. Too low values ​​can lead to artifacts, so I recommend limiting it to -1.

MaxAnisotropy = 4
In the game settings, you can enable or disable anisotropic filtering (AF), here you can also specify the actual AF value. Possible values ​​are 2, 4, 8, 16. A high AF level makes textures located at an angle sharper, but reduces FPS. AF is free for modern graphics cards, so if you have a GeForse 8800 family, or a Radeon 3800, put 16 here..

ScreenPercentage = 100.000000
Sets the percentage of the screen area occupied by the game. For example, if you put 50, the game will only take up half of the screen. This does not apply to the menu.


TEXTUREGROUP_LightAndShadowMap = (MinLODSize = 256, MaxLODSize = 4096, LODBias = 0)
There are several TEXTUREGROUP parameters that control the level of detail (LOD) of many objects in the game – characters, objects, lighting effects. Each parameter has MinLODSize, MaxLODSize and LODBias. Raising MinLODSize, MaxLODSize and decreasing LODBias will increase the quality of the graphics. MinLODSize and MaxLODSize must be divisible by 64.


DisableHWShadowMaps = True
This option controls hardware shadow calculation, if set to True, then the task of shadow calculation will be assigned to the processor, not to the video card. You can put True here if your processor is better than a video card (for example, Phenom X4 and GeForse 8500 GT), or False, if vice versa (Pentium 4 and Radeon HD 3850).



bShowHud = true
Enable (true) or disable (false) all interface elements on the screen. You will still be able to access the desired functions by pressing the appropriate key. You can just as well use the Showhud console command (see below).


AllowFriendlyCollateral = false
If true, then members of your group can accidentally wound you in battle and vice versa.


m_nMaxCredits = 9999999
       m_nMaxGrenades = 5
       m_fMaxSalvage = 999
       m_fMaxMedigel = 5

Limitation on the maximum number of money, grenades, etc..


m_colSubtitleColor = (R = 204, G = 255, B = 255, A = 255)
This is the option to change the color of the text in the game. The values ​​in brackets are RGB – Red, Green, Blue and A – transparency. It does not affect text in dialogs


Enable (True) or disable (False) physics of dead bodies. If enabled, then when shooting at a corpse, it will bleed and move, however, this can reduce FPS if there are many corpses around you.


m_fCorpseCleanupFirstAttemptTime = 5.0
This parameter determines how many seconds will elapse before the first attempt to remove the corpse. The higher the value, the more the number of dead bodies will be – for example, 600 is 10 minutes.


m_bSkipPowerCooldown = False
If it is set to True, then you can use abilities often without waiting for their “recharge”, which greatly simplifies the game.



This line does not exist initially, but by adding it, you can call the console during the game by pressing the “E” key.


Bindings = (Name = “F6”, InputMode = BIO_INPUT_MODE_NONE, Command = “QuickSave”, CFalse, Shift = False, Alt = False)
You can change the assignment of almost all keys from the game menu, here you can also change the assignment of all keys used by the game. For example, above you see the purpose of F6 – quick save, you can register any other key there in the English register.

Console Commands

Initially, you do not have access to the console, but you can enable it by adding the CTilde line to the [Engine.Console] group of the BIOInput.ini file (see above). Here are the most important console commands:

Stat FPS – Show FPS

Fly – Allows your character to fly

Ghost – Allows your character to walk through objects

Walk – Disables Fly and Ghost modes

FOV [value in degrees] – Changes the field of view

Slomo [number] – Changes the speed of the game. Numbers over 1 speed up the game, values ​​below 1 slow down. The minimum value is 0.0, the default is 1.0.

Showhud – Hides or brings back the interface

Teleport – Moves your squad to the position indicated by the scope

Shot – Take a screenshot in .BMP format

Exec [filename] – Executes a specific file from the Mass Effect \ Binaries folder

Quit – Exit the game

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