Optimalization - Half Life 2

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King of Worms
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Optimalization - Half Life 2

Post by King of Worms » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:56 pm

So, Ive downloaded the Half Life quadrology in its most recent version (yes, HL2 is still somehow maintained and updated)

Started HL2, set everything on max, 2880 x 1800 resolution (16:10 monitor)

Ive been running around, realizing this game still looks better than many games in 2020. It could use a better textures in some places which are in general less visible. Ambient occlusion MIGHT help a bit. But the game was designed without it and it compensates.

Now...

Ive checked the usage of my system.

I expected low usage, but not this. This is the most polished engine guys. Open the picture and check the top left corner.

This game... Just check it and think about it :geek:
Try running it, see how great it looks, than look again :ugeek:

I think we forgot what our computers can really do, and we got used to lazy ports and amateurish developers, who use our money we spend on HW to save their work and money on optimalization.

Nowadays, we brute force everything, paying big bucks to do so.

ID software with their latest DOOM reminded us about it to some degree, that game flyes, but that is a exception.

That 37% in a 1st row is usage of GTX 970, rest is explained in the image
HL2.jpg
HL2.jpg (1.25 MiB) Viewed 249 times
Last edited by King of Worms on Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Optimalization

Post by King of Worms » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:04 pm

Ok so Ive switched to 3840 x 2400 and still have my GFX card running in silent mode without fans spinning, even in the cities. CPU is still around 3% usage. RAM and VRAM stays the same +/- few mb...

What I observed is that the AI is so much better in HL2 than in the modern games it makes u want to cry... the combine soldiers actually use their brains and create tactics and complex pathfinding :shock:

Plus indeed the game had quite a major overhaul by Valve, so it looks really gorgeous in 4k, and its VERY smooth, they have the latencies and framepacing really in check.

I found this vid where some of the graphical differences are shown.

If you havent played HL2 for a while, do so :D

It will remind you what it was all about


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MasonFace
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Re: Optimalization - Half Life 2

Post by MasonFace » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:49 pm

I loved HL2 and was always impressed with how well the game ran on the machines of the time.

I've always had a deep appreciation for the wizards who pioneered game engines of that era including John Carmack. I love reading about the hardware constraints the designers faced at the time and the ingenious compromises, and sometimes just insanely creative solutions these guys came up with to make it perform better than anyone thought was possible.

I feel like the John Carmacks of that era (let's say 1990-2005) were much more aware of their hardware constraints because those constraints were not as "soft" of constraints as they are now. Back then, there were much fewer hardware manufacturers, and not much of a hardware tier system. You had just a few options for processors and a few GPUs. It was pretty much: "top tier is this year's model, mid tier is last year's model, and anything older will not run this software." It was therefore incumbent upon the software designers to optimize as much as possible in order to increase their market. There is now so much granularity between CPU and GPU choices, that the issue is much smaller.

I very much agree that developers nowadays don't pay as much attention to performance limits as they should. They seem to prioritize high quality effects over optimization, and that's a shame. I don't mind them adding an "ULTRA" setting that uses higher quality experimental shaders that would be considered impractical for a modern machine at the time of launch, but they better keep the other settings as polished and stable as possible.

I think this has become more routine for developers because many people who play PC games are so attracted to those "ULTRA" settings that they don't mind forking out the money for it, and most console gamers have been happy with 30fps locked games for a long time, so developers haven't had much need to polish the performance in order to hit such a low bar.

But good optimization takes time, and time is money, and that's all the publishers seem to care about. Get it out on time - the rest can be patched... except you won't have time to because that won't earn money and you need to get started on the next AAA project. I've never worked in the game industry, but that's the impression that I get.

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Re: Optimalization - Half Life 2

Post by Interkarma » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:26 am

HL2 is one of my other favourite games of all time. It's definitely very well optimised and still looks beautiful today.

Joe Wintergreen had fun looking through the source code and pulling out bits and pieces of trivia, especially on the AI side of things. It's incredible just how "hacky" AI has to be to look smart. This article has some digestible highlights that make for fun reading.

GTAV is another stupidly optimised game. Having built a big streaming world myself, I have to pick up my jaw every time I play this game. I spend most of my time just marvelling at how smoothly it handles that huge map. This graphics study details how some of those optimisations and smart looks were achieved. I'm paying attention to this kind of thing while building tech for next game, trying to make it much smoother and richer looking.

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Re: Optimalization - Half Life 2

Post by King of Worms » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:37 am

All half life games ever released are for free untli april 1st or smthng

Just a heads up

https://www.guru3d.com/news-story/grab- ... games.html

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