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Article ID: 907883 - Last Review: September 12, 2012 - Revision: 5.0

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Symptoms

When you play Microsoft Age of Empires III, the game performance may be slower than you expect.

Resolution

To resolve this issue, use the following methods in the order that they are listed.

Method 1: Verify the minimum system requirements

Make sure that your computer meets or exceeds the minimum video, processor, and memory requirements to play Age of Empires III.

Windows Vista

  1. Open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool. To do this, click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    the Start button
    , type dxdiag in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    User Account Control permission
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
  2. Click the Display tab, and then note the Approx. Total Memory.
  3. Under Device, look for Name and Manufacturer.
  4. Click Exit.

Microsoft Windows XP

  1. Click Start, click Run, type dxdiag, and then click OK.
  2. Click the System tab, and then note the Processor and Memory values in the System Information area.
  3. Click the Display tab or the Display 1 tab, and then note the Approx. Total Memory value in the Device area.
  4. Click Exit to close the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.
Compare the values that you noted with the minimum system requirements that are required for Age of Empires III. If the computer does not meet the minimum system requirements, contact your computer manufacturer for more information about how to obtain the required updates and upgrades. For more information about the minimum system requirements for Age of Empires III, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
907884  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/907884/ ) The minimum system requirements for Age of Empires III

Method 2: Download and install the Age of Empires III update

An updated version of Age of Empires III resolves some performance issues. To download and install the updated version of Age of Empires III, click Help and Tools on the main game screen, and then click Update Game. Alternatively, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.agecommunity.com/gameUpdates.aspx (http://www.agecommunity.com/gameUpdates.aspx)

Method 3: Compare your computer with other computers

To analyze the performance of the game on your computer and to view the ranking of your computer when compared with other computers on the market, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
 
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/How-can-I-tell-if-a-game-will-run-on-this-computer (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/How-can-I-tell-if-a-game-will-run-on-this-computer)

For more information about the Windows Experience Index, visit the following Microsoft Web site: 

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/buyorupgrade/upgradeadvisor.mspx (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/buyorupgrade/upgradeadvisor.mspx)

If your computer has a low ranking, you can improve the game performance by using the methods that are listed in this article. However, you may have to update your computer's hardware for optimal performance. For information about how to update your computer's hardware, contact the computer manufacturer.

Method 4: Restart the game after the computer resumes from standby or from suspend mode

If you manually or automatically put your computer on standby or in suspend mode while you are playing the game, the game performance may be poor when you resume the game. The music and sounds be inaudible, transitions may be choppy, or the game may stop responding (hang). To resolve this issue, restart the game.

Method 5: Change game settings (single player)

You can adjust the game settings to use fewer resources. To change the game settings, follow these steps:
  1. Start Age of Empires III.
  2. Click Help and Tools, and then click Options.
  3. Click Graphics Options to change the following game settings:
    • Video Resolution: You will frequently experience better game performance when you use lower video resolutions. The effect that lower video resolutions have on game performance depends on the speed of your graphics card and your shader and shadow settings.

