AOM Patch: Version 1.12.647985
So our patch number system is changing slightly, the final piece in there is the build ID. This should help resolve any confusion of versioning if we apply a hotfix without a major version revision.
For discussion related to this patch, please see:
As discussed, we had several primary focuses when it comes to AOM for this patch. Thanks to the community for keeping extensive lists of bugs and feature requests, you will definitely notice a few things in here from them. Let’s start with a number of bugfixes that have been made, in particular around some rendering issues. Those changes are as follows:
- Siege Tower units now render shadows correctly.
- Objects (like buildings) are now shaded correctly based on sun direction/rotation.
- Sun rotation no longer affects ambient brightness
- Frozen and petrified units now render correctly
- Freezing and petrifying units no longer effects the player color for units of the same type.
Secondly, there were a number of game functionality or options that were frequently requested, as well as a few miscellaneous fixes for some edge case scenarios (who was disabling their sound card in game? :p )
Those changes are as follows:
Additional Options and Functionality:
- Custom games are no longer ranked.
- Titans (default/none) option has been added to single player.
- Additional civ specific hotkey functionality has been added.
- Events/Leagues no longer get stuck displaying “loading” text.
- Disabling the computers sound card no longer crashes the game.
Okay, the last item is by far the most common issue requested to tackle. Since release there have been complaints regarding animation stutter in game, and while we have made a number of fixes across the board to help over the last year, our goal is still to get performance to a level that strengthens the multiplayer experience instead of being a troublesome point for players.
So with that in mind, we’ve been delving into the game system and animation system to determine what is causing the animation stutter as well as the ideal way to fix them. At its heart, animation stuttering is a side effect of network traffic and world speed issues between different players. As the world updates, I’m sending out network traffic – the faster I update, the more frequently I’ll be letting you know about those state changes – and the more traffic I’m generating. If another player is on a slower machine, their update frequency can drop lower than desirable and may have difficulty dealing with incoming updates. This can happen without people realizing, or as the game fills up with more units, etc. So for most customers they should see the following:
Multiplayer Performance Improvements:
- Animation issues in multiplayer games has been improved.
- Overall multiplayer performance has been improved.
If you’re interested in how some of this works, we have implemented a system that can identify slow machines and beginning adjusting their detail settings to improve overall performance for everything. The end goal is to keep everyone's world update rate at 30. If the world update rate drops below 15, that’s when we start to see animation stutter crop up for all players. The world rate will change through the course of a match, so we start by monitoring the update rates. As soon as it drops below 27 the player slowing down the global update rate is identified and a number of settings are adjusted on the fly to keep our world running smoothly. It’s important to note that if the world slowed down due to a big battle, after the battle it will rise again – this system dynamically will ramp the slow system back to their preferred settings once they’re back in the green.
How do the settings work? These are the adjustable settings that will go up and down based on current performance, and if your machine is slower you may have some already turned off. Most are based around reducing the main bottleneck for slower machines, the GPU.
- Level 1: Reduce GPU workload by dropping frames. This will scale dynamically, in many cases a drop to 40-45fps solves it, but worst case would be down to 30 fps
- Level 2: Reduce GPU overhead by dropping shadows to LOW rendering level.
- Level 3: Turn off water reflections
- Level 4: Turn off the SSAO
- Level 5: Turn off the water refraction (which affects the motion of the water)
- Level 6: Turn off bloom effect
- Level 7: At this stage we drop down to LOWEST shadow quality settings
- Level 8: Turn off full scene anti-aliasing
- Level 9: At this stage we turn off shadows
- Level 10: Display message in chat panel, "You are experiencing performance issues and affecting all players. If you see this message frequently, please reduce your resolution to improve overall performance."
- Quality will go up in levels if performance improves (like after a big battle).
- The chat message may appear as frequently as 2 minutes intervals (if continually low).