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Rise of Nations Heaven » Forums » RoN Tech Support » RON Performance Tweaking
Topic Subject:RON Performance Tweaking
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posted 05-23-03 09:42 PM EDT (US)         
When you run Rise for the first time it profiles your system and stores grades for several key performance areas in the rise2.ini file. These grades are rated from A (best) to F (worst). E isn't used. The settings I'm talking about are SYS_grade_override, MEM_grade_override, CPU_grade_override, and GPU_grade_override. SYS is an overall average of the other 3. GPU is your video card. In addition to storing a grade these settings accept AUTO as a value. When set to AUTO, the system will determine the profile each time the game is run.

When you set a user profile for the first time, RON takes the grades I just mentioned and sets the graphics settings in the options screen to the values that are appropriate for your grades for use as the initial setting. From this point you can change these options to whatever you wish. You can also edit your rise2.ini file to change the grades.

Why change your grades? Because there are some game systems that are not on the options menu that power-users looking to tweak their system may be interested in understanding. Here are some useful tidbits of knowledge:

- If your SYS grade is lower than C, you'll get the low-detail terrain
- If your MEM grade is lower than C, you'll get the low-detail/non-upgrading unit art
- If your MEM grade is lower than C, all your buildings will use the same art set
- If your GPU grade is lower than C, you won't get pixel & vertex shader support (assuming your card supported those to begin with)
- If your CPU grade is A-B you'll get the animated movie menu backgrounds
- If your CPU grade is C-D you'll get the slideshow menu backgrounds
- If your CPU grade is F you'll get a static image menu background

Also, it's worth knowing that some of the in-game graphics options can produce bigger performance gains than others. I've listed some in rough order of performance gain by turning them off.

Surf - uses lots of polys. Turning this off means you won't see waves on the beach.

Trees - lowers the poly count and texture sizes. Trees won't look as good but the will be much more system-friendly.

Units - Doesn't draw fluff animals, birds, flock birds, owls, etc. Doesn't draw unit crew (a cannon would draw on it's own). Big performance gain but also an option that might not produce pleasing results.

Dead Bodies - units that don't block when they die, just disappear. They don't bleed also.

Ammo - This stops ammo from drawing in 3 different ways. Archers holding arrows (before they are fired), planes on the aircraft carrier before they have taken off, and building addons (like the log at the lumber mill). Yes, that log is "ammo".

Fog Of War (FOW) - turning this off means no more "smooth" fog fades.

Buildings - Farms don't sway with the wind and therefore don't recompute all the time.

Note on system specs: assuming even a modest 3D card and a decent CPU, the far and away most common source of poor performance is low RAM, especially on XP (which has a slightly larger footprint). RAM is often the least expensive and biggest improvement you can make in your system. A 1Ghz system with 512MB of RAM is probably going to run your game faster than a 2Ghz system with only 128MB. Of course your mileage may vary.

Another interesting setting in rise2.ini is VSYNC. By default VSYNC is set to 1 (on). Turning VSYNC off can cause graphical "tearing" when you pan the screen on most systems, especially if you don't run in fullscreen mode. You probably won't enjoy it as it looks really bad. Some lucky folks that run in fullscreen can get away with setting this to 0. The results on framerate for those people can be substantial (my system goes from ~50 FPS to 100+ FPS with VSYNC turned off). Note that having VSYNC off can cause a number of unpredictable graphics issues so use at your own risk. Doing this is totally unsupported, will void your warrenty, cause your hair to turn green, and might make your computer explode. In other words - don't blame me if it doesn't work for you.

Also, and I can't say this enough, update your video AND AUDIO drivers to the latest release. You might be surprised how much of a difference this can make.

Hope this helps you get some extra performance out of your system and Rise. I'd be interested in seeing the results some of you have so please post them here if you've got the mind to.

