Part 4 The Analysis by ARHarris
Falcon 4 is the first sim to
answer the prayers of the Hardware freaks such as myself. It does this by
adding a terrific command line switch -log. What this does is forces the sim
to sample the frame rates min and max at various times in any flight portion
of the sim. Finally instead of just a basically useless frame rate
counter...yea its useless since its not strictly repeatable....we have a tool
that will sample a particular flight of yours all the way thru. The value is
that instead of having to benchmark our puters (which are largely used for
flight sims) with a shooter like Quake or Unreal...we can actually use the
type of program we are likely to need our puters to be fast for....we can use
the Mother of all PC Wars FALCON 4.
The sim generates 2 Excel
spreadsheets that are different in the number of samples taken. I use the file
fr_summary.csv and Excel to help fine-tune my experience in what is a
revolutionary sim. There is another file framerate.csv that is much larger I
decided that close is good enough for government work...
The task since the release of
this sim has been to find some combination of options that will give you the
most bang for your speed of puter. This has been somewhat difficult since
strictly speaking there is alot of guessing out on the net. A couple of guys
on the Usenet Gunslinger and Rrevved have been absolutely diligent in coming
up with ways to make your experience all it can be...here are links to their
guide to installing Falcon 4 hosted by a terrific site run by a former
Prodigy Falcon 3 Ladder regular...if you haven't been to SIMHQ...shame
shame shame on you.
guide to running Falcon 4 with a great bunch of information and some
terrific shareware for other sims as well as Falcon 4. Gunslinger is serious
about his fun..<VBG>.
My efforts have been along
another line. I just wanted to get to the bottom of how fast is this thing on
my puter..and can a reliable way be found to benchmark our puters. Along the
way we will slay the guessing game of which options to enable and which ones
to stay away from....
My task was to come up with a
mission that would simulate the load the campaign puts on a puter and also
make it repeatable to within some defined goal. My goal was to be repeatable
to within a few tenths. At first I attempted actually use the campaign...this
was a bad idea for a variety of reasons. The main one being its extremely
difficult to repeat the same events each time.
Then I thought that perhaps I
could make a single mission that would be similar to the load of the campaign
but that would play out each time exactly the same. This was the correct
path...I then made a mission based on the observations so far, that really
what was killing the frame-rate was the sheer number of units in the campaign.
So I made a mission with a large number of friendly units...had to be friendly
since putting both in the mission was something akin to inserting a cat and a
dog into a closet...immediate fighting. Spectacular....but not very good for
The mission I came up with has
you at 400 feet rolling in over friendly lines....a bunch of friendlies a
bushel of friendlies if you will. This is a severe mission and slow puters
should turn down all options the first time to insure that you don't crash
your machine. Also its a great idea to at least run Memturbo before going into
this mission especially if you have been in the sim for some time. Better yet
reboot...you will lose about .75 of a frame per second by only using Memturbo.
On to the
nitty gritty of benchmarks....