Chrome Engine Widescreen and Performance Tips

Xpand RallyI’ve got a number of Chrome Engine racing games that have been going cheap on Steam (Xpand Rally, GTI Racing, GM Rally, Classic Car Racing) as well as a boxed version of shooter Chrome. I’m want to run them on a 720P projector but I’ve been running into two problems.

Widescreen

These early Chrome Engine games only allow 4:3 resolutions to be selected in-game but you can use custom resolutions by editing the \Data\VideoSettings.scr file. Update the Resolution() line to the resolution you want; for me that would be Resolution(1280,720).

However, when I ran the game, the projector couldn’t display what the game was asking. Eventually, I realised that there was another setting further down the configuration file I needed to change: MaxRefresh(85). This is the refresh rate and because the projector was connected using a VGA interface, it couldn’t tell my PC that it couldn’t cope with the refresh rate of 85. I changed it to MaxRefresh(60) and got native resolution widescreen gaming from the Chrome Engine.

However, that wasn’t the biggest problem I was having.

Performance

From the initial install, the game ran fine; my PC was more than capable of running these games on full everything. After a couple of games, though, performance became horribly, unplayably jerky. Reducing resolution or graphical effects or audio quality didn’t make any difference and attempts to do so were even ignored at times. Eventually, I came across a TweakGuide for Call of Juarez which also runs on a version of the Chrome engine. This highlighted a problem with the shader cache which was fixed by deleting sub-folders in the \Shaders\ folder. I renamed my \Shaders\ folder and the performance issues were gone and the game ran perfectly. I didn’t notice any difference to the graphics either.

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