I Haz a Sad aka Age of Empire II: HD Edition

Unfortunately, I’ve been sick these last few days. I do not enjoy being sick. Not that I think anyone does but I really, really hate being sick. So usually I get better pretty fast, sleeping and taking Airborne and whatever else I can to help get my system in fighting order.

One of the things I like to do aside from sleep and watch some shows and read when I’m sick is play games. And then I remembered that I pre-ordered Age of Empires II: HD Edition… and that it came out while I was out of town! So I jump on Steam, download it, and get ready to play. It goes through the normal setting up process and finally I get in. I see the game and the nostalgia comes back. I loved AoE2 much more than I did the third one and while I still have my copy of it, getting the HD version was a must have.

Unfortunately, after a few moments, I start to notice the game is really laggy. Really, really laggy. That sort of perplexes me because my system easily runs all the other games that came out recently with the bells and whistles turned on, so why was AoE2HD giving it a problem?

Anyways, I try to change my graphics options to see if that would fix it but I couldn’t really change much except the full-screen setting. Figured I’d try that and see if it would miraculously help. But it didn’t. I looked to see if there was anything else I could tweak but couldn’t find a file.

Reading up in the Steam Community, seems like this was a known issue prior to launch and may have to do with Win7 64-bit systems (maybe). And while I understand that PC development can be a PITA to test out on all the different systems that are out there (hardware, drivers, etc, etc) I do keep mine pretty clean and up-to-date. So it first boggles my mind that an “HD” version of a, what, 13 year old game is bogging down my system… and that they released it with this issue (which looks to be fairly prevalent). Now, with the latter point, that it could just be a few vocal people having the issue but, in my experience, for every vocal person there are a good 5 – 10x more people who are not talking about it (when it comes to a bug).

Now, granted, I’m upset about this. I’m sick. I’m running a fever. I’ve literally gone through an entire Kleenex box of tissues, and I just want to play my game without it looking like a screenshot slideshow.

But, as I’m digging around, I see this update for the developers: 4/17 – Dev Update: A note about patches. And one of the first items on the build notes are:

  • Frame rate & performance improvements that increase frame rates up to 50% on low end machines and up to 500% on the high end systems previously experiencing frame rate issues.

Steam being the awesomeness that it is, I go look to see if there is a “Beta” under the Properties tab for the game and there are a few, one labeled “Performance”. So I’m going to go test that out and hopefully I can lose myself in a little AoE2 fun and forget my stupid cold for a bit.

Update: For anyone else running into the same issue, try out the Beta Performance patch. Worked just fine for me. Played for about 30 minutes without any of the frame rate issues.

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