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FEAR - First thoughts and Benchmarks

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-:: M@ ::- 8th August 2005, 12:15 Quote
Mmmm, scary, still want to download it, but don't want to have to register with spam planet etc to get it, anywhere else (apart from torrents as doesn't come down that quick for me :( ) that lets you download it without signing up?

- M@
quadmodz 8th August 2005, 12:29 Quote
can't wait to get the cd on the shop. Is it a Demo Version on the Download section of this game?
Hustler 8th August 2005, 12:31 Quote
Hmmm...

I've got the following spec

P4 3ghz 800mhz Fsb.
1.25Gb Ram 400mhz DDR (2x512,2x128)
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (128mb) @ stock

There are 2 things in this game that kill your frame rate

1.Setting Textures to Maximum when only having a 128mb gfx card.
2.Enabling Shadows

With the above settings on my 9800 i get between 10-15fps.

with textures set to medium and shadows off, that jumps to 30-50fps.
2xAA and 8xAF seem to only reduce that by about 10-15%

The bottom line for me is that at the following settings the game is hugely playable.

1024x768
2xAA
8xAF
Medium Textures
No Shadows
Everything else (shaders,lights,etc,etc,etc) set to Maximum

I think this game is just as dependant on your CPU as much as your Gfx card, if not more so.
Monolith gfx engines have always been CPU heavy.

And slow-mo is still just a gimmick..:)
Hamish 8th August 2005, 12:32 Quote
no Ati benches?

also, just a thought but couldnt you make the screenshots clickable to bigger versions
just seems a bit silly to me to be talking about image quality and stuff and giving an example screenshot thats only about 300x300, cant see anything :(
making them links to the full size screenies would be great :D
RTT 8th August 2005, 12:46 Quote
Hamish - they'll appear in the full review ;)
Bindibadgi 8th August 2005, 12:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler

And slow-mo is still just a gimmick..:)

No no no. In max payne it was probably a gimmick but if you dont NEEED to use it in this game your hardness setting is too low.
BlueMax 8th August 2005, 13:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
No no no. In max payne it was probably a gimmick but if you dont NEEED to use it in this game your hardness setting is too low.


I would say that if you didn't need it in Max Payne, the hardness was setting too low also.....

either way, the bullet time graphics in this game are incredible and fun to watch. every single bullet creates a ripple effect, and I'm not even gonna TRY to describe how awesome the grenades are........
kenco_uk 8th August 2005, 13:33 Quote
Hmm...

I've run through the demo on the following setup:

ABit NF7S v2.0 (5.10 drivers), AthlonXP 2500@3200/400fsb, 1GB Crucial (2 x 512,PC3200), 6600GT (7772 drivers, oc 552core/1000ram) and a SB Audigy.

I set everything to max, apart from Textures to Medium, AA to Trilinear and AF to Off, resolution was, iirc 1152x864 and it was smooth gameplay. Not sure what the fps was, but even the main firefight didn't tax my setup at all.
stephen2002 8th August 2005, 13:36 Quote
I found the demo freaky and hard. It was pretty fun too. I think that they went a bit overboard on the particle effects; if I was hiding somewhere and people were shooting at me the area would fill with dust pretty quickly and I would have to just run out at them.

The use of shadows was really good. I hope that more games start actually having a character model to project shadows and cast reflections in the world.
Bindibadgi 8th August 2005, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk

I set everything to max, apart from Textures to Medium, AA to Trilinear and AF to Off, resolution was, iirc 1152x864 and it was smooth gameplay. Not sure what the fps was, but even the main firefight didn't tax my setup at all.

Set the textures to max then ;)

Max res in the demo is 1024x768.
Hamish 8th August 2005, 14:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi

Max res in the demo is 1024x768.
:| what? no its not

edit: i was gettin ~30fps at 1024 with soft shadows and everything at max but water resolution, 0xaa and 4xaf
x800xl / 4400+ (2.6gig)
get about 10-15fps same settings but 1280 :(
should probably turn off soft shadows and turn on AA
CarlT2001 8th August 2005, 14:30 Quote
I would not consider myself to be a good gamer, but I thought the demo was rather easy. Nonetheless, it was a good experience, worth the hefty d/l. A double disc DVD game in the making maybe???
Bindibadgi 8th August 2005, 14:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish
:| what? no its not

edit: i was gettin ~30fps at 1024 with soft shadows and everything at max but water resolution, 0xaa and 4xaf
x800xl / 4400+ (2.6gig)
get about 10-15fps same settings but 1280 :(
should probably turn off soft shadows and turn on AA

What?? No fair! My TFT does 1280 native res but i clicked through it a few times and only got the options of 640, 800 or 1024 :(:(:(

