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Author Topic: Video Game performance  (Read 15589 times)

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  • Egghead

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    Video Game performance
    « on: June 08, 2006, 04:14:13 PM »
    How can I improve the performance of my video games?

    There are actually a number of ways to improve performance, but they all fall into two categories: Software and Hardware. For the computer illiterate: Hardware is the chips, boards, and drives that make the computer work. Software is the programs that go on it.

    Software improvements
    Before you rush out to but that new $250 video card, consider free or cheap(er) methods of improving your performance. Games that involve any degree of 3D rendering ought to have an options menu or screen to go to. There are too many games to even begin to say where this options menu or screen is; the best advice this article can give in this regard is to read the manual if you have one, or look it up online if you don't.

    In this options menu, there may be a variety of choices or just a few. In games such as Lord of The Rings: Return of the King there will be several screens: One for video, one for audio, and maybe some miscellaneous options. Your game may vary. The first stop for increasing performance would be video options - any and all graphics choices that can affect your game. The first thing to look for when increasing performance is shadows. Shadows use the most memory, require the most detailed rendering, and cause the most problems of any setting. Almost guaranteed. If you can run the game fine with them, then that's great, but it's the first thing you should turn off when gameplay gets bad.

    If disabling shadows doesn't do enough, or if your game doesn't have this option, then the next thing to check would be the resolution. Simply put, resolution is how many pixels are displayed per screen. On most monitors today the default is 1024 pixels wids, 768 pixels high. The higher the resolution in the game, the sharper the picture will be. But it is also a graphic/memory eater. If you need to increase performance, decrease the resolution.

    If you still need to reduce graphics, on some games you can specify how many special effects are used. Special effects includes smoke from explosions, glow from light sources, and the like. It's the concept that makes the games more realistic. However, it can be a real drag if you have it on. If it's possible for your game, turn these off if you need to.

    Some games allow you to specify how much geometric detail goes into 3D objects. The higher the detail, the better it looks, but turning it down (if you have that option) will be a decent help. However, few games actually have this option. More likely to appear is the Texture Quality option. Every flat surface has texture. The higher the texture quality, the sharper the textures. However, if you are in need of a performance boost, turning down the quality may be just what you need.

    Next, if your game performance is still poor, you can try turning down or disabling the Anisitropic Filter and/or Anti-Aliasing. These two don't always appear in the same game, but it may have one or the other. These function as texture smoothers that make rough-looking textures more visually pleasing. They're great to have, but if you're on a low-end machine it is recommended to turn these down or off.

    This is the basics of changing graphics quality to improve performance. Other options may exist in your games; play with them and see what causes better performance and what doesn't. Balance these features to create a game that looks OK to you but also performs well. If performance is still not so great, go to any audio options you may have.

    This article mentions video before audio for a reason: Video changes are much more profound than audio. Not much can be said of audio, because rarely does it cause problems.

    Some games permit use of Environmental Audio, or EAX. This is excellent for a high-end machine with surround sound, but not only does it cause issues on less-than-great systems, it doesn't even sound good unless you have the speakers to back it up. Also, some games don't even have true support for the EAX system they provide, and the sound can be broken (not mixing) or even not work. Disable it for a slight improvement in quality of performance.

    That's really the only general audio function that is related to performance - most others are strictly for your preferences.

    Not all fixes are done in-game. It is best, for example, to not run other programs in the background while playing. Having Quake 3 open while running the internet and a system scan isn't the best idea. Close all background applications before playing. Something as small as a file folder being open shouldn't hurt, but programs can. The biggest killer of performance is virus scanners. If you have a virus scanner scheduled to run at a specific time, make sure that you know what time that scanner will run and save and close your game before the virus scanner checks your system.

    Another big resource-hog is any malicious programs on your computer - namely, viruses. Get and use a virus scanner, and keep it up to date. Check regularly. It's a good idea to schedule virus scanners to run at a specific time when the computer is usually on, but see my above paragraph for any problems this may cause. Besides, a non-infected computer simply runs better.
    « Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 03:10:08 AM by Computer Hope Admin »
    "The geek shall inherit the Earth."


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      Re: QA0013 Video Game performance
      « Reply #1 on: June 08, 2006, 04:14:22 PM »
      Hardware improvements

      If you absolutely cannot get good performance with software changes, or if you are unhappy with the results you get from changing the settings, you may need to upgrade your hardware. While the software changes are listed from biggest change to smallest change, hardware changes are in reverse order, going from least extreme to most.

      One of the first things to check is how well you compare to the recommended requirements of your game. Minimum requirements aren't enough for good gameplay - it's what it barely runs on. See how you fare with what's recommended. Then it will be easier to tell what to upgrade.

      If your game works for a while but the performance gets bad, or if it just gets bad over time, you may need to upgrade your memory. Games that require 64 megabytes of RAM would be served well by 128 megabytes; if 128 is required, 256 to 512 megabytes would do your system a lot of good. Not only will this improve your game, but it will also improve the speed of the rest of your computer.

      If gameplay is excellent until a lot of people or objects get on the screen, a newer video card may be in order. Check to see what video cards are supported by your game; the two most commonly supported are nVidia and ATI. Of these two, the most widely accepted are the nVidia GeForce and the ATI Radeon. Game communities often swear by one or the other, but in fact what you want to get is the deciding factor, and what the game works well with. It is beyond the scope of this article to recommend a particular price range or model. It can only suggest that good video cards for graphically demanding games are usually at or over $150.

      NOTE: Make sure you know if you are getting a AGP video card or a PCI, and what your motherboard supports. AGP's are usually differently colored video slots, and are back a bit from the other slots, which are PCI. Don't try to force an AGP into a PCI slot and vice versa.

      These are not all the ways to improve your system. However, they do allow for a vast improvement on your gameplay. Happy gaming.

      Posted by Flame:

      You might also consider having a look at a TweakGuide. http://www.tweakguides.com ... A good topic choice Dilbert  ;)

      "The geek shall inherit the Earth."