[Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Gravitonia
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[Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby Gravitonia » Fri 11 Dec 2015 00:40

We all love our large scale battles with massive armies clashing into each other. With AOA, that means the game will come to a complete and utter crawl, and the fun dies away. Ideally, engine performance should be improved, but being an aspiring game developer myself, I know this is very hard and probably means a total restructure of the engine. To work with what we got, I suggest two different solutions to this.

Alternative 1: Supply Cap

How to implement:
- All structures, units and upgrades have a supply cost attached to them.
- The supply cost should be based on cost.
- Since the cost is already balanced, it's a matter of applying that factor to supply cost.
- A simple approach would be, 1 supply cost for each 100 oil, 1.5 supply cost for each 100 aluminum and 2 supply costs for each 100 rare earth.
- Example: 1 fully upgraded MG nest would cost 750 oil * 0.01 + 500 aluminum * 0.015 + 500 aluminum * 0.015 = 22.5 supply.
- Units can be sold to recover some of their cost just like the supply vehicles work now and free up the supply taken.
- The supply cap should be very high so it's not something a normal game would run into, but those 6 or 8 player games that run for more than 45 minutes have a major issue right now with performance.

Alternative 2: No automatic generation of resources.

How to implement:
- No income generation structures including the HQ's.
- Banks are fine because they run out of resources.
- POWs can only be sold to generate income. Each faction has the same system. For example 1 POW sold gives 2000 oil or 1000 alu or 250 rare earth. Oil upfront at capture should still be there like now.
- Add more resources to each mining patch, say 50% more. US deep mining effect must be reduced to say 50% extra value per patch instead of 100% like now.

Here are the benefits to one or the other of these approaches as I see it:
- No more crawling endgame play. More fun for all participants.
- Building large armies early on and keeping them alive has more value vs going all "SimCity" with only eco focus in the beginning and mass spamming tier 3 units towards then end.
- No more 100's of turrets, since they will be too costly vs standing armies.

Personally, I'd prefer the Supply Cap solution.

I guessing a bit here, but I think a game balanced with equally good players will more often than not end up in a scenario like this. Controlling units become nearly impossible and by large will favor the less micro intensive unit strategies (Mass jets, mass tanks).

PS! I've been monitoring GPU and CPU usage while playing, and this game is heavily CPU limited, especially since video settings can be lowered to run on nearly any type of GPU. For testing, I overclocked my CPU significantly and the game performance went up accordingly.

Let's run the discussion :)

AceRevo
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Re: [Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby AceRevo » Fri 11 Dec 2015 01:43

Alternate 3: get a better computer :)

Jokes aside, the game really needs to be optimized for huger games, 4v4 is allmost unplayable at times, even 1v1 late-late game.. And they wanted to bring 20v20? Common Eugen...

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Re: [Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby McNash » Fri 11 Dec 2015 02:26

If you are a software developer you may actually first consider getting a better computer, if you are using the same computer you used to play Generals 1 when released then there is your answer about performance issues.

And no, there is no point in adding artificial restrictions to improve the FPS, this is the first time I see someone complaining about performance on this game, what Eugen should do is to improve the connectivity of this game as that is actually what brings down a lot of frames and performance, not just in AoA but in nearly any current game, even older ones.
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Gravitonia
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Re: [Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby Gravitonia » Fri 11 Dec 2015 03:28

If you haven't noticed performance problems with this game, you haven't played any large scale games with large amount of active units.

As a game developer you constantly have to make tradeoffs in regards to performance, and there are plenty of artificial limits in other RTS games to make sure they run well though all stages of gameplay. The best engines out there have layers upon layers of occlusion regarding all aspects of the engine (rendering, audio, physics, netcode etc.). Considering the amount of units in play, and the fidelity, I'd say this game runs very well! But, it doesn't take away the fact that games become nearly unplayable at the late stages when there are simply to many units at play.

My computer is very fast with plenty of RAM, but that doesn't help much when there is another player in that multiplayer game with a weaker computer. In fact, this other day I played a game that went to the very late stage (1h36min gametime) and player after player dropped due to their computer choked on them. Then at the very end, when my teammate dropped out, the performance suddenly increased by a factor of 5 or so. Me or the other remaining player was then hosting and we both obviously had considerable better computers.

