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Unigine Valley 1.0 Benchmark Tool Walk Through

Guest_Jim_*    -   March 20, 2013
Category: Software
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Introduction & Simple Results

Unigine, the company behind the Heaven DirectX 11 benchmark, has released another benchmark. but instead of setting us above the clouds on floating islands, this new testing tool is a 64 square kilometer Valley. Like Heaven though, Valley uses the Unigine Engine to power the graphics. The engine allows for a number of effects including dynamic wind, rain, sunlight, and even cloud cover, which can all be changed when not running the benchmark-proper. Switching the camera to 'Free' or 'Walking' will allow you to explore the landscape and change any of those settings at will.

Distinguishing between the different graphics settings is a little more difficult in Valley than in the other benchmark, largely because tessellation is not used nearly as much in this benchmark. However, the differences are still there, as the low quality setting effectively removes shadows and other effects more tied to immersion than straight-up graphical quality. Indeed, looking too closely at some elements will show off rather poor graphics, such as the broken bases of branches that are just rectangular prisms without an end piece. This means that if you are at an angle such that you can see partially within the prism, you will see through the surfaces on the other side. The textures and meshes of rocks can also be somewhat crude, but to be fair, the world is meant to be enjoyed as an environment, a landscape, and not something looked at under a microscope. The benchmark flies you through this environment in 18 scenes, varying the environmental settings mentioned earlier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valley comes in three different paid editions, similar to other benchmarks, with each successive edition including the features of the previous:

Basic (Free):

  • Presets for easy testing and comparison
  • Custom settings
  • GPU monitoring
  • Interactive mode
  • Personal use allowed under the license

Advanced ($14.95):

  • Benchmark looping
  • Command line automation
  • CSV formatted reporting support

Pro ($495):

  • Software rendering mode
  • Per-frame deep analysis
  • Commercial use allowed under the license
  • Technical support

I really have no complaint about Valley, but I will spin-up an observation to make this paragraph a little longer. While the environment is meant to be enjoyed as a grand, beautiful environment, the detail of the extreme background can appear quite low, compared to the nearer background, middle-ground, and foreground. Basically, it looks like the detail drops off too quickly and for a grand vista, I'd rather sacrifice some more frames to have that detail back. Overall though, it is a good looking benchmark, though what makes it good is more subtle than what you see in Heaven and 3DMark.

 

 

As a benchmark, this is very solid with the variance in my scores varying only slightly across all three presets of the benchmarking tests. Where Heaven only had two presets of the benchmark, Basic and Extreme, Valley has three with the added Extreme HD which has identical quality settings as Extreme, but runs at 1920x1080 instead of 1600x900.

Basic preset:

  • PI: DirectX 9
  • Quality: medium
  • Resolution: 1280x720, windowed mode
  • Anti-aliasing: x2
  • VSync: disabled
  • Stereo: disabled
  • Ambient Occlusion: enabled
  • Volumetric Shadows: enabled

Extreme preset:

  • API: DirectX 11
  • Quality: ultra
  • Resolution: 1600x900, windowed mode
  • Anti-aliasing: x8
  • VSync: disabled
  • Stereo: disabled
  • Ambient Occlusion: enabled
  • Volumetric Shadows: enabled
  • Motion Blur: enabled

Extreme HD preset:

  • API: DirectX 11
  • Quality: ultra
  • Resolution: 1920x1080, fullscreen mode
  • Anti-aliasing: x8
  • VSync: disabled
  • Stereo: disabled
  • Ambient Occlusion: enabled
  • Volumetric Shadows: enabled
  • Motion Blur: enabled

As you can see, the tests are very consistent within the same preset. The average distance from the average score is just 0.49% for the Basic preset, 0.66% for the Extreme, and 0.05% for the Extreme HD. It does not take careful statistical analysis to recognize that this is significant consistency, which is quite important for the use of this benchmark.

To keep this article from being too short, the next page is going to contain the frames-per-second information recorded by the benchmark, along with my system specs.




  1. Introduction & Simple Results
  2. Detailed Results & Conclusion
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