Doom 3 Doesn’t Run Well… yet

Co-worker purchased Doom 3 yesterday to prove to me it actually existed. I had thought it was a Mac & Maya publicity stunt gone vaporware, but I was, thankfully, proven wrong.

The minimum specs are like a 1.5 gigahertz P4… awesome! The problem is, we tested here on a 1.7 with the 9600 Radeon, a beast of a card, and although the game looked good, the framerate/refresh rate was pathetic. We upped and lowered the resolution, turned on and then turned off the special effects (each and every setting), even tweaked the video card for performance… all to no avail. The game would play the same for higher or lower settings. The closer your camera was to a wall, without facing much geometry, the better it ran.

My guess is, the majority of the game’s framerate is garnered from processor speed, while the effects are all put on the video card. It ran the same with all settings on or off which leads me to believe that hopefully the first patch will tap into some of the video card’s power to up the framerate. Seeing what the Radeon did for Unreal, I only pray that the game’s designers spent part of that 3-4 years (or was it 2…?) 4 years finding out how to use a video card to what it was made to do. One of my older computers had it’s lifespan extended 6 months because of a new video card; they can do wonders if the developers utilize hardware acceleration to its fullest.

Anyway, I’d wait for the first patch before purchasing… you can still buy the T-shirts, though!

CNET’s Coverage

Time Magazine’s Coverage

11 Replies to “Doom 3 Doesn’t Run Well… yet”

  1. your findings are not alone. several folks at work got it and, on very similarly spec’d boxes, had the same refresh rate issues.

    one of them said “i’ll wait until HL2 before i’ll update my PC. then i’ll play this again.”

    heh – and people were concerned Doom 3 was going to beat HL2 “to the punch”. looks like maybe they should have waited a little longer and got it running better. hmmm… where have i heard this before? ;-)


  2. Half Life 2 is supposed to run REALLY well on low-powered machines. I think their engine is a whole lot better too to be honest. I have played some Half Life 2 already on an outdated engine & it was simply stunning. Even on an early build the framerates were incredible on my average PC.

    I’m gonna pass on Doom 3 and get HL2 and then when Halo2 comes out for XBox, its gonna be all about that :)

  3. Youre totally wrong.
    doom 3 run very well on medium specs
    perfect 800*600 or 1024 with medium details on a ti 4200 with athlon xp 1800 ( the samllest computer nawodays)
    doom 3 run better than far cry with more details.

  4. …well, at least it works for somebody.

    I have an 800 p3 at home with an Nvidia 4600 Xctasy, so I won’t even try, but if that’s all I need to get it to run medium, the future looks bright. If I could play Far Cry, that’d be nice too. Game’s gathering dust cause it takes 3 minutes to load a level at home.

  5. Up until monday of this week I was sweating it just knowing that my weedy 1.4Ghz machine was not up to the task of a trip through doomsville. But then I came across a neato (read cheap) way to upgrade said machine from 1.4 -> 2.8Ghz with a cheap ($50) adaptor and new P4 cpu($150). If you haven’t seen these check them out:

    Install took about 10 mins and the performance increase has been out of this world. I’ve had a semi decent vid card for a while (Geforce FX 5700 Ultra) but the old cpu was definitely a huge bottleneck to the card’s performance.

    Doom 3 R0XX0RS!

  6. Jester, although D3 IS a high-end product, it DOES run well on that machine.

    You might want to check if you have the lastest DX and video drivers installed – after all, it’s what matters on games. Don’t underestimate the importance of graphic drivers. Also, ATI is currently optimizing their drivers for D3 (they didn’t have access to the engine later) so better versions will soon follow (they even released a beta of their catalyst drivers today, giving a better doom3 experience on most machines).

    HL2, on the other hand, is more about scalability. It’s not better; it’s different, for different types of features.

    The thing with D3 is that they decided to give the next step on 3d game acceleration; by dropping stablished & fast hacks in exchange for technologies that will give you more detail and quality (dropping lightmaps in favor of realtime per-pixel lightning, for example, allowing *real* illumination and shadowing) they have decided to push the hardware to the extremes. That’s why the engine is slower: it’s just doing much much more, in a much much better (more precise) way. That’s the kind of compromise id did with doom, with q1, with q2, and with q3. That sure opens the door for criticism, everybody hate games that run slow, but in the end they’re doing now the next step that the developers will follow later. They’re one of the few companies that can afford to be ambicious (or arrogant) like that.

  7. Oh, and yes, the game USES the card acceleration to its fullest. The CPU handles AI and sound mostly. It can be a bottleneck, of course, but the video cards are pushed to their maximum more than in any other game.

  8. I was pleasantly surprised one could even play the game straight out of the box on Day 1. My expectations are lower than my rhetoric drivel may let on. Doing anything in software is hard (per my manager), and I look forward to purchasing the game as soon as I get back from vacation. I just feel it is my duty to report my findings knowing that smart peeps would come out and comment on their experiences, and like you just did, offer alternatives + explanations.

  9. I have a 1400+ with a Ge Force 3 ti200 and 512mb ram (a low spec machine)… Doom3 runs just VERY GOOD on 640×480 medium detail…

    I think there’s some video driver issue…

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