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  1. #1
    Scarab Lord Roose's Avatar
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    No "Miracle Solution" for 5%

    Stephen Reid acknowledged the "Horrid FPS" that many are getting in warzones and other areas of the game: "...don't expect a miracle solution I'm afraid." The thread is on the Nth go round now. I, like many others, can no longer post because of lack of sub, but there are still many with subs hoping to play all of the game with decent frame rates.

    http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=233714

    That is really too bad. It is nice to see some other acknowledgement besides that from James Ohlen, but most were hoping for a fix. Not a miracle, just a fix.

    Many will say that there are no issues. Some people do not have them, but then some really do not notice them. Most glaring occurrence is pvp and not everyone does it.

    It is nice to see them fix the ability delay(which most people did not notice or claim to experience). However, it appears that fix may be all that we see done to address the performance issues in pvp.

    Do not like or believe me, that is fine. Please at least take a look at the thread I linked. No more free pass haters in there anymore. Some have programming experience and most have great PCs that they blow other games away with.

    Too bad we will never see how good TOR pvp can actually be. As an RPG it is fantastic, but it looks like the pvp will always be gimped.

  2. #2
    Pit Lord philefluxx's Avatar
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    Ya Im sure they have stopped all optimizations and tweaking of the client and graphics. Its over, done deal, this is what we got....

  3. #3
    Pandaren Monk schippie's Avatar
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    Im shamelessly just going to copy some stuff since i hardly know how software is written. But what i do gather from everything is the fact this game optimization is horrible. And it now turns out to be something that will not be easily fixable. If this is true this game if it survives the first year is going to be having huge problems in the future since the rigs those people use will be our laptops tomorrow. And if they dont fix that before we get (reasonably priced) the same tech, they are going to have lots of problems.



    This is not from me!

    And yes i used CODE tags otherwise this would be incredibly long sorry for this.
    Code:
    As a software engineer I am going to throw out my speculation based on some poking around using tools like Process Explorer.
    
    The game is not CPU or GPU limited when in Warzones or other player heavy situations. Usually when you see this kind of behavior it means things are I/O bound. Both the CPU and GPU are waiting for either data from the hard drive or the network and doing nothing for short periods of time.
    
    Games used to be single threaded and the same loop that does the rendering also processed network packets and read data from disk. If something was loaded from disk no frames where being rendering during that time, so most games had a loading screen and loaded everything into ram and made sure to never touch the disk again until the next load screen.
    
    SWTOR is not single threaded, this is easy to know because it runs two processes, this means a minimum of two threads, but its actually much more, last time I looked both processes had 10+ threads each.
    
    SWTOR is definitively loading assets from disk constantly probably because a whole planet cannot fit into the 2 gigabytes of address space a 32bit process has access to. A lot of software does this sort of thing, it typically called streaming, and there are a lot of approaches.
    
    SWTOR is actually unusual in using two processes, I myself have never seen a game do this. In poking around its easy to see the main swtor.exe with the larger memory footprint is doing the network communication and playing the sounds while the secondary smaller swtor.exe is doing the direct3d calls and utilizing the GPU.
    
    These two processes must communicate somehow and this is what makes things unusual for something like a game, because inter-process communication adds much overhead, even when using the fastest form called "shared memory".
    
    It's seems no matter how fast your CPU or GPU is any time the disk is read in SWTOR the framerate will plummet, this is the random "hitching" you see when driving a speeder around, this means the disk access is blocking the rendering engine in some way. Other players exasperate the problem because of their varying outfits and models which must not be able to completely fit in ram and must be loaded/unloaded on demand, vs NPC which in a questing area are all wearing similar outfits etc.
    
    You can tell SWTOR blocks on disk while a game like WoW doesn't because have you noticed in SWTOR you never see another player partially loaded? In WoW while the players assets are being loaded they may show up as just a "shadow" on the ground, you can see them moving around but the model hasn't been loaded yet. In SWTOR players "fade in" fully loaded which mean their models must be read from disk(or already be in ram if lucky) before the engine will continue. This may be intentional or a limitation in the engine design. I prefer WoW's approach of never blocking rendering even if on the rare occasion you might end up fighting nothing but a shadow while the model is loading(happens much less in wow because of simpler models allow more to stay in ram).
    
