Frame Rate Issues
Halo TMCC offers an amazing retooling of forge this time around and brings many great new things to the table, such as scripting, and has brought back functions that were dearly missed in Halo 4, such as precision editing. It also features, as expected, a brand new palette and three unique canvases. Unfortunately, all is not perfect. While the functions work excellently (save a few small discrepancies such as magnets), there are major issues with the palette itself. Many experienced forgers that have been around since Reach and Halo 4 are finding problems arising in what is referred to as “frame rate lag”. In this, the objects on the screen are causing the game’s performance to drop, resulting in a stuttered appearance in movement on the screen from the perspective of the player. This is an issue because it results in a loss of fidelity in precision aiming on the part of the player, and thus is to be avoided at all costs. Yet, how can one avoid “frame rate lag”? This article will be brief in explaining what causes it and how best to avoid it.
Frame rate lag is caused when the engine struggles to render the various objects on the screen. This can be due to too many objects being on the screen at one (object density in field of view), or because of particularly taxing objects being on the screen. What are particularly taxing objects? Objects whose models are made up of significantly high complex polygon counts. Know that “pipe” on the bottom of many bridge pieces? That’s a complex polygon model. Now polygons are really nothing more than basic shapes that are used to make a more complex shape, and the more complex the shape is, the more polygons are required. A simple block piece in this game features a very low polygon count relative to more complex objects such as bridges, as it is essentially a 6-facet 3-dimensional shape. In that regard, blocks are not very taxing on the game’s engine to render. In fact, the blocks are probably one of the friendliest pieces for the engine to render.
Alright, so what does all this mean? Well, the combination of object density and object complexity lend themselves to frame rate lag, so the individual forger should try to avoid them. This can be accomplished through using less complex objects and avoiding excessive merging of objects together. To tell if an object is complex or not, all the forger needs to do is zoom in and examine the object looking for 3-dimensional designs on the object. The flatter it is (such as a block), the less complex it is. The more 3-dimensional the “texture” looks (like the pipes and various cuts in the bridge pieces), the more complex it is.
In short, try to keep your object usage simple. If you start experiencing frame rate lag, try swapping out the more complex pieces for similarly sized blocks. It’s a matter of trial and error really and you shouldn’t let frame rate lag hinder your design ambitions. In closing, I’ll leave you with a short list of objects that have been particularly bad for causing frame rate lag: bridge xl, brace large, and ramps (when used in excess for walling).