Some Performance observations re: Fortnite Battle Royale in macOS and Win10

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Irishman, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #1
    So, during this past Christmas break, my sons and I played quite a bit of Fortnite Battle Royale (them mostly in Xbox One, and me on my iMac, dual booting High Sierra and Bootcamp Windows 10). For a few days, we were playing it so frequently in Win10, that I just left Windows running without rebooting back into macOS. My iMac's specs are as follows: late 2012, 21.5" 1080p screen, 2.9 GHz i5, 8GB RAM, 1 TB HD, nVidia GT 650M 512MB GPU. I'm running nVidia's Web Drivers (up-to-date as of this morning).

    We have Google Fiber gigabit internet, which is hard-wired straight into my Gigabit-equipped iMac.

    The reason that I tried out the Windows version is because my initial experience running the game in macOS was so negative that it had me concerned that maybe my Mac was too long in the tooth to play it well. What I found out, instead was a little bit different.

    Here are my observations after playing Fortnite on both OS's:

    1. The loading screens and transitions are much smoother and reliable in Windows. In High Sierra, I experience random errors, (mostly failure to join a game pop-ups). Sometimes, I would have to quit out of Fortnite, then quit out of the Epic Launcher, both of which are laborious and slow to wait for. My son, at one point, while waiting to join a game in High Sierra, asked me if my Mac was frozen up.

    2. After having played around with the settings to achieve the best results, I learned that it will only play on lowest settings at 640x480 in High Sierra, with a frame rate that varies wildly between 5 FPS to 60 FPS, even on loading screens. On Windows, I can run on 720p, with all settings lowest, except for draw distance, which I max out), for obvious reasons. These settings give me a frame rate from between 40-60 FPS. Even with the in-game frame cap turned up to 120 FPS, we noticed no difference in measured frame rate.

    3. Once in-game, the differences between the two OS's mostly melted away, giving an enjoyable playing experience. The only hitch I encountered was a slight stutter when scoping in with the game's sniper rifle, an action which was smooth in Windows.

    4. Regarding menu performance under High Sierra: one thing I quickly learned not to do is to bring up the menu to chance graphic settings once in-game. Doing so introduced the same transition slowness I noticed in #1 above. Sometimes, the game would freeze up and I would was forced to command-tab out of it, and restart my Mac.

    5. Please notice that I am not shocked that a Mac of mine's vintage experiences problems playing the game. Also, please note that I am fully aware that the game is in Early Access, which means it's not fully optimized. What I hope to do is present mine and my sons's experiences playing the game. The differences between the performance in Windows 10 and macOS High Sierra are disappointing, and I can only hope that further Metal development brings performance gains more on-par with Windows 10.
     
  2. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    Mar 14, 2009
    #2
    nVidia drivers may not be very good for Metal games.
     
  3. Irishman thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
  4. wubsylol macrumors 6502

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    Nov 6, 2014
    #4
    I thought I was going loopy after confusing the same thread over on IMG with different replies...
     
  5. marksatt macrumors regular

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    Jun 26, 2013
    #5
    Yeah, I responded in a lot more detail over on IMG and I don't feel compelled to repost it here. The simple explanation is that the internal API abstractions of UE4 were developed in the D3D11-era and assume the shader and resource creation API of D3D11. Metal, like D3D12 & Vulkan, puts more responsibility on the developer which means that at the moment we get a lot more CPU hitches from shader & resource creation than D3D11 where the driver hides this from us. We also just aren't as fast in general. Support for Metal and macOS in UE4 should generally improve over time as it has done since UE4 4.0 way back in 2014 but it will be up to game teams (both internal & external) to integrate those improvements. So no-one should be expecting any instant fixes that provide 100% parity in all things at all times ;)
     
  6. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    Mar 14, 2009
    #6
    But do you notice a difference in performance delta between nVidia and AMD?
    At least 2 Feral guys told me that Metal should perform close to bootcamp for some of their games, on AMD. It implies that nVidia performs less well.
     
  7. marksatt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2013
    #7
    AMD is closer to parity *but* still not there. Nvidia’s D3D11 drivers extract quite a bit more from their hardware than AMD’s D3D11 driver does. This means that it is *much* harder to match performance on Nvidia’s Metal driver - the standard being set is simply higher.

    The same might be true for AMD when D3D12 is the primary API for UE4 on Windows. That really is the problem - the goal posts are always moving and it is a struggle to do anything more than keeping the Metal renderer working. There are also so many complicated workarounds plus the fundamental development inertia of D3D to overcome that I don’t realistically expect to ever reach absolute parity - we should get closer over time and might even be very close in the end, but never quite the same.
     
  8. ikir macrumors 65816

    ikir

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #8
    I was playing very nicely until the lasted fortnite updates, now stuttering is killing the fun, also FPS are capped to 30 for me :(
     
  9. bootz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    #9

    After the more recent updates, Bootcamp performance trounces OS X. I'd almost call it game breaking. On OS X, the game freezes / stutters / lags for the first 5-10 seconds after you jump off of the bus. When you run it Windows 10 via Bootcamp, there are no hitches.

