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GoatLord

Games running like shit

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This might be amusing or just boring, but I think it's funny how we tolerate what's available at the time. A few gaming memories of mine:

• Between 1992 and 1995, the family computer was a 386 with no sound card and something like 20 megahertz of clockspeed. I ran Doom with scratchy PC internal speaker noises and the game got a shoddy framerate, even in low-res mode with the screen shrunk. I remember the sprites blinking, too.

• My dad upgraded the family computer every few years and I was quite disappointed in the late 90s, when the newest version of Windows meant that DOS games would usually run rather poorly. Doom was now back to running like shit, despite the hardware being far above minimum requirements.

• Perfect Dark, if you stressed the hardware through the expansion pack, multiplayer and lots of bots, could slow down to a few frames a second.

• Twisted Metal 4 ran silky smooth unless you lobbed napalm on floors containing radioactive sludge. This would trigger a flurry of sprites that slowed the game down to about one frame per second; the same would happen if you entered the challenge mode and filled the bot slots with Sweet Tooth; his attack also triggered lots of sprites that killed the game's framerate.

• The infamous game crashing glitch in The Suburbs, on the PSX version of Doom.

• Running Quake at 320x240 on a friend's computer with no music.

• A GameBoy racer that was, astonishingly enough, rendered in actual 3D, but ran at a few frames per second. It was like watching boxes move down a jagged line in slow motion.

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For some reason, this story reminds me of the first time my family connected to the Internet. This was 1996, and we owned a 486 which had come with a 1200 bps modem. Ah, many fine Doom-related memories of that computer, but I digress. Anyway, I was in 6th grade at the time, and my parents finally decided to sign up for AOL (hey, it was 1996). We dialed up, made a connection, started to access web sites and... within five minutes the Internet connection shut down and the room stunk with the smell of ozone. I helped my dad take the computer apart, and we were horrified to discover that the modem had literally melted. It's a miracle the thing didn't take the rest of the computer down with it. It was just a mess of scorch marks and melted plastic.

We soon got a brand new shiny 14.4k modem (fancy, I know), and a new ISP that didn't charge by the minute, but that was my favorite example of obsolete technology ever.

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GoatLord said:

The modem literally melted? Well, there's no topping that!

Yes, literally. Sure, the main circuit board was intact, but most of the components had dissolved into plastic goop attached to the board, and the board itself was largely blackened.

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GoatLord said:

• A GameBoy racer that was, astonishingly enough, rendered in actual 3D, but ran at a few frames per second. It was like watching boxes move down a jagged line in slow motion.

Oh, you owned Race Drivin', too. I don't care what anyone says, that was a fun game. Yes, it played at 1 fps... just like my favorite flight sims on the Commodore 64.

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My old computer before my old computer had a GeForce 4 with a broken fan so Quake 3 would crash after 5 minutes with that notorious repeating sound and an error that oddly didn't say "Quake3.exe has stopped working". I fixed it by setting the graphics to the lowest setting.

I'm not sure if this is as bad as my old computer after my old computer that I just mentioned which ran Doom 3 and other related ID Tech 4 engine games sort of fine but the sound kept repeating itself over and over so "important" story elements were unable to be understood, I couldn't understand where enemies were coming from since the 3D sound was broken by this as well and in Quake 4, various speech sections would actually halt until the sound had finished saying the same words 5000 times.

This is totally worse than a modem melting #firstworldproblems

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I got Quake III working on an old Cyrix 200Mhz by spending an hour in the config file and console making all the settings, including the hidden ones, set to minimum.

Got it running at around 20FPS, barely playable, with several Doomguys running around levels with no shading and floating icons for collectibles.

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Oh, and I just remembered, there was the time our old Pentium 133's hard drive crashed (literally, my little brother knocked the tower over), and it was gonna be a while before we were gonna get a replacement, so in the meantime, I fiddled around and found out I could use the Windows 98 CD to create a bootdisk. That alone didn't get me very far. However, with the bootdisk, I could load up DOS and create a RAM drive so that I could install and play Quake. Sure, I'd have to go through the whole process again every time the computer got restarted, but it worked. Ack, I guess it isn't so much a story about a game running like shit, it ran just fine, but it is a story about working around a severe hardware limitation.

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I remember when Runescape went to its new engine and it lagged on my old computer before I "upgraded" its graphics card. Good Shit times.

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Sonic Generations hates my computer.
I'm content with 15-30 FPS, but when the game hits Chemical Plant Zone or Seaside Hill Zone, I drop to about 1-5 FPS. Only these two zones.

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At the time that I discovered DOOM, my pc wouldn't even run it. I had to resort to playing Blake Stone and Spear of Destiny to appease my desire to experience DOOM again. I ended up owning nearly every console port before I even owned a pc that would run it. 32X, Jaguar, SNES, and 3DO (yes, I owned both a 3DO and a Jag; we were rich in the 90s lol). Talk about putting up with garbage gaming experiences! The Jaguar port didn't even have music, so I blasted early-90s gangsta rap in its stead.

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UT99 ran on my P133 in software mode. Was actually somewhat playable 1-on-1 with a bot when I turned down the game speed to 70%.