Paul "Gamegeek" Stephanouk
Producer / Big Huge Games

PS. A huge shout-out to BHG programmer Jason Bestimt for clearing up a lot of the info for this post.

posted 06-24-03 09:11 PM EDT (US)     26 / 52       
jock yes your card is holding you back. I would recommend a Radeon 9500 or GeForce 4200.
posted 06-27-03 06:55 PM EDT (US)     27 / 52       
Since the only 3-d components of RoN are the units, I would think that it would be more CPU dependent than video dependent, but this doesn't seem to be the case. I have a very modest CPU - 1.4 GHz athlon and a Radeon 9700 pro, but generally there is almost no difference in frame rate between being in the middle of a battle or just staring at empty ground at 1280x1024x32 with all details, 6x AA and 16x anisotropic filtering. I suspect that this may be because the frame rate is capped out at 100 due to vsync.
Regardless, if you're getting very poor frame rates, before you toss out your whole computer considering upgrading your graphics board. And definitely stay away from the Geforce 4 MX series - it's worse than a Geforce3 (I speak from personal experience). With the Geforce4 Ti now coming down in price a lot, that's a good budget solution, but if you have a little more dough, say around 200, definitely consider a Radeon 9700 (pro or non-pro) because it will let you have good performance with AA and filtering turned on.
posted 06-30-03 08:11 AM EDT (US)     28 / 52       
can i tweak this?


my wpa w/o including errors is 5 so shuddup about my spelling
jock cheese
posted 07-01-03 08:55 PM EDT (US)     29 / 52       
Thanks Grond - I replaced my gF4 MX 440 with a GF4 Ti 4200 128MB DDR ($220 Aussie) - now get about 80fps with all game and card settings setting minimized - seems to drop a bit when you get a solid aiforc going. With all game settings maxed I get about 30fps - 40fps with 16 bit colour. I'm happy!

BTW - I've had some really smooth games on 56K.

p4 1600
512 MBddr ram
GF4 Ti 4200 128MB
XP home
56k modem

posted 07-09-03 04:00 AM EDT (US)     30 / 52       
Someone above asked whether or not it was possible to disable the menu background animations without downgrading their CPU rating to F. I was looking through the rise2.ini file and found the following:


Set that line to 1 and voila, static menu background is achieved while keeping all other video card/cpu settings normal. Tried it myself and am very happy with the results (as before this, I was getting the smooth movies...and thus menu response wasn't as quick as I would've liked).

posted 07-14-03 05:33 AM EDT (US)     31 / 52       
I have noted that for me, the graphics settings have very little effect on the achieved/reported frame rates.

I have the following config:

* Laptop with 1400x1050 display

* 2.2 Ghz P4M processor

* 512 MB RAM

* ATI Radeon Mobility 7500 graphics card with 32 MB

* Slow laptop harddisk (5400 rpm )

All in all, a decent setup that is playable when I tried Unreal Tournament 2003. So I did expect reasonable framerates from RoN.

However, running at 1280x1024x32 resolution, I got about 5 fps. Tried downgrading all graphics options to low. Got 6 fps. So I just leave it all on, since the game looks better that way.

Going to 1024x768x32 resolution, I get about 8 fps. Unless the map is really big, when I get around 6. Once again, the quality settings have no effect whatsoever on framerates.

Anyone else had this experience? It does sound as if there is some odd bottleneck in my system that makes it hard to get decent framerates.

Changing the quality settings in the ATI driver did give a few extra fps, but at the cost of some sprites disappearing! You could see soldiers as just round red circles on the ground, but no bodies...

posted 07-14-03 02:41 PM EDT (US)     32 / 52       
I just tried some more, and by setting the "vsynch" setting in rise2.ini to 0, my framerates jumped into the mid-20s in 1024x768x32. So it seemed that it was stuck doing framerates that synched nicely with the 60 Hz of my LCD display... good tip for other laptop users: turn off vsynch!

Another issue is that I cannot seem to find the 16-bit color modes. Do I have to set my screen to 16 bits before starting RoN to get them? I believe they could give me a few more fps...

posted 07-16-03 04:17 PM EDT (US)     33 / 52       
One important point I haven't seen mentioned here (if so, I apologize in advance), make sure you download and install the latest chipset drivers for your motherboard!

