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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 05-25-03 11:15 AM EDT (US)     1 / 52       


gamegeek wrote
- 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

I tested this and didt get the the same result. But when i changed the GUP grade i get exactly that result.


EE Playtester
posted 05-25-03 11:31 AM EDT (US)     2 / 52       
It is really important that we keep this topic to strictly performance related questions. Please keep all other non performance questions regarding the game in the Rise of Nations Tech support forum, thank you.
posted 05-26-03 00:52 AM EDT (US)     3 / 52       
I have 382 mb of RAM w/ a 1 GHz Celeron and 32 mb TNT2... would upgrading to 512 make that substantial of a difference? Right now I'm getting a measly 7 fps on low detail setting on the lowest resolution. Thanks.
posted 05-26-03 05:01 PM EDT (US)     4 / 52       
This thread is really for the effect of adjusting the rise2.ini settings. That said a RAM improvement would probably help if you are running XP. XP has a largish footprint. From the look of your specs, however, a modest video card upgrade would probably have the largest impact (assuming your RAM isn't swapping to disk).
posted 05-27-03 10:29 AM EDT (US)     5 / 52       
Wow, thanks! I luck out. Turned off Vsync and saw no ill effects. Set all four parameters to "A" and ...

Omigawd! There's a dead witch under the house and the whole thing is in technicolor! I see movies behind the menu and the maps are revealed to be excellent and there are incredible levels of details everywhere in buildings and units that I had not seen before.

Equipment is Toshiba 1955 S-801 multimedia "laptop" with 2.2 GHZ P4, 512 Meg RAM, Nvidia GeForce4 440 Go with 32 Meg, running in 1240 x 768 x 16, XP Home Edition fully upgraded except for Q811493, with BIOS upgrade from Toshiba for motherboard, and I have the latest Nvidia Detonator Drivers.

Performance? ... eh ... adequate ... running 29 fps which drops off to what looks like 2 or 3 fps during the densest battles with 10 to 15 fps the usual worst case condition. Switching to 32 bit color instantly degraded max fps from 29 to 15.

Like I say, performance is adequate ... but I think perhaps to run with all features and parameters maxed out, I would be happier with at least a 64 Meg card and a Gig of RAM would probably not be unwelcome. Even so, I like it with the feature parameters maxed out and will put up with a little jerkiness now and again in exchange for maps, units, buildings, and special effects that are competitive in appearance with other high-end games.

posted 05-30-03 02:38 PM EDT (US)     6 / 52       
I get the slideshow menu backgrounds, thus my CPU grade is C-D.

Is there any way I can turn off the slideshow and get a static background without making RON think my CPU is an F?


Yeshua ha Moshiach (Jesus the Christ) is the WORD of God!
Obi Wan Jabroni
posted 05-30-03 02:49 PM EDT (US)     7 / 52       
Ok I got a:

1Ghz P3
TNT2 32mb Graphics card
128mb RAM (I KNOW!)
Windows XP

Well I put all the sets on "C" grade cuz i dont want it getting terrible, AND i set my VSYNC at 0 but i dont get no improvements. Im ranging from 1-9 fps and its terrible!

I have DSL btw......I thought VSYNC gave substantial help? Do i set it all to F?

posted 05-31-03 03:50 PM EDT (US)     8 / 52       
Just curious what the following settings in the rise2.ini file mean:

Don't Allow Texture Compression=0

Also I was curious while the game will only let me select a resolution of 1024x768, I believe I read somewhere it also supports 1280x1024 and 1600x1200, I have large monitor and wanted to run at a higher resolution. I believe I have the hardware to do so. (Athlon 2400+, 1GB DDR400 RAM, Radeon 9700 Pro)
Thanks in advance.

posted 06-02-03 10:13 AM EDT (US)     9 / 52       
Well my system is, 800mhz, 512ram, and a 64mb Video Card. When I looked at the specifications, it was 800mhz, 128mb ram, and a 16mb Video card i think, look when i get home. But when i was playing i started to lag when i got into the Modern Age, I start lagging really bad, when i have a large army, i think this is my proccessor, can you guys specify this, and i was looking at gamegeeks post, and the menu goes into a slideshow, i guess it says my computer is a Grade C-D or whatever. if it my proccessor please tell me so i can buy a new proccessor and play this game happilly.
Thx You

