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Lithtech game performance

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First post, by Darkman

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So I recently got Shogo Mobile Armor Division and noticed something I also noticed in other games that use the Lithtech engine.... its not the smoothest running game to say the least.

it seems like every Lithtech game Ive tried (those being AvP2 , NOLF , Blood II Demo , Shogo) all have pretty mediocre performance, given the hardware.

for instance Shogo struggles to maintain a 60fps speed, NOLF hardly makes it to 40fps, and AvP2 struggles at around 20-25fps, lowering the resolution or detail doesn't seem to do too much (especially for AvP2), and running them on Win2k vs 98 gains a couple of frames at best.

the games are being run on an 800Mhz PIII Coppermine , 512Mb and a Voodoo 5500 , so its way above the requirements for most of these (especially Shogo) , and it even gave me the same issues when I had a GF2Ti in this machine.

anyone else notice this? is the engine just really CPU demanding?

Reply 1 of 42, by swaaye

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I was playing Blood 2 on my P3 @ 1050 with a Matrox G200 last night. It ran well enough at 800x600. What I expected from G200 anyway. Probably 20-30 FPS.

Blood 2 and Shogo are the oldest Lithtech. NOLF is Lithtech 2.0. AVP2 is newest of them with Lithtech Talon. Progressively more advanced. Lithtech was never as smooth or pretty as contemporary Quake or Unreal based games. Maligned a bit because of this.

AVP2 is a 2001 game with Athlon XP and GeForce 3 cards in mind. Voodoo5 not a good choice.

Reply 2 of 42, by F2bnp

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What resolution are you running these on? 40fps on NOLF with a Voodoo 5 sounds about right actually. Reflective floors and such drag the fps down, so you may want to disable those.
Shogo usually does 50fps on a Voodoo 3 at 1024x768 on a PIII 500, so I don't know what's wrong on your end. Drivers maybe?

Reply 3 of 42, by Darkman

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swaaye wrote:

I was playing Blood 2 on my P3 @ 1050 with a Matrox G200 last night. It ran well enough at 800x600. What I expected from G200 anyway. Probably 20-30 FPS.

Blood 2 and Shogo are the oldest Lithtech. NOLF is Lithtech 2.0. AVP2 is newest of them with Lithtech Talon. Progressively more advanced. Lithtech was never as smooth or pretty as contemporary Quake or Unreal based games. Maligned a bit because of this.

AVP2 is a 2001 game with Athlon XP and GeForce 3 cards in mind. Voodoo5 not a good choice.

like I said I also ran that game with a GF2Ti , not quite a GF3 but certainly more capable than the V5 in this area. , it wasn't any faster.

as for resolutions, Ive tried multiple ones as Ive said 800X600 , 1024X768 and even 1280X1024 , there isn't a big fps difference between them, especially with Shogo and Blood 2 where the GPU doesn't seem to be the hurdle.

and yes thats what surprised me about these games , a game like NOLF runs worse than Quake 3 for instance, which on this thing runs at around 1024X768/60-70fps , nevermind the unreal engine games that run even better due to the glide optimization.

Shogo sadly slows down sometimes , you can see the game going into slow motion whenever there is alot going on.

Reply 4 of 42, by Darkman

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forgot to add that for drivers I use the latest standard drivers ,no 3rd party or beta ones, Ive tried them but there were very few benefits (given that the majority of the work seems to go into making the card usable with WinXP, which is useless for me)

I did disable some things in NOLF, though I can't quite remember everything (I think I disabled shell casings for one)

Reply 7 of 42, by Darkman

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just tried it, game was slower by about 6 frames.

in the particular level Im at right now the frame rate fluctuates quite a bit, one part could be running really well at 1024X768/65-75fps, then the next it drops down to 30-40 especially if things start exploding (and this is shogo , its full of explosions).

with AvP2 Im not bothered because I can run that on my modern machine via WinXP and that obviously runs well , its Shogo and NOLF that Id rather run on native hardware.

its funny, Quake 2 can run at 1600X1200 on this PC and the timedemo still gets over 60fps , even UT99 gets over 60fps in the time demo at 1280x1024.

Reply 8 of 42, by F2bnp

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Ah, it would make sense that it would slow down significantly when many explosions are displayed. 30-40fps doesn't sound so bad though. Just in case, are you using 32bit colour depth or 16bit? 16bit will always be significantly faster on such hardware.