Another more simple option could be that one could specify a minimum computer standard for that particular game you're hosting and only participants that met this standard could join. However, fragmenting the already fairly small player base doesn't sound very wise in my opinion.

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McNash
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Re: [Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby McNash » Fri 11 Dec 2015 08:37

Gravitonia wrote:If you haven't noticed performance problems with this game, you haven't played any large scale games with large amount of active units.

As a game developer you constantly have to make tradeoffs in regards to performance, and there are plenty of artificial limits in other RTS games to make sure they run well though all stages of gameplay. The best engines out there have layers upon layers of occlusion regarding all aspects of the engine (rendering, audio, physics, netcode etc.). Considering the amount of units in play, and the fidelity, I'd say this game runs very well! But, it doesn't take away the fact that games become nearly unplayable at the late stages when there are simply to many units at play.

My computer is very fast with plenty of RAM, but that doesn't help much when there is another player in that multiplayer game with a weaker computer. In fact, this other day I played a game that went to the very late stage (1h36min gametime) and player after player dropped due to their computer choked on them. Then at the very end, when my teammate dropped out, the performance suddenly increased by a factor of 5 or so. Me or the other remaining player was then hosting and we both obviously had considerable better computers.

Another more simple option could be that one could specify a minimum computer standard for that particular game you're hosting and only participants that met this standard could join. However, fragmenting the already fairly small player base doesn't sound very wise in my opinion.


Go ahead and ask them if they have budget to implement the changes you suggest.
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Re: [Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby Predatorrrr » Mon 14 Dec 2015 14:15

Ok, if we are really taking computer performance into consideration. What kind of performance do we talk about? GPU Performance? In that case, the game would not run slower but choppy because of dropped frames. The respective player would notice immediately. I dont think GPU performance is the issue. Easy example: Turn up graphics settings. The game does not become slow, but choppy.
If we are talking about CPU performance: The CPU is barely utilized by this game, I dont think that is the case either.

In my opionion both the "slow motion" gamespeed, the slow reaction time of units and desyncs etc are connected and are due to issues with the netcode of the game. If there are a lot of moving units then this information has to be synced with the other players. That may very well be the reason why it slows down to keep everyone in sync.

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Re: [Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby torinus » Mon 14 Dec 2015 15:11

Starcraft 2 runs much worse than this game on my PC and with less units on screen. I have both games on High details with some especially costly stuff on low or off.

If Starcraft 2 didn't have a unit cap I think it would run 3x worse than AoA.

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Re: [Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby Gravitonia » Thu 17 Dec 2015 00:44

Starcraft 2 runs much worse than this game on my PC and with less units on screen. I have both games on High details with some especially costly stuff on low or off.

If Starcraft 2 didn't have a unit cap I think it would run 3x worse than AoA.


Considering the amount of stuff going on in this game, I'd say it runs very well. However, because there is no upper limit, a game that spawns to many units will eventually come to an halt, and this is what I want to address. I'd like the limit to be very high, but not infinite like now.

The netcode is definitely causing lag with high amount of units and more noticeable in form of "stuttering" in my experience. I believe the netcode is the limiting factor before the CPU becomes a limiting factor in high end systems. If I should guess, the out bandwidth of the hosting player is probably the most significant factor for netcode performance (Each player reports their input commands to the host and the host reply back with the position and rotation of every entity if the entity has translated more than the hysteresis set by the game engine, which in turn get interpolated by the client and displayed to the player)

In regards to CPU vs GPU, the GPU scaling options can keep the GPU running at well below maximum capacity when the CPU hits the roof. To read CPU usage, one needs to take into account that this game only seems capable of utilizing two out of 4 cores in my system, thus the game nearing 50% CPU is hitting the roof. When I overclocked from 3,5 to 4,3 GHz the performance went measurably up. The test was conducted by watching a reply with massive amount of units in play, so no netcode was affecting the test in this situation.

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Re: [Suggestion] Improve late game performance

Postby McNash » Thu 17 Dec 2015 06:42

As an alternate gameplay option, like what we got in AoW, it would be ok, but I am completely and definitely opposed to any sort of artificial restrictions to the game, I mean, ok, so, you and your mate want to have a unit count limit for their match, fine, but I don't think this should be enfroced, perhaps for another iteration, which is what I suspect they will do, as, well, they seem to be working into something, and the only way to modify this game is to go Dawn of War 2.
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