#strategy -- irc.gamesnet -- Strategy Gamers Channel
posted 06-02-03 12:22 PM EDT (US)     10 / 52       
Any time any of your system specs are close to the minimum for a game, you're going to see marginal performance.
posted 06-03-03 01:07 AM EDT (US)     11 / 52       
pretty neat , ill have to try this sometime.
so far im getting 15-25 fps, all settings on low.

my specs:
+16mb tnt2 gfx card
+128 mb ram

posted 06-03-03 11:18 AM EDT (US)     12 / 52       
I'm getting around 70 FPS at a minimum with full details and with Anti-Aliasing and Aniso-Tropic filtering on in my driver settings. Game runs and looks great.
posted 06-04-03 00:38 AM EDT (US)     13 / 52       
Carmen 813 wrote:


Also I was curious while the game will only let me select a resolution of 1024x768, I believe I read somewhere it also supports 1280x1024 and 1600x1200, I have large monitor and wanted to run at a higher resolution. I believe I have the hardware to do so.

I found that by editing the rise2.ini, and setting the line that says "ShowAllResolutions=1" (the default is 0), that I have a broader selection of screen resolutions.

We now return to our regularly-scheduled (performance) discussion.

Very respectfully,

posted 06-04-03 11:51 AM EDT (US)     14 / 52       
My game starts at 85 fps then slows down to 50 by the end of the game. That seems to make sense. It's probably a CPU limitation I'm guessing.

AMD 1800+
Geforce4 Ti 128

I'll have to give 1600x1200 a shot, that sounds sweet.

posted 06-05-03 11:38 AM EDT (US)     15 / 52       
I set showallres = 1 and I got more options but no 1600x1200. There was just a wierd size like 1600x1024. Maybe it can't do 1600x1200
posted 06-05-03 06:18 PM EDT (US)     16 / 52       
how do i find my specs in my computer to see what i need to update as far as drivers and such. Please email me privately,


posted 06-06-03 00:44 AM EDT (US)     17 / 52       
Well that's so weird.

I have an Athlon XP 1900, 768 Megs of SD Ram, Geforce 4 MX 420 and it says I only get 12 FPS with all settings to the Max.

Hahahaha and people are getting better frame rates than myself with lower performance computers.

I am running on Windows XP Home.

LH 8472

"There is nothing better than a heart of a Lion"
"For all your hosting needs"

posted 06-06-03 12:51 PM EDT (US)     18 / 52       
it usually helps to get the latest graphics drivers. I know the MX 420 is significantly slower than the 440, but it should do better than 12fps
posted 06-06-03 03:34 PM EDT (US)     19 / 52       
I'm getting about 90 fps from start to finish..

But I'm also running an AMD 2800 Barton with 1 gig DDR400 Ram and an ATI 9800 Pro.

Don't I just suck!

posted 06-14-03 10:13 AM EDT (US)     20 / 52       
I used to have a clicking problem on the menu.I couldnt click on the buttons without pressing and holding the right button and clicking the left button.I couldnt play quick battles too.Then i changed the cpu grade from "auto" to "f" and the problem was solved.I also opened a topic about that but no one cared.If anyone has that problem take a note; changing it to "f" helps(It is due to the animated movie i think)

And gamegeek setting options to low doesnt really make a huge performance increase at all.It increases the fps but it is still the same in the intense battles(I tested it)
Anyway the system requirements for this kind of game is pretty good.I can play a quick battle against 5 comps (3v3) with few slowdowns on a p3 800 gfroce 2 ti and 256 mb ram.
Great job

[This message has been edited by psychoJr (edited 06-14-2003 @ 10:18 AM).]

posted 06-16-03 11:23 PM EDT (US)     21 / 52       
Hi, my first RoN HG Forums post.

IMO Geforce 4 MX is worst than Geforce 2. i think that the frame rate counter is not very accurate as 1- it sometimes display 0 while i can see my units moving smoothly 2- u need about 25 framerates to see smooth life like anims, 9 fps would create very jerky images, and although the counter says i have 9, my anim is definitely quite smooth.

