Tribes Ascend tribes.ini Graphics Configuration Guide

Tribes Ascend tribes.ini Graphics Configuration Guide by c0mad0r

Update: For those who just want to download a tweaked ini here is mine.
What was tweaked: Low but still eye pleasing graphics, Maximum shadows so that you can see better, Visible bolt launcher shots, Trees with no leaves so you can see through them!
Download tribes.ini (do a right click and save as)

I have seen a slurry of C:\Users\Documents\My Games\Tribes Ascend\TribesGame\Config\tribes.ini files posted up on the forums since the Closed BETA started. While some of them are good, there are far more out there that are uninformed guesses to get at some goal setting. I am by no means an expert at the UE SDK, but I have worked with it to make maps and modules for the Unreal Series games since 2003 and know enough to “get it” on how a lot of the ini’s work.

So, to help people out in finding the settings that best for them, I’ve created the following Spreadsheet explaining just what each item in the tribes.ini does. In addition to detailing it, I have added my “two cents” in based off of what I currently use in-game; And while my settings are not set for “absolute” performance, they are set to give MOSTLY performance settings with a few additional visual effects.


If you take away anything from the following, remember this:


Reasons not to range from distortion problems, stability and/or lack of performance gains by doing such.

In any case, I hope you enjoy this and let me know if you have anything to add or have any questions.

Commonly requested settings

How do I set shadows so that they show up as far as possible?

How do I make the trail of the bolt launcher shot visible?

