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OptiFog Mod | Reduce Minecraft Lag, Increase FPS
OptiFog changes the way Minecraft handles things like view distance and rendering, allowing users on lower end computers and laptops to play Minecraft the way it was meant to be played – at more than 15 fps.
Instead of making everything fuzzy and washed out looking on short render distances, OptiFog adds a 'fog' effect which is centered on the player. The fog effect starts at different distances from the player depending on what view distance is chosen, but it does not effect terrain close to the player (unlike default fog behavior, which makes everything look as appetizing as ham and pea soup, the most disgusting and stomach churning of soups.
What does this mean for you, the player? It means that instead of seeing your whole world shrouded in grey, you have a good radius in which the landscape is as crisp and clear as a spring day. A perhaps unintended side effect of the way OptiFog handles reduced draw distances is that it actually looks kind of nice. What was simply a means to reducing the amount of code Minecraft had to render actually looks like a real feature with OptiFog, as landsscapes emerge out of what one could easily imagine being wisps of foggy air. It's like playing Minecraft on the set of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles.
In general testing, OptiFog was seen to boost FPS, which might just be a Minecraft life saver for anyone who has been just scraping by, or unable to play the game at all. A big bonus of OptiFog is the fact that the way it renders fog makes playing with shorter render distances much less physically painful. Playing with a short view distance on a default install is like playing in a cloud. Playing with a short view distance with OptiFog isn't all that bad.
If you're ready to take a bold step into the unknown, an experimental mode designed to reduce the amount of unseen geometry rendered (Minecraft tends to painstakingly draw things you can't even see yet) goes even further in increasing the FPS, doubling FPS in many cases.
The forum thread on which OptiFog can be downloaded also has additional tips for significantly increasing the performance of your Minecraft game. Tips include downloading the latest version of Java (outdated versions really do make the game run much more slowly) and changing the amount of memory Minecraft launches with (surprisingly, less is better).
Anyone seriously interested in improving Minecraft performance would do well to check out this mod.