Framerate and Performance
Vintage Story aims to be a high performance game even on non-gaming hardware, such as laptops. For high-end gaming hardware, it should be possible to achieve high framerates (100fps or more) even with all settings maximised.
Generally each new major version of Vintage Story should have better performance: version 1.15 is noticeably better than 1.14, for example.
Basic performance tips - if the game runs slow
With appropriate settings, most players should be able to achieve playable framerates (such as 30fps) even on older hardware. See [Tips]. In general: on older computers, use graphics settings Medium or Low, or even lower; if you are on a laptop play with the power supply plugged in if you can; stop or exit background applications.
1. If you are playing Single Player, for maximum performance and stability - on a PC with at least 16GB of RAM and a modern CPU - you can set up a dedicated server on your own PC, instead of playing Single Player. So you copy/move your saved game world into the server's Saves folder and run VintagestoryServer. Then start the game normally, in the main menu click on Multiplayer and and connect to the server you just made, the address of the server on your own machine is always 127.0.0.1. This should be straightforward - it's not normally necessary to set up port forwarding or firewall permissions if playing on a server which is running on your own PC.
Strongly recommended for the new higher view distances above 1024, or any high view distances really!
Why this helps: it means the server part of the game (which generates and runs the world) and the client part of the game (which produces what you actually see on screen) can each run separately in their own memory space, without conflicting with each other and with reduced lag spikes. You'll be less likely to run out of memory at high view distances.
Alternatively if you have a laptop or similar which cannot do this, but there's another PC on the same local network, try running a dedicated Vintage Story server on that other PC and connecting to it over your local network. This may need the firewalls to be set to allow Vintage Story to have network access on both PCs.
2. It may help to play the game in Full Screen mode, not windowed mode.
3. Vintage Story has a wide range of graphics settings. Adjusting these up or down, and switching on or off the fancier elements, can have a huge effect on performance. The tooltips on each control on the Graphics settings page should give you some pointers.
Large view distances have an effect not only the framerate (fps) on screen, but also performance throughout the game. If everything is sluggish or there are frequent lag spikes, try turning down the view distance. The game is balanced to be smooth and playable on most modern PCs at view distances around 256 blocks to 512 blocks, depending on your hardware. Above 512 blocks is certainly possible on most PCs - at least to see what it looks like - but long-term play at such large view distances with max graphics is best left only for high-end gaming PCs who followed the advice in step #1...
4. The game supports 4k screens. Even so, the size of that screen places higher demands on the GPU and so framerates may be lower. On ultra HD monitors, you can experiment with turning down the resolution to a lower HD setting like 1920x1080. You won't lose much graphical fidelity and it will likely help performance.
5. At max graphics settings, there can be framerate stutter on Radeon graphics cards (even top end cards) when moving across the map and loading new chunks; broadly the reason is the card cannot load in new chunks and draw the existing chunks at the same time. If you ease the card's load by reducing one graphics setting - for example, switching off shadows or lowering the shadow quality - then this should be improved. The VS Dev Team are aware of this issue.
6. Make sure your CPU is not overheating and therefore "thermally throttling". If you run Vintage Story with no VSync and unlimited frame rate, it will push one of your CPU cores to 100% permanently. That in turn will cause the CPU internal temperature to rise. You can monitor temperatures using a free 'Hardware Monitor' tool, or just listen to the fan noise ramping up! If the CPU internal temperature is approaching maximum allowed levels (90-100 °C on a modern CPU, that's hot enough to boil water) then the CPU should automatically switch to running slower than its maximum speed, this is "thermal throttling". This will slow down the game's performance. To prevent this thermal issue, use VSync or max frame rate limits to prevent your CPU cores reaching 100% usage: your game will probably actually run faster overall if the busiest CPU core is at around 70-80% utilisation or less.
Tip: on a multi-core PC, the overall CPU usage percentage shown by Windows can look small even if one core is maxed out. For example, with 8 cores, one core maxed out at 100% would only be 12.5% CPU usage overall. To see what's really going on, you need to use a non-Microsoft tool like Hardware Monitor.
(Note that VintageStory does use multithreading for efficient performance. That is why the game runs best on a CPU with 4 cores or more. But the main rendering thread, which is one of the limits on FPS, runs on a single core.)
7. If you followed suggestion #1 above, you can tweak server performance by adjusting the "magic numbers". The magic numbers default values are aimed at a typical Vintage Story multiplayer server with let's say 3 or 4 players, playing over the internet, so some of them can be increased if it's only 1 player on your own machine.