    So the game is blocking on I/O, either network, IPC, or most likely disk leading to horrible FPS even on high end systems. SSD's will help the situation some, but even an SSD is still thousands of times slower than ram. And for those with 8-16gigs of ram, SWTOR is only 32bit with two processes, so it basically has a total of 4 gigs of usable address space and it seems that only one processes is really using it's 2 gigs, while the second renderer is only using about 300-400megs. There has been reports of setting up RAM disks for SWTOR's assets helping if you have lots of ram, which would line up with what I am seeing.
    
    If this is the case what are the solutions?
    
    1. Stop blocking on disk reads, this made leads to things like just seeing a blob shadow run by for a few seconds, but you can still control game and take action. This may or may not be easy to do given the engine design.
    
    2. Merge the two processes. Again I have never seen a game do this, IPC adds overhead and latency that would not exist in a single process design.
    
    3. Compile for 64bit. This may be difficult to do depending on the engine design, but a single 64bit process could use all the available system ram for caching assets greatly reducing disk I/O.
    
    That is my educated guess based on what I know and what I have seen in game, it may be wrong, it would be nice to get a real response from a dev to clarify.
    Code:
    Wakantanka is right. I also am a software engineer and I noticed a few things that indicate corners were cut, such as the 2 processes.
    
    Each x86 Application is limited to 2gb of ram and by having 2 it means they could not for what ever reason get memory utilization below 2 and cheated by having a second process. If they were willing to cut corners on this I can only imagine what other design corners they have cut and agree 100% this is a design flaw. I love this game but imagine this will kill it as they cant reproduce years of design fast enough to keep subscribers especially if they purchased the engine instead of writing it themselves. These issues are most likely an IO issue caused by reads from disk or network.
    
    I worked on a project that encountered similar behavior after years of poor design flaws and cut corners that ultimately resulted in starting over from scratch as it was control software for industrial automation and crashes / poor performance issues like this that take down multi million dollar factory equipment is unacceptable to most customers as I assume it will be for a gaming community who spend thousands to just play a game.
    
    Bottom line this is a software issue and it was not ready to be released. They should have put more effort into design and pushed the release back to focus on quality. I am usnure if it was a cash flow problem as most software projects go over budget and get released with some bugs. The fix for this could take months or even years depending on the severity of the engine problems (Full engine rewrite) or not come at all because the cost could be too high to be profitable and they might just scrap this project.
    
    
    Sorry to seem pessimistic but I have seen less severe problems like this kill projects and while I remain hopeful they will fix this game as I love it and would love it more if it worked as intended but I remain skeptical it will be fixed fast enough to keep enough subscribers to keep this game going.

  4. #4
    Pit Lord philefluxx's Avatar
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    Schippie, that second post you copied. If his assumptions are correct, it doesn't account for a 64bit OS which will allow a 32bit process to utilize up to 4gigs so his hypothesis would only work if we are discussing a 32bit environment exclusively. But people have this graphic issue on a wide range of systems.

  5. #5
    Pandaren Monk schippie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philefluxx View Post
    Schippie, that second post you copied. If his assumptions are correct, it doesn't account for a 64bit OS which will allow a 32bit process to utilize up to 4gigs so his hypothesis would only work if we are discussing a 32bit environment exclusively. But people have this graphic issue on a wide range of systems.
    Question that comes to mind then for me is (since SWTOR is a 32bit game) does it utilize this on 64bit OSes or not? Because if it doesnt it wont change depending on the usage of a 64bit os and still only use the 2gig ram.

    Each x86 Application is limited to 2gb of ram and by having 2 it means they could not for what ever reason get memory utilization below 2 and cheated by having a second process.
    And i actually noticed this today myself thought it was just a bug or something. But SWTOR does have 2 separate processes running (atleast it does for me).
    And this is a bad design for a game cheating your way arround a problem like this.

