At What Framerate Can You Play Darwinia?

Problems with the Mac version of Darwinia

Moderators: bert_the_turtle, jelco, Chris, andy, John

What is your framerate?

< 4 FPS
5
24%
5-9 FPS
4
19%
10-19 FPS
4
19%
20-29 FPS
1
5%
> 30 FPS
7
33%
 
Total votes: 21
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At What Framerate Can You Play Darwinia?

Postby xander » Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:42 pm

I have noticed several people complain, in passing, that the framerate in Darwinia is rather low (here, here, and here). I am curious to know what framerates people are getting on Macintosh hardware, and if framerates lower than 20 FPS a 'just to be expected' on a Macintosh.

Here are the rules:
Run Darwinia at 800 x 600 in the Full Screen Mode
Set the color depth to 16
Set the Z depth to 16
Set all detail levels to 'High'
Try it in a few different levels (i.e. Garden, Temple)

This should ensure that all of the results are comparable.

Once you have answered the poll question, please report what kind of hardware you are using. I am running Darwinia on a fairly new 15" G4 laptop (1 Ghz processor, 1 Gig of RAM, standard sound and video) and getting framerates that barely top 12.

Thank you,
xander
Last edited by xander on Sun Apr 10, 2005 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby John » Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:20 am

For me, setting the colour depth to 16 actually slows things down. Please could you check this on your computer as well?
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Postby xander » Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:32 am

It doesn't seem to make any difference on my little laptop. At 800x600, full screen, with everything set to high, I get between 12 and 15 FPS. Changing color depth does not seem to make much difference. Changing detail levels makes only a small difference. I have not yet seen framerates less than 10 FPS, or greater than 25 FPS in any configuration.

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Postby ylandot » Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:41 pm

Powermac G5 1.8ghz single cpu , 2.5 g Ram, Radeon 9800, on Tiger (ADC member). I have at 1600 * 1200 , all set high around 25 fps in mine level (had 30+ in garden level).

Maybe that sound low but notice it's at high rez and full set. This game is really playable at this fps ... and i prefer eye candy to fps :)
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Postby SadMac » Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:46 am

The game runs utterly awfully on my 17" Powerbook G4 (1.5GHz) with 512MB of RAM.

Just been playing the 'yard' level and the framerate was <5 for most of the level. By the time I reched the ants the framerate was so low the game couldn't respond to my mouse-clicks any more.

It runs about this speed on my piece o' junk linux box under my telly. And that's only got an MX4000 in.

I would have thought a 9700 mobility and a 1.5 gig G4 would be plenty to run this game given the minimum specs quote like 600 MHz P3.

What's strange tho is that changing graphical settings appears to have no (significant) effect upon my framerate. I'm guessing that either the Mac port demmands gobs of RAM, or my CPU is not up to the task.

Bit sad that the top of the line powerbook isn't enough to run the game.
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Postby PoisedNoise » Sun Apr 10, 2005 2:09 pm

I can get up to a perfectly reasonable rate (+20 fps) much of the time, until I am involved in a pitched battle between green and red darwinians. Then it drops to about 2 fps. Graphics and sound options seem to make a difference of only 2 or 3 fps at best. Clearly the AI of the little critters kills the thing totally. While I have finished it, the last few levels were most frustrating - I learnt to have all radar dishes set before embarking on any battle (because they couldn't be set once I'd started, as I'd get the well documented bouncing phenomenon), and clicks were so reluctant to register that while officers could just about be used, fixed gun emplacements in particular were rarely implementable, because the right-click to get them to encamp could take as much as a minute of frustrated clicking to register. This surely can't be a big problem to fix - it's clearly the AI of the darwinians, and given that it seems to work fine on Windows it must be something in the port rather than something inherent in the way they've been programmed....

