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/FALSEFALSEStatic sprites on the map that don’t move: EX: Decorations, Existing bullet-holes in walls from the map creation, graffiti or writing.
DynamicDecals=TRUE/FALSEFALSEDynamic sprites on the maps that people made: EX: Bullet-holes caused by your gun, charred black spots on ground, jet trails, etc.
DynamicShadows=TRUE/FALSETRUEDynamic shadow effects caused by in-game characters /vehicle shadows on the ground, explosions, etc. Disable for performance.
LightEnvironmentShadows=TRUE/FALSETRUEAdds indirect lighting effects based on the position of your character. Works with Directional lighting, DO NOT DISABLE
CompositeDynamicLights=TRUE/FALSETRUEAn enabled light environment. Set True, this enables a less accurate form of dynamic lights. FALSE improves performance less than 1%
DirectionalLightmaps=TRUE/FALSETRUEPart of Casting Shadows / shader effects on walls from various light sources. Without it, stuff looks like crap, DO NOT DISABLE
MotionBlur=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds additional blurring seen when turning around rapidly, moving rapidly or being hit.
DepthOfField=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds the effect used to simulate how objects within your focus are sharper than objects outside our direct field of view/focus.
AmbientOcclusion=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds the effect used to enhance shadows around the game world (Very GPU/CPU intensive)
Bloom=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds light highlighting and image bloom in the world/map, creating a slightly hazy, more realistic atmospheric look to your POV.
Distortion=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds distortion effects seen around impact areas of explosions or air and smoke distortions created by projectiles and jets.
DropParticleDistortion=TRUE/FALSETRUEAllow dropping distortion on particles based on World Information. Setting “TRUE” reduces effects and increases performance.
SpeedTreeLeaves=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds or removes the leaves from trees. Enabled gives trees with leaves whereas disabled shows trees with branches only.
SpeedTreeFronds=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds or removes minor branches from trees. Enables gives trees more branches whereas disabled shows the trunks only basically.
LensFlares=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds the effect seen when staring at a bright light source, such as the Sun… causes brightness from the sun or explosions.
UseVsync=TRUE/FALSEFALSEVertical Synchronization keeps your Frames Per Second in tune with your monitor’s refresh rate. Disable for better performance.
Fullscreen=TRUE/FALSEN/ADefines whether the client loads fullscreen or windowed
AllowD3D10=TRUE/FALSEFALSEForces 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/FALSEFALSEForces 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 42Sets the in game character quality where 0 is highest quality and 4 is lowest “8-bit Mario” style quality.
ParticleLODBias=0 to 10 or -1-1Sets 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 max2Sets the quality of the shadow filtering used (if shadows are enabled). Higher=better quality, Lower=better performance.
MaxAnisotropy=0 to 164Adds filtering used in the game to make distant textures more clear. Set 0 for no Anisotropic Filtering or 16 for max.
MaxMultisamples=1DO NOT TOUCH!!!1Multisample 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/FALSEFALSEAdds the option to increase (TRUE) or reduce (FALSE) the polygon complexity of characters. Set False for better performance.
OnlyStreamInTextures=TRUE/FALSETRUEIf enabled, textures will only be streamed in, not out, increasing performance. Set disabled for better textures in terrains or grass.
FogVolumes=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds volumetric fog from Strikes and large explosions. Set false to remove/disable big smoke clouds.
Trilinear=TRUE/FALSETRUEAdds Trilinear Filtering, which can improve the appearance of textures. Disabling it will increase performance < 1%.
OneFrameThreadLag=TRUE/FALSETRUEAdds 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 42Determines 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 409632Adds minimum shadow texel size. The higher the min value, the darker and more rich shadows appear. Beware of visual glitches!
MaxShadowResolution=0 to 8192512Adds maximum shadow texel size. The higher the max value, the more rich shadow edges appear. Beware of visual glitches!
ResX=1440YOUR_X_RESN/AChange the resolution in game, not here.
ResY=900YOUR_Y_RESN/AChange the resolution in game, not here.
Borderless=TrueTRUE/FALSEN/ALike “Fullscreen”, this defines whether the client loads fullscreen or windowed.
MinLODSize=1 to 8192VARIESDefines minimum mip size in pixels that will be rendered. Must be less than MaxLODSize. Higher uses more memory, drops performance.
MaxLODSize=1 to 8192VARIESDefines maximum mip size in pixels that will be rendered. Must be greater than MinLODSize. Higher = droped performance.
