25.04.2016 Testing games

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. «Iron Within, Iron Without»

Platform: Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Game Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Genre: MMOTPS
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: Q2/Q3 2016
Early Access: January, 26 2016
Game mode: Multiplayer
Official website: http://www.eternalcrusade.com/

About the game

“In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.”

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is a real-time tactical PvP/PvE Massive Multiplayer Online Third Person Shooter (MMOTPS). It partially reminds us of Dark Millennium Online. The action takes place in Warhammer 40,000 universe. Four factions are fighting between each other in order to take control over the planet Arkon. On his way to the eternal crusade, players are free to choose between Space Marines, Orks, Eldars and Chaos Space Marines. Players will defy each other in slaughterous battles on their way to glory.

Early Access gives us an idea about the basics of the future combat system. The crusaiders will face the mixture of Space Marine, Gears of War and PlanetSide. It’s clear that Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is a dynamic, intence action game with brutal hand-to-hand combat and sustained gun battles with shooting from behind covers. It has got balanced classes and a huge variety of weapons and vehicles.

The system of horizontal character progress is quite interesting. It wouldn’t give any obvious advantages during the battle, except opportunities for new strategic moves. Warriors are to have tactics, teamwork and a wide range of customization options for their characters and weapons.

Game Engine

Besides thorough combat system, players will get modern graphics. Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade has a heart of Unreal Engine 4 since last summer. Behaviour Interactive has changed it’s previous game engine to UE4, as it’s more suitable for multiplayer games.

The developer didn’t achieve the level of PlanetSide 2 anyway. PvP battles are limited by 60 players, although the picture is very pleasant in the game. However, there are some damaged goods. The recommended system requirements remain unknown and the minimal ones have a note “Expect much higher requirements for Alpha using latest UE4”.

On the other side, the community is expecting perfomance improvements after switching to Unreal Engine 4.11. During their work on Paragon, Epic Games have put “thousands of smaller improvements” in their game engine, so the FPS would increase up to 60 on PC and PlayStation 4. They said, that the optimization in UE 4.11 would benefit not only Paragon, but the performance of all games developed on UE4.

After Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade moves into Unreal Engine 4.11, we will have a second testing and compare the results. Can Behaviour Interactive squeeze the FPS out of the game engine, just like Epic Games?

Minimal system requirements

The minimals look very simple for an up-to-date game:

OS: Windows 7/8/8.1 64 bit
Processor: Intel Core i3-4170 or AMD FX-8120
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: GeForce GTX 460 1GB VRAM or AMD HD5850 1GB VRAM
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 20 GB available space
Additional Notes: Minspec for release. Expect much higher requirements for Alpha using latest UE4.

You will need a 64-bit OS, dual core Intel processor with hyper-threading or four-unit AMD, 8 Gb RAM and a down-to-earth videocard, made six or seven years ago. We used Intel Core i3-4330 and GTX 750 – a wide-spread videocard, based on Maxwell architecture and GM107 graphic chip.

The note is warninig us, that higher requirements are expected for the latest versions of UE4, while Epic Games tells us about improved optimization in 4.11. However, the requirements are not final and we will see how things will change after the second testing.

Bytex minimal requirements table:

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic х64
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4330 CPU @ 3.50GHz
Cooler: DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX 300
Motherboard: ASUS H97-PLUS
Videocard: GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 750 [GV-N750OC-2GI]
RAM: Kingston HyperX FURY BlackSeries [HX318C10FB/8] 8 Гб
HDD: Seagate ST1000DM 003-1ER162
Case: Thermaltake V3 Black Edition

Of course, 3840 × 2160 resolution is unattainable for an overclocked GTX 750 on all settings. Those, who wish to play Ultra HD 4K will require a top videocard.

The GPU tested, demonstrates a much better performance in FullHD. Despite worse numbers on ultra, we can have 30 FPS on high-settings, and those are playable numbers indeed. Plus, FPS is better on medium-settings and the quality doesn’t give much difference during the battle.

Eventually, low-settings shows the best performance, but in really cuts the graphics. If 30 FPS isn’t enough for you, you’ll have to change the resolution.

To sum up the brief review of GTX 750 OC in Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade, we can say that this videocard provides us with more or less tolerable performance in FullHD and a bit worse on low- and high-settings. Also, FPS sometimes can jump up and down to 15-20, which makes the game twitchy. Again, the final verdict is to be made after Behaviour Interactive move to Unreal Engine 4.11.

Other participants

Testing table and videocards

OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home х64
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4790 CPU @ 3.60GHz
Cooler: DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX 300
Motherboard: ASUS B85M-G
RAM: 2 x Crucial Ballistix Elite 4 Гб DDR3 PC3-12800
HDD: Seagate ST1000DM003
HPU: Aerocool VP-750 (RTL) 750W ATX
Case: Thermaltake Versa H25

AMD-based videocards

  1. MSI R9 380 2GD5T OC
  2. GIGABYTE GV-R9285WF2OC-2GD
  3. ASUS Radeon R7 370 Strix (Strix-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-Gaming)
  4. ASUS R9270X-DC2T-2GD5

NVIDIA-based videocards

  1. Palit GeForce GTX 770 OC [NE5X770S1042-1045F]
  2. Palit GeForce GTX 960 [NE5X960010G1-2061F]
  3. GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 760 [GV-N760OC-2GD]
  4. GigaByte GeForce GTX 950 XTREME GAMING [GV-N950XTREME-2GD]
  5. Palit GeForce GTX 660 [NE5X660Y1049-1060F]
  6. ASUS GeForce GTX 750 Ti GTX750TI-PH-2GD5
  7. GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 750 [GV-N750OC-2GI]
  8. Palit GTS 450 1Gb

In terms of our research we have tested eleven relatively available (even in hard times like these) videocards of average and below average price segment. We also added GTS 450, which doesn’t fully meet the minimal requirements. Videocards are based on NVidia and AMD GPUs.

