Release() calls were taking over 100ms! So, it appears that sometimes when lots of dynamic allocation (and freeing) is happening, returning resources to Direct3D can take WAY too long.
It seems EQ2 isn't the only game affected. UT2003 and UT2004 and Team Fortress 2 as well as Test Drive Unlimited have people reporting problems. Even a Mac user reports issues using applications. Curiously, however, some games seem to be largely unaffected but I don't know why.
With so many games affected but comparable- and lower-end cards not having issues, I suspect the card and/or the drivers. The data we collected from PIX regarding
Release() supports this theory. Furthermore, we've been able to adapt one of the Direct3D sample apps to demonstrate this issue. The fact that newer cards seem to work better and some people flat out don't have the issue suggest that it might be hardware, but I'm just speculating. nVidia is usually hailed as one of the better hardware/driver providers, but recently reports are surfacing that paint a different picture (pun only slightly intended).
So, assuming nVidia doesn't (or can't) fix this problem, where do we go from here? If the problem is specifically limited to
Release() calls, we could cache textures and vertex and index buffers instead of releasing them, but this has its own set of problems. We've tried to open contact with nVidia,
If you're using a GeForce 8800-series card with EQ2 and have stuttering problems, my apologies. We're working on the problem.
Update 4/4/2008: See post
Update 4/16/2008: See post
Update 7/1/2008: See post
Posts tagged "nVidia"