Three years old DAoC's bug makes its way to Oblivion

Have I already said that I hate Netimmerse/Gamebryo?

Well, people are reporting that with a simple change to the advanced options of Nvidia drivers you can greatly reduce mouse lag and have a more steady framerate.

This is a bug in the Netimmerse/Gamebyro engine that is about three years old and that I discovered because without the fix I just couldn't play anymore DAoC on my old Geforce 3.

To apply this fix and enjoy the improvements in Oblivion you just need this small file (right click and "Save As..", or it will show on the browser window). Double click on it and it will ask you to add some options to the Windows registry. Accept it. It should work with every driver version, so don't worry about compatibility issues or nasty surprises. It just enables some hidden options in the graphic drivers.

After you have applied the registry key you'll have a new tab in the options of the drivers. Under "Performance & Quality Settings" you'll find "Additional Direct3D Settings" and it's where you'll have to change the "Max Frames to render ahead" from 3 to 0 (or "1", just try both. At that time setting it to "0" didn't work. I don't know if something changed). This is a "safe" change. It won't create problems in other games, so don't worry about messing up.

The slower Oblivion runs on your system the more this fix will improve things.

Congratulations NDL. Three years later and this major bug is still there, intact.

Re: Three years old DAoC's bug makes its way to Oblivion

Coolbits is the name of the hidden Nvidia driver tab, it should not work for ATI cards. It seems like all you did is to disable tripple buffering. Now, I don't have any mouse lag issues in Oblivion and neither did I experience mouse lag issues in DAoC so I don't know if there is an actual bug involved but disabling tripple buffering can have drawbacks.

Tripple buffering, in combination with vsync, reduces screen tearing and smoothes out the frame rate in exchange for a video memory hit and a 50% increase in graphical lag over double buffering (e.g. if the game runs at 20 FPS, you get an additional 5ms graphical lag). It's usually worth it. In WoW, vsync+tripple buffering not only solved my screen tearing issues and also stabilzed my framerate during raids (lower average fps but less "red" spikes).

I'm also not sure that your criticism of Oblivion's texture LOD is justified. Lower res textures in the distance are a neccessity, not for performance reasons but non-mipmapped textures suffer from horrible, horrible aliasing, i.e. "crawling" pixels and such. It would be like EQ in 1999, before they had patched the engine to DX7 and mipmap support.

The sharp line between the detail textures and the lower res textures may not be the fault of the rendering engine but could be a video card issue. For years now both, ATI and Nvidia, have been reducing image quality, especially in areas like anisotropic filtering (which makes distance textures appear sharper) and trilinear filtering (which smoothes out the transition line between mipmap levels), in order to gain an edge in benchmarks, because the average customer is an idiot who'll buy whatever gets higher FPS numbers in a review at Tom's Hardware Guide. ATI card, for example, don't do any trilinear at all when you have AF enabled, while Nvidia card now only do some cheap and dirty hack that could best be described as "brilnear" - a bastard between bilinear and trilinear. Maybe cranking up the quality settings of your video card to "highest quality" helps (if you can live with the 20-30% FPS hit).

Some of these issues will affect most, if not all, games with a huge draw distance.

Re: Three years old DAoC's bug makes its way to Oblivion

Nope, it doesn't have anything to do with Triple Buffering. If you have v-synch enabled, that "fix" should have no impact since the game waits the monitor refresh to draw the frames, but it matters if you have it disabled.

"Render Frames Ahead" just draws and buffers up to three more frames before the first is being shown (default setting). In Netimmerse/Gamebryo this seems to cause huge performance issues, mouse lag and hiccups.

The LOD is again an engine problem. There's just no smoothing effect between the fully rendered "near" zone and the "blob" textures that are used for the far range.

And it's not that ATI doesn't do trilinear filtering if you have anisotropic filtering on. It's just that the latter overrides the first. It's the same with Nvidia cards. And you can also disable all filtering "optimizations" in the driver options if you want the faithful modes.

