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Voodoo Shack: When Voodoo is what you do™

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60+ FPS in Q3A @ 1600x1200 with a V5 5500:  

originally posted June 16, 2001 at x3dfx "Discussion"

Who said you needed a stinkin' Geforce3? I just wanted to outline to all of you how you can get your V5 5500 to achieve 60FPS or better in Q3A Demo001 @ 1600x1200 resolution. Impossible, you say? Not at all, although some of the things I will be explaining might seem counterproductive if you have a smaller monitor. This will probably be a controversial post, but so be it.

Test System:

Pentium3 650e @ 728Mhz/112FSB
PCChips M761 i440BX motherboard
Corsair 256MB PC100 RAM @ CAS2
Quantum Fireball AS 20GB 7200rpm HD
Dell Ultrascan V17X Monitor (1600x1200x32 @ 75Hz)
Sounblaster PCI128 soundcard
3dfx V5 5500 @ 175MHz
Win98SE w/IE5.01 SP2 (all patches/updates)
x3dfx/Iceman 1.07.01 BETA drivers
vsync off

1. Go into your 3dfx Tools, and then into "3dfx advanced features." Make sure the "3d filter quality" is set on "high, and the "alpha blending" is "sharper." This will enable the post filter for the dithered 16bit color (approximately 22bit, or 4million colors). While you are in the tools, make sure FSAA is off and it is set for "fastest performance." Make sure you have vsync disabled as well.

2. Start Q3A, and go into "setup" and "system." Change the Graphics Settings to "High Quality," and then go down to Video Mode and change this to "1600x1200." Also change Color Depth to "16bit," but leave the Texture Quality at "32bit." This will allow you to play the game in 22bit color with 32bit textures. Click the "Accept" button on the lower right to make these the new settings.

3. Now for the controversial part. Click on "Display," and then look at the little slider adjuster (bottom red oval) for the "Screen Size." Put the middle dot of your cursor/aimer at the very back edge of the oval, just so you can see that it's there against the orange background next to the red oval. Click the left button on your mouse once, this should move the oval a slight distance to the left. Repeat this procedure again, and this should move the oval another slight distance to the left. Alot of people would consider this step cheating, since it will increase the ingame FPS, but make your viewable ingame display approximately 20% smaller than full screen. This is still acceptable for those with very large monitors (19-21" or larger) who want to play at this resolution. You can make the display even smaller if you want it faster, but I felt like this was the best compromise of viewable game display and speed.

4. Now look on the keyboard and hit the ~ key, which should bring down the console. Once the console is down, type the following, exactly (don't type the (enter) silly) :):

set cg_gibs 0 (enter)
set cg_brasstime 0 (enter)
set cg_shadows 0 (enter)

This is some more cheating I guess, but these new settings will provide you an additional 10+FPS, and you probably won't even know anything has changed. Even though gibs are less, there is still a shower of blood after you splatter somebody, and do you really notice the brass ejection of your weapon or shadows while you are trying to avoid being railed by your opponent? ;)

If you want to view your FPS in the right hand corner of your screen while running the demo (or playing the game), type:

cg_drawfps 1 (enter)

After all this is finished, while still in the console, type the following to run the demo001:

timedemo 1 (enter)
demo demo001 (enter)

On my test system, I went from a normal 1600x1200x22bit (no mods) score of 48.7 to a consistent 61.6FPS, and ingame playablility was excellent. There was no chop or slowdown, and even large battles were handled very well by my V5. The 22bit color with 32bit textures looks excellent, and it was nearly imperceptable when switching to 32bit color in my opinion. If you are a die-hard 32bit color fanatic and won't settle for less, I went from 32.7 to 41.6FPS in 32bit color settings. But 22bit color is really the ticket at this resolution, and it looks so much better than Nvidia 16bit color capabilities that it's scary. :)

I do all my benchmarks "real world," in other words, with all my regular programs running in the background (virus scanners, firewall software, etc) and connected to the internet. I also run "high quality" sound, since I doubt most of us play in silence. As an additional bonus to the above modifications, the higher you overclock your card, the better it will perform in fill-rate limited situations such as this, so I would clock it for all it's worth if you are able.

Copyrightę 2002 Nightstormer Productions