The reality benchmark continued
After installing the 63MB AquaMark 3 file, and placing the provided preview commercial plus license under "\My Documents\AquaMark3\" which tells the game which license you have, we fired up the benchmark in much anticipation. We are greeted with this menu screen after two welcome screens:
To run the default benchmark, we then click the "Select Measurement" option which takes us to the following screen:
Clicking "Start Measurement" under AquaMark Score Measurement begins the benchmark at its default settings, which are 1024x768x32 with no AA and 4x AF. By the way, thankfully Massive disabled the use of the Windows key which can be good and bad - bad when you are trying to take many screenshots like here.
If you decide to buy a license, you are able to change settings under the "Options" menu on main menu:
This section allows you to choose all graphics and sound related options for the benchmark which you wish to run. As for color depth, you can choose from 16-bit or 32-bit - no surprises there. Resolution options are 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200. AA can be set from 0x to Level 4 while AF can be set from 0x to 8x in 2x increments. We have a couple other options there which we missed, but they are self-explanatory as well as the "Light" and "Detail" menus which let you choose specifically which DX9 drawing methods you want enabled and disabled.
Alright, it must be time to run an actual benchmark! Since most of you, for starters, will only be using the basic version which only offers default benchmarking, we will only concern ourselves with this test today.
After selecting "Start Measurement" under AquaMark Score Measurement you are taken to the following screen which takes as the window while the benchmark is loading:
The benchmark begins and we find ourselves deep under the ocean fighting a battle with the unknown with many exciting explosions and as far as we can tell: fisherman fished all the fish out of this part of the ocean.
Depending on what configuration you use and the specs of your PC, the benchmark takes anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes (and longer with older systems) per run to complete the entire 5202 frames which encapsulates the entire test - which is much less if you compare it to 3DMark 2001 or 03, however given, AquaMark 3 is not as complex.
So, as an example say you average 24.35 frames per second, the benchmark will take a little over 3 and a half minutes to complete - simple math, 5205 divide 24.35 divide 60. The really good thing about this benchmark is that there is very little (a second or less) time to wait between each different style of DX9 element testing, such as many particles, masked environment mapping, large scale vegetation and so on, which simply carries on and does not load a new scene, like 3DMark.
Once you have completed the default benchmark, you are presented with the following screen which details the benchmark results, which are very easy to understand. The results are also outputted to a text file in an automatically created folder with time and date under "\My Documents\AquaMark3\". The really funky thing is the Excel results generator which Massive include with every license - you simply choose to import one of the saved text files into their Excel spreadsheet which displays the results very nicely for future reference, as well as to send to friends and publish online, etc.
It is also worth noting that if you click "Submit Results Online", besides uploading your results to the AquaMark 3 database, it generates a HTML website with your results and test system specs which you can save and use how you please.