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How does Latos M7 run for you?

Mar 02, 2009 incarnate link
There have been some recent reports of performance issues with the Latos M7 "bone" asteroids. We're going to be making much heavier use of these asteroids in the near future, when I re-work the galaxy. Thus, it would be best if we tracked down any performance problems beforehand, or perhaps optimized the default scene/detail settings based on common hardware.

If you have a computer near 1ghz and a 64mb videocard, don't bother posting to this thread.. the game is just going to be a bit slower for you, since you're approximately using our minimum spec computer. The settings revealed here will still be useful in tuning your VO config to get the best performance, but please don't post about how slow it is.. that only clouds the issue.

I'm looking for people with modern, multi-core systems who still find Latos M7 to be unusually slow. If you have integrated video, list who made it, what kind it is, and what driver version you're using. If you are having problems, please try the 64MB, 32MB and 16MB Visual Quality settings before posting here. This information will help us narrow down the issue. See the next sections for why. Visual Quality settings are found in Options->Video, at the top. Be sure you are testing the game in full-screen mode! Not running in a window!

Tuning your settings for Progressive Mesh Objects is done differently from all the other objects in the game. The "bone" asteroids are some of the few Progressive Mesh objects in the game. They were designed this way to allow us to use relatively high-poly objects, while keeping the game playable, and even configurable. There are two major settings that impact polygon count:

Options -> Graphics

- Scene Level of Detail determines the maximum polygon count that the progressive-mesh asteroids ("Bone" asteroids) will reach. A setting of "1" means the minimum total polygon count, a setting of "20" means the maximum. These represent the highest poly count the objects will reach, regadless of Distance Level of Detail (next section).

- Distance Level of Detail determines how close the asteroids must be to you before they reach the maximum poly count specified in "Scene Level of Detail". "1" means the objects will degrade very close to you, you will see obvious signs of polygonal "popping" as the geometry changes. "20" means all asteroids will be at their maximum "Scene" level out as far as you can see.

Thus, the most intensive settings for these would be 20/20. This renders all objects at full count, as far as the eye can see. For some areas, like potentially Latos M7, this could result in around 320,000 polygons onscreen, which is a lot, even by modern standards.

The lower-end "Defaults" for 128MB "Visual Quality" settings, of Scene: 20, Distance: 7, yields only about 40,000 polygons with little visual difference. In this way, the nearest asteroids are rendered at the full count, out to distance 7, where they are slowly degraded.

The defaults for the 16MB "Visual Quality" settings, on the other hand, are Scene: 11, Distance: 1. This only yields about 15,000 polygons in M7, and the objects do not change in geometry as you move closer or further away. This is because visual "popping" of geometry is more visible with smaller polygon counts, so we prevent this and "make do" with lower-poly asteroids by simply degrading the Scene Detail and effectively disabling Distance.

Other Possible Issues. Texture thrashing could be another problem. Changing the Visual Quality settings (make sure you try down to 16MB!) should help with this, as it scales down the textures with each setting. There are some other possibilities, but this will help to narrow things down.

NOTE: I am not implying that people with modern systems, who are having issues, are going to have to play on 16MB settings forever. This is simply a way to narrow down the possible causes. Please be specific if you see a performance improvement.. for instance, you see one at 16MB but not 32MB.. that will mean something to us, and help us debug the issue.

I have a feeling this issue may be specific to certain integrated video chipsets, which don't accelerate vertex shaders. But I really need more reports and feedback to determine this. Thanks!
Mar 02, 2009 incarnate link
As the first reponder, I'm using a:

Athlon X2 3800+, 4GB of ram, Windows XP SP3
Nvidia 6800GT 256MB AGP card, running the Nvidia 178.24 drivers

I do not experience any problems of any kind in Latos M7. I consistently get 100+ FPS on the normal "256MB" settings, and the game plays smoothly.
Mar 02, 2009 iry link
FPS Looking at the rocks in Latos O 12 hovers around 180-220
FPS in M7 Looking at entire belt hovers from 60-80 fps
FPS inside the belt 80-140
FPS while fighting hovered around 120

Sabayon Linux 3.5
Core 2 Duo @ 2.5 ghz
Nvidia 8600 GT w 512MB
Latest version installed: 173.14.05-r10

VO Settings
Resolution 1440x900 Windowed
Texture Res - Very High
Mip Map - Triliniar
Texture filtering - Linear

Illumination - On
Enviroment - On
Bump maps - On

Texture Compression off

Grapihcs options
Background Highest
Effects High
Junk - Off
Scene Detail - 20
Distance Detail -20
Full Scene Glow - High Quality
Preload Off
Mar 02, 2009 incarnate link
Ok, umm, this is why i'm trying to get people to just change their Visual Quality settings and report how it impacts things.

