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Neverwinter Nights 2 - getting close ?


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#41 Sargiel

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 02:24 PM

I've got NWN2 on pre-order from Play.com and I'll post a review as soon as it gets here. I've playing the PC version on my iMac so I know exactly what kind of performance to expect. The game is pretty taxing but the PC game was definitely playable on my mac.

Core 2 Duo 2.33 Ghz, 2GB RAM, 7600GT 256MB.

#42 msykes

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 02:49 PM

View PostThad, on March 3rd 2008, 02:57 AM, said:

Got my copy from Amazon on Saturday.

Performance is, I'm afraid, abysmal. I wasn't expecting much, being aware of the issues that plagued the PC version, but even so, I figured that there would be some way to make the game basically playable on a MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz, 256 MB ATI X1600 (which meets, BTW, the "recommended" system requirements).

No such luck. Even at 1024x768 with all the visual settings at their lowest, I can't get much more than 13-14 fps outdoors no matter what I do, and the frame rate frequently drops below 10 fps. It is unplayably bad.

Have you tried turning shadows off completely?  That's one of the big performance killers.  I always played on my MacBook Pro (PC Version) with shadows and water reflections off, but at native resolution.  Performance was never awesome, but always playable.

View PostCain, on March 3rd 2008, 08:00 AM, said:

Wow, I'm starting to wonder if I should just purchase the PC version? Can anyone from Aspyr tell us which version the Mac port is patched up to? If anyone has both versions please post how well the Mac version plays in comparison to the PC version. Also, with the Mac version is it possible to play online with people playing in Windows?

God, I hope it's up-to-date with the PC version.  I understand if patches are a week or two behind, but they need to be close.

I'll post some direct Mac vs. PC framerate comparisons once my copy arrives.

msykes

#43 Thad

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 03:05 PM

View Postmsykes, on March 3rd 2008, 05:49 PM, said:

Have you tried turning shadows off completely?  That's one of the big performance killers.

Yes, I tried turning EVERYTHING off -- low textures, no shadows, no water effects, no grass, no "normal mapped terrain," no bloom, no character lights, no anisotropic filtering, horizon distance dialed WAY down, etc. I was still unable to break 15 fps in the Harvest Cup area, and when there were a lot of people on screen, the fps would most often be in the 9-11 fps range.

Indoor is much better, with framerates in the 20-25 fps range, depending on the size of the area, and you can actually turn on some eye candy without too much of a penalty. But outdoors, the game is pretty much a slideshow no matter what I do.

I bought the Mac version because I wanted to support Aspyr and support Mac gaming, and I hate dual-booting. But it sounds like I would have been much better off with the PC version + Boot Camp, because the frame rates I am getting just aren't playable.

View Postmsykes, on March 3rd 2008, 05:49 PM, said:

I'll post some direct Mac vs. PC framerate comparisons once my copy arrives.

Please do.

#44 Kaoro

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 04:06 PM

View PostThad, on March 3rd 2008, 05:57 AM, said:

Got my copy from Amazon on Saturday.

Performance is, I'm afraid, abysmal. I wasn't expecting much, being aware of the issues that plagued the PC version, but even so, I figured that there would be some way to make the game basically playable on a MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz, 256 MB ATI X1600 (which meets, BTW, the "recommended" system requirements).

No such luck. Even at 1024x768 with all the visual settings at their lowest, I can't get much more than 13-14 fps outdoors no matter what I do, and the frame rate frequently drops below 10 fps. It is unplayably bad.
Oh man... maybe I shouldn't have ordered this from Amazon yesterday. My iMac Core Duo (not 2) 2.0ghz, 256mb X1600 is gonna chug if your MBP isn't doing well...

Is Aspyr going to be sending performance-enhancing patches our way, assuming the game sells decently?
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#45 Janichsan

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 04:37 PM

View PostKaoro, on March 3rd 2008, 11:06 PM, said:

Is Aspyr going to be sending performance-enhancing patches our away, assuming the game sells decently?
Don't expect too much: it's the original PC version that is already flawed.

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#46 Thad

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 03:40 PM

Well, I got a fairly generic "fix permissions, reinstall and try again" reply from Aspyr. Not terribly hopeful, but I'll give that a shot. However I would also really like to know what kind of framerates everyone else is getting.