      Note LCD monitors provide poor image quality at non-native resolutions. Check your computer monitor documentation or visit the monitor manufacturer's Web site for information about the native resolutions of your monitor.
    • Windowed Mode: When you turn this option on, you can play the game in a window. However, game performance may decrease when you play the game in a window.
    • Bit Depth: When you use a Bit Depth value of 32, the game displays improved color fidelity and allows for all graphics settings that are available. However, game performance may decrease, especially on computers that have slower video cards.
    • VSync: When you turn on VSync, the "visual tearing" that is frequently visible when you scroll is reduced. However, game performance may increase when you turn off VSync.
    • Anti-alias Quality: When you set Anti-alias Quality to Low or High, the jagged appearance around the edges of game objects is reduced. However, when you turn on Anti-alias Quality, game performance may decrease, depending on your graphics card. Sometimes, the decreased performance can be severe. When you disable Anti-alias Quality, you will be provided with the best performance.
    • Shader Quality: Higher Shader Quality settings provide more realistic lighting effects, improved water appearance, and greater overall detail. Lower Shader Quality settings provide increased performance. The Shader Quality settings are Low, Medium, High, and Very High. However, not all these settings are available on some computers. The Low setting provides the best performance on most computers. However, the Low setting provides the lowest rendering quality. The Medium setting increases quality but may decrease game performance. The High and Very High settings produce the most realistic results. However, these settings can decrease performance. Depending on your hardware, the Very High setting may provide better performance than the High setting.
    • Shadow Quality: Depending on the capabilities of your computer and the Shader Quality setting, you will have between two and five settings available for Shadow Quality. The Off setting provides no shadows. The On and Low settings provide simple shadows on most units. The High and Very High settings provide the most realistic shadows. However, the High and Very High settings require capable hardware and will most likely decrease game performance.
    • Water Reflections: This shader setting controls reflections of game objects in the water when you use the High or Very High Shader Quality settings. Game performance may increase when you turn off Water Reflections. There is no effect if you use the Low or Medium Shader Quality setting.
    • Bloom Effect: When you turn on Bloom Effect, bright areas in the game are enhanced with a visible bloom of light. However, game performance may decrease. There is no effect if you use the Low or Medium Shader Quality setting.
    • High-poly Models: This setting controls the number of polygons that are used to render the in-game objects. When you turn on High-poly Models, the game is displayed in greater detail. However, game performance may decrease.
    • Terrain Detail Objects: When you turn on Terrain Detail Objects, details such as small rocks and plants are added to the terrain. Game performance may increase when you turn off Terrain Detail Objects.
    • Particle Quality: When you set the Particle Quality to Low, you will be provided with the best game performance. When you set the Particle Quality to Normal, the game displays more realistic particle effects such as smoke and splashes.
    • Tracer Effects: When you turn on Tracer Effects, a tracer effect appears when various unit types fire their weapons. Game performance may increase when you disable Tracer Effects.
    • Footprints: When you turn on Footprints, certain units will leave footprints on certain terrains. Game performance may increase when you turn off Footprints.
    • Terrain Texture Quality: This setting controls the resolution of textures that are used to render the terrain. When you set Terrain Texture Quality to High, the game provides more detail on the terrain. Game performance may increase when you set Terrain Texture Quality to Low, especially on computers that have the minimum system requirements for memory or for a video card.
    • Model Texture Quality: This setting controls the resolution of textures that are used to render objects in the game. When you set Model Texture Quality to High, more detail is displayed on game objects. When you set Model Texture Quality to Low, game performance may increase performance, especially on computers that have the minimum system requirements for memory or for a video card.
    • Texture Filter Quality: When you set Texture Filter Quality to High, the game displays crisper detail. However, game performance may decrease. When you set Texture Filter Quality to Low, game performance may increase. However, the rendered scene will appear blurred.
  4. Click Sound Options to change the following game settings:
    • Equalizer Effects: When you turn on Equalizer Effects, off-screen sounds have special effects processing to make them sound more realistic. However, game performance may increase when you turn off Equalizer Effects.
    • Music On: When you turn off Music On, game performance may increase. However, you will not be able to hear the in-game music.
  5. Click Game Options to change the following game setting:
    • Camera Zoom: The Camera Zoom settings are Near, Normal, Far, and Very Far. The higher settings let the in-game camera move farther from the battlefield. However, game performance may decrease when you use the higher settings.

Method 6: Change game settings (multiplayer)

When you set up a LAN or an Ensemble Studios Online (ESO) multiplayer game, you can change the Number of players setting to affect game performance. Games that have fewer players generally provide better performance than games that have many players.

Method 7: Improve game performance

For more information about how to improve game performance, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
815069  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/815069/ ) Games: How to improve game performance

Applies to
  • Microsoft Age of Empires III
  • Microsoft Age of Empires III : The WarChiefs
Keywords: 
dftsdahomeportal kbconfig kbtshoot KB907883
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