The State of DirectX 11 - Image Quality & Performance
BattleForge: Performance & Verdict
BattleForge has the dubious honor of sporting the lowest recommended system requirements out of the games featured in this article. Requiring only a low-end Pentium 4 class processor or AMD equivalent (ie. Athlon 64) and 1GB of memory, the base specifications should be easy to meet. The graphics requirements, which ask for a NVIDIA GeForce 6000 series or ATI Radeon 9500 series, aren't much more intensive and can actually be met by the latest integrated chipsets from AMD and NVIDIA, although current Intel and older ATI and NVIDIA integrated chipsets may not be enough. This is perhaps the only game featured here that can be run on a typical non-gaming oriented laptop at respectable graphics settings.
It's worth noting that the official recommended requirements call for 10GB of hard drive space, but we found that the game fit into approximately 7GB. Your milage may vary.
Scanning through BattleForge's graphics settings, the only graphical setting not available in Dx9 is screen-space ambient occlusion (SSAO), which will hurt image quality a bit, though shouldn't be too obvious in-game due to the game's standard RTS camera perspective. Unlike some of the other games featured, BattleForge provides native anti-aliasing in all DirectX rendering paths, so we left it enabled for our performance tests in both Dx9 and Dx11.
BattleForge features a built-in benchmark function found in the graphics settings menu. The benchmark is a short 30 second run through of a scripted game sequence. The benchmark features a fly-through camera and plenty of continuous on-screen action. The benchmark provides solid, consistent results, though admittedly may not represent a perfect picture of real-world gameplay performance, though it is plenty sufficient for our purposes. The numbers presented below are the average of 5 benchmark results for each tested setting.
In our look at BattleForge image quality performance on the previous page, we featured a video from AMD which showed BattleForge performing significantly better in Dx11 then Dx10.1. Unfortunately we did not see a similar performance delta between Dx9 and Dx11 in our testing. As is clear from our benchmarks above, Dx11 performed slightly worse than Dx9 in all three resolutions. We speculate that the performance drop is due to the addition of screen-space ambient occlusion (SSAO) in Dx11.
It's worth noting that despite having the lowest recommended system requirements of the lot, when all the settings are pushed to their maximum levels, BattleForge doesn't perform much better (in terms of raw numbers) than most of the other games featured in this article. The Radeon 5770 actually seems to have had some trouble in 1920x1200, posting borderline playable numbers in Dx11. Thankfully in-game performance disagrees with the numbers, and gameplay was still smooth despite the relatively low 23 average FPS. Overall, we would definitely call this one playable at all tested settings.
BattleForge Dx11 Verdict: As we noted in our image quality comparison on the previous page, BattleForge doesn't gain much from enabling DirectX 11. While Dx11 does enable screen-space ambient occlusion, perhaps the hot graphical feature of the last two years, the game's top-down RTS style camera tends to hide any gain in image quality. Combined with the note-worthy drop in performance compared to DirectX 9, we ultimately have to recommend that Dx9 users should stick to their guns for now, but perhaps not for long as there are rumors floating of further graphical updates just over the horizon.