Let me start off by saying that this is a pretty great game and I quite enjoy it. But I’d enjoy it a lot more if not for a few glaring performance issues.
Now that that’s out of the way, I think some information about my hardware is in order. I’m running an AMD FX-4300(quad-core at 3.4ghz, no overclocking) and an Nvidia Geforce GTX650(4GB VRAM) and 8GB RAM on Windows 8.1. Not the most powerful hardware for sure, but I’m fairly certain I should be able to run this game better than I do.
When I first launched the game, I immediately went into the video settings and turned down or disabled everything I could to low/minimum/off, whatever the lowest possible setting was, and dropped the resolution down to 1600x900. Then once I got into the prologue and realized my framerate was pretty unstable, I dropped it further down to 1280x720. Definite improvement, but I still don’t have the most stable framerate. I can’t drop resolution any further without losing my 16:9 aspect ratio, and I absolutely hate stretching a 5:4 or 4:3 aspect ratio into a 16:9 display, everything is stretched and squashed and distorted and generally quite unpleasant to look at.
After that, I sought help from the steam discussions. A kindly fellow informed me that I could disable dynamic lighting in the game’s configuration files, and while that obviously helped, it didn’t make too much of a difference in the maps I was really struggling with, namely Echelon and Outskirts. Most other maps perform fine for the most part, like Monuments, Overgrowth, all the capture maps, and the meltdown map Paradise. I still have some performance issues in the other meltdown maps, but nowhere near as bad as in Echelon and Outskirts.
I also tried to set a custom resolution in the config files to get lower than 1280x720 while maintaining my 16:9 aspect ratio, but I can’t seem to get that working properly. I set the resolution to 1024x576, save it, go into properties and set the file to read-only, but it just launches in the default 640x480 or whatever the default resolution is, in windowed mode, and cuts the left side of the screen off, leaving 1/3 of the right side black and empty if I use alt+enter to force it into fullscreen mode.
But basically, as well as I can understand it, one of the biggest (aand i assume easiest to address) problems this game has performance-wise, is all of the reflections. This is purely assumption, but the maps with the most reflective surfaces have the worst performance, so it’d be great if an option could be added into the video settings to disable those reflections. An option to disable dynamic lighting in-game rather than through config file edits would be nice as well.
To more accurately describe my issue, my framerate is not unplayable, but it is horribly unstable. It jumps and jitters around between around 24 and 60 FPS depending on the map, and to be even more detailed, it also depends on where I am in the map.
It’s less stable the closer I am to my spawn, since from spawn, practically the entire map is in front of me. The closer I get to the middle, the more stable it gets, since there’s effectively less map in front of me the closer I get to the middle.
I don’t know if it’s possible, how to achieve it, or what drawbacks it would have, but it seems like if you made the game only actively recognize parts of the map that are directly in your view would drastically improve performance, practically like the old raycasting system used in games such as Wolfenstein 3D. It didn’t render anything that wasn’t directly in your sightline, so the maps could potentially be infinite without performance issues, since it wouldn’t render anything on the other side of a wall or any other object obstructing the player’s view, only what was directly in front of you.
So in summary, great game, but it’d be even better if it supported more resolutions, the resolutions could be sorted by aspect ratio, options were added to disable reflections and dynamic lighting, and possibly adding an option to change how the maps are rendered during gameplay if that’s even possible. If it is, I think having “map rendering options” would be great, i’m sure some people have powerful enough systems to run the game fine right now as-is, but having the option would be great for those of us that don’t.