The EQ2 client is pretty memory hungry, but we're making strides in changing how that works a little bit. Currently, we have several reports of issues with Vista. While it's not technically a supported OS for EQ2, we still want to ensure that people can play the game. Unfortunately, either Vista's DX9 compatibility or Vista drivers seem to be using a LOT more memory then they did on Windows XP.
To mitigate this problem, there's a few things we're doing.
- /3gb switch and 64-bit support - Most Windows applications are not aware of large addresses (i.e. memory addresses over 2GB). There is a linker switch that tells Windows that your application can use addresses over 2GB. This has a dual benefit: for users on 64-bit Windows, the EQ2 client will have access to nearly the entire 4GB address space. For users on 32-bit Windows, there is a switch that can be added to your boot.ini file that tells Windows to allow up to 3GB user address space. While this change may prevent out-of-memory crashes, they don't solve the original problem that the client uses too much memory.
- Texture Downsampling - This system picks textures that are far enough away and unloads the highest quality mip level. This can lead to significant memory savings as well as saving texture memory on the video card, without significantly degrading the quality of the graphics.
- Non-drawn geometry unloading - Since the game loads assets basically within a radius of the camera, sometimes things get loaded but are occluded and used rarely. Things that haven't been drawn in a long time don't need to be kept in memory and can be unloaded. This saves both system memory and video memory since we don't need to hold onto textures and vertex/index buffers that aren't being used. Generally, the performance cost is negligible. Loading things back in has some cost, but assets have a better chance of being in the disk cache greatly reducing the load time.
The systems mentioned above also won't come into play until you hit a certain amount of memory in use. There are other things that we're looking at too, but the changes mentioned above appear to have the most bang for the buck.