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Thread: Severe micro-stuttering introduced in the latest hotfix [2017-09-29]

  1. #1
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    Default Severe micro-stuttering (frame pacing issue)

    Outside of small hitches related to the pop-ups, the launch version ran perfectly smooth on my end. Since the hotfix released on the 29th September, however, I experience severe micro-stuttering on every single table. It's very noticeable when following the movement of the ball closely or when the camera pans around (table intro), but it's affecting the whole scene and I can spot it even on menu transitions.

    Lowering the graphics settings to the bare minimum had no positive effect whatsoever, neither had turning off the Steam overlay (as some users suggested as a workaround).

    For a game that hinges so much on tight execution and timing, PFX3 borders on being unplayable for me in its current state, unfortunately.

    I'd be glad to provide further information (log files, etc.) if needed.
    Last edited by Don_himself; 10-19-2017 at 03:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Jaws?

    Hello. Granted my video card is older. But I managed to tweak settings to make Back To The Future and E.T. run smooth as a slick noodle.

    Jaws, on the other hand, has a lot of ball lag (when the ball is coming back to the flippers, mostly).

    What's different about Jaws? Is it the water physics that's draining the video performance?

    I do see "micro-lag" in Jaws when the ball falls back to the flippers... But not in other tables.

  3. #3
    Community Manager McLovin's Avatar
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    We released another update since, with user reports telling us is somewhat improved.

    Could you check?

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    Unfortunately, no. Nothing has changed, even with the latest patch (released on October 16, 2017).

    Let me explain what I mean when I say "micro-stuttering":
    Every tool I tried reports the game to be outputting a constant frame rate of 60 FPS, yet the game still feels really "stuttery". This usually hints at a frame pacing issue.

    In a game running at 60 FPS, each frame should take 16.66 ms (a 60th of a second) to complete were they evenly paced. In practice, it is possible that some frames take less, some more time to render; one frame could be completed in 10 ms, the next in 23 ms and the game would still output 60 frames per second. However, this usually results in noticeable "hitches" commonly referred to as micro-stuttering. Ideally, no frame should take longer than 16.66 ms to render and process in a 60 FPS game.

    Now, you don't have to take my word for it. I measured the frame times playing SW: Episode V both in PFX2 and PFX3 and plotted a graph with the results:


    PFX2

    This is how it supposed to look like:




    PFX3

    Here, the results look drastically different:




    I don't suppose too many players know or care about the causes of micro-stuttering, but the Steam forums and review section are filled with complaints about stuttering issues. I believe this is the prime source of many of these and should be handled with the highest priority.

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    Default As long as were listing glitches

    While playing Marvels women of powers: Champions when you hit the ball through the loop identified with the red arrow and the dot matrix starts talking in high, annoying squirrel voice granting a random prize it often has a black glitchy line that appears that doesnt look a part of the game or a glitch I remember from the previous zen pinball 2 version. I am on ps4.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    pssssst..........over here..........*In muffled voice* The secret, random word is water. Don't tell anyone.

    I was so very excited when I saw that my XP level had gone up to level 41 and then so very upset when Mc Lovin informed me that It looked like a glitch, but, hey guess what, I'm level 41 and the rest of you are only level 40 or less so suck it bitches.

  6. #6
    Community Manager McLovin's Avatar
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    Woah, thanks for these details I forwarded them to the team.

  7. #7

    Cool

    Thank you for posting this topic and the detailed stats! I was trying to explain this issue last week and I don't think anyone believed/understood me. I am hopeful for a solution now.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by McLovin View Post
    Woah, thanks for these details I forwarded them to the team.
    After watching the video it appears that the blinking is used for a scrolling list of prizes and meant to highlight the one you are awarded, but it looks glichy as hell and could be refined.

    https://www.facebook.com/jerry.m.tur...08266147420080

    I have a lot of family content on my facebook so none of you post any fowl remarks please.
    pssssst..........over here..........*In muffled voice* The secret, random word is water. Don't tell anyone.

    I was so very excited when I saw that my XP level had gone up to level 41 and then so very upset when Mc Lovin informed me that It looked like a glitch, but, hey guess what, I'm level 41 and the rest of you are only level 40 or less so suck it bitches.

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    I did some further testing. I was curious to see what the frame times would look like with VSync turned off:



    As you can see, each frame only took 4.37 ms on average to process and not a single frame crossed the threshold of 16.7 ms. The game was running at an average frame rate of 228 FPS during the test period (I believe the game to be hard capped at 240 FPS). I'd say we can rule out the possibility of my hardware being the culprit here.

    Unfortunately, playing with VSync off is not really an option here as the screen tearing can get quite distracting and the physics are known to glitch when the game is running without VSync.

    So I looked for other means of applying VSync. Enabling driver-level VSync wasn't really an improvement over the in-game implementation but forcing it via D3DOverrider made the game feel a lot smoother.

    I remembered that applying a frame limit can help to improve frame pacing issues in certain games so I went and applied a frame limit of 60 FPS via RTSS on top of that. These are the results:



    Now it still didn't feel 100 % perfect but it was a huge improvement compared to the in-game VSync option:



    So, what's the conclusion? I believe that the implementation of VSync in PFX3 is somewhat broken, as the game doesn't show frame times spiking through the roof when run with VSync turned off. Applying VSync by other means improves the overall smoothness and frame pacing substantially (as demonstrated above).

    I believe this to be fixable, but will Zen Studios even bother? The issue came up during the beta and got mostly ignored and I'd be really surprised if nobody noticed during internal testing.

  10. #10
    Community Manager McLovin's Avatar
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    As always, great info. The team is working on filtering your stats in.

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    That's good to hear! Here's hoping PFX3 will run as smooth as its predecessor in the end.

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    Note: I do think I erroneously attributed the (re-)introduction of the micro-stuttering to the September 29 hotfix. Some changes I made to my system reverted a few of the tweaks I applied during the beta (basically disabling the frame limiter), which coincided neatly with the release of said patch. It is much more likely that the frame pacing issues have been present since the beta and never actually went away (as I thought).

    Just to make sure I don't set anyone on the wrong track.

  13. #13
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    Hi there, checking back:

    Do you have the Rewind upgrade equipped when the stutters happen?

    If you replace it, does it happen still?

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    Quote Originally Posted by McLovin View Post
    Hi there, checking back:

    Do you have the Rewind upgrade equipped when the stutters happen?

    If you replace it, does it happen still?
    I did actually have the Rewind upgrade equipped when I did the majority of my testing. However, exchanging it with another upgrade did not alleviate the issue.

    To clarify, the micro-stutter is not only present in certain gameplay situations, it's affecting everything. I can spot it in the menu transitions, the table intros and it's happening constantly during gameplay.

  15. #15
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    Great info again, thank you.

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