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Black Mesa Source


fasteasyfree
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Looking back at it, Half-Life is a game where certain parts can suffer compared to the overall experience. The same with Half-Life 2, there are some parts that can be a bit of a chore to get through, or drag on a bit too long. It's saving grace is that it's bringing up something new. Personally, I enjoy a little tedium sometimes, as it makes the reward of a new area or event all the more sweeter.

Black Mesa does a good job of curtailing the worst of its excesses. Whenever I do a play through of the original Half-Life I always groan when On A Rail arrives and the momentum slows down, so I'm glad that they've done most of it away with. It's still not quite the game to play through in a single session and enjoy end to end at the same time. Even blasting through it last weekend, there were moments where I was getting a little restless, forgetting how much jumping around furnaces and conveyer belts there was in Residue Processing. Let's hope Valve take the particular changes of pacing and why they occurred to heart when they consider the design of Half-Life 3.

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Thankfully the jellywopter fight bugged out on me. I nipped into the bunker for some cover and when I came back out the dumb muh'fuh'ur was facing the wrong way, happily blasting away at the cliffside! I highly suspect it would have made my head explode with anger otherwise. Still loving this on the whole, but at the ripe old age of 34, my mad FPS skillz seemingly aren't as nuts as they once were and I must admit, I'm not enjoying some of the firefights.

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I'm at the helicopter/missile launcher fight and just gave up out of sheer frustration. If I wasn't cut to shreds in seconds, not a single shot I made hit the target, and THEN I'd be cut to shreds. Will go back to it tomorrow but man, that's annoying.

But to be honest, I can't remember a game when reloading has felt so cool (RE4 aside). There's little to beat swapping weapons while a lift rises or falls to your destination, and going through them all reloading after one hell of a fight, preparing for the next.

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I'm at the helicopter/missile launcher fight and just gave up out of sheer frustration. If I wasn't cut to shreds in seconds, not a single shot I made hit the target, and THEN I'd be cut to shreds. Will go back to it tomorrow but man, that's annoying.

I found it safer to hide far back in to the cave, only coming out to grab some rockets. Standing in view of the chopper is a no-no.

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Completely lost at the end.

I've got to the final scientist who tells me I need to flood both chambers. I went to one, and the button was underwater. Pressed that, door raised, nothing much happened and it closed down. Went to the other, we didn't appear to be flooded. When I finally did the manual override I went down a very long lift and pressed the button, which appeared to open another door, but couldn't tell if anything was flooding. Went back up and got slaughtered by the Vortigons. Am I meant to do one first, then the other?

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Yeah the first half of Lambda Core is properly confusing because you've got four rooms and you'd think you need to raise the water in each of them (I swear it was this way in HL1?) but you only need to do it in 2 of them, and then something else in the other two? I similarly ran around pressing buttons until aliens spawned in, then I knew I was doing the right thing.

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:D Aside from it's other evils, vsync will always give you a performance hit of varying degrees on all games.

Yeah, on this it reduces my frame rate by about 240 frames a second. Shocking! Who would have thought enabling Vsync would cap the framerate.

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I'd actually be pretty interested to know what other possible effects enabling v-sync produces. As dood says, "it shouldn't but it does", so what would be happening there?

I know in some games, the physics engine (using "physics" in its most simplest form, as an engine to manage the movement and collision of bodies, not necessarily an accurate depiction thereof) is also dependent on the render refresh rate, so if you turn on v-sync and an engine previously operating at 160fps drops to 60fps, you can potentially have more to deal with as bodies move further in one update.

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Did anybody have a complete stuttering, massive slow down clusterfuck during the final bit at the end?

I had absolutely flawless performance at a high FPS the entire game, but during some parts of that (looking towards the core) I swear the framerate dropped to sub 20 frames.

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Yeah, I've read about quite a few people having that issue. I didn't have it unplayably stuttery, but I definitely had a performance drop in the last bit. Poor optimisation by the mod team, basically.

Yeah, on this it reduces my frame rate by about 240 frames a second. Shocking! Who would have thought enabling Vsync would cap the framerate.

I've definitely had performance hits and slowdown when using VSync in the past, and it's not a case of my amazing PC being held in check.

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I've never seen vsync do anything but cap a frame rate from above 60 to exactly 60. Do people think it will drop your frame rate below the 60 cap somehow, whereas you'd be laughing at well above the cap with it off? I remember crysis vsync at launch swinging between exactly 30 and exactly 60, but they fixed that quickly. I usually have triple buffering on though.

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I'd actually be pretty interested to know what other possible effects enabling v-sync produces. As dood says, "it shouldn't but it does", so what would be happening there?

