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a few thoughts on Lost Planet and DX10



Having looked at the DX10 demo version of Lost Planet I am in very mixed
I am in one sense discouraged and yet in another quite encouraged (bear with

I ran the demo on the following machine (not quite the absolute fastest
thing you can get but its well up there):
QX6700 quad processor, 4Gb Ram, 750Gb HD, 8800GTX (only one !), XiFi
Fatality Champion, 24" Dell 2407WFP, Vista Ultimate 64, etc

First a quick tip. If you get an error message about missing files.
Go to Microsoft DX10 page and click to download latest DX10.
You will be redirected to DX9 update page !
Download / run this update and everything will be OK.
(Don't ask me why)

For all the following my NVidia control panel options are having the slider
all the way to the right at the highest quality.

Firstly I turned all game options to High (and I mean everything),
resolution to 1920x1200, VSync on, AA and AF on, etc
Loop tested the Performance Test to get

Snow 15fps Cave 18fps

Next, turned HDR and Shadows down to Medium and shadow resolution to Default
(thats all)

Got Snow 30fps Cave 44fps

Finally tried turning resolution down to 1280 x 800 (still a widescreen
aspect) as well as above.

Increased to Snow 61fps Cave 61fps

I could have gone on to remove AA and AF etc, but its just swapping one
thing out for another.
(In a real game of course I would in fact do exactly that to achieve the
best result for as little quality loss as possible)

In one sense the results are disappointing.
To get properly playable frame rates you have to tone down (some of) the
very effects that DX10 is supposed to enhance.
And thats on the above system which absolutely flies with DX9.
Not a particularly good start.
However, looking closer at Lost Planet they haven't even removed a lot of
the XBox graphics (or controls), so how much credence can we place on this
being a particularly good conversion to DX10?
Not a lot in my opinion.
Just because a bodged together version can be made to work on DX10 doesn't
make it an optimal (or even good) marker of how the DX10 hardware and engine
will perform once properly optimised games are written from scratch
specifically for it.
I would be hard pushed to tell the difference between the DX9 and DX10
versions of Lost Planet.
Yes it works but is it better?

On the other side I am encouraged by all the plusses.
Drivers are not yet optimal (lots of room for improvement here, maybe
Games written for DX10 from the ground up will surely be better.
There are many aspects of DX10 (and DX10 compliant hardware) that are yet to
be exploited (at least in anything we have seen so far) and hopefully as
they will be native to the hardware and DX10 will be nice improvements at
minimal performance penalty
Shader Model 4 being a good example.
(The difference in Oblivion for instance between Shader Models 2 and 3 makes
me believe that 4 may well be something special)
Powerful as it is the 8800GTX is only the first generation of DX10 hardware,
and will soon be overshadowed.
(Though it does beg the question as to how the lesser versions will cope
(fail to cope?) )

All in all I am looking forward to such titles as Crysis and UT3 as I am
convinced they will be stunning.
However I suspect that to get the best out of them will require second
generation hardware (but thats the way it goes, as ever)

Just my personal view, but I thought I would share it with you.


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