Monday, 9 December 2013

Monday Ultra Look

An Ultrabook Day

Normally I plant myself into a seat facing a mid-range PC. Today I am in front of a Ultra-mobile PC experience typing from my lap. My mission was to see what I could gain from an integrated graphics chip, and the best way was to use one to do the testing and tweaking.

Shader Slicer

I began and ended my work chopping up the shaders until they started to return performance. The bottom line is that I went from 18 fps to 40 fps by reducing the complexity of the shader, and when I switched off some of the features I got upwards of 70 fps with a terrain and some characters running about.

It is fair to say my shader slicing removed some things you might have wanted to keep such as multiple textures, normals, shadows and other small effects but the experiment was to see 'WHO' was spending the frame rate.

It was clear that on an integrated (and I suspect low end card), that the shader is real bottleneck here and it's a case of figuring out which things I can keep and which things I cannot have to get the performance and visuals that pleases. I dare say some pre-baked processing and hacking would be required to get the visuals on lower end systems, but it's a great start to see the performance hit 90 fps in some cases on what is essentially a fan-less graphics chip!

Signing Off

I still have some reductions to chase through quads, reduced terrain polygons and some more occlusion tricks but it is clear to me now that it's the shaders themselves which slow down the non-mid range graphics solutions. From this info I can add a few extra settings to the slider system to allow these ideas to be tried on the variety of low end systems out there.


  1. Good to here you are making progress lee.

  2. Ideally, the final release will be similar to common PC games whereby the user will be able to customize the video quality by enabled or disabling different features and specifying varying quality levels in the options. So a low-end machine could be set to reduce or disable shader effects, whereas high-end machines with good video cards could have them cranked up to high. You could also try and auto-detect appropriate settings based on the user's video card chipset, CPU or other factors. This way everyone will get a good experience and those with more power won't be hindered by low quality restrictions. I'd like to see such preferences in the creator itself as well as game releases.

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  4. There is no need to remove some features. There should be an option to turn them on and off just so people can mess with the sliders to suit them best.

  5. i dont give a toss about laptops NOT designed for these applications. WHY are you trying to make an inferior product?

    1. He's not. He's just trying things out. You do realise, right, that if Lee does not focus at least somewhat on laptops, there will not be many people actually willing to pay for FPSCR as it won't run on low-end systems; sales will drop, TGC's income will drop and they will go out of business. You no longer get updates or support for FPSCR.

      And besides, you also benefit from this research as it allows you to create games that run on weaker hardware, increasing your income from games you sell.

      Anyway, the simple fact is many, many gamers do not own powerful PCs. They shouldn't have to dip out just because you own a good PC and don't care about laptops.

    2. when do we get support for my old 486 PC? *facepalm*

    3. If you're implying that I'm saying we should support all old PCs, I'm not. I'm saying it's quite possible (as Lee has proven) to support oldER laptops and PCs without ditching modern hardware. Where do we draw the line? I say the average lowest level, i.e., what most people without a gaming PC have. Since no one uses 486s any more, we shouldn't support them.

      Look, the simple fact is, it's entirely reasonable to ask for support for older devices. I never have understood the backlash that always comes with requesting support for older computers, it's just silly.

  6. I'm extremely happy actually that your testing out the engine on multiple machines.

  7. Seen some interesting comments here. I am inclined to agree that you shouldn't be removing shaders and quality. Games made in Reloaded should offer an extensive set of graphic customisation features so the PLAYER can determine how good their game will look. It's pointless trying to make the engine run fast for everyone by lowering graphics. That's a very single minded approach.

    What you should be doing Lee, is opening up these shaders and improving them. Trying to make them more efficient. The most efficient they can be. If your shader code is bringing the performance down by miles, which, in my honest opinion, it should not, (Most games do not show much of a performance loss/gain when fiddling with the shader settings. It's usually the post-processing effects that bog them down, along with shadows and draw distance.) then you'll need to rethink the entire shader code, possibly resulting in a DBPro overhaul.

    These are core features that need to be down-to-the-bone efficient without being brought down by limitations in DBP.

    1. It is odd that FPSC Reloaded requires more than the games of Today... that's not okay. If you can play Skyrim, Fallout, Deadspace (series), BioShock (series), Fear (series), DOOM3...etc etc.. and NOT be able to run FPSC Reloaded at the same speed --That is not a problem with peoples machines its a problem with the engine's optimization for performance. Unless this is an engine that is suppose to produce some kind of superior quality games then that of what we have seen in the last 3 years.

      FPSC Creator is to create games for players. You have to take in to account what your player's computer specs may be. Not what your specs may be as the creator. (Not targeting this at you Hukna, just happened to hit reply under your name lol)

  8. I agree that the current shaders could do with improving. However, for a fully rounded product having the option of using older and faster shader effects on older machines is a good one. I don't mind having more shaders to choose from! I'll also add I am getting a lot better performance with the version I am testing at the moment!
    When I look at the shader effects in the Morrowind Overhaul, I must admit to being envious. Perhaps, as these are mods, Lee could take a look at how they are done? Just a thought, shaders are beyond my current knowledge :(

  9. I will make a general comment here with respect to the topics covered.

    Seems to me that the issue here is the same as it always has been.....

    How do I have more with less? when the engine is limited and imposes restriction.

    Reloaded is in early development and already performance and fps is a major problem at least for many - thats not likely to change much - perhaps both for game makers and game players.

    Seems to be Reloaded has a long way to go in future development to accommodate more so how can we do that with less? More sliders, remove more?

    Will you add more features only too then remove more features and content for game makers and game players and then how will you maintain the pro product aspiration of all concerned, visual quality and user gameplay experience of stunning playback on the senses that have become the norm in all things Games (amongst other things) and will no doubt be exceeded and improved in things like games and movies in which it prevails over the life of Reloaded?

    Reloaded is great but seems to have already suffered from a need to remove things before it hardly gets kicked off. It was always going to be the case that Reloaded would have to be limited and have some restrictions.

    No idea how it will pan out but you cant get blood out of a stone as the saying goes. Some things cant be made good out of bad not trying to be disrespectful. At the end of the day TGC and Lee are trying to do the best they can and one cant ask more than that.

    Performance is being given top priority and if that hits a brick wall then not much can be done about it I guess given the resources and technologies being used.

    As said Removing things is not really the answer but perhaps the only option if the engine itself cant be improved sufficiently to offset that. Not ideal and wont achieve the aspiration and objective fully and who knows how that will impact on the product and the games made with it - not well perhaps I presume.


  10. I get the impression a lot of people that use FPSC Reloaded are more so interested in playing their own games, then being able to deliver a game that could be played widely. I really hope those people's opinions, suggestions, comments and feedback dont change the direction of the product. I seriously was discouraged by the performance of FPSC-R outright. Its an issue. A major one. And I'm glad Rick and Lee have realized that. But there is a large amount of people in the community that dont.. or just dont care.