C&C 3 Tiberium Wars: World Builder: Improving Performance using Vista's ReadyBoost

C&C 3: World Builder


The Windows Vista World Builder Advantage
By Luckie

By now, anyone who has used the C&C 3 World Builder knows that it can be quite slow to load. After some testing, I've come up with a few ways to increase the performance and decrease your frustration, especially if you're running Windows Vista.

First off, lets lay out some general and unofficial requirements for the C&C 3 World Builder:

Bare Minimum:

OS: Windows XP
CPU: 2.0GHz or high, or AMD equivalent
RAM: 512 MB or more, Vista - 1GB RAM or more
Video: Windows XP - GeForce4, ATI Radeon 8500 or greater (ATI Radeon 9200 and 9250 PCI, NVIDIA Geforce 4 MX cards not supported.)
Windows Vista - NVIDIA GeForce 6100 or ATI Radeon 9500 or greater. Laptop versions of these chipsets may work but are not supported.


OS: Windows Vista
CPU: 2.2GHz or higher
RAM: 1 GB – 2GB
Video: 256mb video card

High End:

OS: Windows Vista
CPU: 2.5GHz or higher  (AMD  X2 or better, Intel Core Duo or better)
RAM: 2 GB +
Video: 256mb video card or greater

If you fall in the Midrange or near Bare Minimum and are running Windows Vista, you can still make Worldbuilder run faster using a feature of Vista:

It's called ReadyBoost. It allows you to cache to a flash drive instead of your hard drive. Caching is used when a program takes up more memory than you physically have in RAM. Hard drive caching is slow, and Worldbuilder makes heavy use of it when loading. ReadyBoost attempts to remedy the problem by allowing you to dedicate a USB key or Memory Card to caching.

ReadyBoost improves performance because flash drives (USB keys) allow for much quicker seek times (usually around or below 1ms) compared to traditional hard drives (between 8 and 15ms).  While hard drives are faster at reading and writing large chunks of sequential data, flash drives read and write small chucks of data faster. Additionally, ReadyBoost provides programs with multiple sources to read cached data from, which can serve as an added benefit. Of course, actual performance gains may vary depending on your system's particular hardware.

To use ReadyBoost:

  1. Insert a 1GB or larger (preferably larger) USB key into your computer.
  2. Back up the contents by copying them to a folder on your computer.
  3. Delete the files from the USB drive so that it is empty. This will allow you to take full advantage of the drive.
  4. Open your Vista Start menu and click "Computer".
  5. Right click on the USB drive and select "Properties".
  6. Click the "ReadyBoost" tab.
  7. Turn on Readyboost for this drive.
  8. Change the amount of space allocating to Readyboost as high as it will go (about 970mb on a 1GB drive).
  9. Click OK to apply.
  10. Run the Worldbuilder program.

In most cases, this process will decrease the time Worldbuilder takes to launch by nearly half. From what I can tell, the "sweet spot" for World builder is any combination of RAM + USB Key that totals around 3GB. If you have 1GB of RAM and a 2GB USB key, you're right around the sweet spot. Having more won't hurt either.

A few small things to note:

  • Hard drive speed: Hard drives come in several speeds. To run Worldbuilder well, you should have a hard drive that spins at a minimum of 5400 RPM (I would recommend 7200 RPM or greater).
  • USB keys all run at different speeds. It's possible to have a very slow USB drive. If you have more than one, try to find the one that is the fastest. Many cheaper drives have a lower build quality and thus run slightly slower.
  • You can always add more RAM to make Worldbuilder faster.
  • Using ReadyBoost you will also notice a speed increase when switching between Worldbuilder and other applications.