StaticDecals= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Static sprites on the map that don’t move: EX: Decorations, Existing bullet-holes in walls from the map creation, graffiti or writing.
DynamicDecals= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Dynamic sprites on the maps that people made: EX: Bullet-holes caused by your gun, charred black spots on ground, jet trails, etc.
DynamicShadows= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Dynamic shadow effects caused by in-game characters /vehicle shadows on the ground, explosions, etc. Disable for performance.
LightEnvironmentShadows= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Adds indirect lighting effects based on the position of your character. Works with Directional lighting, DO NOT DISABLE
CompositeDynamicLights= TRUE/FALSE TRUE An enabled light environment. Set True, this enables a less accurate form of dynamic lights. FALSE improves performance less than 1%
DirectionalLightmaps= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Part of Casting Shadows / shader effects on walls from various light sources. Without it, stuff looks like crap, DO NOT DISABLE
MotionBlur= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds additional blurring seen when turning around rapidly, moving rapidly or being hit.
DepthOfField= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds the effect used to simulate how objects within your focus are sharper than objects outside our direct field of view/focus.
AmbientOcclusion= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds the effect used to enhance shadows around the game world (Very GPU/CPU intensive)
Bloom= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds light highlighting and image bloom in the world/map, creating a slightly hazy, more realistic atmospheric look to your POV.
Distortion= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds distortion effects seen around impact areas of explosions or air and smoke distortions created by projectiles and jets.
DropParticleDistortion= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Allow dropping distortion on particles based on World Information. Setting “TRUE” reduces effects and increases performance.
SpeedTreeLeaves= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds or removes the leaves from trees. Enabled gives trees with leaves whereas disabled shows trees with branches only.
SpeedTreeFronds= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds or removes minor branches from trees. Enables gives trees more branches whereas disabled shows the trunks only basically.
LensFlares= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds the effect seen when staring at a bright light source, such as the Sun… causes brightness from the sun or explosions.
UseVsync= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Vertical Synchronization keeps your Frames Per Second in tune with your monitor’s refresh rate. Disable for better performance.
Fullscreen= TRUE/FALSE N/A Defines whether the client loads fullscreen or windowed
AllowD3D10= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Forces the game to run under the Direct X 10 API… cannot use it anyway since we run DX9.0c. Leave it disabled/false.
AllowD3D11= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Forces the game to run under the Direct X 11 API… cannot use it anyway since we run DX9.0c. Leave it disabled/false.
SkeletalMeshLODBias= 0 to 4 2 Sets the in game character quality where 0 is highest quality and 4 is lowest “8-bit Mario” style quality.
ParticleLODBias= 0 to 10 or -1 -1 Sets the particle detail and compensates stutters caused LOD rendering of minor objects like trails. Set -1 for max.
ShadowFilterQualityBias= 0 to 8 or -1 for max 2 Sets the quality of the shadow filtering used (if shadows are enabled). Higher=better quality, Lower=better performance.
MaxAnisotropy= 0 to 16 4 Adds filtering used in the game to make distant textures more clear. Set 0 for no Anisotropic Filtering or 16 for max.
MaxMultisamples=1 DO NOT TOUCH!!! 1 Multisample are a common form of Anti-Aliasing (AA). Since this is a DX9.0c game, AA is not forced nor used beyond 1. Don’t touch it.
EnableHighPolyChars= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds the option to increase (TRUE) or reduce (FALSE) the polygon complexity of characters. Set False for better performance.
OnlyStreamInTextures= TRUE/FALSE TRUE If enabled, textures will only be streamed in, not out, increasing performance. Set disabled for better textures in terrains or grass.
FogVolumes= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds volumetric fog from Strikes and large explosions. Set false to remove/disable big smoke clouds.
Trilinear= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Adds Trilinear Filtering, which can improve the appearance of textures. Disabling it will increase performance < 1%.
OneFrameThreadLag= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Adds Dynamic Light buffer. Set True, it is quicker to calculate and Prerender frames, and set false gives quality at the cost of 10-30FPS
DetailMode= 0 to 4 2 Determines quality and quantity of how quickly things should be updated (blood, ice, water, etc). Set 0 for none or 4 for max quality.
MinShadowResolution= 0 to 4096 32 Adds minimum shadow texel size. The higher the min value, the darker and more rich shadows appear. Beware of visual glitches!
MaxShadowResolution= 0 to 8192 512 Adds maximum shadow texel size. The higher the max value, the more rich shadow edges appear. Beware of visual glitches!
ResX=1440 YOUR_X_RES N/A Change the resolution in game, not here.
ResY=900 YOUR_Y_RES N/A Change the resolution in game, not here.
Borderless=True TRUE/FALSE N/A Like “Fullscreen”, this defines whether the client loads fullscreen or windowed.
MinLODSize=1 to 8192 VARIES Defines minimum mip size in pixels that will be rendered. Must be less than MaxLODSize. Higher uses more memory, drops performance.
MaxLODSize=1 to 8192 VARIES Defines maximum mip size in pixels that will be rendered. Must be greater than MinLODSize. Higher = droped performance.
See TextureProperties Reference LODBias=-100 to 100 VARIES Defines # of miplevels to drop b4 uploading a texture to the screen.