We have about 29384932 different settings, and I don't want people reporting all of that. It's way too much for us to sort through. What I would like, is people to try the Visual Quality settings mentioned in the top post, and tell me how/if it improves things for them.

Iry: if you just change Distance Detail to like "8" instead of "20", you'll probably get a lot better performance in M7.
Mar 02, 2009 incarnate link

Please only report if you consider M7 performance to be a problem.

Please only test in FULL SCREEN mode. Do not run in windowed mode for testing, especially on a Mac.
Mar 02, 2009 MSKanaka link
With the entire roid field in M-7 in view:
- 80 FPS at the "256MB" preset.
- 50 FPS with the above, only switching background from "Highest" to "Super High".

Just fought with iry in M7, was getting about 35-45 FPS during combat in the field. Fairly smooth for me.

Mac OS X 10.5.6
Core 2 Duo @ 2.33GHz
ATI Radeon x1600 w/ 256MB (using the most recent set of drivers provided by the OSX software update utility).

Edit: just saw your 3:06 post, Inc. :<
Mar 02, 2009 alphastryk23 link
core2quad q6600 @ 3.2GHz, 9800GX2 at 702MHz, all settings maxed out, preload on, tex. compression off. very smooth for me, but I don't think I have a common hardware configuration.

EDIT: oh - windows vista, nvidia driver 182.06

EDIT2: and... i just saw incarnate's 3:06 post... sorry.

~ alphastryk
Mar 02, 2009 iry link
Sorry >.<

Anyways the sector was playable even while fighting.

On the plain 256MB setting I got around 200fps while looking at the entire field and around 150 when turboing through the field

EDIT also just saw your 3:06 post >.>, performance is not a problem.

Tried in full screen mode at 1680x1050 with the 256 setting
200 fps looking at the entire belt and approaching, drops to 130-150 when turboing through.
Mar 02, 2009 yodaofborg link
I use vsync, and my fps never dropped so low that I could not play (~40fps)

Intel Core2Quad Q6600, but using an on board Nvidia 7100 with (ugh) shared ram up-to 1024 meg and dedicated 256MB.

Cannot wait for my next payday so I can get a decent gfx card!
Mar 02, 2009 incarnate link
Ok, thanks everyone. Glad it works well.

Next people, please only post if you have a PERFORMANCE PROBLEM in Latos M7. I didn't make that clear in the first post, and then I followed it up with posting myself that I had no issues. But I'd like to hear specifically from people with modern, multi-core hardware, who find Latos M7 to be slow.
Mar 02, 2009 vardonx link

Ok, after some testing I found my performance problem was directly related to the Distance Level of Detail setting.

With settings set to the 16 MB default I get about 480 to 500 fps in Latos O-12 and between 440 and 480 in M-7.

If I change the distance level of detail ONLY from 6 to 9 it goes down from 440 fps to 40-50 fps. About a 40% drop even going from 6 to 7.

This seemed to be the case (meaning distance level of detail was the deciding setting) in all the other test scenarios.

Hardware is AMD 64 X2 4800+ @ 2.5Ghz, running Suse 11.1 with an NVidia GeForce 7600GS card with the latest Linux driver 180.22.

If I use my normal settings (which are higher) I can control the performance by simply changing distance level of detail (I usually have this set at 15).
Mar 02, 2009 incarnate link
Er.. what? There is no setting called "Background Level of Detail". There is:

Background Detail: which has 7 options, "Off" through "Highest". It adjusts the nebulae, starfields and planets. There's no "9" option, let alone "15".

Are you maybe talking about "Scene" or "Distance" level of detail? I'm not sure which, though, which is pretty important. See the first post for what I'm talking about.
Mar 02, 2009 LeberMac link
I fly through it like butter at 100 fps, all settings maxed:
LeberMac makes it through M7

Of course my specs may be a little higher than average. 9800 GT card, 512MB vRAM, etc. Maybe I should break out the iMac and see if it will handle it?

[EDIT - oops sorry just read Inc's last post, but I had already made this cool video last night and I'm gonna leave this up in spite of Incarnate's dire warning.]
Mar 02, 2009 davejohn link
Ok, I appreciate you are looking for problems . I see none, m7 Is ok for me, I'll run the NW there on wednesday, that should generate some feedback.
Mar 02, 2009 vardonx link
Edited my previous post with proper terminology...

