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CEO of gearbox (randy pitchford) speaks on halo

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bkny1055

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2003
Halo PC is fast for what it's doing. And it's doing a lot.

Halo for Xbox wanted to be locked at 30fps running at an interlaced 640x480, but often dropped frames during the tricky scenes.

On the PC, you guys tend to want to run in resolutions that are drawing 1,000 times more pixels than what your Xbox and your TV could do. I want this too - it's how I'm playing the game now. If you're doing this with video hardware that is roughly comparable to an Xbox and you're turning on graphics settings that the Xbox didn't offer, you're guaranteed better performance than what the Xbox could do (the game is much more optimal now) but frankly you'd be a bit foolish to expect triple digits of FPS under those conditions.

The video hardware of the Xbox is roughly equivalent to a pixel shader 1.4 card, but it has several custom things about it that make it quite a bit faster than even the most recent video cards with the applications that are designed for it (such as Halo).

Halo for PC is more optimal - it's faster code as it's had more time to be optimized and it had direct attention from programmers at Bungie, Gearbox, Microsoft, the leading hardware manufacturers, and the DirectX team.

Halo for PC has four graphics pipelines and loads of graphics options in the menus and command lines. You can trade performance for graphics as much as you like. I personally recommend getting as many graphics features as you can while keeping the game locked at no worse than 30 FPS. I'm able to do this fairly easily even with my home machine - a GeForce 4ti with a P4 1.6ghz and 512mb of RAM. I don't know what you guys are doing...

The coders included the -timedemo feature to help you tune your performance and compare cards against one another. The feature is honest and rigorous (the -timedemos are running the most intesive pixel shaded scenes in the game - scenes that were designed to be non-interactive where performance isn't as crucial). We hope that this feature is used not as a measure of average performance during game play (because it is not), but as a metric for doing benchmark comparisons from one system to the next.

In any case, you'll find that on high end cards with users who fiddle with options like AA and AF the game tends to be fill rate bound. That's natural for a PS 2.0 game and setting a new benchmark for performance is the price Halo has to pay to be the first FPS that's really pushing your card by asking it to use the pixel shaders that it wants to support. I expect reasonably comparable performance from some of the other upcoming PS 2.0 games (although these games may make different trade offs with scalability or other factors like physics and animation complexity, geometry complexity, pixel shader complexity and other things like AI that may affect the CPU).

The bottom line, though, is that Halo is fun and the code is fast at what it does (it's doing a LOT). Is was that way when we got it and some of the smartest programmers available from hardware manufactuers, the DirectX team, Microsoft, Bungie and Gearbox worked very hard and very long to make it do more things even faster than before.

If you're less interested in the quality of the game than you are in seeing a high FPS number, there are plenty of games using DirectX 7 graphics engines that will likely satisfy you.

In the mean time, I'm playing Halo on-line and I'm loving it.

At the end of the day, I finally get to play Bungie's masterpiece on my PC, in high resolution, with a mouse and keyboard and play multiplayer over the internet. The experience is better than I anticipated it would be when the guys got started and I think that every bit of their effort has been worth it. It's the game I want to play and the game I will be playing for many, many months.

If you guys want to copy my sentiments here on any other boards where this kind of discussion comes up, feel free.

I'm proud of the hard work the engineers have done and I'm thankful I get to play this incredible game Bungie made as I've long wanted to play it.

-Randy Pitchford
 

Gnerma

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2002
Location
Bakersfield, CA - USA
Thanks bkny1055, great post. Where is that original BTW?

So Randy is basically saying that performance is hamstrung by the pixel shaders :rolleyes:

These questions still remains in my mind.

If Halo was released in late 2001 for the PC as originally planned, would we have all been running it at 400x300 with minimum settings?

Benchmarks have shown PS2.0 raises scores by a few FPS. Why doesn't PS2.0 decrease performance on the timedemo if its THE cause of the problem?

Randy's statement is somewhat backed up by the fact that Geforce2 owners seem to get higher numbers than they should. It'd be interesting to directly compare all the PS modes on a DX9 card (if you can turn them off altogether that is).
 

OC Noob

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2002
Location
Phoenix, AZ USA
Duneadan said:
I guess unreal 2 is a dx 7.0 game then, according to Mr. Pitchford. and unreal 2003. and Tron 2.0.

For the most part the Unreal 2k3/II engine is DX7 and the Pixel Shaders aren't the only thing, but it sounds like they are a big part.

I'm starting to wonder if Tomb Raider wasn't coded so poorly. Maybe HL2 and DIII will follow the same trend. We all know how poorly the DIII leak performed, maybe this is why.

Any PS are hard on vid cards, maybe PS are the AA/AF of new cards. Something has to eventually stress the 1600 x 1200 max detail cards we are running now. PS are what make rendered movies look so good, I wouldn't doubt it if they were the next step in gaming evolution just like AA/AF or Hardware T&L used to be.

Then again it could be craptastic coding. One more reason I can't wait for HL2!
 

john240sx

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2002
Location
Sterling IL
Gnerma said:

Randy's statement is somewhat backed up by the fact that Geforce2 owners seem to get higher numbers than they should. It'd be interesting to directly compare all the PS modes on a DX9 card (if you can turn them off altogether that is).

by using the -useff switch you basically make current videocards a very powerful DX7 card. i'm pretty sure thats what your talking about by turning them off all together, as in no programable shaders.
 

