Half-Life Performance Issues

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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby Garrett W » 2018-12-03 @ 13:56

Lol, I just realized he probably has V-Sync enabled, disable it using PowerStrip and you should be much better off.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2018-12-03 @ 21:34

Yep running at a stuttery 70FPS with the freeze and instant drop sounds just like my machine as well. It sounds to me like you have to start getting into 1.8GHz and beyond Pentium 4 systems before this game will lock in at 71FPS and not experience drops or microstuttering.

I do have a P4 1.5ghz tucked away in the closet I could potentially get to and test with the same GPU. I have a feeling that may be the baseline CPU for 'modern' performance of HL. This game was most certainly the "Crysis" of 1998.

SPBHM wrote:this game is very heavy on the CPU side,
there was a significant gain on my slot 1 PC going from a PII 400 to a p3 750,
but as far as I can remember it still wasn't 100%, but fairly ok.


well, I have the p3 750 on 440bx and a voodoo 4 pci, if you have any demo files from bad parts I could test it on that, I have the CD version of Half Life (game of the year I think)

it's very easy on the half life games to record demos and use for benchmarking I think.


Yep you just type in record <filename> in the console and it gets saved in your half-life folder. playdemo <filename> to play it back.

I also have a GOTY edition, it's 1.1.0.8. I'll try to grab a demo of the second chapter, which is where performance began to take hits on my system (ignoring the rift / meltdown sequence on chapter 1)
Last edited by BeginnerGuy on 2018-12-03 @ 22:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby Garrett W » 2018-12-03 @ 21:57

BeginnerGuy wrote:This game was most certainly the "Crysis" of 1998.


Unreal would like to have a word with you.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2018-12-03 @ 22:15

Garrett W wrote:
BeginnerGuy wrote:This game was most certainly the "Crysis" of 1998.


Unreal would like to have a word with you.


oh hell yeah, gotta bench that one too. I have a feeling that one may be a bit more demanding on the GPU end of the spectrum though, Half-life seems to clobber the CPU.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2018-12-03 @ 22:40

game.zip
(699.48 KiB) Downloaded 9 times
-- Demo recorded from Game version 1.1.0.8, zip contains one file "game.dem". This file goes in c:\sierra\half-life\valve\

I've uploaded a demo from one of the scenes I find to be quite demanding for the early game. When I replay the demo (playdemo game) with the fps showing (cl_showfps 1), the lowest drop I saw was to 38FPS. This is on an SE440BX-2 (100mhz fsb), Coppermine P3 800, 512MB SDRAM, GeForce 3 Ti. Demo playback seems a bit smoother than when I actually played, but that could just be because I'm watching instead of handling it.

It's not the greatest way to benchmark, but maybe you guys can get this demo going too and see for yourselves.

I have however checked and verified this will not play on the latest steam version of half-life.

I'm willing to patch my version if anybody else cares enough for a demo, but I do believe that for earlier versions there did exist some time demo style benchmarks.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby cxm717 » 2018-12-03 @ 23:51

BeginnerGuy wrote:
Garrett W wrote:
BeginnerGuy wrote:This game was most certainly the "Crysis" of 1998.


Unreal would like to have a word with you.


oh hell yeah, gotta bench that one too. I have a feeling that one may be a bit more demanding on the GPU end of the spectrum though, Half-life seems to clobber the CPU.


From my testing (my 1998 video card comparison) Half life really isn't very demanding on the GPU at all. The game runs fine even on cards like the i740 as long as you have a fast enough CPU. Unreal is much more playable on period correct hardware than half life. With a P2 450 and a voodoo2 you can get close to 60fps at 640x480 while half life will only be around 39fps on the same hardware. That was with high quality audio in unreal and high quality audio and EAX were disabled in half life.

Edit: Btw, I did my testing with 3fingers blowout timedemo. Which only works with half life 1.0.0.5 and 1.0.0.6
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby cxm717 » 2018-12-04 @ 00:09

Btw, on the TNT and TNT2 cards (depending on which driver version you are using) you can use rivatuner to enable gl_sgis_multitexture in 16bit for a performance increase. I'm not 100% sure if Half life uses gl_sgis_multitexture as some games from this time used gl_arb_multitexture (unreal and heretic2 use arb_multitexture). When I did test with enable vs disabled I did get a performance boost, mainly at higher resolutions but every little bit helps.

Edit: Added rivatuner 2.24c as an attachment
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rivatuner-2.24c.exe
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2018-12-04 @ 00:48

cxm717 wrote:
From my testing (my 1998 video card comparison) Half life really isn't very demanding on the GPU at all. The game runs fine even on cards like the i740 as long as you have a fast enough CPU. Unreal is much more playable on period correct hardware than half life. With a P2 450 and a voodoo2 you can get close to 60fps at 640x480 while half life will only be around 39fps on the same hardware. That was with high quality audio in unreal and high quality audio and EAX were disabled in half life.

Edit: Btw, I did my testing with 3fingers blowout timedemo. Which only works with half life 1.0.0.5 and 1.0.0.6


Ahh yes blowout, I remember that. I only have a copy of half-life goty which came with a much later patch though. I think I purchased this around late 2001 or early 02.

Speaking of Unreal. I just installed my copy of unreal gold but it runs horribly bad, this version only supports glide and directx (I'm using a geforce 3 ti). I'm only getting around 15FPS in the menu and 15-25 once the game starts with a coppermine 800mhz. Should I be rolling back/ahead to another nvidia driver or do I need an earlier version of unreal with OpenGL support. Too many years have gone by since I've played this on period hardware.

