CPU intensive game - need dual core support?

General discussions about the games by Egosoft including X-BTF, XT, X², X³: Reunion, X³: Terran Conflict and X³: Albion Prelude.

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Cycrow
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Post by Cycrow » Wed, 11. Jan 06, 21:26

well u dont have to make the game dual core supported, u jsut have to make it multithreaded
which means changing the whole game engine
which would take alot of time and effort, which really isn't worth it, especially for a patch to help out a very small amount of ppl

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Post by acrh2 » Wed, 11. Jan 06, 21:32

Cycrow wrote:well u dont have to make the game dual core supported, u jsut have to make it multithreaded
which means changing the whole game engine
which would take alot of time and effort, which really isn't worth it, especially for a patch to help out a very small amount of ppl
You comment sounds excessively narrowminded to me. Not even going to think about the future?
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Cycrow
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Post by Cycrow » Wed, 11. Jan 06, 21:36

no, im just being realistic

game engines, even for simple games r incredibly complex and changing it to use multithreading is not an easy task at all
multithreading programming can be a right nightmare, especially when its a very large program

if it was to built like that in the first place, then maybe, but converting an esisting engine to properly use dual core will require an almost complete rewrite of the code

so y would they spend all that time just to benift a small number of ppl when they could spend it adding new content to thier game to improve it for everyone else

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Post by Identitystolen » Wed, 11. Jan 06, 21:49

I wish I could afford a multi-core processor, but it ain't happening... Heck, I'm stuck with my FX5700 for awhile, so I find all these un-godly (to me) computer having the same problems funny.

In all fairness though, if Egosoft could get something out to support these things they should do it. I mean may as well keep the hard core guys and gals happy. Really, unless they can find some way to optimize the engine so it runs better, it won't really matter how much content they throw in if it runs like crap. So I say further optimization first, all else second.

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Post by scritty » Wed, 11. Jan 06, 23:39

Cycrow wrote:well u dont have to make the game dual core supported, u jsut have to make it multithreaded
which means changing the whole game engine
which would take alot of time and effort, which really isn't worth it, especially for a patch to help out a very small amount of ppl

Well, don't want to sound confrontational...but that's not really true.

If the game is well coded, then there will be a separation of the various CPU controlled aspects anyway (AI, Physics, Graphic Plotting) and in somecases one of these can be relatively simply re-routed to a second CPU (if available)

I read Infinity Wards take on HT and multiple core support (which they added to Call Of Duty 2 after the games release) If I find the article again I'll put a link to it here.


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Post by Cycrow » Wed, 11. Jan 06, 23:54

well, actaully in a standard game engine, there all done in sequence

each cycle, the engine first computes the AI to controll al lthe AI controlled objects, then it applies the physics calculations on it, then after that it finally renders onto screen

its possible to make it multithreaded, but it neds to be designed that way in the first place, changing after the game engine is done is quite a challenge

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Post by Sureshot_77 » Thu, 12. Jan 06, 05:55

I was mucking around with X3, with the task manager running on my second monitor (After all I have to use it for something since Egosoft dropped multi-monitor support...) and was suprised to see my CPU usage break 65%.

Now on a single CPU system, that wouldn't be all that interesting, but it showed on my Athlon 3800+ X2 system that it was using the second core, to the tune of 30% of it's total usage.

This was pretty consistant, with usage never dropping below 55%.

Now I have applied the X2 AMD patch, and the Windows XP patch, so my O/S is now spreading the threads across the two cores as i should, but it shows that some part of X3 is running dual-core.

Now we just have to stretch that 30% usage of the second core to 90%.

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Post by aka1nas » Thu, 12. Jan 06, 06:06

Sureshot_77 wrote:I was mucking around with X3, with the task manager running on my second monitor (After all I have to use it for something since Egosoft dropped multi-monitor support...) and was suprised to see my CPU usage break 65%.

Now on a single CPU system, that wouldn't be all that interesting, but it showed on my Athlon 3800+ X2 system that it was using the second core, to the tune of 30% of it's total usage.

This was pretty consistant, with usage never dropping below 55%.

Now I have applied the X2 AMD patch, and the Windows XP patch, so my O/S is now spreading the threads across the two cores as i should, but it shows that some part of X3 is running dual-core.

Now we just have to stretch that 30% usage of the second core to 90%.
Any other processes running will use the other core. Also, if you are running current drivers on an Nvidia card, they already support dual-core and offload some extra DirectX API processing to the second core.

