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Mafia II Demo: tweaking PhysX performance

with 107 comments

Yes, all that dynamic clothing and particle effects are cool, but actuall performance of Mafia II with APEX PhysX effects set on “Medium” or “High” isn’t very fascinating – even GTX 480 users may met some annoying fps drops and lags. Fortunately, there is a way to tweak APEX content a little.

Note: Interested in how exactly APEX Framework is being used ? Visit Mafia II GPU PhysX profile page for additional information.

Important: Mafia II may have some issue with PhysX System Software installation. If you experiencing major slowdowns, reinstall it using 9.10.0512_SystemSoftware package from \Steam\steamapps\common\mafia ii – public demo\3rd folder.

You also may wanna try new 9.10.0513 PhysX drivers


Most performance is devoured by APEX Clothing module (why ? because it is running on CPU, not on GPU), that is responcible for realistic clothing simulation on main and several NPC characters.

Update: tweaking APEX Particles effects

Update #2: following tweaks will work with final version of Mafia II

1) Disabling all clothing

If you can live without flowing Vito trenchcoat and woman’s skirts, you can simply follow the path

\Steam\steamapps\common\mafia ii( – public demo)\edit\APEX

and delete (don’t forget to backup) directory named as


This will remove  certain APEX assets, and all character clothing will revert to static skinned mesh (like with APEX set to “Off“), but all particle effects will stay !

Result ? No more realistic cloth, but huge fps increase. 70 average fps vs 25 fps without this trick (APEX set to High, single GTX470 is used, GPU PhysX enabled).

2) Disabling all clothing except for Vito

Revert Cloth folder to it’s place.

Delete all files (backup), except for those starting with “VIT*“, and files named “m2skeleton” and “ClothRemapTable“.

Note: if you experiences stability problems after selectively removing cloth files, try to delete certain lines from ClothRemapTable.xml, corresponding to files that were ommited.

Voila ! Fully dynamic clothing on Vito, without NPCs draining your fps with their unnoticable cloth skirts and jackets.

This is a place near Vito’s house – running around 20-25 fps previously, thanks for those NPC womans skirts. After tweak – 60+ fps.

3) Disabling clothing for NPC pedestrians only

If you want to disable clothing simulation for NPC pedestrians, but leave it for Vito and his buddies (Joe, Henry, etc):

Delete (backup, of course) files starting with “CCI*“, “CIT*“, “CME*“, “CPR*” and “CSI*

from folder

\Steam\steamapps\common\mafia ii( – public demo)\edit\APEX\Cloth

All other files must remain (if you applied any clothing tweaks previously, Cloth folder must be reverted to its original state – before using this method).


And finally. With our tweaks it is possible to play Mafia II with APEX PhysX enabled – purely on CPU.

All fancy particles and impact debris (our CPU was enough for APEX Medium settings, GPU PhysX disabled in drivers), some clothing simulation – running around 30+ fps.

Looks like a nice deal for non-hybrid ATI users.


Some screenshots with clothing tweak №2 – APEX PhysX is set to High, graphics and physics are calculated on single GTX470. Particles are in place, Vito’s clothing is fully simulated.


In order to increase game framerate even further, APEX Particles effects (debris from bullet impacts, smoke, etc) can be removed too.

Simply delete (backup first) Effects folder located at

\Steam\steamapps\common\mafia ii( – public demo)\edit\APEX

If you want to find a performance compromise, you can disable, for example – particles and clothing on NPC, but leave clothing on Vito – just like on the screenshot above.

Of course, system is more flexible – you can delete only certain .aea files (stands for APEX Emitter Asset I believe), located at

Steam\steamapps\common\mafia ii( – public demo)\edit\APEX\Effects\Assets\Emitters

- responcible only for certain particle effects.

For example, deleting burnout.aea will vanish pretty demanding “tire burnout” dynamic smoke (all other particle effects will remain).

or, if you’ll remove vybuch_auto.aea – you will not see chunks from car explosions anymore.

Large field for experiments.

Any use of article content without permission is prohibited.

Written by Zogrim

August 11th, 2010 at 1:38 am

Posted in PhysX Games

Tagged with , , , ,

107 Responses to 'Mafia II Demo: tweaking PhysX performance'

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  1. The site is awesome. You really have done a great job on this.



    Sonny Farner

    16 Jan 11 at 12:13 am

  2. nvidia just posted “mafia 2 tweak guide” at the geforce website, which is linking to this page (“APEX PhysX” page (10), last paragraph).

    good work buddy :)




    15 Apr 11 at 3:17 am

  3. applejack: nvidia just posted “mafia 2 tweak guide” at the geforce website, which is linking to this page (“APEX PhysX” page (10), last paragraph).

    Yep, I’ve noticed :) Thanks




    15 Apr 11 at 5:06 pm

  4. Yeah, I deleted all the physx effects and now it runs on 36FPS average (benchmark keeps saying that’s not smooth).
    Problem is that it’s a very unstable FPS, it ranges from 1 to 60 in a fraction of a second.

    Well, this game was clearly made in cooperation (read: money) with NVidia, so AMD cards won’t perform very well. I need to switch every single effect off (while I have over the recommended system requirements) and turn down my resolution to reach a proper FPS.




    8 May 11 at 12:39 pm

  5. Instead of deleting the files, can’t we tweak the particle numbers so that we have less than 3000 (medium Physx settings) particles? For example 500? That way I’m sure high end CPU’s like i7 3820 can handle the game with Physx perfectly.




    22 Feb 13 at 3:50 pm

  6. For me (using i7 3820 cpu and 7970 Ati gpu) clothes does not slow down the game at all.

    But the scene in which you see wall particles flying just before you throw a grenade during the first chapter is extremely slow even on Medium Physx settings. The only solution would be to lower the numbers below 3000 particles. Even 100 or 200 particles would look great in my opinion.




    22 Feb 13 at 3:53 pm

  7. lalom:

    Instead of deleting the files, can’t we tweak the particle numbers so that we have less than 3000 (medium Physx settings) particles?

    Unfortunately, particle resource budged parameter is not exposed anywhere in .ini files




    22 Feb 13 at 4:13 pm

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