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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. Trevor
    Yes, it works with full version




    15 Sep 10 at 3:57 am

  2. Hi guys, I think that removing physx only from pedestrians removes it even from enemies isn’t it?




    16 Sep 10 at 9:44 pm

  3. Vanon89
    I think that removing physx only from pedestrians removes it even from enemies isn’t it?
    Definitely, cause tweak №3 is removing (or should, at least) cloth for all except Vito and buddies (friendly NPCs).

    However, I don’t remember if enemy mission-NPCs have cloth simulation applied ?




    16 Sep 10 at 10:41 pm

  4. I have Mafia 2 running on
    an AMD Athlon Processor, Nvdia GeForce 8200M G video card,
    the latest PhysX,
    All clothing and effects deleted (but backed up), ALL
    settings on low and no Apex
    But yet i still manage to only get about 3.5+ FPS
    Somebody please help




    19 Sep 10 at 11:08 pm

  5. JoeBob
    With your GPU you need to lower graphics settings, not PhysX one.
    And, of course, keep APEX PhysX switched to “Off”.




    19 Sep 10 at 11:32 pm

  6. Hey Zogrim… sorry to be a bother, but could you upload vybuch_auto.aea? I deleted it and now my game keeps crashing when I drive slightly into a wall :(




    22 Sep 10 at 6:30 pm

  7. Nick

    Next time backup files before deleting anything




    22 Sep 10 at 7:19 pm

  8. Yeah i did everything u said
    nothing worked i really dont know what
    to do
    ive even looked all over google for help




    26 Sep 10 at 8:17 am

  9. I’m on a ATI card, its giving me around 30 FPS, I removed APEX and Effects, but I was wondering how do I disable Physx?




    26 Sep 10 at 3:37 pm

  10. Hatashi
    I was wondering how do I disable Physx?
    You can’t disable it, it handles all physics in game, from ragdolls to cars, you can just switch off additional effects.

    I removed APEX and Effects
    If you’ve deleted both Cloth and Effects folders, it’s equel to “APEX Off” settings.
    If game is still running slow with APEX Off, try to lower your graphics settings, in has nothing to do with hardware PhysX in thic case.

    i really dont know what to do
    Buy a new GPU, I guess ? Your is not suited for games.




    26 Sep 10 at 4:17 pm

  11. every other game works just fine though
    Even my cod4, cod 6 and GTA 4
    they all work perfectly fine




    27 Sep 10 at 4:13 am

  12. JoeBob
    What do you want from me than ?
    As I said, if you have APEX set to off, your bad performance is nothing to do with GPU PhysX, tweaking of which this article is focused.

    So please keep the discussion on track, without off-topic.




    27 Sep 10 at 5:14 am

  13. Hey all, I followed the tweak and it seems my full version seems to be having a problem.Without Physx and all low at 640 X 480 resolution I get about 21 fps in benchmark.Even after doing this tweak, well nothing happened.There was physx with Vito and all the other pedestrians as well, even when I deleted it.Should I try and re install it.Maybe that will solve the problem?
    My specs
    Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93 GHZ
    4 GB RAM
    NVIDIA 8400 GS




    11 Oct 10 at 4:08 pm

  14. M2NWP
    Without Physx and all low at 640 X 480 resolution I get about 21 fps in benchmark.Even after doing this tweak, well nothing happened.
    If you’ve already switched extra PhysX content (APEX PhysX settings) to Off, this tweak won’t help you.




    14 Oct 10 at 10:22 pm

  15. thanks man this helped me alot




    4 Nov 10 at 8:47 pm

  16. Hi Guys, Need some help.

    Have followed the advice and it seems not to have helped. So I am confused. Here’s the problem.

    No matter which setting I put Mafia 2 on I can’t seems to get more than 13 fps average. Whether I put it on 1680×1050 with all settings high, or 800×600 all settings low. It still gives me 13 FPS average. Now thats totally weird to me. If I put on physx It goes down to about 10 fps ave. whichever setting I have it on.

    I have installed all the new nvidia drivers and have the 9.10.0514 physx driver, also rolled it back to the 9.10.0513 driver to see if it made any differance but it didn’t. Tried Physx on GPU AND CPU, made no difference. I dont need the physx to be on, but would love to get more FPS if I could to make the game at least playable. Id be happy with 25-30fps, which by all account I should easily be able to get from this great game. Totally confused.

    My machine is old but still strong and should be giving me more than the FPS I am getting, any thoughts
    that may help.
    thanks Mat

    Deul core AMD +3600, 3gb RAM DDR2, Nvid 9800 GT




    14 Nov 10 at 3:59 pm

  17. PS. I Also threw out the EFFECTS and CLOTH folders out of the apex folder as described at the top and still no difference. Although I know if the physx options were not selected it wouldn’t make any difference… Please if anyone of you lknowledgable guys could help I’d be grateful. thx




    14 Nov 10 at 4:04 pm

  18. matsher
    I recommend you to set “APEX PhysX” settings to “Off”.

    If you’ve already did so and it haven’t helped – this guide won’t help you either.




    14 Nov 10 at 9:48 pm

  19. Hi, I’ve got an AMD 965 Black Edition quad core at 3.4GHz, would that be able to handle the PhysX on medium with only vito clothing and the destruction on? :)
    Thanks…also graphics card will be an HD 5850 once I install.




    2 Dec 10 at 11:31 pm

  20. hai i will install steam version using phoenix after the installation finish when i click on game.exe it will open in a blank screen after a2or3 seconds it was gone out what can i do to play the game?
    please replay me please




    18 Dec 10 at 1:09 pm

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