bit-gamer.net

Company of Heroes DX10 comparison

Company of Heroes DirectX 10 comparison

Microsoft wants us to believe in Vista and the DirectX 10 technology that goes hand in hand with that. Game developers want us to believe in it too. Hell, even your PC wants us to believe in it – but we're cynics. Cold, hard, grumpy cynics with walking sticks who go around prescribing medicines to people based on very little evidence.

No, wait; that's Hugh Laurie.

Still, we're fairly cynical of DirectX 10 and we won't dip a toe in the water until we at least know it's warm and, while we have seen some rather beautiful games, there haven't been any massive advantages made with DirectX 10 that we've yet been able to quantify in any way.

Then along comes Company of Heroes with a new patch which notches the strategy classic up to version 1.70 and provides some support and added features for DirectX 10. It could be what we've been waiting for; it could be the proof that DirectX 10 is worth adopting right here and right now, or alternatively it could be proof that we'd be better off waiting until Crysis tops the charts (it undoubtedly will) and shows us just what can be done with games nowadays.

There's only one way to tell though and that's to boot up the game in DirectX 9 and compare it directly to the DirectX 10 version to see if we can detect any quantifiable differences.

DirectX 9

Company of Heroes, for those who missed out on the spunky little strategy game, is set in the era of World War II, just as nearly every other game tends to be nowadays. Focusing on singular missions with a basis on true life battles, players lead their men into battle and have to use the strengths and weaknesses of different unit types in order to wrest control from the Nazis in the name of freedom.

Company of Heroes DX10 comparison Company of Heroes Company of Heroes DX10 comparison Company of Heroes
The DX 9 version of Company of Heroes, click to enlarge.

Company of Heroes is notable because the player can zoom in really very close to the individual men or assess the situation from a wider, more zoomed out viewpoint. The graphics, even in the pre-patch version, were excellent and comprise part of the official bit-tech benchmarking suite for graphics cards thanks to the integration of detailed textures, facial animations, physics and large number of on-screen models on a massive scale.

It's also a lot of fun to play, so if you're looking for a new strategy title to enjoy then you can check out our review for more information.

Right now though, we're more interested in how good the graphics are and how smoothly the game plays under DirectX 9 and DirectX10, so we started our testing.

Company of Heroes DX10 comparison Company of Heroes Company of Heroes DX10 comparison Company of Heroes
The DX 9 version of Company of Heroes, click to enlarge.

For the DirectX 9 version, we booted the game up on our standard gaming rig, which still runs XP so as to be representative of most gamers who are still resisting the change to Vista until the last possible moment (Read: when Crysis hits the shelves, at which point Vista becomes obligatory).

The DirectX 9 gaming machine contains an ATI Radeon X1900 XTX and 2GB of RAM, which is more than enough to pimp all the graphical tweaks to maximum in the DirectX 9 version. Anti-aliasing, resolution, texture and model detail – we pushed all to the limit and sat back while the changes updated.

Then it was time to test the actual game...