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Post by Kindred Spirit » Thu, 12. Jan 06, 06:29

Hopefully SMP/multicore support will be considered when they do X4 :)

SMP forever! Dual-core SMP even :)

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Post by dunnno » Thu, 12. Jan 06, 06:37

scritty wrote: I read Infinity Wards take on HT and multiple core support (which they added to Call Of Duty 2 after the games release) If I find the article again I'll put a link to it here.
A lot of good that did...

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Post by Klyith » Sat, 14. Jan 06, 01:36

Sureshot_77 wrote:I was mucking around with X3, with the task manager running on my second monitor (After all I have to use it for something since Egosoft dropped multi-monitor support...) and was suprised to see my CPU usage break 65%.

Now on a single CPU system, that wouldn't be all that interesting, but it showed on my Athlon 3800+ X2 system that it was using the second core, to the tune of 30% of it's total usage.

This was pretty consistant, with usage never dropping below 55%.

Now I have applied the X2 AMD patch, and the Windows XP patch, so my O/S is now spreading the threads across the two cores as i should, but it shows that some part of X3 is running dual-core.

Now we just have to stretch that 30% usage of the second core to 90%.
That's normal for a single-threaded app. What is happening is that the process is "bouncing" back and forth from one cpu to another. You can see that both percentages added together equal about 100% of a single cpu. That will happen on any process that has not had a "processor affinity" set.

X3 would probably be easier to multi-thread than some other games. I think they could put the ecomonic engine and all OOS stuff on one, and the player in sector stuff on the other. But multi-threaded progranning is a bear and still has to be done by hand most of the time. When compilers can automatically create code for SMP is when games will move there.

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Post by Mophus » Thu, 17. Aug 06, 23:56

With all the AI scripts running in the background, each controlling a different ship / station, X3 looks like a perfect candidate for multithreading (separating physics from graphics can be trickier, but running the AI on separate threads should be simple - at the very least one thread for the current sector and one thread for the rest of the universe, which already uses a separate kind of "simulation").

BTW, running X3 on a dual Opteron, with latest drivers, etc., the second CPU never gets above 10% (and I suspect that's mostly the graphics driver).

I don't think X3 is multithreaded at all. If you see the second core or CPU being used, it's probably just by other applications / drivers that you have running at the same time.

It's also annoying that you can't have X3 running in the background. Since I have two CPUs, one of which X3 doesn't use at all, I'd like to be able to at least brwose the net, etc., while I'm waiting for my ship to arrive at its destination. But as soon as I switch to another application, X3 freezes. :roll:

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Post by Carl Sumner » Fri, 18. Aug 06, 00:20

Technically, X3 is certainly multithreaded. But people mean a lot of different things by "multithreaded" or "multitasking". Microsoft being one of the worst for imprecise terminology! :wink:

X3 appears to use three levels of threads: Windows standard threads, Local threading controlled by the script processor, and remote threads used by the video board hardware. And maybe more. :o

Programmers make some assumptions about what is safe from collisions with other threads, and some of these are not valid when multiple cores (or multiple processor boards) are used. If programs are designed with multiple cores in mind then they should run with or without dual cores. If not then the code that uses the assumptions must be changed to add semaphores or mutex mechanisms. 8)

The problems with the game pausing when switched out are because Microsoft and the Video and Audio board manufacturers did not design for multiple access to the board drivers. They crash if most games are switched out and some other process uses the drivers. :roll:
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Post by handy388 » Fri, 18. Aug 06, 00:55

"AGEIA PhysX card "

that card sucks. It's a 299.99 card that SLOWS down your game.

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Post by mrbadger » Fri, 18. Aug 06, 01:23

you could think of X3 as a state machine. It moves from one state to another, but those states cannot occur in paralell.

Were they to occur in paralell, you could potentially have a condition where you are both dead and alive at the same time according to the different threads. This is a boolean paradox, which is something to be avoided. It would probably crash the game.

Therefore, without ripping the whole thing apart and rebuilding it, multi-threaded support would be impossible.

almost all games are state machines these days, controlled by scripts that send comand to the game engine through a global command stack (well, that's one name for it).
where games support duel cores they have been designed from the first alpha versions to do that. I don't know of any mainstream duel core games.

Some have SLI support, but that just means the single threaded engine send graphics output to the cards, and the graphics cards themselves do the SLI bit.
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