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Update On The Status Of UT2003

by Thomas on June 21, 2002 @ 7:42 a.m. PDT

Mark Rein from Epic Games Inc. tossed up following update status on their official UT2003 forum.

Performance optimizations are really coming under control nicely. When we originally announced UT2003 we were pretty sure that hardware T&L and 32-bit rendering would be must-have features just to get the game running. It turns out we might have been a little too conservative with this specification. Resident graphics wiz, Andrew Scheidecker, has cranked up graphics performance very nicely and hardware guru Daniel Vogel has somehow managed to get 16 bit working quite well and make the game run on low-end cards like TNT2 and even 3DFX's famous Voodoo3! Read more below!

So there it is, Voodoo3 and Voodoo5 will work with our game. Here's the disclaimer: the company that made these boards is no longer in business so these boards won't be "officially supported". The Voodoo3 drivers we tested with were 3rd party drivers from voodoofiles.com. Dan thinks the Voodoo5 drivers he tested with were the ones provided with Windows 2000, the OS on his test machine. We can't guarantee everyone who has a Voodoo3/5 card is going to be able to get the game working nor can we guarantee that the game is going to run well on their system. On our test box, an Athlon 1Ghz we ran the game consistently on Voodoo3 around the low to mid 20's (frames per second) at 512x384 and 640x480 both, of course, in 16 bit color. Visual quality was decent, not perfect as there are some visual flaws, but good none the less. The Voodoo5 was able to achieve the same kind of performance but at 640x480 with 32 bit color and the visual quality was actually quite good. A TNT2 achieves about the same performance but at a lower resolution - for TNT we're running 320x240 at 16 bit color - the absolute lowest end of the scale. Even at these resolutions the game is still a LOT of fun to play.

These performance numbers are averages seen while actually playing the game. The bottom line is that people with these kinds of video cards are going to be able to see why this game is so special, they're going to have fun playing it and they'll see how upgrading their systems will get them a better presentation.

On the sound side we have some amazing news! Dolby Laboratories informed us today that we are officially Dolby Digital 5.1 certified! UT2003 will be one of the first PC games to ship with true Dolby Digital support. Of course this requires hardware that has DD5.1 which today includes any Nvidia nForce motherboards but more hardware is on the way. Dolby is just as excited about this as we are, the report we got back said UT2003 had "perfect 5 channel panning!". Of course on add-in cards like Creative Labs' Sound Blaster Audigy we'll also deliver an awesome 5.1 performance so you don't have to have Dolby Digital to have 5.1 sound.

Network performance is improved from the original UT. Bandwidth usage has been decreased which should help particularly for people playing over modems. We've also focused on optimizing server CPU utilization. AI and gamecode is undergoing a lot of tweaking and improvement. In this area the last 10% is the difference between a good game and a great game and, I said in a previous update, UT2003 is going to be a great game.

In terms of releasing the demo we're still over a week away, maybe over two weeks away but we are making very good progress and the game is coming together really nicely.

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