Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video GPU profiling, part of Unreal Essential Training (2016).
- When creating a game project in Unreal Engine 4, it's important to monitor the overall performance, and to ideally get some feedback as to how your project is taxing things like your GPU, therefore looking at how intensive this overall game project may be when it comes time to packaging it up for playback regardless of what the platform may be. So Unreal Engine 4 contains a very handy GPU Profiler. And the GPU Profiler can be accessed by simply hitting the hotkey control, shift, and comma.
And this will bring up a GPU Visualizer that allows you to start to dig in to see how things are being read by your GPU, and how they're impacting the overall performance. So we just open up our scene, and we'll start to see that we have these different subsets here that we can click on. And one of the things that we want to note is what these little tags, or these little colors, represent. This is the overall impact that it's having on the GPU. So we can go in and we can actually click on areas here. So if we click on this area here we can see that we have this dynamic section here, and this is showing us the overall duration that it's reading back on the GPU.
So we can start to get into bigger areas here, and we can see that the lights are having the overall largest impact that we can see from our GPU Visualizer here, based on the Unreal Engine 4 editor. So we can see how this is impacting our overall performance of our game. So we can see that the lighting is having a lot of effect. So if we open up that, Direct lighting, we can get into specific areas that are really hitting the GPU hard. We can see that our non-shadowed lights is having a little bit of an impact, but nothing too bad. But we can really see that our shadowed lights is having the biggest impact, and that's not to be too unexpected there.
Anything with shadows, especially getting to dynamic lighting with dynamic shadows is going to definitely have an impact on the GPU. And that feedback that we're getting is not too bad. At any time we can go back by clicking this little up arrow, or we can certainly just hit Home to get right back to the overall framing of the GPU Visualizer for our overall scene view. And if you want to view anything specific to the scene, you can click up here on the scene in the actual Graphic Visualizer, or we can click Overall down below to expand the text-based name base to be able to get into specific areas.
The overall scene view is going to give you this one bar of feedback of everything that's having the greatest impact, so you can quickly visualize and click on it that way. And, of course, expanding it's going to break that down by specific components that you can dial in to the very specific scene elements here that are having the biggest impact overall in your scene. So that's the GPU Visualizer, and it's a very handy thing to be able to look at how taxing certain elements within your view port, or in building your game project are.
And this is valuable for before you even get into packaging the game, you can start to dial in and try to dial back areas that might be a little bit intensive overall on the GPU.
- Customizing the Unreal UI
- Creating a new project
- Creating landscapes
- Blocking out levels
- Assembling a scene
- Working with materials and lights
- Adding post-processing effects
- Defining bodies of water
- Adding atmospherics, foliage, and wind
- Working with the Blueprint editor
- Creating cinematics
- Monitoring performance
- Packaging a game for distribution