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Geneforge 5 Windows Speed Improvement Test Version

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Some users have had speed difficulties with Geneforge 5: Overthrow for Windows. On some machines without an OpenGL compatible video card, the game can play slowly. Alas, this includes many machines with Intel GMA graphics chips (which are common).

 

Based on feedback from the field, we have released a test beta application which might be able to solve some of these speed problems. If the game plays slowly for you, to get the new version:

 

1. Download the new application file at

 

ftp://ftp.spiderwebsoftware.com/temp/Geneforge5v101test.zip

 

2. Unpack it. Copy it into the Geneforge 5 folder (which should be in Program Files/Spiderweb Software) and run it. (To verify it's running, the version number of the title screen should be v1.0.1test.)

 

3. When the Screen Size dialog box at the beginning of the game comes up, select the Play In Fast Graphics Mode checkbox.

 

4. See how it runs.

 

Please let me know if this helps (or doesn't help). You can post in this thread or write us at spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com. When you give feedback, it is VERY helpful if you tell us about your system (OS, chip type, video hardware). Without any system information, your feedback probably won't help.

 

You can give us the most helpful information by: Select Run from the Start Menu, run dxdiag, hit the Save All Information button, and E-mail the resulting file to us.

 

I really hope this helps, and thank you for your patience.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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When I try and open it, I get to the box that asks me if I want to play in a window or fullscreen, and I've chosen both ways, the screen will pop up then promptly close.

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For those that are horrendously bad with computers;

 

what do you mean by "unpack"? I've saved the file to my desktop, and I tried opening the file but nothing opens it.

 

If it matters, I'm using Windows Vista Basic.

 

Thanks in advance!

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Originally Posted By: Dogterror
For those that are horrendously bad with computers;

what do you mean by "unpack"? I've saved the file to my desktop, and I tried opening the file but nothing opens it.

If it matters, I'm using Windows Vista Basic.

Thanks in advance!


The file is compressed, so that you can download it faster. When you download it, it probably uncompresses (i.e. unpacks) it and turns it into the regular file. Then, to get it to run, you need to find and drag it into the Geneforge 5 folder.

Or you can just wait. In a week or two, this version will probably be available by the regular simple download. I'm just testing it out now.

Thanks to everyone for your feedback.

- Jeff Vogel

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It's a zip archive. Right-click, extract the archive (there should be an option for it in there somewhere), and copy the file within to the Geneforge 5 folder. Then run the game from that file.

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I have tried this, and it improves the speed slightly. However, it is still slow to the point of unplayability.

 

For 16-bit colour do you mean in the Geneforge settings or the actual monitor settings?

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Originally Posted By: The Lost Anvil
I have tried this, and it improves the speed slightly. However, it is still slow to the point of unplayability.

For 16-bit colour do you mean in the Geneforge settings or the actual monitor settings?


Thanks for this feedback, but it's not really helpful without my knowing anything about your machine.

Could you select Run from the Start Menu, run dxdiag, and tell me your processor, your operating system, and, most importantly, what video card/hardware you have?

16 bit color would be the actual monitor setting.

- Jeff Vogel

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Ok, I have the following:

 

Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600)

 

Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 CPU 2.80GHz

 

Graphics card/Video card (both come up with this): Intel® 82865G Graphics Controller

 

 

 

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I have also tried the patch, but it is still very slow, to the point of being non-playable.

My info is

Computer Model: Sony VAIO PCG-GRZ-660

Misc Info: 512 MB of RAM 40 GB hard drive

Processor: Intel Pentium CPU 2.40 Ghz

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional (5.1 Build 2600)

Video Card: ATI Mobility Raedeon 7500 driver 6.14.0010.6727

Video Card Processor: ATI Raedeon Graphics AGP

DAC Type: Internal DAC (400 Mhz)

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Originally Posted By: br553
I have also tried the patch, but it is still very slow, to the point of being non-playable.
My info is
Computer Model: Sony VAIO PCG-GRZ-660
Misc Info: 512 MB of RAM 40 GB hard drive
Processor: Intel Pentium CPU 2.40 Ghz
OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional (5.1 Build 2600)
Video Card: ATI Mobility Raedeon 7500 driver 6.14.0010.6727
Video Card Processor: ATI Raedeon Graphics AGP
DAC Type: Internal DAC (400 Mhz)


Mobility cards aren't meant for gaming except some old games. You could try updating drivers or allocating more memory for its use.

Originally Posted By: The Lost Anvil
Ok, I have the following:

Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600)

Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 CPU 2.80GHz

Graphics card/Video card (both come up with this): Intel® 82865G Graphics Controller


Old integrated graphic card so if your computer has AGP-slot then you can upgrade that to be able play GF5. What AGP-cards fit your computer depends what kinda AGP-slot on your computer has. You didn't say is your comp laptop or normal.

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I tried this version, and the first time I tried, it hung in the middle of the first battle. Now I can't even get past the dialog that leads to that battle.

