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xexuxjy

low-budget ways of testing performance ?

5 posts in this topic

Does anyone have any recommendations for ways of testing the performance of a game (in this case using XNA) on different machine specs? (cpu,memory,graphics card) . My development machine is reasonably high spec and I'm concerned that it's hiding various problems that would become more apparent on other machines (I have some evidence this is happening with a tester but we're trying to figure out roughly where the problem lies). I know that the ideal solution would just be to have a range of different machines at different specs, but as this is just a friend and I working on stuff for fun thats a bit over the top. Is it possible to setup vm's with limited resources to test this, or does anyone have a recommendation?

 

Thanks

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If you post something that is more or less a "release" package, then there are many people around here that will be happy to performance test it on whatever they happen to have lying around.

 

I can test it on two machines that I keep around for just such occasions. 

One is an Intel GPU that only has generic Mobile Intel(R) 4 series Express Chipset drivers installed, it handles shader model 2.0 code for sure and claims to support at least some 3.0 stuff, although I have not bothered to test this. The other has a mostly burned out Radeon Mobile x1150.  Both are whimpy dual cores that are running Windows 7 on only 2 gigs of RAM.  If your code runs on both of these machines than you should not have too many surprises. 

 

I don't use DirectX or XNA so these two computers will be ideal for testing for any missing dependencies that people may have, I can let you know about every issue I encounter from start to finish, so far as error messages go. 

 

I won't snoop through it and I'll delete it all when the testing is done.  I always do this when I'm finished working with other people's intellectual property.

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Thanks very much for the offer, but it's really not in that sort of state at the moment. If (when!) it is I may well take you up on it.

Thanks again.

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since you don't have a public beta available, about all you can do is try to find folks with low end gear to test it for you, or put together some sort of stress test program folks can DL and try. all it would have to do would be to test those things you were worried about.

 

to avoid these issues i always have a low end target platform available for testing. but my projects are for profit, not fun.

 

for things like memory, you can do dummy allocations to use up ram, making it seem like there's less ram available. this would decrease the point at which windows ran out of physical ram, and had to switch to paging. similar things can be done loading dummy textures and meshes to use up graphics memory. these methods can emulate a machine with less ram.

 

you can also add pauses to the main game loop to burn CPU cycles. this emulates a slower CPU.

 

you can draw stuff more than once to emulate a slower graphics card. draw everything 2x = graphics card that's 1/2 as fast.

 

but it also sounds like you have access to a low end machine (your tester with problems). 

 

since your project has started to go a bit over the top, perhaps you should step back, and decide where you're going with it, and more specifically, what your target platform will be going forward. even if its just the higher end platforms you have available.

 

if its purely for fun and experience, you may just want to use your PC as the target platform, and not worry about lesser hardware.

 

issues of compatibility with low end user hardware are only a concern if you're worried about popularity or profitability.

 

OTOH, learning to deal with low end hardware _would_ be a good lesson to learn if you plan to make more games.

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Thanks for the advice everyone, i've gone back and fixed/ updated my ingame profiler and that has been quite a lot of help. I also deployed it to the xbox and while it crawled at first it's slowly getting better ...... 

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Thanks very much for the offer, but it's really not in that sort of state at the moment. If (when!) it is I may well take you up on it.

 

Oh I think that getting on this early testing is definitely something that you want to consider doing sooner rather than later.  Try and keep a current copy of your work on a USB drive and carry it around with you wherever you go.  Anytime that you have the opportunity to run it another computer you should do it.  Why you say?  If I had not been so diligent with this then I would have gone full steam ahead with VAO's last year when I rebuilt my work to run on iOS.  Unfortunately this feature was still not available on some modest laptops like the Intel machine I test on.  Not everyone buys that latest newest computer and a whole lot of people have laptops with Intel graphics.  Although I'm sure that they have finally caught up on this I don't think it's worth taking a chance, especially considering that there seems to be a new GPU manufacturer popping up just about every year or two now.   There are many potential pitfalls when you first start building something and the same traps exist every time you expand your feature set. 

 

Also to have your project on a USB drive allows you to discover missing dependencies that will pop up when you move over to a machine that has not been set up with any development environments.  Best to find all these quirks sooner rather than later.

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