Realtime Strategy Benchmarks

This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.

Realtime strategy games are often overlooked in videocard reviews. Gone are the days of sprite-based 2D games like Starcraft (though many people still play it), instead we find ourselves in a 3D rendered environment with potentially dozens of units on the screen. Because all current and future RTS games are likely to be 3D, it’s important that we begin testing hardware against them.

In this section, we will test both Age of Mythology and Command & Conquer: Generals.

MSI Ti4800SE-VTD8X Video Card Review - Graphics Cards 17 MSI Ti4800SE-VTD8X Video Card Review - Graphics Cards 18
Two 32 unit armies face-off in Age of Mythology (Left).
Humvees attack a squad of tanks in Command & Conquer: Generals (Right).

Age of Mythology Benchmark

Age of Mythology is a realtime strategy game with a loyal following. Fans of this game are almost scientific in their strategies and the first few minutes of a game is executed in a meticulous sequence. In a typical online game, it is rare to see very large armies attacking one another since it’s often not strategically viable to raise and wait on such a large group.

It is for this reason I’ve created a scenario with two large armies of 32 units in each attacking one another. This is not a typical event that would happen in an online game, but it serves to show how bad video hardware can get with that many units fighting on the screen.

Benchmark Notes:

  • Color depth is 32 bits for all tests.
  • High detail models and textures are used.
  • No anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering.

Age of Mythology Benchmark. 1024x768-1600x1200. 32 units vs. 32 units.

The MSI Ti4800SE-VTD8X plays Age of Mythology very smoothly. The only point of concern is at 1600×1200. The low score of 20 FPS you see there occured just as the two armies met to fight each other. This slow-down only lasted a few seconds, but may be unacceptable to some of you (especially if more unit arrive on the scene).

Command & Conquer: Generals

To fabricate a benchmark for Command & Conquer: Generals, I created a simple map with an enemy base and about a dozen units (tanks and rocket launchers). Attacking this base was a large convoy of Humvees. I load the game and let the units loose on each other.

Benchmark Notes:

  • Color depth is 32 bits for all tests.
  • High detail models and textures are used.
  • No anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering.

Command and Conquer: Generals Benchmark. 1024x768-1600x1200. High Details.

The results here are very similar to that seen in Age of Mythology. The lowest score occurs when the two sides meet to fight and 1600×1200 being the worst in performance. Any resolution less than 1600×1200 is probably better (like all previous benchmarks), since the last thing you want is screen lag when you’re trying to micro-manage your battle.

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