If you've been a gamer for at least a decade, you'll recognize Max Payne as the PC third-person shooter of the early 2000s. Max Payne's character, who is characterized by his film noir style and the use of the bullet time effect (The Matrix), exceeded all expectations in 2008 with several console connections, a sequel and a feature film adaptation.
Soon after, Max Payne 3 was announced and has been in the works at Rockstar Studios ever since. The original game was developed by Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment and published by the now defunct 3D Realms. Max Payne 3 promises exciting gameplay and stunning graphics that mark the return of bullet time in action sequences while maintaining the shoot-dodge mechanics from previous titles.
On the tech side, Rockstar used to talk about his ability to combine physics and animation. For example, when Max dives to surprise his enemies, he does so according to his surroundings. This is done using the advanced dynamic Euphoria animation engine. However, the game itself is based on the RAGE game engine. In a way, the game uses two engines on top of each other.
The RAGE engine has been updated for Max Payne 3 with support for DirectX 11 and stereoscopic 3D rendering on the PC. The added support for DX11 effects was one of the reasons we expected this title and why we bring you this performance article.
It has been suggested that Max Payne 3 will make the most of today's high-end PCs, with DirectX 11 tessellation compatibility and "advanced graphics options" for PC gamers. With that in mind, let's take a look at the test setup and then look at the results. Be sure to check out our visual tour that compares DX9 through DX11 graphics.
If you've lost the count, we'll test 25 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia in all price ranges. The latest official drivers were used for each card. We installed an Intel Core i7-3960X in our test bench to remove CPU bottlenecks that could affect the high-end GPU values.
We used Fraps to measure frame rates during 90 seconds of gameplay footage from Max Payne 3's fifth single player level: Alive If Not Exactly Well. The test begins at the beginning of the mission where you will take a motorboat ride on a river before going ashore and starting the mission. The first 90 seconds of footage are always the same as in an in-game cut scene. We chose this scene because it is very challenging.
Test system specifications
We tested Max Payne 3 at three popular desktop display resolutions: 1680 x 1050, 1920 x 1200, and 2560 x 1600 using normal and very high quality settings. Both modes were tested in DirectX 11 mode with vsync and MSAA disabled while ambient occlusion was set to SSAO. The very high settings used 984 MB of video memory at 1920 x 1200, while the normal settings used 331 MB at the same resolution.