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Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 1:07:23 AM   
NobleJms

 

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I'm a new player to Distant Worlds and really like the game. But why is it that my computer, which can run the latest game like Crysis 2, Skyrim, and Battlefield 3 on maximum setting smoothly, lags as a mule when I try to run this game??

I've tried to resolve this issue on my own, and in the process, discover that the game's engine does not utilize external graphic card at all? Sigh~~
Post #: 1
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 2:00:42 AM   
Gzu

 

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>>my computer, which can run the latest game like Crysis 2, Skyrim, and Battlefield 3 on maximum setting smoothly, lags as a mule when I try to run this game??

You compare "basketball" to "chess", both are games, but little diffrent...
btw. Crysis 2, Skyrim, and Battlefield 3 are games optimalized for ps3 and xbox360. Seven year old console is a piece of junk in comparation to a modern PC.

>>I've tried to resolve this issue on my own, and in the process, discover that the game's engine does not utilize external graphic card at all? Sigh~~

Just like other 2D strategy games :)

(in reply to NobleJms)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 3:47:07 AM   
jpwrunyan


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I call bs.
The op is absolutely right and you are wrong.
There is nothing about a game being 2d that mandates it cant use vertex and pixel shaders and offload the processing to the gpu.
No. Reason.

Except lack of know-how. Allow me to give the proper response to the op.
There is a reason why games like skyrim have 100s of programmers. Its to come up with the kind of esoteric logic that allows awesome graphics to work on your machine using recondrite knowledge of linear algebra, rotation matrices, and assembly.
Most of your run-of-the-mill app programmers dont have a clue, and if they did, it would still take years of man-months just to implement something like skyrim graphics engine let alone developing the actual game. Which again is why games like skyrim have 100s of devs.

Distant Worlds has what? Two??? And somehow I doubt either of them knows assembly, linear algebra, or how to send to vertex and fragment shader logic to your gpu. Someone can correct me if my assumptions are wrong, but the fact that the game is written in C# tells me these guys are app programmers and not graphics programmers. Can you even access the gpu with C#?!

So the reason its not optimized is simple: nobody is there to do it. (i wager)

(in reply to Gzu)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 5:51:35 AM   
NobleJms

 

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Yes indeed while I love this game, in fact it's like the game I've always been waiting for, this thread is about the optimization of the game. It's not that the game lags on my PC which makes me angry, but seeing that the game could've run as smooth as butter on my machine but currently does not that really gets to me. Coupled this with the fact that the game is so great in design and implementation, it's just a frustrating and helpless thought.

Seriously, if I buy a lottery today and win $1,000,000, I would donate 1/3 of this to the developers so they could work on making the game less of a slideshow and perhaps even work on beautifying the interfaces.

I'm sorry, Gzu, but your argument does not make sense at all. As Jpwrunyan mentioned, being 2D is of no relevance for poor performance. The game lags a lot only when I look at objects on the monitor and zooming in/out but not when I look at empty space. This shows that this is purely a graphic optimization issue, rather than a CPU one. I understand that being a 4X gamer, you instincty hate games like Skyrim/Battlefield 3; I just happen to like both worlds (4X and action RPG), and there's no sin in that.

Jpwrunyan, if they are indeed app developers, they should bring this game to the Ipad! I would pay top money for having an app like that. Btw, do you know that Imperium Galactica 2 is available for the Ipad? Unfortunately it seems to be crashing a lot at the moment.

(in reply to jpwrunyan)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 5:56:05 AM   
NobleJms

 

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Btw I'm new here and do not wish to start a flame war or offend anyone here. Having been an avid PC gamer for 15 years, it's the gems that really get me emotional. Distant World is right there on par with the Civ series, IMO, I merely wish the game to be at its full potential, similar to a mother wishing her child not to waste his/her talents away.

(in reply to NobleJms)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 6:22:58 AM   
WiZz

 

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Game runs without graphic acceleration, all calculations are doing by processors, it's very slow. Besides, it's necessary to compile game on platform x64, because DW has a limit of using memory.

(in reply to NobleJms)
Post #: 6
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 6:47:38 AM   
Kayoz


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jpwrunyan
There is nothing about a game being 2d that mandates it cant use vertex and pixel shaders and offload the processing to the gpu.
No. Reason.