For Intel Motherboards:

For AMD/via motherboards:

I hope this helps someone out there, because this game ROCKS! Hey, if I can get good performance with a laptop, anything is possible.


posted 07-26-03 05:05 PM EDT (US)     34 / 52       
~Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 2.8GHz 533MHz FSB w/ 512KB Cache & HyperThreading (Overclocked to 3.1 Ghz)
~ Memory: 1024MB DDR SDRAM PC-3200
~ Hard Drive One: 80GB Western Digital UltraATA 7200RPM 8MB Cache
~ Video Card: ATI® Radeon™ 9700 Pro 128MB (Overclocked and Hacked to a 9800 Pro)
~ Sound Card: Sound Blaster® Audigy 1394 - 5.1

All detail, settings, resolutions, texutres, set to High with 6x Anti-Aliasing.

min. 45 FPS
max. 77 FPS

Am I bragging? You bet . This game is BEAUTIFUL!!

Something I will recommend doing though is changing your virtual memory settings to "2 x How much ram you have" for both min. and max. page file size.

For example if I had 512mb Ram in my computer,
I'd right click "My Computer",
Go to properties,
Go to Advanced Tab,
Click settings under the "Performance" area,
Click another Advanced Tab,
Go to bottom where it says virtual memory and click "Change",
Select Custom Size dot if it isn't already selected,
Then put in 1024 for min. and 1024 for max. (1024 is 2 X 512)
Click ok, restart.
This way you don't fragment your pagefile for your memory.

If you have 256mb of Ram then it would be 512mb for min. and max. Etc.. etc..

posted 07-31-03 09:10 PM EDT (US)     35 / 52       
how do u overclock ur processor?
posted 08-05-03 11:25 AM EDT (US)     36 / 52       
You probably would want to check out
but there are many things you should know before overclocking your processor or any other parts in your computer. Heat, limits, stability, etc.

im @ 60fps and thats with vsync on, thanks to this site i found the .ini file ( why the heck i forgot bout it and didnt check for it before dont ask lol ).
But i just disabled vsync and it should now fly with a really good increase.

my system...
Via Chipset KT266A on BIOSTAR board
Athlon xp 1700+@1.55 for now
Samsung pc 2100 256mbs.
Geforce 4 ti4200 8xs 64mbs ddr

posted 08-12-03 10:44 PM EDT (US)     37 / 52       
Ok, I want to know if there is any problems that I can fix to get this game to run better. Here are my specs:

1GHZ Duron
384MB Ram
40GB 7200RPM HD
Geforce4 ti4200 128MB ddr ram
Onboard AC97 sound
Windows XP Pro

With this hardware, I get an average of 25fps with 1024x768x16, with everthing on low, in a campaign against 2 comps. I have the latest drivers for video and sound. This seems slower than it should be to me, and I don't know if its my hardware or the game.

Any help appreciated

posted 08-13-03 10:54 PM EDT (US)     38 / 52       
GreatPhilHansen, The Duron is dragging you down some and I would suggest going up to 512MB of RAM.
posted 08-15-03 09:24 AM EDT (US)     39 / 52       
Just a performance report. Athlon XP 2800+, GeForce FX 5600 Ultra 128 MB, 1GB DDR400 RAM, with all settings on high, at 1024x768x32 resolution. Gives about 80 fps with a huge map. My impression is that the graphics card is critical to good performance in RoN, since I only get 15 fps on my 2.2 Ghz P4/Radeon 7500 32 MB laptop, where the CPU and memory subsystem is not that much slower than my Athlon system.
posted 08-18-03 09:43 AM EDT (US)     40 / 52       
What I think is weird is that Command & Conquers: Generals and Warcraft III run at a better framerate than RoN, even at the highest setting.

These games are in full 3D so I think that they should be much more ressources hungry than RoN...

posted 08-18-03 06:06 PM EDT (US)     41 / 52       
RoN is full 3D. The only game elements that are not 3D are the building graphics, but they still have 3D objects in the 3D game world representing them.

I have a feeling that most of the performance problems related to RoN have to do with the unit AI. RoN requires a lot more CPU than other games, probably because its AI is doing more work.

_/\ C • Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is crud.

[This message has been edited by Carch (edited 08-18-2003 @ 06:07 PM).]