As RoN uses DirectX 9, it would be best to get DX 9 compatible graphics card - or forget about high frame rates. u should have at least 1.8 ghz (slow) and 256 mb ram at least. whats good but not overkill is a 2.2 ghz (2 ghz is quite okay), 512 mb ram or better, and geforece FX 5200, which is a solid mid range DX 9 card. this should give u framerates that is good

the biggest problem that all of us face is as this is a microsoft game, they would put in DX 9, except that graphic cards which do not support DX 9 are not able to cope with the stress, as DX 9 based game do not work well with DX 8.1 hardware the best solution is to go dl all new drivers, many of which can make ur hardware at least more compatible with DX 9, a clunky thing that only 6 or 7 graphics card support, and 3 of them being overkill cards

posted 06-17-03 08:24 AM EDT (US)     22 / 52       
I have an AMD 2600, GeForce 3 500 and 1 GB of DDR3500. Running at 1280x1024 at 32 bit with all render elements on high I get around 25fps and 15fps in a really big game with the Space Program. It plays ok but that seems a little slow for the hardware.
Darker than you
posted 06-17-03 03:43 PM EDT (US)     23 / 52       
I just logged in to say... this:


As RoN uses DirectX 9, it would be best to get DX 9 compatible graphics card - or forget about high frame rates. u should have at least 1.8 ghz (slow) and 256 mb ram at least. whats good but not overkill is a 2.2 ghz (2 ghz is quite okay), 512 mb ram or better, and geforece FX 5200, which is a solid mid range DX 9 card. this should give u framerates that is good

Is crap.

While having hardware that supports DX9 is nice, it isn't critical. I play on a GeForce4 Ti4200, and you think that it has anything near DX9 support, you are sadly mistaken. I can pull 30 to 40 fps at 1024x768x16, less if the game has more units running around.

Next, 1.8Ghz is not "slow". It is only slow if you're one of those types of people who has to have every program you own running in the background, and a shortcut to each in the Start menu, Quicklaunch area, and Desktop. The AMD Athlon 1600+ XP I play on runs at a cold 1.4Ghz, and the game runs just fine.

I have to agree with the RAM comment, though. 256MB nowadays is crap, and if you bought a Dell with Windows XP and only 128MB of RAM - I pity you.

A GeForceFX 5200 is not a GeForceFX, but comparable to a GeForce3 Ti200. From this link, and I quote:


The GeForce FX 5200 Ultra is the successor to the GeForce4 MX family, and sports all new features over the previous chip. These features bring up the speed, image quality, and full DirectX 9 compliance. That means it can play today's games and tomorrow's.

Appending statement: at 800x600x32. Yuck.

A good card that will hold you together is something like an MSI GeForce4 Ti4200, which is decent performance for a relatively small amount of cash (I speak from experience - $79 of it, in fact), which is overclockable to Ti4600 speeds (again, experience). If you'd like to raise the bar, you could go for a true Ti4600 or a Ti4800 - but bear in mind, the Ti4800 is just a Ti4600 with 8x AGP support. Make sure your mo-bo supports it.

Further up the ladder is the Radeon 9500, followed by the 9700. Beyond that is the FX 5800, which is really just a waste of cash at the current time. For a few hundred bucks, you get maybe, maybe a 10% improvement over a 9700 Pro, at most.

My advice? Save your cash, do what I did, and grab a Ti4200 - 4600 cheap as you can find, from a respectable company. You don't have to be cutting edge to play the latest games.

"My head asplode."
jock cheese
posted 06-19-03 09:14 PM EDT (US)     24 / 52       
I get around 40 fps with all game and driver settings set to absolute minimum. With all game settings maxed i get 15-20fps, with game and driver settings maxed it is like 5fps.

p4 1600
512 MBddr ram
gf4 440mx
XP home

Do you reckon adding a Ti 4600 will give make a huge difference? I'm happy with the fps but some more eye candy would be fun.

posted 06-20-03 08:07 AM EDT (US)     25 / 52       
to ThePerfectCore, i did not say that having DX9 stuff is essential, i said it would be best to have them, of course and when i meant high frames rates, i mean like 50++, sry i didn't really specify

presently, the best graphics card is the ATI RADEON 9800 with 256mb and 8 pipelines its like 25% better than FX5800, takes only one slot, and doesnt sound like a leafblower. but buying overkill cards is stupid, they cost damn alot, and is not necessary, except for Doom III. just get a solid midrange card and u'll be good enough

also, i wanted to say FX5600, not the weaker FX5200, the are others mentioned are excellent midrange cards

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