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Crysis demo impressions, performance preview

Mike Doolittle's picture

The Crysis single-player demo is finally upon us, and with the game just weeks away we're finally starting to see what nearly two years of hype is leading up to. It's safe to say that most of the hype behind Crysis has had to do with its next-generation graphics engine, and everyone is of course anxious to find out how the game will perform. Of course, Crysis' technical legacy will be quickly forgotten if it's just a brainless beauty. Fortunately, Crysis is every bit as next-generation in gameplay as it is in looks. The amount of things that can be destroyed, and they realistic way in which the react, is truly groundbreaking. There's a real sense of unpredictability in the combat because the environment feels very lifelike and, for the most part, reacts as you would expect it to in real life. The artificial intelligence is also quite remarkable, and the game's wide-open levels allow for tremendous variations in strategy. Most surprising to yours truly, however, is the story; I was expecting predictable sci-fi pap, but the few dramatic sequences are very well done and it looks like it will be a very exciting storyline.

So, how does it perform? Here's the harsh reality: Crysis is a next-generation game designed to scale forward, and there's no way around that. There will probably be some further optimization in the final release, but you can only optimize so far. This is not a game that can be run on high settings on midrange hardware; even medium settings will likely strain a midrange setup. So it's important to approach Crysis with realistic expectations; if you have somthing like an 8600GTS or an 8800GTS 320, don't expect to be playing on high settings in high widescreen resolutions with anti-aliasing enabled. In fact, don't expect any of those features to be an option. Unless you are running a very high-end SLI system, do not expect to be playing this game on "very high".

My rig is an Intel Q6600 at 3.2ghz, an overclocked nVidia 8800GTX running at 648/1566/2000 (core/shader/memory), and 2GB of DDR2 1066 RAM running Vista 32-bit. The game defaulted to "very high" settings, and so excited about this, I went ahead an enabled 4x anti-aliasing. Well... I was greeted with single-digit frame rates. Disabling anti-aliasing brought frame rates into the teens and low 20s, but not smooth enough to be playable.

After fiddling around with numerous settings, I traced the performance to just two main settings: Object Quality and Shader Quality. All of the other settings have a small or insignificant impact on performance, even when set to "very high"; this may be a different story with a lower-end card with less vRAM, however.

Object Quality essentially determines how many objects are in the environment at any one time. At "very high", all objects are visible at all times; at "low", the objects are visible in reasonably close proximity, but

Shader Quality has a huge impact on performance as well, but it is also primarily responsible for the game's stunning visuals. The "very high" DirectX 10 shaders are absolutely stunning, but accordingly take a huge toll on frame rates.

Lastly, at this point, anti-aliasing is not an option for anyone but those running top-end SLI setups, such as dual 8800GTX cards. It may be an option for those running high-end setups who are willing to play the game in very low resolution, but in my experience the game looks better at high resolution without anti-aliasing than in low resolution with it.

I'd encourage you to begin by setting Object Detail to "low", and tweak the other settings to accommodate your setup. Certain settings such as physics may need to be scaled back depending on your CPU. One thing to note is that because of the game's use of motion blur at "high" or "very high" Post Processing, the game feels very smooth even at 25-30 frames per second. Lastly, if you have an nVidia card, be sure to update to the recent 169.01 beta drivers; these drivers are designed specifically for Crysis and provide a very good performance increase.

Category Tags
Series: Crysis  
Articles: Editorials  

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I want to add settings for

I want to add settings for Radeon HD 2900XT/PRO using windows XP with 22" 1680x1050 resolution.

All settings to high EXCEPT:
Post processing (motion blur) to medium. This decreases performance but only when you move your mouse (about 25%).
These settings give about 30fps/min IN-GAME -not in CGI-animations/intros

Optionally to get 35fps/minimum:
Shadows to medium. about 20% boost.

Optionally to get 40fps/minimum
Shaders to medium. About 20% boost.

all other settings don't do anything for performance.

Thanks!

Thanks for the info. What are the rest of your specs?

It's stuff like this that

It's stuff like this that really turned me off of PC gaming. =(

Then you're an idiot. If

Then you're an idiot. If you refuse to upgrade your hardware you WILL NOT be able to run newer games, unless you would like the entire PC gaming industry to stop progressing forwards technologically for the sake of yourself? If you don't like it, don't play it.. enjoy being left behind graphically on your 360 or ps3 though bub.

Joeblow wrote: Then you're

Joeblow wrote:

Then you're an idiot. If you refuse to upgrade your hardware you WILL NOT be able to run newer games, unless you would like the entire PC gaming industry to stop progressing forwards technologically for the sake of yourself? If you don't like it, don't play it.. enjoy being left behind graphically on your 360 or ps3 though bub.

"enjoy being left behind graphically on your ps3"?!

you are a real tard,do you even know what kind of power the ps3 posseses(give you a hint:alot more than any pc you can buy) anyyyyyywaaaay.... crytec has alredy started writing the first scripts for the ps3.and dont give me this "but its a pc exclusive" .point is if they dont sell for pc they will make it for ps3

PS3

Please do not attempt to create a nonsence argument. The PS3's specifications are readily available to anyone with a web browser and an Internet connection. It isn't even remotely funny to compare the weak processing power of a console to today's advanced quad-core and SLI enabled PC's (Even a Mac for that matter :) )

I think the main argument can be made though, that it does get kind of old sometimes spending upwards of $2000 every other year to keep up with the visuals, but if you have the money, it is also quite addicting...and as someone mentioned here, technology always has to move forward...and personally? The faster the better :) If I can't afford it? I'll buy a PS3.

The PS3 has eight cores

The PS3 has eight cores running at 1.5Ghz, each with 1mb cache, and costs $600. A nice computer costs you around 3k and has about 7 processors (2x GPU through Sli, 4x Quad Core Processor, 1x Sound or Physics processor)that run much faster than any of the PS3s. Graphic to price wise, it probably all scales out.

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