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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. Nice to know the game will eat such modifications!

    Btw, when you got a GTX470 you didn’t thought you’ll have to tweak PhysX in Mafia 2 to make it fully playable, did you? :)




    11 Aug 10 at 1:47 am

  2. PhysX is totally broken in Mafia II because of the version it comes with the game. PhysX works in the CPU instead of the GPU.

    This is totally lame, it breaks all my PhysX accelerated games and if I go backwards with the lastest PhysX System Software version Mafia II wont run.




    11 Aug 10 at 1:51 am

  3. Renton
    PhysX is totally broken in Mafia II because of the version it comes with the game
    Unistall those 09.10.0512 System Sodtware and reinstall it manually (it’s located in Mafia II folder) – this helped me.

    Nice to know the game will eat such modifications!
    Well, APEX is supposed to be flexible ;)

    when you got a GTX470 you didn’t thought you’ll have to tweak PhysX in Mafia 2 to make it fully playable, did you?
    Actually, I’m wating (and it was planned) for mid/low-end Fermi based GPU, to add it as dedicated PhysX card.

    As for Mafia II, the main problem with APEX content here – immersion it brings is not equal resouces it demands. If there was something jaw-dropping, I would bought another GTX470 for PhysX without doubt, but with current effects – tweaks instead.




    11 Aug 10 at 1:54 am

  4. Zogrim, have you try to uninstall the Physx drives and install de new physx drive in the Mafia 2 demo folder?



    SHAFT Br

    11 Aug 10 at 3:05 am

  5. SHAFT Br
    Of course (bottom of the post)
    Fps went from “unplaybe” to “pretty low”




    11 Aug 10 at 3:08 am

  6. Thanks for the tip, this works great! It’s too hard to even notice the cloth effects on the NPCs to justify the huge performance loss.




    11 Aug 10 at 3:34 am

  7. ummm you dont have to tweak physx to have this game perform well core i7 965 at stock and GTX 480’s in sli game runs smooth as silk with 3d vision, everything cranked up.




    11 Aug 10 at 7:37 am

  8. I was wondering why I was getting such poor performance. I didn’t realize that it was installing new PhysX software. So I ran the patch and now my system is running great with everything maxed out. With all the Cloth APEX effects enabled I get around 60 to 70 FPS. With all the Cloths deleted I’m getting over 100 FPS easy. Pretty sweet! This is running just the benchmark at 1920×1080 all settings maxed out, AA on, PhysX on High. My system is i7 930 @ 4.41, two 5850’s CFX @ 900/1175, GTS 250 @ 825/1200/1992.



    xDee xDee

    11 Aug 10 at 11:12 am

  9. @xDee xDee: what patch are you talking about?




    11 Aug 10 at 11:32 am

  10. 1.04ff. You need to install the patch after everytime PhysX system software is installed.



    xDee xDee

    11 Aug 10 at 11:35 am

  11. Zogrim

    Did you get my comment about the 259.09 drivers? They work just fine with 1.04ff. Don’t know if you knew about these drivers.



    xDee xDee

    11 Aug 10 at 11:39 am

  12. hey work just fine with 1.04ff
    Yes, I’ve just updated 1.04ff mod post with compatible drivers list, thanks)




    11 Aug 10 at 11:45 am

  13. Sorry to add but there is another new one. It just came out on the 8th I didn’t even notice it. 259.31 and is working. Sorry to be annoying. :-P



    xDee xDee

    11 Aug 10 at 11:49 am

  14. xDee xDee
    That’s ok :) Keep it going




    11 Aug 10 at 11:55 am

  15. Mmmm… the demo seems to have some issue with graphics options, you have to restart the game after changing the option to get proper benchmark results.




    11 Aug 10 at 4:42 pm

  16. Excellent Thanks




    11 Aug 10 at 7:32 pm

  17. Jiraiya…you watch Naruto huh?

    They just updated the Mafia II Demo Steam download package with the 9.10.0513 drivers. It gets auto downloaded when you log into Steam. Its in the same folder as the previous PhysX SS.



    xDee xDee

    11 Aug 10 at 8:26 pm

  18. No mistake, I love Naruto!
    Everyone loves Naruto, but no off-topic please.




    11 Aug 10 at 9:09 pm

  19. Hi,

    I’m playing the demo with an ATI Radeon 4870 card (@3.00Ghz) and I also have these problems, especially when I am in a building, when the systems needs to display very much objects (broken glass and most of the destructible objects). I hope this will be eliminated in the full game.

    PS: the PS3 demo is rubbish (the graphics are way better on PC…)




    11 Aug 10 at 10:11 pm

  20. hey zogrim or anyone, i have small problem
    in home i have lags, fps is near 14 fps and when i get a car in garage, everythink is ok, fps 35 avg.
    i use Delete all files, except for those starting with “VIT*“, and files named “m2skeleton” and “ClothRemapTable“. and problem stay




    11 Aug 10 at 11:06 pm

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