New World shows, how to not code

Translations: de

New World* is the first game from Amazon Game Studios (AGS for short). And a clear example of how not to program and optimize games. This becomes even more visible under Linux.

Amazon has actually brought an interesting game onto the market with New World*. An MMO, in which there are no classes and whose focus should be on PvP. The latter was then changed a bit to reach more players. I have fun with the game, even if it has its weaknesses.

However, the fun of the game is not the topic of this post. This is about the fact that AGS seems to have either hired completely inexperienced developers, or whistled at code quality in favor of the schedule. As a result, the game is very poorly optimized and AGS seems to have taken one or two "shortcuts", i.e. unsightly workarounds.

Unlimited Power

At release, the game directly wrecked some graphics cards because they overheated in the queues. Sure, the main cause was poorly processed graphics cards. Nowadays, a graphics card should clock down when it gets too hot or, in the worst case, stop working. But not break down. Still, it doesn't make sense for a game to run in queue with no FPS limit, eating up all the system resources it can get. That's why many games have a limit built into the menus. 60 FPS is easily enough for the main menu, but at least it shouldn't exceed the monitor's refresh rate.

Help, other players in an MMO!

But also in the game you notice that many things were not built in well. With my 3080, the frame rate collapses from an average of 90 FPS to 35-40 FPS as soon as I enter a well-visited city. Before the collision detection between players in cities was removed, this was even worse. The game has severe problems computing more than a handful of players. The CPU goes to the limit here, where other games manage much more complex calculations with less load.

Frametimes? What is that?

Also not optimized? The loading of the textures. Under Windows this was an absolute horror. On Linux a bit better, because you can enable asynchronous loading of the textures. A bit smoother, but the frame times, that is the time between the creation of two frames, still varies a lot. Between 8ms to 45ms everything is there. And you can feel it unfortunately, that it is an up and down.

No space? Never mind!

But now to the biggest problem, at least for me as a Linux gamer. AGS has not built in a decent management of the RAM. On Windows, the game probably relies completely on the OS. On Linux, the game doesn't run natively, so it doesn't use the available tools. Instead, it simply requests more and more memory without stopping.

Linux reserves four gigabytes of RAM, the other 12 Gb are freely available. With the recommended 8Gb of memory, that should be enough. When I start the game, it directly occupies four more gigabytes, so there are still eight gigabytes left.

Now it gets exciting. When I'm in Windward, the most active city in New World, logging in becomes a gamble. If I have logged out there and want to get back into the game, then the remaining eight gigabytes are pumped full in a few seconds during the login, plus the four gigabytes of swap (RAM expansion on the hard disk). But this is not enough for the game, it crashes. Only when I extended the swap by 32Gb did I get into the game. Now and then. In total, the game needs 12Gb RAM and well over seven gigabytes of swap when logging into Windkreis. In total, New World uses almost 20Gb of RAM.

Of course, this is limited under Windows. The mechanisms are different than under Linux. My Arch Linux shovels resources to the game until it is satisfied or the resources run out. The game doesn't understand the latter and crashes.

At least this is only the case in Windward. If I log out of Windward, I get back into the game. I can then run through Windward without any problems (apart from lousy performance). I just can't log in there or teleport there.

Much to learn AGS still has

New World is the first game from AGS. So it's little surprise that it's not optimal. It has its own and new engine, which has not been optimized over the years. Actually, New World was supposed to be a different game.

But since the game had a lot of content problems at launch, AGS had understandably focused on content first. But I think it would be good if the second year of New World would also take a look at the technology. Basically, I have quite a lot of fun in New World*.

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