Hey there, Ghost Hunters!
Welcome to our Weekly Update!
This week, lead developer Kite is going to talk a bit about recent progress on game framerate and overall performance!
Hello all! Your friendly neighborhood Kite here.
We’re brewing up something really fantastic, and we’ll actually be able to tease it a little bit next week. Make sure you don’t miss it!
This week might be slightly more boring. I’m going to talk a little bit about some of the performance optimizations that we’re doing for the next alpha!
If you all remember, the previous alpha event was not optimized in any way, shape, or form. People with even pretty solid GPUs were reporting some pretty poor performance under certain circumstances.
While I’ve been working on new content for the game, my main man Birdm’n has been tasked with making sure the game runs better on lower end hardware.
More than that, we’ve also optimized the bandwidth usage of the game pretty significantly. The first weekend of Alpha 2 at the end of March was plagued by some pretty serious disconnect bugs, which we tracked down to be a result of sending too much data over the network.
Stuff that didn’t need to be synced got synced, and if there was any packet loss on this massive chunk of unnecessary data, the host would declare that this newly joined player has an outdated version of the game and got booted.
We were talking to some Unreal Engine folks and we determined that the problem wasn’t necessarily our code, but just the sheer amount of replicated data that could fix it. So Birdm’n and I found a way to reduce the amount of data sent to each new player joining a server by 80% or more.
On top of just the initial join sync, we’ve also improved the amount of networked data being sent by our physics objects by 50% or more, with no noticeable loss in quality.
This, in combination with our new dedicated server setup I outlined a few weeks ago, means for a more stable multiplayer game for next alpha.
As for actual framerate, we’ve made some pretty big gains there too. I’ll avoid getting too technical here if possible.
The short of it is, we’ve upgraded our Unreal Engine 4 version from 4.19 to 4.22, which comes with a pretty big renderer update that does a lot of mesh instancing for us, thus reducing draw calls.
This basically means just free performance gain just for upgrading the engine version.
Birdm’n has also been working on a super-low-graphics option for players with very old graphics cards, or even integrated graphics. This will obviously not as good as our High/Epic settings, but it allows me to run the game on my old integrated GPU laptop at lowest settings at 30 frames per second average.
Definitely an improvement, but we still got a ways to go there!
We’re also doing a lot of level of detail tweaks - you may find objects have jagged edges, and that the lighting is a bit more flat, or that textures look a little more muddy. But this is all just for the minimum settings so that players that previously could not even play at all at least have a chance to try it out. The high/epic graphics settings will still look very nice and atmospheric!
We’ll share some screenshots of this at a later date when we’ve fleshed it out a bit more.
That’s it for my status report this week - but make sure you stay tuned for next week! Something I’ve been working very hard on will be debuting fairly soon.
Thanks for the write-up, Kite!
One last order of business - here is a quick reminder that we are running an emote contest!
If you read our Weekly Update last week, you’ll know we announced an emote contest! We are looking to add some much needed swag to our Discord, and you’re invited to help!
We are seeking at least 3 original emotes that reference MGH in some fashion, whether it be about Ghosts or Hunters or something else. These emotes should be your own original artwork, not an image that you have modified! Any style is accepted, cute or realistic or whatever you come up with!
Should you participate, keep the following in mind:
You will direct message your emote design to ModMail. (Midnight Ghost Hunt ModMail#3502)
The emote will be no larger than 112x112px, and no smaller than 64x64px.
Bonus points for animated emotes!
By submitting your emote, you grant MIDNIGHT GHOST HUNT full permissions and usage rights to use the emote on the server.
If we decide to use your emote, you will be guaranteed 4 extra alpha keys at the start of the next alpha test! Won’t need to spam the key bot, they will be set aside just for you.
All emote winners will also get a special vanity Emote Artist role, and will get their social media linked when we announce the new emotes!
Squad up with your buddies, or give them out on the Discord - anything goes!
These alpha keys will persist all the way until the end of beta, as currently planned.
(Alpha 3 is still unscheduled, but do note that Kite says progress is going very smoothly and can’t wait for everyone to try out the new stuff! He appreciates everyone’s patience - and it will be worth the wait!)+