Myst III Exile Sound, 3dfx Issues
10:37 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Myst III: Exile has arrived for both Mac and PC, and many eager fans of the past titles Myst and Riven have already snapped this one up for their Mac. Unfortunately, with this third journey to the lands of MYST, the system requirements of the game have increased substantially to accommodate the astounding levels of eye-candy visible in the screen shots and preview trailer for this game. As a result, there are several posts on our own forums and in Usenet news groups detailing performance problems with the game.
Three Myst III players report both speed and movie playback problems with the game; it is no coincidence that all three have 3dfx Voodoo cards, V3 and V5 models. Exile uses the OpenGL graphics API for hardware acceleration and certain 3D effects (such as lens flares) when this mode is enabled. While 3dfx's support for OpenGL is good, it is far from perfect, as anyone who has tried to play Diablo II in OpenGL mode on a V5 can attest. One user reported a loss of movie playback, while another reported poor frame rates and choppy sound to boot.
We were in contact with several beta testers for Escape from Monkey Island during the testing phase for that game, and they reported many of the same problems with the Voodoo5 in that OpenGL game -- no movie playback (though the sound of the movie plays back fine) and choppy performance in some situations. The problem improved greatly when you took three steps: 1) Make sure that virtual memory is turned OFF; 2) turn off FSAA and enable VSYNC and 3) Make sure that you haven't given the game a large memory allocation that does not allow room (8-10 MB minimum) for OpenGL to load as well. Unfortunately, due to the totally unsupported status of the 3dfx cards, if the problem is indeed a driver issue it is unlikely to be solved; in fact some developers have expressed a reluctance to even test a game on these cards in light of the fact that they are essentially a dead end.
Other users with systems that scraped the low-end of the stated system requirements for the game have also reported choppy or unsatisfactory performance. No one with less than 16 MB of VRAM should expect to be able to run the game in hardware mode, so we do not recommend this option for iMac or Powerbook owners.
Preview: Myst III: Exile
We encourage those who have bought the game so far to make reports in our Troubleshooting forum, so other gamers can offer advice -- posts of positive experiences with the game are also useful, be sure to speak up if you are having a great experience with the game as well! We'll pass your feedback along to Presto if it seems you have discovered actual flaws in the Mac port of the game.
IMG Troubleshooting Forum
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