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Mac performance is awful

Discussion in 'Release 43 Feedback Forum' started by 3dmark, Jul 12, 2017.

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  1. 3dmark

    3dmark Avatar

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    I'm running a top-end MacBook Pro. Performance of SoTA has always been, frankly, unplayable on a Mac. I loaded up this release because of the advertised improved frame rates. I've also installed an eGPU with a Radeon RX 580.

    Even with all this, the game stutters and frame rates are unplayably low. I'm playing at 1080p and all graphics options are turned down to lowest settings.

    So just to let you know - this game is not playable on a Mac.
     
  2. Jens_T

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    Could you please define "unplayable" and post your configuration (via bug report). Would be interested to understand the differences to my system.

    I run the game on an retina iMac (i7 + 16GB + M295X 4GB graphic) and generally have ~20-30FPS at x*1440 Auto resolution. Some of the bigger scenes sometimes show a drop in FPS but it has become better in R43 and even then wasn't unplayable for me.
     
  3. 3dmark

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    Is there a way of getting FPS out of the client?
     
  4. that_shawn_guy

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    /debug will add a bar on the top that has the fps on it. Do the command again to remove it.
     
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  5. Gix

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    My 2012 MacbookPro and 2013 MacPro says otherwise. Mind you, performance is less than ideal. It also depends on where you play. If you run around in a city where some dude decided to build his house entirely out of stone pieces, performance is going to suffer.

    It's the same on Windows.
     
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  6. StrangerDiamond

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    Yeah its not your mac... but I have one at my job, brand new, high end graphical computer and it has trouble sometimes when I have 4-5 browser tabs open...

    It dosen't crash... but... wth no way I would ever pay that much for this crap.

    I'm touching it right now and it has a fever from just the SOTA forums... smells of burning plastic and is almost too hot to touch.

    Those geniuses has the idea to make no vents, no fan... whatever is in it dosen't work, at all.
     
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  7. Gix

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    Adobe plug-ins (aka: flash) tend to be very resource intensive and it's been known to kill browser processes on the Mac. If you get rid of any Adobe products on your machine (which is possibly not possible as it's most likely a Photoshop machine), it should run as expected. HTML5 is the best alternative for watching Youtube videos.

    You're not supposed to do professional work or gaming on a computer with no fans. If it's got no fan, then it's an iMac. iMacs are designed for home computing. Macbook Pros (what @3dmark has) have fans and should handle games pretty well. I got a 2012 model and it runs fine.

    It's not the computer. SotA severely needs more optimization but it's far from unplayable.

    Is it a 27" model? Make sure it doesn't get too hot. The connection to the display will unsolder itself and you'll get a black screen.
     
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  8. StrangerDiamond

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    Oh ok... I see... well yea it looks like the 27 inches. It's very fast for most things, but others it stutters and feels like it will melt indeed...
     
  9. 3dmark

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    So I did some tests tonight. My machine has a quad-core Kaby Lake i7, 16 GB RAM, Radeon Pro 455 Graphics. I was wandering around in Pericaliya. This is a small village with nobody else there - shouldn't be too taxing. In 1080p with quality set to auto, I was getting typical frame rates around 20, dipping down below 10 at times. To put it mildly, it would require great dedication to play at that frame rate.

    I tried attaching the eGPU which has a Radeon RX 580 GPU. Frame rates peaked at about 30 fps, also dipping down to 15 fps frequently, typically around 25 fps. This was still far too choppy for an enjoyable play experience.

    @Gix, I'm astonished you were able to play on an MBP 2012. I had one of those myself, and couldn't get anywhere. What settings are you using?
     
  10. Gix

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    Wow, you really went above an beyond to try to get SotA running. Have you tried running it in clamshell mode with an external regular display? I ask because, while it would generate more heat in clamshell (the eGPU would solve that problem), your MBP has a retina display (mine doesn't) and retina displays are more taxing on GPUs. Your 1080p is essentially 2-to-4 times more dense than a regular 1080p and the GPU has to do extra work to draw/upscale the image.

    What I can say for now is: don't try to get the highest FPS possible right now. If you can, great. Otherwise, I'd recommend sticking to 30fps or 15fps and making sure that it stays there. Any video game is much more enjoyable when the framerates don't spike.

    As much as I hate to admit it, 30fps is a console standard that is just recently getting breached by the occasional 60fps support.

