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Call of Duty Gameplay - GeForce FX 5900 & GeForce FX 5600 Ultra

By volt - August 31, 2003

Call of Duty Gameplay

Introduction

World War II games are a plague, but it's been very hard to find one with a good exhaustive gameplay. MOH:AA was an exception, but this title has been played in and out for quite some time now. What about Battlefield 1942 and Return To Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory? Although both games exhibit WWII events, they do not necessarily maintain the atmosphere of those happenings.

Call of Duty has been developed over at Infinity Ward - 22 brains (former 2015 employees). For those who are not familiar, Twenty Fifteen created Medal of Honor Allied Assault. Basically those guys decided to start a company and produce their own World War II based FPS.

The game is based on Quake 3 (OpenGL) engine. In order to create new light effects, animations and A.I system most of the old code had to be replaced. I wouldn't call it a beefed-up Quake 3 engine either since only a small portion of it was left intact. So what's the big thing that has been modified inside the engine? Probably the redesigned rendering system which can push 200,000 polygons per scene. The new T&L also comes with support for pixel and vertex shaders which are utilized by the latest GPU's.

Let's take a look at some in game screenshots:

No, this is not a pre-rendered scene. I crouched and took a shot. Notice the facial expression while aiming.

Here is an interesting screenshot. In Call of Duty, you can perform a melee attack with any weapon you currently possess. Whether you hold a grenade, Colt 1911 or Garand in your hand, you can knock down your enemy with it (unconscious forever heh).

The amount of details on static and mobile objects is simply amazing.

Here is some grenade action. It's not a rag-doll effect, but very impressive nonetheless.

Another bang - a new skeletal animation system in action.

Weapon details are astonishing, even in the world view.

Lifelike-looking weapons are representative of their original design and cubature.

Fire and smoke look very natural; despite the realness, performance hit is very small.

As you have probably guessed, you will experience a lot of cool looking explosions in Call of Duty. I only came in contact with setting off a charge on a tank, but judging from the trailers you will see a lot more than that.

With a redesigned sound system inside the engine, antiaircraft guns can be heard from a far away...

...while the bullets can be seen from a different section of a map.

Benchmarks

Map tested: Burnville
Map Section: 2

Testbeds:

1.

Abit N7F-S 2.0
Barton 2800+ @ 2.08 GHz
TwinX 512MB Corsair 3200LLPT (dual-channel)
PixelView GeForce FX 5900 (400 MHz core / 425 MHz memory)
Official Detonator 45.23 Drivers
Windows XP with SP1

2.

Asus A7N8X 2.0
AXP 1700+ JIHUB DLT3C @ 2.1 GHz (200x10.5)
256MB Corsair 3200LL
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 Ultra Rev1 (350 MHz core / 350 MHz memory)
Official Detonator 44.03 Drivers
Windows XP with SP1

Note that the demo was tested with the highest settings available through the application's menu.

Overall experience was overwhelming on a GeForce FX 5900. Even at high resolution, the card was able to deliver fantastic results without compromising the framerate. This is where the 27 GB/sec of raw bandwidth kicks in. I was very impressed when IQ was applied to each of the mode tested. Silky smooth animations and stunning performance was present until level 4 Antialiasing was applied to 1600x1200 resolution. I wouldn't worry about this at all because not a lot of us would apply Antialiasing to that particular resolution.

A bit of a different story with the FX 5600 Ultra. Although I wasn't able to get beyond 61 FPS, I have a good feeling that the 256 MB Corsair stick didn't cut it. Across all modes I found a lot of stuttering which goes away when the scene is fully loaded. Higher resolutions are missing because my crappy monitor does not support them. Here the performance would have been much better with 512 MB's of RAM. Although I did not achieve all around smoothness in all modes, the card still offered good FPS when everything loaded. At 800x600 and 4xAA level I haven't noticed big of a performance hit. Very playable framerates and overall primo performance. If you do have only 256 MB's of RAM, I suggest you change some of the in-game settings: texturing, world detail etc. That should reduce the loading times as well as sporadic stuttering.

It is hard to comment and compare image quality mainly because the demo has only one dark and eerie mission. It is definitely doable but the purpose of this editorial was to talk about the game and overall cinematic experience.

Conclusion

There are a lot more aspects I'd like to touch on, but it would be unfair before the retail version of the game hits the shelves.

Although Call of Duty uses a heavily redesigned Quake 3 engine, the performance on a GeForce FX 5900 was staggering. I'm no programmer, but I was happily surprised to finally experience a well coded game. I wish I could say that about Battlefield 1942 *sigh*. Even the FX 5600 Ultra didn't have much problems coping with a heavy load of polygons. The gameplay is very similar to that in MOH:AA, but it is much more exciting and intensive. The guys over at Infinity Ward concentrated more on a team based work rather than a single soldier fighting mode:

War will not be won by only one soldier, single-handedly, but by millions of other soldiers, fighting together.

- Michael Boon, lead animator

In the demo, the map was divided into sections. In each stage, there were heavy enemy defenses which had to be mowed down by you and your squad. An interesting note on the A.I (similar in MOH:AA): the team will not advance unless you move up to the front and kill the enemy soldiers yourself, cool eh? Don't get me wrong, your team members are very handy with guns, but more enemy soldiers will be coming in. Once you move in and kill a few bad guys they will not be replaced, this way your team can move in. I think this kind of solution makes the gameplay more demanding, leaving you more time to play around and try out a few things.

The A.I is remarkable. An advanced path-finding system was used to define positions of each member on your team.

A team member peaking through a damaged vehicle.

Each squad member has its own job whether it's hiding, leaning, crouching or shooting at the same time.

As noted before, Call of Duty features very realistic looking weapons (each campaign has its own unique set of weapons). With each weapon you can aim down the sight for more accuracy (Different shooting modes are also available). Dramatic cinematic effects can be found everywhere. Burned out buildings, isolated fires and war zone in the sky are only few things that make up this great FPS. The atmosphere, intensive action and great performance will make this a fun and exciting game to play in the year 2003.

Care to comment or want to express your own opinion about the game? Head over to our Call of Duty thread.

Last Updated on August 31

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