Port Report: Divinity: Dragon Commander

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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 Pharnaces. For an up to date account of Metro: Last Light’s fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

Divinity: Dragon Commander is a strategy game created by Larian Studios that releases on August 6th, 2013 on Steam. It blends RTS battles with a strategic, turn-based campaign map with RPG elements, such as persistent research upgrades and decision making. Testing was done on an AMD Radeon HD 7870 XT and an Intel i5-3570K, both lowered to stock clock speeds.

System requirements

Minimum

  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo E6600 or equivalent
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 GT (512 MB) or ATI™ Radeon™ HD 4850
  • DirectX®: 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 15 GB HD space

Recommended

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1
  • Processor: Intel i5 2400
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 550 ti 1GB ram or or ATI™ Radeon™ HD 6XXX
  • DirectX®: 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 30 GB HD space

Graphics options

2

Divinity: Dragon Commander offers a standard suite of graphics options, including a 60 FPS cap, double buffered vertical sync,model quality, shadow quality, light shadows, anti-aliasing (post-processing based, probably FXAA or similar), ambient occlusion, depth of field, motion blur, god rays, and bloom. These settings may be configured based automatically, based off a set of presets, or customized by hand.

2

While the game does support “Fake Fullscreen” (borderless windowed mode) it does not have an option, at least not that I could find, for locking the mouse cursor to the window, so if you have a multiple monitor system you will need to download Cursor Lock or a similar program in order to lock the mouse cursor to the game, and prevent accidental alt-tabbing. This is a small, but disappointing oversight.

Quality Presets

Dragon Commander is not the prettiest game, its low recommended system requirements can tell you that, but that does not mean that it does not look good. The art style is wonderful and it looks much more clean and pleasing to the eye than Larian’s previous Divinity game, Divinity II.

As is to be expected of a game which has the 8800 GT, a GPU that was released in 2007, as its minimum GPU the very low preset is hideous. Shadows look like Lego blocks, but even then they look much better than the textures, which are made up of absolutely massive pixels. This undoubtedly means that low-end systems will be able to play the game at a decent framerate, but I am not sure that you would want to.

The Ultra preset looks wonderful. Shadows are high resolution and have just the right amount of blur. Ground textures are not incredibly high resolution, but they are good enough and have lots of detail put into them.

Performance

9

Performance in RTS games, and Dragon Commander in general due to its 3 modes (command ship, campaign map, RTS) with wildly different performance demands, can be difficult to measure without a benchmark utility or a tutorial area that plays the same scene every time. Unfortunately Dragon Commander does not include a benchmark utility and its tutorial is made up of several video segments, so it is not possible to measure the “true” performance of the game. Instead I measured the framerate from a moderate camera zoom on the Isle of Ghosts map, which shows the general impact of the quality presets outside of battle, which does have a lower framerate, especially when playing in Dragon form.

The impact of increasing the quality preset is around 25fps per step up until High->Ultra, which costs around 10fps, resting around 71fps, comfortably above 60, but there are several situations where my framerate dropped below 60, especially in the RTS mode.

With v-sync enabled my framerate would plummet from 60+ on the ship hub to 40 in certain areas, so I recommend disabling v-sync unless you absolutely cannot stand screen tearing.

Controls

10

Dragon Commander’s control settings allow you to adjust the keyboard commands for almost every action in the game. Rebinding keys to mouse buttons is possible, so owners for mice with more than 3 buttons will be able to bind anything from map dragging to dragon abilities to them.

Mouse controls are extremely limited and found in the Gameplay settings panel, and it consists entirely of Y-axis inversion. There are none of the standard options that you would expect from an RTS, such as scroll speed and, as I mentioned earlier, there is no setting to lock the mouse cursor to the game, so you will need a utility like Cursor Lock if you use multiple monitors. There are configuration files located in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Larian Studios\Dragon Commander\, but they do not appear to offer any mouse configuration.

Audio

15

Dragon Commander comes with the standard audio settings page that we have come to expect. There is a volume slider for speech, SFX, music, ambient, reactions, and a master level. Subtitles are an option, but they appear in the Gameplay settings page.

Conclusion

Despite a few minor issues and oversights, the biggest being the lack of an option to lock the cursor to the game, Dragon Commander is a solid game with above average performance with plenty of options that allow the player to tweak the game’s graphics to their computer’s performance capabilities. I would like to see Larian add a native cursor lock option in a patch, so that multi-monitor setups would not need a third party utility in order to play.

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 Pharnaces. For an up to date account of Metro: Last Light’s fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.