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[Guide] Optimising single-player performance - Stuttering? Got 8gb RAM? This might help

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Morbo513

Recruit
WBNW
The purpose of this thread is to compile any settings, tweaks and other solutions to mitigate the performance issues currently plaguing the game with lower-end systems.

Generally, stuttering occurs most severely for players as new assets are being loaded in - when transitioning into scenes (battles, town), loading UI elements, sounds, models and textures. For most players, the stuttering will decrease over time within a given battle or scene, but worsen for each subsequent scene entered.

Most players reporting these issues so far have been on systems with 8gb RAM - myself included. Though the system requirements list 8gb as "recommended", at this time it's clearly not adequate to run the single-player campaign at an acceptable level of performance. That said, if you've more than 8gb RAM and otherwise meet or exceed the recommended system specs, you may benefit from following this guide too.

Note: It's apparent that the single-player campaign game currently has a memory leak. If this is a universal problem, against which I've seen no indication, this is likely the root of many such reports.
Whatever your specs, game performance will most likely diminish the longer you play. Restarting the game every ~1h30 is recommended.
Patch 1.0.4 contains "a" memory-leak fix - whether this means the leaks' been entirely eliminated remains to be seen


Disclaimer:
Nothing presented here is guaranteed to make a noticeable difference to performance - but will generally be worth trying.
Short of waiting and hoping for optimisation passes by Taleworlds, upgrading your RAM beyond 8gb is going to be the most reliable and comprehensive means of addressing the game's performance for the end-user (you).
Most people who are having such issues will already be conscious of this, but are unable and/or unwilling to do so. Comments along the lines of "Just upgrade ur ram lol" only confirm to everyone that you're an asshat.
I take no responsibility for damage caused to your PC, game installation, person, property or sanity through the application of this guide or use of third-party software linked to in this thread.

With all that said, I've been able to get the game running near-flawlessly (bar the memory leak) through some of the following methods.

Anything marked with ✅ is something I've done personally and seen significant benefit from.

Minimise overall RAM usage ✅
Use Windows' task-manager (Ctrl+alt+del > Start Task Manager > Processes) to identify and close down any non-essential background processes that may be consuming RAM. Web browsers in particular are RAM-hungry these days. Ideally the only things that will be running while you play Bannerlord are Steam anything essential to Windows, as well as any software that may help enhance performance.

Launch Steam with -no-browser ✅
Steam contains its own browser. If you've ever looked at Task-manager while running it, you'll have noticed multiple instances of "Steamwebhelper.exe", each eating a non-trivial amount of RAM.
Steam can be launched with its browser disabled - preventing use of the store, library, community etc (Friends list and chat still works) - by launching it with the command line parameter -no-browser - The steam client its self will then be the only process it starts, minimising its RAM usage.

I advise creating a new shortcut to Steam. Right-click this new shortcut, click Properties > Shortcut, and in "Target" append -no-browser, as such:
Code:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe" -no-browser

You can make this shortcut start Bannerlord directly by appending -applaunch 261550, as such:
Code:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe" -no-browser -applaunch 261550

With this shortcut set up, you will close Steam and launch it via the shortcut when going to play Bannerlord. You could even rename it and/or set its icon to that of the game to avoid confusion.

Note: I can't tell you whether this affects multiplayer - I'd appreciate someone (who knows they can already login without issue) testing it out. Multiplayer functionality is unaffected.

Restart the game frequently ✅
It's pretty clear by now that the campaign suffers from memory leaks. Reloading save-games, playing through multiple battles/scenes seem to increase RAM usage over time. If the game's performance feels significantly worse after an hour or so, restarting once it reaches this point should keep it within the realm of playability.

Install Bannerlord on an SSD ✅
SSDs are read much faster than regular hard-drives. This means it takes less time to access things like textures, models, sounds and other game assets. If you have one and can free the space, installing/moving Bannerlord to an SSD as opposed to a HDD is almost guaranteed to significantly decrease load-times and mitigate or even eliminate stutter. In my case it was the single biggest improvement.
120gb SSDs go for relatively cheap (Around £30-50) these days, and are probably the most bang-for-your-buck if you currently only have an HDD.

Note:
I haven't seen this brought up before here, but before you install Bannerlord onto your SSD you should be well aware that it's more or less going to shorten its lifespan. Reading and writing data is the source of most of the wear on your drives, and a game as big as Bannerlord that's still in Early Access - meaning it's going to be updated very frequently and often quite large amounts of data can get rewritten - is going to cause a lot of wear. It will definitely shorten the lifespan of your SSD by some unspecific amount. Now, modern SSDs have a long lifespan regardless - you probably won't notice the loss. This notice is for those who have older SSDs or who don't for whatever reason want to place that extra burden on their SSDs.


Check your page-file ✅
Windows' Pagefile is essentially an extension of RAM by way of your Hard-Drive/SSD. The pagefile can be dynamic in its size - as it's increased or decreased, RAM and CPU are used to perform this operation.
As such, I'd advise setting the minimum and maximum page-file sizes to the same value. As to what that value should be, most sources indicate 1.5x the size of RAM - That makes it a 12gb (12,288mb) pagefile for a system with 8gb RAM.

For Windows 7:
Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced System Settings > Advanced > Performance > Advanced > Virtual Memory.
Uncheck "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives"
Click "Custom size", put 12288 in both boxes, click "Set" then "Apply".

If you have an SSD, moving the pagefile over to it (and reducing the one(s) on your hard-drive(s) to ~500mb) may also make a significant difference.
If you have 2 SSDs, splitting your pagefile between them may further increase performance - Thanks @problemsolver

Disable Audio Enhancements - Use regular headphones/speakers ✅
Don't know why this works, but I'm not gonna complain.
Go to Control Panel > Sound > Playback devices
Right click > Properties > Enhancements on your speakers/headphones
Check "Disable all enhancements". Apply.

