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Should I buy different hardware to optimize my game?

Hi all,

I’m working on a big open world game and we are buying more hardware because we are increasing our team size (1 to 4 :P).
At this point I was wondering if we should stick with a particular hardware configuration or maybe we should try to buy different computers to test our game with different hardware specs and drivers.

What should I do?

I’m a real noob about optimizing stuff, I’m sorry about that.

First of all a little disclaimer. I’m no expert for this either. This is just what I personally think would be best but I have no particular experience.

Generally weak gear or even middle wear gear is not ideal for development. You shouldn’t make compromises to have more variety there.
However I would suggest to have at least one AMD and one Intel / Nvidia rig with equal power (with that I mean equal stats on paper. For example an I7 4k something with 3.4 GHz and a similar quadcore from AMD so you have a direct reference between those).
This will show you how large the difference between those two structures is and you can give reliable estimates for both systems.

Again I am not talking from experience (in game development) but for other software and generally for games there is most of the time a difference between those systems with equal specs.

@Loxli: The quickest win would be to open your game to closed testing and provide an easy way for people to post PC specs and/or bugs while they are testing. Based on that information you could then quickly be able to optomise your game and include the community at the same time.

Having said that however, if you have the cash to burn then Erasio’s suggestion would work. I personally prefer to use Guinea Pigs … errrr … testers … as this gives me access to a wider range of hardware and allows me to simulate real-world rigs without having to buy any. 8-}

Unfortunately I can’t let the people play test the game for now, and we have to buy 3 new computer anyway.

I would recommend building a system that you want as your minimum specs, so that you can test at that level. As far as making sure it works on AMD/Nvidia hardware, that’s up to you. I would think the stuff that would matter with AMD vs. Nvidia would already have to be figured by Epic when they code the engine, unless you do some big changes to the game code.

Thank you guys! I’ll buy a minimum specs to test my game.

That is not really correct.
Yes epic does handle everything as well as possible but the driver even though they provide a similar interface work rather differently. It goes as far as fundamental differences in the hardwarestructure.

No matter how well your engine runs and is optimized there will be a performance difference.

As far as a low spec computer goes… There are reasons why most developer don’t give away minimum specs early on. Because it’s not a sure thing. If you now buy a computer with your min specs and then realize you will need a bit more… Well that computer is useless. And developing on low spec computers is rather painful if you work in engine. If you have one guy for web development / back end / community stuff that works. But you don’t want to work with lower specs than you have to in any kind of graphics environment.

Then you have answered it … get the computers with different specs. 8-}

What I mean is that the stuff in the engine that can change the most due to different hardware is something that Epic has to deal with, not the UE4 subscribers. What the user does is going to be normal type of work, like importing assets, not messing with the code.

It’s still important to be aware of the difference. Maybe you want to put in that little extra work to optimize your game even more because one of the systems is falling a bit short. Maybe it works perfectly from begin with and you don’t have to put any extra work into optimizing in the end at all.

With two pcs with similar specs one from either company you can compare really early how they perform with your specific game and how the difference is.

I mean for example Intel CPUs have their L2 cache central for all cores accessible while AMD has one L2 cache for each core separate.

That’s just small differences but depending on how you develop your game this can mean major performance differences which you may want to spend a bit of time to reduce.

Most of what people are going to do will have nothing with any of the technicalities of hardware, if I import a mesh into UE4 there is nothing I can do to the mesh that will work better on different hardware. There might be underlying code in the engine that could be improved, but that’s not something I have to worry about, that’s up to Epic, or people who have enough coding skill to want to go through and try and improve it themselves.

I would suggest waiting a bit and see if Epic solves the need for performance tuning for us. For example you can already <play> using Mobil Preview and if they can model out a few more front end loading options then I see no need for any other hardware requirements out side the box.

If anything I would suggest wait at least a year to see what happens.