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F4 System Requirements

by Razorblade

I have seen results that indicate that you will be able to get decent frame rates at your system. I think that a memory upgrade will improve a lot. If that is possible I will certainly advice that.

I just found what you are looking for. I copied it from the old forum of Kevin Shaw. The post is from Bloody Nose.(469th)

I think some of us have the feeling that only the "Aristocracy" of flight simmers will be able to run Falcon 4. (Those of us with P2-400s and 512k of ram with dual V2s.) I would like to say that Falcon 4 is the MOST scaleable Sim I have ever seen in my life, and this is not the case! If you have at least a Pentium 166, you can run this sim! I have 2 systems.

System #1:

  • PII-300 (4X83=333mhz)
  • 64megs ram
  • 12 Meg Voodoo 2
  • CH Gamecard III Automatic

System #2:

  • P-166 (@200mhz) no MMX
  • 48megs ram
  • 4 Meg Voodoo 1

Keep in mind, this thing has NO MMX and NO 2nd level cache, and the lack of a game card is really sapping it's cpu power.

The most important system requirement in my mind for most of us will be memory. I would consider 64megs minimum. From what I have heard from other people, going up to 96 makes a big difference. with 128, I'm certain you could run at max detail in campaign with little or no hard drive access. A full install asks for 538 MB (includes AVI's), a typical install is 300 meg.

Your cpu and graphics card will be the main determining factor in what fps you see, but I dont care what you have, if you are running on 24megs of ram at max detail, your fps will go down the tubes from all the hard drive access.

On system #1, I currently run at about 3/4 detail during campaign. Less textures are visible at 3/4 detail, and it cuts down my disk reads enough to where campaign runs well. I can run campaign at 1024 by 768 at max detail, and fps are at about 17-30fps, mid to low twenties being average.

However, the amount of textures that must be loaded in to memory at max detail along with the campaign engine makes hard drive access occur too frequently for comfortable play. Instant action, dogfight and TE are less memory intensive, (unless perhaps you have one heck of a massive TE engagement loaded!) and have less hard drive access at the same detail settings, thus I usually run at max detail in those areas.

On system #2, I run usually at half detail at 640 by 480 and get ~12-20fps, 15-17 being average. Hard disk access is not bad in Dogfight, Instant action and TE, however, In campaign at these settings, the fps is about 7-10, and the hard disk access is unacceptable. For those of you without a 3d card, I can run it without the voodoo card, just software driven graphics in campaign mode at about 7-10fps at minimum detail settings. And hard disk access is still at an acceptable level.

In the non-campaign areas, fps is about 9-15 at the min settings with no 3d card. Keep in mind that those of you with a dedicated gamecard and a 2nd level cache, this system would likely do 50%-70% better.

Now, a little about the detail scaling options; The features you can control:

Texture Distance:

The distance to which terrain texture is drawn to. Lower distance means less textures are displayed, and less hard rive access will occur as new textures are loaded. (for those of us who are memory limmited.)

Terrain detail:

The detail of the texture maps that are used to draw the terrain. Falcon 4 uses different levels of detail in it's texture maps. Low resolution textures are used at farther distances, and as you get closer to the ground, it gradually switches to higher resolution textures such that the terrain looks great wether you are on the deck or up at 20,000ft.

Decreasing Detail decreases the level of detail used to draw the terrain. Lower resolution textures are used, and fewer of them, thus memory requirements drop.

Click to continue . . .


F4 Setup
Graphics Config Screen. Click for 800x600. 260K

Object Detail:

(self explanatory)

Object Density:

This affects how many buildings are drawn in a city; high setting, and you get many buildings clustered together, low setting, and buildings are drawn few and far between.

Player Bubble:

The campaign controls over 40,000 ground units. To make this manageable by the cpu, Units outside a 'bubble' that surrounds you are dealt with in groups (ex: a flight of four aircraft are dealt with as if it were one). Inside the bubble, the groups are split apart into thier individual units. (This is a simplification, missing many details). The farther out you set the bubble, the more cpu power will be used directing individual units.

Vehicle Magnification:

Increases the apparent size of aircraft and ground units, making them easier to spot visually, and easier to hit with weapons. (Not used my the majority of hard core pilots. Turning on auto scaling turns this option off). Special Effects:

The amount of detail put into explosions, etc...

Canopy Cues:

Four choices; None, Lift Line, Reflections, or both. Reflections draws a texture that simulates the cockpit reflections a pilot sees on his canopy. AWESOME. Must be seen in motion to fully appreciate. :)

Textured Objects:

On or Off. Self Explanatory.

Texture Smoothing:

On or off. Eliminates the "Grainy" Appearance of textures. (especially terrain.) Do not use without a 3d card.


Adds Transparent effects to things like Clouds and smoke, etc...

Gouraud Shading:

On or off...Adds shading to surfaces, making them appear rounded and eliminating the 'flat' appearance of Polygons.


Adds haze and fog to the horizon, and other areas, like river valleys, etc...

Vehicle Auto Scaling:

A compromise to object scale, whereby they are drawn at a more realistic size when close, but at a larger scale at a distance, making them easier to see at a distance. The object is to allow you to see what a pilot would actually see, regardless of the small size of your monitor screen.

These options allow you to scale the graphics all the way from the most realistic terrain you have ever seen on a sim, all the way down to graphics similar to Su-27's, making it possible to accomodate EVERY type of system, from the lowly Pentium 166 with no accelerator card, all the way up to the people with P2-450's and dual V2's.

Falcon 4 will still have an incredible flight model, extreme detail in avionics and weapons modeling, as well as the campaign, irregardless of wether or not you have 3d accelerated graphics. If you have at least a Pentium-166, you have no excuse not to buy this game. I would advise you to invest in extra memory if you can. 32 is not quite enough in my mind.

Adam "Bloody Nose" Breidenbaugh (469th)


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Last Updated November 13th, 1998

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