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RiME dev details the game's performance on Switch

Wondering how RiME on Switch stacks up against the PS4/XB1 versions? The dev team behind the game took to Reddit to discuss a bit of the behind-the-scenes tech, and what it results in for Switch.

RiME runs at 30 FPS in 720p throughout most of the game while docked. This is a considerable improvement from where the game was at earlier this year when we announced the first delay.

While we have done an excellent job at bringing the standard frame rate up, the one problem we were unable to address completely were loading hitches. RiME uses a technique called streaming which allows us to have portions of the level loaded and unloaded in order to save on memory utilization.

With RiME being very open in many locations, it's incredibly difficult to get these level segments small enough to not cause a hiccup in performance. We were faced with the choice of adding loading screens throughout the stages, rebuilding the game completely to be more closed in (undermining the product vision in the process), or living with these small hiccups to preserve what the game was intended to be. We chose the latter.

It's worth noting that these hiccups do occur on the other platforms as well, though slightly less pronounced.

Categories: Interviews, Consoles
Tags: eshop, switch

Comments

Top Rated Comment
jlatimer11
Mon Nov 13 17 03:01pm
Rating: 4

It's worth noting that these hiccups do occur on the other platforms as well, though slightly less pronounced.

"It runs like crap on everything!" isn't a statement you want to hear from a developer.

Well...at least they're honest and upfront about its performance issues.

jlatimer11
Mon Nov 13 17 03:01pm
Rating: 4

It's worth noting that these hiccups do occur on the other platforms as well, though slightly less pronounced.

"It runs like crap on everything!" isn't a statement you want to hear from a developer.

i can testify this. i try to max this game out on a nvidia gtx 1080 with a locked 60. its not possible. game isnt even that graphically demanding, though it does have nice lighting and shaders. some metal and clay textures look similar to legend of zelda breath of the wild.

You seem to have a poor grasp on the English language.

You seem to think I care.

mr_ry
Mon Nov 13 17 03:41pm
Rating: 1

Considerable improvement...yikes. The game must've run like crap then. From that GameXplain review, there are still tons of slowdown in the game.

rudyc3
Mon Nov 13 17 04:29pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

Other games more ambitious than this one have no issue running on the Switch *cough* Zelda *cough* so it's their engine that's at the root of the problem

ovivoul
Mon Nov 13 17 06:26pm
Rating: 2

Seriously, comparing it with Zelda is incredibly unfair.. You can't really compare a game developed by Nintendo themselves for the system they developed with the huge amount of expertise and manpower behind it with a port of an indie title which was not even considered to be on anything else but the PS4 when the engine was built.. Still that's not at all an excuse for the performance issues the game has. You're almost certainly right that it's the engine at the root of the problem.

The game world streaming aspect of the engine seems to be the core issue, something they simply couldn't optimise properly in hindsight. The lack of dynamic shadows and flattened lighting are undoubtedly also compromises necessary because of this lack of optimisation of the streaming engine. Zelda uses that technique as well by the way, but in a much more optimised manner. For this port of Rime though, it takes away so much from the gameplay and experience that it almost ruins the whole game.

It seems the devs just bit off more than they could chew.. Hopefully they've learned a lot from it, there's a lot they probably couldn't fix anymore so late in the process but things they can take into account for their next project.

Well if they have to develop something for Switch AND PS4 in the future, better run their games on UE4 or if they can't afford it, Unity since it's free for all Switch (and Wii U for that matter) devs. UE4 would be probably better, but short of that Unity should be optimised enough,more so than their own in-house engine anyway.

I can understand that if they started developing their engine with the PS4 in mind for a game with such low fidelity graphics (I mean not super highly detailed) then very little optimisation would be required since the PS4, even in its vanilla version, was the more powerful until the PS4 Pro and the XBox One X came along. But on the Switch of course they would have to make massive compromises if their engine was already so badly optimised to begin with that it probably wouldn't be worth reconstructing it from scratch to run well on Switch. All I mean with Zelda is that it shows what the system is capable of when programmed by capable people, but it doesn't have to be "Nintendo".

For the record, Shin'en is also indie, and it took them just a few months to port over FAST RMX to the Switch and they had the game running massively better on there than on the Wii U, AT LAUNCH and WITH an in-house engine ported over from a less capable system, and they're a very small team too. It just shows that there are indie devs that are more capable than others.

But on the Switch of course they would have to make massive compromises if their engine was already so badly optimised to begin with that it probably wouldn't be worth reconstructing it from scratch to run well on Switch.

Yeah, that's basically it. And don't forget, the concept of game world streaming is relatively new and very ambitious especially for a indie studio – much more difficult than a racing game (not at all in disregard the accomplishments of Shin'en). That's been pretty much the whole culprit for this game here: the world streaming engine. Very ambitious and, if done right, you can actually increase performance with it. But it's also a very core part of the game engine and something that's very difficult to change later on. Really, the RiME engine wasn't made for the Switch. And the only way to have had it run properly optimised on it would have been to completely rework the engine and with that (since almost everything breaks when you do that) rebuild the whole game. That was something they just could not afford to do.

