Test Setup

While Call of Duty and the impressive-looking Call of Duty 2 are our current WW2 games of choice, Day of Defeat is a great Half life 2 mod, and with the recent release of Day of Defeat: Source by Valve, it's looking even better. Just in case you didn't already know, Day of Defeat is a multiplayer-only mod of the original Half life game, which has been out for quite a while. As with Counter Strike, Valve updated the mod to run on the Half life 2 engine, keeping the gameplay intact, but adding new physics and graphical elements, resulting in a much higher quality game.

The gameplay of Day of Defeat is much like counterstrike; fast-paced, first-person shooter action, only set in WW2 instead of present day. There are currently only four maps available and they are generally all close-quarter and set in urban areas. With the maximum limit of 16 players on each team combined with the small maps, the action can get very intense, and because of the realism factor (as with Counterstrike), you'll find yourself dying very quickly after just a couple of hits if you aren't careful. Fortunately though, unlike Counterstrike, you won't have to wait until the end of the round to respawn, which keeps the action going.

After we managed to record a demo of the game, we ran some benchmarks to see of the achieved framerates between different cards with different HDR settings. There are basically 3 different HDR settings: all HDR effects enabled, bloom only enabled (when available), and none. We tested all three of these settings on a total of six cards: 3 ATI and 3 NVIDIA cards. For ATI's, we chose the X850 XT, the X800 XT, and the X800. The NVIDIA parts that we used were the 7800 GTX, 7800 GT, and the 6600 GT. All of the tests were run at a resolution of 1600x1200 with no AA or AF.

Now, let's take a look at the performance tests.

Valve’s HDR Source Implementation Day of Defeat Performance Tests


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  • eastvillager - Monday, October 3, 2005 - link

    Screenshots don't do it justice, nor does 'trying' it for 5 minutes, deciding you don't like it and then going back to your old config. It adds considerably to the experience, for me at least. Reply
  • Marsumane - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - link

    Im not so sure I agree that the NV cards are not as good at implementing this engine's HDR effects due to the fact that the NV cards are all one of two extremes. They are either the highest end cards which crush the entire ati lineup and dont provide a good comparison, or they are the lowest-tier card in the roundup with no real direct competition. I mean just look at the memory bandwidth of the 6600gt as well as the pixel pipelines and ull find that it has no real comparison to the ati cards benched. Furthermore, I dont see how the ATI cards have anything to compare to either. It seems as if the top NV card had the least impact from implementing HDR and it just scaled down the list fairly evenly. Maybe the conclusion was made based upon the numbers of cards not posted, but from my perception, based on reading the numbers on here, I'm not seeing any real reason to state that NV cards do worse than ATI cards in this comparison. Furthermore, look at the x800 from bloom to full HDR. The 6600gt had less of a percentage hit as compared to the x800. Maybe I missed something, but does anyone else see this? Please correct me if im wrong. Reply
  • gamara - Tuesday, October 4, 2005 - link

    I caught that too. The GTX dropped 2.5 FPS from none to full. The x850 XT dropped 15.8. For those that like percentages, the NVidia dropped 3.5% while the ATI dropped 22.3%. How exactly is that better? I like how the GT went from second to last with no HDR to second best with full. I will concede the 6600 GT dropped over 50% with the full effect, but when FSAA first hit the scene the thought of running a low-mid range with AA was OBSURD. Reply
  • islandtechengineers - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - link

    i know why... factors factors factors..... anyway its still not nice to only release if with DOD and the lost coast..... to bad if couldnt be released for all :-{ even as a update which I'm sure will arrive.. Reply
  • Busithoth - Saturday, October 1, 2005 - link

    well, I'm running a 2405 with an x800xt, and HDR made the difference between smooth as butter and less than that. I liked the effect, but the fast pace of things in DoD made it really annoying to me more than anything else. Given time, I can get used to it, of course, but I'd rather be in single-player doing so (come on lost coast), then I can try my hand at MP again.

    I can't understand the argument that it's an aid to players, though.
    More realistic, I'll grant that. but how exactly does it help anyone but campers, I don't know. Besides the fact that people can just turn it off, it's an act of faith to assume that someone's gonna be blinded coming around a corner. (as I was multiple times when it was still enabled)

    altogether though, HDR on, I thought this game was bliss for the eyes.
  • Frackal - Friday, September 30, 2005 - link

    Why do computer users bitch so much

    I love the HDR, it does look more realistic and moreover BF2 looks crappy after playing DOD-S. BF2 was my fav. game until DOD-S, now its a tough call because BF2's gameplay is better but it doesn't look that great anymore.

    HDR is the future
  • OvErHeAtInG - Saturday, October 1, 2005 - link

    Yes. Most of the people complaining about HDR haven't even tried it, it seems. See Wilson's post above, you have to see it in motion. Frankly the screenshots don't look anything like the game in motion. Has anyone here played GT4 for the PS2? They implemented some sort of advanced light thingies like this to great effect. The whole point is how something (wet road surface at sunrise) would look totally different depending on the angle you're looking at it from; blinding white one second, black the next, just like in real life.

    Has anyone else tried HL2 after they added HDR to some of the maps? Looks good. And like they said *if you read up on it*, this is really a partial implementation of HDR, worked into the source engine. Of course it's really only worth it if you have a high-end videocard, otherwise you'll have to disable AA in order to get playable frames. In a very-aliased game like HL2, it's a tough call which I'd rather have :)
  • coomar - Saturday, October 1, 2005 - link

    with a 6800gt, i was playing everything high at 1280x1024 with 2x aa/8af i think with hdr on Reply
  • gravy - Friday, September 30, 2005 - link

    the 6600GT is obviously going to be limited, but why put a 6600GT up with X800's and the likes of 7800's ??!!

    might as well have thrown in a 9800XT to compare with the 6600GT, and then a 6800GT to compare with the X800's

    i hope to see a follow up to this with these cards as well as the upcoming X1800's and X1600's, a nice well rounded comparison to see how both players are fairing with the new technology

    perhaps a Lost Coast review will be just that as it will likely be more demanding than DOD:S ??

    thanks for a nice read
  • ViperV990 - Friday, September 30, 2005 - link

    What is the point of all these fancy lights if there are no shadows? I am talking about the boat and the tank traps in the screenshots.


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