This time I tried to use not only some well known benchmarks as Quake 2 and Incoming, but also the already well known game Unreal and Rage's upcoming DirectX 6 game 'Expendable'. Quake 2 is still a very widely played game and could not possibly be missing in a benchmark comparison. Besides Quake2 there are several other upcoming games that will use the Quake 2 graphics engine, so that the Quake 2 benchmark will stay very important for quite a while. Unreal is a game that never really quite did it for me, but it's also pretty widely spread. More importantly there are over 20 licensees of Epic's Unreal graphics engine, so that the benchmark will also stay important way beyond the life of Unreal itself. It's still very touchy to benchmark with Unreal, because it was written for 3Dfx' proprietary Glide engine and Videologic's PowerSGL engine in the first place, and the port to DirectX 6 is still not finished. Thus I had to run Unreal with its Direct3D beta patch, which is still a lot slower and lot less stable than the final version will be. Nevertheless I thought it would still be interesting to see how TNT scores in Unreal right now.
I was looking around for a real DirectX 6 game and luckily I received the rolling demo of Expendable from Rage software. Expendable is a quite unique game, offering arcade shooting for two people on the same screen. It has formidable effects and is thus very impressive to watch.
This is what it looks like. It does not come with any built in frame counter, but thanks to my testing software I don't really require that. Expendable is another typical Rage game, pushing the edge of technology and offering a unique way of game play. For benchmarking it's perfect too.
I would have liked to include a few more DX6 games, but not all of them are useful for benchmarking. Shogo from Monolith will be an absolutely great benchmark, however the downloadable demo that's currently available doesn't enable benchmarking yet. Valve's Half-Life is another game that I would have loved to use for benchmarking. I've got the Day One demo and I played through it within a few hours, running it on my own TNT card at 1152x864. It looks stunning, but the atmosphere is what really gets to you. Half-Life has the most gripping atmosphere since the good old 'System Shock' from Looking Glass. Both games will be used for benchmarks as soon as I can get my hands on final versions.