AI War 2 on my Mac

My Mac at present is an aging MacBook Pro, Retina, 15 inch, Early 2013.  I’m still running 10.10.5, because I like to stay kind of out of date on that for testing purposes.

Worth pointing out for anyone not up on that hardware: the GPU is a measly Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024MB, and it’s running at 2880×1800.  Tall order!

The GTX 1070 on my main windows machine is over 2600% faster than that little intel.  Whew.  Honestly that machine struggles REALLY hard to run Minecraft.

I also have a spare machine, this one running windows 8.1, that has a GTX 650M in it.  I’m going to be benchmarking on that one, too – and it’s only about 145% better than the intel 4000.  Still substantial, and it never had any trouble with Minecraft.

Anyway, overall from a first test on my mac with the various recent vis-layer performance improvements (but before those of the simulation thread today), I was pretty pleased with the results on my Mac.  I had all the settings cranked all the way up, and while it was choppy it wasn’t a complete slideshow.  That was at a high resolution, as much MSAA as it could muster, all the post-processing effects, all the special effects on max blast, full quality textures, etc.

The result wasn’t something I’d really want to play in terms of how it performed, but looking at that from a worst-case scenario I’m happy with how that was starting out.  Cinth isn’t even done setting up quite all the ship LODs yet, so some of the vis layer was needlessly harsh, too.

I think some of the hitching was also due to music playback trying and failing to play, repeatedly.  That may have been the biggest slowdown, I’m not sure.

Possibly if I get this updated to a newer version of OSX and see if it can run Metal, then I might be able to use the BC7 file format for textures, which right now is being transcoded to something else (possibly native uncompressed RGBA, which would really slow things down in the GPU bus).

For anyone already on a newer version of OSX, probably Metal support will “just work,” so long as your hardware supports it.  I need to do a deeper dive into some of that, but I feel quite confident I can get this running in a way that is acceptably playable on my aging MacBook.  It’s going to be one of those things that continually evolves over the next few months leading up to Early Access.

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