Re: Three years old DAoC's bug makes its way to Oblivion

That's exactly what tripple buffering is there for. If you have Vsync enabled, the frames are draw in sync with your screen refresh. If your screen runs at 60 Hz (typical for TFTs) and your FPS drop below 60, you get 30 FPS (one refresh cycle is skipped and the frame will be drawn drawn at the next refresh). If your FPS drop below 30, you get 15 FPS.... then 15/7 and so on. Tripple Buffering renders ahead two frames and buffers them, which means that two additional frames can be drawn before the FPS drop. The result is a much more stable frame rate. Tripple buffering only makes sense when used in combination with vsync, so yes, it does matter when you have vsync enabled. Anyway, if there's an issue with mouse lag then, by all means, switch it off.

The lack of smoothing between the mipmap levels may be an engine issue or a video card issue. It's hard to tell. AF does not "override" trilinear. Trilinear filtering and AF are two entirely different things. There is the issue of trilinear filtering "optimizations" and the fact that ATI won't do full trilinear filtering once AF is enabled and NVidia will only do it on "highest quality". The "optimizations" cannot be switched off with ATI cards, which was revealed a couple of months ago when some reviewers caught ATI at cheating (the drivers would do full trilinear only when coloured mip maps, used to investigate trilinear filtering quality, were present).

Which video card was used to take these screenshots?

Re: Three years old DAoC's bug makes its way to Oblivion

I'm also not sure that your criticism of Oblivion's texture LOD is justified.

I think the texturing of distant landscapes could be handled in bit better manner, but that's not really most important... the appaling part is the quality of _close distance_ detail textures, if anything. The tiling is horribly obvious, and i don't think i saw something equally lacking the quality in anything outside amateur game for a long time... how that got past QA or even out of artists to begin with is beyond me. And unlike the distant texturing issues it could've been fixed much much easier.

Re: Three years old DAoC's bug makes its way to Oblivion

the appaling part is the quality of _close distance_ detail textures

Yeah, Bethesda games have always been plagued by this odd mixture between really nice artwork and incredibly amateurish artwork. Ditto with their gameplay. I have lost hope that we'll ever see a TES game that actually does live up to it's potential.

Re: Three years old DAoC's bug makes its way to Oblivion

Abalieno:

Thank you!! Thank you, thank you.

Finally, I came across a site where someone actually acknowledged the PROBLEM, rather than ranting on and on and on about a bunch of worthless crap like "upgrade your computer", "downgrade the video settings", blah blah blah

I have a GeForce 7800 GS OC (BFG Tech), which is a great card. I've had no problems playing ANY other game just fine with great frames and all of the graphics turned up.

... but not Oblivion. Now, don't misunderstand -- I get good solid frames in Oblivion. I can't "max" everything, but I'm happy with the settings. What I wasn't happy with was the **^&&* MOUSE LAG.

I remember WoW having this exact same problem before they introduced that video option checkbox called "Fix Lag". This was later renamed "Smooth Mouse" to make it more politically correct. But I digress, the point is that it is obviously a known issue in smaller circles.

But it isn't so well known at large. When someone complains about mouse lag, they are given a LAUNDRY LIST of crap to do to fix the problem which doesn't fix the problem at all. Essentially, they are told that their computer simply isn't good enough to play Oblivion. Yeah, obviously, because oblivion is such a fantastic piece of work that we all really aren't worthy enough to play it without a quad GeForce 79xx GTXSTZOOPUBER setup and 4 gigs of ram. Seriously, I bow to the 3D Gods every night and repent for being so unworthy and ashamed for even trying to play Oblivion with my puny 7800 GS card.

Well, then along comes Abalieno and says: WAIT, LO AND BEHOLD YOU ARE NOT A SINNER. You just have screwed up graphics settings. Run this simple .reg file and you will be saved.

So I ran it.

Now the game runs fine.

In fact, now I can actually turn UP a lot of the settings and it still RUNS JUST FINE.

So thank you... thank you for actually identifying the ACTUAL problem. I don't need to spend another $2,000 in hardware to mask the problem. I just need the GAME to use MY hardware the way it is supposed to.

So to all the damn Fanboi's who think it's ALWAYS the lack of uber hardware causing the problem: HA. You were wrong.

To Abalieno: You rock. Thanks for posting this fix. It workes great.

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