Video Games Tutorials and News - Dlss Swapper Makes Your Games Look Better



AI upscaling is all the rage, with the most widely used being Nvidia's deep learning super sampling. There's just one problem with DLS. If only there was some way to take the latest dlss and drop it into an older game. Wait, there is, and we're going to go over how to do it and what you can expect out of it.

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The concept is simple.

Dlss versions

Dlss versions

A game comes with a single file that determines its DLSS version. The funny thing about files, though, is that you can replace them. Tech PowerUp has a database of all the dlss provisions to date, and programmer Brad Moore created a handy tool called the dlss Swapper that makes it dead simple to try different versions of your favorite games.

The question then becomes, how far can we push it?

Dlss swapper

we start off by installing the DLSS swapper. This would be straightforward, but as a non-windows store universal app, we need to import and trust Brad Moore's certificate before Windows will let us install it. This is one reason why UWP apps aren't very well liked, by the way, but it's easy enough to assume we trust Brad.

Here he's outlined all the steps you need to take to import it, so follow the instructions and when you're done, double-click on the app to install it. Now, we need to download the dlss files from Tech PowerUp directly, which, I'm sorry Tech PowerUp, I really am for people playing along at home. Please try to spread your downloads across multiple servers if you can, and I'd suggest only getting the latest and oldest versions of each major revision to start off with.

You can always come back and grab them later once they're downloaded. Go ahead and click extract, then optionally delete the downloaded files once that's done. The software is pretty early though, so there's no feedback when it's done extracting, but if you want to be sure that they're there, you can find the files inside your documents folder.

The swap

The swap

With that done, we can finally do the swap. You can do this manually for any game with dlss. DLSS, Swapper only supports Steam games right now, unfortunately.

There's also no filter for non-DLSS games yet, but you can tell when a game does support DLSS by the version number on the bottom right corner. This is the dll revision that it's currently using, and if you've never swapped the dlls before, this is the version that the game shipped with. 1.1 improved things slightly with a sharpening filter, although there's not a whole lot more information about it and it wasn't around for long before 2.0 came out.

That version removed the need for each game to be trained individually by Nvidia and added the temporal element that makes Steel SS so impressive to look at. Now 2.0's debut game was Control, which notably shipped with version 1. That gave us the first side-by-side look at the two upscaling revisions and highlighted how important that motion was.

Vector data was for improving image quality. Dmss 2.0 also added different scaling factors in its quality balance and performance presets, and DLSS 2.1 added the ultra performance mode, which renders at a third of the native resolution. Not a lot is known about what 2.2 does yet, but early reports indicate that tweaks have been made to reduce some of the side effects.

We can see here that Doom Eternal, Metro Exodus, and War Thunder are all on DLSS 2.1, while F1 2021 runs 2.2, and, of course, Shadow of the Tomb Raider runs 1.0. Clicking on a game will give you a list of all the DLSS versions that you've downloaded, and swapping is as simple as choosing one and clicking update.

As you might expect, sticking to the same major revision of DLSS is probably going to be the most stable option, but if you want to be bolder, you can easily reset it back to stock as long as you don't manually delete anything, just like you could reset your water bottle to stock after getting our new spout lid, but why would you?

Testing observations

Testing observations

It's half off if you already own one, or buy it with a new bottle in it, testing I've found that, as a general rule, versions 2.1 and 2.2 are often interchangeable, but some games have a floor that's usually a few versions below what they ship with. This makes sense because they'd probably have been initially developed with that version before shipping with an updated release.

I did run into one game in particular that didn't like any changes, and that's War Thunder. Swapping the dll disables dlss entirely, which may be a function of the anti-cheat software that Gaijin is using. If that's true, then be aware that other games with anti-cheat may or may not take kindly to tinkering with these core files either.

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Doom Eternal, which only recently got DLSS and RTX support, is stock with 2.1.66, but it runs fine with the latest revision down to as low as 2.1.55. In terms of visual fidelity at 1080p Ultra performance, the latest dll shows significantly. There is less shimmering on this floor grading over stock, which seems to corroborate the findings Digital Foundry made in their dlss 2.0 First Look: it's not likely that you'll be using Ultra performance at any resolution lower than 8K, but this shows how far along DLSS has come since its first outings.

F1, 2021 comes stocked with version 2.2.9., which is pretty close to the latest revision available. Upgrading has a subtle effect on the amount of ghosting present on thin objects like the Pito tube at the front of the car. This helps reduce often attracting high motion trails, but in some scenes, the car's wheels will still ghost pretty badly, and there's unfortunately not a whole lot that the update can do for that.

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The reason for this is best described below. As I can tell, while the car is more or less stationary in the frame here, the motion vectors for it are moving with it at high speed along the racetrack, feeding irrelevant motion data to the algorithm. This is visible to some extent around the Pito tube at high speeds as well, where it gets softer thanks to that ghosting even when you're not turning.

Does that mean that upgrading to a newer version is always going to look better? Not in Metro Exodus, where we can again see ghosting thanks to that motion vector, the train moving along the tracks. Interestingly, it's worse with the stock and latest revisions of DLSS, while the older 2.1 revisions seem to suffer less from it.

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