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Possible Combat Log Dropping FPS

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Shadowwolf:
Last night in Naxx I got frustrated at the FPS performance of my machine and tried something out.

Im posting this here to possibly help some of you out who have been experiencing some similar issues in WotLK like me.

Typically, my FPS in BC raids averaged out to 40-50, on intense AOE fights I'd drop down to roughly 25-32 which was fine.

Since WotLK, on raids, even with ALL my settings turned down to the lowest possible level, my FPS in raids averages between 8-15 on fights, trash and otherwise.

Now what was odd to me about this is, since BC, I actually upgraded my video card from what I had previously. Yet somehow, my FPS went down like fat kid skydiving.

Current System Layout

Heres my current video/system layout now:
Possible Combat Log Dropping FPS Possible Combat Log Dropping FPS Possible Combat Log Dropping FPS Possible Combat Log Dropping FPS

This isnt to brag, frankly I dont care if people have a better PC than I do, this isnt a slouch machine and works fine for what I need. Its just a showing that Im not using any low end hodge podge assembly of parts to play WoW on. For all intensive purposes, this machine far exceeds the minimum recommendations set by Blizzard to play WotLK well however my actual performance (yes I know it varies) is far below what it should be.

For the most part, I attribute the lousy performance a lot to the game code itself. The decline in performance didnt manifest itself until WotLK was released, in fact the only raids I ever had issue in during BC was Hyjal Summit from all of the AOE going on.

At any rate, my typical WoW layout is as follows:

Possible Combat Log Dropping FPS

Bottom bar is my chat tabs on the left, and my combat log separated on the right. Ive used this layout in WoW since BC first came out and its always worked fine for me without issue.

Deducing the Problem

What I noticed when my FPS performance crumbled, it was only in groups larger than 5 and only when there was a lot going on around me. Basically if the fight was pretty basic and not a lot going on, my FPS was low but manageable. When fights consisted of a ton of AOE and other things taking place, it went to hell.

Last night I was messing around with the combat log display. Basically what I changed was I made the combat log extremely detailed. I did it all, spell class coloring, time stamp, etc as I hadnt really messed around with those settings since the new combat log came out towards the end of BC. I did all these changes before Naxx last night and went about things as normal.

Possible Combat Log Dropping FPS

What I found was, as soon as combat started on trash for Naxx last night, my FPS bottomed out. I flat out froze up and didnt get to do much of anything till combat ended. Prior to this, my FPS would usually only drop to about 10 or so on trash and bosses within Naxx, last night after these combat log changes, I was hitting 4 and 5. This immediately prompted me to think back as to what exactly changed since I last raided a few days prior. The only thing I changed, was the combat log display.

Solution?

As a test, I decided to try and undo everything I adjusted and make the combat log as basic as possible.

Low and behold, that fixed the FPS issue and I actually was back to my normal 10-15.

Trying further to improve things, I set the combat log to "What Happened to me?" only, which further improved things.

Possible Combat Log Dropping FPS

Taking it one final step, I decided to try and "hide" the combat log from view using the chat tabs in WoW.

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Doing all that seemed to boost my FPS by a lot and I could actually turn my video settings back up to the normal levels and get better FPS rates then I did when they were all set to bare minimums.

Suggestions

As a suggestion for anyone experiencing severe FPS lag in raids, if you have your combat log displayed or tweaked to display tons of info, I would recommend adjusting things like I described above and testing it out. I have a feeling that you might see an improvement as I did with things.

Hopefully this little bit of info helps some people out as it did for me.

Nasanna:
Thanks, Shadow! I'll give it a shot, I always thought it was odd that my fps dropped with a newer, better computer, but only in raids.

Will this mess up wws reports or anything?

I've also noticed that turning off or pausing recount helps too ( /recount pause).

Tony:
I'll give this a shot tonight and post results tomorrow. Thanks for the Tip!

Shadowwolf:
Logging the combat log for WWS and displaying it on screen are 2 diff things. When you log the combat log, it lags you slightly, but ive done it so long now I dont notice it really. Combat Logging is more a memory thing than an FPS thing, but actually looking at the log in game is a video thing.

Kothnok:
From a programmer's perspective:

Anything that provides massive real-time data will undoubtedly slow down your user interface if you elect to display that data as it is being streamed in.  A balance needs to be made in most cases where you have to be willing to give up something in order to keep data loss at a minimum.  Your FPS suffers because you can afford to miss an animation frame here and there and your brain will not really miss anything much since we're quite adept at filling in the missing visual data.  Combat logging and Recount numbers on the other hand cannot skip any information at all or it's value as an information provider becomes worthless.  If you've ever looked at the combat log, there are thousands of lines of information in there for every second of combat.  Displaying them real-time is quite a chore and will severely tax any system.

Let me provide and experience from one of my jobs...

I was given an issue to fix with regards to a slow database operation taking hours to complete.  This particular operation typically occurs after store hours and is usually no big deal.  It became a problem because it started taking so long that once it started after the last retail store closed, it would not finish before the first store needed to open the next day.  Nothing could be done on the system until it finished, so store operations were being held up.  The problem turned out to be the progress bar for the database operation.  Every time it completed a part of it's job, it would update the display to let the user know that 12% is now done, or whatever it maybe at that time.  On very large data files, this update occurred thousands of times a second and the system dutifully let the user know just as often.  The problem is that showing "12%" on the screen ate up a TON of CPU time and the database operation had to wait until the user was updated with the new screen info.  By removing the progress bar, the hours long database operation was reduced to less than 30 minutes.  I ended up putting a progress bar back in (because you have to give feedback or users will reboot the computer on you thinking it's locked up) but instead of refreshing the display each time the database did something, I put a throttle in so that it would only update the screen every few seconds instead of thousands of times a second.  This increased the time it took to about 45 min, but it was far more acceptable than the many many hours it used to take.

Blizz needs to change their combat log chat tab to do something similar.  A person cannot read thousands of lines a second, but I have no doubt they are trying to display it as fast as it comes in, forcing your FPS to suffer because of it.  I also believe that if they know it's an issue, it's probably quite low on their priority list.

> Logging the combat log for WWS and displaying it on screen are 2 diff things.
What she said.  If you're logging chat or combat, all chat and all combat data are saved to your hard drive, regardless of how you see it in game.  You will be logging all of the chat channels you have turned off as well as all of the combat going on around you regardless of your ingame screen filtering.

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