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OK, so we've all got Grand Prix 4, installed it and waited in anticipation for it to load. Then you realise that all those posts on the internet forums about poor performance were correct. It runs like a dog...

By Bezza

So what can you do? Well, after scouring around the various forums, we culminated all the help other GP4 users have given to get the best out of this game. We take no credit for most of these tips, and we will print names of those that we know. Follow some of these steps and you should be breezing around Silverstone in no time.

Easiest way of Gaining Performance

The actual ingame options allow you to increase/decrease framerates. Make sure you have the trackside screens turned off. Things like Bumpmapping and dynamic lighting have a large effect on the Processor Occupancy (PO) so turning these off or down a level will help. Some people have reported that hardware sound acceleration can hinder frame rates, so try turning off the 2D and 3D sound acceleration and see how it goes. The mirrors in GP4 can reduce performance a lot too, try reducing it to show cars only, or even lower. Some graphics cards actually run better at a higher resolution because they were designed to run like that. As strange as it seems, you can sometimes get better FR if you go up a res. As with all options in the game, it's a case of trial and error. Trying to find a good mixture is the key.

One thing that seems to be said a lot on the Internet is that people get better performance from GP4 under Windows 98SE. Infact, a lot of people are saying that Windows XP is part of the problem. Although this won't help most people, there may be a patch available soon if that is found to be the case. So don't lose heart.

Next, we'll move onto more advances options.

These hints have come from the GP4 readme.txt file. In there it has some options that you can enter into the cards.txt file to possibly increase frame rates. Just open the file in a text editor like Notepad.

CompressedTextures=0 Force compressed textures to off.

CubeMaps=0 Force cubemapping to off.

Tnl=0 Force tnl off.

MipTyres=0 Turn mipmappin off on tyres.

FMTA8R8G8B8=0 Force textures to be 16 bit.

explicitTyreSize=0 Resize tyre textures on load.

wheelSpecular=0 Turn off specular on wheels.

surfaceAsRenderTarget=0 Don't allow surfaces to be used as render targets.

D3DTextureSize32=0 Resize textures of with a width or height of 32.

All you have to do is copy any of the lines you think may help, and paste them into the cards.txt file underneath the name of your graphics card. Then change the 0 in the line to a 1 to change the default setting.

For example - wheelSpecular=1 will turn of specular lighting on the car wheels.

Here is a brief description of what some of the options...

Cube mapping
This is the process of placing an imaginary cube around an object, which then reflects the cube. This has had a massive effect on the performance on my PC.

WheelSpecular
This is the lighting that you get on the wheels. Another option that could have a huge affect on performance.

TNL
Is hardware texture and lighting. Not all cards support this option so I don't know what affect it will have if any as the default is already ON.

Here are the options I changed in my own Cards.txt file to give you an idea.

[general]

[NVIDIA GeForce2 MX/MX 400]
CubeMaps=1
wheelSpecular=1

Advanced Tweaking

The F1graphics.cfg file.

Now, there's a nack to using this method. Once you change any of the parameters in the file, you CANNOT go back into the ingame graphics options. The reason for this is that GP4 will reset the f1graphics.cfg file and all changes you made will be lost. Again, it's a case of trial and error, but try changing some of the mirror view options, these seem to have the most effect.

One of our forum members by the name of CHAPPIE was kind enough to edit his own f1graphics.cfg file and post it on the internet for others to use. You can download the file [here]. Over right you original one and see how this helps. Various people have said that it had helped the PO so give it a whirl.

As always, we take no responsibility for any changes you make to your GP4 files. You do so at your own risk. These tips are there as a guide and are not a definative answer to your problems. Back up any files you change before doing so.

We'll add more as we find it but for now we hope this helps :)

About Author

This article was written by Bezza. Bezza used to run Grandprix-4.co.uk (one of our hosted sites) until it closed.

Bezza has written 4 articles for SimRacingWorld.

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