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Another Report about Bad Performance

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#1 Al Dhi

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 19:12

So I wanted to report this basically since the launch of the game in October but decided to wait because of all these very similar complaints about bad performance coming in all at once, thinking maybe it might be all fixed by the time Book Two comes around.

Well, Book Two came around and while I enjoyed it very much content-wise (really, thank you for this wonderful game :)) I had to realise that performance hadn't gotten better for me yet but (in some areas) actually worse. I know that what I'm saying is nothing new, that the game doesn't like AMD setups very much and also that turning down shadow distance helps a lot, but this is not my point. My point is that I don't think I should be getting the performance I'm getting at all which leads me to believe that there's some kind of underlying issue here.

 

But first things first - Here are the basic system specs I'm running DFC on:

  • Windows 7 64bit (Freshly installed just about a month ago)
  • AMD Phenom II x6 1100T (overclocked from 3.3 GHz to 3.6 GHz)
  • 8GB RAM
  • Sapphire HD 6990 with 4GB VRAM
  • All drivers are up to date

While this is obviously not the best rig in the world, I'm used to playing games more demanding than DFC at highest settings with ~24fps.

 

Before writing this post I actually monitored the performance in alomst every area of the game because I found that they vary quite heavily. For this, I ran DFC at highest settings, 1080p and no V-Sync like I usually do. Here's what I found:

  • Intro Scene: 15-35 fps, depending on the camera angle - Gets really bad whenever the singing Dolmari girl is on screen
  • Storytime: 25-80 fps, mostly around 40 - No problems here at all
  • Friar's Keep: 15-35 fps, mostly around 20 - I've read somewhere on the forums that this scene is heavy because of all the real-time lights
  • Dr. Zelenka's Office: 10-35 fps, mostly around 15 - Becomes almost unplayable as soon as I start facing Zelenka / the windows behind him
  • Propast: 15-35 fps, mostly around 20 - This area actually benefitted from one of the early patches
  • Ada's Laboratory: 5-25 fps, mostly around 10 - That's what I'm talking about
  • The Hand That Feeds: 10-20 fps, mostly around 15 -  Not as bad as the laboratory, but still...
  • The Pandemonium: 5-15 fps, mostly around 7 - This is clearly the worst part of the game. I think I read something about a shader bug in this scenery that was supposed to be fixed in one of the patches?
  • Zoe's Apartement: 20-35 fps, mostly around 30 - Now that's alright :-)
  • The House of All Worlds: 15-35 fps, mostly around 25 - I'm okay with that
  • The Enclave: 10-45 fps, mostly around 25 - Gets really bad when you're facing the roundtable in the middle of the main room
  • Marcuria: 15-30 fps, mostly around 20 - Only place in the game where the framerate is actually somewhat stable; only gets a bit lower on the Magic Market and a bit higher at the Harbor
  • The Mole's Cellar: 20-45 fps, mostly around 30 - Gets bad once you face the Mole
  • The Rooster & Kitten: 10-25 fps, mostly around 15 - I don't understand why?
  • The Border Mountains: 15-35 fps, mostly around 25 - It's okay, I guess?
  • Hanna Roth's Hideouts: 15-20 fps - Again, why? There's almost nothing in them?
  • Azadi Cutscene Areas: 20-45 fps, depending on the cutscene - Nothing to complain about here

As you can see, the areas that I'm having trouble with are the interior ones. I'm not expecting any miracles, I would be fine if the game ran at somewhat steady 20 fps like it does in Marcuria, it also didn't ruin the experience for me, but still... Some of these numbers can't be right on an average system like mine.

 

What I also realised while playing around with the visual settings was that even the lowest settings do practically nothing (maybe a 7 fps gain) to the two main exterior scenes Propast and Marcuria, but will somehow boost the performance in interior scenes towards 130+ fps. This can't be right, can it?

I've also seen that Dreamfall will never use more than 30% of my CPU in exterior scenes and never more than 24% in interior scenes. I have no clue how Unity and engines in general work but wouldn't it make more sense for the game to take up more CPU power in areas that don't run as well?

 

Again, I know how to get around this by tuning down shadow distance and SSAO in interior scenes, yet I wanted to bring this to your awareness since I'm sure that this can't be normal for the kind of setup I'm using. Hopefully it will be useful :D

 

Anyway, thanks again for the great game!



#2 Drеamer

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 10:59

Try installing MSI Afterburner and finding out what limits performance for you. I have Core i5-4670, 8GB RAM and Geforce GTX 560Ti. For me it's mostly GPU. CPU is at 50-70% load, GPU memory controller at about 40%, and GPU always at 99%. Additionally my 1GB of video memory quickly fills up as play, but it doesn't seem to affect FPS much. I'd say game shaders should use more texture-based algorithms to balance GPU/GPU memory load.

Attached File  2015-03-15_00001.jpg   116.6KB   2 downloads

 



#3 Lee-m

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 11:30

  • AMD Phenom II x6 1100T (overclocked from 3.3 GHz to 3.6 GHz)

I have noticed quite a few performance issues seem to center around the Phenom II class cpu. In theory it should be ok for medium when paired with a decent gpu.
But it is around 5 years old now ?

#4 ShadowNate

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 12:12

I have noticed quite a few performance issues seem to center around the Phenom II class cpu. In theory it should be ok for medium when paired with a decent gpu.
But it is around 5 years old now ?

 

... which still performs quite well (or excellent) on other modern games and is a quite popular CPU too. :)



#5 Lee-m

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 12:35

... which still performs quite well (or excellent) on other modern games and is a quite popular CPU too. :)

yeah but 6 cores gives nothing extra while running DFC (at least on book one). It really wants 2 strong cores, which is where I suspect the issues are.
I guess it will still be viable on some well threaded expensive AAA games.

