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Dr Zaius
04 Jan 04, 12:19
I'm wondering how ATF performs on everyone's computer. Does it run well for you? How about during large battles? Do you run in 16bit color mode?

KG_Norad
04 Jan 04, 14:51
Fulda Gap scenarios are very slow. Even to just scroll around the map with the game paused. It is all the vegetation. For some reason terrain overlays use a tremendous amount of system resources. Desert scenarios run fine for me.

Michael

Deltapooh
04 Jan 04, 15:03
Framerate is a problem. It tends to decline with as few as five vehicles showing. It appears to reach a peak with around 50 vehicles visible. Other circumstances for framerate declines include:

1. Planning or altering paths while the clock is active
2. Showing all paths option active
3. Major engagements also impact framerate marginally.
4. Maps such as Bihac and the Fulda Gap can also slow down the game.

CPangracs has proposed a simple solution that he's using in Raging Tigerl single pictures. It appears the engine consumes alot of power as it sort and select pieces to show. Kbluck and I have cut the number of pieces for a particular vehicle from 36 to 24. People don't seem to notice the change. I also cut down the number of colors used. The stock pieces can use well over 100 to 256. I can get by with as few as 20 using managable colors.

I have to run the game at 16bit. My graphics card doesn't support 24bit.
Even if it did, I'd probably still run the game at 16-bit. It doesn't require alot of colors. I do wish the game would automatically adjust to 16bit like other games. It is a minor inconvenience to have to remember to change from 32bits before playing.

Despite all this, I still see it as the best modern wargame out. It's easy to play and difficult to learn. There is always room for improvements though.

Pat Proctor
04 Jan 04, 16:51
Gentlemen,

A comment and a question...

Comment: Two things slow down the game engine significantly, sighting, and path planning. The maps are so detailed that they consume a vast amount of computer power just to determine LOS and find open routes. There are several things you can do, as a scenario designer and/or player, to optimize this.

Zero view ranges for non-combatants.
When scripting orders, save paths and use "assign path" in conjunction with "use current path" in the order.
Use no formation and paste path for hierarchies when moving through severely restricted terrain.
Do not use a single Phase Order and trigger to trigger a huge number of orders (especially AI Orders) simultaneously.
In dense vegitation, cities, or mountainous terrain, try to limit map sizes to about 20X20.


Question: What is the average speed and memory of the computer guys are using to play ATF. We are continually trying to upgrade the optimization of ATF, so the more information we can get about the common user, the better.

Also, what video cards and video memory sizes are people using (OK, I lied, that's two questions ;)).

Deltapooh
05 Jan 04, 11:23
I run on a Athlon 1.53GHz, 256mb DDR, with a GeForce 3 64mb DDRSDRAM.

Scully
05 Jan 04, 16:13
I run a Pentium 3 733 Mz, 16mb nvidia video card, 192 (I believe)RAM. Unfortunately, I can't upgrade my video any further due to the design of my Gateway. I guess when I ask is it fully upgradeable and they say yes i should be wary.

Take care,
Brian

KG_Norad
05 Jan 04, 16:21
P3 800, 32 MB Nvidia card, 384 Ram 100MB frontside bus.
Don't even ask what Don is running these days...from what I understand he had to write a whole article on his PC!:p;):D

Michael

Deltapooh
05 Jan 04, 17:52
I run a Pentium 3 733 Mz, 16mb nvidia video card, 192 (I believe)RAM. Unfortunately, I can't upgrade my video any further due to the design of my Gateway. I guess when I ask is it fully upgradeable and they say yes i should be wary.

Take care,
Brian

Off topic alert.

I got burnt with Gateway myself. I bought my first PC from them and they said it was upgradeable. That is until I tried to upgrade. When I went for my second PC, I tried Dell, but they seemed not to understand the word "pay in full." So I cancelled my order. Another company kept me on hold for an hour. (they really wanted that sell :rolleyes: )

My solution was two blocks away from my apt. A small PC store operated by a married couple. I got a very good system, with warranties on each part (from processor to CPU fan) that was completely upgradable. Many of these large companies use their own custom motherboard, which can limit compatability and upgradability. I went on the Internet, wrote down what I wanted, and he ordered and put together dirt cheap. The only problem I did have was with my 56K modem (which he warned me not to get). When it went out, he ordered a new one and fixed. It cost me nothing since my warranty covered cost and labor. Not a problem since then.

So shop around. Also, make use of the BBB. They were very helpful in checking the relability of companies.


Don't even ask what Don is running these days...from what I understand he had to write a whole article on his PC!

Yeh, Don has a kick *ss PC.

KG_Norad
05 Jan 04, 19:18
PS. I have a dell and it was perfectly upgradable. I have been very happy with it!

Michael

Pat Proctor
05 Jan 04, 23:11
I have been pretty happy with every DELL machine I have bought, to. If you need customer support, it can be a trying experience trying to talk to a human, though.

Dr Zaius
06 Jan 04, 00:31
Okay, I'll tell you why I asked this question: I still have serious performance issues with ATF. This really shouldn't be happening. My PC is just about as fast as you can currently get without going to a 10k workstation.