The game sets 1920×1080 resolution on Ultra and Low settings as the most popular one. There are also Medium and High, but we check maximal and minimal profiles to find out whether our contestants face them or not. As for minimal settings, we only look at the FPS rate, hoping to find “60” in the corner of the screen. If ultra-settings are tricky, poor graphichs on “Low” are to be the biggest problem with these videoadapters.

The difference between these four presets (Low, Medium, High and Ultra) can be seen on our screenshots. Fair to say, Medium, High and Ultra settings are not very different in its’ picture. Just small details, in shadows and lighting. There is no time to observe this during the dynamic battle though… Low- settings preset can’t boast about it’s shadows or reflections, but it has a different objective. It’s to provide players with maximum FPS.

 


Medium price videocards work well on ultra settings. 50 FPS is enough, though it would be great to have 10 more.So it makes sense, that GeForce GTX 770 is ahead newer architectures, because GTX 770 is an improved (very well improved, I dare say) analog of GTX 680. Here it can compete with others and even win. AMD R9 380, R9 285 and GTX 960 gave us the equal level of performance, going very close to the leader. GTX 760 is not far behind, GTX 950, R9 270X, R7 370 are a bit farther. All videoadapters reached the step of 30 FPS for a comfortable performance.

Every tested videocard allows us to play comfortably on the lowest settings. Even an ancient GTS 450 can give us 37 FPS FullHD! Better GPUs give us the desired 60 FPS. We cannot set the leader here, as the game has got FPS limitation. Outsiders from ultra-settings gave us a lot of pleasure on low-settings. These are: overclocked GTX (fps increased by 3!), GTX 750 Ti and GTX 660 (both increased their fps by 2). GTX 950, GTX 760 and R9 270X had +50% each. GTS 450, mentioned above, showed us the speed we didn’t expect at all.

The results of GTX 950 and R7 370 on ultra- and low-settings also are to be mentioned. There is nothing new on ultra-settings: the contestants presented more or less equal performance (39 FPS and 36 FPS), but low-settings showed us the striking difference! GTX 950 has got 60 FPS (+ 50% to performance) and R7 370 has got only 43 FPS (+ 20% only).

We can’t explain the behaviour of the “red” videocard, except for it’s raw AMD drivers. E9 270X partially proves our guess. It became 1.5 times faster on low-settings. R9 270X was produced a year before R7 370, so it’s likely about the drivers.

List of bugs

  1. [Graphics] Transparent textures appear on the vehicle on Low graphics settings.
  2. [Graphics] White textures can be seen on Low graphics settings.

  3. [Graphics] Some textures disappear when rotating the camera on Low graphics settings.
  4. [Graphics] Z-fighting appears on Low graphics settings.
  5. [UI] UI elements overlap each other.
  6. [Unit] The character can hold a heavy bolter with one hand.
  7. [Collision] Sometimes character’s dead body is twitching.
  8. [Collision] Vehicle is bouncing while being static, which affects aiming.
  9. [Collision] Character’s model may overlap the camera view when aiming from behind cover.
  10. [GamePlay] Shot VFX is sometimes left on the transport when there is no shooting.
  11. [GamePlay] Fire VFX is sometimes seen in the air during the battle.
    1. Pleasures of testing

      We couldn’t take a picture of the whole team of “Eternal Crusade”. Guys just wouldn’t stop running away from the photographer. Boys didn’t like their week stubble they got during their Eternal Crusade, girls were complaining about inappropriate make-up… All in all, people were talking their way out of the picture frame!
      However, we managed to take a few photos.


      Here is our test-engineer, Valeriy. His primary objective was not to burn anything. He managed to do even more! He built us our testing tables, switched videocards and many other things. He can manage computers better than agent Smith.

      They say, that Valeriy assembles and disassembles computer cases in his free time like they do with an assault rifle in the army. On the picture, he is flipping a coin whether to pick the white case or the black one.


      We kneel before our many-armed kvan, living under the name of Alexander. Indeed, there are a lot of displays on his working place, but the most interesting is that he can watch all 4 of them at the same time!

      We have no idea how this man develops his supernatural abilities, but a few days ago, he asked for a couple more displays.
      Participants of our Arkon championship.

      Conclusions

      This is not the final concllusion. As we mentioned before, Epic Games promised us optimization, paralleling, multithreading and “throusands of smaller improvements” (see release notes version 4.11) Behaviour Interactive are in an advantageous position. The developer managed to avoid criticism by noting the possibility of system requirement changes as well as the necessity to quickly optimize the game. What can we say, it’s Early Access!

      Let’s suppose that Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade will save it’s appetites and the performance will stay on the descent level it’s on now. Let’s wait for the game update to 4.11 and new testings soon!