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My name is Ryan Elam, and I am the Technical Director for PlanetSide 2.
I've been coding for 35 years, and making games for most of that time. I worked on one of the first multiplayer RPGs ever, and later on games such as EverQuest, Vanguard, FreeRealms, Clone Wars, and helped turn Planetside Next into Planetside 2. My greatest skill is the ability to luck into an amazing team of engineers, and then watch them make improbable things happen in an impossible timeframe.
PlanetSide 2 is an extremely ambitious MMOFPS and an awesome challenge to work on. Daily we are met with unique problems to solve and I go to bed most nights proud of what we've been able to accomplish, the other nights I don't go to bed. *grin*
I'm here today to talk about our most recent mission, Operation: Make Faster Game (OMFG). We have known since before Planetside 2 shipped that we had some things we could do to improve the frame rate, but they were going to be a significant time sink and therefore difficult to do in a live environment. A few months ago, we got the call from smed to put the whole team towards doing whatever it took to get performance up, and since then that's what we've been doing. We JUST put the first phase of this onto our Public Test Server (PTS) and a vast majority of players are seeing signifant increases in FPS!
I will say that I'd rather not try and answer the question "How many FPS will I get with my SmartThinker PiCore CPU with a GlowForce HeatMaker 9000 GPU?" I know, in the end, that's the most important thing, your personal performance... Unfortunately there are not only a nearly infinite number of combinations of hardware out there, but there is also many different scenarios in-game with which to measure your performance. THAT said, this is an AMA, so don't be shy!
Finally, to bring this longwinded introduction to a close, my sincere and humble thanks to the MMORPG community for their hard work and for allowing me to jump on and answer you guys' questions!
So, for the next hour or so, in the appropriate vernacular, "Shoot".