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Chris Roberts on 3.0

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Chris Roberts himself had some things to say about the Live release of Alpha 3.0. A lot of what he says can be related by the many frustrations we're all having in game some, or most times while trying to play.  

 

In the Holiday Spirit, I thought it would be helpful to share a few insights on the performance of 3.0.

 

The number of players on the server has a lot less impact in client performance than one would think. During the final stages of PTU we ran tests with 50 players, 40 players and 30 players per server. While there was a slight improvement in performance it wasn't proportional to the player count at all as can be seen from the 3 samples below. The top one is a full 50 player server, the middle is a 40 player server and the bottom is a 30 player server (the X axis is FPS, Y axis is sample count).

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There is a slight shift to the right as you decrease player count but it is relatively minimal.

 

From the data we see it is not so much about player count but more about WHAT the players are doing. In our internal testing we didn't witness the performance issues that we saw on PTU or Live once thousands of players got in and started doing all sorts of crazy things. Fill up a Caterpillar with cargo, blow it up over an Outpost on a moon and you can bring the clients and servers to their knees (as you've just added hundreds if not thousands of additional objects to simulate). One other common issue that can kill performance is interpenetration of objects as that causes an overload on physics, especially if its on a larger object. An example of this is the Asteroid Mission (which we disabled last night) that was spawning on top or near Olisar and being sucked into the local grid causing all sorts of issues and deadlocks. In addition we need to do a better job of efficiently handling the bigger ships which can bring in thousands of additional elements to update as opposed to the smaller ships that have a lot less items and geometry. Have a bunch of people fly around in Starfarers and Caterpillars and you're straining the clients and server far more than you would be with a bunch of Auroras and Hornets.

 

We have solutions for all these things, including moving physics to a batch updating model from an asynchronous one which will allow us to scale the physics much better (currently we are limited to only four threads for physics regardless of the cores on a client or server), level of detail updates for objects on the client from the server (don't update or update less frequently when far away, unbind an object from the network if far away from the client's view), Object Container streaming (whole areas of the game are only streamed in when needed on the client, allowing for dramatically less objects on clients) and they are in various stages of progress but they are not something we can complete in a week or two.

 

At Citizen Con we announced that we are moving to a quarterly release schedule that is less feature bound and more focused on regular updates. The release of 3.0 is the first step in that strategy. We could have spent a few more weeks dialing in performance and bugs before going "Live" after we returned from the Holiday break but as most of the company won't return until the second week of January (as we worked a week deeper into 2017 than we did in 2016) we would then not be going Live until the beginning of February. Considering that for us to hit the Q1 release date we need to be going to Evocati in the middle of February, it would put us in the same situation as this year where we ran late as we were focusing on features versus dates. Going live with 3.0 allows us to merge back into our main development branch, continue the performance and optimization work (which will be a big part of future releases) and deliver it with solid testing for Q1 2018. So while it may be frustrating that there are some performance issues and bugs, 3.0 is a step along the way in the Star Citizen journey that will get better and more polished as we go. 

 

If you are getting performance in the sub 10-15 FPS range there is definitely something not right, especially if you have a quad core CPU, 4GB video card and at least 16GB. I have seen people reporting 5 FPS when other people with the same specs are getting 25-30 FPS. This is likely a result of the game paging out to disk because of low memory, although sometimes we hear about this on machines that have 16GB or even more, which needs more investigation by us. Is it other apps in memory? Bad page allocation (need 10 GB have 16GB allocated)? Or memory leaks in the game? PCs have lots of advantages but one of the downsides is the huge diversity of configurations which make it hard to pin point the cause of some performance issues. We are investing in additional telemetry both on the servers and clients so we can automatically detect when things aren't performing how they should based on the raw specs of the machine and hopefully determine some issues that are causing the abnormally low performance. Of course this will take a bit of time , so please be patient.

 

Finally I want to say thank you to everyone out there for supporting Star Citizen, your enthusiasm and dedication really does energize the team and myself. We are building something truly special that is only possible because of you.

 

Happy Holidays everyone!