AA is an absoulte must, but then, so are soft shadows :o
Tim S 8th August 2005, 14:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Set the textures to max then ;)

Max res in the demo is 1024x768.
The max res I see is 1600x1200 - I messed with a 1280x1024 TFT earlier and all you can get out of it is 1152x864 - it won't let you run 1280x960. :)
Darkedge 8th August 2005, 14:39 Quote
no ATi benches? has Bit-tech become The Way It's Meant To Be Played? ;)
Hamish 8th August 2005, 14:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
What?? No fair! My TFT does 1280 native res but i clicked through it a few times and only got the options of 640, 800 or 1024 :(:(:(

AA is an absoulte must, but then, so are soft shadows :o

yea i've decided that whilst soft shadows are nice AA is better, both just kills my poor x800xl :(
http://www.frools.net/fear/4xAA/FEARSPDemo-2005-08-08-13-24.png :D i love that weapon, so much fun
[cibyr] 8th August 2005, 15:04 Quote
Awesome demo, definately worth the download ;) As an avid TS player the slo-mo fits right in, it's also nice having it triggered by certain events in the game as well - really adds to the whole "super reflexes" idea.

Running 3500+ / 1GB PC3200 / Dual 6600GTs and it was pretty playable at 1280x1024 (only got that res by editing the config file in documents and settings\all users\documents\Monolith Productions\FEARSPDemo tho), 2xAA 4xAF medium textures high everything else. Wouldn't mind it a bit smoother, but it was playable and I'm a sucker for a pretty picture.

One strange thing is that with certain effects (eg the white wash-out in part of the intro) I can see where the split is for the split-frame rendering with SLI. My guess is that the shader needs to know what colour the pixels next to it are but can't "see" past the SFR split. Which is a shame because vsync doesn't seem to work with AFR (at least in a lot of games, am yet to try with FEAR).

Absoultely loved the gameplay and the atmosphere. Hopefully somewhere in the full game there'll be friendly AI as well as the AI seemed really good. Unfortunately they seem to be a little too scripted for my liking, as least as far as when and where they spawn. It'd be really nice to have them spanwed much earlier but not instantly aggro, so that you might get hit by a patrol or be able to draw them out of a room with grenades and such.
The_Pope 8th August 2005, 15:08 Quote
What are you guys using to measure your FPS - is there an in-game counter?

I've only got a 2.2PIV, but also having a X850XTPE helps. I played it at 1280x960 2xaa 2xaf Max everything, and only got occasional pauses (hitching). It doesn't appear to be appreciably better at 1024 tbh, but I also found some inconsistencies with the Setting Panel - like autodetects overwriting previous custom settings etc.

In terms of difficulty, anyone who sets it to Easy for the first time is going to come away disappointed. I tried it for the first time on the default setting, and found it challenging. On Easy, it's very straight forward.

OH, and if you can handle it, Max textures looks SWEET
Tim S 8th August 2005, 15:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkedge
no ATi benches? has Bit-tech become The Way It's Meant To Be Played? ;)
All of the benchmarking, minus the 7800 GTX, was done by Wil, and I've had very little input in to the article as I'm working on a number of other things at this moment in time. Wil can only benchmark the cards he has available to him at any one time, such is the way with things.

I only benchmarked the 7800 GTX because I happen to be working on a review at the moment and the card happened to be in my system at the time. I did offer to benchmark more ATI cards, but I'd fall behind on my own work if I did that so we decided to save them for the boxed game review, which we'll be doing as and when we get a copy (or two) from VU Games.

My thoughts so far are that the drivers need a lot of work - I'm getting hitching on every card I throw at this game and minimum frame rates are dropping in to the teens at any resolution or detail setting. However, I can determine the frequency of the hitches and on the cards I've played around with so far, I've found the 7800 GTX is playable at 1280x960 2xTRMS AA & 8xAF with everything set to maximum except Soft Shadows - that really kills performance.

With that, I'm averaging around 60-65 frames per second and minimum frame rate of around 10-15 fps.

I've also messed on a 6800 GT SLI. There is no profile, but I found that by enabling 'coolbits 8' in the registry, I could force a rendering mode - I played with both Split Frame Rendering and Alternate Frame Rendering and found that AFR was the faster of the two by a couple of frames per second. Details were all set to maximum apart from Soft Shadows, and I found that I could attain playable and relatively smooth gaming at 1280x960 0xAA 8xAF.