    I'd venture to say performance is 25-30% better using W10 Bootcamp versus OS X. Specs are the 2015 iMac 4k (i5 with Iris Pro 6200 iGPU, 8 GB Ram, W10 running on External SSD).
     
  10. star-affinity macrumors 6502a

    star-affinity

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    Nov 14, 2007
    #10
    Metal – sounds good in theory, but hasn’t done that much in practice... yet?

    At least not for macOS – iOS seems to be another story.

    I guess it takes time.
     
  11. marksatt macrumors regular

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    Jun 26, 2013
    #11
    AMD get closest to PC performance, Intel are the furthest behind, so that is no surprise to me.

    The hitching and stalls... I’ve explained some of the causes in other threads. Metal/Vulkan/DX12 all require game developers to do more work than D3D11 did and UE4 still doesn’t have all the required infrastructure to deal with it all properly.

    Plus, yes there are bugs in Metal and in UE4. Don’t jump to conclusions that this is all Apple’s or just Epic’s fault - it’s more complicated than that.

    I haven’t been allowed time to work on Mac Metal rendering performance or Mac Fortnite for over 18 months. The problems have been mounting for a long while and I can’t promise any immediate action on them either.
     
  12. star-affinity macrumors 6502a

    star-affinity

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    Nov 14, 2007
    #12
    @marksatt
    What are you working on right now, if I may ask? :)
    You could tell me, but then you’d have to kill me? ;)
     
  13. marksatt macrumors regular

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    Jun 26, 2013
    #13
    Nothing that makes you, me or anyone playing Mac Fortnite happier.
     
  14. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    Mar 14, 2009
    #14
    Since Fortnite has just been announced for iOS, I suspect Mark is working on that and not the macOS version.
     
  15. marksatt macrumors regular

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    Jun 26, 2013
    #15
    No, not really.

    Last year was really the lost time, focusing on demos and working around a ridiculous number of OS and driver bugs. I am permanently building infrastructure that will forever be unseen and unknown to compensate for mismatches between Apple’s tech and UE4’s.

    I can offer advice and the occasional bit of assistance to game teams but I am always busy dealing with a huge backlog of problems. So I won’t be receiving any credit from Fortnite’s success even if it ships on iOS using Metal.
     
  16. star-affinity macrumors 6502a

    star-affinity

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    Nov 14, 2007
    #16
    Would (could) you say that those problems (most) are because of the move to Metal, which I guess is still concidered a relatively new technology on macOS?
     
  17. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    Mar 14, 2009
    #17
    At least we, members of this forum, know that we are able to play UE4 games on our Macs thanks to you!
     
  18. marksatt macrumors regular

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    Jun 26, 2013
    #18
    That would be a charitable way to describe it. My willingness to be charitable is reaching its end though.

    Not just me. There have a handful of people who have directly made it possible and many more who have done so indirectly. I won’t mention names because that’s not appropriate to broadcast but don’t for a moment think I did it all by myself as that would be crazy! Not that I have much sanity left

    To be clear, I’m not a member of the Fortnite team and it is the lot of engine programmers that your work is only noticed when something fails. I would like to be able to work on Metal support in such a way that those failures are minimised and performance is improved. We will have to see if that is possible.
     
  19. Irishman thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #19
    So, I will say that since this very last update, practically all of my negative observations about Fortnite under macOS have been resolved.

    Keep in mind that I had been playing a lot via nVidia's GeForce Now beta service. That spoils you, let me tell you. :)

    I'm not sure what to chalk up the dramatic improvements to, but there it is. :)

    More later. I just wanted to put that out there.
     
  20. star-affinity macrumors 6502a

    star-affinity

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    Nov 14, 2007
    #20
    Eager to try after reading your post, I for some reason can't seem to get past the loading screen when trying to start a game of Battle Royale. Oh, well…
     
  21. Zenithal macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #21
    Not gaming on Mac, but is this a fun game? I've looked into it but I can't see if I'd like it myself. The only games I get around to playing every other month or so are TF2 and War Thunder. Would I like this? I did Battlefield 3 years ago, if that helps.
     
  22. Irishman thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #22
    It's free, man. There's no reason not to try it out for yourself. :)
     
  23. Irishman thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #23
    So, my performance is holding up, even following the update that ended "Teams of 20".

    :)
     
  24. star-affinity macrumors 6502a

    star-affinity

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #24
    I still have performance issues on both a MacBook Pro (GeForce GT 750M and ”normal” MacOS drivers) and a Mac Pro (GTX 970 and Web Drivers) both on Nvidia GPUs. There are major pauses/lag that makes the game unplayable. But I do see some really nice frame rates on the Mac Pro in between those spikes.
     
  25. mpConroe macrumors regular

    mpConroe

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Location:
    Arbroath (UK) / Wroclaw (PL)
    #25
    Hi, I did a video about performance of Fortnite on iMac and MacBook Pro, check it out here:
     

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148 January 16, 2018