Hardware Complex

April 16, 2009

Demigod Performance Review – I Swear Its Not DotA

Filed under: Gaming — paradigmshift @ 4:30 am

Demigod, a game developed by Gas Powered Games, makers of Dungeon Siege, and published by Stardock, of Sins of a Solar Empire Fan, was just released yesterday. Although many Gamestops began selling them early, of which the Stardock boss had this to say in his blog, regarding the subsequent potential piracy. A class act, I say. The game itself can be described as an action/RPG/RTS hybrid, or a massive ripoff of the Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III. Although that would be presumptuous, DotA has way many more heroes than Demigod has…uh…demigods (only 8 as of now)! It also runs a lot worse than DotA! I jest though, considering the graphics engine powering Demigod is much more advanced than the geriatric Warcraft III engine. Although the gameplay might feel similar, Demigod is much more refined, and each demigod has a lot more depth in their skill tree, abilities, and powers. There is also lot more to do on the maps than just destroy trees or pyramids with lightning rods.

The graphical in-game options are fairly broad, without ridiculous amounts of control over the specific shaders that color a Demigod’s demibutt or the fire effects shooting out of the Torchbearer’s torch. Resolution is pretty obvious, if you don’t know what this is you are probably one of those people who game at 1024×768 on their widescreen TV and wonder why everybody looks so wide. Vertical Sync is there as well to control tearing, the refresh rate you are actually at is in parentheses after the resolution. Fidelity Presets are a general setting controlling how the game looks overall, its just governs all the subsequent settings. The options are Low, Medium, and High. I am not quite sure what Fidelity is, although I’m sure its not how often you’ll be tempted to cheat on your significant other with the sexy Demigods in this game.

mmm…polygonal ass

Shadow Fidelity presumably controls how good the shadows look. Anti-aliasing offers you the standard gamut of options, from 2 to 16Q. 2 and 4 are probably multisampling AA, along with 8Q and 16Q, while 8 and 16 are using NVIDIA’s coverage sampling AA. Texture Detail and Level of Detail also run from Low to Medium to High. The settings you see in the screencap are the settings I used in the benching.

I then used FRAPS to measure 60 seconds of gameplay, from the start of a skirmish game with myself and 7 computer controlled demigods. The camera initially does a flyover of the level, and then settles in place behind your Demigod. I then moved the camera forward and backward at regular intervals to capture as much of the action as I could while maintaining some sort of consistency in between benchmarks. As there is no dedicated benchmark option in-game, this was the best I could do for now. I first enabled SLI on my GTX 280s and measured the performance, as well as took a screenshot with Task Manager and temperature monitoring programs open on my other monitor (which is powered by a third GPU, so there is no performance penalty on the SLI setup). You can see the rest of my machine specs on the About page of this blog.

The results (using NVIDIA’s 182.50 WHQL drivers) were:

Minimum Maximum Average
4 101 50.483

As you can see here, Demigod is still fairly limited to one CPU core, while it seems one of my GPUs in SLI is under considerably less load (although it could be that GPU0 is behind GPU2 in the physical setup on the PCI-E slots). The benchmarks also show that there is very low minimum framerate, which can mean stuttering (although I was watching the game during the benchmark, and there really wasn’t any noticeable stutter).

I then disabled my SLI and proceeded to bench the game running on a single one of my GTX 280s.

Minimum Maximum Average
25 91 34.017

Although the average frame rate has gone done from the SLI setup, showing that there is a performance boost from using SLI, the minimum framerate is much higher, suggesting there might be some driver issues present in 182.50 drivers for SLI under Demigod that might cause the occasional stutter. Neither benchmark was really taxing on my system though, and although Demigod looks good, I can see why it is not so taxing, as the levels are not that big and detailed, and the game is missing a lot of en vogue effects like depth blur and motion blur. The Demigod character models are the high point of this game, barring that close-up of Demislut up there that shows a fairly low polygon count. But screenshots like this and this show that it is definitely a modern game, although maybe not with the bells and whistles that the next Unreal or id Tech engine might have. One extra note, there is no 3D Vision profile for this game yet either, and I couldn’t run the game with 3D on with the NVIDIA shutterglasses and have it display correctly. I haven’t tried renaming the exe to other games though to test out if there would be a 3D Vision profile that works with the game.

If you liked DotA, or Warhammer 40K Dawn of War II, or a quick pick-me-up action RPG that doesn’t require enormous time investment to get into, Demigod is a definite recommendation.

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