Author Topic: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!  (Read 251 times)

Offline x4000

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Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« on: May 17, 2017, 06:13:59 PM »
This release has... just absolute tons of stuff in it.  First of all, it has the 5th batch (out of 7) of pre-Early-Access ships.  Lots of goodies in there.

Secondly, it has an enormous overhaul of the visuals, which you can see in video format in this post from last week.  This does indeed affect the minimum system requirements for the game, which you can read about in both of those links.

Performance!

The gains we get from those changes are absolutely staggering, though.  On my GTX 1070 and latest-gen i7, there was one particular savegame (with 5000 ships in it) in which I was getting about 30fps even when paused.  And it was a ragged 30fps.  Now I get more like 90 to 100fps when paused in that same scene, thanks to all the improvements made here.

When it comes to actually unpausing and having ships move around, there is a dip in performance again back into the 60s fps on that hardware, but that's largely to some half-measures that are in place right now optimization-wise.  Some of that has to do with frustum culling and other optimizable things on my end, and others of it has to do with some optimizable and/or better-multithreadable stuff in the simulation on Keith's end.



Performance: Todo

On this particular savegame I am referring to, it's possible to send those 5000 ships through the wormhole to its neighbor.  Once you do that, the performance absolutely tanks on my machine, even with all the improvements that have been made thus far.  I get a ragged 5 to 25 fps.

Some of that is related to things I still need to optimize better in the graphics code (the frustum culling itself is 30-40% of the CPU-side graphics load right now, which is ludicrous and something I intend to work around).

Other bits of that are simply bits of the simulation code that need some looking-into by Keith. I don't dare really speculate on that, since it's not my part of the code, but it's the sort of thing that he notes will take a few hours of investigation at least, so we didn't want to delay this release over that.

Smaller-scale battles are running better than ever, after all.

But there's always more to be done, and I'm hoping that we can get those battles of that scale up to a buttery-smooth 60fps or higher.  Seems doable, but we'll see -- in AI War Classic, those were hard-locked to 20fps most of the time, and would run extra slowly under the load, too.  So we're already pulling ahead, and we haven't done remotely a full optimization pass on the simulation code.

I've had time to do that sort of thing on the graphics code because it's a lot more limited in scope, despite being super intricate; so I've been able to focus on iterations over and over again, while Keith has been splitting his time between improvements and additions, since the simulation is so much larger.

Oh: also, right now the battles are throwing out metric tons of particle effects, which will largely be going away.  I have fancier things I can do without all that wasted CPU/GPU time. :)  People talking about "ships breaking apart" being a neat thing got some ideas into my head.  Giant things will still do explosions, but we'll make those look more epic, too.  And since they will be comparably more rare, they'll stand out better as well as not adversely impacting performance.

Anyhow, that's another big big area that will really improve things during battles, performance-wise.  Just haven't had time for that bit yet, on my end.



Other Stuff!

There's a lot of other goodness in this release, too.  Things like more ship models, way more ship icons and flair, and so on.

The sidebar is temporarily semi-busted because I just frankly ran out of time and will get to that tomorrow.  It works, but it's not colored properly and doesn't have the proper flairs on the ship icons.  And its icons likely still don't show up on linux right, although they will once I'm done with that bit.

Coming Soon: Sound!

Craig (Pepisolo) has been taking on the process of getting the sound effects going for battles, and I'm going to start actually integrating that soon.  I'm really excited to finally start hearing these battles, rather than just seeing them.

Going along with that, at the suggestion of a number of players I've started working with a variety of voice actors to do human-side voice responses to commands that you issue.  More on that soon, but I've got the first four sets back and I'm really pleased.  I'll be integrating those soon as well, and then tuning them with your feedback.

Onwards and Upwards!

Thanks for reading. :)

Chris
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2017, 12:01:54 AM »
What is the graphical impact of the asteroid boundary field?
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Online chemical_art

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 05:55:39 AM »
What is the graphical impact of the asteroid boundary field?
If it is a passive object outside of zooming in then it could be small (2D even).

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Online BadgerBadger

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2017, 09:54:25 AM »
I'm pretty sure the asteroid field is extremely minimal. We don't start seeing graphics issues till there are thousands of ships fighting.

