If anyone is interested, there is one way to limit the effects of the text slow down problem.
Using arxpak, I found a file that basically contains all of the lines of text ever used in the game. It also contains a few settings for the size of fonts, but none of them seem to have any effect on the performance, no matter how large or small the fonts are.
What is useful about this file is that you can edit any of the entries so that they are blank. For example, find this:
and change it to:
I've tested this and it gets rid of the popup message DOUBLE DAMAGE!!!! and it stops the game from slowing down when you make a critical hit. I also tried deleting specific tutorial messages (which I didn't really need anyway) and it gets rid of them completely.
The most important fix is probably the battle messages though, since you can get rid of the slow downs when you get double damage or a backstab.
I still have to play the game at a much lower resolution (1024x768) than I should have to so it stays smooth when I mouse over an item or open a menu, but with this text fix, the battles shouldn't have any interruptions due to laggy text popup messages.
I've put the unedited file into a .zip, and uploaded it here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=9YSPBJ09
Simply extract the LOCALIZATION folder with the Utext_English.ini file to your Arx main directory. Any changes you make to the file will take effect immediately. Remember, I haven't made any changes to this file, because I don't know which things you'd want to remove. Use my examples above if you want to edit it yourself.
If anyone has the time to go through and rid the game of any unnecessary text message pop ups (please don't remove anything that adds to atmosphere or gameplay in any way) it would definitely be a great service to Arx fans everywhere.
Also, I'm sure this applies to other languages as well. Just download arxpak and extract the utext file for the localization of your choice. Get arxpak here: http://teachsolaisgames.com/utils/ArxPakFull.zip
I just thought I'd post this since its the only thing I could find that had any effect on this problem. I tried swapping out the arx font file with .ttf and.fon files from windows, changing a ton of font related settings in windows... nothing fixed it.
So, I hope this helps some of you guys.
BTW, I'm running Vista Ultimate x64
Core 2 Duo overclocked to 3.6Ghz
EVGA Geforce GTX 260 192sp 896Mb (also overclocked)
Nvidia Forceware 190.15 drivers
X-Fi Xtrememusic (using ALchemy to get 3D sound and EAX back in Arx under Vista... works great!)
I have no other issues with the game at all. No super speed movement or glitches of any kind other than the stuttering when text shows up.