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Lewis Lewis Denby is a freelance videogames journalist and critic. As well as HonestGamers, he has written for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, The Escapist, Gamasutra and BeefJack.

Title: Optimisation
Posted: January 17, 2009 (08:13 AM)
I'm sure this isn't the last time I'll say something like this, but:

It's very impressive that you can make a game that looks like this and features convincing physics and even thermodynamic effects. But when it chugs along at barely 30 frames per second on a quad-core machine, as it apparently does, it still means your engine is rubbish. It's not fit for purpose. Stop it. You're preventing people from playing your games.
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honestgamerUser: honestgamer
Title:
Posted: January 17, 2009 (08:42 PM)
I know that people tend to view 60FPS as the holy grail and 30FPS as unacceptably awful, but isn't 30FPS just a smidge below what the human eye can even detect? I'm quite alright with 30FPS. It's when you get down to 20FPS or whatever that I start getting grumpy.
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zigfriedUser: zigfried
Title:
Posted: January 17, 2009 (08:57 PM)
Based on what I've heard, 30 FPS is about what the human eye can discern as individual images. However, real-life motion is not always discernible as individual frames (example: a speeding train) so at 30 FPS, that kind of swift movement will appear choppy because the eye tracks the object more closely than it should. To look natural, a higher FPS is required.

Or something.

//Zig
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LewisUser: Lewis
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (04:16 AM)
It's not so much whether it looks jerky or not. What I'm saying is that, even on the highest of high-end PCs, it's still not running at a framerate anywhere close to other games around at the moment. A quad-core machine should be managing 60FPS with everything maxed out. Always. No arguments.

In fact, I spoke to someone earlier that was trying to get the engine tech demo working on his Quad 3.2Ghz system (this is 12.8Ghz processing power. Like, nearly three times the power of a PS3), and reached only 15FPS. He brought up the device manager and had a look at how everything was running, and it seemed to be using only one core of the processor, which was struggling at 100% useage, while the others all read at between 5 and 10.

By the sounds of it, the only people who are getting a respectable performance are people with the absolute latest nVidia cards. Anyone with a video card more than a year or so old is going to have a lot of trouble with this. And that's just not acceptable.

It makes Cliff Blezinski's ridiculous comment about the PC being unsuitable for games seem a little more understandable. But what he actually meant is that a lot of developers seem not to have a clue how to make games for the platform any more.
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HalonUser: Halon
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (09:06 AM)
Is this game Saint's Row 2 or GTAIV? The problem is they're half-assed ports and poorly optimized. One can certainly make them run well on most PCs.

A few things:

1. 30 FPS might not have any slowdowns or stuttering but many times there is a noticeable lag and doesn't feel very smooth. 30 is more than enough for RPGs, RTS, etc but with fast-paced action games (especially first person shooters) there is a big noticeable difference. Some people even insist on 90 FPS being optimal but I've never noticed a difference above 30.

2. Aside from Supreme Commander and a few others PC games are mostly GPU dependent, not CPU dependent. Graphics cards are what mainly determine performance. A top of the line graphics card with a 2.0GHz duel core CPU will outperform a PC with a weak card and a 4.0GHz quad core processor.

3. A 3.2GHz quad core CPU is NOT 12.8GHz total. The way they work is the CPUs work side by side, not together. So if Person A has a 4.0GHz duel core and Person B has a 3.0GHz quad core, Person A's computer is faster when performing 1-2 tasks at once. Person B would have the edge in multi-thread applications. Currently pretty most every PC game takes advantage of duel core CPUs but I don't think use quad cores (Crysis Warhead might be the only game but I'm not 100%).
[reply]

LewisUser: Lewis
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (09:31 AM)
Aha, on the last point. I'm not that tech-savvy to be honest. Will duely correct.

And no, the game isn't GTA4 or Saints Row 2. And yes, neither are optimised well at all. In fact, they're basically not optimised - notice how the minimum specs for both are exactly what the PS3 runs at...

No, this is Cryostasis, a PC-only first-person shooter. The developers have been banging on for ages about their amazing engine that knows exactly how fluids behave - so, ice melts, and the water spreads convincingly over hard surfaces or soaks into soft surfaces etc. And that is pretty cool, definitely.

The problem is, its utilisation of PhysX at such a high level means that nothing can really handle it. You're right, it's very much about the graphics cards, and apparently anyone with anything less than the very latest nVidia cards are struggling to get it working to any real extent at all. I have a GeForce 8600 - a perfectly respectable card, over a hundred quid's worth of power - and it won't be enough. It requires an 8800GT as minimum.

The biggest problem? The minimum specs according to the publishers:

Pentium 4 3.2Ghz
1GB RAM
GeForce 7800 or equivalent

Yet people with double that still can't run it properly. Ridiculous lies.
[reply]

honestgamerUser: honestgamer
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (01:53 PM)
What OS do they recommend?
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JANUS2User: JANUS2
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (02:10 PM)
OS X 4 LIFE
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HalonUser: Halon
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (02:20 PM)
Most games require minimum of XP and Vista if you want DirectX 10.

Although the Crytek engine is probably the most advanced engine ATM it is very poorly optimized and not really suited for most games. The 8600 was a midrange card about a year ago and with today's games it is low-midrange. It should be able to run most games fine but you really want something better for the more demanding titles. My 8800GTX (which was top of the line when I got it almost two years ago) even struggles at Crytek engine.

Even though 8600 isn't that great the problem is mostly the engine's. When a graphical engine has been out for almost two years and cards still can't max out games on it you know there's an optimization problem.
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LewisUser: Lewis
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (04:46 PM)
I just think clearly you should cater for the majority more than this. A recent Steam survey suggested that by far the most popular cards are the 7900 and the 8600. But Cryostasis' engine's big selling point requires an 8800. You can run it in software mode in theory, but seemingly you just can't - without hardware PhysX support, it slows down to unplayability.

Silly. Very silly.
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HalonUser: Halon
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (10:24 PM)
Yeah I agree with you, 8600 should handle every game at medium settings or better. The Crytek engine was designed to push PC hardware to the limit so obviously it's not very user friendly. One reason Valve and Blizzard games do so well is because they're optimized so the average person can play them. One reason Crysis (somewhat) flopped was because although it was a good game, it wasn't good enough to force people to purchase $250+ video cards that still can't play the game at the highest settings. Today - more than a year after its release - if you have a top of the line computer and a 4750X2 (best card on the market, over 400 USD) maybe you can play the game on the highest settings with 30-40 FPS.

Also never look at minimum requirements. That's just the minimum the game needs to be able to run at all. If those are your specs you most likely won't get a playable experience.
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HalonUser: Halon
Title:
Posted: January 18, 2009 (10:26 PM)
Also:
http://drivers.softpedia.com/get/GRAPHICS-BOARD/NVIDIA/Nvidia-PhysX-Driver-80718.shtml

It says 9 series and up but I think it works with the 8-series as well (or at least it works with my 8800GTX).
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