    Now, I don't know much about eGPUs, but I know that one of Mac OS's (many) gaming weakness is its default system-wide V-SYNC. If you can get in the terminal and disable that, you might get more oomph out of your machine at the cost of visual tearing. And if you can get access to a video card controller on your eGPU (Mac drivers usually don't), you might have some settings you could tweak.

    I'm quoting myself from another thread:
    So in your video settings, turning occlusion culling "on" will help improve overall FPS, but it has a higher tendency of spiking it too.

    I'll run it on my MBP tonight and see if I can't give you any data on it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
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  11. Gatsu.

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    with latest changes to increase frame rate .. i've a 50% drop on Windows client.. now i have to play with minimum settings... on OPEN GL (linux client) .. game is unplayable.
     
  12. Gix

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    I got SotA installed on both Windows and MacOS on the same hardware. It pretty much runs the same.
     
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  13. 3dmark

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    LOL! Not completely - I didn't buy the eGPU just for SoTA - but I thought it would make a good test. I was really expecting the game to fly.
     
  14. Elwyn

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    My problem has been more with the screen brightness, it's hard to play even slowly when you can't see anything. First, I have to have a custom color profile with a lower gamma, and change it when I play, then change back. Second, for a while (at least up to R42), the screen got noticeably darker at the 50% loading when first logging into a scene. (It would also un-dark when I went back to the login screen). This is especially noticeable when playing in a window, since the white of other windows becomes blinding in comparison, especially with the lower gamma. The downside is that this loses dynamic range, and I get solarization with too much of it. There seems to be some sort of non-linear crushing of all but 100% brightness pixels such that the UI displays fine, but anything mid-brightness is a lot darker than it should be. Even on my Windows PC, I crank up the brightness a bit on the TV set I use as a monitor.

    And then there are some scenes where the screen is a good brightness level, but goes darker whenever you rotate the camera, in particular Owl's Head and Desolis. But I am still making a list, and need a chance to test on OS X newer than 10.9.5. The thing is, I think the scenes that don't do this are always at the darker level.


    As for performance, integrated graphics are horrible performance. If you are lucky enough to have a GPU (which they haven't put into 13" laptops since Core-i integrated graphics), then you at least have a chance. It also helps to have an i7. But I found that full-HD 1080 is still out of the question. On a 2011 MacBook Pro 17", I get best results at 1400 (?) x 800, which works okay in full-screen mode because it gets zoomed effortlessly by the GPU. I also seem to get some kind of glitches on the screen, especially in larger window sizes, but I'm not really sure whether that's an OpenGL problem, or a hardware problem (I at least now have a spare laptop to try it on, which I'm using right now until I can replace the keyboard in my late-2011 17"). The glitches aren't so bad in the smaller window, so for now I can live with it when I'm not playing on my Windows PC.

    VRAM might also be an issue. The early-2011 17" I'm using right now only has 1GB of VRAM on the GPU and 512MB on the integrated graphics.

    It doesn't help that Apple keeps wanting to make "pro" laptops that are as thin as possible, disposable iMacs, and stupid cylinders. I simply don't find used pre-cylinder Mac Pro systems lying around secondhand. (I'm sure they're on ebay or dedicated re-sellers, but not in pawn shops or other places where I see used laptops in person.)


    And my fan usually runs full-speed when I'm playing, with a CPU temp of 85-89C. Also, it barely keeps up with my 85W power supply. (my Windows PC dies if you try to play SotA with a 400W power supply!) When I was at Port during the last telethon, both having the game running *and* the Twitch stream drained the battery while plugged in. When the battery was nearly empty, something throttled back the video performance, and I didn't realize what was going on until I looked at the battery level! Right now I'm not playing because something apparently made Spotlight re-index my entire hard drive, so it's got the fan on full taking using all four cores while it furiously does whatever it does. Maybe some of SotA's performance problem is with CPU usage, I don't know.


    Another problem I have is the "control key becomes right-click" thing, which prevents you from control-clicking in an inventory list to select multiple items.


    Summary:
    - scenes are too dark, or go dark while rotating the camera
    - video performance isn't great, but mostly that's from lack of discrete GPU or enough power or cooling
    - control key drag in inventory doesn't work
     
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  15. 3devious

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    Yeah I kinda feel your pain I have the latest Surface Pro with the core i7 and 16 gigs of RAM. I even cranked down the screen resolution and performance is still covefe. I don't even have the option of getting an external video card because the best port I could hope for is the mini display port.
     
