November 11, 2012 - Optimisation

I’ve done an awful lot in the last week or so on Archaos. Primarily the focus has been on optimisation, as it quickly became apparent that as3isolib was simply not fast enough for the job at hand. This led me to explore the possibility of using Starling, a fantastic 2D-on-the-GPU framework, which tries to remain true to the standard AS3 display list as much as possible.

This of course meant I had to rewrite my entire render stack from the ground up. Bummer.

After a few days of building and tinkering with my own Starling-powered custom and very lightweight isometric rendering engine, the frame rates began to climb and climb. Today, after reading up on it a bit more, I’ve managed to get the game pretty speedy.

A whole lotta dragons

Above is a 200×200 board (that’s 40,000 squares) with approximately 20,000 animated, interactive golden dragons nodding away at just under 5 frames per second on my (admittedly pretty powerful) PC. Now this kind of test is pretty unrealistic, but it demonstrates what the engine is now capable of pretty well.

I’ve included further optimisations such as clipping (items off-screen are not drawn, which speeds things up considerably) and making use of a single ‘Texture Atlas’ for all of the units (basically a sprite sheet – gives a huge performance boost).

I’ve deployed some tests to my iPad 1 and my iPhone 4S and they’re running pretty nicely on both (my iPad is pretty much past it now but still churns the game out at a good 30-40fps) which makes me very happy indeed – especially in comparison to earlier last week when I deployed the as3isolib version to my iPhone and it ran at about 2fps!

I’ve also added other little visual touches and niceties (such as units jumping/flying between tiles rather than just sliding across) and have plans to add some really fun little things to make the whole experience of wizards and creatures fighting with one another all the more satisfying.

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