As part of the IncGamers FIFA 15 review process, I’ve had to dick around with various in-game and third party settings to obtain smooth 60fps gameplay. Since the review itself isn’t ready to go yet (I’ve only had code for about 24 hours,) and the game is coming out in Europe today, I thought I’d contribute to society by sharing my findings on how to eliminate frame drops and micro-stutter.
This guide should help anybody who has adequate system specs to run FIFA 15 at 60fps or above. If you’re trying to run the game on a machine that’s under EA’s recommended specs then this probably won’t help, and the stuttering is probably just standard frame-rate drops.
Last year’s FIFA 14 had one additional option in the PC launcher settings menu that, as it turns out, may have been fairly important. It’s the “wait for vsync” option, and you might just about be able to make it out in the image below.
For many people, the best way to get smooth, 60fps gameplay in FIFA 14 was to uncheck that vsync option, lock to 60 in the settings and then enable vsync on either the Nvidia or AMD control panel.
Unfortunately, FIFA 15 doesn’t currently allow that option. Locking to 60fps in settings also applies whatever weird (and apparently quite crap) vsync method EA has opted for. No matter what Vsync options I select in Catalyst Control Center for my HD 7870 card, choosing the locked 60fps gives me frame stutters in-game.
An additional frustration here is that, for whatever reason, choosing that locked 60fps option puts all the goal kick, free kick and penalty situations in 30fps. This looks and feels a bit weird and shit.
Unlocking the frame-rate solves the 30fps free kick problem, but makes matters even worse over the rest of the pitch. At least it did for me. During play, it produced even more stuttering and even resulted in quite lengthy gameplay pauses. Not terribly playable.
Disable the Origin in-game overlay. The option to do this is in Origin’s Application Settings, in the ‘Origin In Game’ tab. The overlay is known to cause lag problems, so you may as well get it out of the way.
The AMD Solution
I’ll cover AMD first, since I actually have one of their cards and I’m able to confirm the solution first hand.
Download and install the third-party software RadeonPro. If you’re an AMD user, you may well already have it. I had no luck at all using Catalyst Control Center’s Vsync options, so you really will need RadeonPro.
Open it up and add a new profile by selecting the “add new profile” button (it’s the page icon with a green cross.) Find your FIFA15.exe in the relevant folder, most likely at C:/Program Files (x86)/Origin Games/FIFA 15 or similar.
Select the ‘Tweaks’ tab over on the right hand side and change the “Vsync control” drop-down to “Always On.” Change the “Display Refresh Rate” value to 60hz. Check the “Triple Buffering” box too. Then check the “Dynamic Framerate” box and put 60 in as the value. Press return to make sure it sticks (you can check with the values at the bottom.)
If that doesn’t work, try unchecking the Dynamic Framerate box and selecting “Lock frame rate up to monitor’s refresh rate” instead. I’ve found success with both options.
Update 18/11/14: After a lot of messing around with this post-patch, I’ve found that also enabling “Force High Process Priority” under ‘Tweaks’ and “Force Triple-Buffering (Open GL)” under the ‘Advanced’ tab give the best results. You’ll still get somewhat jerky free kicks and goal kicks, but it smooths out the main gameplay pretty well. The rest of the original article follows …
In FIFA 15‘s launcher options make sure “no limit on FPS” is selected. RadeonPro will be taking care of that now. You can check the “disable Windows Aero Theme” box too if you like, but I’m not sure if that makes much difference. I have it checked.
You should now be able to play pretty much micro-stutter free at a solid 60fps. There may still be very rare dips into the 57-59 range that’ll register as a stutter, but it’ll be a great deal better than before. Certain replay cut-scenes will still dip back to 30fps, but that should be a fairly minor annoyance. I’m not sure if it’s possible to prevent the engine doing that.
Once you have nice, stable gameplay you might want to experiment with some of RadeonPro’s anti-aliasing options to remove some of FIFA 15’s jagged edges. Any time you want to play FIFA 15, open up RadeonPro first and make sure the FIFA 15 profile you created is selected.
If at any time RadeonPro isn’t opening, type “services” into your start menu search bar (assuming you’re on Windows 7,) open up the top entry and then find “RadeonPro Support Services” in the list. Right click it and select ‘Start.’ This is a weird start-up bug which crops up every now and then.
The Nvidia Solution
A disclaimer here. Since I don’t have an Nvidia card, I’m going by other people’s online reports of success with these methods. They seem pretty consistent.
Luckily, it seems to be a bit easier with Nvidia. You won’t need any third-party software. Just open up the Nvidia Control Panel and set some specific options for FIFA 15.
Locate ‘Vertical sync’ and change it to “Adaptive.” Some Nvidia users have said you should disable “multithreaded optimisation” and OpenGL triple buffering as well. You may wish to experiment with those. Adaptive Vsync is the key here though, I think.
As with the AMD cards, run FIFA 15 with the “no FPS limit” option from the game’s settings launcher. Select the ‘disable Aero’ option too (this part may actually make no difference, but personally I have it disabled.)
Again, since I don’t have an Nvidia card I’m unable to directly test this method, but the general gist of both these solutions is to disable FIFA 15‘s own Vsync method (which you can only do now by setting “no fps limit”) and forcing your own Vsync through the GPU.
Hopefully this guide has helped, and your FIFA 15 balls are now silky smooth at 60fps and free from the dreaded micro-stutter.
Update: The IncGamers review of FIFA 15’s PC version is now up.