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Technical Update - March

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#1 Matthew Craig

    Technical Director

  • 867 posts
  • LocationVancouver, BC

Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:20 PM

With the release of UI 2.0 and DX11 we are currently looking to stabilize and refine these releases, thank you to everyone for your feedback as we continue to work to improve MWO. Here's a quick update on where we stand with some of the current technical issues.

Hit Registration

As discussed in the previous update I mentioned that we had looked at the idea of making hit effects server side to ensure consistency, this means if you see damage you’re doing damage no chance of the server determining otherwise. This change has been made and tested with various latencies up to 500ms, we are aiming for the change to be integrated in time to make it out for the April 1st patch. Beyond this work during this investigation some bugs were identified in the weapon code that could be contributing to poor hit registration in some circumstances and our goal is to investigate these next.

Server Performance

The changes identified in the previous technical update were made and were a partial success we still see some games that spike badly at times; however, for the most part server performance is improved and we’ve noticed that much more consistently now the full complement of players can make it into a game without the odd disconnect per game.

DX9/DX11 Performance

After the release of the new engine drop with DX11 support we heard a number of reports of increased stuttering, we have tracked this issue down to a misconfiguration in the build, with some functionality that changed between engine drops. This was contributing to a number of shader cache misses that should now be resolved and this change will be live in the March 18th patch. We are still investigating the reports of Motion Blur being stuck on for some players and I hope to have more information for you in the weeks to come.

Another issue that was identified relating to performance, relates to the new turret code, we’ve identified some inefficiencies in how they are tracking/targeting Mechs and we are looking to make some optimizations to this code in an upcoming patch.

QA has been running various performance tests to help ensure that performance beyond the issues stated was not negatively impacted and other than the turrets and the stuttering already mentioned no loss of performance has been noted. This isn’t to say that there couldn’t still be issues, we know that performance is a very multi-faceted problem that can be impacted by many different factors from drivers to 3rd party apps like anti-virus software etc. If you feel performance is below par for you please drop by the patch feedback forum and submit your experience and we’ll continue to work with users having issues until we are confident that no major performance issues remain.

I can provide some good guidelines for improving performance based on recent profiling, as some of you may be aware modern engines remain sensitive to the number of draw calls issued per frame, more modern APIs such as Mantle and the upcoming DX12 are looking to provide tools for developers to help address this problem and allow developers to significantly increase the number of draw calls that can be used without negatively impacting performance.

This same issue remains true for MWO, the best way to reduce draw calls for MWO is to use the Shadows/Object Detail and Environment sliders in the advanced options and ensure they are at Medium or Low if you do not have a high end CPU. This provides the best trade-off of visual quality for performance if you have a slightly older CPU, and for CPUs that just meet the minimum spec you will struggle to get good performance with these sliders beyond the Low setting, the good news is the other sliders will likely impact your FPS less and have more noticeable impacts on visual quality.


TXAA is enabled in the March 18th patch, similar to what was just mentioned this technique similar to MSAA requires a significant increase in draw calls so is really only aimed at high end CPUs and I recommend following the advice above to lower down draw calls to get a good tradeoff of visuals and performance if you decide to run TXAA. We originally planned to enable 3D in the March 18th patch but to allow us to focus on fixing performance issues we’re moving this to a subsequent patch to allow us time to fix a few remaining issues.


Just to quickly touch on some of the most annoying bugs

Targeting bug

The bug that messes up target designations is currently being resolved and the fix looks like it will be in the April 1st patch.

Crash to desktop when entering a match

We are still gathering information on this issue, some users have had success with removing custom user.cfg files improving their stability, we are continuing to work with the community to isolate this.

Social List Performance Issues

These were resolved in the March 4th patch.

Green smoke in thermal vision in DX9

We are aware of this bug and will get to it as soon as we are confident the performance and stability issues are fully resolved.

Login issues

We are adding additional telemetry to help identify issues with users that are struggling to remain logged in.

Please leave your feedback about this update in the Official Feedback Thread. Thank you!

As always thanks for your patience while we work to resolve these issues.

See you on the Battlefield

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