So, I have this very old server that is currently sitting around doing nothing. I know that it would be highly inefficient to do so, but would it be possible to mine on a computer with Windows Server 2003 r2? submitted by
In a world of "gameplay versus graphics", a GPU renderer improves both
Not only does this new GPU renderer improve game responsiveness and framerate by a huge
amount, but it's going to be so radically more efficient that it can afford to have longer draw distances. Not just this, but these distant map tiles will be clickable
! Very exciting - every single task, skill, and activity will be smoother and more enjoyable. Disclaimer: This language and information has been simplified for average gamers. Go away, sweaty "AKTHUALLY" brainlets.
OSRS currently uses a CPU renderer straight out of 2003
It's really REALLY bad! At least, by modern standards. It could not be more opposite to what modern computers pursue. It's not Jagex's fault, it's just old... Very VERY old! It's a huge undertaking, and Jagex has been too busy knocking mobile absolutely out of the park, and I'd do the same if I were them - so don't think this is some kind of rag on Jagex. Anyways, some may be surprised that this renderer is still managing to hurt computers today. How can software first written in 2003-2004 (FOR COMPUTERS OF THAT ERA
) be laggy and stuttery on computers today? The answer is simple: resizable mode, and individual CPU core speed.
Resizable mode takes a game window that used to be 765x503 (the majority of which used to be a fixed GUI canvas, but not with the new mode!) and renders it at resolutions as high as 3840x2160, maybe even higher. Do you know how many pixels that is? Over 8 million
. Do you know how many pixels the original renderer was designed to expect? Just under 390,000
. That's over 21x the work
being thrown at modern CPUs. Cores aren't anywhere near 21x faster than they were at the close of the single-core era, which is why players with 4k monitors need to see therapists after long play sessions.
Surely CPUs have gotten faster since the mid 2000s! They have, but not quite in the way that a single-threaded(single core) CPU renderer would expect... CPU manufacturers have been focusing on power draw, temperatures, core count, and special architectural improvements like GPU integration and controller integration. Comparatively, improving individual core speed hasn't been as much of a focus as it had been prior to the multi-core era -and no, I'm not talking about the useless gigahertz(TM) meme measurement, I'm talking about actual overall work done by the core
. As a result, the CPUs we have today have developed down a much different path than what this CPU renderer would benefit from. Not nearly
the amount that resizable mode demands. Especially considering these CPU cores were designed to assume that things didn't pile all their work onto just one core. We're throwing over 21x the work at CPUs that, in most cases, have only been getting 5-15% faster per-core performance every year.
What is a "frame"?
Think of a frame as a painting. Your GPU renderer (or CPU cough cough) is responsible for using your GPU to paint an empty canvas, and turn it into a beautiful and complete picture. First, it draws the skybox(if there is one, it's gonna just fill with black in the case of OSRS). Then, it draws all the visible geometry from back to front, with all the lighting and effects. Then, it draws the GUI elements over the top. It does everything, one pixel at a time. Its job is to draw these paintings as quickly as possible (ideally, so you perceive movement) and present them to your monitor, one at a time, forever... until you close the game. Think of a GPU renderer as a talented artist with hundreds of arms (GPU cores).
If your GPU is able to paint this picture in 16.6 milliseconds (frame time measurements are always in milliseconds), then you'll have a frame rate of 60 frames per second, as 1000 ms / 16.6 is 60. Sometimes your renderer struggles, though. Sometimes it can only complete a frame in 100 milliseconds (10FPS). You can't wave a magic want when this happens. If you want a higher framerate, you need to either update your hardware, or change your software. By change software, I mean either make it more efficient at the work it's told to do, or give it less work. RuneLite has done the former. An example of the latter would be lowering resolution, turning graphical details down, turning off filtering, etc. Games usually call this set of controls the "Graphics settings". Luckily, OSRS is so lightweight it will likely never need a graphics settings menu.
(Think of a CPU renderer as a painter with no artistic ability and, in the case of quad core, four arms...but he's only allowed to paint with one, while the other 3 sit idle. Also, he has to constantly stop painting to return to his normal duties! No fun! The CPU is better off at its own desk, letting the GPU handle the painting.)
A GPU renderer improves frame rates
Not that this matters currently, as the game is capped at 50FPS anyways... but it's still going to be huge for low-end systems or high-end systems with high res monitors. There's also the future, though... Once a GPU renderer is out, it could be possible that they could someday uncap the framerate (which, according to mod atlas, is only the character's camera as all animations are 2FPS anyways).