To check your framerate, type "~" to invoke the console, then type "debugmode 1" [return], "showfps" [return], "debugmode 0" [return]. You will probably want to also hide the minimap so you can actually see the fps readout.

#47 Thad

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 05:22 PM

RIP Gary Gygax.

#48 Rev-O

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:48 PM

View PostThad, on March 4th 2008, 04:22 PM, said:


Heard 'bout it on NPR today and my first thought was: Guess he missed a saving throw.
I mean that with all respect, really.  Man, I started playing D&D in... 1977. I can even remember when Advanced Dungeons and Dragons was released! I was all "Whoa! Hardbound books!"
Life changes and I stopped PnPing a long time ago, but I've always had a soft place in my heart for those first edition soft bound D&D rule books that squandered much of my youth. GG paved a road that many people followed. I'll hoist a tankard of ale to him.

#49 TimHume

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:53 PM

View PostThad, on March 4th 2008, 01:40 PM, said:

Well, I got a fairly generic "fix permissions, reinstall and try again" reply from Aspyr. Not terribly hopeful, but I'll give that a shot. However I would also really like to know what kind of framerates everyone else is getting.

I just got the game and will check my frame rate when I get the chance.  I'll post the info here.  It sounds like the MacBook Pro I have has the same basic specs as yours.  Oh, also list which OS version you are running and your screen size.

#50 Rev-O

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:53 PM

View PostThad, on March 3rd 2008, 03:57 AM, said:

Got my copy from Amazon on Saturday.

Performance is, I'm afraid, abysmal. I wasn't expecting much, being aware of the issues that plagued the PC version, but even so, I figured that there would be some way to make the game basically playable on a MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz, 256 MB ATI X1600 (which meets, BTW, the "recommended" system requirements).

No such luck. Even at 1024x768 with all the visual settings at their lowest, I can't get much more than 13-14 fps outdoors no matter what I do, and the frame rate frequently drops below 10 fps. It is unplayably bad.

<Rev-O checks the specs on his MBP... 2.33 C2D, check... 256 mb X1600, check...>
Crap. That sucks.

#51 Thad

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:57 PM

View PostTimHume, on March 4th 2008, 09:53 PM, said:

Oh, also list which OS version you are running and your screen size.

Hi Tim,

OS X 10.5.2. Native resolution for the 15" Core2Duo MBP is 1440x900, but I am running the game (or trying to, at least) at 1028x768. Oh, and I have 2 GB RAM (stock Apple RAM).

#52 msykes

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 10:57 PM

Okay, I picked up my copy this afternoon.  I want to stress that these results are after about 30 minutes total of testing, so not very careful or scientific.

MacBook Pro 2.0 GHz Core Duo (the original RevA)
X1600 w/ 256 MB RAM
2 GB RAM

On the PC side of things, I started with the following graphics settings:
1440X900
Antialiasing 2X (Not available on the Mac)
Texture Quality: Medium
Shadows: Low
Render Grass
Show Lights Carried by Companions
Horizon was at about 50%
Show Weapon Trails
Shadow Quality: Medium (all 3 settings) (Not all available on the Mac)
Texture Filtering: Linear.

So I started up in Act I in West Harbor.

Inside Frame Rates were about 25 fps, but I didn't linger long inside.

Outside frame rates were about 10-15.

So then I turned off Antialiasing and Shadows, and loaded one of my Mask of Betrayer saves (specifically, the Bear God fight).

With the lower settings, by frame rates jumped to above 20+ when Outside, though they would drop down to as low as 8 or so with heavy fighting and lots of spell effects.

Overall, not too bad.

----------

On the Mac side, I used the same settings (aside from the ones noted above as unavailable).

In Act I, inside I noticed the frame rates were closer to 15 or so in the first house where you start.

Outside in West Harbor, the frame rates jumped around between about 8-12 while I was running around and fighting.

----------

Conclusions: The performance on the Mac side seems clearly worse than with the PC version on the identical machine.  Frame rates of 8-12 (Mac) vs. 20 or so (PC) outside without much going on.  Granted I have Mask of the Betrayer installed on the PC side, but with the same patch level (1.11), that should not yield performance improvements.  I know that I'm running at a high resolution (1440 X 900), but I just wanted to compare, not to max my performance.  I suspect that dropping down to 1024 X 768 will have minimal effect, based on the other reports.