    One other interesting thing i noticed was this sentence:

    You can tell SWTOR blocks on disk while a game like WoW doesn't because have you noticed in SWTOR you never see another player partially loaded? In WoW while the players assets are being loaded they may show up as just a "shadow" on the ground, you can see them moving around but the model hasn't been loaded yet. In SWTOR players "fade in" fully loaded which mean their models must be read from disk(or already be in ram if lucky) before the engine will continue. This may be intentional or a limitation in the engine design
    Would this also be the cause for the quite lengthy loading screens to insanely long loading screens for people?

  6. #6
    Most technical issues are over blown due to the vocality of those afflicted by them. Ofc, there are folks with "horrible FPS" in warzones or that experience ability delay, but in most circumstances that is a minority compared to the folks who never have such issues.

    Guess I been extremely lucky, I rarely encounter massive technical issues in MMOs. Nothing really breaking for me yet since TOR went live.

  7. #7
    Over 9000! Glorious Leader's Avatar
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    Man I thought I was dreaming that performance boost when I installed the ssd. Guess it was not entirely a placebo effect. Sweet

    As for those two random dudes who posted what was quoted even if we accept the premise that they are indeed "software engineers" their speculation about wether or not it will be fixed is rather meaningless. As was discussed in a previous thread here, the SWTOR engine bears little resemblance to its ancestor the hero engine. For all intents and purposes it would be best to describe it as the SWTOR engine, given the extensive gutting and rewriting that has occured over the design process. When Stephen Reid says no miracle what I think we should take from this is that the process of optimization will be ongoing. It will not be one simple fix, it will be several fixes over the course of time. How much time and how much better it will get remains to be seen.

    On a side note, I sometimes wish CMS wouldn't bother to tweet out messages like that. They get misinterpreted by the community at large. They take the idea of "no miracle fix" to mean "ITS NEVER GONNA HAPPEN" and thusly get discouraged. If they're going to post something like that it should come with a clarification.
    Last edited by Glorious Leader; 2012-01-25 at 11:08 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Roose View Post
    Stephen Reid acknowledged the "Horrid FPS" that many are getting in warzones and other areas of the game: "...don't expect a miracle solution I'm afraid." The thread is on the Nth go round now. I, like many others, can no longer post because of lack of sub, but there are still many with subs hoping to play all of the game with decent frame rates.

    http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=233714

    That is really too bad. It is nice to see some other acknowledgement besides that from James Ohlen, but most were hoping for a fix. Not a miracle, just a fix.

    Many will say that there are no issues. Some people do not have them, but then some really do not notice them. Most glaring occurrence is pvp and not everyone does it.

    It is nice to see them fix the ability delay(which most people did not notice or claim to experience). However, it appears that fix may be all that we see done to address the performance issues in pvp.

    Do not like or believe me, that is fine. Please at least take a look at the thread I linked. No more free pass haters in there anymore. Some have programming experience and most have great PCs that they blow other games away with.

    Too bad we will never see how good TOR pvp can actually be. As an RPG it is fantastic, but it looks like the pvp will always be gimped.
    Being a game that seems largely focused on storyline I'm perfectly fine with the PVP being an after thought and a fun thing to do when nothing else is going on.

    To be honest any time you try to get more and more people into a small confined space you run into the issue of having to gimp your graphics to solve it. When the rest of the game suffers because one small aspect that can be completely avoided, I don't expect a solution. I'm sure they will do things to optimize it as much as they can, but I never looked at SWTOR as being even remotely a PVP title.

  9. #9
    Pandaren Monk schippie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerin View Post
    .. I'm sure they will do things to optimize it as much as they can, but I never looked at SWTOR as being even remotely a PVP title.
    I have a problem with this sentence. Since they even want to impletement something like Rated-Warzones. And you cant have huge preformance problems then. Okay you can since its not an E-Sports game but still, if you want to be competitive you dont want lagg or fps drops to kill the fun for you.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Roose View Post

    Too bad we will never see how good TOR pvp can actually be. As an RPG it is fantastic, but it looks like the pvp will always be gimped.
    Is this part only in reference to the 5% who can't play swtor or toward the player base as a whole?