G4 dual 867, 768Mb Ram, ATI Radeon 9000 Pro, Internal Sound - though I suppose I could try routing it through my M-Audio 2496 and see if that made a difference. I doubt it would :/ . MacOS 10.3.8
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Postby foden » Sun Apr 10, 2005 7:49 pm

As part of the poll rules, it would be worth saying - where - to note the framerate. When I make these settings in the main control window or the garden, it reports very high frame rates, 50+, but when I go to the pattern buffer level for instance, it drops to 5-7 fps, even though that level has already been cleared out. I managed to get through the whole game at around 5-7 fps but it was frustratingly difficult when faced with 1-3 fps around the ants in the Yard, and massed armies near the Temple.

iMAc G5
1.8 Ghz
OS 10.3.8
nVidia GeForce FX 5200 64 MB
768 RAM
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Postby tobio2501 » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:17 am

First some specs
Powerbook 15", 1.5Ghz G4, 512Ram, ATI mobility 9700 64Mb
settings as in first post, but 32bit colour depth
level - containment

starting at the corner of the map where the gate to generator is, I turn around and head out into the blackness of space, until you reach the corner of the sky, and stare away from the island into nothing.
54fps
turn and face the direction of the island (cant see it because its so far away
15/16fps
move forwards until land /just/ appears
15fps
move forwards until land fills the width of the screen
15fps
move forwards until the middle of the island next to the big tree
20fps
move forwards until the other corner next to the gateway to yard
27fps
move forwards so you are over the pink sea, but no land visible
35fps
move forwards so you are looking into blackness again
52fps

conclusion: I'm no programmer here, but it seems pretty clear that the whole area ahead of you is being loaded into memory, whether or not you can actually "see" it or not. stuff behind you isn't held in memory - as it shouldn't be. but stuff that is so far into the distance you cant see it, shouldn't be stored in memory but is.

This could be a problem in the games code, but i suspect, based on what i hear about the poor performance in doom3 etc, that the mac's opengl implementation is to blame here, and (i'll believe it when i see it) it will all be wonderful and quick when tiger comes out with a new opengl engine.
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Postby xander » Sat Apr 23, 2005 2:53 am

Damn, that means I will have to pay for 10.4... oh, well -- I probably would have done it anyway. By the way: link (for those that care)

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Postby atze » Sat Jun 04, 2005 10:27 pm

hi there,

i'm frustrated!

i played the demo: wow! what a strange, new game! great!!!!! (coming from 8bit aera).
now level three: pay me to play further... ok, that game is worth the money! so i bought it online. got my registration key, perfect, good service.

now i am in pattern-buffer and receiver. and it is UNPLAYABLE! i get 1fps displayed, but hey, it doesn't even do 1, it's more like 0.3 or less. if i am lucky i have 5 minutes to play with 5fps. but then it just drops down and down.

Requirements:
Power Macintosh G3 or better
MacOS X 10.2 or later
hey developers, that might be working with level 1....

i have a 1.67GHz 17" PowerBook with 1.5GB and this fat 128MB ATI thingie. so i thought it should work. really, i am thinking about getting my money back, i am SO frustrated! (not about the money itself but about this great game, i am not able to play)

what should i do now? reducing size, depth or anything does not help. seems to be a programming flaw, when we have to many darwinians to be steered around shooting.
any help? maybe some update? introducing BSPs maybe?
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Postby xander » Sun Jun 05, 2005 12:24 am

There seem to be several causes for low framerates, and folk are working hard to fix the problems. The problems that I know of are as follows:

1) The OpenGL implementation in OS 10.3 is less than optimal. Tiger's implementation is much better. Upgrading to Tiger got me an extra 5-10 FPS in almost every level (except Temple and Pattern Buffer).

2) There are problems with the rendering engine (maybe). According to Windows users, many of these problems were fixed with the patch.

3) The AI code is very processor intensive. Again, this will hopefully be fixed in the patch.

As to the patch, it is currently undergoing internal testing. Hopefully, it will be out to the beta testers (or everyone) soon. IV had hoped to have it out last month, but hit some walls. I do not know if it will fix all of the problems, but it seemed to go a long way for the Windows users.

There are a few things that you can do to marginally increase performance. First, under screen options, reduce the resolution. Second, under graphics options, reduce everything to low or 'I need to upgrade'. Finally, under sound options, reduce the quality of everything. If there is an option to turn off 3d hardware sound do so (I do not think this is an option under the Mac version, but I am on a laptop, and some things about my hardware are possibly different).

