GameDev

Optimization: TOP 8 Ways to Improve Game Performance

Ways to improve game performance

TOP-8

Ways to improve game performance TOP-8

In the era of extremely powerful computers, when there are dozens of cores under the hood of a regular home PC and a video card capable of ray tracing in real time, many developers forget about optimization. Why waste time, because the gamer probably has an advanced device, and most likely he will not even notice the difference?

However, in practice, this approach can cause games to slow down and crash on weak, and sometimes even on powerful computers. To prevent this, consider 8 main ways to improve productivity.

Method 1. Removing unnecessary objects

Method 1. Removing unnecessary objects

The problem of a large number of objects in games will exist until we have infinite RAM. That is, for a very long time. Therefore, from this point of view, optimization is simply mandatory.

In practice, in the gameplay, you can always find something to remove. For example, these could be:

  • fragments;
  • sleeves;
  • traces of shots on the walls;
  • defeated enemies;
  • passed obstacles, if we talk about various runners and much more.

If you leave everything as it is, then after a few minutes of gameplay, as the RAM fills up, the game will noticeably freeze and eventually just crash with the notification «Close programs to prevent information loss».

What exactly to remove depends on the characteristics of each individual project. For example, in the Half-Life shooter, shell casings can be safely disposed of – there they play only a decorative role, but in detective games related to investigations, they can play a key role.

However, there are cases when it is almost impossible to solve this problem by «legal» methods, for example, in games with the ability to rewind time, where the memory must store all the information for the period where the character can move into the past. There are several solutions here: reduce the available time travel period, minimize the number of objects, well, or go for «dirty» tricks, as the creators of the game Super Time Force did.

Optimization: TOP 8 Ways to Improve Game Performance

Method 2: Turn off the display of objects

Method 2: Turn off the display of objects

This method is most often used in open world games. It involves disabling the display of static objects in the game universe that cannot be deleted.

Here, developers have two ways: disable only rendering or the object completely. In the second case, the load will be reduced not only on the video card, but also on the processor, since it will not need to spend resources on checking collisions and physics. Speaking of physics, when disabling objects with it, you need to be extremely careful to avoid unforeseen effects.

For example, if you turn off the display of an object at the moment it falls, when the player turns away, it will never fall until the character looks at it again.

However, the same effect can be used for your own purposes. A good practical example in this case is implemented in the game The Witcher 3: in one of the locations there are statues that move in space while no one is looking at them.

Optimization: TOP 8 Ways to Improve Game Performance

Method 3: Reduce detail

Even in real life, it is difficult for a person to see anything on a distant object, such as a scratch on a house standing over the horizon. Therefore, spending precious resources of the video card and processor on such high detail also does not make sense.

From a technical point of view, there are several approaches here:

  • reduction in the number of polygons;
  • texture resolution reduction;
  • disable shaders and more.

If you look at older games, you will notice that distant objects in them disappear altogether, and only textures appear in their place.

Method 4. Prioritizing quality

Continuing the theme of scenery, we can add that not all objects on the gamer’s screen should be of the same high quality. For example, the main character can be worked out as much as possible, but secondary things, such as grass, fences, etc., can be made with a lower expansion.

Optimization: TOP 8 Ways to Improve Game Performance

Method 5. Asset optimization

In games, you should always prioritize using assets that take up the least space: compressed textures, low-poly objects, and so on. Often, each asset can be further optimized to make it look attractive in the game space, however, this may require the help of an experienced 3D artist.

Method 6. Economical work with shadows, lights and reflections

Light and reflections make the game more visually pleasing and expressive, but their rendering consumes a lot of resources. Here we can recommend creating a minimum number of light sources and giving preference to reflective surfaces.

If we talk about shadows, it is better to try to reduce the number of objects with dynamic shadows.

Optimization: TOP 8 Ways to Improve Game Performance

Method 7. Caching

When using the same values ​​in the game multiple times, it is better to store them in the cache so that the scripts do not have to spend device resources on the same calculations. The same applies to the graphical component: if your sprite is drawn using code, save it to a file or memory, and then simply retrieve it if necessary.

Method 8. Load distribution

Modern processors can be equipped with many cores, but whether they will be involved in the game process depends only on the developer. This means that if your project has calculations that are carried out regardless of the engine, then they must be performed in parallel. How to implement this from a technical point of view depends on the technology you are using.

What else you need to know when optimizing the game

What else you need to know when optimizing the game

Optimization of the game is possible only up to some reasonable limits. That is, porting Elden Ring to a computer with 2 GB of RAM – you simply will not physically succeed.

Therefore, even before the start of production, you need to decide for which devices and what audience the project is being created, and focus on them. This way you can achieve optimal performance without sacrificing quality.

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