    I, for one, am personally confused about the performance issues. My computer is 3 years old and doesn't drop below 50 FPS even in the craziest of wz brawls. The only time I have serious issues in 100v100+ ilum aoe mosh pits.

    And its a mac.

    Everyone keeps pulling intel out for a whipping on every tech forum but I am running win7 boot camped on a intel mac and I'm having no issue with this game... 3 years after getting it. (I didn't buy it. It's a handmedown.)

    Is this an anomaly?

    some people are claiming they bought 2k rigs and can't load in wzs. That's baffling.

    ---------- Post added 2012-01-25 at 11:17 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by schippie View Post
    I have a problem with this sentence. Since they even want to impletement something like Rated-Warzones. And you cant have huge preformance problems then. Okay you can since its not an E-Sports game but still, if you want to be competitive you dont want lagg or fps drops to kill the fun for you.
    I feel like the "rated PVP" in swtor is going to be mainly just to placate the vocal PVP audience. It most likely won't represent much more then "I play X in a premade so I get a crap ton of killingblows/dmg/medals". If their "ranking" system is anything like their medals, playing a healer will mean you are out of luck.

    It's not like MMO pvp is anything more then a fun thing to do. You should never take pride in your prowess in a game that is inherently imbalanced. Or worse, hinge your self esteem on "rankings".
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  11. #11

    We might have to wait

    Wow is just releasing their 64 bit client.

    I don't think we will wait 7 years for SWTOR to do the same, but I am not hopeful for less then a year. I don't think it's trivial to do, then again, the software I work on is only 32 bit.

  12. #12
    Over 9000! Glorious Leader's Avatar
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    Supposedly a developer blog will be coming out about this topic in the next day or so. Should be interesting to see what's up.

  13. #13
    Pandaren Monk schippie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atrahasis View Post
    Supposedly a developer blog will be coming out about this topic in the next day or so. Should be interesting to see what's up.
    *nods*

    Hopefully they either give us the reason for the problem. Or are just 100% honest and say, no for now the hero-engine is not optimized well for certain rigs. Would work alot better then some shady answer.. well for me that would.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by schippie View Post
    I have a problem with this sentence. Since they even want to impletement something like Rated-Warzones. And you cant have huge preformance problems then. Okay you can since its not an E-Sports game but still, if you want to be competitive you dont want lagg or fps drops to kill the fun for you.
    But that's the thing. I think they intentionally left out any kind of rating system and made the warzones randomized to force people to play them simply as fun and not a competition. The game hands down is focused on the story line and lore. The other systems will come into the game, but as has been said before it will will simply be a system more built towards fun than competition. The PVP community is EXTREMELY loud in all games and lets be honest a minority.

    Too many games have been almost gutted, WoW included several times, in the name of PVP. Even though the community of actual competitive PVPers is relatively small in comparison to the general population. So as I said I'm more than happy if they choose to forgo trying to become this competitive game in the PVP area.

    Just like GW2 I think will not have mass appeal because its pendulum seems to be starting too far in the PVP direction. It will seem to appeal to the masses because the PVPers will be happy, but as with GW1 when the mass start piling into the end game the population will die down. But that's a different topic.

  15. #15
    Over 9000! Glorious Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schippie View Post
    *nods*

    Hopefully they either give us the reason for the problem. Or are just 100% honest and say, no for now the hero-engine is not optimized well for certain rigs. Would work alot better then some shady answer.. well for me that would.
    They won't mention the hero engine. Simply because the SWTOR engine has very little resemblance to the Hero Engine. The president and COO of the company responsible for the HERO engine had some comments to make on this very issue.

    http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...n-SWTOR-coding!

