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Prey- Graphics Settings Comparison

Prey 2017 05 05 13 24 56 828 

Released : 2017
Genre : Action (Shooter) / 3D / 1st Person / FPS
Developer : Arkane Studios
Publisher : Bethesda Softworks

Prey is a new take on the Prey universe from Arkane Studios, the creators of Dishonored. The player takes on the role of Morgan Yu - one of the test subjects, which put terrible experiments in order to improve the human race. You wake up on Talos 1 in the year 2032 and must unravel the mysteries of the space station while trying not to fall prey to a mysterious extraterrestrial force. Using all the means at hand, the hero needs to find a way to survive, confronting the ever-growing danger.


Prey is supported by Windows 7/8 and Windows  10. The game is distributed through the digital gaming service Steam:


The priority and primary graphics API for Prey is  DirectX 11 .


Prey 2017 uses Crytek's 4th generation CryEngine game engine, which was first introduced in 2013 and has been constantly improved since then. The original game released in 2006 used the id Tech 4 engine. Human Head Studios at that time finalized the engine by adding a dynamic portal system to it. According to Pete Hines, Head of Marketing at Bethesda, Prey 2 (prior to the restart of development) did not use id Tech 5 because the engine was not ready at the time of the game's development, as it was itself in development.

This is a powerful set of tools that works on all major platforms and allows the developer to focus on the game and not bother with the technical part. CryEngine has been used to create cutting edge trilogies such as Crysis and Ryse.


CryEngine 3 was officially announced on March 11, 2009, and on October 14, 2009 the official release of the engine took place. The first game to be announced to use CryEngine 3 is Crytek's first-person shooter Crysis 2. At the end of March 2010, in an interview with GameReactor magazine, Cevat Yerli said that the developers from Crytek had to face a number of problems when developing CryEngine 3 for consoles: “The most difficult process was the process of scaling CryEngine 3 for consoles while maintaining image quality and the proper level of performance. Of course, there were problems, but we are very proud that our team managed to overcome them.” 

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Shaders in CryEngine 3 are written once in a high-level programming language, and then automatically compiled for each platform. Shader output is optimized through artist settings and for the 3D environment in which the shader will be used. Thanks to this, it becomes possible to create such effects as: “invisibility effect”, wet, dirty and frozen surfaces, which can be “layered” one on top of the other and combined with other shaders that simulate effects such as metal, glass and others. CryEngine 3 supports per-pixel real-time lighting, reflections, refractions, volumetric heat effects and animated textures to simulate windows, bullet holes, sun glare surfaces and many other effects. CryEngine 3 shaders use a unified shader architecture,

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"Ubershader" is a single shader program with many features: one to four lights, light types, specular cubemaps, fog, detailed textures, normal maps, specular textures, and more. Millions of Ubershader combinations can be generated. Ubershader uses dynamic branching, splitting into multiple passes, reducing combinations, and accepting options with less functionality and lower performance requirements. Uses asynchronous shader compilation and a distributed job system to compile the shader cache.  


Today we will compare the graphics settings and their impact on image quality in the new space action horror game Prey , which was released on May 5, 2017. The list of settings is not very large, unfortunately, and we will start from the first item - Detailing objects . There are 4 settings in total - Very High, High, Medium and Low. As you can see from the screenshots, there is not much difference when switching between quality settings.


Next up is Shadow Quality . There are also 4 settings - Very High, High, Medium and Low. The difference between Very High, High and Medium is practically not noticeable, except that if you look very closely, the edges of the shadows become a little more blurred when the quality is lowered. But when you turn on Low quality, the difference is immediately visible - the shadow of the main character disappears and all other shadows lose their clarity and become grainy.


Let's move on to Texture Quality . As in the previous settings, there are also 4 parameters. Between Very High and High, the difference is not noticeable to the eye, but already when moving from High to Medium, the difference is immediately visible - the textures lose detail and become blurry. Between Medium and Low, the difference is noticeable, but not so obvious - it is most noticeable in the texture of the shotgun and furniture, but otherwise the difference is quite insignificant.


The next setting is Anisotropic Filtering , presented in modes 16, 8, 4 and 2. The difference is noticeable only between 16 and 2 - the floor textures become more blurred, but between the rest it is not.


Anti-aliasing in the game is represented by 5 modes - SMAA 2TX, SMAA 1TX, SMAA 1X, FXAA and Off. Here the difference is very clear - not only that the maximum anti-aliasing settings do not completely eliminate all the irregularities at the edges of objects, but with a decrease in quality, the picture becomes very unsightly. The most obvious change is from SMAA 2TX to SMAA 1TX. There is practically no difference between SMAA 1TX and SMAA 1X. But the transition from SMAA 1X to FXAA is already noticeable more clearly - turning on FXAA soaps the picture, but, oddly enough, there are no more irregularities at the edges of objects. Turning off anti-aliasing after the FXAA mode removes only blurring, but otherwise, which is also quite strange, it practically does not affect the image quality.


The Directional Light Obstruction (SSDO) setting has 3 modes - Full resolution, Half resolution and Off. The difference between Full and Half resolutions is not noticeable, but when this setting is turned off, the soft shadows cast by objects disappear completely and the picture loses depth.


Reflections in screen space - here, as in the previous setting, there are also 3 modes. Here the impression is rather strange - the difference is noticeable only when switching from Full resolution to Half resolution, but, oddly enough, there is no difference between this setting Off and Full resolution. Even more odd is that the most attractive picture looks just at Half resolution - light sources are more realistically reflected from surfaces and the picture looks softer.


Summing up, we can say that in general the graphics in the game cannot be called modern, even though the game is made on the Cry Engine. It looks, rather, pleasant and pleasing to the eye, but in general, there is not enough detail in the textures. But this moment also has its own good side - this is optimization, which is just on top and allows you to run Prey even on not particularly powerful computers.