FOR THE past two days I've been playing Tribes 2. If you don't know what Tribes 2 is, it's an on-line-only first person shooter that is strongly team-oriented. I played the first Tribes game, and enjoyed it a lot, leaving it only when Everquest appeared (there's a post on Everquest addiction coming up sometime), and I had bought Tribes 2 a couple of months ago, but had never installed it.
Finally installed it. Played it. Enjoyed it. It's pretty complicated as FPS games go, with lots of options, lots of room for complicated strategy, and a steepish learning curve. I'm still a pretty terrible player, both in terms of handling the controls competently, and in terms of strategy. That's okay, I don't mind climbing the learning curve.
But there's another, major problem. It's called 'hardware'. Tribes 2 wants hardware. Lots and lots of hardware. It will soak up all the hardware you have and come back for more.
400 Mhz Pentium II
TNT2 Ultra video card
I've got my TNT2 overclocked as far as it will go, AGP aperture set to 256M, running at 640x480 resolution, all graphics options set to the lowest they will possibly go except for player textures which are set to almost the lowest they will go... and I'm still getting sub-10 fps on some servers, and no better than low to mid 20 fps on any server, in outdoor areas. This sucks. Badly. Plus, the game looks ugly.
Tribes 2 is a known hardware hog. There were complaints about its hardware requirements from the day it was published. I think subsequent patches have improved its performance a little, but it still requires a heroic PC to run at decent speeds. This is especially irksome because the original Tribes game was pretty easy on hardware. I was actually running it on my current machine with a Voodoo Graphics (the original Voodoo card) with satisfactory results on most maps.
My CPU is definitely outdated, although it runs everything else—except my video-editing program—at reasonable speed. My video card is really outdated, although it was a very nice card, oh, when was it, only two years ago? Heh. In terms of PC video, that's forever. Current state-of-the-art in gaming is the GeForce 3, which will set you back a cool $350 or more.
I had already been toying with the idea of building a new PC, because of the sluggishness of my video editor. Maybe the chance to run Tribes 2 at reasonable FPS with reasonable graphic detail is enough to push me over the edge. What to do, what to do...
I'm still thinking. ^^