Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flash Game Performance: Browser Comparison

Its getting crunch time for The Basement's first Flash game. We are under an non-disclosure, so my hands are tied as far as releasing details about the who, what, when, where, why, and how. (Although you can check out some of the character art at Amy Kingman's blog).

With the deadline quickly approaching, I am spending a majority of my time squashing bugs and trying to squeeze out a few more frames per second out of the game. One thing I noticed while testing was the vast differences in performance between browsers.

I am running XP and am comparing Chrome, IE 6, and Firefox 2. I am using two different builds of the game: an older one from Friday vs the latest build that has gone through a few optimizations. I made sure that I had no other programs running and only opened 1 tab in 1 browser at a time to ensure there was no noise or discrepancies.

Firefox 2:
Friday Build - 22 FPS
Latest Build - 25 FPS

IE 6:
Friday Build - 29 FPS
Latest Build - 32 FPS!

Friday Build - 24 FPS
Latest Build - 29 FPS

I got to admit I'm all about Firefox... but its hard to argue against these numbers. I haven't taken the plunge into Firefox 3 yet, mainly due to the lack of Flash Tracer support, but once I do I will update this with my findings (also will have to jump into IE 7 as well to make it fair... altho IE seems to be doing fine without updates).

It is also interesting to note that both IE and Firefox increased by 3 Frames Per Second while Chrome jumped 5. Not sure why... which isn't helpful. I can tell you that most of the improvements involved creating smaller bitmap areas to be drawn, using object pools, cutting back the items in the pool, and removing clips from the stage when they were not being used. Not sure why Chrome would handle these improvements differently, I guess I need a better understanding of the bottlenecks of each browser.

If anyone has any insights on the matter, I would love to hear them.

After being reassured by the comments below that Flash Tracer did actually exist for FF3, I went ahead and downloaded it as well as IE 7. Here is what I found:

IE 7:
Friday Build - 29 FPS
Latest Build - 32 FPS

Firefox 3:
Friday Build - 28 FPS
Latest Build - 34 FPS

IE 7 didn't seem to add any performance boost to the game, but IE 6 was already so fast that it did not matter. Firefox 3, on the other hand, gained six fps on the old build and a whopping nine on the Latest build! The swf was published at 35 fps, so the 34fps from Firefox 3 is incredible.


Brendan Murphy said...

flash tracer works fine for me in ff3.0.3

Anonymous said...

i'm a firefox daily user at home and for work (with firebug), but it's true ie is faster with flash... and sometimes FF3 with Flash10 crash

Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing one SWF performed differently in different browsers. Funny how we haven't seen more such benchmarking.

The browser vendors typically don't discuss their timing events, so the roundup from Tinic Uro in 2006 is still the best info I know of:


Ickydime said...

Thanks for the link. For some reason the link I had made no references to the updated version. I went ahead and installed FF3 (tracer works just fine) and put the updated benchmarks above.

Not sure if that statement holds true with FF3... but again this is just one swf and not a good representation of Flash at large.

Thanks for the comment and for adding Tinic's link, appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Are you using the debug or release player across all browsers?

Ickydime said...

Good question. I have the debug player installed on both Firefox and IE so I can take advantage of Flash Tracer.

As far as Chrome... whatever comes standard, I did not download a debug version for it unless it happens to use the mozilla or IE versions.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see the same tests done using the normal release Flash player as the debug player is quite a bit slower.

Anonymous said...

wooouww thanks you all the game beatiful

Carlos Gomez said...

Hi! Everybody has to know that not only the FPS matters but the CPU usage too!,,, I am doing a comparison between the two browsers IE7 and FF3,,, the results are always better for IE7 it only takes 10% CPU USAGE in google HD video, and when you use FF3 Or Chrome the usage goes up to 20-40% ,,, I Think IE is better than anything in flash!!!,,, greetings from el salvador :)

Eliaz Beth said...

I am spending a majority of my time squashing bugs and trying to squeeze out a few more frames per second out of the game. One thing I noticed while testing was the vast differences in performance between browsers.

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