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Multicore Support & You

Guest Writer Posted:
Developer Journals 0

Game development doesn’t always center around the things that can be done in a game, but often deals with the little seen back end processes that affect every aspect of the visual world. One of the new features coming to Rift is the addition of multicore support that will allow players to take advantage of performance upgrades that these types of machines can bring to the game.

Multicore support has been in beta testing for several months and is ready for deployment to the wider player base in the near future.

When Rift was originally developed, all graphics rendering was accomplished via a single thread, an inherent feature of DirectX 9. With the advancement of technology and the introduction of multicore computers, what was once a simplified system now can become more complex and run across multiple threads and improving the overall performance of the game.

Players will see some pretty significant improvements in things like frame rate and better response times so that CPU speeds don’t “throttle” a graphics card.

Putting it another way, “Snedhepl” provided an amazing analogy, comparing multicore support with multi-lane highways.

Imagine you were designing a vehicle to transport people from CPUville to Graphic Card City. The people are the rendering instructions. To get them to Graphic Card City, you’d make a bus. It’s going to be the most efficient vehicle to get folks from one place to another. Several years later, the road from CPUville has now been upgraded to a four-lane highway. Is a bus still the best choice? Well it takes quite a bit of time to load up a bus until it’s full. It takes a while to accelerate or to change lanes. So we switch to cars. The car usage isn’t perfect. Upon arrival the people still need to line up properly, and it’s a lot of work to dictate how people drive. They might even crash! (Yes, I’ve been dying to make that joke here.) Cars are, however, much better now that you have those additional lanes. You can load the cars up quickly and get them zipping down the road. This is what true multicore support will do for RIFT.

So all of this is important for those who love to know that their PCs are being utilized to their fullest potential and for those who keep close eyes on framerates. In the end, however, what does it mean to the rank-and-file player who just wants to get into the game and go?

Simply put, improved rendering, higher frames per second, and faster processing makes the game perform better, provides less wear and tear on a system and allows the Rift team to change the pace and cadence of game updates.

A change this big is one of the most important ones made since Rift launch. If any bigger changes had been applied it would have basically been like rewriting the game from the ground up.

Players can check multicore support out right now in its beta state right from within the game:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Video à Advanced
  3. Tick the Experimental Multicore

That’s all there is to it!

Look for multicore support in Rift in the near future.


Guest Writer