Hell To Pay

January 16th, 2010 - Isaiah

I decided to do a quick performance test to compare achievement_idle_inferno_b2 to achievement_idle. I set all graphics options to low and ran the game in 640×480 window mode. I joined two servers, each hosting one of the maps with about 30 players. I then ran task manager and Nvidia System Monitor to observe the difference.

Surprising as it may sound, I could not see any real difference in performance. Both maps stayed in the range of 30% CPU usage, and about 60% memory usage. I could not get any stats on GPU usage. There is probably a better way to do this kind of test, but I would not be very surprised if this turned out to be pretty accurate.

The main difference between my idle map and the original is props, particles, water shader, and a skybox. Fire deaths may extend the distance ragdolls travel and increase particle amounts some, but I don’t think this has a real effect on overall performance much because ragdolls appear in both maps. The water shader and particles should increase GPU usage some, but turning off certain options can disable most of these extra effects. The skybox should increase memory usage as well, but the map still remains very small, so this should not be very much.

Actually, I would say that my map should perform better in most cases versus the original because of a few tweaks I’ve added. First, players from opposite teams are not visible to each other when idle because of the walls placed between the rooms. Second, doorways between each area are covered with view portals to limit model draw distances even more. And Third, ragdoll models are forced to disappear by default within ten seconds to increase performance again.

I’ve also been experimenting with a new TF2 idle launch tool that would increase performance no matter what map your running. By automatically turning all settings to low or off when idling. This tool would not just turn off standard graphics options, but also certain console and multiplayer commands as well. Allowing you to idle with the lowest amount of resources possible.

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