Offline x4000

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2017, 10:20:54 AM »
It's about 64k vertices, all in one draw call.  There is an occasional spike of 60-some ms that can happen from inside the animations for that, though.  I'm not sure if that is profiler-related or if it happens during regular gameplay, so it's something I need to look into.  During regular gameplay it could be seen as just a particularly hefty GC stutter, so it's hard to know which thing it is.

Anyway, beyond that it's incredibly low load.
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Online keith.lamothe

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 12:08:00 PM »
The field by itself doesn't prevent situations with 300+ fps on moderate hardware, so yea, not much load.

It's load is mainly in annoying certain players ;)
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Online BadgerBadger

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 04:04:06 PM »
Any chance of getting a quick .201 for some of those bugfixes? The "Sometimes your ships are the AI's colors (and vice versa)" bug in particular was quite annoying.

Offline x4000

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2017, 04:35:15 PM »
Yeah, that's definitely coming out later tonight.  Already was planning that -- probably around 8pm EST.  Not sure if Keith's performance investigation will be yielding fruit before then, so I'm giving it some time.  I have my own things to be getting on with anyhow during that period, still.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2017, 08:38:40 PM »
Yeah, that's definitely coming out later tonight.  Already was planning that -- probably around 8pm EST.  Not sure if Keith's performance investigation will be yielding fruit before then, so I'm giving it some time.  I have my own things to be getting on with anyhow during that period, still.

I gotta stop making predictions/plans/promises like that.  When it's approaching the 5:00 hour I'm generally feeling very energetic and not wanting to stop working yet, but I need to because it's time to dad.  Three hours later, give or take, I'm free to start working again if I wish, but by that point I've already had a 9ish hour work day and a variable amount of stress from life and/or job.

I used to be such a night owl that I'd get a ton of work done every evening, but now my schedule is very different (these last 3 years or so), and the surge of late-night energy has been falling off more and more.  I'm finding it increasingly hard to do more than a 10 hour day at a go, which is probably for the best, but all I want to do right now is sleep.

To do the release all I need to do is:

1. Run one batch file to compile.  Time taken: 5 seconds, maybe.

2. Run 3 others to make asset bundles, executables, etc.  Time taken: depends on the state of the cache per OS, so ranges from 2 minutes to 15ish.

3. Run a batch file to copy the stuff to my steam staging folder.  Time taken: about 1 minute, give or take.

4. Run the windows 64bit version as a sanity check.

5. Run the upload processor to Steam, which can take anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes depending on how the chunks of data fall out in the larger files in particular.

6. Log into the steam admin account, set the depot live.  Time taken: 2 minutes or much less, depending on their website speed at the time.

7. Mark the wiki as completed, with the date, and give it a title and make the new wiki header.  Then do the same on mantis.

8. Then write up something at least for the forums, but if I'm being good then also for the two wordpress sites and crosspost that to twitter and kickstarter.  Twitter is automatic, thankfully.  And I made a little tool to make the formatting changes pretty straightforward between wordpress, smf, and steam.  Normally if this was public on steam I'd need to crosspost to steam announcements as well, and then crosspost THAT to the steam forum for the game.  If I have time, I need to take one or more interesting screenshots to go along with this.

9. And then I'm done.

If it's literally just a bugfix, I can skip most of that and just do steps 1, 3, 5, and 6, with a minor update on the forum thread.  And then #7, actually, but that's fast.

Right now I'm writing from my tablet in bed, about to go to sleep, writing way more than I planned to.  Going back into the office to do that list of stuff was just too daunting tonight, to my surprise after my earlier eagerness.  I'll be fresh in the morning, and will do it then.  Apologies for making a promise I didn't keep; I need to work hard not to promise things like that.
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Online BadgerBadger

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2017, 09:49:24 PM »
No worries, enjoy your rest! And I suspect most people who would want to mess with the code will be at work as well in the morning, so feel free to hold out till later in the day if there's anything else you can get in.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 09:53:28 PM by BadgerBadger »

Offline x4000

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 09:50:32 AM »
I appreciate it.  It's out now: https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/0-201-'bugfixes-and-optimizations'-released!/

I wanted to go ahead and get that batch out, since "just a little more in there" tends to lead to days of delays where I'm almost done with this or that feature that I wanted to have in there, heh.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Alpha v0.200 "Decisive Battle" released!
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 11:59:58 AM »
Dadding is Hard, yo.

But you know what puts some pep in my step?

A snep.




(That was terrible and I don't apologize)