Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

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Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-8-14 @ 10:18

So I've tested one of the earliest and slowest VGA video cards in some games - Chips&Technologies F82C451C (Jovian Logic RUBY 451)

Test setup: Pentium MMX 233mhz, AOpen AP5T, 64mb SDRAM Micron CL2

Blood - 14-15 fps (gameplay with "rate" command, full window, 320x200)
Quake - 13.7* fps (timedemo demo1, default HUD, 320x200)
Doom Shareware 1.9 - 7.5 fps (timedemo demo3, no HUD)
Heretic - 14 fps (observed gameplay, both with HUD and without).

And here's the kicker: observed Heretic performance is much better compared to Doom, both ingame and in broken timedemo loop. But what might cause such difference? Did Raven software applied some secret sauce to the engine?

*Quake fps is also much better compared to Vlask result.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby BinaryDemon » 2018-8-14 @ 10:33

I would guess the doom rendering engine was tweaked? Maybe test Doom2 vs Heretic since both were released in 1994 and its likely Raven had access to the latest builds and bug fixes. Also does anything seem more stressful about the Doom demo3? Doom1 shareware ingame experience match the demo closely?
Check out DOSBox Distro:

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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-8-14 @ 10:59

Maybe test Doom2

It's the same engine version - 1.9. I doubt it will change anything.

Doom1 shareware ingame experience match the demo closely?

Yes, single digits performance. Almost as choppy as on 386DX system.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby chinny22 » 2018-8-14 @ 11:27

Heretic has few extra tweaks like look up/down and inventory.
I guess they were just able to squeeze a little better performance out of it.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby Rawit » 2018-8-14 @ 11:31

Heretic is Mode 13h, Doom uses Mode Y. I found/read about this out after encountering a similar issue with Heretic/Hexen being super smooth and Doom being slow/stuttery, especially parts with lighting effects.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby swaaye » 2018-8-15 @ 16:55

Depending on your system speed you might notice that Doom is limited to 35 fps while say Dark Forces has no apparent limit.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby amadeus777999 » 2018-8-16 @ 17:35

As Rawit pointed out - Mode13H is used instead of Unchained.

This effectively takes out the possibility of some of the card's internals( e.g. ALU/latches) influencing the performance... which could, hypothetically, be the source of the slowdown.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby silikone » 2019-1-02 @ 12:44

Bump for interest in more Mode Y and Mode 13h comparisons. Carmack claims that the direct hardware access to VGA memory that the former provides boosts the performance by 10-15%. Evidently, this is far from the case on some configurations. Speed aside, Heretic's lack of Vsync stinks. The least they could have done was to provide an option for VBI waiting, and if they really wanted to be ahead of the curve, fall back to immediate writing when the rendering is not on schedule.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby Scali » 2019-1-02 @ 13:04

The thing with Mode X/Y is that it divides up the display in 4 separate 'bitplanes', or actually byteplanes, which is inherited from the EGA standard.
You can only access one plane at a time, and switching between planes (or changing the way you read/write/mask the planes) requires writes to the EGA/VGA logic.
It looks like this logic is extremely slow on that particular card (even though the VRAM access itself may be as fast or faster than mode 13h).
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby dondiego » 2019-1-02 @ 13:30

Mode Y was very slow on old crappy isa cards, on my trident 8900C and a DX4 Boom was much faster.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby gerwin » 2019-1-02 @ 23:35

See the first post of this topic: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=40699
The attached pdf there contains Carmack's explanation from 1994.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby BinaryDemon » 2019-1-03 @ 00:15

Given this - I'm surprised there was never:

1) and update to Doom -> v2.0
or
2) a Doom Total Conversion for Heretic.
Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby silikone » 2019-1-03 @ 00:28

dondiego wrote:Mode Y was very slow on old crappy isa cards, on my trident 8900C and a DX4 Boom was much faster.

Especially slow or simply slow? Because everything is slow on ISA.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby canthearu » 2019-1-03 @ 01:27

BinaryDemon wrote:Given this - I'm surprised there was never:

1) and update to Doom -> v2.0
or
2) a Doom Total Conversion for Heretic.


The better response would be to not use a 286 video card to try and play a 486 based game.

(another example would be that it is possible to rewrite a 3d hardware rendered game to run better on an S3 virge, but a better response is to accept that s3 virge sucks at 3d rendering and get a more suitable card)
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby BinaryDemon » 2019-1-03 @ 01:55

canthearu wrote:The better response would be to not use a 286 video card to try and play a 486 based game.

(another example would be that it is possible to rewrite a 3d hardware rendered game to run better on an S3 virge, but a better response is to accept that s3 virge sucks at 3d rendering and get a more suitable card)


Fair enough.
Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby Scali » 2019-1-03 @ 08:22

canthearu wrote:The better response would be to not use a 286 video card to try and play a 486 based game.


Not even that. That card just sucks, period. I wouldn't even put it in a 286.
Heck, when I first built my 486DX2-66, I re-used some parts from my 386SX-16, to save money. One thing I reused was the Paradise 512k ISA card (which would classify as a '286 card').
But that card played DOOM quite acceptably, because it was just a decent card. Certainly better than 7.5 fps. Probably somewhere in the low 20s at least.
Even early ISA VGA cards can be very quick.
And even late ISA VGA cards can suck.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2019-1-03 @ 14:11

Because everything is slow on ISA.

But everything except Doom is up to 2x more playable. Heck, even Quake is faster.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby silikone » 2019-1-04 @ 00:09

The Serpent Rider wrote:
Because everything is slow on ISA.

But everything except Doom is up to 2x more playable. Heck, even Quake is faster.

Yeah, on this abysmal card, but does the same apply to "bad" cards in general? There has to be at least one working class friendly card out there with the courage to gracefully confront the spooky Mode X boogeyman.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby canthearu » 2019-1-04 @ 03:20

I'll try it with my OAK 067 based card when I receive it.

Can sometimes pick them up cheap.
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Re: Doom vs Heretic VGA performance difference

Postby amadeus777999 » 2019-1-05 @ 22:59

gerwin wrote:See the first post of this topic: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=40699
The attached pdf there contains Carmack's explanation from 1994.


Thanks a lot!
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