This week, Last Epoch is gearing up to launch patch 0.9 on March 9. For the past several days, developers Eleventh Hour Games have posted developer blog updates about what’s coming in their meaty update that will introduce multiplayer for the first time and a unique trade system. Their recent development post is all about performance and optimization improvements in Last Epoch.
Overhauling the VFX in Last Epoch
Many isometric ARPGs are visual effects (VFX) intensive, especially in Last Epoch. Every action from swinging a melee weapon, casting elemental spells, and even just standing in the rain produces multiple and simultaneous VFX on your monitor. Eleventh Hour Games have introduced thousands of new VFX to the game. Each one is being benchmarked for optimal performance.
Instantiation and Pooling Rework
Whenever a player or enemy uses an ability, the game must create and initialize related visual effects. Because multiple VFXs can occur at the same time, EHG has reworked how VFX occurs by using a technique known as pooling. This technique involves pooling all the potential effects the game is expected to use ahead of time, which saves a lot of graphical bandwidth.
Last Epoch Shaders and Rendering Optimization
Last Epoch patch 0.9 will redo its shaders optimizations. Shaders are underlying codes that determine pixel colors on your display. Almost every pixel on your screen has an associated shader. This includes UI, textures, terrain, and everything else in between. Some of these shaders are quite simple, but for more advanced VFX these shader calculations can become quite complex.
ELG has confirmed that they have redone their shader configuration since patch 0.8.5F. The results have been positive, producing a smoother and more performant experience for players. For comparison to the previous patch build, the video above illustrates framerates in patch 0.8.5C, while the bottom shows off improvements in patch 0.8.5F. Expect patch 0.9 to be even more optimized.
Improving Screen Frame Time For Lower-End PCs
As a PC title, it is important that Last Epoch is playable on a wide variety of different PC configurations. EHG has further brought improvements for lower-end machines as well. EHG developed new internal tools to benchmark frame scenes that will help identify performance issues. The developer stated that they will benchmark scenes on a weekly basis to ensure performance improvements are hitting their targets and to avoid future performance issues.
For all of the technical breakdowns of the game’s performance and optimization improvements, check out their development blog right here.
All in all, Last Epoch 0.9, is shaping up to be one of their most important updates yet. Did you try out the game’s free multiplayer beta at the end of February? What was your experience with the game? Sound off in the comment section below.
Last Epoch patch 0.9 is scheduled to go live on March 9, 2023.