Half-life likewise runs hilariously bad in DX mode compared to OGL.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby cxm717 » 2018-12-04 @ 01:04

I would update Unreal to 2.26f, the early versions did not run well on non 3dfx cards. I haven't run Unreal on a Geforce4 in a while but I know this version works fine with my TNT1/2 and Geforce 1/2.

I actually own a few different copies of half life and they are different versions, I think the latest one comes with steam even. I used to have more than 1 copy so I could have some lan games (sven coop is a great mod for that)
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby leileilol » 2018-12-04 @ 01:24

Many of Half-Life's stutters come from the "sentence" sounds getting cached in during gameplay as they're not precached. There's also some pretty unoptimal monster models (Bullsquid mostly being the worst offender)
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
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SGL != Glide
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2018-12-04 @ 01:29

cxm717 wrote:I would update Unreal to 2.26f, the early versions did not run well on non 3dfx cards. I haven't run Unreal on a Geforce4 in a while but I know this version works fine with my TNT1/2 and Geforce 1/2.

I actually own a few different copies of half life and they are different versions, I think the latest one comes with steam even. I used to have more than 1 copy so I could have some lan games (sven coop is a great mod for that)


I don't want to push too far into unreal since this thread is about half-life, just reporting mine is version 2.26 (can't tell what letter, it just says 226 in the corner), but dropping it from 32bit color down to 16 shot the frame rate in the intro video from 15 up to 60-80 and same with gameplay.


leileilol wrote:Many of Half-Life's stutters come from the "sentence" sounds getting cached in during gameplay as they're not precached. There's also some pretty unoptimal monster models (Bullsquid mostly being the worst offender)


I've noticed both actually, when somebody speaks it can stutter and the voice echoes, the game also drops from 71 fps right down to the 30s when a bullsquid or houndeye are rendered.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby clueless1 » 2018-12-04 @ 02:08

I played and completed Half-Life back in Feb-Mar of this year on a P3-933/GF3 Ti200. Had EAX enabled on my Audigy. I remember it playing quite well. Probably in the 40-60 fps range for most parts.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby SPBHM » 2018-12-04 @ 11:41

BeginnerGuy wrote:
game.zip
-- Demo recorded from Game version 1.1.0.8, zip contains one file "game.dem". This file goes in c:\sierra\half-life\valve\

I've uploaded a demo from one of the scenes I find to be quite demanding for the early game. When I replay the demo (playdemo game) with the fps showing (cl_showfps 1), the lowest drop I saw was to 38FPS. This is on an SE440BX-2 (100mhz fsb), Coppermine P3 800, 512MB SDRAM, GeForce 3 Ti. Demo playback seems a bit smoother than when I actually played, but that could just be because I'm watching instead of handling it.

It's not the greatest way to benchmark, but maybe you guys can get this demo going too and see for yourselves.

I have however checked and verified this will not play on the latest steam version of half-life.

I'm willing to patch my version if anybody else cares enough for a demo, but I do believe that for earlier versions there did exist some time demo style benchmarks.


the demo worked nicely I've done a clean install from the CD and it's version 1.1.0.8
the PC is a P3 750 (slot 1, FSB 100), Asus P2B, 256MB PC100, Voodoo 4 4500 PCI, the windows 98se install is pretty old/messy but it seems to be performing OK, not sure what driver version it is, I think it's the last official (not beta)


default OpenlGL 800x600
timedemo: 77.676s 55.500fps

playdemo: drops very often bellow 60fps, lowest I've seen was 31/32 but seems OK most of the time, playable.

3dfx mini gl 800x600

timedemo: 69.132s 62.359 fps

playdemo: lowest 35 (in a different spot, the spot the default driver hits 32 is more like 37 now) it's noticeably faster, staying above 60FPS more often
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby athlon-power » 2018-12-07 @ 03:52

So, odd thing. I decided to change out heatsinks between my Katmai and my Coppermine, seeing as the Katmai was really the one that needed active cooling. Once I did that, I got to Blast Pit, and it's running somewhat better than it did on the Coppermine, even though the Coppermine runs at 600MHz, the Katmai at 500MHz, and the Katmai's cache only running at 250MHz, whereas the Coppermine's cache runs full speed. I'm not sure, but maybe I'm just getting used to old HL being old HL. It stutters sometimes while loading things, and the FPS can drop in fights and things such as that, but it's fully playable.

Also, wow this blew up. I didn't realize how many replies had been sent since I last replied to this thread. I'll have to go over what's happened, I take breaks from my older PCs sometimes and then return to them later on, usually with some weird solution (in this case, a 500MHz CPU doing better than a 600MHz CPU).

I put the active cooler on the 500MHz and stuck it back into my rig because I wanted to keep the time-accuracy, and Half-Life honestly didn't mind, which surprised me.
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby buckeye » 2018-12-07 @ 18:14

Sorry to hijacking. So are we looking at a 1.4ghz. Tuatalin cpu - 2.4ghz. P4 range as optimal for this game? Would it have speed related problems going up to a Duo Core 2 running XP?
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Re: Half-Life Performance Issues

Postby matze79 » 2018-12-08 @ 10:09

a PIII 600Mhz should run Half-Life 1 fine.. even at 1280x1024 with the right Video Card.

If you use a TNT2 M64 keep in mind that modern drivers are optimized for GeForce and therefore are much slower on TNT2 M64..

i played Half-Life 1 on a K6-2 500 ~2000... with 3Dfx Banshee and it worked well at 1024x768
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