OK so as the title says, Planetside 2's NDA is no more and I can now talk about the game. I'll be making a few posts about Planetside 2, but this first one is about client performance.
When I first started playing PS2 I had big concerns. The game itself seemed spot on, but it ran like shit for me and would quite often become unplayable slideshow style. Sometimes I'd be just about able to take part in small infantry fights with FPS of about 10 and very laggy player movement, but soon as the battles got more than small it just became horrible beyond words. Also it was completely impossible to fly any aircraft at all, suffering from a bad case of Powerpoint presentation. Now since I can run pretty much anything else on at least medium graphics, don't have performance issues and I can't afford to upgrade... this was a worry. So I talked with other folks on the beta and whilst they weren't immune to performance issues, they didn't have problems like I did. We went through our different PC specs and I worked out what my problem was; RAM and Windows version.
I started off with:
Q6600 (overclocked to 3.2ghz)
4gb RAM (limited to 3.25gb because of my operating system)
Windows Vista (32bit)
I then installed a 64 bit version of windows and upped my RAM to 6gb. Changing it to:
Q6600 (overclocked to 3.2ghz)
Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)
So a very minor upgrade and one that really just brings me up to basic standards...
The performance increase was monumental. First thing I did was jump into a Scythe fighter plane and discovered it was now absolutely fine to fly! Then I got into to some proper battles and all was well. FPS is hugely improved and the teleporting enemy player lag is completely gone. Happy Boots was happy. :) Since then SOE have made continual improvements to the game's performance and I have to say their work has been extremely impressive. My FPS varies between 15 and 60 depending on situation, with 15 being very unusual, most of the time in large scale battles I'm running at around 30 FPS which is perfectly fine for a low end system like mine. I was in a battle earlier that was mind-blowing in scale, there was masses of tanks, swarms of infantry and a sky packed with dueling aircraft. Contrails from jets covered the air like a ADHD kid scribbling after too much Sunny D, bombs exploded left right and center, tracer fire and just bat shit crazy sci-fi warfare could be seen all around. Yet the game ran perfectly.
I can quite honestly say I have never seen performance like this in any other large scale PvP MMO. Perhaps its because by the nature of the game people are just more spread out than in melee based games like WAR, DAoC, GW2, etc. Perhaps its something to do with the differences developers face between traditional lock target MMORPG spam 157 ability buttons combat and that which we see in a MMOFPS, but then Planetside 1 often ran like poo and I'm only guessing. So I don't know and nor do I care. What I do know is
Planetside 2 is looking hugely promising for people with low end systems like mine.
Oh and the game itself is bloody awesome, but we'll get to that later.