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I always disable motion blur because it strains my eyes and cause me to have a headache. I also make sure to enable subtitles/captions.
Difficulty settings: usually start on easy
Subtitles on
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real.geizterfahr: I have no idea where it is on a QWERTY keyboard, but on a german layout it's the most stupid keybinding I've ever seen
It's either a larger key below backspace (so between it and enter) or, if the enter key is huge, a regular sized one to the left of backspace (so between it and =+).

And heh, localized layouts. Always made really sure not to have anything but a standard US layout keyboard, and don't have Romanian (or any other) layout even available to be activated, not to mention language packs or whatever else.

To answer the OP since I'm here, looking at all these posts about turning off all those visual effects and thinking it's one benefit of very poor graphics and usually playing older games, since I can't really recall seeing those things.
But, yes, usually make sure resolution is native one, so 1280x1024, if possible. Voices at max, sound effects 80%, music 70%. Subtitles definitely on. Difficulty usually normal, though if there are descriptions of difficulty settings and/or detailed difficulty selection I will have a look and tend to select what seems to be what the game is meant to have, as some may have some standard rules changed on normal. Make it as verbose as possible if there are settings about the amount of information displayed. As for graphical settings, considering the weak system if the game recommends something, I'll tend to go higher, or if it doesn't recommend I'll tend to go higher than what I estimate would be appropriate for my system, since I can usually deal with way lower fps than devs assume. But of course if that doesn't seem right I'll tone down.
And that usually leaves the keys and mouse, where I do have some standard things, but depends on the game, so if I find different keys for stuff I'm very used to have in certain places, I'll change them right away if I can without needing to overhaul everything, but otherwise I'll first get a feel of the game and then see what needs changing.
i always go to options before starting a game, i look at FOV sliders and turn them up, I may do windowed fullscreen mode, I turn off head bob, blur and other motion sickness inducers. then I mess around with key bindings and put in my fav setup if allowed. I dont mess with graphics until i see the game in action then tweak as needed, same with any auto save timers
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dtgreene: Why don't you get a netbook-grade computer or one of those MINI PCs that can be had for (last I checked) something like $100 or $150?

(Another idea is to get a computer with broken cooling, or play with the fans off, so that the CPU will throttle if you push it too hard, but then you risk damage from overheating if you're not careful.)
My bedroom computer is a mini pc, equiped with a Intel i3 7100u, wich is a laptop cpu. I might open a dedicated thread once I finish the 3D printed case, eventually.
I also have a tablet equiped with a Atom z8350, and to be honest is the best "gaming" experience I had in years. I've even manage to finally beat the 6W hard limit, wich means if you increase graphic options, the CPU will throttle. Now it's able to do 8W+, don't seem like much but is a substancial % increase.

Thanks for the tip but is quite easy to throttle modern-ish CPU speeds by playing with the "governor". In Windows this takes like 10 click to do, in Linux should be easy but is outside of my limited knowledge. For anyone interested on Windows 7 and 8.1, the governor is located on energy scheme (balanced is good) advanced options.
I do remeber from a previous thread your computer had a broken cooling, have you been able to fix it?
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teceem: For me, it's just another way of navigating a backlog. ;-)
Personally, only play on Ultra older games but that is very smart. It's usually very hard to resist playing a new game though...
Post edited 13 hours ago by Dark_art_
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dtgreene: Why don't you get a netbook-grade computer or one of those MINI PCs that can be had for (last I checked) something like $100 or $150?

(Another idea is to get a computer with broken cooling, or play with the fans off, so that the CPU will throttle if you push it too hard, but then you risk damage from overheating if you're not careful.)
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Dark_art_: My bedroom computer is a mini pc, equiped with a Intel i3 7100u, wich is a laptop cpu. I might open a dedicated thread once I finish the 3D printed case, eventually.
I also have a tablet equiped with a Atom z8350, and to be honest is the best "gaming" experience I had in years. I've even manage to finally beat the 6W hard limit, wich means if you increase graphic options, the CPU will throttle. Now it's able to do 8W+, don't seem like much but is a substancial % increase.

Thanks for the tip but is quite easy to throttle modern-ish CPU speeds by playing with the "governor". In Windows this takes like 10 click to do, in Linux should be easy but is outside of my limited knowledge. For anyone interested on Windows 7 and 8.1, the governor is located on energy scheme (balanced is good) advanced options.
I do remeber from a previous thread your computer had a broken cooling, have you been able to fix it?
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teceem: For me, it's just another way of navigating a backlog. ;-)
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Dark_art_: Personally, only play on Ultra older games but that is very smart. It's usually very hard to resist playing a new game though...
(Note: Using Linux here, so the programs mentioned here are Linux programs.)

Still haven't tried to fix it.

I've been using the cpupower program to limit the CPU speed to 1.4GHz, which works fine if I don't do things that are too taxing; if it's overheating, I can lower the maximum as low ad 800MHz, which is usable with patience, and is definitely more usable than the ~230MHz that it throttles to.

Another useful trick is to use the pkill command to send the SIGSTOP signal to processes that are eating a lot of CPU (like chromium at times); this prevents chromium from using any CPU at all, so the system has a chance to cool down, and I can then just send it SIGCONT when I'm ready to have it run again.

Incidentally, compiling isn't entirely CPU bound, so during the time the computer is doing disk I/O, the system has a chance to cool down a little, delaying the time when it throttles. (One interesting question I have: For long running tasks, is it better to run the CPU at high speed and have it throttle, or will the job complete faster if I lower the max CPU frequency to prevent (or at least reduce) throttling? I've heard about the "race to idle" approach, but that assumes that the system doesn't produce enough heat to throttle.)
I always reduce mouse sensitivity.

How much I mess with the graphical settings depends on what kind of game it is. When I do, it's to make sure the settings will let me play at a stable 60 fps at all times.

EDIT: I also always check pcgamingwiki.com before even booting up the game, just to have a general idea of how fucked I am.
Post edited 12 hours ago by samuraigaiden
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Cavalary: To answer the OP since I'm here, looking at all these posts about turning off all those visual effects and thinking it's one benefit of very poor graphics and usually playing older games, since I can't really recall seeing those things.
Dying Light and Witcher 3 has all of them.

I can't speak for others, but I turn them off because for one they're unnatural, and second they cause more strain on the eyes than necessary, and third it doesn't look good. Other effects on the other hand, like Bloom/HDR, AA/SSAO, sharpening, and other post-processing effects, does enhance the image.

The TFT screen is 2D and then trying to emulate a flat 3D image with even more unnatural effects... well, my eyes has their limits, even with a Radeon RX480 XD
Post edited 12 hours ago by sanscript
If the game is by default on windowed mode, I change it to full screen.

If the game localization is forced into my language (Spanish), I change it back to English.

On my old laptop I may change the graphics to the lowest quality and disable everything needed to improve playability.

On some games I go straight to customize the keyboard keys to my liking. One reason I do this is because I often play at night with the lights off and my keyboard is black, so it's difficult to find some of the keys in the dark; I set the custom keys so the ones I use the most are easy to find without looking.

Those are the ones I can think of. :)
Post edited 7 hours ago by krugos2
Always set the volumes lower than the default settings in a game, especially for any background music/soundtrack.
I turn motion blur and depth of field off. I put all other settings to highest. I also put the field of view to 100 if allowed.
- Turn off Motion Blur, Depth of Field, Chromatic Aberration - except "artsy" games, where I might leave them on
- Subtitles on
- Rebind keys: Use is [F], whoever came up with the default [E] clearly wasn't into stealth games (lean right!).