Hey You Rogue
posted 08-19-03 11:39 AM EDT (US)     42 / 52       
Everytime RoN crahses, it produces a DirectX Diagnostic log file placed in the c:\windows\temp folder. I suspect the CTD is related to RoN's API programming of the DirectX 9 runtime and library. Perhaps, BHG wants us to do the testing for them. We should all get paid.
Eric Fuller
posted 08-29-03 03:05 PM EDT (US)     43 / 52       
This post is specifically re: menu graphics (though if you want to expound further on this generally I won't complaing ;-). Someone mentioned that they see 'movies' behind the menus and then someone else said they see a slideshow and that means they have a GPU grade of C - D. I get that slide show. My video card is a 64MB NVIDIA GeForce2 MX Graphics Card and I was curious how much of an upgrade I'd need to step up video performance, or if it's worth it in the first place. Other than that I've got XP on a 2GHz processor with 768 MB of RAM which will go full monty at 1024 before too long, maxing memory capacity for the machine. Would manually chaning the .ini file GPU grade to 'A' do the trick, or would it just tie up my machine's capabilities in a way that would slow down performance.

[This message has been edited by Eric Fuller (edited 08-29-2003 @ 03:09 PM).]

S31 Towelly
posted 08-29-03 03:47 PM EDT (US)     44 / 52       
eric a new video card .. will make you a very happy person MX basicly is nothing ... go to .. you wont be sorry

[S31]-Towelly aka = Apocalypse Send us your Replays !
As a Human I will not Worship any Being out there.. I can not Lower myself !!!
Ace Cataphract
HG Alumnus
(id: Ace_Cataphract)
posted 08-29-03 08:13 PM EDT (US)     45 / 52       
My friend got RoN recently, and it said his video card wasn't supported. It was a ProSavage. If that happens to you, go to the document that say's video-card compatability, and change the scripting to allow your video card. I did that, and my friend was able to play, even though the mountains looked snow-capped, and the trees looked radioactive.

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. ~George Carlin
Wong Edan
posted 08-31-03 12:44 PM EDT (US)     46 / 52       
I play with the map size: big huge, 7 computer palyers, all visible, all render seting is high, use 1024x768x16, game speed is normal. I got 29fps - peace, and 7-9 fps - war. I got animated menu background too , by manually edit the rise2.ini file

1.1 GHz Celeron
256 MB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX (64 MB)

=== just a report ===

Eric Fuller
posted 09-02-03 10:50 AM EDT (US)     47 / 52       
S31 Towelly - any suggestions on alternate vid cards? I can look, but there's so many.
posted 04-08-07 05:38 AM EDT (US)     48 / 52       
Hi All,

I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post in, so if I am posting in the wrong one, my apologies!

I don't have any major problems running the game, but I was wondering if there was a way to permanently change the resolution so that everytime I start up RON, it would always start at that selected resolution. The game runs fine at 1600 x 1200 x 32 (which is the resolution I'd like to permanently set it to) but every time I start RON, it starts off at the lowest resolution and I always have to change it manually. I've tried to peek in the .ini files but am not sure how to set it manually and am not sure if there is a way to do that. Can anyone help me?

Any help would be appreciated! ^^


posted 01-24-08 06:26 PM EDT (US)     49 / 52       
hello i have recently got myself a big ass widescreen hdtv. my computers workin perfectly on it and all other games run fine age of empires etc, normally by just lowering the resolution to 800 x 600 instead of 1024 x 768 to stop the flickering. But rise of nations has decided to be a bastard and not allow me to reduce the resolution any lower than 1024 x 768. any way to change this tried changin rise2.ini but dont work just came up with all the higher resolutions. I have a Radeon X800XT graphics card. Thx Reefa
posted 01-12-09 01:30 AM EDT (US)     50 / 52       
I love you guys!

I have been searching for days to fix my problems with RoN. I even tried three different OSes and several different driver versions with no change in the game. Finally I stumble across this forum and the answer is right there! Thanks!


My RoN suddenly changed to 1024x768 and wouldn't let me change it. It was that one setting in the rise2.ini for performance grading set to auto... What crap..
posted 09-12-09 06:22 AM EDT (US)     51 / 52       
Great tips

[This message has been edited by Midyan91 (edited 09-12-2009 @ 08:34 PM).]

posted 12-18-10 03:27 AM EDT (US)     52 / 52       
I cannot find this file, is it the "BHGVidCardConfig" file?
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