This week we want to talk about performance. We managed to get somewhere with the graphical presentation of our game, but that comes at a cost. The game is meant to run smoothly on a lower range laptop, but still look decent. We took a few screenshots on our mid-range test laptop with MSI afterburner showing the fps in the corner of the screen. This is shot on low graphic quality on a Dell Studio 1555 with a Core2Duo P8700 @ 2.53 GHz, Mobility Radeon HD4500 and 4 GB of RAM.
As you can see, there is plenty of fps to go around and the game should run smoothly enough on low detail on a low-end machine. On this laptop, which we could consider a mid-range machine nowadays, the game runs smooth on highest detail.
On our relatively decent desktop, a core2quad Q6600 @ 2.4 GHz with an NVidia GeForce 460gtx and 4 GB of RAM the game runs flawlessly.
However we really want this to run smoothly on a low-end laptop, like my old AMD Turion x2 @ 1.8 GHz with an NVidia GeForce go 7300. We had some issues with testing as it turned out there was something wrong with the GPU, but whatever it was, we managed to keep it running constantly over 30 fps on low detail. Not too shabby for an old dust collector. We could add additional meshes, details and the like to improve the presentation, but then we might not get the game to run well on our target devices. Nothing is set in stone yet, but we hope to keep the performance at least at the current level.
The game is being developed in Unity indie, which lacks certain performance features, like static batching, adjustable level of detail (LOD) and occlusion culling. There is also the profiler, which would help us pinpoint the hungrier parts of the game. In spite of these limitations we manage somehow. Our current policy for performance is to keep meshes under 1500 polygons and to keep draw calls at a minimum (around 200 for now) by combining meshes, avoiding particle systems, real-time shadows and managing the rendering distance as well as culling layers (allowing us to manage what is rendered at what distances).
We will continue to polish the game so we can deliver the best performance for the graphics, maybe we will even launch a fundraising campaign, to raise just enough for Unity pro. Then you can look forward to better performance and better graphics in a nice mind-baffling feline package.
Oh and check out the screenshotsaturday pic in case you missed it.
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