Dwarf Fortress – How to Boost FPS

Framerate Improvements

    Regarding strategies that have been successful for me, I’ve discovered that concentrating on reducing pathing aids in raising framerate the most. There is a tremendous amount of pathfinding to be done in a late fort with 200 dwarves (and as many animals), all caverns open, and a convoluted layout. The more traffic regions you select, the closer everything is together, and the smaller the area you have to travel through, the higher your FPS will be.

    • Embarking on a smaller site means a smaller area for pathing. Using (uppercase) UHKM when selecting an emark site to shrink the size to 3×4 (75% of the size), 3×3 (~55% of the size) or even smaller can help limit the amount of pathfinding that needs to be done.
    • Designate high, low and restricted traffic areas ([d]esignations -> [o] to selected traffic area painting, then select [l]ow, [n]ormal, [h]igh or [r]estricted before painting) to aid in pathfinding. Painting main corridors, stairways, and routes through your fort as [h]igh traffic areas will help the pathfinding algorithm find the fastest routes through. Additionally, you can paint dead-end rooms as [l]ow or [r]estricted areas to help it skip over these.
    • Caverns are large and complicated. Blocking access to them with a locked door, raised drawbridge or even walling them off entirely will reduce the amount of pathfinding dwarves need to do through them.
    • Animals need to pathfind, too. Locking them in a cage will completely stop them from doing this, though I believe they will no longer breed. Using a pasture behind a locked/pet impassible door or drawbridge can also minimise the pathfinding they do. In the case of your war cardinals, locking them in a cage that’s linked to a lever could allow you to release them all at once when needed.
    • Plan your fort for efficiency. Minimising distance between things means less pathfinding. For example, putting small stockpiles of prepared food, drinks and mugs/goblets near your dining hall means dwarves don’t have to go between your farm/food stockpiles and your dining hall as much. Spreading out vertically rather than horizontally can keep things closer.
    • Using warrens can help keep your dwarves contained to a smaller area. I’m not completely clear on how this interacts with pathfinding, but I have found this helpful for framerate previously.
    • If you find the game unplayable at lower framerates, consider limiting your population cap to a smaller size.
    • Outside of pathfinding, the game tracks items you create. The more things you make, the more junk there is for the game to track. Trading or gifting junk items to caravans or crushing things under a drawbridge can help get rid of old items. Additionally, turning off temperature calculations can speed things up, though I think things will stop burning/freezing in that case.
    Volodymyr Azimoff
    About Volodymyr Azimoff 13689 Articles
    I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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