Game runs VERY slowly on laptop

BlitzPlus Forums/BlitzPlus Programming/Game runs VERY slowly on laptop

WoeIsMe(Posted 2003) [#1]
I tried out my game on my brother's new laptop, and although the program ran, it ran VERY slowly, right from the start. I can only assume that it is a problem specific to laptops, or his type of laptop (Sony VAIO, with windows XP), as it runs perfectly on my friend's desktop computer (which also uses windows XP) and my desktop computer (which runs windows 95). Antother problem is that the music does not play (it's in midi), whereas it does on my friend's computer and mine. I tried copying the files from the CD to the hard drive, but it had no effect. It was still VERY slow with no midi music. I'm assuming that this is something to do with the laptop (or laptops as a whole), as my friend has windows XP and it runs perfectly, or something to do with Pentium 4s, as my friend has a pentium 3. Does anyone know what the problem is? I'm hoping it is a laptop-only problem, because that would mean it'll run on desktop machines, which most of my friends and my "audience" have desktops. Please help me! This is a worrying problem!

I use Blitz Basic 2D, in case that helps.

Ross C(Posted 2003) [#2]
Probably got a really bad graphics card innit! Are you doing any 3d over 2d, cause that killed my downstairs computer, again, onboard graphics. I'd imagine laptops have even worse onboard graphics. Sorry i can't help wit your problem tho!

Dave(Posted 2003) [#3]
the reason the midi music isn't playing is because the midi output device is either non-existant or not setup correctly. Make you sure you check the multimedia options in control panel and that the midi volume (normally called Synth) is turned up...

The speed issues may well be because of the graphics on the laptop, whats the laptop spec's? i will try and help you on this one mate...

_PJ_(Posted 2003) [#4]
My laptop is incredibly slow compared to dezsktop, but it would be due to graphics memory:

(check sig)

Craig Watson(Posted 2003) [#5]
My laptop shipped with very slow and unstable drivers, which I since replaced with some modified Catalyst 3.7 drivers. The speed has improved quite a bit and it doesn't crash, so I can recommend you try to find some updated drivers, unless the laptop just has crap graphics in general.

morduun(Posted 2003) [#6]
As Malice says, be sure to check the vidmem available with the laptop. Bear in mind that if you're loading more graphics in than the laptop has room for in vidmem it's going to chug each frame as it swaps the 'extra' images in and out of system memory. =Also= keep in mind that if it's a windowed app, the desktop rez & color depth figures into that VMEM calculation... so tho your friend may have an 8MB video card, if it's a windowed app and his desktop is 1024x768x32, he's already using up around 3MB of that alone.

dynaman(Posted 2003) [#7]
Could it be the Nvidia driver bug? If it's Nvidia based video on it check to the graphics driver version for an update.

WoeIsMe(Posted 2003) [#8]
Thanks. I'll be able to see to the problem now. I'll tel you my findings.

podperson(Posted 2003) [#9]
If you're in the market for a gameworthy laptop you need to pay attention to the graphics controller and, to a lesser extent, the audio hardware. Most laptops have pretty barebones graphics and audio support (even from brands you might associate with multimedia, such as Sony).

The best laptop video options are (best first) FX 2 Go (the portable version of the GeForce FX video card), Radeon Mobility, and Geforce 2 Go. Anything else is probably going to be pretty lame (although you may find some older ATI controllers that don't utterly suck).

I have a two year old Dell laptop which has a (then bleeding edge) Geforce 2 Go video card with 32MB of VRAM -- I can run the current version of EverQuest ... barely. (EverQuest may not look like much, but its recommended system requirements are 512MB of RAM and a 64MB video card -- having 100 2000-polygon characters on screen simultaneously is a challenge for most GPUs.)

By the way: laptops are slower than desktops for a LOT of reasons, not just video hardware:
1) Slow hard disks. A *fast* laptop hard disk runs at 5400rpm.
2) Slow busses. A fast laptop bus runs at 266MHz, vs. 800+MHz for a fast desktop.
3) Power/heat saving circuitry (e.g. they often run the processor slow to save power OR heat dissipation).
Typically, a laptop of a given clock speed will run 30-60% slower than a desktop of the same clock speed.

(Slightly off topic: our local Costco is selling a Sony Vaio desktop with a 3GHz HT P4, DVD-R, 17" LCD, etc. -- beautiful machine -- but it has a GeForce MX 440 video card -- essentially a state of the art machine all round with a 2 year old video card. Still, you could just toss the video card :) )

WoeIsMe(Posted 2003) [#10]
Here's the specs of the machine:

Pentium 4 2.66MHz
15.0" SXGA+ (1400x1050) TFT screen
60GB Hard disk drive
NVIDIA GeForce 4 420 Go with 3D performance + 32 MB VRAM

Those are the relevant things - the rest is CD drives and whatnot.

What's confusing me is that:
(1) It's a considerably better machine that the one I wrote it on, on which it runs perfectly. My machine is about 6 or 7 years old, and his is a very good new machine.
(2) My brother's machine runs Anachronox perfectly. My desktop takes ages to load each room - and by that I mean numerous minutes. My game (written in Blitz Basic 2D) should be much less demanding, and yet it runs very badly on my brother's machine, and prefectly on mine.

It seems stupid that a good new laptop should be limited enough to actually run the game considerably worse than a 6 or 7 year old one.

A suggestion is that it might be the TFT screen. It might have a different refresh rate or something that might be slowing down the programme. Or is this just a stupid idea?

cbmeeks(Posted 2003) [#11]
This may have already been answered but here are some more points.

1) Laptop LCD screens often run at 60Hz. My game on my desktop (of 85Hz) is silky smooth. Yet, when I run it on the laptop, it seems to be running in slow motion.

However, when I connect an external monitor into the laptop, I can bump the refresh to 85Hz and it runs smooth on the laptop! So, that's something to remember.

2) As said before, most laptop harddrives run at 4200rpms. Very slow. And the busses are really slow too.

Try connecting an external monitor to the laptop and making it the primary display for testing (turning off the LCD).
Be sure to increase the refresh to 75Hz or more.


Seldon(Posted 2003) [#12]
I've a laptop too (Celeron@1000) and it's slower than my other P-II@266 with a normal video-card as regards graphics applications (like Bltiz ones). My laptop has also SHARED memory, that means VMEM is shared with system memory, so both the CPU and the GFX-chip use the same RAM and a bus arbiter is needed. Things are always slow even if I successfully allocate all the gfx in VMEM (I can set how much of system memory will be reserved as VMEM in BIOS settings).

BlitzSupport(Posted 2003) [#13]
Are these programs written to be frame-rate independent rather than just to run at the right speed on the refresh rate your main PC uses?

Seldon(Posted 2003) [#14]

are you talking to me? Well.. my main game isn't frame-rate indipendent (I mean I wait for the actual vertical-blank of gfx-card), but gfx routines and code in general is very optimized and it actually gets the best FPS value for a certain refresh rate: for example on that old P-II the refresh rate is set at 120Hz and my game does 120FPS. On my friend's laptop (that has NOT shared memory) , it does 60FPS on a common 60Hz LCD monitor. Instead on my laptop (with SHARED memory) the refresh is set at 60Hz, but it does 56/57 FPS. That means my laptop is slow. This is with Blitz2D. I tried the B+ demo and it seems I have the same FPS but it runs much more smoothly (at least as general impression).

cbmeeks(Posted 2003) [#15]
How do commercial games run? Try loading a demo of Diablo or something and see if it runs slow.