Many customers are really pushing SilverLining to its limits, with dense cloud layers extending far to the horizon. Maintaining high framerates in these simulated conditions requires making smart choices in how you configure your cloud layers.
Previously, we’ve posted performance tips and more performance tips – you should definitely familiarize yourself with those as they still can help performance a lot. Our configuration files allow you to make the trade-offs between performance and detail that make sense for your application, and those articles will tell you how.
Here are a couple more that our customers have recently found useful:
Choose your cloud type wisely
If you’re trying to represent 100% cloud coverage, don’t do so with CUMULUS_CONGESTUS clouds. Cumulus clouds are scattered, and they aren’t designed to fill up the sky completely. If you try to push them into doing so, you’ll end up with way more individual objects than even the best PC can draw quickly.
Instead, consider the STRATOCUMULUS_PARTICLES cloud layer type. It’s much more efficient at representing dense cloud coverage, and it actually can achieve 100% coverage. It will look better, and perform better. As tempting as it is to use one cloud type for everything, you won’t get the best results that way.
Even better, try out the STRATUS cloud layer. It’s even faster.
Use smaller cloud textures
With dense cloud layers, the bottleneck on your GPU is surprising – it’s just pushing the memory associated with our cloud textures around.
You can speed up STRATOCUMULUS_PARTICLES cloud layers even further by configuring them to use a lower-resolution texture map. We include a 2048×2048 version of this texture in current versions of SilverLining; you can switch to it by setting stratocumulus-particles-texture-name in your Resources/SilverLining.config file to puff-alpha-small.tga.
And for even faster performance, you can increase the voxel dimension parameter as described in our earlier article. In addition to the cumulus congestus setting described there, you’ll find an analagous setting for stratocumulus-particles as well.
These are both simple ways to give your application a performance boost when dealing with large, dense cloud layers. Give them a try!