Intel XDK new build system (CW16 test results)

  • Guys! Some good news.

    Last days I was in contact with Paul F. (Intel) from Intel XDK's forum. I recieved the opportunity to test their new build system (CLI 5.4.1 + CW16) which will come out soon. I've made many tests and here are the results of what is comming from Intel.

    testing device: Samsung Galaxy S4 (Quad-core 1.9 GHz, 2GB RAM)

    It's not the newest and not the oldest smartphone. Good for testing.

    testing app: Zombie Annihilation

    It's my game which I plan to release soon. The game is really demanding (mean the resources) as for a mobile game. Most of the time there are hundreads of objects on the screen which are overlapping each other. There is a lot of collissions. So both CPU and GPU are taken to the limit and therefore It's pretty easy to see any performance change with this app.

    Tests

    Current IntelXDK build system setup is Cordova CLI 5.1.1 and Crosswalk 15.

    I have tested the app with various new build system setups:

    • Cordova CLI 5.1.1 and Crosswalk 15 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist enabled and --show-fps-counter enabled
    • Cordova CLI 5.1.1 and Crosswalk 15 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist enabled and --show-fps-counter disabled
    • Cordova CLI 5.1.1 and Crosswalk 15 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist disabled and --show-fps-counter disabled
    • Cordova CLI 5.4.1 and Crosswalk 15 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist enabled and --show-fps-counter enabled
    • Cordova CLI 5.4.1 and Crosswalk 15 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist enabled and --show-fps-counter disabled
    • Cordova CLI 5.4.1 and Crosswalk 15 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist disabled and --show-fps-counter disabled
    • Cordova CLI 5.4.1 and Crosswalk 16 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist enabled and --show-fps-counter enabled
    • Cordova CLI 5.4.1 and Crosswalk 16 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist enabled and --show-fps-counter disabled
    • Cordova CLI 5.4.1 and Crosswalk 16 with --ignore-gpu-blacklist disabled and --show-fps-counter disabled

    Actually --show-fps-counter option doesn't really matter at the end because it is used only for testing, but I wanted to highlight this because there was a huge surprise related to that.

    Tests results

    Option --ignore-gpu-blacklist was enabled by default in CLI 4.1.1. It is recommended to always enable it for each build with CLI 5.1.1, since CLI 5.1.1 is not setting it by default. Check HERE for more details.

    During my tests I didn't notice any difference for the same setup with this option enabled or disabeled. But I saw somewere on the forum that people were recieving a big FPS boost after settign it on. It depends on the GPU you have on board. So after all it should be enabled, but did not impact tests on SGS4.

    CLI 5.1.1, CW15

    FPS: 10-20 with --show-fps-counter enabled

    FPS: 40-55 with --show-fps-counter disabled

    CLI 5.4.1, CW15

    FPS: 10-20 with --show-fps-counter enabled

    FPS: 43-58 with --show-fps-counter disabled

    CLI 5.4.1, CW16

    FPS: 45-57 with --show-fps-counter enabled

    FPS: 51-62 with --show-fps-counter disabled (not really sure why FPS meter shows counter as over 60 sometimes, but it does)

    The FPS values I presented have quite big range, but it's because my app have more and less complex (for CPU) moments during gameplay. If 300 enemies are just moving then it's a "light" moment for CPU, but once they start to overlap a lot and machinegun bullets and rockets join the action then there is also a lot of collisions to count and CPU is taken to the limit.

    Sometimes FPS with all builds dropped even to around 30, but usually only for a second or less, so I didn't count that to the average.

    Wrap up

    New CLI (5.4.1) already give some performance boost, but new Crosswalk seems to be a kind of revolution. If I'm not mistaking this will be the first Crosswalk update which actually improves performance. Before, the performance was worse with each new CW release. Crosswalk 16 will clearly give a boost for Android development with C2 and Intel XDK. It looks like the CW16 performance is even better than Canvas+ (but obviously still adds about 20MB to the APK).

