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PSU with HBAO+, Borderless, Reshade and other graphics stuff


Selphea
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Look at those shadows!

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Ambient Occlusion adds soft shadows to a scene to give it more depth. In this image, some places where it's visible are under my character's arms and around her waist, and also along the edges of the floor.

Setting up HBAO+ on PSU

You will need the following:

  1. A Nvidia card
  2. Nvidia Profile Inspector

After that

  1. Open Nvidia Profile Inspector
  2. Select Phantasy Star Universe and add PSUC.exe
  3. Set Ambient Occlusion compatibility to 0x00000034
  4. Set Ambient Occlusion setting to Quality (or whichever you prefer)
  5. Set Ambient Occlusion usage to Enabled
  6. Run the PSU Clementine launcher and go to Options. Under Graphics, click Custom and change Motion Calculation to CPU*
  7. Boom

*Using Hardware makes the Ambient Occlusion shadows flicker so I recommend using CPU. It should be a minor hit since this is a 2005 game.

So Profile Inspector should look like this:

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Reshade Preset

By default, HBAO is a subtle effect. You can use Reshade to enhance it and bring out more depth. I prefer staying close to the original game's look, and the heavy lifting is done by HBAO, so I went with a lightweight preset that adjusts the colors slightly. A bit of tonemapping to enhance the shadows and lighting. Also adds a little Bloom, and anti-aliasing to smoothen out the little details the game already has without changing the overall look too much.

  1. Get it here: PSU Reshade for HBAO.
  2. Unzip the contents into the folder containing PSUC.exe
  3. To call up the Reshade menu, press Backslash: \

Comparison

Running PSU in Borderless Fullscreen

You will need Borderless Gaming. Below the Steam link, there is a dropdown called "Assets". Open it and get BorderlessGaming9.5.6_admin_setup.exe then set it up.

  1. Clementine Launcher - Options - Check "Window mode" (sic)
  2. Clementine Launcher Again - click the wrench and screwdriver - check "Custom Resolution" - set it to your monitor resolution
  3. Run PSU
  4. Open Borderless Gaming, click Tools - Full Application Refresh. Select "Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus", then click the right arrow.

Borderless Gaming should look like this:

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The first time, Borderless Gaming may have tried to maximize the PSU window while it was running and crashed it. That's fine, it'll be okay the second run onwards.

If you made it all the way here, congrats! You now have Borderless Fullscreen PSU with HBAO+ and Reshade! Pretty!

More Screenshots

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Edited by Selphea
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I'm curious, are you guys running full screen on your computer for PSU?

I'm currently using a old little system tray proggie called Windowed Borderless Gaming for PSU and running near my desktop resolution I think, you can set it to whatever resolution your video card is capable of.

It unfortunately is nowhere near a standard resolution PSU was designed for sadly, so things seem a bit distorted or either real pixelly at times in-game.  I think my max resolution is 1920x1080.

Back to the topic, I'm running a Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Pulse 8GB GDDR5 and sadly, cannot implement this Nvidia exclusive Ambient Occlusion option.

However, I'm going to investigate and research about the AMD Adrenaline driver options to see if there is a similar function to implement this on our cards.

So far, I'm reading about a HDAO implementation that may work.

Wish me luck! 😎👍

Edited by Trigunman
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On 7/28/2021 at 2:56 AM, Trigunman said:

I'm curious, are you guys running full screen on your computer for PSU?

I'm currently using a old little system tray proggie called Windowed Borderless Gaming for PSU and running near my desktop resolution I think, you can set it to whatever resolution your video card is capable of.

It unfortunately is nowhere near a standard resolution PSU was designed for sadly, so things seem a bit distorted or either real pixelly at times in-game.  I think my max resolution is 1920x1080.

Back to the topic, I'm running a Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Pulse 8GB GDDR5 and sadly, cannot implement this Nvidia exclusive Ambient Occlusion option.

However, I'm going to investigate and research about the AMD Adrenaline driver options to see if there is a similar function to implement this on our cards.

So far, I'm reading about a HDAO implementation that may work.

Wish me luck! 😎👍

Yes I'm using Borderless Gaming.

Try using the Clementine launcher, click the screwdriver and wrench and set Custom Resolution to your fullscreen resolution. Then click Play from the launcher (don't launch from PSUC.exe)

As for AMD, apparently you can't easily force it. There's a way to do Ambient Occlusion (and even Raytracing) on Reshade but it messes up your minimap and I hate getting lost so I don't use it 😂. But for the Reshade method...

  1. Install Reshade as usual
  2. Get Reshade Debbie
  3. Replace d3d9.dll with Reshade Debbie's 32 bit DLL (drag it in and rename)
  4. In Reshade.ini, change "DepthCopyBeforeClears=0" to "DepthCopyBeforeClears=1"
  5. Use an AO shader like qUINT MXAO

Or if you wanna shortcut it, here's the ready-made one. Again warning: it'll mess up your minimap.

Edited by Selphea
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Got the  Nvidia Profile Inspector working, but I don't notice much of difference.

Been attempting to get ReShade to work, so far no luck. There was a guide on this long ago, but I can't find that either. Reshader is installed and I have PSUC.exe as a profile, but it never starts with the game. Hate being computer illiterate. 😓

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19 minutes ago, Seority said:

Got the  Nvidia Profile Inspector working, but I don't notice much of difference.

Been attempting to get ReShade to work, so far no luck. There was a guide on this long ago, but I can't find that either. Reshader is installed and I have PSUC.exe as a profile, but it never starts with the game. Hate being computer illiterate. 😓

That's because by default PSU blacks are kinda greyish so it's hard to see! But if you go TPS mode on a corner (like in your room or something) then out you should be able to see the shadows appearing/disappearing.

As for Reshade itself, 2 options - do you want to set it up yourself or use a premade preset?

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1 hour ago, Seority said:

Ahh, found out my issue. Trying out your premade, looks pretty dece! Had to turn off the sharpener however. This game has enough edges as it is lol!

Looking good! Though that looks like qUINT Bloom which means I uploaded the wrong version 😂 For photos it's prettier but then you go to a snow area like Snowcap Screamer and you can't see a thing that's why I use Pirate Bloom for normal gameplay.

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  • Selphea changed the title to PSU with HBAO+, Borderless, Reshade and other graphics stuff
  • 2 months later...
On 1/21/2022 at 12:14 AM, Deltex said:

Noticed when i run it in 1920x1080 the main map is missing (minimap still works), what resoluctions do you people run PSU at please?

Derp, my bad... the map is there. 

You just have to move the map into view again because it is so far out of view by using the dpad or arrow keys.

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