I also played on an X850 XT PE and found that the game chugged, a lot. I've not got a 6800 Ultra to compare to it, but I suspect that it will chug as much as the X850 XT PE did. I found that 1024x768 0xAA 8xAF with Medium-High details was about as smooth as I could get it without taking a massive image quality hit - light detail and shadow detail were set to 'Medium' while everything else was at the maximum - soft shadows off, of course. I got an average frame rate in the high 60's and minimum frame rate in the teens as with all other cards. With 2xAA at 1024x768, I was getting more than the odd hitch - I'd have the odd couple of second pause too, that was totally unplayable IMHO.

I tried Geoff's settings and I don't know how he could play at that - it was pretty horrid and chugged a hell of a lot. Average frame rate was in the low 40's at 1280x960 2xAA 2xAF with an FX-57 - I found it pretty hard to play after experiencing the game with a relatively smooth frame rate.

I've also done some memory testing briefly, as I was buggering about with 2GB of memory in BF2. 4x512MB at 2T is slower than 2x512MB at 1T - both minimum and average frame rates took a hit. I've not got 2x1GB modules, but I suspect that you will attain a much smoother gaming experience with 2GB with decent bandwidth. The game appears to be very memory bandwidth reliant, so a high memory bus will definitely help you out.

That's just some more thoughts on the stuff that I've done so far. I'll fire up some more ATI cards as (and when) I get the chance.
Da Dego 8th August 2005, 15:31 Quote
*will download and play this week*

Nice initial impressions, I kind of like that biggles and bindi tag-teamed this. It made for a nice read, particularly when it came to individual opinions. Two points of view is a plus for this sort of thing. I do wish your screenshots were clickable to full-size, though.

Can't say as though it *looks* all that creepy...perhaps playing it will give me a better sense, though. Shame they didn't normal map the crap out of this, it looks like it might have been able to use it for a little more depth. The enemies just look a touch, well, flat by the screenshots you posted.
XUntitled 8th August 2005, 15:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Dego
*will download and play this week*

Nice initial impressions, I kind of like that biggles and bindi tag-teamed this. It made for a nice read, particularly when it came to individual opinions. Two points of view is a plus for this sort of thing. I do wish your screenshots were clickable to full-size, though.

Can't say as though it *looks* all that creepy...perhaps playing it will give me a better sense, though. Shame they didn't normal map the crap out of this, it looks like it might have been able to use it for a little more depth. The enemies just look a touch, well, flat by the screenshots you posted.

Characters look better in game. The models have more depth to them. And it is pretty creepy (as long as your not getting any choppyness and your running it smooth).

I was impressed all around. It looks to be a good game and I can't wait.

EDIT: And Extreme difficulty is the way to go. Honestly slow mo + pistol = the win. I loved dual pistoling in the multi player demo.
The_Pope 8th August 2005, 16:07 Quote
OK, so I'm now FRAPS enabled, and ran some very quick (and unscientific) numbers.

Firefight #2 - I don't want to spoil the surprise for those who haven't played it yet, but let's just say it's the bit where you pick up the nailgun thing.
Min: 14
Max: 83
Ave: 36

Firefight #3 - single runthrough of the Security Room (just after the checkpoint)
Min: 3
Max: 79
Ave: 35

This is my lowly 2.2GHz 400FSB Pentium 4, propped up with a ATI X850XTPE running at stock, and 1.5GB of RAM (only running at 266DDR though). 1280x960 2xAA 2xAF with everything maxxed.

It's not *smoooooth*, and I'm sure Tim would never tolerate the occasional stuttering when changing rooms etc. But all the edges are crispy, the textures are gorgeous... and I guess I have modest standards when it comes to framerates. Yes, I would prefer if it was smooth, and if I was playing an entire game, I would probably revise my settings. But 1024 is a bit too low, so I'd prefer to avoid it.
Hamish 8th August 2005, 16:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigz

My thoughts so far are that the drivers need a lot of work - I'm getting hitching on every card I throw at this game and minimum frame rates are dropping in to the teens at any resolution or detail setting.
yea i had this :(
frame rates would drop to about 10 in certain places, like when you're in the tunnel right after the first set of ladders and theres a message or something, the hud flashes, gets real jerky there
couple of other places when you turn a corner in a corridor and the bit right at the end where the guy drops from the ceiling, that ran at about 5fps no matter what settings i used :?
Darkedge 8th August 2005, 17:08 Quote
thats got the update Biz - interesting. I wasn't having a go honest.

I'll be checking it out tonight on an x800 and i'll post my findings.
Tim S 8th August 2005, 17:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkedge
thats got the update Biz - interesting. I wasn't having a go honest.

I'll be checking it out tonight on an x800 and i'll post my findings.
I wasn't suggesting you were. ;)

Look forward to hearing how you find it with your system.
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