Thoughts On Quake III IHV Test

By Boon Kiat
09/03/99
Hardware One

Thoughts On Quake III IHV Test
Thanks to WyMun and Mario for helping me patch my downloaded copy of the Quake III IHV. So far, I have managed to run it on the TNT (both 16 and 32 bit) as well as the Voodoo2 SLI combo (with the help of the MesaGL drivers). So what are my initial thoughts?

"The Voodoo2 SLI (again default non-overclocked settings) would still be my card of choice. Why? Framerate."

I can't honestly say that QIII is a huge jump over QII. So far, the colours seem awfully close to Quake II (can anyone name all the shades of brown here?). Admittedly, everything seems more reddish now, but the colour scheme remains pretty much the same.

In terms of polygon count/bezier curves, there have been liberal uses of it, but it doesn't seem (in these test levels anyway) to leap out and amaze you. You only appreciate it if you stop and look at the scenery (and how likely is that in a game like Quake?) *grin*

Lighting seems fine, and improved over QII's. The way the weapons light up the room as you fire them is just so cool! But I am not really here to talk about the graphics. I am more interested in the age-old debate. Is 32 bit colour better?

The good news is: the Canopus Spectra 2500 (TNT) with default settings (not overclocked) seemed to perform the same, whether in 32 bit or 16 bit, and the framerate suffered very little, even when I upped the resolution. True, 1024 was noticeably more sluggish but still playable. But you know what? The Voodoo2 SLI (again default non-overclocked settings) would still be my card of choice. Why? Framerate. The controls seem much more responsive with the V2, which you just don't get with the TNT. And in a deathmatch scenario (which is after all what Quake III is all about), every extra fps counts.

"Maybe 32 bit colours will become king one day, but not now. The performance hit is just too much to make it feasible (at least for me)."

And the 16 bit colours? It isn't as apparent as you think. The image quality looked pretty much the same. The only area where the V2 clearly loses out to the TNT is in texture clarity. With the TNT, even when I move in close to the wall, the textures remain sharp and crisp. With the V2s, you default to the lores texture, which turns out blurry (because of the anti-aliasing feature used).

Maybe 32 bit colours will become king one day, but not now. The performance hit is just too much to make it feasible (at least for me). This is not to say that I will never switch to 32 bit colour. It just means the toll on the framerate is just too much for me to bear right now. I the framerate can hover around 60fps all the time using 32 bit colour, I will gladly hop on board.

Maybe all this will change with better drivers or finer-tuned code... or maybe I should just get Metabyte's TNT2 SLI when they become available (OK OK already, I know it isn't really an SLI but it just sounds cooler than PGP!) =)

 

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