Astral Performance Optimization

Getting the best possible performance on Astral

With any graphics-intensive web-based services, performance will depend on several factors. These include internet connectivity, hardware specifications of your device, graphics drivers, browser choice, etc. With so many factors included it is near impossible to provide minimum system specifications recommended for using Astral.

That being said, there are steps that can be taken to ensure both you and your group members have a memorable, immersive experience in your sessions. Here are some troubleshooting tips and tricks to improve performance on the site.

Using the right mindset

As a GM, you may make an expansive, feature packed map that runs beautifully on your high end gaming rig. All good, right?

While a map may run well on your test run, keep in mind that Astral’s performance is on a per-device basis. Each of your players will be connecting to this map. Most of your players will likely have an amazing experience, however if one of your players is running on a lower-end computer, their experience may be compromised. Keep this in mind when making maps. One player being excluded from the session due to hardware restrictions can negatively impact the whole party.

Use the right browser for the job

While we try to provide support for as many browsers as possible, there are some browsers that are more supported than others. Our list of supported browsers include:

  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Opera GX (**With Gesture Control disabled)
  • Brave

We will continue to expand our supported browsers as much as possible. In the meantime, it’s best that all Astral members use browsers that are supported and known to be stable.

Dynamic Lighting (and Special Effects)

One of our most popular features, Dynamic Lighting, also happens to be one of the most resource intensive features on the site. Worry not, you can still use Dynamic Lighting in your sessions and have good performance. There are some considerations a GM should keep in mind when choosing to use Dynamic Lighting in their maps.

The maximum view distance of your players

The more dynamic lighting points your players have within their view radius, the heavier the impact will be on their systems. Even if the points are obscured behind Dynamic Lighting walls and can’t be “seen”, they will still impact performance.

The density of Dynamic Lighting points

High density of Dynamic Lighting points (such as dozens of points on a single pillar to simulate a circle) cause issues for the same reason as max view distance. The more points occupying small spaces, the more points the players have within their view radius.

It’s a common misunderstanding with Dynamic Lighting that every edge of your structure needs to have an individual point. In most cases, tracing a general shape near your wall is far more than enough. Having 50+ points outlining a room’s every detail when a box made of 4 points will suffice is a common situation found in troubleshooting.

As a general rule, don’t use more points than you need. The less points you use elsewhere means more points you can add for detail where it really counts.

The type of Dynamic Lighting

Dynamic Lighting has several modes. Standard, which is a sharper edged, less performance-intensive option, and the Enhanced modes. Most prefer the Enhanced Dynamic Lighting options, but if your party is experiencing issues, try using Standard Dynamic Lighing. This easy fix often solves many performance issues related to Dynamic Lighting.

Special Effects

Special effects, such as Godrays, affect performance. When used in conjunction with Dynamic Lighing and animated assets, it can overwhelm less performant devices. If your users are having performance issues, consider disabling Special Effects.

Assets

Both the number of assets and types of assets affect performance. Having thousands of assets on a map, including MP4 and GIF filetypes, can contribute to degraded performance. This is often not the heaviest performance hit, but if all other troubleshooting tips have failed, reducing the amount of assets used on your map as well as using animations sparingly can help.

In the opposite vein, having a single, giant, ultra high resolution image will negatively impact your performance. If you have a giant map, try cutting it into several sections. If players are on a giant map cut into 12 sections, they may only be able to see at most 3 or 4 sections at a time. The other sections will be “dropped” as far as performance is concerned, so your players will have a better experience and the map will still look seamless.

Remember, we at Astral strive to provide the best experience for all community members. We understand that bad performance is immersion-breaking. If you are having performance issues, feel free to drop us a bug report. We will investigate.

Have a beefy gaming rig, but still having issues? Check this article!