Correct.

quote:

ORIGINAL: jpwrunyan
And somehow I doubt either of them knows assembly, linear algebra, or how to send to vertex and fragment shader logic to your gpu. Someone can correct me if my assumptions are wrong, but the fact that the game is written in C# tells me these guys are app programmers and not graphics programmers. Can you even access the gpu with C#?!


It's not required that they know how to do all this. XNA handles a lot of it for you. I'm not sure that DW uses XNA/DirectX graphics optimization, though. This site seems decent for a basic overview of what you can do with XNA.

In this, I disagree with your position that DW is inefficient and slow because it has only 2 devs. X-Com was developed by two developers - the Gollop brothers. Yet it's still held up as one of the best games ever. And it shipped on 2 floppy disks.

All that from two developers. So, no - you don't need a huge team to develop a decent game.

(in reply to jpwrunyan)
Post #: 7
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 7:10:08 AM   
sanderz

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: NobleJms

Yes indeed while I love this game, in fact it's like the game I've always been waiting for, this thread is about the optimization of the game. It's not that the game lags on my PC which makes me angry, but seeing that the game could've run as smooth as butter on my machine but currently does not that really gets to me. Coupled this with the fact that the game is so great in design and implementation, it's just a frustrating and helpless thought.

Seriously, if I buy a lottery today and win $1,000,000, I would donate 1/3 of this to the developers so they could work on making the game less of a slideshow and perhaps even work on beautifying the interfaces.

I'm sorry, Gzu, but your argument does not make sense at all. As Jpwrunyan mentioned, being 2D is of no relevance for poor performance. The game lags a lot only when I look at objects on the monitor and zooming in/out but not when I look at empty space. This shows that this is purely a graphic optimization issue, rather than a CPU one. I understand that being a 4X gamer, you instincty hate games like Skyrim/Battlefield 3; I just happen to like both worlds (4X and action RPG), and there's no sin in that.

Jpwrunyan, if they are indeed app developers, they should bring this game to the Ipad! I would pay top money for having an app like that. Btw, do you know that Imperium Galactica 2 is available for the Ipad? Unfortunately it seems to be crashing a lot at the moment.



I would be interested in what your PC specs are and whether you use 32 or 64 bit windows.

(in reply to NobleJms)
Post #: 8
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 7:44:41 AM   
Abraxis

 

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For comparison's sake I have

Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium
CPU: intel i7 960 quad core (hyper-threaded [8]) 3.2GHz Liquid cooled w/ corsair H80 (huge, very noticeable difference on performance vs fan cooled CPU)
Ram: 16gb Kingston Tripple channel DDR3 set at 1600MHz
GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 580
Power: Antec high current pro 850w
Hard Drives: Sata3s at 7200RPM
OS: Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit
Case: Corsair Graphite series 600T (I mention this because proper cooling can get you more performance than anything else if you have higher end tech in a stock case. Once I got this sucker, it was like night and day diff from the old basic case from like, the 80s I've been re-using over and over, lol)

Game runs fine. On max stars, max galaxy size and 19 opponents it starts to stutter a little bit about 10 hours into the game, once everything is colonized, but not so bad as to make it unbearable. Though I do play with background stars and nebulas turned all the way down, it delays the sluggishness somewhat and tbh I don't really notice much difference graphically.

< Message edited by Abraxis -- 4/26/2012 7:56:34 AM >

(in reply to sanderz)
Post #: 9
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 1:49:50 PM   
Registered55

 

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a lot has to do with the programming foundation this game is based on, i believe it utilizes a lot of dotnetframework

C# is all great and all, and yes it's very fast, but it's also a low-mid level language (meaning it requires a lot of time and skill)

higher languages are slower, but one can program and create far more in shorter space of time,

there is no way 2 developers could create distant worlds in a low level language in a realistic time frame.... it would take a decade...


although I must admit, Legends does seem a little more sluggish then the previous expansion, I had already concluded myself that the game engine is doing to much... well it's doing a lot more than it was before.

and it should be noted that diminishing returns is always a factor with game engines, in simple turns, you reach a point where you don't getting any gains from the game even though you give it more CPU power.

