VOGONS


Half life + Pentium II = Stutter ?

Topic actions

First post, by iraito

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

So i was testing my Pentium 2 build today (128mb PC100 RAM, pentium II 400 overclocked to 450 and voodoo 2 12mb + matrox g400) and i noticed a frequent but not really too annoying stutter, especially when an audio file is played, i'm also using a SB Live! 4830, i played the game for 15 minutes, you can check if the game plays as it should on the machine.

https://files.fm/f/8er88u89z

I also noticed this:
EMic9Y3.jpg

It looks like z-fighting, is there any solution ? is it normal using a voodoo2 and glide ?

Reply 1 of 28, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

The stutter seems to be related to a CPU bottleneck which results in inconsistent frametimes. Though, as far as I remember, the game should run OKish on a P2 400/450, so I'm guessing that there's probably something particular to your PC that is causing those hiccups. If VSYNC is disabled you could try and turn it on, it might partially mitigate the issue. Also, try and monitor CPU usage with Aida64 or something similar (during idle times and during gameplay), to see if anything stands out.
As for the texture flicker, it's definitely z-fighting... Not much you can do about it - there are development workarounds that can be applied to prevent it (but, obviously, there will always be unforeseen situations where it appears).

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 2 of 28, by iraito

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I tried everest home edition, it seems all fine, even temperatures are all fine (50idle and 60\64 during gameplay) i tried dosbench to see if i experienced any stutter there but it's all fine.

Could it be half life ? i noticed that the game autosaves every now and again, maybe sounds are not cached either ?
Either way if i play other games like rune i get some minor stutter too, drive is fine, severance blade of darkness drops frames but barely any stutter, dungeon keeper 2 no stutter.

Reply 3 of 28, by Kamerat

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Guess you're running Windows 98, have you enabled DMA on your hard disk?

DOS Sound Blaster compatibility: PCI sound cards vs. PCI chipsets
YouTube channel

Reply 5 of 28, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
iraito wrote on 2021-05-26, 14:54:

[...] but half life has some sporadic ones that are barely perceptible.

Well, as I said, Half Life runs OKish on a P2 😀 Don't expect ultra playable 60 FPS performance, though. For that you will need a 1 GHz CPU or more.

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 6 of 28, by iraito

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
bloodem wrote on 2021-05-26, 14:59:
iraito wrote on 2021-05-26, 14:54:

[...] but half life has some sporadic ones that are barely perceptible.

Well, as I said, Half Life runs OKish on a P2 😀 Don't expect ultra playable 60 FPS performance, though. For that you will need a 1 GHz CPU or more.

Oh i know, i like playing with the framerate we were used at the time, 20fps is the only framerate that makes me go "Nope" or annoying constant stuttering, half life is actually surprisingly smooth on this machine.

Reply 7 of 28, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Yeah, I know what you mean 😀
20 FPS.. Wow, that would've been awesome for me 20 - 25 years ago. I can't even remember how many games I finished at 10 FPS, sometimes even lower 😁

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 9 of 28, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Errius wrote on 2021-05-26, 15:27:

Half Life is smooth on a 200 MHz Pentium MMX with Voodoo2.

Smoothness is in the eye of the beholder 😁

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 10 of 28, by auron

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

the video does look quite stuttery to me, in fact it looks like vsync on but without hitting the vsync rate so it stutters. is this a 30fps or 60fps capture? a good idea here would be to turn on fps display, i think cl_showfps 1 is the console command, also the game needs to be run with hl.exe -console shortcut. iirc the game also has an fps limit of 72 (fps_max 72), i think the game can take up to 100 or so. with this kind of period setup the best way to play is perhaps vsync off and a high refresh monitor.

not sure what stutters while audio files are played means exactly, but if that's about the pauses that happen when a CD audio track starts, thats a normal issue that occurred in PC games.

as for the z-fighting issues, the d3d renderer is unfortunately plagued by that on many a card, so my preferred way to play is with the opengl renderer and putting the GL ICD in the game folder with the multitexturing extensions hexed out so that overbright lightning works again, this costs some performance too of course. issues with missing or flickering decals in the OGL renderer can usually be fixed by playing around with gl_polyoffset.

also FYI there's no glide renderer in this game, the 3dfx support in the menu refers to the miniGL driver.

Reply 11 of 28, by iraito

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

60fps capture but the game is mostly playing at 30, the stutter is not much really and now is even less, i also disabled vsync now but after a new NPC sound gets played the game might stutter, i think the game simply doesn't cache sounds like at all, for the polyoffset i tried tweaking the 3dfx.cfg etc. but i get no results.

Reply 12 of 28, by swaaye

User metadata
Rank Moderator
Rank
Moderator

Is the game using the G400 or Voodoo2? Are you aware of the little program called 3DCC that lets you choose which GPU is preferred with Direct3D? It doesn't control OpenGL however.