    "I am sure that BioWare had rooms full of engineers who customized the engine for their needs. That is normal for projects of that scale. Because of the way they chose to convey combat and the graphical style, they clearly had to highly tailor the renderer for their own needs. I don’t have much contact with their engineers any more (the last code drop they took from us was about 3 years ago) so I can’t really speak to how much of our rendering technology is left in SW:TOR but I honestly don’t think there would be much."
    What this should tell us is that its not really accurate to say the game is running on the hero engine, rather the game is running on the SWTOR engine and the developers have had to tailor and customize it extensively. When Reid says theirs "no miracle solution" what I think he means to say is that theirs on the users end their isn't one super trick an user can do and then WHAM things are fixed. Rather fixes will come over the course of time and optimization will occur. It's not unfixable due to the Hero engine or any rubbish like that. The game will simply run better and better over the course of time. This is a key issue I think that BW should get ahead of. Theirs plenty of things that need fixing or handling but this should be top on the list. People are fickle and have very little patience these days, it should be fixed asap.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by schippie View Post
    *nods*

    Hopefully they either give us the reason for the problem. Or are just 100% honest and say, no for now the hero-engine is not optimized well for certain rigs. Would work alot better then some shady answer.. well for me that would.
    I doubt their legal team would let them say anything like that. It leaves them open to too much liability for false advertising or something. I'm guessing it will be along the lines of what we've already seen. We'll do everything we can, but there is only so much we can do.

  17. #17
    Scarab Lord Roose's Avatar
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    It is obvious that a few of you simply posted without ever even reading any of the thread I liked. Oh well, I knew that was going to happen.

    Point is, there is a problem. It is affecting people, whether you are aware or not. It is not going away any time soon. It is not just a vocal minority, and you would see that if you actually took time to read.

    Same people that refused to acknowledge ability delay will ignore or write this off. Turns out people were not just making performance issues up.

    ---------- Post added 2012-01-25 at 05:46 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Atrahasis View Post
    Supposedly a developer blog will be coming out about this topic in the next day or so. Should be interesting to see what's up.
    Time will tell. Been a long time now since Ohlen blamed it on everyone's crappy PCs.

  18. #18
    Over 9000! Glorious Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roose View Post
    It is obvious that a few of you simply posted without ever even reading any of the thread I liked. Oh well, I knew that was going to happen.

    Point is, there is a problem. It is affecting people, whether you are aware or not. It is not going away any time soon. It is not just a vocal minority, and you would see that if you actually took time to read.

    Same people that refused to acknowledge ability delay will ignore or write this off. Turns out people were not just making performance issues up.
    No one disputes theirs a problem. We just dispute the interpretation of the meaning of the phrase "miracle fix". I read through the thread and his twitter post. Yea people are having problems with the software and it sucks balls. Are they a minority, probably. I have 4 friends running the game on a wide range of systems. Two I set up myself and 2 are 3-4 year old laptops. They all have decent fps but it does indeed vary and they do have warzone fps drops. Things to get fixed over the course of time.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Roose View Post
    It is obvious that a few of you simply posted without ever even reading any of the thread I liked. Oh well, I knew that was going to happen.

    Point is, there is a problem. It is affecting people, whether you are aware or not. It is not going away any time soon. It is not just a vocal minority, and you would see that if you actually took time to read.

    Same people that refused to acknowledge ability delay will ignore or write this off. Turns out people were not just making performance issues up.

    ---------- Post added 2012-01-25 at 05:46 PM ----------



    Time will tell. Been a long time now since Ohlen blamed it on everyone's crappy PCs.
    I did read it. I am still confused as to why my rig works when many others like it don't. I was more asking you, since you seem to have an understanding of the issue beyond my own, if you have any insight on why.
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  20. #20
    Scarab Lord Roose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atrahasis View Post
    They won't mention the hero engine. Simply because the SWTOR engine has very little resemblance to the Hero Engine. The president and COO of the company responsible for the HERO engine had some comments to make on this very issue.

    http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...n-SWTOR-coding!
    Hero folk seem to be distancing themselves from TOR. They are all too eager now to point out that they had no interaction in the past 3 years. Seems like they would want to bask in as much glory as possible if their engine was even the basis for a game that performs correctly.

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