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As promised, we wanted to address some of the hot topics in our community right now: FPS (frames per second) and other performance issues. We’ve spent a lot of time reading the forum threads on these topics, and the client team has analyzed many, many performance logs. They’ve also met over the past few weeks to discuss how to best address these topics, and now we want to open up the conversation with you.
Avi Mintz, the Associate Project Manager for the client engineer team, has digested some information together into the post below. Over to Avi:
As Joveth mentioned above, my name is Avi Mintz and I’m the Associate Project Manager for the client engineering team.
Developing an MMORPG of this scale and detail means we must support a wide spectrum of performance-impacting scenarios, varied hardware compatibility issues and other unique challenges. Input from our community goes a long way to bolster our investigation efforts and narrow down elusive resolutions to these problems.
To that end, we’re hoping that we can start an open dialogue with you, the community; some of you have called out for this, others have taken the time to publish write-ups, and we are looking forward to collaborating with you to make this game a fantastic journey and a memorable experience for all involved.
Please remember, we read the forums and identify actionable items as often as possible, as well as receiving reports from the Community team on a regular basis. Although we can’t always respond with the frequency or immediacy that you might like, whenever an issue is raised to us, a developer is alerted and assigned to the issue. We prioritize to ensure that the identified issues that affect the largest number of players are dealt with first, but we are always working on whatever we have outstanding.
In this post, I’ll get a little more detailed into our client preferences and suggest some settings changes that may help you. In the future, we’ll update you on our optimization plans as we address known issues. Now that you know a little bit more about our processes, let’s get started.
Game settings and what they mean for performance
Any given PC can bottleneck in a few different locations (processing power, available memory, graphics processing power, etc.). While changing graphics settings can have an impact on any or all of these, finding a ‘sweet spot’ for your system might take a bit of experimentation. Such experimentation is probably best approached by turning everything to ‘Low’, and then turning various features up selectively and noting the effect. We’ve broken down some of the less straightforward options for you here to give you some insight into the workings of our rendering options.
1. The ‘High’ option renders full shadows
2. The ‘Medium’ option renders only ‘blob’ shadow discs under characters.
3. The ‘None’ option removes even the ‘blob’ shadows.
As you might expect, your choice of shadow setting can heavily impact frame-rate. High shadows will be, comparatively, much more taxing on your system.
Resolution and Window mode
1. ‘Fullscreen’ is what we refer to as ‘Fullscreen exclusive mode’. This option gives you the best frame-rate of the three, but it comes with a trade-off of having to reinitialize the display if you tab away from the game and back.
2. ‘Fullscreen (windowed)’ is really just a borderless window that stretches to fill your screen. You lose out on the slight performance gain of ‘Fullscreen’, but you can now tab back to the program seamlessly.
3. ‘Windowed’ is as straightforward as you might expect. If you feel that you’ve gotten the best frame-rate out of this setting, keep in mind that it all comes back to how much resolution you are prepared to sacrifice.
Minimum spec, recommended spec and performance
Error Code 7
Error code 7 is our way of reporting a game initialization failure – essentially, the game failed to run. There has been some speculation about this message being a ‘gate’ blocking players based on their system, but that is not quite accurate. Here are some situations that will result in an error code 7:
Note that this factor is not related to system processing capabilities, but rather fundamental system architecture (e.g. a 2011 netbook CPU might be able to run SWTOR while a 2004 desktop CPU might not).
If you’re receiving error code 7, but your system should be up to the task of running SWTOR, please contact us through Customer Service with the email tagline ’Error Code 7‘. We have introduced additional logging in patch 1.1.0 that can help us diagnose and pinpoint the source of failure.
Low FPS in the fleets, warzones and Ilum
We’re very aware of the frame-rate degradation that even top-notch systems experience in these gameplay scenarios. We’ve taken measures to control the overall impact that character-heavy scenarios can have on system performance, but there is always more we can do. We are constantly investigating and optimizing, and we are in the process of making changes to the fleets that have hopefully yielded some improvement.
Some of you have pointed out that your GPU is not being fully utilized when in these types of situations; we have found that character-heavy situations like these are usually limited by the CPU, not by rendering, so this makes sense.
Other changes you can make that will help improve performance:
Our data says that, when measured as an average across all players, crashes during SWTOR gameplay are relatively rare. That being said, there might be some users that have the perfect storm of hardware, settings or activities that provoke repeated crashes in a way that we can practically diagnose and fix. If you experience consistent crashes, or if you know of a consistently reproducible one, please take a visit to this thread and post your information there – we’re always looking for more issues like this to fix, and increasing SWTOR stability will always be a top priority for our team.
We recently messaged that we fixed a frame-rate degradation problem that occurred when shadows were on ‘High’; this fix also greatly increased stability on 32-bit systems.
If your system consistently shuts down unexpectedly, please go to this thread and post your information. Some of you have already done this, and your posts have been extremely helpful. We’ve analyzed all the information you’ve provided so far, and this is what we can say…
1. Ensure that your power supply is not failing and that it supplies enough juice to power your system.
2. For temperature considerations, it’s also worth checking that the power supply fan is working properly. Also ensure that your PC case is properly ventilated and your airflow is unobstructed.
3. Ensure that your PC is clean and your system is not clogged with dust and dirt.
4. We recommend taking appropriate precautions (monitoring and cooling) if you are overclocking your hardware. Our advice is to dial things back to the manufacturer’s recommended settings until your system failures are resolved.
1. We’ve provided some information here in the CS forums about ways to narrow down and identify the root cause of a given error. Windows tends to log this information, and those logs are a good point to begin an investigation.
For every visit you’ve made to the Forums to post constructively or inform us of an issue – thank you. Your DXDiags help us (even if you do forget to use spoiler tags sometimes!!) and we hope you’ll continue to work with us to make SWTOR great.
ok I got this from the Offical forums..Am I reading it wrong or is my ..pretty good rig just not "good enough" or do they have a valid claim?