When it comes to the comparison with Shin'en's port of Fast Racing Neo it's a different situation entirely, not just the type of game. The Switch is more powerful than the Wii U so that port was much less likely to run into performance issues than porting from a more powerful system. So porting from a less capable machine, being able to upgrade where possible while keeping performance consistent or better was an advantage for Shin'en in porting FAST Racing Neo.

My whole point is that you shouldn't be too quick to compare the two this way, as the nature of their projects were very different in many ways. Even if Shin'en is indeed the more capable one, Tequila Works was at a disadvantage on all accounts in this case. So really, while not as unfair of comparing to Nintendo's Zelda or Bethesda and Panic Button's accomplishment with Doom, it's still not really comparing apples with apples.

Really, this game on its own under-performs and it's got big issues, especially on Switch. It's not advisable from a consumer perspective to get the game on Switch unless you really considered its performance issues and still want it on Switch. But one game is no grounds on how to judge a studio and comparisons with other games aren't always fair. I wouldn't be surprised if they have learned a lot by trying to port to Switch (and other systems). Hopefully they can apply what they've learned in their next project.

I also wonder if the studio is simply too small, and doesn't have enough skilled programmers. Everything else, like the level design and art direction, looks good, but being good at that has nothing to do with being good at coding or optimization, and they just might be working on more tasks than they're suited for.

Possibly, or just not experienced enough. Or maybe they just didn't factor in the need to port the game when they were building the game for PS4.. Or possibly, and probably a combination of those factors..
They should have been able to learn from this project though, so I am curious what their next project will be..

I completely agree with that final thought, on both counts, which is why I attempted to find some reason to explain the game's flaws which wasn't "they suck and shouldn't be developing". It is easier than ever to enter development, and there are both advantages and disadvantages to that. One disadvantage is that what people who are still learning produce is no longer rejected and hidden away, but is available for everyone to see and critique. And while they clearly have lessons to learn, I do believe there is reason to believe they should be in the industry and learning, and that eventually they will do work worth playing.

Yeah I agree. Not to mention, it seems like the art, music, story and atmosphere of the game are quite nice, and I might have been a bit overly critical of the game itself as well based on just the performance issues. I just watched the GameXplain review and they really highlight those aspects of the game which are apparently really good (even if it's not as good as the games it draws inspiration from).. So really the only thing holding it back are these performance issues.. Honestly that's a real shame actually..
I might still give it a try eventually..

The Switch runs Zelda BoTW almost perfectly... I see no reason why RiME should get a pass, specially after Doom...

Seriously, comparing it with Zelda (or even Doom) is incredibly unfair.. You can't really compare a game developed by Nintendo themselves for the system they developed with the huge amount of expertise and manpower behind it with a port of an indie title which was not even considered to be on anything else but the PS4 when the engine was built.. (Similarly with Doom, Bethesda and Panic Button.)
Of course that's not at all an excuse for the performance issues the game has, but you can't expect an indie studio to perform on par even with the experienced devs at Bethesda and Panic Button, let alone Nintendo themselves. The issues RiME has are not acceptible even for an indie studio, but that comparison is a bit much.

They bit more off than they could chew, the streaming engine originally built with exclusively PS4 in mind was probably an almost too ambitious project to begin with, let alone changing gears to make it compatible with other systems on top of that.. I think you're right that RiME shouldn't get a pass because of this, but I think this should be considered looking at the developers and the studio. Their next project will show if they have learned from the troubles RiME gave them.

Anyway, comparing it with Zelda and Doom is still unfair.

Fair enough. Comparing it to Doom and Zelda is a bit much, but the way it plays everywhere makes me think it was a flawed project(engine) from the start... If they patch it, I'll give it a shot for sure.

ovivoul
Mon Nov 13 17 07:52pm
Rating: 1

I agree. The world streaming aspect of the engine seems to be at the core of the issues. That's something that's hard to patch as well.. I'm going to pass on it until further notice as well. But I'm curious as to what their next project will be. With such an ambitious project behind them I figure they've learned a lot. With a new project they can take all of that into account.

And who knows, maybe I'll eventually pick up RiME someday as well.. It's too bad it had to be this way, but not many people strike gold the first time they try. You learn and become better because of it.

Hmm.. I just watch GameXplain's review and it made me a think I might have been too harsh to write the game off.. It does seem that there's a lot to this game that's worth a look.. The performance issues are a real shame for what seems to be a pretty beautiful game and story. It might be worth a pick-up in the end.. I really hope the developers can still do something about the performance although with the delay it seems they already tried their best.. Hearing the praise it gets for its atmosphere and the experience, I'd wish it was able to deliver on that experience without those distractions so that the art, music and story could fully shine.. hmm..

Almost, and still suffers from “hiccups” in many areas due to the streaming of data.

Why should BOTW get a pass?

I think saying “almost” was the commenters way of not giving them a pass. Had they said it ran absolutely perfectly that would have been overlooking the few areas with hiccups.

Tequila really should hire a software engineer that's specialized in UE4 to try and iron these issues out on all platforms. It's just not acceptable releasing a game in this condition.

It's important to note that they hired a team to port the game. So it's not like they did it all on their own with their poor little indie team who just doesn't gosh darn know any better.

Said team being the same one behind Twilight Princess HD and Sonic Mania, yet somehow this ended up worse. Goes to show that a simple UE4 import DOES NOT mean the game will run well

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