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Slow Framerate Issue - revisited

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:08 am
by Damage

I'm starting this in a new thread because the issues raised in other threads don't seem to be consistent with the one I'm having.

The problem is this: Certain areas of the map completely destroy the framerate. It's consistent, if I move away from that area the FPS improves. It only started happening on the later levels.

Sometimes the cause seems fairly obvious: The level where the whole area is surrounded by water (with the dropship landing pad and the civillians you go around rescuing) is bad if I get too near the water, I'm guessing the water animation is chewing the usage, which it shouldn't be given my spec (see below). Any levels with lava have the same problem.

Oddly, it also happens in the research labs level, where you're performing various tasks in three different labs. One area was fine, while Delta labs was nigh on impossible, frame rate so slow everything was stuttering and jumping about. And yet that level has no especially fancy effects, no water, no lava, no rain, nothing that I've not seen as much of in previous levels.

I'm running an Intel P4 2.8 with 1.5GB of RAM, XP Pro SP2, a Radeon 9800 Pro and a Soundblaster Live 5.1 so I'm hardly underspec'd. I've got the detail settings set to medium (as detected by the game) and dropped the weather effects down a bit just to be sure. EAX is disabled. Running at 1024x768 32-bit as I do with every game I play.

Well above the min spec from what I've read on other threads, (HL-2 plays just fine) so it's seems to be just certain textures, effects or animations that drop the game down to ZX Spectrum speeds.

I'm on the penultimate level so I'm gonna persevere, but I thought I'd mention this in case anyone else is having the same problem. If you have any ideas I'd be interested, but if nothing else it's something to be aware of. Maybe it's just me!


P.S. Still love it to bits, though! 8)

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:00 pm
by fb_joel
I first thought this was about the map layer problems in e.g. New Atlantis part one (just after you meet the lieutenant and proceed to save the civilians). The framerate there drops to like 1-2 fps when you cross the bridge, and it's caused by two overlapping map layers... (And we're not going to fix that, because the fix might cause more problems actually.)

Your specs should be ok, but you might want to try disabling glow (Advanced - Render Glow). Radeon 9800 Pro is still a good card but it may take a hit from some of the more advanced features. (And of course Distortion should be disabled for performance.)

We have tried to fix some framerate problems but usually it's tough to replace them on our development machines, so it's hard to know what exactly goes wrong.

Anyway, we'll be keeping an eye on this and see if anything comes up. :)

Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:40 am
by Damage
New Forum's a little dark... Is this permanent?

Thanks for your suggestions and comments, which I tried without much noticeable difference, but they were appreciated nevertheless. Mercifully, though ironically (or perhaps signficantly) the problem only occured one more time before I finished (sob) the game, during a really tough section...!

Penultimate level: There's a section where you first encounter the hexagonal "ice" blocks in 4 or 5 adjoining rooms. On completion of that area you move into one large area with 2 concentric circles - generators clustered around the inner circle, and "ice" blocks all around the outside. The second I teleported into that area the framerate dropped to nearly zero, which made that section fairly tricky, as it's fairly challenging under normal circumstances!

Once I cleared that area and 'ported out, the problem vanished at once. Don't know if this is of use, maybe you could compare that area to the preceeding ones, as all of the same graphics and layout seem to be used so it's hard to know the cause exactly (other than your map layering idea, which obviously means much more to you than to me!)..

Anyway, it wasn't enough to put me off the game by any means, and I'm seriously tempted to buy a gamepad just so I can play through the game again co-op with a mate of mine!

Thank you, once again and for the final tiime, for all your assistance and for producing such a top game.

And I'd just like to add one final word of praise here, I ##'@- ERROR: TOO LONG



Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:55 pm
by fb_joel
The forum color is dark and probably permanent now, until phpBB3 comes and we customize it (we'll probably use some light color scheme for it). Is this too dark? I could tweak the colors a bit lighter, probably wouldn't hurt...

It's very weird that you got such bad slowdown in that area... I can't figure out why that would be. I'll check if there's any human-made errors in the level file, but I doubt that. Still, it's good to know. Some of these slowdowns are related to sounds, and we're going to investigate if there's some weird bugs in our sound code within a few months.

You're the first one to comment on that last easter egg... Cool. It was probably one of the very last additions we put into the game - I doubt even all of the development team knows about its existence. :)

Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:30 pm
by Damage
Sound is a good call, my SB Live 5.1 is definitely the weakest link in my spec, but normally that crops up as sound stuttering problems. I'll see how my friends fare when they get to the same levels.

Don't worry about the forum colours, I think it's just me. My 19" CRT has real contrast issues, I can't make everything bright enough without washing everything out, so I tend to overcompensate. I do like the dark and futuristic look of the forum now, though!

As for the egg, reading credits is always a little hard work, and it was nice to find something in the midst that made me laugh! Plus I was looking out for your credits as you're someone in a credits list that I actually now know!

Anyway, it was a nice touch. God is in the details, as they say!