 

My specs:

 

Machine: Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2

Processor: Intel® Core2 Duo CPU T5550 @ 1.83GHz (2 CPUs)

Memory: 2038MB RAM

Hard drive: 143 GB, 98 GB free

DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)

Video card/Graphics card: Mobile Intel® Express 965 Chipset Family

 

I'm running the game on 16-bit color and the smallest window size, as well.

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Well, it looks like I may be out of luck until I get a new computer. My memory card has 32 MB of dedicated memory on the card, and the computer BIOS, nor the settings for the card have any provision for allocating more memory as video memory. As far as drivers are concerned, I attempted to upgrade to version 6.5 (the newest available from the manufacturer)and kept getting an error that no video driver was installed, please install a VGA driver first. The computer is about 6 years old, which in computer terms is obsolete, even though it has the 2.4 P4 512MB Ram, 40GB HDD and a factory installed DVD burner. Seeing as how it was only $200 on Ebay 2 years ago, I am reluctant to part with it. It still works perfectly for all of my other Spiderweb software games, so I will have to be happy with those.

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Ok, this new version is working much, much better for me - except, I am still enabling S3TC texture compression through graphics card settings in order to make the game playable. I was doing that with 1.0 anyway, but the game still slowed down in areas with lots of animated landscape features; almost all of that slowdown is gone now with 1.01.

 

Oh, and Celeron 2.4, Windows XP home SP 3, and Intel 82845G onboard graphics.

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Originally Posted By: Yoga Firebolt! Yoga Flamestrike!
That isn't the first battle. It sounds like Dareva is talking about the fight with the four terrified serviles and the bugs.


Yes, that's the one I mean. I didn't want to give things away for anyone who hadn't even been able to start a game, but I guess that was rather more vague than I needed to be.

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Does anyone by chance know the OpenGL version that is required? After more research, my card (which was first deployed in 2001) is able to support up to ver 1.3. I may have found a workaround to try this evening.

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Originally Posted By: dareva
Originally Posted By: Yoga Firebolt! Yoga Flamestrike!
That isn't the first battle. It sounds like Dareva is talking about the fight with the four terrified serviles and the bugs.


Yes, that's the one I mean. I didn't want to give things away for anyone who hadn't even been able to start a game, but I guess that was rather more vague than I needed to be.


It's my own fault if I read Geneforge 5 spoilers in a thread with "Geneforge 5" in the title.

I must be masochistic or something.

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As of the evening of February 26th, I have replaced the v101 test with a new test application file. The download link is the same, and the version number on the title screen will be v1.0.1testb.

 

I made some more optimizations, and this version, when you select Fast Graphics Mode on the opening dialog box, will be faster. How much faster? I'm not sure. But it will put a lot less pressure on your video hardware.

 

As always, if you have speed problems and try out the new version, please tell me how it goes.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I have tried this out and to my great pleasure it works! Thank you Jeff! smile

 

EDIT: It is still a bit slow in combat for some reason though. Same goes with menus and convos and such.

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Originally Posted By: The Lost Anvil
I have tried this out and to my great pleasure it works! Thank you Jeff! smile

EDIT: It is still a bit slow in combat for some reason though. Same goes with menus and convos and such.


Basically, this new version (1.0.1testb, released 2/26) halves the amount of memory graphics take up in your system (with a small loss of quality). Computers have several places they store graphics. From some places, they can draw the graphics quickly, and in some places, slowly.

When lots of graphics are loaded (like combat or dialogue windows), the game is forced to put more graphics in slow places. And thus the speed hit. I just made it so the machine could fit more in the slow places.

Thank you very much for the feedback. Let me know if you ever hit a spot where it's unplayable again.

- Jeff Vogel

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I just tried both test versions, with no appreciable gain in speed. Since I have a fast computer anyway, I didn't expect the game to go much faster for me. I'm more or less happy with the current speed; and I'm perfectly willing to live with a little bit of lag, because I normally take it into account with every game I play, regardless of manufacturer.

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As of the afternoon of February 27th, I have replaced the v101 test with a new test application file. The download link is the same, and the version number on the title screen will be v1.0.1testc.

 

I have maintained the optimizations in v101testb that put far less pressure on video hardware when running in Fast Graphics Mode. In addition, I have set some flags which should help OpenGL to locate and use hardware acceleration.

 

Thank you for your patience during this refining process, as I use data from the field to try to get Geneforge 5 working better with a wide variety of hardware. As always, if you have speed problems and try out the new version, please tell me how it goes.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I've tried the 3rd version. There may be some very marginal improvement, but it is still very slow, paticularly when "clicking" on anything on the screen. Also at start up, instead of the various graphics screen that would come up, it's just a white background, and where the version and registration info would be is just some white boxes with vertical lines in it. Also, as soon as I click on Settings, I get a "Geneforge 5.exe has encountered a problem and must close" The error signature mentions Geneforge5.exe and also OpenGL32.dll. All other spidweb games I have run great, including Geneforge 4, the Nethergate re-release, and Avernum 5, the most recent games before GF 5

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...and I just found the problem! At the bottom of the Geneforge 5 download page, it says 64MB of video memory required. Since my card has 32MB built in and no way to allocate system memory as video memory, I guess I am SOL until I get a new computer, but I'm sorry to say I won't buy one just for this game, when my current laptop works fine. Too bad G5 wasn't made closer in requirements or function to the other Geneforge games. frown

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@br553: It will actually work with 32MB, especially if you play in Fast Graphics Mode. But I think that the age of your video card will defeat you.