  16. Magnus Zarwaddim

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    False alarm. Thinking that @Mac2 was being referenced. Carry on. ;)
     
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  17. Concord

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    FWIW, I've complained before about poor Mac OS X video performance. About nine months ago with one of the updates I had to cut back to Fastest/minimal complexity to make it semi-playable. Recently I think things have improved some. I've got a late-2013 27" iMac, GTX 780M (4GB RAM) laptop-class GPU, and I'm running the game at 2560 x 1440, Quality Level = Fastest. I'm generally getting 20-30FPS, with some choppiness but I guess I've learned to live with it. It's playable, but still far from perfect.
     
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  18. Gix

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    Yep.

    I got 4GB of VRAM on my MacPro and a 1GB VRAM on my MBP and I gotta say, I don't feel like it makes THAT much of a difference. Of course, my MacPro has a significant better performance than my MBP but I'm convinced that the biggest factor is CPU, regular RAM and the SSD.

    @Concord has 4GB of VRAM on a mobile-grade GPU and has similar performance as my MBP. As I understand the specs of @Concord 's iMac, both my MBP and his/her iMac have 8GB of RAM. I ran the game on my MBP during the weekend and I was sitting between 15-30fps in Ardoris and suffered INSANE loading times for both scene and overworld.

    I don't know about you but I set everything up to "Maximum" (on my MacPro) because I don't feel the difference between that and "Low"; if I'm going to get 30fps, it might as well look pretty.

    Despite the fact that they're not upgradable (except for RAM), I actually like my "stupid cylinder". It's 2017 and my 2013 model is still kicking strong. It's powerful enough that I can play a lot of games in Parallel Desktop and the more recent DirectX11-12 games still run great in Bootcamp... when I'm not working >.>

    I got mine because the GPUs inside these things are built to last during long periods of intense workload which is great for rendering. The thing's practically a turbine with a computer surrounding it so the cooling on that thing is amazing too.

    Oh it's safe to say that the majority of SotA's performance issues is CPU based. I'm thinking of the things that are particular unique to SotA:
    • Spawning all those decorations and culling them inside houses is done on CPU.
    • AI pathfinding (and schedules) is done on the CPU.
    • Every interact-able object is handled by the CPU.
    • Every collision (from decorations, houses, hit-detection/cover) is done on the CPU. I believe the various assets (even those that are strictly used for world-builders) have too much detail on their collision mesh.
    • The constant-yet-sometimes-invisible constellations and planets you see in the sky is handled by the CPU. Normally, games only handle a day/night cycles. SotA has multiple objects in the sky with their own unique rotations.
    • The text parser for the dialogue system is done on the CPU.
    • The constant moaning, yawning and "AhHAA!" NPCs do (or any bit of audio) means the CPU had a process to trigger them and communicate to the audio card.
    • The multiplayer code that tracks resource nodes, player coordinates, player abilities, player actions (like opening a door) is also done on the CPU and SotA has TONS of objects to track.
    Some are lighter on the CPU than others but it adds up pretty quickly.

    Granted, drawing all the objects in a particular city at once isn't fast either and that's a GPU thing. Other games do some of the things I've listed as well, but not to the extent that SotA is doing. This is partially due to the fact the scope of the game is larger than most games out there. You look at how Ultima Online ran back in 1997 and compare it to Quake II and you clearly see the difference in visual fidelity and performance...

    Cd Projekt Red put a lot of effort into redesigning their cities based on performance; moving houses and entire roads around to be able to properly cull objects. This is something that SotA won't ever be able to do due to the nature of SotA housing system and the fact that players are lawyer-ing the devs whenever they make a change to a particular city.

    SotA has a rough road ahead. Our mindset to have a steady 60fps is going to hurt the game because I don't think most systems will be able to reach that framerate reliably. This is true for even the Windows client even if it's 5-10fps faster than the Mac client.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
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  19. 3dmark

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    This would be consistent with my experience that there isn't that big a difference when adding in an eGPU. But you've motivated me to try testing the difference between lowest and max graphics settings to see if there's any difference.
     
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  20. Concord

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    My late-2013 iMac has a 4-core i7 CPU, I never seem to peg the thing, but it feels like there's definitely some bottle-necking in there causing some choppiness in cities and towns. I'll admit I spend most of my time recently in and around Yew, a simpler scene; I've not ventured out to any of the larger cities in many months. Kind of want to, kind of fear the slow-down experience. I want it to be good, but I guess I'm putting it off for now, save a pop into Owls Head from time to time (THAT'S choppy and inconsistent!). Agreed load times too are a downer. I'm on SSD, but most scenes are 60s+ to load. Sigh.
     
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