Space Empires 5 is a perfect example, the code was so poor in efficiency, turn processing was roughly the same with a 3ghz CPU and a 4GHz CPU.....
diminishing returns is always a factor in game engines, code can only be optimized so far.... at some point a developer needs to look at sections of code (find the areas that are causing bottlenecks) and try to rewrite those sections with better, more optimized routines...... of course that's easier said than done, and generally is very boring work, not to mention that the code that you do rewrite isn't guaranteed to be any faster than the code you just replaced, yet could cause unforeseen problems in other areas of the game.

it's a tricky one for sure, but the OP is correct, legends is more sluggish, zooming in, scrolling around.... in fact it's this area that seems to be most effected for me.... the interface itself has a sluggish feel to it, which then unfortunately gives the impression that the entire game is sluggish.... perception accounts for so much in the way we perceive things..... I think if the sluggish feel on zooming, scrolling and movement of the interface wasn't so prominent, it would have a profound impact on the rest of the game.

I think the interface (scrolling, camera movement and zooming) would benefit the most from being optimized, because the rest of the game will just feel better.


< Message edited by Registered55 -- 4/26/2012 1:50:57 PM >

(in reply to Abraxis)
Post #: 10
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 6:04:30 PM   
Kayoz


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55

a lot has to do with the programming foundation this game is based on, i believe it utilizes a lot of dotnetframework


That much is obvious. You might as well say, "It's a car. I believe it utilizes wheels.". If you're programming with C#, you'd have to try very hard to make DW without using .Net.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
C# is all great and all, and yes it's very fast, but it's also a low-mid level language (meaning it requires a lot of time and skill)


Wrong. It's classified as mid-level. ASM, C/C++ are low-level languages. C# is -NOT-. You show me how to fiddle with registers in C#, and then I'll take your "low-level" claim seriously.

As for speed, that claim is debatable. Let's see how quick C# runs on Linux, compared to C code.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
there is no way 2 developers could create distant worlds in a low level language in a realistic time frame.... it would take a decade...


That statement is flawed.
1. C# is not a low level language
2. use of 3rd party libraries can cut down development time quite a lot
3. DW isn't as complex as all that - a decade is an absurd length of time. Look at X-Com - two developers.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
I had already concluded myself that the game engine is doing to much... well it's doing a lot more than it was before.


The core engine hasn't changed that much from the original release, as far as I can see. What is the basis for your claim? Aside from characters (Legends), I fail to see how the DW engine is doing "a lot more", as you claim.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
diminishing returns


I don't think there's much to be said here. I don't think you know enough about profiling and optimization to comment.

(in reply to Registered55)
Post #: 11
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/26/2012 7:37:48 PM   
Registered55

 

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1st, I wasn't speaking directly to you, and many here may not think it was so obvious...

2nd, I said low-mid, so yeah mid which is what I said.... there is no exact way of classing these languages, and depending who you ask, you will get different opinions....

3rd maybe, DW was in development for 3 years before release I believe, OK, maybe double than

4th the engine must be doing a lot more, I suppose it comes down too difference in context and meaning, a lot to me in this context clearly is different to what you think...

5th diminishing returns is a fact of life for most things.....
in the sense of a game engine, a game engine will eventually reach a point where it will no longer be able to take advantage of the extra resources effectively due to inefficient sections of code within the system as well as other things I'm sure.

I don't know the exact mathematical formula, but the gains in performance using a 2GHz compared to a 3GHz will not be the same as a 3GHz compared to a 4GHz, and so on, something about scaling.... something like that, the concept I get, just not the mathematical understanding behind it, the formula would change in any different situation.





< Message edited by Registered55 -- 4/26/2012 7:41:58 PM >

(in reply to Kayoz)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/27/2012 2:42:08 AM   
Kayoz


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55

1st, I wasn't speaking directly to you, and many here may not think it was so obvious...


It is a meaningless statement to anyone who doesn't know C# and/or .Net - and to anyone who does, the connection is self-evident. Thus, the statement serves no purpose.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
2nd, I said low-mid, so yeah mid which is what I said.... there is no exact way of classing these languages, and depending who you ask, you will get different opinions....


