Surface RT - horrible performance for native games

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  • Hi Guys,

    I picked up a MS Surface RT the other day to test out a game that I'd released to the Win store. To my absolute horror, the game ran at 10-15 fps. I checked out some other simple games like Jetpack Joyride, and they too ran with some frame rate drops.

    The surprising thing is that my game, and simple ones like JPJR run at 30+ fps on my old ipad2.

    Strangely enough, when I ran the HTML5 exported version of my game through IE10, performance was actually slightly better again. Bit of a 'wtf' moment for me - shouldn't native apps run better? <img src="smileys/smiley5.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

    Anyway, just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences, either with the Surface or other ARM devices.

  • As I've read, the ipad 2 was a huge jump forward in power - so huge that it's still competitive with the rest of the market today (and why they used its tech again in the ipad mini).

    Still, it's rather surprising that even a game like jetpack joyride doesn't run smoothly. :/

  • Arima - yeah it's very surprising, considering that games have been a huge contributor to the ipad's (and arguably iphone/ipod) success. MS have dropped the ball for gaming here IMHO.

    Since having the problems, MS released a firmware upgrade, but most games still stutter along. <img src="smileys/smiley19.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

    I'm thinking about dropping ARM devices, or perhaps making pared down versions for them.

  • Do you know what the hardware specs are for the device? It might just be really rubbish!

    ARM is perfectly capable of running high-performance games (such as the latest Android and iOS tablets), but if a device is underpowered there's not much you can do, especially if native games run slow.

  • Here are some comparative specs:

    ipad vs surface

    I wouldn't have much clue as to where the slowness comes from on the surface - could be hardware, software, both, neither?

    All I know is I cranked up my game expecting it to be at least as good as the ipad2 and got completely bummed out lol <img src="smileys/smiley5.gif" border="0" align="middle">

  • Microsoft really sucks, whatever they keep trolling us

  • I ran the space blaster game at bestbuy on a vivo rt tablet. It did not go above 8 fps. However the yoga tablet (x86) had absolutely no problem staying at 60 fps.

  • Yikes that's terrible! I wonder how other ARM devices with win 8 perform. Yeah I tried the game on a Samsung slate (x86)and it had similar 50+ fps.

  • Well this is totally weird - I just downloaded a full 3d game which has way more going on called hydro thunder and it runs really, really smooth like 30fps! So why are 2d games performing so poorly I wonder...

  • Well this is totally weird - I just downloaded a full 3d game which has way more going on called hydro thunder and it runs really, really smooth like 30fps! So why are 2d games performing so poorly I wonder...

    I guess Hydro Thunder uses C# as Native, i guess Microsoft doesn't care about Javascript performance and don't use V8.

  • Hmm that would explain it. It's a shame though - it would be in their best interests to support js games a bit better

  • We've found tablet devices with an ARM processor gets CPU bottlenecked. You'll even see FPS drops on Cut The Rope and other MS endorsed js games.

    We were able to optimise to get an average 25fps (up from 16) on the Surface, which isn't ideal, but it's playable.

    Here's what we did:

    • Went through every loop and made sure stuff was only running when it absolutely had to. Changing every tick, to every 0.1 second etc.
    • Only made objects physics if they absolutely had to be. We'd work out if it was impossible to collide with something, and remove the physics if so.
    • Removed as many collision mesh points as possible.

    We've found that number of sprites on screen don't seem to impact the bottleneck. I tripled object count with no detriment to performance on Surface.

  • Also, if anyone wants to test on a Surface and can't afford one, Microsoft runs something called a Windows Store App Lab, where you can drop in and test for free.

    They're all over the world, you can find a list here:

    We didn't register - we just turned up and had a host of devices to test on. Very useful.

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  • If you follow "Performance Tips for Mobile Games" in the tutorials section you should be able to get your game above 30fps. I did submit a platformer that ran extremely low originally (about 10-12fps) and was able to bring it around 35-45 fps on average.

    My main advice would be to stay away from large transparencies (or opacity) and reduce particle effects.

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