    However Intel's new build system with CLI 5.4.1 and CW16 is not officially released yet. They're still working on it. As I've mentioned at the beginning it's gonna come out soon. I'm hoping for (maximum) mid March, this is the approx. time I can hold with my game release.

    New build system will also have the minSdkVersion bug fixed.

    I will keep on testing tomorrow on higher levels of the game (even more CPU demanding). Will keep you updated if I notice something worth to be added.

  • - Thanks for sharing . Now I don't have to move to Cocoon.IO anymore XD

  • any news about iOS performance?

  • but obviously still adds about 20MB to the APK

    Only if they would fix that make apk smaller

  • any news about iOS performance?

    No sorry. I was testing only Crosswalk builds.

  • > but obviously still adds about 20MB to the APK

    >

    Only if they would fix that make apk smaller

    There's nothing to be fixed. The extra size is the size of the embeded Crosswalk.

  • Finally a good news!

    I had talk to Paul about the crosswalk update and the possibility that fix the current problems. It is a relief to know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks a lot

    PS: Did you mean "--ignore-gpu-blacklist" instead "--show-fps-counter" in the information below, right? (moreover, if you have disabled the counter, how to know the FPS )

    CLI 5.1.1, CW15

    FPS: 10-20 with --show-fps-counter enabled

    FPS: 40-55 with --show-fps-counter disabled

    CLI 5.4.1, CW15

    FPS: 10-20 with --show-fps-counter enabled

    FPS: 43-58 with --show-fps-counter disabled

    CLI 5.4.1, CW16

    FPS: 45-57 with --show-fps-counter enabled

    FPS: 51-62 with --show-fps-counter disabled (not really sure why FPS meter shows counter as over 60 sometimes, but it does)

    @chadorireborn: It was my first thought too.

  • >

    > > but obviously still adds about 20MB to the APK

    > >

    >

    > Only if they would fix that make apk smaller

    >

    There's nothing to be fixed. The extra size is the size of the embeded Crosswalk.

    I think I read somewhere that crosswalk is already included in newer versions of android (from 5.0), could be wrong though. This would mean that in the future it will not be needed inside the apk = smaller apk size.

  • Thanks for sharing

  • PS: Did you mean "--ignore-gpu-blacklist" instead "--show-fps-counter" in the information below, right? (moreover, if you have disabled the counter, how to know the FPS )

    No. I meant --show-fps-counter. It does some pretty heavy measurements every tick so it gives additional load to the CPU and I wanted to highlight that CW16 manage to handle it (together with my app) about 3-4 times better than CW15.

    As I wrote before --ignore-gpu-blacklist didn't have an impact on tests in my case so I did not write the distinct test results for this option, it would be simply redundant.

    EDIT: I have my own FPS counter built in the app.

  • - Thanks for sharing . Now I don't have to move to Cocoon.IO anymore XD

    We will see when it comes out. They are still working on the new build system so they will do some changes still. I hope they won't affect performance in the final release comparing to the version I had my APKs compiled for tests.

  • You should test the Webview only build, Android 5+ system webview has Chromium that boost performance by 20% compared to previous versions. I suspect the gains you are seeing is due to the recent Crosswalk build moving to more recent Chromiums.

    So if you target Android 5+, no Crosswalk, no need for +20MB to the APK.

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  • I have tested Webview on Android 5+ with two games and it was still much slower than Crosswalk. Iwrote that in different topic. The comparison of Webview, Crosswalk and Canvas+.

  • I have tested Webview on Android 5+ with two games and it was still much slower than Crosswalk. Iwrote that in different topic. The comparison of Webview, Crosswalk and Canvas+.

    Then something is broken with XDK.

    Because on Android 5+ devices, the inbuilt browser runs preview over wi-fi very fast.

    Also, you should make a video of your gameplay, so us devs can better judge the performance in context.

    Importantly, this should always be measured: cpuutilisation. It gives a ratio from 0 to 1, 1 = 100% loading of the CPU thread and that's bad.

    So if you get 60 fps and 50% (0.5) cpu usage, that's a great result.

  • - Do you know when is the release date?

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