You acknowledge that you said it's low-level, and in the same sentence go on to say that you said it was mid-level? So which is it? You're contradicting yourself.

As to whether C# is low or mid level, yes - you are correct in stating that it is much a matter of interpretation. Some people hold that only ASM or machine language is low-level because they offer little or no abstraction between the language and the processor instructions. Most programmers, as well, would classify C as low-level since the abstraction is quite minimal in comparison with languages like Visual Basic or Python.

C#, however, has far more abstraction than ASM. You cannot take over direct control of memory with C#. You cannot access the machine registers directly. This level of control is available in ASM and with a bit of work, can be accomplished in C - but C# cannot do those. Period.

A language's level is a matter of opinion - but I'd very much like to see a reputable source that classifies C# as "low-level". I can cite sources identifying C as low-level. Can you do the same for C#?

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
3rd maybe, DW was in development for 3 years before release I believe, OK, maybe double than


Cite your source.

Elliot, to the best of my knowledge, has never stated when he started working on the project. In one interview I remember, he stated that it started as a part-time project - which in my mind implies that he would be hard pressed to count up his man-hours of work. The figure of "three years" is, as far as I know, completely without basis.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
4th the engine must be doing a lot more, I suppose it comes down too difference in context and meaning, a lot to me in this context clearly is different to what you think...


What sort of answer is that? I asked you to explain what you meant by the DW doing "a lot more work". You have completely failed to answer the question, much less provide any basis for the statement. If you can't back up your statement, then just say so.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
5th diminishing returns is a fact of life for most things.....
in the sense of a game engine, a game engine will eventually reach a point where it will no longer be able to take advantage of the extra resources effectively due to inefficient sections of code within the system as well as other things I'm sure.


I really have no idea what you're going on about here. Are you talking about optimizing code efficiency, altering the architecture, or something else entirely?

Due to the fact that you failed to indicate what you mean by DW doing "a lot more work", the issue of "diminishing returns" can't even be addressed, since you refuse to identify what the "work" is.

(in reply to Registered55)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/27/2012 9:02:55 AM   
Registered55

 

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let's just agree to disagree on many factors shall we, I will not continue helping this thread being taken completely of topic as it has begun too...
this debate is turning into an argument that is ignoring the original intent of the OP... for the sake of everyone lets just leave it where it is... unresolved.

this debate is getting to technical for what this forum is about, we're not on a programming language development forum.

I have no intention of posting any further in this thread, no matter what you reply.... it's gotten a little to heated and pedantic for my liking, Low-Mid you think i should choose one, i say 3 years, you suddenly say Hours..... dood I'm not a calculator... humans live in gray areas you know LOL.

you take it easy alright....



< Message edited by Registered55 -- 4/27/2012 9:10:12 AM >

(in reply to Kayoz)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/27/2012 9:36:04 AM   
Kayoz


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From: Timbuktu
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
Low-Mid you think i should choose one


No, you said low. I asked that you provide some basis for that statement. You failed to cite a single source.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Registered55
i say 3 years, you suddenly say Hours.....


No, I did not. I made no claim as to the time in development. You did. I simply asked you to cite your source. Which, I might remind you, you have completely failed to provide.

It seems you have a difficulty supporting the claims you make. When you make claims, it is not improper to ask the issuer of the claims to provide proof. You have provided none. Despite my repeated requests.

I do not feel it is rude or improper to ask that you cite your source. If you have some information that I do not have, then I merely ask that you cite it. I would be obliged for the opportunity to learn something new. But so far, all I have heard is deafening silence.

(in reply to Registered55)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/27/2012 2:17:21 PM   
Shark7


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To answer the OPs question...

Keep in mind that even when you can't see it, DW is tracking every single ship of every single empire in your game. You will notice that at first, the game is quite fast, as there is little to have to track and process. The longer your game goes, the slow down becomes more noticeable. I really think it has little to do with graphics (since you can't actually 'see' most of what is going on) but more to do with the sheer number of things the game tracks.

That said, I play games on a 1400 star map with 30+ empires and can still play it through to the end game. I personally have had games with well over 500 military ships and over 1000 freighters. Now imagine the game having to show me mine, but also having to track similar numbers for the other empires in my game. This does not include tracking the planetary orbits, the space monsters, and any other number of things going on in real time. I hope that helps put it into perspective...the game is doing a lot of computing when you play large games like I do.