If you are lucky, you may be able to get 5-10 FPS. The game is playable, but it is difficult to control units, &c. There are a couple of things that you can do to make things a bit easier. In the directory '~/Library/Application Support/Darwinia/full/', you should find a file called 'preferences.txt'. If you have a multi-button mouse, find the line that starts 'ControlMouseButtons' so that it reads as follows:

Code: Select all

ControlMouseButtons = 2
Second, when you are trying to aim battle cannons and radar dishes (at low framerates, the camera tends to go crazy at low framerates when you are trying to aim battle cannons and radar dishes), use the debug camera (hit f2 until the camera stops following the mouse). The debug cam works much the same as the normal camera:

Code: Select all

W     camera moves in the direction it is facing
S     camera moves away from the direction it is facing
A     camera pans right
D     camera pans left
Q     camera pans up
E     camera pans down
right-click     camera follows the cursor


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Postby NeoThermic » Sun Jun 05, 2005 1:23 am

xander wrote:There seem to be several causes for low framerates, and folk are working hard to fix the problems. The problems that I know of are as follows:

1) The OpenGL implementation in OS 10.3 is less than optimal. Tiger's implementation is much better. Upgrading to Tiger got me an extra 5-10 FPS in almost every level (except Temple and Pattern Buffer).

2) There are problems with the rendering engine (maybe). According to Windows users, many of these problems were fixed with the patch.

3) The AI code is very processor intensive. Again, this will hopefully be fixed in the patch.


Speaking as a windows user, rather than a mac user, point 3 isn't fixed in any patch, as its something that would require a large look at. You chuck in a large enough amount of units on my hardware, and Darwinia will slow down (and I've not got nothing, this is a P4 3GHz, ATi 9600 Pro 256MB, and 512MB DDR400 RAM). It seems that the AI code is rather CPU dependant, and thus it will be slow, patch or not.

As for #2, again, although I'm a windows user, it makes a diffrence, but only in some places. Here's a performance graph using the 1.2 Darwinia beta patch:
Image

RenderLandscapeMode = 0 (uses Vertex Arrays)
RenderLandscapeMode = 1 (uses Display Lists, default in v1.0)
RenderLandscapeMode = 2 (uses Vertex Buffer Objects, default in v1.2 onwards)

Statistically:

Code: Select all

Rendering Mode:      FPS:   
0               65.11910377
1               71.70518868
2               72.64622642


You'll get a performance boost with the new patch, but it is fully unrelated to the AI. :)

As for problems on pattern_buffer, that might be due to the same thing that windows users get, mainly a memory leak that seems to start from the 3D sound object of Darwinia.

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Postby xander » Sun Jun 05, 2005 2:02 am

2) Huh... I though I saw graphs at one point that showed a significant improvement on some machines. However, the last time I saw any of those graphs was when TGF was working on making his test levels, so I guess things have become more refined. Never mind, then.

3) s/the/a

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Postby NeoThermic » Sun Jun 05, 2005 2:24 am

xander wrote:2) Huh... I though I saw graphs at one point that showed a significant improvement on some machines. However, the last time I saw any of those graphs was when TGF was working on making his test levels, so I guess things have become more refined. Never mind, then.

3) s/the/a

xander


Older hardware does really well with the new patch. My old laptop is a rather sluggish machine, but here's it running Darwinia from Beta3 at about 15fps max: (actual size btw!)
Image
And here's it running the 1.2 patch:
Image


So as you can see, it does make a diffrence. Although it must be noted that my laptop had a strange quirk where as mode 0 was fastest, which is why its suggested on the new patch (when it gets ported that is), to experement with the render modes.

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Last edited by NeoThermic on Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Andcarne » Sun Jun 05, 2005 5:34 am

How exactly is that speed test being set up?

I'd be interested in running it here on the patched Mac version, just to see what sort of speed boosts we do get.

My vague comparisons by looking at the same place on the same map with different modes seemed rather erratic.

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