Now I play and test a lot of different wargames in addition to all sorts of other PC games. I can run even complicated simulations like Sim City 4 with all options set on max, color set at 32 bit, and 4x AA turned on - and still not have any performance issues! This PC can handle even extreme 3D shooters with all options maxed out and a lot of action going on without skipping a beat. Yet even when I'm just viewing units (before I've actually started the ATF clock) my PC begins to drag when all the vehicles are turned on. These graphic files are very small and use a very limited color palette. Regardless of the numerous unit facings, all these graphic files only add up to a modest use of resources. There's something else at work here.

Turn off all units and I can scroll around the map fairly smoothly, but turn just a few on and I can tell an immediate difference. I was using an Athlon 1800 with a Geforce III and it performed much worse with ATF than my new PC. A game that has such spartan graphics should have no difficulty running on even a modest Pentium.

I do understand what CPT Proctor is saying, however, further optimizations to the game engine would rate pretty high up on my wish list. IMHO this sim just doesn't run smoothly, even on cutting edge hardware. And yes I have tried turning off every single background program, virus protection and setting the PC to run in 16 bit color.

This is just my own 2 cents worth.

CPangracs
06 Jan 04, 09:38
I have a self-built 2400 Athlon system with 512 DDR memory and a Ti-4200 vid card and a Sun 21" monitor (very sweet, that monitor!). I run at max depth (32 bit) and resolution and it's smooth as glass. I run very detailed maps for Raging Tiger with no hit at all. I'm talking maps that make the Fulda map look like a Desert Storm scenario!

I think Don's problem is a combination of things. First, you must ensure your video card is set to be "application controlled" for anti-aliasing and such. Also, if you have an NVIDIA card, make sure you have the latest Detonator drivers, and there is a setting where you can choose the best settings for 3D games or 2D games. Select 2D when playing ATF. Much of the video performance hit comes from forcing the card to use 3D instructions on a 2D program,...sounds strange, but it's true!

Also, you can have a system with the most expensive and powerful components, and STILL have some applications run like crap! It's all in the compatibility of components and how the author of the program has written instructions. This is also why it is important to have the latest and greatest drivers for all of your system components, to include motherboard AND video card BIOS's!! I have spent hours on some games, tweaking minutiae to make things work perfectly.

I suggest that, if you want ATF to perform at its best, take some time and experiment with settings. It will pay-off in the long run!

Pat Proctor
06 Jan 04, 10:40
Don,

First of all, I am sorry you are having problems. But this is a GREAT bug report. You seem to have isolated the problem.

If you notice the lag only when units are on the screen, then it is some element of your graphics settings or drivers. I am running the exact same graphics card you are using on a similar machine and have not seen what you describe.

Find the program 'DxDiag.exe' on your computer. It will probably be in the 'Setup' sub-folder of the 'DirectX' folder in 'Program Files'. If it is not, you may have to search for it.

Once you find the program, run it, and click the display tab. At the bottom of the page, there is a list of DirectX graphics drivers and "enabled" or "disabled". Make sure they all say "enabled".

Next, close this program by selecting "OK" and right click on your desktop. Select "properties". Select the "settings" tab, followed by the "Advanced" button, and then the "performance" tab. Make sure the Hardware Acceleration slider is slid over to "Full".

Let me know if this does not fix the problem or if these settings were already right.

Dr Zaius
06 Jan 04, 11:36
Oaky, all DirectX features are "enabled."

Antialising and anisotropic filtering are both set to "application controlled."

I don't see a performance tab under "advanced." Instead, I get the NVIDIA driver control panel which pops up. It has a tab which says "Performance & Quality Settings." The slider has three choices: High Performance, Performance, and Quality. The slider is set at its highest level, which is Quality.

BIOS date is 11/24/03.

DirectX version is 9.0b

Driver version is 5.2.1.6 dated 10/6/03 (NVIDIA).

CPangracs
07 Jan 04, 14:21
Oaky, all DirectX features are "enabled."

Antialising and anisotropic filtering are both set to "application controlled."

I don't see a performance tab under "advanced." Instead, I get the NVIDIA driver control panel which pops up. It has a tab which says "Performance & Quality Settings." The slider has three choices: High Performance, Performance, and Quality. The slider is set at its highest level, which is Quality.

BIOS date is 11/24/03.

DirectX version is 9.0b

Driver version is 5.2.1.6 dated 10/6/03 (NVIDIA).


Actually, for your needs, you need to move the slider the other direction, to High Performance.:D

Pat Proctor
08 Jan 04, 00:14
Don,

First, I think Curt is right. But, second, you should see a separate, Windows performance tab.

I think that you may have a vendor driver installed, rather than the NVIDIA devestator driver installed. These vendor drivers are built by the card manufacturer rather than NVIDIA (the chipset manufacturer). You may try downloading and installing the NVIDIA driver. You can get them here.

WinXP, 2k

http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_2k_53.03

Win95, 98, ME

http://www.nvidia.com/object/win9x_53.04

Before you install this driver, UNINSTALL the current driver. Do this by going to the "system" item in your control panel, selecting "device manager", selecting "display adapters" from the tree list, highlighting your NVIDIA card, and selecting remove.

After this is done, restart the computer and let it install the default VGA driver. Then run the executable you downloaded, and it will guide you through the rest of installation.

I know this is a pain in the ass, but I hope it solves the problem. I would help you troubleshoot ATF, but I just can't find or recreate the problem on any of my machines. I really do think it is either a driver or settings issue (I have almost the identical configuration on one machine, and I HAVE the Windows "performance" tab).