Port Report: Rise of the Triad

rise-of-the-Triad

Port Reports are a new series of quick first impressions of the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Rise of the Triad′s fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

The original Rise of the Triad: Dark War was first released back in 1995 (and re-released on GOG.com in 2009) by Apogee Software on a heavily modified Wolfenstein engine. The 2013 reboot, also published by Apogee, is developed by Interceptor Entertainment whose only other release to their name is an iOS port of Duke Nukem II. Their reboot promises to wrap the classic Rise of the Triad gameplay in a shiny new graphical update, developed on the ever-enduring Unreal Engine 3.

System requirements

Minimum

  • OS:Windows XP or Vista 32-bit
  • Processor:2.4 GHz Dual Core Processor or Better
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVIDIA 8800 GT
  • DirectX®:9.0
  • Hard Drive:5 GB HD space

Recommended

  • OS:Windows 7 64-bit
  • Processor:2.4 GHz Quad Core Processor or Better
  • Memory:4 GB RAM
  • Graphics:AMD Radeon HD 6950 / NVIDIA GTX 560
  • DirectX®:9.0
  • Hard Drive:5 GB HD space

As you can see, system specifications are nothing to be afraid of – the minimum requirement of an Nvidia 8800 GT is generous, as it’s a video card that was first released back in 2007.  Menu settings promise scalable performance from the LOW preset, which should run on every modern machine, to the highest preset – LUDICROUS – “will make high end PCs cry in pain.”

Visual options

The game’s launcher contains majority of visual settings, and there are a lot of settings! Almost every effect can be turned off and several detail settings can be set from LOW to LUDICROUS. If you feel overwhelmed you can choose one of four presets – LOW, MEDIUM, HIGH and LUDICROUS.

Rise of the Triad - Launcher screenshot

Visual options in-game are less flexible. You can only change few things as resolution, fullscreen mode (which can be switched by F11 key on the fly), HUD scale for high resolution display and field of view.

RotT_ingame_video_crop

Field of view

The game features field of view slider with a higher than average range from 60 to 120 degrees of vertical field of view.

It’s possible to manually enter field of view values using the console command FOV xx or by editing the ROTTGame.ini in the folder: %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Rise Of The Triad\ROTTGame\Config\. However, field of view is limited to values from 20 to 120, although most people wouldn’t want anything beyond the default slider.

Anti-aliasing

In launcher you can turn on post process anti-aliasing – MLAA. This setting however does not seems to be working and due to lack of sharp edges in game I presume that anti-aliasing can’t be turn off at all.

Visual quality

As there are a large number of settings that can be individually tweaked, we’ll be focusing on the four main preset values. Below there are screenshots for each preset in full resolution in loss-less PNG format (2-4MB each).

LOW setting lacks any visual fidelity what so ever. Textures are muddy, lighting is static and there are none post processing filters. This setting is for low-end machines or professional player only who needs every bit of a performance a great readability of game scene.

MEDIUM setting improves texture resolution. There is little performance impact due to majority of effects turned off.

HIGH preset further improves textures and turning on ambient occlusion and dynamic lighting. This has large impact on performance – almost 50% frame rate drop.

LUDICROUS preset boots textures for the last time. Other than that there is little visual difference and same goes to performance impact.

Performance

To test game performance I’ve played same segment of the game for each preset. Final value is average frame rate from that run. System configuration is i7@4,2Ghz, 32GB RAM and Radeon HD6870 playing at 2560×1600. Memory footprint was around 1.5GB.

Rise of the Triad - performance graph
 

As you can see there is massive framerate drop between MEDIUM and HIGH presets. It is because performance heavy effects like ambient occlusion, dynamic lighting, shadow resolution and various post processing effects. Experiment with these values to get best framerate and visuals.

Controls

Keys are rebindable with only one key to one action. There is slider for mouse sensitivity with default value set ridiculously high for any mouse on the market. Additionally there is mouse smoothing turned on by default and is recommended to turn off by editing configuration files. This issue is persistent between Unreal Engine 3 based games. Fortunately there does not appear to be any mouse acceleration.

Developers were kind enough to left configuration files unencrypted so you could create your own custom commands or bind one action to several keys. See the wiki article for a detailed guide.

Audio

RotT_ingame_audio_crop

Rise of the Triad’s standard audio settings are accessible from the in-game menu. It contains sliders for Master, Music, SFX and Voice volume, but unfortunately no subtitles. This is not such a huge blow, as the only dialogue in the game are optional short audio briefing before each mission, other than that there is no important speech during missions.

Rise of the Triad supports surround sound and works with surround 7.1 setups. However in my opinion, the front speakers are too loud and are overemphasised when compared to the satellite speakers.

Additionally the game contains soundtrack from original game which can be turned on by enabling Classic Mode.

Console

Another pleasant surprise is option to enabling console directly from in-game menu. Some commands are considered as a cheats and you need to enable cheat mode to use them. See wiki article for guide and list of basic console commands.

Gameplay

This is technical review but I’d like to comment little bit on game play and mechanics. As someone who played original Rise of the Triad at it’s release year I’m very happy how this reboot turned out. Reboot is very faithful to the original’s design and basically copies all mechanics from it and puts everything in new shiny graphical coat.

You have over-the-top story, the very fast pace and deadly enemies on higher difficulties. Level design is much closer to Doom than to Call of Duty. There is some backtracking, looking for different keys and corresponding  doors. Deadly traps and flying platforms are also making comeback. Just as in original and it is as fresh as it was in 1994.

Multiplayer

Unfortunately I was not able to test any multiplayer servers nearby due to only having early access to this game. However, we are able to look at the way that multiplayer was implemented.

Online multiplayer requires the creation of an account that can be done in-game, and game servers are accessible via an in-game browser.

The game supplies a dedicated server executable, and thankfully supports LAN and direct connection to online servers for multiplayer. This means that even if the account servers one day go down, it’ll still be possible to access the multiplayer aspect of this game.

rott_mp_host_crop

Conclusion

Although I’ve run into some issues with the game this is excellent PC release. You have the freedom to toggle switches for almost every effect with significant visual and performance impact. Performance-wise game is rather optimized and can run on wide variety of hardware. On top of that the game supports modding, dedicated servers and has a DRM-free version. Overall I think this is a fantastic purchase and a great PC release.

Port Reports are a new series of quick first impressions of the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Rise of the Triad′s fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

  • Hyetal

    Thanks for the comprehensive overview. It was a great help in finding the culprit in the insane frame drop I was seeing.

    And yeah, it’s basically just ambient occlusion. It’s a terrible implementation in this game.