The Second Dawn patch will be coming soon with its bug fixing, balancing changes, and performance improvements. Today, we would like to share some major improvements this patch will bring to game performance.
These last few months, we’ve run a lot of tests, gathered tons of feedback, and we’ve spotted a certain number of issues related to performance impacts, whether you are in simple a scenario or in a complex endgame fight.
After analyzing common gameplay situations we were able to pinpoint several cases where significant performance improvements could be gained for most playstyles.
Note: the following illustrations will not match the later mentioned performance measurements as the recording software overhead appears.
Batch computations to remove redundant operations
In this situation, the player is only performing auto-attacks, repeatedly hitting 20 svriirs on the same spot. Despite the absence of complexity of the action, the FPS drops, as the frame takes more time to compute.
By taking advantage of the knowledge that the player is using the same attack for all Svriirs, and doing these computations at a specific moment in the frame, we managed to drastically reduce their impact on performance.
Smart filtering of VFX when hitting monsters
VFX are heavily used for spells, creatures, and environment, contributing to the beauty of the game and the feeling in combat. However, when there are too many of them on screen, they can cause serious FPS drops.
In particular, it is very common to be fighting dozens of monsters at a time, and therefore the number of VFX on screen can quickly explode and become a problem.
On this image, we took the drastic measure of blasting all these poor svriirs with every single ailment we had, which resulted in a very extreme impact on the performance and on visibility, dropping to 8-20 FPS, the frame taking up to 125ms:
We then wondered if it was necessary to have that many effects on the same screen. It’s not beautiful, it has a huge impact on performance, and we could do much better. So, we limited the VFX density so they will always be visible but limited per cubic meter. Basically: the same VFX cannot be triggered more than once on a certain amount of time, in a certain area. With this, we ensure every hit is displayed, but not to the point where it would affect readability or performance too much.
On the same theme, we noticed that stacking blood effects had a significant performance cost.
So, we’ve decided to reduce their stacking while making sure that we still keep the grim mood of the game, using a similar technique to have more control over the number of blood effects per square meter. This setting will be optional for players who prefer to have more blood on their screen.
For Second Dawn, in the worst-case scenario with all these elements combined, the game would go from 4-13 FPS (250ms) to 45-50 FPS (22ms).
Second Dawn will also bring other improvements gathered with a new tool allowing us to record everything happening frame by frame, and spot unnecessary redundancies (audio, various calculations).
All these improvements combined will ensure a much better and smoother experience.
However, we know that it can still be improved, and we will continue to work on performance by introducing new graphics options and improving the charge on the Engine for the first Chronicle coming this Autumn.
We’re looking forward to sharing with you all these improvements with the Second Dawn patch, which will be available before the end of July and offer bug fixing, performance improvements, and balancing changes (nerf-free)!
Finally, we would like to introduce you to our latest Community Manager. He has been a volunteer since Wolcen’s early days when it was called Umbra. He is an original Kickstarter backer, and since then, he has always worked with us to make sure that all information coming out of the studio is translated into German. He handles wolcen-game.de, he handles the German translation of the game, he helped a lot on the Steam forums, on Discord, on the Official forums, and more. Today, we are more than happy to finally have CoTTo in our team as an Official Community Manager for the German community! Welcome CoTTo!
Thank you all for your support, and stay safe!
Created: 3 months, 3 weeks ago