MinMagFilter=Point, Linear or Aniso Aniso See UDN TEXTURE GROUP PROPERTIES for uses of each, but Aniso
MipFilter= Point Gets or sets a mipmap filter to use during minification. Always set to “Point” no matter what.
MipGenSettings=TMGS SimpleAverage MipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage or TMGS_Sharpen_ set mip-map texture details. Simple for performance or sharpen 0-4.
m_TrShadowLODGroup= 0 to 4 1 Reference the amount of mip size in pixels to render shadows. Lower for performance, higher for visual appeal.
m_TrTextureLODGroup= 0 to 4 1 Reference the amount of mip size in pixels to render Textures. Lower for performance, higher for visual appeal.
bAllowLightShafts= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Usually accompanied by OcclusionMaskDarkness, this enables/disables light shafts or “god rays” from the sun.
bAllowWholeSceneDominantShadows TRUE/FALSE FALSE Allows cast shadows from mountains, buildings or trees to be cast by the sun or main light source. Set FALSE for increased performance.
UnbatchedDecals= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Adds static decals to skeletal meshes or terrain. This is a low impact setting with a high reward in clarity. Do not disable.
DecalCullDistanceScale= 0.000000 to 1.000000 0.250000 Determines the distance in which Decals start disappearing from your view. Set lower to make them disappear sooner.
DynamicLights=True TRUE/FALSE TRUE Adds lighting that interacts with the game world, like explosions. Set TRUE to see shots more clearly, FALSE for better performance.
SHSecondaryLighting= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Adds a secondary Lighting source to prevent too dark of places. Works with Directional and Composite Lighting. DO NOT DISABLE
MotionBlurPause= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Determine the pause between frames of motion blur. Set TRUE for better performance if MotionBlue=TRUE. Otherwise disable.
MotionBlurSkinning= 0 or 1 0 Allows a blurring effect on high speed moving objects. Set 0 to disable and better performance or 1 to enable for visual quality.
FilteredDistortion= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Allows distortion to use bilinear filtering when sampling the scene color, like when hit by a weapon. Set False for performance.
bAllowDownsampledTranslucency= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds simple renders that should increase FPS, but in T:A there is a fairly large constant emitter overhead, which causes the opposite.
FloatingPointRenderTargets= TRUE/FALSE TRUE Adds a technology that provide certain post processing effects. Disabling this will cause in-game distortions. DO NOT DISABLE
AllowRadialBlur= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Adds the effect of mimicing a shockwave coming from an explosion. Disable for better performance.
AllowSubsurfaceScattering= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Called “SSS”, defines how much light can enter an object like skin or a candle. Disable for better performance.
MinPreShadowResolution= 0 to 8192 8 Sets min texels allowed for rendering shadow depths and fading. Must be less than ShadowFadeRes. Lower for better performance.
MaxWholeSceneDominantShadowResolution= 0 to 8192 512 Sets a fixed number of shadow depth buffers. Lower for better performance, but cannot be less than ShadowFadeResolution.
ShadowFadeResolution= 0 to 8192 128 Sets the max texels allowed for rendering shadows. 0 will force shadows to never fade; higher to have them fade faster.
PlayerShadowFadeResolution= 0 to 8192 64 Sets the max texels allowed to specifically render player shadows. 0 will force shadows to never fade; higher to have them fade faster.
PreShadowFadeResolution= 0 to 8192 32 Sets a fixed number of shadow depth buffers to pre-draw. Lower for better performance, but cannot be less than MinPreShadowRes.
ShadowFadeExponent= 0.000000 to 1.000000 0.150000 Determines how quickly a Shadow curve should fadeout. Set lower to have shadows “fall off” faster.
SceneCaptureStreamingMultiplier= 0.000000 to 1.000000 1.000000 Adds a streaming system that streams in nearby textures in the same way as if the game camera was there, like pre-rendering.
ShadowTexelsPerPixel= 0.000000 to 2.000000 1.273240 Adds overall smoothness to shadows. A value of 0 disables shadows altogether where anything above 2 is not obvious to any resolution.
PreShadowResolutionFactor= 0.000000 to 1.000000 0.500000 Adds additional quality of shadow mapping to yourview by pre-rendering the resolution of shadows. Lower for better performance.
bAllowBetterModulatedShadows= TRUE/FALSE FALSE Set TRUE for nVidia cards as this helps fix shadow render bugs with nVidia cards. Otherwise, disable if you have an ATI card.
Other Tribes Ascend Articles

13 Responses to “Tribes Ascend tribes.ini Graphics Configuration Guide”

  1. Very nice write-up! I’m looking for a beauty ini, one that just really pushes the game. I’ve had one before but it was eons ago. Also, I’m from the future!

  2. Hey, is this possible to turn off that screen shake when youget hit by explosive weapon? I can’t find that option, but i heard it is.

  3. Hey, this is a fantastic guide. I am however, having trouble implementing it. I downloaded the file, and saved it over my original Tribes.ini configuration file, but the game remains exactly the same. None of the alterations seem to have taken effect. Any ideas?

  4. Thank You!!!

  5. I've updated my original Tribes.ini Explained GoogleDoc and posted it here:



  6. fantastic work.

  7. i uploaded my tweaked .ini hope it helps!

  8. Can someone make a tribes.ini configuration for download based on this?

  9. Great job, you should really consider updating this! It would really help those of us who want to tweak advanced options, and there are a lot of new additions to the .ini file since you wrote this.

  10. Thank you very much, this will help my optimize performance on my low/mid range pc.

  11. Nice Guide!

    THX a lot!

  12. Very useful! Thanks a lot

  13. Great information, thank you.

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