I expect that an update like this will make fixed mode
a solid 50FPS on literally everything capable of executing the game. Fixed mode was already easy to run on everything except for old netbooks and Windows Vista desktops, so this really wouldn't be a surprise.
A GPU renderer improves frame times
Frame times are just as important as frame rates
. Your frame rate
is how many frames are drawn over the course of a second. But, as described previously, each "painting" is done individually. Sometimes the painter takes longer to do something! What if there's a glowing projectile flying past the camera, or something else momentary that's intensive? The painter has to take the time to paint that, resulting in a handful of frames over the course of that second taking much more time than the others. When your frame rate
is high and frame times
are consistent, this is perceived as incredibly smooth motion.
Ideally, all of our frames are completed in the same amount of time, but this isn't the case. Sometimes "distractions" will come up, and cause the painter to devote an extra 10-20ms to it before returning to the rest of the painting. In bad scenarios, this actually becomes visible, and is referred to as micro stutter
. Having a dedicated GPU renderer doing the work ensures this is very uncommon. A GPU has hundreds or thousands of cores. If some get distracted, others reach out and pick up the workload. Everything is smooth, distributed, and uninterrupted.
You may recall Mod Atlas talking about frame times when he posted about his GPU renderer last year: https://twitter.com/JagexAtlas/status/868131325114552321
Notice the part where he says it takes 25+ms on the CPU, but only takes 4-5ms on the GPU! That's 200-250 frames per second, if the framerate were uncapped! Also, side note: Just because a frame is completed in 1ms doesn't always mean your framerate will be 1000FPS. If your framerate is capped, then the painter will sit and wait after completing and presenting a frame until it's time to start painting again. This is why capping your framerate can be good for power usage, as demonstrated on mobile! Your GPU can't suck up your battery if it's asleep 90% of the time!
A GPU renderer is more efficient
Instead of piling all computational workloads and graphical workloads onto one single CPU core (rest in peace 8+ core users), a GPU renderer takes graphical work off the CPU and does it itself. I'd estimate the majority of all the work was graphical, so this will make a pretty noticeable difference in performance, especially on older systems. Before, having OSRS open while using other software would have a noticeable performance impact on everything. Especially on older computers. Not anymore! CPUs will run cooler, software will run better, and your computer may even use less power overall, since GPUs are much better at efficient graphical work than CPUs are!
All computers are already equipped to run this very VERY well
Most of the computers we have today are designed with two things: a good GPU, and an okay CPU. This isn't 2003 anymore. GPUs have made their way into everything, and they're prioritized over CPUs
. They're not used just for games anymore, entire operating systems rely on them not just for animations and graphical effects, but entire computing tasks. GPUs are responsible for everything from facial recognition to Bitcoin mining these days. Not having a good one in your computer will leave you with a pretty frustrating experience - which is why every manufacturer makes sure you have one. Now, thanks to RuneLite, these will no longer be sitting idle while your poor CPU burns itself alive.
This new GPU renderer will make OSRS run much better on low end systems
Low end systems are notorious for having garbage like Intel Atom or Celeron in them. Their GPU is alright, but the CPU is absolutely terrible. Using the GPU will give them a boost from 5-15FPS in fixed mode, to around 50. At least, assuming they were made after the GPGPU revolution around 2010.
This new GPU renderer will make OSRS run much better on high end systems
High end systems tend to have huge GPUs and huge monitors. Right now, your GPU is asleep while your 4k monitor brings the current CPU renderer to its knees, on the verge of committing sudoku. Letting your GPU take on all that work will make your big and beautiful monitor handle OSRS without lag or stutter.
This new GPU renderer will open the possibility of plugins that build on top of it
One that comes to mind is a 2x/3x/4x GUI scaler. Scaling things in a graphics API is much easier than scaling it in some convoluded custom CPU renderer that was first designed to run in Internet Explorer 5.
It's easier to customize graphical variables in a GPU renderer than it is a glitchy old CPU renderer
Want night time? Change the light intensity. Want cel-shaded comic book appearance for some stupid reason? It's easy. Want to hit 60FPS on a Raspberry Pi? Change your render distance to 2 tiles. Now that the graphical work has been offloaded to a graphics API that's been literally designed to easily modify these things, the sky is the limit. See my past posts on this topic: Big round of applause for the RuneLite team, and Jagex for allowing them to continue development. Without RuneLite, OSRS would be half the game it is today. Here's to their continued success, with or without Jagex integrating their code into the main game!
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