- Anno 1800
- Union Update
Union Update – AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution
As you can also spot in the Release Notes, we’re happy to announce that we’re adding support for AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (short: FSR) with Game Update 11.1!
This of course leads to the question: What exactly is FSR?
AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution is an upscaling tool which helps you boost performance on higher resolutions with minimal loss in quality. Basically, it creates a higher resolution image based on a lower resolution input which, however, performs better than if you’d have natively chosen the higher resolution.
This means that even with a lower-performing graphics card (short: GPU) which wouldn’t be able to natively display high resolutions like 4k smoothly, you can get a boost in performance that helps you play the game in upscaled 4k after all.
There are four different quality modes available, depending on if you value performance or image quality higher. Generally, AMD FSR is not limited to AMD’s own graphics cards but is also compatible with graphics cards from other companies.
You can check their website for more details regarding supported graphics cards and games.
This general explanation out of the way, let’s take a look at the implementation in Anno 1800: What kind of advantages can you as Anno players expect from using FSR?
FSR significantly reduces the GPU load for high resolutions and helps you avoid that your GPU is the bottleneck when playing Anno 1800 (i.e. avoiding that the GPU is the piece of hardware in your PC that is limiting performance). It also replaces AMD FidelityFX Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS) which was already in the game and available via the graphics settings.
Generally speaking, FSR is made up of two components: An adaptive upscaler and a sharpener. The upscaling feature detects polygon edges in the image and keeps them sharp while upscaling the image. It works best with long edges, which you encounter especially in near camera views. Anno 1800 is of course played from much higher up, so most edges are shorter, making them harder to detect during upscaling.
However, thanks to the additional sharpening of FSR, even here you will be able to see clear improvements: FSR adapts to each pixel’s surrounding area, trying to produce an overall sharpness that best matches the original image. Higher resolutions have an especially high impact on your GPU, even more so when features like Anti-Aliasing (e.g. MSAA) are activated, since they greatly increase the number of pixels, further increasing the load on the GPU. This is where FSR is a great solution to avoid your slower GPU limiting your gaming experience.
Have a look at the example below: The original screenshot, a 200% upscaled version using regular bilinear upscaling and a 200% upscaled version using FSR.
(click on each image to view them in full size)
While it functions with every type of screen resolution, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution is an especially great solution when you want to play Anno 1800 in 4k, which our game originally was not optimized for.
Worth mentioning, though, is that FSR only affects the load of your graphics card. It has no impact on your processor (CPU), which means its load will stay the same independent of the resolution. Depending on your setup (What’s your strongest component – your GPU, your CPU? Do you have enough RAM?), your CPU can therefore still be the limiting factor, impacting overall game performance.
If you want to learn more about UI Design on Anno 1800 specifically and learn about the daily tasks and challenges our team is working on, check out the latest episode of “MainzFrame”, with two of our UI Designer: Farah and Jaq.
A few words regarding the Green Game Jam
We’ve been very excited to announce our participation in the Green Game Jam last week (you can still vote for our concept here!) and happy to see so many positive reactions.
Today we just wanted to use this opportunity to quickly address something that popped up in questions since then: Our concept for the Green Game Jam will be added to Anno 1800 later this year as a separate little game mode. This means that it will be its own, separate mode and won’t have any influence on your main game. Following the general idea of game jams, this is not a major addon or an alternative way to play the main game but a smaller scenario-like experience.
We hope this clears up some of the questions. We can’t wait to share more details with you later!