Gnerma

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2002
Location
Bakersfield, CA - USA
john240sx said:
by using the -useff switch you basically make current videocards a very powerful DX7 card. i'm pretty sure thats what your talking about by turning them off all together, as in no programable shaders.
Yeah and I've noticed that -useff pretty much breaks the games visuals, so its not really an option. Plus it only gives you a small FPS boost anyway.. I feel sorry for Geforce2 owners.

If this is how DX9 games perform I think we can wait a few years for hardware to catch up before we have to endure the "make everything shiny regardless of whether it makes sense because shaders are new and fun" philosophy that these games seem to subscribe to.
 

DaBigJ

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2002
Since this game doesn't let me set my resolution lower than 1152x864, I have to use -useff. And then I get a barely acceptable framerate (of course, I'm used to >60 fps in fps-style games).

This is on a:

1900+ @2150+
GF4 Ti 4400
768 mb ram

And btw, Halo seems a bit lame to me... do you do anything besides mindlessly shooting way too many aliens?
 

Gnerma

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2002
Location
Bakersfield, CA - USA
DaBigJ said:
Since this game doesn't let me set my resolution lower than 1152x864.
That is odd, have you tried doing it through the command line?

-vidmode w,h,r
Forces the game to run at width, height, refresh rate.

I set mine through the command line, I get a dx error otherwise. Well, I did without the patch anyway. I have not tried it with the patch.
 

Mr.DLucey

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2002
bkny1055 said:
Halo PC is fast for what it's doing. And it's doing a lot.

Halo for Xbox wanted to be locked at 30fps running at an interlaced 640x480, but often dropped frames during the tricky scenes.

On the PC, you guys tend to want to run in resolutions that are drawing 1,000 times more pixels than what your Xbox and your TV could do. I want this too - it's how I'm playing the game now. If you're doing this with video hardware that is roughly comparable to an Xbox and you're turning on graphics settings that the Xbox didn't offer, you're guaranteed better performance than what the Xbox could do (the game is much more optimal now) but frankly you'd be a bit foolish to expect triple digits of FPS under those conditions.

The video hardware of the Xbox is roughly equivalent to a pixel shader 1.4 card, but it has several custom things about it that make it quite a bit faster than even the most recent video cards with the applications that are designed for it (such as Halo).

Halo for PC is more optimal - it's faster code as it's had more time to be optimized and it had direct attention from programmers at Bungie, Gearbox, Microsoft, the leading hardware manufacturers, and the DirectX team.

Halo for PC has four graphics pipelines and loads of graphics options in the menus and command lines. You can trade performance for graphics as much as you like. I personally recommend getting as many graphics features as you can while keeping the game locked at no worse than 30 FPS. I'm able to do this fairly easily even with my home machine - a GeForce 4ti with a P4 1.6ghz and 512mb of RAM. I don't know what you guys are doing...

The coders included the -timedemo feature to help you tune your performance and compare cards against one another. The feature is honest and rigorous (the -timedemos are running the most intesive pixel shaded scenes in the game - scenes that were designed to be non-interactive where performance isn't as crucial). We hope that this feature is used not as a measure of average performance during game play (because it is not), but as a metric for doing benchmark comparisons from one system to the next.

In any case, you'll find that on high end cards with users who fiddle with options like AA and AF the game tends to be fill rate bound. That's natural for a PS 2.0 game and setting a new benchmark for performance is the price Halo has to pay to be the first FPS that's really pushing your card by asking it to use the pixel shaders that it wants to support. I expect reasonably comparable performance from some of the other upcoming PS 2.0 games (although these games may make different trade offs with scalability or other factors like physics and animation complexity, geometry complexity, pixel shader complexity and other things like AI that may affect the CPU).

The bottom line, though, is that Halo is fun and the code is fast at what it does (it's doing a LOT). Is was that way when we got it and some of the smartest programmers available from hardware manufactuers, the DirectX team, Microsoft, Bungie and Gearbox worked very hard and very long to make it do more things even faster than before.

If you're less interested in the quality of the game than you are in seeing a high FPS number, there are plenty of games using DirectX 7 graphics engines that will likely satisfy you.

In the mean time, I'm playing Halo on-line and I'm loving it.

At the end of the day, I finally get to play Bungie's masterpiece on my PC, in high resolution, with a mouse and keyboard and play multiplayer over the internet. The experience is better than I anticipated it would be when the guys got started and I think that every bit of their effort has been worth it. It's the game I want to play and the game I will be playing for many, many months.

If you guys want to copy my sentiments here on any other boards where this kind of discussion comes up, feel free.

I'm proud of the hard work the engineers have done and I'm thankful I get to play this incredible game Bungie made as I've long wanted to play it.

-Randy Pitchford

Any one got a link to the original yet?
 

DaBigJ

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2002
Gnerma said:

That is odd, have you tried doing it through the command line?

-vidmode w,h,r
Forces the game to run at width, height, refresh rate.

I set mine through the command line, I get a dx error otherwise. Well, I did without the patch anyway. I have not tried it with the patch.

No, I haven't tried that... Next time I'm really bored, I'll have to try it.