The good news is, maybe everybody can boost their resolution for little loss in fps? (Update: I just dropped the res down to 1024 X 600.  This made things look like crap, but gave me at best an extra 1 fps.  I highly recommend people experiment with higher resolution).

All of that said, for me I don't really consider 8-12 fps unplayable.  Things were still fairly responsible, and having never played first person shooters, I have a pretty high tolerance for these things.  However I can certainly understand other people not finding it acceptable, and I'm a little afraid of what will happen when the fighting gets heavy and the spell effects start going off.

I'm going to see if I can tweak anything to get a little more performance out, and see about getting MotB installed.

msykes

#53 Thad

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:01 AM

Hi msykes,

Thanks for that. This is pretty much as I suspected, and you see the same dramatic outdoors vs. indoors discrepancy that I do.

One thing that Aspyr tech suggested, something I was deeply skeptical of, was to create a new user and run the game that way. I didn't think that should make any difference, but for whatever reason, it did (although I should say I ran it as a guest user instead of creating a new normal user).

Using the stock factory settings (1024x768, low shadows, linear filtering, everything off except grass and character lights) and my normal account, I averaged 10-12 fps outside in the Harvest Cup area. This is once you join your companions -- the game is much faster without anyone else in your party -- it also takes an additional hit as soon as Amie summons her bat companion.

Using the guest account, same settings, I averaged 15 fps or so under the same conditions. Weird.

Has anyone else tried creating a user account other than their main account, used only for gaming? Any ideas why this should make so much of a difference?

I should add that I still don't consider 15 fps (under non-combat conditions!) "playable." YMMV, of course, but I have serious trouble with anything less than a steady 20 fps (with tolerance for the occasional slideshow during very heavy combat).

Bottom line is, I guess I should have bought the PC version instead.

#54 msykes

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 01:44 AM

Okay, it's time for some good news...

Based on my _very_ limited testing, Mask of the Betrayer seems to work!

Warning: This method requires that the developer tools be installed, and that you have some knowledge of compiling Unix programs and the command line.

Warning #2: Be careful, and don't blame me if you mess up your NWN2 install.  Good news is that it's super-easy to reinstall.  Heck, just back up the folder before you proceed just to be safe.

Warning #3: Did I mention the limited testing?  All sorts of things might go wrong that I just haven't encountered yet.

This is what I did:

1) Copy the following files from the MotB DVD to a folder on your hard drive:
data1.cab
data1.hdr
data2.cab
data3.cab
dialog.TLK

Note1: There is also an "engine32.cab" file - however I did not install anything extracted from it, as it was all .dll files
Note2: You probably don't actually have to copy these to your hard drive - see step 3.

2) Install "unshield" from http://www.synce.org/
Go to "Synce Downloads", follow the link to Tarballs, and click on the "unshield" link (you don't need the rest).
You can install via the typical
./configure
make
sudo make install

If the above is not familiar, you'll want to find somebody familiar with the command line to help you.  Also, you will need the developer tools installed.  I'm running 10.5.2, so it's possible other OS versions (ie 10.4.X) may have installation issues

3) Unpack everything with the following command in Terminal.app from the directory you copied the .cab files into
/usr/local/bin/unshield x data1.cab

Note1: This makes several subfolders in the current folder.  In step 1 I said you didn't necessarily need to copy things to your hard drive, since I believe with "unshield" you can specify a directory to extract to.  I didn't play around with this though.

Note2: This single command seems to extract data from each of data1.cab, data2.cab and data3.cab

Now you'll notice you have several directories - the important one is "Game_Component"

Note: There are two "Data" directories on the Mac.  There is the main Data directory, which lies beside the NWN2 application, and which contains a bunch of subdirectories, including another Data dir.  Generally below, I'm referring to the main Data directory.

4) Copy the following entire directories from Game_Component into the main Data directory inside your NWN2 Mac install directory
a) Ambient_X1
b) Music_X1

In all cases, it's okay to hit "replace all"

5) Copy the contents of the following directories into the mirrored directory in your NWN2 Mac install
a) Campaigns/ (into Data/Campaigns/ - there should be one folder with the MotB campaign information)
b) Data/* (into Data/Data/) - 44 .zip files
c) Modules/* (into Data/Modules/) - 6 .mod files
d) Movies/* (into Data/Movies/) - 4 .bik files

6) Replace UI/default/ in your Mac install with UI/default from Game_Component

7) Copy dialog.TLK into your Data/, overwriting the old version.

