Stalker: Clear Sky - Is Your System Ready?

Rain Test

The following pictures compare the illumination quality at the maximum setting. The order is: static illumination, dynamic illumination of objects, dynamic illumination, extended dynamic illumination, and extended dynamic illumination of objects.

The activated switches and positions of the sidebar are copied into the picture. Usually you’ll find them in the extended graphics menu. The frame rate is displayed at the top left. Again, the test system consists of a Core 2 Duo E6750 at its standard frequency of 2.66 GHz, 4 GB of memory, and a GeForce 8800 GTS 512. Anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering (AF) are deactivated, and the resolution is 1920x1200 pixels.

In the test scene, Stalker stands in the rain, it is night, and his flashlight is on. The lowest setting is static illumination (first image). With a strong GeForce 8 or 9, or a Radeon HD 3800 or HD 4800, this setting is unplayable — the loss in graphics quality is enormous, the ground textures completely lose their clarity, and the depth perception disappears completely. The illumination of the flashlight is very direct and the environment is rather dark.

As soon as you switch to dynamic illumination, the ground appears real, and you can see reflections from the rain and the flashlight. The frame rates in this setting are somewhat unstable; with object illumination you will get 68 fps (image 2). The slightly advanced mode with dynamic illumination bounces between 60 and 80 fps, stabilizing at 78 fps (image 3). This can change depending on viewing angle and position, and only in this test scene did the more-advanced mode result in better frame rate.

 Rain Test with 1920x1200 pixels

If you switch to DirectX 10 illumination, the frame rate drops from 70 to 30 fps (image 4). The colors of the ground textures are more rich, but only at the highest setting (last image) — extended dynamic illumination of objects — is the wetness effect of surfaces activated. The illumination of the environment decreases when using the best setting, which is why you can see the light of the flashlight more directly. The minimum frame rate drops to 25 fps.

The rain test is the only scenery test where you can use DirectX 10 mode even with a GeForce 8 graphics card. It is not very clear if the frame rates are higher or lower in the better modes. You should avoid static illumination: the loss compared to the dynamic illumination mode is 11% or 23%, but the gain in graphics quality is very large.

Rain Test, 1920x1200, 0AF, 0AA fps Percent
Static Illumination 88 100
Dynamic illumination of Objects 68 77
Dynamic illumination 78 89
Extended Dynamic illumination 33 38
Extended Dynamic illumination of Objects 25 28

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  • V3ctor
    Page 7 is not available... It gives an error, as if the page doesn't exist.
  • magicandy
    Aside from the numerous pages that don't work, was a 24-page analysis of STALKER, a fairly mediocre shooter, really necessary? Is a 24-page analysis of any game necessary? Sigh anything to please devs and grab ad dollars -_-
  • pogsnet
    Now crysis is obsolete =p
  • haplo602
    hmm ... I loled when I saw the graphics error in the water tests. the camo-net disappeared everywhere it obscured water in all modes other than static. but you get a nice looking water effect :-)

    I was wondering if I can get this game to run on reasonable terms on a HD4670 or HD3850. Based on the HD3870 results, it looks like it would be playable ...
  • cangelini
    V3ctorPage 7 is not available... It gives an error, as if the page doesn't exist.

    Not sure what you're seeing (or not, in this case), but everything is working over here. Any more detail?
  • randomizer
    magicandySigh anything to please devs and grab ad dollars -_-
    Dude, the GSC can't even afford to hire a dozen half-decent developers, let alone pay for ads.
  • blackwidow_rsa
    I had 'page not found' errors too, but they seem fixed now
  • randomizer
    No page errors here.
  • ravenware
    Nice article, I liked the quality comparisons a lot
  • xx12amanxx
    I like the article ive been playing this on a 4870 for about a week now and absolutly love it!
  • dimaf1985
    magicandyAside from the numerous pages that don't work, was a 24-page analysis of STALKER, a fairly mediocre shooter, really necessary? Is a 24-page analysis of any game necessary? Sigh anything to please devs and grab ad dollars -_-

    A fairly mediocre shooter? Youre obviously an idiot.

    The real question here is what was the point of the first 9 pages? Is this a review on a graphics analysis article? C'mon on, Tom's, get it together.

    Other than the first 9 pages, nice article. Very in-depth.
  • Luscious
    No 4870x2 in that roundup? What about some CF/SLI numbers?
  • radnor
    Well, i found it a decent review. I liked how they categorized the cards and presented the game. This review might not ring you bells but it is not too bad.

    Not that I'm going to buy this game atm. Its too hilarious to see the stock market now. Oh, well :)
  • V3ctor

    It posted as a bad link... as if i got a link (for example 1 year ago, and now doesn't work)... But it's fine now... never mind :)

    Good review... 24 pages is a lot, u covered a lot of angles... including the graphics cards.
  • Anonymous
    The game is definitely an improvement on the first one - on paper at least.
    The problem is the huge amount of game crashes. I played the game for about 8 hours, progressing all the way to The Garbage level when my crashes started. I was forced to install the latest patch, but that meant I had to start all over again. Although I this time got twice as far, the game still crashes - although now instead of rebooting the PC, it is caught by a built-in bug tracker.
    I am really dissapointed now, cause after one of these crashes, my game is now stuck at the Yantar level - where I'm supposed to meet up with a character, but when you get to the character, he is completely inactive. I've moved backwards and forwards in levels, but I cannot get this dude to react to my presence.

    I suspect I will probably have to restart the game, but I think I am going to abandon - at least untill a newer patch, and then hope the new patch will recognize my current saves.

    Advice: Make regular custom saves - not just quicksaves...
  • mr roboto
    More like is STALKER ready? From what I've heard it's not. Numerous bugs and crashes, but then again the first game was like that so would you expect anything less?
  • modtech
    Patch 1.5.05 is out. The game never crashed or glitched for me and I've gone from start to finish, joined in on 3 different faction wars and explored the crap out of every area. I also finished crysis warhead and that CTDed twice from the start to the end.
  • ahslan
    I dont know if Im convinced on getting this STALKER...I was hugely disappointed with the first one (especially since sooo many people said it was a great game)...
    For me, its the exact opposite of crysis...I didnt get crysis for the longest time because soo many people said it wasnt worth it, but once I took a chance on it, I loved I got warhead which so far has be amazing...
  • modtech
    Warhead is short and shallow. Not a bad game but anyway. If you're talking about Stalker:SOC then you would do well to look at the modding community which really made the game the memorable experience it is to many. (Notably the oblivion lost mod)

    I've played and finished both crysis games. They are in no way comparable to the atmospheric freedom that the stalker games have. You just can't compare them. Change the point of view to multiplayer and things might be different. Otherwise I you comment comes across as poorly thought out and shallow.
  • Yuka
    Very nice review indeed. I missed the 4870X2 and 9800GX2 though, but it was a nice review indeed.

    I liked the "Performance Comparison" at the end the most. That's the most usefull piece of info you guys can give the reader: easy to digest pointers and info for overall game experience. Two thumbs up for that =)