I'm not sure any there is any other way of doing it better TBH, as there is just so much going on with a living galaxy.

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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/28/2012 6:07:12 PM   
Astax

 

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C# is fine for game development.  Just look at XNA. 

The game should be fine tracking everything if it's tweaked properly.  But I'm not sure how the game treats multiple cores.  That could be one problem.

(in reply to Shark7)
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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/28/2012 6:26:45 PM   
Raap

 

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It does partially use two cores. Frankly though, I don't think CPU power is the problem, but rather that the game depends too much on the CPU for graphics. I think we'd see significantly better performance if the game used Direct3D instead of the current GDI/GDI+, since that one has minimal levels of hardware acceleration.

(in reply to Astax)
Post #: 18
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/29/2012 2:03:00 PM   
Kayoz


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7

I play games on a 1400 star map with 30+ empires and can still play it through to the end game.


How?

Game setup is limited to 20 (19 + player).

(in reply to Shark7)
Post #: 19
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/29/2012 8:01:29 PM   
drillerman


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..................Because as the game progresses empires may have revolutions and new factions may appear.

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Huh?

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RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/29/2012 11:05:28 PM   
adecoy95


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kayoz


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7

I play games on a 1400 star map with 30+ empires and can still play it through to the end game.


How?

Game setup is limited to 20 (19 + player).


dunno if you still can, but there used to be a way to modify your ram data or some such to force more than 20 empires

(in reply to Kayoz)
Post #: 21
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/30/2012 1:59:06 PM   
Shark7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: adecoy95


quote:

ORIGINAL: Kayoz


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7

I play games on a 1400 star map with 30+ empires and can still play it through to the end game.


How?

Game setup is limited to 20 (19 + player).


dunno if you still can, but there used to be a way to modify your ram data or some such to force more than 20 empires


Don't have to do that. Just add in more than 20 races and you can have as many empires as you have races. IF you have 40 races, then you can start a game with 40 empires, etc.

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Post #: 22
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 4/30/2012 2:16:12 PM   
adecoy95


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7


quote:

ORIGINAL: adecoy95


quote:

ORIGINAL: Kayoz


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7

I play games on a 1400 star map with 30+ empires and can still play it through to the end game.


How?

Game setup is limited to 20 (19 + player).


dunno if you still can, but there used to be a way to modify your ram data or some such to force more than 20 empires


Don't have to do that. Just add in more than 20 races and you can have as many empires as you have races. IF you have 40 races, then you can start a game with 40 empires, etc.


ah, neat

(in reply to Shark7)
Post #: 23
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 5/5/2012 9:40:21 AM   
WoodMan


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Hey guys,

DW Legends (patched up to date) is running far smoother for me than any other incarnation of Distant Worlds ever did. In fact, it runs fine, just as smooth as any other 2D game I play like Icewind Dale or Alpha Centauri, no issues at all. Scrolling can be a little "jerky", but holding mouse button and scrolling iss perfectly smooth, it is only edge scrolling that is jerky. As for zooming, it is smooth, once you get it into your mind that it is zooming "one step at a time" many times in a row quickly. I generally use only the keyboard shortcuts for sooming (backspace, home, insert delete etc) so it doesn't bother me.

Overclocking my CPU made a huge difference. I overclocked it several months ago from standard 3.3Ghz to 4.5. It works wonders in Distant Worlds!!! It made no difference in any other games as far as I can tell (BF3, Skyrim, nada).

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Post #: 24
RE: Why is this game so poorly optimized? - 5/5/2012 2:26:26 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Legends performs much better than previous versions of Distant Worlds, but we've also continued adding more to the game with each expansion and some of those decisions use up some of the performance gained as we optimize the engine. We made some pretty big optimizations in Legends though and we'll continue to optimize as time goes on. There are some basic limits in terms of the structure of the game that do slow things down, but I think there is still more we can do performance-wise. While having a good GPU is nice, a faster CPU and more memory have more impact on performance in Distant Worlds.

Regards,

- Erik


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