And in case it wasn't clear I could tank the FPS simply by changing that one setting and leaving all the others at the 16MB defaults.
Mar 02, 2009 diqrtvpe link
System is the same as Miharu's:

OSX 10.5.6
Core 2 Duo @ 2.33GHz
ATI Radeon x1600 w/ 256MB

I was experiencing poor FPS (<30) in M-7 with Distance Level of Detail set at 10, so I turned it down gradually. Every step got better (even one or two steps down and it was no longer tearing at all, up to about 50 fps), and I currently have it set at either 6 or 7, getting over 100 fps just sitting with the whole field in view. Fighting in M-7 went fine at that point, never dropping below 140 fps. So I can directly verify what Vardonx posted.
Mar 02, 2009 incarnate link
Vardonx: a difference from "only" 6 to 9 in Distance LOD can be quite significant. If you do a /fps, it also shows the number of polygons, and that can be.. a very large difference. That's not a bug, that's called "you reconfiguring the rendering engine". Even if you have the rest of the settings on "16MB" and you choose render 200,000 polygons instead of 40,000.. that's going to be a big hit on your framerate.

Everyone: The highest that our defaults go, at present, are Scene: 20, Distance: 7. This is used from 64MB up through 256+; and we found it was the best balance of useful polygons and speed even at extremely high resolutions. If you choose to push it up past this, you are basically sacrificing speed for very little to no visual change (very-far-away asteroids look slightly more detailed, there is somewhat less popping in the distance). If you have a really speedy machine, you can push it up a little past the defaults (say, 8), but the returns diminish (and the framerate slows) very quickly.

There is this tendency of people to go into the Visual settings and push all the little sliders up all the way. There really isn't a lot of value to this, with the LOD settings; but there is tremendous downside, as you'll be rendering hundreds of thousands (even millions) of polygons that are.. at best, very difficult to see.

However, because we only use the bumpy "bone" asteroids in a few locations, people assume that a "20/20" or "20/10" setup is fine, and that something must be wrong with the "bone" asteroids.. because as soon as you see them in density, your framerate gets crushed. This is an issue with your customized config, not with the asteroids. When the "bone" asteroids become quite widespread.. this will be even clearer.

Perhaps we need to pop up some sort of warning if you try to adjust the LOD sliders, to say "You really shouldn't do this".

Anyway.. Breazle, can you please post about your (original) problem? It sounded like that was more unusual.
Mar 03, 2009 vardonx link
Incarnate, I guess a sticky thread that explained what all the various settings do (similar to the bit you did above) would be helpful to us all to understand what they (graphics/video settings) all do.

I'm sure there probably was such a thing in the past, but I don't see anything at the tops of the forums now?

Would probably eliminate a lot of support tickets or question in the future when rolling out new stuff....
Mar 03, 2009 Breazle link
Computer stats:
Intel Core Duo @ 2.20GHz 2.20GHz
RAM 2gb
OS - Vista home premium 32bit.
graphics card: nvidia geforce 7300. 256mb
Monitor: Acer 19" WideScreen

Ingame stats:
FPS in M7: 72
FPS outside of M7 330
Visual quality 256mb
note whatever i change i change the visual quality to it stays the same, infact lowering to 16mb the problem gets worse and FPS drops to around 20.
Resolution 1440x900 23bpp
scene level of detail 8
distance level of detail 8
I have been running them both at 20 until reading your post, the poly's did drop but no change to the sector.
With the above stats I am noticing M7 to be very slow and not responding how other sectors do.
Mar 03, 2009 incarnate link
Breazle, which specific drivers are you using? If you can get to the Nvidia Control Panel, you can probably go to Help -> System Information, to get the version.

182.08 is the latest for the 7-series with Vista 32bit.

I assume this machine is a desktop? Not a notebook with an external monitor? There are four different GeForce 7300s, do you know which one you have? There is potentially a 2-3 fold difference in speed between the "SE" and the "GT", depending on what limiting factor you're seeing (fill rate, polygon throughput, etc).

One thing I would try is.. go into Latos M7 in a position where you can see all the asteroids. Do a /fps and measure your framerate. Then, while keeping your ship in the same position, log off and exit the game client, (so when you log back on, it will be the same view). Then rename your wgaf.cfg and config.ini to something else (like .old, or move them to another directory), and try re-running the game. It will auto-configure from scratch (leave it at the defaults). Do a /fps again and see if it is any different.

Then try going into Options->Video. You should see that "anti-aliasing" is OFF and "texture compression" is ON (don't change these, just double-check), then go to "Texture Resolution" (which should be "Very High") and change it to "Medium". Then go back to the HUD and see if things are any faster.

If the FPS are unchanged, try going into Options->Video and changing the driver to OpenGL (I think this works in Vista, not totally sure). Then see if the framerate is any different.

Your reported change of the game becoming slower when you reduce Visual Quality settings is very strange, and makes little sense. But, let me know how it goes with the above test.