8) Optionally, copy everything from Localvault (a bunch of .bic files) to your Mac NWN2 Localvault - these are pregenerated characters
That's it!

So far I've been able to create a character (using MotB races and classes), and start a MotB campaign.  I haven't done much else, or tried to connect to any multiplayer servers.

You may also be wondering about the "Effects" directory, and why I didn't copy anything over there.  Well I tried this the first time, and it resulted in a bunch of visual glitches to the character models in game.  So I left the original Mac version intact.  I have no idea what this means.

Good luck!

msykes

#55 msykes

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 08:48 AM

View Postmsykes, on March 4th 2008, 11:44 PM, said:

Okay, it's time for some good news...

Based on my _very_ limited testing, Mask of the Betrayer seems to work!

Quick update:

Local user data suck as user-installed modules and hak paks goes in the following directory:

Documents/Aspyr/Neverwinter Nights 2/

I did not see mention of this anywhere.  In fact, according to the installed readme's uninstallation instructions, it was implied this folder would be in Library/Application Support/.  

On a positive note, I was able to use my save games from the PC side of things.  I just copied them from my Windows partition to the "Documents/Aspyr/Neverwinter Nights 2/saves/" directory.

I loaded up one of my Mask of the Betrayer saves just fine (ie you are familiar with that expansion, it was one where I headed into Ashenwood).  Interesting, the performance seemed much better than last night.  I was getting fps >20 at times with the same settings I reported on (basically lowest everything except 1440X900), and stable fps in the high teens outside of combat.  Initiating combat caused things to drop immediately however, down to about 12 or even lower - my weapons have elemental effects so that probably caused things.  I suspect under hairy combat it would get pretty slow.

msykes

#56 gmfeier

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 04:37 PM

Runs fine for me on an original 2.66 GHz Mac Pro with the X1900 XT at medium graphics setings. When I cranked the graphics to full everything, it was defintely slow outdoors.

#57 msykes

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:53 PM

WARNING!

So it seems that my instructions for installing MotB don't quite work...

As posted, at character generation, or levelup, I am unable to assign any skill points!  I can proceed by selecting the "Recommended" skill point allotment, but that's pretty crappy.  My suspicions are this has something to do with the UI, but I'm not sure.

To fix this:

Copy chargen_skills.xml from your old UI/default/ directory to the new UI/default/ directory - TWICE!
1) Leave one named chargen_skills.xml
2) Name the other chargen_skillsx1.xml

Copy levelup_skills.xml from your old UI/default directory tot he new UI/default/ directory - TWICE!
1) Leave one named levelup_skills.xml
2) Name the other levelup_skillsx1.xml

That seems to work for me.  Now characters can actually assign skill points.  If other weird UI problems crop up, this type of fix might work for those as well.

msykes

#58 Kaoro

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 03:06 PM

Oh man, the minimum req's need to be a little higher for NWN2. My iMac Intel Core Duo 2.0Ghz / 2GB Ram / x1600 256mb vRam / 10.5.2 can just barely play the game decently at 1024x768, with most of the settings that make the game look nice set to off...

Eh, I took that risk when my computer is the minimum requirements. I don't plan on returning it tho, as I plan to get a nice MBP in the Summer for college, so it should play the game a bit better ;).

I think I read somewhere that MotB improved the game's performance on Windows... so maybe that expansion and some patches will come down the line.
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#59 theta99

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 11:34 PM

Has anyone successfully had a multi-player game with a PC user?  Back in NW1 days, I would play with PC users, but I don't want to drop $50 on the sequel until I know for sure there is cross-platform compatibility.

#60 jgwdoc

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 08:55 AM

View Postgmfeier, on March 5th 2008, 03:37 PM, said:

Runs fine for me on an original 2.66 GHz Mac Pro with the X1900 XT at medium graphics setings. When I cranked the graphics to full everything, it was defintely slow outdoors.


Just got my copy but haven't had the time to play yet. On the MacPro, did you turn any graphic features off or did you just accept what the game gave you for medium settings?
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