 

As I mentioned reducing server player count has little impact on client performance (which is why I posted the graphs). You can also see that it is a small sample that are getting sub 5 FPS performance. Having said that, we want to have everyone as long as they are running with a minimum spec running at least 30 FPS eventually but it is important to understand that everyone's experience isn't the same on 3.0, its just people that have poor performance are going to be vocal about it, which is fully understandable. Right now we're rather puzzled as to why some people that have machines that should be performing much better aren't. It is a high priority for us to address. On the serialized variable / object culling that is in progress and we should have a first pass in for the next full release in March

 

3.1 is expected to be in March

 

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/spectrum/community/SC/forum/1/thread/star-citizen-alpha-3-0-performance-tidbits

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Good to hear the problems we are having are on their radar.

I had issues too where the game wouldn't even boot with 16gb.
I expanded this to disk to a total of 16 ram and 16 swap only then it booted but around 5 FPS with a 1080Ti

Can't wait for the performance problems to be fixed so we can finally test the limits of the game!

 

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Nice to see this reaction from CR. The performance has been horrible for me the last two days.. frequently slowing down to an agonizing 3 fps. While the night before that having the game run at a smooth 20fps.

It happens. These are the growing pains of a new game, I'm sure they'll figure things out and I'm looking forward to seeing when they do.

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6 hours ago, Apollo said:

Great post. My rig can't even get past the main menu from a black screen. Probably doesn't help I have an old processor and only 8GB of RAM either

If it is any consolation, I have 16GB RAM and I am playing a 7 FPS slideshow.  At least CIG knows what is going on and are attempting to work on it.  I will give them the benefit of the doubt and let them work on it.  I am a patient one....

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2 hours ago, Rocket Man said:

If it is any consolation, I have 16GB RAM and I am playing a 7 FPS slideshow.  At least CIG knows what is going on and are attempting to work on it.  I will give them the benefit of the doubt and let them work on it.  I am a patient one....

They are probably going to have two shit tons of telemetry data to look through when they get back on the 8th. Hopefully it means we get some forward progress on the Live builds.

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Some restraint in object spawning (=RAM usage) would be well advised indeed. With the 12 GB I currently have it's literally all in use all the time and paging never stops (unless I remain motionless - turn around, there it goes again...), which results in a typical 3-0.1 FPS (yes, that's a few frames then a ten second freeze), and latency almost never going below 200msec which means I'm never reacting to what's actually happening, aka. wall-to-wall pinball simulation even just trying to walk. Yes, I get 20-25 FPS when spawning into an empty server - it lasts mere minutes before it all goes to hell again. Now I do intend to get a full 16GB first chance I find a suitable trading station open, but the mobo can't handle any more than that and I foresee 16GB will last me all of a few months before we're back to square one at this rate. Seriously unhappy bunny here. Yes I do get the concept of minimum and recommended specs but neither should mean "or else one frame each ten seconds"...

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1 hour ago, Porcupine said:

snip

I've got 16 GB or RAM, and it still runs like that a lot of times. My latency isn't that bad either, but there is always something that causes the server to shit itself,

For as awesome as 3.0 is to play when it's working, it's such a dice roll performance it's maybe best to wait till mid January to start playing regularly. That is unless you're dedicated to bugtesting.

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(i7 2600k, GTX 1070, 16g ram)

I had a hell of a time playing the first day of release, but last few days I've been very stable and getting around 30fps. Don't know what's different... But the game is all of a sudden playable for me. Did they hotfix or something?

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk

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50 minutes ago, Masokas said:

(i7 2600k, GTX 1070, 16g ram)

I had a hell of a time playing the first day of release, but last few days I've been very stable and getting around 30fps. Don't know what's different... But the game is all of a sudden playable for me. Did they hotfix or something?

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
 

Lot of performance issues related ragequits I guess.

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22 minutes ago, Caldon said:

Lot of performance issues related ragequits I guess.

I just want people/backers to understand they do not yet have access to a released game and only to rage quit for appropriate reasons (whatever those could be), not because an alpha plays like shit.

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30 minutes ago, Gremlich said:

I just want people/backers to understand they do not yet have access to a released game and only to rage quit for appropriate reasons (whatever those could be), not because an alpha plays like shit.

Those reasons are perfectly valid though. I can understand perfectly if people think to themselves "fuck this, this plays like shit." Yeah, it's an alpha, but that doesn't make it any more playable.

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