See TextureProperties ReferenceLODBias=-100 to 100VARIESDefines # of miplevels to drop b4 uploading a texture to the screen.
MinMagFilter=Point, Linear or AnisoAnisoSee UDN TEXTURE GROUP PROPERTIES for uses of each, but Aniso
MipFilter=PointGets or sets a mipmap filter to use during minification. Always set to “Point” no matter what.
MipGenSettings=TMGSSimpleAverageMipGenSettings=TMGS_SimpleAverage or TMGS_Sharpen_ set mip-map texture details. Simple for performance or sharpen 0-4.
m_TrShadowLODGroup=0 to 41Reference the amount of mip size in pixels to render shadows. Lower for performance, higher for visual appeal.
m_TrTextureLODGroup=0 to 41Reference the amount of mip size in pixels to render Textures. Lower for performance, higher for visual appeal.
bAllowLightShafts=TRUE/FALSEFALSEUsually accompanied by OcclusionMaskDarkness, this enables/disables light shafts or “god rays” from the sun.
bAllowWholeSceneDominantShadowsTRUE/FALSEFALSEAllows cast shadows from mountains, buildings or trees to be cast by the sun or main light source. Set FALSE for increased performance.
UnbatchedDecals=TRUE/FALSETRUEAdds 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 1.0000000.250000Determines the distance in which Decals start disappearing from your view. Set lower to make them disappear sooner.
DynamicLights=TrueTRUE/FALSETRUEAdds lighting that interacts with the game world, like explosions. Set TRUE to see shots more clearly, FALSE for better performance.
SHSecondaryLighting=TRUE/FALSETRUEAdds a secondary Lighting source to prevent too dark of places. Works with Directional and Composite Lighting. DO NOT DISABLE
MotionBlurPause=TRUE/FALSEFALSEDetermine the pause between frames of motion blur. Set TRUE for better performance if MotionBlue=TRUE. Otherwise disable.
MotionBlurSkinning=0 or 10Allows a blurring effect on high speed moving objects. Set 0 to disable and better performance or 1 to enable for visual quality.
FilteredDistortion=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAllows distortion to use bilinear filtering when sampling the scene color, like when hit by a weapon. Set False for performance.
bAllowDownsampledTranslucency=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds simple renders that should increase FPS, but in T:A there is a fairly large constant emitter overhead, which causes the opposite.
FloatingPointRenderTargets=TRUE/FALSETRUEAdds a technology that provide certain post processing effects. Disabling this will cause in-game distortions. DO NOT DISABLE
AllowRadialBlur=TRUE/FALSEFALSEAdds the effect of mimicing a shockwave coming from an explosion. Disable for better performance.
AllowSubsurfaceScattering=TRUE/FALSEFALSECalled “SSS”, defines how much light can enter an object like skin or a candle. Disable for better performance.
MinPreShadowResolution=0 to 81928Sets min texels allowed for rendering shadow depths and fading. Must be less than ShadowFadeRes. Lower for better performance.
MaxWholeSceneDominantShadowResolution=0 to 8192512Sets a fixed number of shadow depth buffers. Lower for better performance, but cannot be less than ShadowFadeResolution.
ShadowFadeResolution=0 to 8192128Sets the max texels allowed for rendering shadows. 0 will force shadows to never fade; higher to have them fade faster.
PlayerShadowFadeResolution=0 to 819264Sets 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 819232Sets a fixed number of shadow depth buffers to pre-draw. Lower for better performance, but cannot be less than MinPreShadowRes.
ShadowFadeExponent=0.000000 to 1.0000000.150000Determines how quickly a Shadow curve should fadeout. Set lower to have shadows “fall off” faster.
SceneCaptureStreamingMultiplier=0.000000 to 1.0000001.000000Adds 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 2.0000001.273240Adds 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 1.0000000.500000Adds additional quality of shadow mapping to yourview by pre-rendering the resolution of shadows. Lower for better performance.
bAllowBetterModulatedShadows=TRUE/FALSEFALSESet TRUE for nVidia cards as this helps fix shadow render bugs with nVidia cards. Otherwise, disable if you have an ATI card.

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13 Responses

  1. Krasik says:

    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. AdamVenom says:

    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. Anonymous says:

    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. Rodero says:

    Thank You!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

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



  6. RuneRuler says:

    fantastic work.

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

  8. Anonymous says:

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

  9. Anonymous says:

    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. Anonymous says:

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

  11. Anonymous says:

    Nice Guide!

    THX a lot!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Very useful! Thanks a lot

  13. Anonymous says:

    Great information, thank you.

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