The G400 should produce a better quality image than the Voodoo2 and be faster as well. But its OpenGL driver is an interesting topic. I think you might want to look up a Powerdesk driver between 5.41 and 5.55.
https://ftp.matrox.com/pub/mga/archive/win_9x/2000/

The flickering decal stuff looks like Z fighting as said. That often happens with games running in 16-bit color with a 16-bit Z buffer. Sometimes you can tweak the game's rendering settings to fix this. And definitely try both Direct3D and OpenGL modes.

Last edited by swaaye on 2021-05-26, 19:33. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 13 of 28, by iraito

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
swaaye wrote on 2021-05-26, 19:19:

Is the game using the G400 or Voodoo2? Are you aware of the little program called 3DCC that lets you choose which GPU is preferred with Direct3D? It doesn't control OpenGL however.

The G400 should produce a better quality image than the Voodoo2 and be faster as well. But its OpenGL driver is an interesting topic. I think you should use a driver release like 5.52.

The flickering decal stuff looks like Z fighting as said. That often happens with games running in 16-bit color with a 16-bit Z buffer. Sometimes you can tweak the game's rendering settings to fix this. And definitely try both Direct3D and OpenGL modes.

I can choose easily, the voodoo is faster and looks better, d3d in classic half life seems pretty buggy.

Reply 16 of 28, by auron

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

are you maybe using wdm drivers instead of vxd for your sound card? the stuttering you describe isn't really normal from my recollection. if you haven't, i would recommend installing the liveware 3.0 disc as a starting point, you can just toggle off all the stuff you don't need.

commands are best set from ingame console so that you see the changes instantly, also as i said gl_polyoffset typically fixes issues with the GL renderer. it's actually possible to force the game to 32-bit with -32bpp argument but that usually doesn't help the issues in the d3d renderer. the v2 miniGL might be faster due to lower cpu driver overhead but probably has no overbrights too on that version (gl_overbright 0/1 sees no difference).

Reply 17 of 28, by iraito

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Even installing only the driver from the liveware 3.0 gives the same results, it's always related to new sounds being loaded or autosaves, i think it's normal, i tried everything and those micro loading still stays.

Reply 18 of 28, by Garrett W

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
iraito wrote on 2021-05-26, 09:21:

https://files.fm/f/8er88u89z

It looks like z-fighting, is there any solution ? is it normal using a voodoo2 and glide ?

A few questions:

a) How did you achieve 450MHz on this CPU? What mainboard are you using and what FSB?

b) Perusing the video I didn't notice anything too out of the ordinary, is there a specific point in the video that you can definitely tell there was stuttering going on? Noticed you said this is actually a 60fps capture and the game actually runs like that which makes me think you might be having V-Sync issues.

c) Which card and API are you using to run the game? Half-Life does not make use of Glide, you might be mixing it up with the MiniGL available for 3Dfx cards. OpenGL is the preferred way to play as others have suggested, make sure to use a later MiniGL though such as 1.47.

Errius wrote on 2021-05-26, 15:27:

Half Life is smooth on a 200 MHz Pentium MMX with Voodoo2.

That is most definitely false. The beginning of the game with the tram ride and labs with zero action might be deceiving you. Try a later part of the game or perhaps Half-Life Uplink which provides quick entry to some typical Half-Life gameplay and you will see performance tank. I once tried a K6-III+ at 550MHz with a Voodoo3 and performance would go below the mid teens when in gunfights. Fun 😀 !

Reply 19 of 28, by iraito

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Garrett W wrote on 2021-05-27, 08:48:
A few questions: […]
Show full quote
iraito wrote on 2021-05-26, 09:21:

https://files.fm/f/8er88u89z

It looks like z-fighting, is there any solution ? is it normal using a voodoo2 and glide ?

A few questions:

a) How did you achieve 450MHz on this CPU? What mainboard are you using and what FSB?

b) Perusing the video I didn't notice anything too out of the ordinary, is there a specific point in the video that you can definitely tell there was stuttering going on? Noticed you said this is actually a 60fps capture and the game actually runs like that which makes me think you might be having V-Sync issues.

c) Which card and API are you using to run the game? Half-Life does not make use of Glide, you might be mixing it up with the MiniGL available for 3Dfx cards. OpenGL is the preferred way to play as others have suggested, make sure to use a later MiniGL though such as 1.47.

Errius wrote on 2021-05-26, 15:27:

Half Life is smooth on a 200 MHz Pentium MMX with Voodoo2.

That is most definitely false. The beginning of the game with the tram ride and labs with zero action might be deceiving you. Try a later part of the game or perhaps Half-Life Uplink which provides quick entry to some typical Half-Life gameplay and you will see performance tank. I once tried a K6-III+ at 550MHz with a Voodoo3 and performance would go below the mid teens when in gunfights. Fun 😀 !

A: I changed the bus\pci frequency to 112.0\37.33, i left the vcore at the default 2.00, the standard clock is 400mhz
B:I'm using a capture card that always record at 60fps, the gameplay is generally between 30\40fps, i disabled the vsync and it behaves in the same way.
C: I'm using a voodoo 2 12mb and the miniGL 1.47

Go to minute 7:12, you will notice a stutter just before the scientists start speaking.