Sounds weird to me even now considering Unreal was unplayable while its direct competition, Q2, played fine.

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GoatLord said:

• Twisted Metal 4 ran silky smooth unless you lobbed napalm on floors containing radioactive sludge. This would trigger a flurry of sprites that slowed the game down to about one frame per second; the same would happen if you entered the challenge mode and filled the bot slots with Sweet Tooth; his attack also triggered lots of sprites that killed the game's framerate.


heh I remember the time me and my stepbrother use to play that game and I would always choose Calypso and spam his Nuke special weapon(with the unlimited ammo cheat btw) and splitscreen framerate would lag to a crawl.

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When I moved out of my parents' house in 2000, I remember we were running a custom rig with all bargain basement parts. The CPU was a Cyrix 686 and the video card was a Matrox G200. That machine was good for running two things: jack and shit.

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When qtest came out, I tried it on my 486DX/33 and got under 5 fps. It looked nice though. Some months later I upgraded to a p120 and had fun DM-ing my roommates (they also upgraded their machines, and we setup a LAN).

I just tried qtest in DOSBox and the turtle icon flickers on every now and then. I'm probably getting about 10-15 fps. But native build of QuakeForge runs very fluidly at 640x480, or even higher. Actually I prefer the pixelated look of lower res, but my LCD doesn't go below 640x480...

Long ago, I bought this Sierra "Robin Hood: Conquests of the Longbow" game for my Amiga 500. It ran fine until you tried walking off-screen, at which point it took several minutes for the new screen to get painted. Their other game didn't have this kind of problem, so that was a real shock!

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SavageCorona said:

Don't you mean Q3 was UT's direct competition? Q2 was based on a single player campaign, not arena shooting.

I meant that it was surprising that Unreal (meaning Unreal 1) was unplayable for me, unlike UT99 and Q2.

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Manhunt won't even start for me. Granted, it's not optimized for Windows 7, but even after setting it for backwards compatibility, nothing happens. This isn't a problem for with other non-windows 7 optimized games I had to adjust. Ergo, it runs like shit.

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Belial said:

I meant that it was surprising that Unreal (meaning Unreal 1) was unplayable for me, unlike UT99 and Q2.

Fascinating. Unreal was the one game that ran on everything I threw at it (even a 486 DX4-100 and the aforementioned Cyrix PC). I'll have to run an experiment with my current P150 laptop to see how it runs. I'll have to run a no-CD patch or hope that my POS external CD-ROM drive will at least detect the disc so I can play the game.

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Bucket said:

Fascinating. Unreal was the one game that ran on everything I threw at it (even a 486 DX4-100 and the aforementioned Cyrix PC). I'll have to run an experiment with my current P150 laptop to see how it runs. I'll have to run a no-CD patch or hope that my POS external CD-ROM drive will at least detect the disc so I can play the game.


Unreal Gold is even better if you can get ahold of it. There are extra missions and weapons as well as extra deathmatch maps. Install the 227 patch and you are set.

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Speaking of Unreal, I can't get Deus Ex to work correctly on Windows 7. After patching it, replacing the renderer, and replacing the launcher, I got it mostly working except that lots of the animation is too slow. It's weird and affects the gameplay because soldiers are walking around like they're trying to be lazy.

As for shitty game performance, I didn't experience that until 1998 or so. Before that we always had an overpowered computer. First played DooM on a 50 MHz 486 with 16 MB of RAM. It did run noticeably better on the 150 MHz Pentium machine that replaced it, though.

My poor neighbour, on the other hand, had a Pentium box that was far slower than ours. He got impatient waiting for Hexen to load one day and clicked the icon like mad. Windows dutifully loaded about eight instances of the game (I have no idea how it did this) on that stupid, slow computer.

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Bucket said:

Fascinating. Unreal was the one game that ran on everything I threw at it (even a 486 DX4-100 and the aforementioned Cyrix PC). I'll have to run an experiment with my current P150 laptop to see how it runs. I'll have to run a no-CD patch or hope that my POS external CD-ROM drive will at least detect the disc so I can play the game.

I had some shitty Trident gfx card which had terrible support under Windows. Some Windows games wouldn't run at all (Baldur's Gate), while others would only run once per reboot (Fallout 2). Unreal 1 and Thief 1 went into the "runs like shit even on the lowest settings for no apparent reason" category.

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My laptop probably won't fare much better in that department. It has NeoMagic graphics, which is a company notorious for not releasing the specs of their shitty chips. But I do remember a smorgasboard of advanced settings for Unreal, so I'm confident I can get a respectable framerate.

Aliotroph? said:

Windows dutifully loaded about eight instances of the game (I have no idea how it did this) on that stupid, slow computer.

By increasing the page file size, of course. Windows will happily resize your virtual memory to ten times the amount of your physical RAM, with no regard to performance.

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And that is exactly (probably) why WMM somehow manages to lag my ENTIRE computer despite only taking up 1GB of my 4GB. How I live off 4GB RAM in 2013 with YouTube as a possible job I don't even know.

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It's a mystery to me as well. 4GB is more than adequate for any task that doesn't involve HD video editing or running a brand new game on Ultra settings. Maybe you should run a virus scan.

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