I know in some games, the physics engine (using "physics" in its most simplest form, as an engine to manage the movement and collision of bodies, not necessarily an accurate depiction thereof) is also dependent on the render refresh rate, so if you turn on v-sync and an engine previously operating at 160fps drops to 60fps, you can potentially have more to deal with as bodies move further in one update.

Only old/rubbish physics systems are based on frames per second. The way I was taught to do it at uni involved syncing it to realtime (based on cpu ticks) to ensure you don't mess it up. You would basically simulate the movement/collisions in between ticks to ensure you didn't 'miss' anything. Bad physics can cause alll sorts of weirdness, including flying striagh through objects if they are moving too fast.

I've never seen vsync do anything but cap a frame rate from above 60 to exactly 60. Do people think it will drop your frame rate below the 60 cap somehow, whereas you'd be laughing at well above the cap with it off? I remember crysis vsync at launch swinging between exactly 30 and exactly 60, but they fixed that quickly. I usually have triple buffering on though.

You're thinking of it the wrong way around - of course vsyncing to 60hz when your FPS is 300 will not affect it. If you sync with a game that by default runs at 60 frames or less though, you will lose frames. The maths and gubbins involved cost time (computationally); you don't get it for free!

If vsync isn't on, the game looks broken to me.

If vsync is on, the mouse feels sluggish to me. You should try it sometime - play for half an hour with vsync on. Then switch it off and feel the difference. It's night and day to me, anyway :) If the tearing bothers you just use the console/config to set the fps_max to 55.

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If vsync is on, the mouse feels sluggish to me. You should try it sometime - play for half an hour with vsync on. Then switch it off and feel the difference. It's night and day to me, anyway :) If the tearing bothers you just use the console/config to set the fps_max to 55.

I'm game - how do I get the console config up in games? Is it different for them all?

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Only old/rubbish physics systems are based on frames per second.

Old was what I was going for, where all you're really after is basic collision detection and avoiding objects moving through each other (which can still work on an fps level, but you do need some special checks for objects moving fast enough).

Interesting stuff about the ticks though - I'd like to read something about that. Know of any links?

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I'm game - how do I get the console config up in games? Is it different for them all?

The example I gave is for source games - there's an option in the menus (I think on the Advanced button under keyboard settings) to enable developer console, it shows the ~ key but you press ` (i.e. the key to the left of 1) on a british keyboard). fps_max is a source engine command to change the frames per second. I noticed the difference between vsync on/off most in portal / portal 2, strangely!

Old was what I was going for, where all you're really after is basic collision detection and avoiding objects moving through each other (which can still work on an fps level, but you do need some special checks for objects moving fast enough).

Interesting stuff about the ticks though - I'd like to read something about that. Know of any links?

Pfffftt I was at unit like, ten years ago nearly, ha. A quick google found this which covers a little bit of what I was talking about.

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Well yeah, if your rig is capable of running a certain game at constantly over 200fps and you vsync at 60hz, you're not going to notice the performance hit, but let's say you're running a really demanding game and you're getting around 70-90fps with vsync off. If you turn vsync on at 60hz, that extra performance hit could see you dropping under 60fps at times and it not be as smooth as games usually are with vsync on.

Vsync does cost frames, that's all I'm saying, and not just that big chunk of frames that are above your refresh rate :D

Yesterday I fired up Metro 2033 and turned everything on so I could get it to hover between 50-70 FPS. With vsync on, the sequence went from 55-60. With vsync off, the sequence went from 55-70. What am I missing?

I'm playing the game with Vsync off in honour of Clippa. Oddly enough running this at a constant 300fps gives almost zero tearing. The only time I see it is when they do the screen shake, at which point the tearing gets really violent. :unsure:

Anyway!

I played this for an hour or so last night. It's sublime. If anything it's somewhat confusing because Half Life is my favourite game (not 'the best', but my favourite) and this is easily the best version of it. Running around the halls of Black Mesa with 4 health and 2 bullets is a joy that everyone should experience. Hard is the only way to play, and it's a lot harder than I remember HL1 being, which is good. My slightly hazy memory of the first game means that while this experience hits all the key points I remember, the remixed nature of the game keeps everything fresh and new. It doesn't feel like a rote smash and grab through an old game with a new lick of paint, yet still retains the essence and atmosphere of Half Life in spades. The new VO and new music are great too.

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Yesterday I fired up Metro 2033 and turned everything on so I could get it to hover between 50-70 FPS. With vsync on, the sequence went from 55-60. With vsync off, the sequence went from 55-70. What am I missing?

You picked the wrong game to test, vsync is a performance gain in Metro 2033 because the engine is a bit broken with it off.

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