#6 ShadowNate

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 12:39

So the actual problem is with the engine. At least this version of the engine, and how it handles (or doesn't) multiple concurrent tasks.  

The CPU is perfectly capable, but is severly underused and "this is an old CPU (a new one would perform better" is not really a good advice. 



#7 Lee-m

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 12:49

So the actual problem is with the engine. At least this version of the engine, and how it handles (or doesn't) multiple concurrent tasks.  
The CPU is perfectly capable, but is severly underused and "this is an old CPU (a new one would perform better" is not really a good advice.

Who said it was advice ? Its a statement of fact. And from what I have noticed (its an observation not advice) the Phenom II seems to suffer in this regard more than other cpus(from what I have seen thus far). And that is in part down to the age and performance of the individual cores.

The game being updated to unity 5 might help matters. Currently its unity 4.

But if you expect your games to leverage 6 cores, i'd recommend sticking with the big budget AAA games (that part was advice).

I have no plans to turn this in to a debate about hardware, the age of it and the issues with unity.

There is a thread about it here: http://redthreadgame...s-and-unity-50/
I'll leave it at that mate.
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#8 ShadowNate

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 13:02

Who said it was advice ? Its a statement of fact.

Cool no problem with that, then.
This is however a thread where community offers help/ advise on how to fix the problems that the OP faces, so you could see how your statement could be taken otherwise.
Anyway, my point is if the game does not perform well on Phenom II (when the recommended is "Quad Core i5 2.5GHz or equivalent)" then it's not really an issue with how old the CPU is, but how non-optimized the engine is for running on the Phenom (or other multicore CPUs too).

#9 Mr Moo

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 13:13

Anyway, my point is if the game does not perform well on Phenom II (when the recommended is "Quad Core i5 2.5GHz or equivalent)" then it's not really an issue with how old the CPU is, but how non-optimized the engine is for running on the Phenom (or other multicore CPUs too).

 

Yes, but it can't be fixed until Unity 5, and it's not certain it will utilize 6 cores even then. But hopefully it will be less single core performance dependent. :)



#10 Al Dhi

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 13:34

So I monitored two areas of the game again very closely with MSI Afterburner (Marcuria and The Pandemonium), fiddling around with shadow distance a lot. What I found is even stranger in my eyes tbh.

 

Pretty much all the parameters remained at consistent (or averagely consistent) values throughout. CPU usage performed as before, never going above an average of 30% in total in Marcuria and never above an average of 16% in the Pandemonium. RAM usage was consistent at 4GB (Marcuria) / 3.2GB (Pandemonium) which is to be expected as the game is afaik only a 32-bit application, VRAM usage was consistent at 1.2GB / 0.8GB. Apart from the generally low CPU usage which Lee-m already has a believable explanation for I don't see anything peculiar here at all.

 

What caught my eye was a really strange behaviour of the average GPU usage. Maybe somebody has an idea why that is.

The GPU usage acted generally as could be expected in Marcuria: Shadow distance up (25m) -> GPU usage up (80-100%), Shadow distance down (0m) -> GPU usage down (50-60%). There was still some weird behaviour in that only sometimes would the GPU usage go up to full 100% and then stay there after turning the shadow distance back up to 25m resulting in ~7fps more than I'm usually getting in Marcuria. Most of the time it would "only" go up to approx. 85% and then stay there resulting in the normal ~20fps.

The Pandemonium is what puzzles me though: Shadow distance up (25m) -> GPU usage down (approx. 85%) -> approx. 8fps, Shadow distance down (0m) -> GPU usage up (100%) -> approx. 44fps. What the fuck :lol: ?

 

Alright, so I'm going to wait for the Unity 5.0 update now :P .



#11 Drеamer

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 15:05

Al Dhi, your system is most likely limited by Vram controller speed, did you look at this counter? Also do all of your CPU cores stay at 30%? One core reaching 100% could also be the bottleneck.
Ps: could you please enable all the counters to show on OSD and make a screenshot?

#12 Al Dhi

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 17:35

No core ever reaches 100%. The first core which is mainly used by DFC will sometimes reach maybe 92%.

 

Here are the screenshots.



#13 Drеamer

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 18:21

Well, your load resembles mine with shadows on max. With no shadows you are probably limited by CPU: load shown is average load, it could be 100% half of the time and 80% the other half. Another possibility is that your video memory controller reaches 100% with no shadows, it's not shown on your screenshots (it's 'FB usage' counter in Afterburner). Anyway, you have a balanced system :) My GPU is no match for my CPU..

 

BTW if your 'FB usage' is low like mine is, then it's a sign for the devs that they most likely can increase performance by making some shaders use texture lookups instead of pure computations.



#14 Mr Moo

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 19:16

In Pandemonium, in one of the lowest spots I could find, on 1920x1080 awesome/max everything: (hardware setup) My fps tool (RadeonPro) doesn't show CPU usage, so it's by visual estimation of the most active core. This is in (not borderless) window mode, as I only then could see task manager.

 

Shadow distance 25m: 16 fps, 78% GPU 50% CPU <- what I play with

Shadow distance 6m: 25 fps, 87% GPU 40% CPU

Shadow distance 3m: 40 fps, 94% GPU 20% CPU

Shadow distance 0m: 76 fps, 99% GPU 15% CPU

 

My GPU (Radeon HD 6970) is the oldest component, so I'm pretty sure it's the main culprit here. My GPU only seems to work hard when there aren't any shadows. Maybe it's afraid of the dark? Rest of DFC runs well enough, it's mainly Pandemonium. Overall I'm very happy with the performance. :)







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