Developed by Gas Powered Games in partnership with Microsoft, Dungeon Siege is a hack-and-slash Role Playing Game (RPG) that debuted in April of 2002. The game, along with the Legends of Aranna expansion pack, was a huge success and fans are eagerly looking forward to the 2004 holiday season when Dungeon Siege 2 is scheduled to debut.
Dungeon Siege's graphics engine was developed during the DirectX 7 era. Gameplay is based on a third person view with the ability to rotate the view in all directions and zoom in and out. Objects, such as trees and branches, become transparent in order to keep player's line of sight visible. The sprawling landscape and artwork is visually stimulating and the weather system is capable of rendering fog, rain, lightning, and snow.
Performance in Dungeon Siege is primarily dependent on the CPU, which performs tasks that include artificial intelligence, line of sight calculations, physics simulation, and pathfinding. The CPU also handles the processing associated with loading and unloading objects in the background of Dungeon Siege's unique continuous world.
The comparative images below illustrate the effectiveness of 4X antialiasing on the GeForce 6800 Ultra. Both images originated from screenshots that were captured while playing at a resolution of 1024x768.
No Antialiasing vs. 4X Antialiasing
Most of the edges, such as those along the bow, arrow, and outline of the character, are noticeably smoother. The top of the left arm and intersection of the green ring with the left boot, both of which are positioned at a 160° angle, are less smooth.
Dungeon Siege gameplay performance was measured by conducting a partial walkthrough of the introductory Farmlands level while using FRAPS logging to obtain the minimum and average framerate.
Dungeon Siege Gameplay - Checkpoint 1
The walkthrough takes approximately three minutes to complete and consists of following the main path through the woods while battling enemies.
Dungeon Siege Gameplay - Checkpoint 2
After leaving the forest, the adventure continues along the right side of the pond.
Dungeon Siege Gameplay - Checkpoint 3
The walkthrough concludes upon reaching the nearby house.
Dungeon Siege Gameplay - Checkpoint 4
TEST SETTINGS AND RESULTS
Testing was conducted on an AMD Athlon 64 3400+ with 1GB of Corsair PC3200 XMS Memory and NVIDIA's reference GeForce 6800 Ultra with ForceWare 60.72 beta drivers. The retail version of Dungeon Siege was patched to version 1.1.
The game view was maximized with all complex shadows, trilinear filtering, and maximum object detail. EAX sound was enabled. The command line option "nointro=true width=xxxx height=yyy bpp=32 vsync=false" was used to start Dungeon Siege.
Dungeon Siege Gameplay
The test results confirm that Dungeon Siege is CPU bound as there is a difference of only one frame per second between 1024x768 and 2048x1536. The graph below shows the frame rate per second during the gameplay walkthrough at 1600x1200 with 4X AA and 16X AF enabled.
Dungeon Siege Gameplay
Consistent performance is important for an enjoyable gaming experience, which the Athlon 64 and GeForce 6800 Ultra provide in the classic title Dungeon Siege.