8. There's a known issue on Radeon graphics cards - including high end Radeon cards - about GPU availability, more like memory lock contention. The issue is normally only seen on max graphics settings (with shadows enabled) and is most obvious when moving across the map so that a lot of new map loads, there can be noticeable frame rate drops and stutter. Game version 1.15.7 has a change that slightly improves this, we hope to do even more to work around it in future versions, but ultimately it is a hardware/GPU issue. For anyone bothered by the issue, a solution is to ease the pressure on the GPU by turning down some of the top end settings (SSAO and Shadows, or reduce the MaxFPS) so that the GPU has some idle time each frame.
See also Troubleshooting Guide
Balancing performance, temperature and power consumption
- For the reasons given in #5 above, it is recommended not to run with Unlimited FPS, but instead to limit the FPS. The main reason to do this is to allow your CPU not to be maxed out with one core at 100% all the time, which can lead to overheating or even (in the long term) a shorter lifetime for your CPU. If FPS is limited in any of the ways on offer, it allows the CPU to "rest" in between frames, and that in turn means the CPU takes less power and runs cooler, so that system fans can be quieter, etc, etc.
- FPS can be limited through the graphics settings. This can be done either by using the MaxFPS slider, or using VSync, or the third VSync option is a combination of both.
- Most modern graphics cards - even internal graphics on laptops - have a VSync feature. If VSync is on then the game engine will not render frames more quickly than they can be drawn on the actual connected display. This allows the CPU to rest sometimes, essentially waiting until the display is ready to render the next frame, so the CPU will not be at 100%. But sometimes graphics drivers behave strangely with VSync, for example there can be global overrides to switch it off - in this case, Vintage Story will behave the same way with VSync on as if it is off and framerate unlimited.
- VSync may help with graphical "tearing" issues, although these do not occur on all systems - sometimes the graphics system deals with this already (at the cost of a slight delay) - so standard laptops and consumer monitors might not have tearing issues, but specialist low-latency gaming monitors may have tearing issues.
- Generally we recommend first trying the game with VSync switched on.
- The alternative recommendation is to play with VSync switched off and MaxFPS set to a figure slightly higher than the frame rate you actually want to see (remember it's the maximum , not the average). For example if you want to play at 60fps then set MaxFPS to somewhere around 65-70fps.
- On a Windows PC (but not Linux or Mac) there is an issue where if you are using MaxFPS alone (not VSync) to control the framerate, the Windows timer is not very precise - in practice what this looks like in the frame rate meter is frequent random changes to other specific step levels like 48fps or 32fps instead of the 60fps you want. This issue is caused by the Windows system interval timer and there's not much the Vintage Story dev team can do about it: even if we take it by the scruff of the neck, other Windows applications running on your PC can change that timer at any time. Therefore, on a Windows PC with a display refresh rate of 60 fps, you may need to experiment a little - it also depends what other applications are running on your system. For some people it works best to set MaxFPS a bit higher than 60fps, like somewhere in the range 65-70fps, and if all is going well then the Windows timer will drop that down to its next step level which might be 64fps. 64fps is fine, it's close enough to 60fps which the display requires.
- On a Windows PC another option is to embrace 32fps, so set your MaxFPS slightly higher than 32fps (say around 35-36 fps) and you should find that Windows effect drops it down and locks it at 32fps. The reason for doing this is to have a steady constant FPS, no matter what is happening on screen. A constant 32fps should look generally smooth. That's better than TV shows (30fps) or movies (24fps).
- Some players want lag (latency) to be as low as possible, in that case you can try setting MaxFPS at a much higher number like 100 or 120fps. Even a high number like that will have cooling benefits on a gaming PC which is capable of reaching even higher framerates in Vintage Story.
CPU or GPU runs too hot
- The main way to control CPU and GPU usage is using the Vsync and Max FPS settings in the graphics settings as described above.
- One path to optimise both: pick a framerate you want e.g. 60 fps. Now with VSync off and Max FPS unlimited, adjust the graphics settings that heavily affect framerate (view distance, godrays & bloom, shadows, SSAO) to hit a framerate that's about 15%-20% better than you want, e.g. 70 fps or 80 fps. When the game can comfortably hit that, now set Max FPS to 60fps and VSync to 'On + Sleep'. This should produce a stable 60fps, a smooth game with no lag spikes, and less than 100% CPU and GPU usage so that your fans run quiet.
- The Occlusion Culling graphics setting is recommended on modern multi-core CPUs - it uses one additional CPU thread but leads to less work for the GPU.