Half Life 2


Lately, I 'ave been mostly playing Half Life 2. It's very, very impressive, especially in the power of the rendering engine and in the story.

I played through Doom 3 on my Windows PC, and it was barely playable. I could get a framerate of 20fps at the lowest screen size (640x480) and with nearly all the rendering options set to lowest quality. The game looked awful. Dark, pixellated, and crude.

Now, I don't have a state of the art gaming rig. My Windows PC is a dual Pentium 3 1 GHZ box with only 256MB of Ram. (Rambus RAM - ick!) The graphics are powered by an Nvidia GeForce FX5200, which is the bottom model in the previous series of graphics cards from Nvidia.

This setup is well below the minimum spec required by most games these days, but it's fine for older games. Doom 3, as mentioned earlier, is barely playable on it.

Imagine my surprise then, when Half Life 2 turned out to be highly playable. At the native resolution of my Eizo L685 monitor (1280x1024) I get around 25-30 fps. I was even able to run it in dual screen mode with an effective resolution of 2560x1024 with a decent rendering speed and it realised that the aspect ratio had changed. Very impressive.

(Of course, the lack of RAM is a real problem. Level loading times are very slow and the constant paging in causes a delay whenever new sounds or monsters are required. Extra RAM for a RAMBUS system would probably cost more than I paid for the box in the first place, so I'm extremely unlikely to ever upgrade it.)

Half Life 2 has huge, bright and open levels, a sharp contrast to Doom 3's claustrophobic tunnels. It has amazing character animation, and the facial animation, in particular, is very good.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on February 27, 2005 8:33 PM.

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