Poll

Should the minimap be culled?

Yes, graphical performance is more important
1 (12.5%)
Yes, but for some reason other than graphical performance (please reply if you choose this)
0 (0%)
I don't mind either way
1 (12.5%)
No, but its function could be limited to a non-animated image of the level (i.e. no moving "lemming dots", but it can still be used to navigate around the level)
0 (0%)
No, it's still a useful and valid game feature and should be kept without change
3 (37.5%)
No, keeping it optional mostly solves the problem of graphical performance being compromised, and it's only really noticeable on the occasional sprawling level anyway
3 (37.5%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Voting closed: September 17, 2023, 12:52:15 AM

Author Topic: [SUG][POLL] Cull the minimap to re-gain graphical rendering performance? [POLL]  (Read 3612 times)

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Offline WillLem

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It's been suggested previously, with discussion here and here, but now that SuperLemmix has become quite heavy on the rendering (what with Projectiles, Freezer, Ballooner, Superlemming mode, Rewind, Turbo FF, etc.) it might be time to go ahead and retire the minimap.

As with NeoLemmix, SuperLemmix currently offers the option to deactivate the HQ minimap, instead showing a monochrome rendering of the level (as per most L1 ports). However, SLX also provides an option to deactivate the minimap altogether, in order to shrink the screen horizontally without resizing the rest of the panel. Both options also result in a graphical performance uptick that's most noticeable on larger levels and those with a lot of animated objects.

Particularly, with the minimap deactivated, the improvement to graphical performance is remarkable. And with SLX moving further and further into "Lemmings 2" territory, perhaps culling the minimap is something of a no-brainer to offset the increasing demands on the graphics rendering.


Reasons for:

:lemming: Significantly improved graphical performance

:lemming: More panel space - room for extra skill/function buttons if so desired

:lemming: Screen resizing becomes less problematic

:lemming: Tidies up the interface

:lemming: The ability to zoom in/out and fast-scroll pretty much obsoletes the minimap anyway


Reasons against:

:lemming: The minimap is a traditional Lemmings feature, and goes somewhat hand in hand with "Classic Mode", which aims to present the game as close to the OG as possible

:lemming: The minimap does occasionally come in handy for quickly jumping to another part of the level, and for seeing where lemmings are when they're offscreen

:lemming: It's already optional - maybe this is enough, with players able to decide for themselves whether they'd rather have the traditional L1 display or a graphical performance boost


Another option would be to keep the minimap, but provide the option for it to be toggleable on and off whilst in-game; I'm pretty sure that this is possible. Furthermore, the game could periodically check to see what framerate it's running at, and if it drops below a certain threshold, a popup message could prompt the user to toggle the minimap off in order to gain a performance boost. That way, it's dynamically available depending on whether or not it actually is impacting performance.

Thoughts?



Added a poll.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2023, 12:53:18 AM by WillLem »

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] Cull the minimap to re-gain graphical rendering performance?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2023, 12:53:10 AM »
What about changing the mini-map so it's not animated at all. Just a map that highlights your location. No dots to represent all the lemmings movements?


I personally almost never use the feature of the moving dots. Maybe some do. Or, just show the complete map image and that's it. For reference.

I usually use the minimap to move the focus-square to where I want to be quickly. And that's about it.
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] Cull the minimap to re-gain graphical rendering performance?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2023, 01:04:52 AM »
What about changing the mini-map so it's not animated at all. Just the map that highlights your location. No dots to represent all the lemmings movements. ?

This is a great idea since it retains the ability to quickly move around a larger level. It does sacrifice the ability to see where off-screen lemmings are, but this is perhaps a worthwhile compromise which might solve the graphical performance issue without losing the minimap altogether.

This would probably involve rendering the minimap only at the very start of the level, and then using that image thereafter rather than refreshing it every frame. If that's easy enough to achieve and people are generally in favour of keeping the minimap, then this seems like a good option.

I've added this option to the poll.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2023, 01:29:06 AM by WillLem »

Offline Floyd Brannon

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I'd like to add another possible option. I like the map and I have used those dots on occasion but not often to see lemmings dropping from other hatches.

My suggestion is this. What about a fully functional high-res map that only updates if you interact with the mini map? Maybe hovering the cursor over the map will make it update. Or click and hold. If you take the cursor out of that area the map will stay frozen.

Offline WillLem

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What about a fully functional high-res map that only updates if you interact with the mini map? Maybe hovering the cursor over the map will make it update. Or click and hold. If you take the cursor out of that area the map will stay frozen.

Not a bad idea either. I'd probably add to this that, when the minimap is frozen, the lemming dots should disappear to avoid any confusion.

With that said, it has just occurred to me that the level layout will necessarily change when the player has interacted with it (by adding/removing terrain, for instance); this does put something of a spanner in the works regarding a completely non-animated, non-updating map.

So, Floyd's idea seems to solve this problem. But, then we have the issue of a player having to know that interacting with it will update it. Also, information from the minimap being available at a glance is probably a big part of its appeal/functionality.

At this point, the idea of finding something of a compromise between having the minimap and not having the minimap is still tempting, but let's keep in mind that it may end up being preferable/simpler to go completely one way or the other with it.

Offline jkapp76

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Or, you could ONLY show the mini-map when paused. This should certainly fix all the issues. Have the map either freeze or completely disappear when unpaused.
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline WillLem

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Or, you could ONLY show the mini-map when paused. This should certainly fix all the issues. Have the map either freeze or completely disappear when unpaused.

This seems like a good idea, anyone have any thoughts about this?

Offline Floyd Brannon

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This seems like a good idea, anyone have any thoughts about this?

I have one thought. If the map only shows when paused anyway could you make it bigger and maybe show it at the top of the screen so it takes zero real-estate in the toolbar? Otherwise I think I like this idea.

Also, I hope we get to keep the clear physics button. I think you mentioned removing the squiggle button?

The poll doesn't have an option of changing the map location or how it works. I voted to remove it, but only because this seems close to removing the map during play.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2023, 11:49:53 PM by Floyd Brannon »

Offline Proxima

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Given its comparative emphasis on real-time challenges, I would have thought that SLX needs the minimap, in a way that NL does not. If performance is an issue, just go back to the monochrome minimap as default or even as the only version offered.

Offline WillLem

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Having given this a few days' thought, and looking at the votes so far, it looks like there isn't much support for removing the minimap so this probably won't happen.

A slight majority of people think that keeping it optional is enough, and I probably agree.

I'll call it here on any outlandish changes to the minimap's general appearance/functionality. If we're keeping it, we'll keep it as it is and switch to monochrome if graphical performance is taking a hit; at the moment, levels above a certain size (1600 wide or 640 high, to be exact) default to monochrome automatically - this seems to be enough to mitigate slowdown on larger levels.

In the meantime, I'll also investigate other ways to grab back a bit of graphical performance, perhaps there's a bottleneck somewhere or a rendering procedure that isn't as efficient as it could be.