For a number of reasons many gamers experience FPS drops when playing with large ships. This gets worse when mods are unvolved. Some players are especially surprised when the drop happens as soon as weapons are fired. The same players commonly compare their experience with FPS games like CS:GO or Arma 3. It is generally perceived these AAA games to be demanding games where as Cosmoteer being low end with its 2D graphics. This is purely a misconception and lack of understanding or realizing the difference.
The dominance of 3D games has led the graphics GPU development to concentrate on improving 3D performance while neglecting 2D performance. 2D performance and support hasn't seen any technical improvement for over a decade.
The other major difference is Cosmoteer simulates every crew and ship AI. Unlike the few dozen at most of character in any 3D games large ships in Cosmoteer have at least a few thousand crew. While shooter games rarely deal with more than a hundred shots at a time, a few thousands are very common with large ships. The FPS drop is more significant with point defense weapons and their extreme high rate of fire.
Generally speaking, Cosmoteer is very RAM memory demanding for loading large ships and very CPU processing demanding for running the game. On the graphics side it is especially VRAM demanding when mods are involved. Older, especially integrated graphics (APU), can lack features as well as the power to run. This is especially true with pre- Intel Xe and AMD RDNA graphics technology. Discrete graphics with their more powerful and feature complete GPU graphic cards shouldn't have any trouble post-2010.
Since Cosmoteer 0.15.13, an animated screenshot option is available. Naturally, this requires a lot of graphics memory to save up frames.
GPU-bottlenecked or CPU-bottlenecked
How to check if you are CPU-bottlenecked or GPU-bottlenecked:
- Pause the game. If your FPS increases, you're CPU-bottlenecked. If it doesn't, you're GPU-bottlenecked.
- If turning off animated backgrounds improves things, you're GPU-bottlenecked in an empty game.
When building a large ship or playing with mods or playing with many large ships the game will lag and the amount of RAM becomes an issue leading to a crash. RAM is usually taken up by the OS e.g. Windows 10 ~2GB. On laptops with shared VRAM the specific amount has to be subtracted. The vanilla game (0.15.16) takes up about 800 MB.
- Using vanilla only the estimated amount of RAM needed is about 2 GB per 750000 tile sized ship.
- Using mods the estimated amount of RAM needed is about 2 GB per 500000 tile sized ship. A mod with ship classes require about 10% more per ship class.
The paid steam release version uses improved graphics for screenshots. This employs supersampling options in settings for Off, 125%, 150%, 175%, and 200%. FPS loss occurs only if the bottleneck is the GPU's fill rate.