Are you experiencing slowdowns elsewhere in Shogo? What motherboard (chipset) are you using? If this is a Via chipset, perhaps we could somewhat explain this hehehe

Reply 9 of 42, by Darkman

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from what Ive seen the game doesnt support 32bit textures, only 16, that might be because in the setup screen I selected the Voodoo Banshee as my card (I tried it on the Voodoo2 setting too , and its the same).

Ive also noticed some slowdown just in general , for instance walking into a room with 2 other robots in it caused the framerate to drop by half , while another similar room did nothing

as for the motherboard, Im using an Abit BX6 1.0 , so its a 440BX which I doubt would be a problem, also using an SBLive and 512Mb of RAM so neither of those are limitations.

one thing I haven't tried with Shogo is running it on Win2K, I did try NOLF and it gained a few extra frames , maybe Shogo will do the same ,interestingly Glide games are a tad slower in Win2K , but most OpenGL and D3D games like Quake 3 , System shock 2 etc are faster to varying degrees

Reply 11 of 42, by swaaye

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I loaded AVP2 and Shogo onto my little bench setup. It is running 440BX + Slot T Tualatin (100MHz FSB) + 98SE + DirectX 7a + Vortex 2.

PIII 1050 + Kyro 2 64MB (GF2GTS-like)
Shogo 1600x1200x16 is around 60 fps but stutters some with explosions. Explosions probably hit fill rate hard (alpha texture layers and stuff).
AVP2 1024x768x16 is essentially unplayable. 20 fps maybe.

PIII 1050 + GF FX 5900 Ultra
AVP2 now ok at 1600x1200x16. There is a CPU bottleneck though because at even 800x600x16 solid 60 fps isn't possible when viewing more poly-heavy parts of a scene.

So anyway, AVP2 is definitely limited by a P3 800. NOLF might be too. But you are more limited by the Voodoo5. Geforce 2 isn't really enough to run AVP2 super well either.

Reply 12 of 42, by Darkman

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like I said AvP2 isn't even a big deal since it can run just fine on WinXP and benefits from newer hardware, on this machine the difference when running the game on the V5 vs the GF2 was almost nill , maybe a 1-2 frame difference, that setup you used gave you the same exact result I got in AvP with this , about 20-25fps just with me there was no difference in the frame rate between 800X600 and 1024X768

NOLF I would expect to run better though , a PC like this was pretty high end when NOLF was released so it really should run better.

of course there are always examples of games that contemporary hardware has issues running Crysis was one such game, but then , NOLF didn't have the same visual impact for its time.

Reply 15 of 42, by swaaye

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I wouldn't be surprised if NOLF and AVP2 have somewhat similar performance characteristics because the engine is pretty similar really.

You ought to try NOLF2 and see if it runs worse or similarly on the GF2. Lithtech Jupiter was a big efficiency boost. But of course they also pumped up the scene complexity a lot with NOLF2 because of that extra efficiency and better hardware.

Reply 17 of 42, by swaaye

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There's a NOLF2 demo.

I decided to play around with NOLF and NOLF2 demos myself with my PIII 1050 and a GF2 Ti. I loaded FRAPS and ran NOLF with max details 1024x768x16 and it holds 60fps most of the time. The ship level is more demanding though.

NOLF2 is quite playable on max settings 800x600x32 but is definitely more demanding (not surprising). You get some nice visuals. I think this game has some D3D8 effects so a GF2 isn't ideal however. But the fancy animated water was still there.

Reply 18 of 42, by Rekrul

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For what it's worth...

I played AVP2, NOLF, NOLF2, Blood 2 and Shogo on a 1.8Ghz P4, with 512MB of RAM, Windows 98SE and a GeForce 4 MX440 graphics card and I don't remember any slowdown. I think I played them all at 1024x768, but I'm not positive of that. I don't know what the framerate was but there was no stuttering during explosions or firefights.

The drivers were a problem though. At the time, I was using the latest Nvidia drivers available for Win9x, which was 8x.xx. With this driver, both NOLF and AVP2 had random texture placement (road signs for floors, sky for walls, etc) and all the NPCs, even in the cutscenes, were untextured white figures. I had to downgrade my drivers to make everything look correct.

When I went to play NOLF2, it at first seemed to be working properly, but then I noticed that certain textures would appear or disappear depending on the viewing angle and/or whether I was using the keychain light. Toggle the light on/off and you could see the ground change from grass to sand right at the start of the game. Or move the view and some of the snowy ground in later levels would become gravel. I actually had to downgrade my drivers to an even older version to get this newer game to display properly.

I don't remember if I had to downgrade the drivers for Shogo and Blood 2. I do know that Blood 2 crashed frequently if I saved in certain areas and then tried to reload that save.