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jdbrown10

Help figuring out lag/graphics issue?

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone,

 

First of all let me say how THRILLED I am to be playing city of heroes again. I started around issue 5 back in the day and played consistently til the day it was shut down. Every once in a while I would google city of heroes...just to see. I hadn't done so in a while but last week I searched again on a whim and I cannot tell you how I felt finding out about homecoming. The feeling I had when that familiar loading screen popped up on my desktop truly was like coming home after so many years.

 

So that brings me to the topic at hand: I'm running with an amount of lag that makes the game pretty much unplayable. I was able to solo a villain to level 6 the other day, but I had to have my camera pointed to the ground 100% of the time. And I pretty much can't be in Atlas Park at all. I have my graphics set to the absolute minimum (truly everything is turned off). My graphics software is fully updated and I changed my power settings to run at max... Before doing that I couldn't even walk around, so it helped a little, but I still can't really play the game.

 

This is the laptop I have and I've seen some discussion that there might be an incompatibility with the intel processor? could that be the issue, and if so, is there a way around it? do I literally just need a different computer? or is there anything else I can do at this point?

 

any advice would be really greatly appreciated!

 

EDIT: I also just followed the instructions for "# How to fix City of Heroes issues with OpenGL on Intel video cards (GPUs)" in the pinned Install and Troubleshooting guide and I'm not seeing any noticeable difference. 😕 

Edited by jdbrown10

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Posted (edited)

That guide is only useful for laptops that will not start the game at all.  It won't make any improvement in performance for existing Intel Graphics systems that can already launch the game. 

 

It's not harmful, but mostly unnecessary.

 

Intel UHD Graphics is part of Integrated chipsets which will run City of Heroes, but not anything that can eat Ultra Mode for lunch.  (Yes, even on a decades-old game like this one.)  In general, you can expect 30-50FPS at best when you're not in a heavily populated zone (Atlas Park) or at a map with a lot of demanding resources (First/Night Ward).  Also, the sky will be a factor: if you can't see one from a instance map, the performance will increase.  If you can, it'll be average.

 

The largest two reasons why: as the graphics are integrated (same chip as the CPU), heat draw is going to mean it can't run anywhere as powerful as Dedicated Graphics (a chip specially made as a GPU as on a Gaming Laptop.)  Also, Integrated Graphics share the RAM with the system, so it'll have far less at it's disposal than a system with Dedicated Graphics, so you'll have to get picky on your graphics options.

 

My suggestion is compromise.  The real question is what do you want?

  • Best Looks: On Advanced Graphics Settings, Start with Recommended, and tweak from there.  Turn down memory heavy options like world detail, texture quality, and stay on the low end of shadows/ambient occlusion.  Options like Bloom, Depth of Field, and High Antialiasing aren't going to work well.  You'll have to play with the settings a lot in this mode, as there's no accounting for taste (what I THINK looks good and what you think looks good could be a strong debate topic.  So, trust your feelings.)

    Advice: You can tease the lower two or three options out of a feature with a "ladder slider" (a left to right choice between 5-10 options).  The center is pushing it, and all the way to the right promises 10FPS.
     
  • Between Minimum and Best Performance: Instead, aim for Minimum.  Stay with me, I'm not done yet:
    • Turn Advanced Graphics Settings back on and adjust up the following:
      • World Detail - Somewhere between 60-80%.  Pop-up (objects being drawn right in front of you even if they should be in site) is ALWAYS going to happen no matter the setting, so as long as you can make out 1,000 ft. around you, the rest is extra RAM for not much benefit.
      • Character Detail - Put back to 100%.  In my experience, this has a negligable effect on RAM except in populated zones which won't matter anyways.
      • Particle Count - This is the main option to draw powers.  At it's default (50,000), using abilities on a team will make Integrated Graphics chug along.  At 100 (the minimum setting), a soft weak light will appear in the place of Fire when using Fire Blast, which is particularly lame.  Here's a tip: 8,000-12,000 is a fair trade.  You can see your powers and Integrated graphics won't suffer for it.
      • Shadow Quality - The first tick next to OFF is best for Integrated: this uses the old pre-Ultra Mode shadow engine with zero ambient occlusion.  You still have a working sun and tree shadows.  Yay!
    • And leave everything else alone.  (In case you didn't guess, I'm all for FPS, looks be damned.)

The "Between Minimum and Best Performance" list is what I go through on a system with a damaged or about to die graphics card (or really bad Intel GMA versions that just won't escape 30FPS) to keep it going until a replacement is possible.  On my GTX 1050, Minimum to Best Performance above brings me around 110 FPS in certain spots and 60 FPS average.  On a Surface Pro 4 (which isn't as powerful as yours graphics-wise, it's an Iris Pro chipset) on Minimum to Best Performance list above, the Frame Rate varies wildly, but I can average 20-30 when it's chunky and 60-80 when it's an instanced map.  When I turn the same Surface Pro to Quality settings, 3 FPS.  It's flashcards.  It's just not going to run Ultra Mode.  (And even then, certain zones like Praetorian maps will still chug regardless.)

 

Another thing to look at: when Intel Graphics chipsets say they're 4K ready, it's tipping it in.  If your screen resolution is 4K (actually 3840x2160 or higher), try playing with the "3D Resolution Scaling" and turn your FSAA down to 4X or less.  It'll make things blurry, but it cuts down on RAM use dramatically.

 

In any case, give both a try and see what works for you.  The only choice that's not an option is high FPS and good looks.  It's just not going to happen on an Intel Graphics system.

 

(Yes, I've been playing with settings on both NVidia and Intel systems while writing this.  I don't have a system with your exact chip, but I can get close.)

Edited by GM Tahquitz

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Thank you so much!  I'm gonna follow your instructions and will see how it goes - so so so much appreciated!

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