 

It is unfortunate that I had to make the move to video acceleration, but I have reached the point where I simply cannot take the engine in the direction I want to without taking advantage of video hardware.

 

@Lost Anvil: Have you tried using Fast Graphics mode?

 

- Jeff Vogel

 

 

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Yep, your right on the card. The laptop was absolute cutting edge top of the line in 2003, but the research I did on the internet suggests the video card is even older, about 2001, nearly 8 years old, ancient in computer terms. Oh well, I will have to do without the game now, but with luck, my wife and I may get a new computer towards the end of the year, so if that happens, I will have to give it a try. I have played the first 4 games of the series, and am eager to find out how the story plays out, once I get a better computer. I have finished the Avernum series (1-5) and really enjoyed the gaming as well as the storyline.

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One thing I'm curious about is why this affects the PC version so much more than the Mac version. Presumably the processing demands of the graphics are similar, but the Mac version runs fine with built-in crap like my GMA 950.

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Originally Posted By: Slarturnalia
One thing I'm curious about is why this affects the PC version so much more than the Mac version. Presumably the processing demands of the graphics are similar, but the Mac version runs fine with built-in crap like my GMA 950.


I am very, very curious about that too. It is very weird. Maybe poor OpenGL support? Maybe bad drivers? Maybe weird interaction with the OS? Maybe I messed up initializing OpenGL?

The test3 version is more careful in how it sets up OpelGL, and _some_ GMA users have reported improvement.

It's so frustrating. Macintosh Geneforge 5 was DEVELOPED on a GMA chip.

- Jeff Vogel

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*NIX-OS's have used OpenGL more than Windows so maybe *NIXes have better OpenGL-optimazion than Windows or Intel has better drivers for Macs than Windows.

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On my system (GMA X3000) the demo appeared to play fine until I opened a certain window (equip the knife I believe) at that point it nearly froze up. The mouse would move every 2 secs or so and wouldn't register clicks. Now I can't get to that point since other windows have the same trouble. Most importantly, the preferences window. I am unable to change video resolution (or settings) because I can't use the mouse in that window.

 

Is there any other way I can try this new version?

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Originally Posted By: Kygron
On my system (GMA X3000) the demo appeared to play fine until I opened a certain window (equip the knife I believe) at that point it nearly froze up. The mouse would move every 2 secs or so and wouldn't register clicks. Now I can't get to that point since other windows have the same trouble. Most importantly, the preferences window. I am unable to change video resolution (or settings) because I can't use the mouse in that window.

Is there any other way I can try this new version?


I'll be releasing v1.0.1 on Monday or Tuesday. Just uninstall v1.0 and get v1.0.1 when its out. There is a good chance that it will improve your situation.

- Jeff Vogel

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This version c seems to work pretty well on my machine. It is a little slow, but I'll gladly take that when comparing to the previous version barely working at all.

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Well, I definitly haven't really solved my problems, but I've tried on a different (and slightly faster) computer and it works perfectly. Too bad I have barely any access to that comp :'(

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Originally Posted By: Spidweb
Originally Posted By: Kygron
On my system (GMA X3000) the demo appeared to play fine until I opened a certain window (equip the knife I believe) at that point it nearly froze up. The mouse would move every 2 secs or so and wouldn't register clicks. Now I can't get to that point since other windows have the same trouble. Most importantly, the preferences window. I am unable to change video resolution (or settings) because I can't use the mouse in that window.

Is there any other way I can try this new version?


I'll be releasing v1.0.1 on Monday or Tuesday. Just uninstall v1.0 and get v1.0.1 when its out. There is a good chance that it will improve your situation.

- Jeff Vogel



yes, fast mode did solve my problem, and there was enough time before regular mode failed to reset the options to allow fast mode.

thanks, I enjoy what I can play of your games, and you'll get money when I do smile

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I tried the test version briefly, it does work. I turned off all the frills and sound. It seems that I need to double-click rather than single-click a lot of the time.

Edit: make that occasionally, I increased virtual memory and closed all other programs.

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I downloaded the patch, and it had...interesting results. If I turn 'Draw Extras' off, everything works fine. If I turn it on, then it still runs perfectly...until I try to open the inventory, a container, or a shop. Then it begins to lag terribly until I close the inventory window, when it works fine.

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Originally Posted By: beren terino
I downloaded the patch, and it had...interesting results. If I turn 'Draw Extras' off, everything works fine. If I turn it on, then it still runs perfectly...until I try to open the inventory, a container, or a shop. Then it begins to lag terribly until I close the inventory window, when it works fine.


This means you're getting low on video memory. If you run the game in 16 bit color but leave Draw Extras on, you should still get decent performance.

Also, you might want to try upgrading to v1.0.2 when it's out in the next few days. I made some other changes that might help.

- Jeff Vogel

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