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FPS Creator X10 / X10 User Review (AMD / ATI)

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Nomad Soul
Moderator
17
Years of Service
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Joined: 9th Jan 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: 21st Dec 2007 14:37 Edited at: 22nd Dec 2007 18:54
Having spent a bunch of time putting a new PC together and migrating to Vista especially to accomodate FPSC X10. I thought I'd provide some initial feedback for those unsure whether to undertake the journey just yet.

PC Spec

Windows Vista Ultimate
AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core 4200+
2 Gig DDR2 800mhz
Ati Radeon HD 2900XT 512

- Installation

Straight forward installation. Worth noting that could not load FPSC X10 with the default Vista directx 10 drivers and needed to install those provided on FPSC X10 DVD.

There is an auto update feature for the software which is a nice idea providing that details up the updates are still documented somewhere.

Also FPSC X10 appears to install to both the standard root program files directory and also to a Vista user folder witin 'documents'. I'm not sure why this is the case yet or what impact this has on implementation of custom media so perhaps someone can shed some light on this.

- Drivers

Picked up an ati 2900XT for half the price of an 8800GTX which actually performs better in 3D Mark 06. Using ati catalyst 7.11 drivers and been able to test / build games succesfully with no texture or graphic glitches present.

Occasional issue with test game freezing resulting in editor crash which I believe is an issue with the ati drivers rather than the application. Fortunately FPSC X10 can simply be reloaded without re booting the OS which is still annoying but tolerable with regular map saving.

If ati release a driver update which resolves the stability I think ati will be the better value for money option.

- Graphics

Inclusion of high quality bloom, water and soft shadow effects really do add to the presentation. I was particularly pleased to see that object / character and environment shaders appear to have been implemented properly this time and opens the door for some serious texture mapping creativity and experimentation with good results.

Anyone like myself disappointed with the lack of X9 shader updates combined with the lighting issues and glitches should be quite pleased at the prospect of full scene bump mapping out of the box in X10.

- Performance

Haven't built a large level yet but early results running very smooth both in the map editor and in game which you would kind of expect from a high end system required to use X10 but still nice to see in reality. X10 has moved away from the timer based system of X9 so your graphics card will actually be fully utilised giving you the best possible performance for your spec.

- Gameplay

Looking good from early tests. Full support for allies and even issuing orders for them is going to significantly improve the developers ability to make levels different and unique offering a variety of missions and gameplay mechanics that should completely remove the old linear gameplay that X9 games could sometimes suffer from. Unfortunately I've already witnessed some enemies losing their way a little and not being able to get back on track but I've found that even in X9 the user can make gameplay more stable by giving enemies a slightly more linear existence and limiting the possibilities for them to lose the plot. I'm yet to see if there is better stability in X10 for enemy spawning and waypoints.

- Features

Very happy and impressed with the bloom, water, shadows and shaders here. Also GPU instancing for characters and LOD for characters and objects are welcome additions. Inclusion of a music zone should allow for interesting moments prompting a change of pace or other significant moment in a game and ragdoll physics for death sequences are an improvement over previous pre determined animations. I couldn't seem to find any media or markers regarding the volumetric smoke / soft particle effects shown in the technical demonstration videos which I'm hoping hasn't been cut completely.

Also it is currently not possible to scale entities which I can't understand as this is pretty important. I thought an entity scaling feature within the editor would have been a nice touch but instead TGC have gone the other way. I hope this gets addressed quickly as it effects the ability to use any existing model packs or custom media without amending and exporting or creating from scratch which is far from user friendly.

- Shaders

Much better shader implementation in X10. At last bump mapping can be applied to geometry and entities which dont fall over as soon as light sources are introduced into the scene and you can't help being impressed seeing the various different texture maps being used properly and reacting appropriately to light sources. If you look in the effectbank for X10 the previous shader files from X9 seem to have gone e.g. bumpent etc and replaced with a bunch of others which I'm not sure how to assign yet. I believe you only need to create the additional texture maps e.g. bump / specular etc and assign them for a given segment / entity and the engine will now automatically apply the appropriate shader and make it look great. I'll probably post some shader specific findings later on as this is an area I'll be focusing on.

- Interface

If it aint broke don't fix it. The editor is virtually identical to the X9 version which isn't a bad thing as the editor is one of FPSC's strongest assets. The icons have been given an overhaul and look nice. There seem to be a few more options in the toolbar menus and more indicators e.g. enemy properties which can be changed via the map editor in the same way that light ranges are scaled up and down e.g. attack ranges etc. Editor seems to be more stable than X9 and X10 can be reloaded quickly following a crash. If you are using the Vista aero theme you'll get a message saying theme has been changed to Vista basic for the editor but automatically changes back when you close the application and doesn't cause any issues.

- Overall

It's FPSC and it's better than the last version in a number of key areas. Also existing X9 owners will benefit from a 30% discount until 31st December which I would advise taking advantage of even if you don't have the required PC requirements just yet. TGC have promised continued support for X9 but purchasing X10 gives you all the updates that are likely to appear in X9 over the next few months out of the box.

There are already some noticeable bugs in X10 like the entity scaling issue which will give X9 users a little more time to save up for a new spec but if these get addressed early on X10 will become the must have version before long.
Tochiro GE999
16
Years of Service
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Joined: 20th Dec 2007
Location: Virginia
Posted: 21st Dec 2007 17:16
That's a very good review and my experiences with X10 match up with what you're saying pretty well.

The big issue for me right now is the lack of an entity scaling feature which you mentioned. I've found that many of the WW2 character models are appearing too tall and cannot fit through the door segments which is really creating quite a design challenge for me at this stage. I would definitely like to see that issue addressed in the near future. But overall I feel like X10 is a good product and delivers what it claimed it would.

---------------
Michael Rogers
Xsniper.net
fallen one
17
Years of Service
User Offline
Joined: 7th Aug 2006
Location: My imagination!
Posted: 21st Dec 2007 21:14
How fast do levels load, has that been fixed.
How big a level can you make, can you put a lot of detail into the overall level and it still runs smooth or what about the amount of polys in a view at once, is it efficient in that regards. Does it still have enemies and players getting stuck on the spot like in dx9 or enemies running into walls stuck in a loop, or the clipping problems of dx9 with NPC characters or NPC character weapons going through walls.

Evil Things Most Foulhttp://www.avantivita.com/
Snipesoul
16
Years of Service
User Offline
Joined: 29th Aug 2007
Location: Somewhere in New York...
Posted: 21st Dec 2007 21:28
Is there such thing as a "Safe Zone" or a "Duck Zone" marker in X10?

Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM, NVIDIA Geforce 8800 GTX

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