In my case, swapping from my USB headset with integrated soundcard to a regular pair of headphones reduced stuttering quite a bit.

Thanks to reddit users ZeppKfw and Gaben_money

Optimise game settings ✅
Ultimately, every system's going to be different in some way - There's no fix-all set of settings that will work better for everyone. However, some settings are more RAM-intensive than others. Here's the key settings I use to minimise stuttering while largely preserving graphical fidelity:
Shader Quality, LightingHigh
Texture Streaming BudgetVery High
Textures, Shadows, Environment, Terrain, Decals, WaterLow
Shadow TypeStatic Only
Particle Detail, Particle Quality, Foliage Quality, Character DetailMedium
AntialiasingSMAA
Texture FilteringAnisotropic 16x
OcclusionTSAO
Shadow FilteringPCF
Sound Channels128

Enabled:
Depth of Field
Screen-space Reflection
Sunshafts
Subsurface scattering
Tesselation
Bloom
Film Grain

Edit: Since moving to an SSD, I was able to put up all the settings listed as Low to Medium with no issue.
Edit2: After the last few patches, it may be better to set texture-streaming to minimum

Reducing your Resolution and capping your FPS to a value ~30% lower than the maximum you get may also help a lot.

It's been reported that using Fullscreen instead of Windowed Fullscreen, and also setting your resolution manually (instead of "Desktop Resolution") also has a significant effect on improving performance. It made no noticeable difference for me.

In any case, I recommend playing around with the settings to find what works best for you. You might be able to get away with increasing some settings, and/or you may need to decrease some for optimal performance. Trial and error is the name of the game.

My specs for reference:
Asus P5Q-Pro
Intel Q9550 OC'd @ 3.6ghz
8gb DDR2 800mhz RAM
GTX 1050 Ti 4gb
Unknown 11-year-old SATA HDD
Corsair 120gb SSD

Thanks @nemesis234 and @Askorti

Windows Readyboost
This is probably grasping at a straw, but every little helps right? Windows Readyboost requires the use of a USB/Flash drive, essentially using it as additional RAM. Flash memory is quicker than reading/writing to the HDD, as is the case with the page-file, but is still no replacement for RAM, and likely isn't as efficient as an SSD's page-file.
Plug in your flash drive.
Clear any unnecessary files
On Autoplay, click "Speed up my system using Windows Readyboost"

Defragment your Hard-Drive
Note:
Do not defrag SSDs
If, like me, you've had the same HDD for multiple years, chances are it's fragmented to hell and back. As my understanding goes, this means it will take longer for your system to read from the drive, as such compromising performance.
I recommend using Defraggler for this process. Note, it can take up to days to fully defragment a HDD.

Update your GPU drivers

Overclock your RAM
See the last paragraph of the disclaimer.
Ultimately, this is unlikely to make a significant difference, and may well reduce the lifespan of your RAM for the effort, but might just be the push your system needs to get the game running at a level of performance closer to what you find acceptable.

Use 3rd-party software to optimise RAM/CPU/Power usage

Memorycleaner ✅

Memorycleaner is an application that can help cut down on unnecessary RAM usage. In my case, it has helped lengthen the time before the memory-leak becomes a significant issue - however it may contribute to an issue I've had with troops being invisible for the first few seconds of a battle.

Thanks @Nekolacek

Process Lasso ✅
Process Lasso is essentially an extended task-manager, allowing you to set default rules regarding CPU and I/O priority for each application on your PC. I personally set both to "High" for Bannerlord. Note that some features are unavailable in the free version, but they (probably) have little value in this context.

Intelligent Stanby List Cleaner ✅
"The application will monitor and clear the memory standby list according to the configured options parameter you set."


Thanks @TOC1775

Razer Cortex
According to TechRadar:
Razer Cortex [...] performs the usual housework (deleting temporary files, emptying the Recycle Bin, checking for broken registry entries and so on), it also suspends non-essential processes to free up RAM while you're gaming.


Thanks @uncnzrd


If you've any other such tweaks throw them in here and I'll add them to the OP. Corrections are also welcome, I don't have much more than a layman's understanding of computer hardware/software, and might have parroted something incorrect. In any case, I hope this helps some of you - Either way, please respond with your specs, the parts of this guide you followed (and anything else you may have done), and whether it made a difference.
 
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Nekolacek

Knight
Gonna post it here too.

5U1pejM.png

The game starts at 6-ish GB of RAM usage, hey, thats still two GB free right?

RIztYh7.png

This is after 90-ish minutes of gameplay.
Follow the guide, but you are, in the end, always going to choke on the ram if you have just 8GB, as there seems to be issues with memory leak


EDIT:
Additonally, what came to my mind, you can use "Memory Cleaner", and set it to constantly clear memory when usage exeeds 80%, its worth giving it a shot. Works in Escape for Tarkov for a lot of people, cant say it will work here
Just check the first two options in "Options" and give it a go.

Ofc, this is all just bandaid that dont fix anything until you get more ram, or the devs fix the memory leak
 

Morbo513

Recruit
WBNW
Memory Cleaner seems to have some adverse effects - since trying it, I've had troops in tournament battles pop-in, being invisible for the first 20 seconds or so. That may just be a coincidence, and that said general performance does seem to be slightly better while using it.

Try the custom battles? Interestingly I get no stutter/lag on custom battles but during campaign battles and just the campaign in general, I get intense stutter when troops clash. (I also have 8GB of RAM and use a HDD to play this)

Same story here. The main source of stuttering in custom battles for me is the destruction of siege engines and structures, but other than that they play as smooth as Warband with my current settings, at 500 battle-size. It's only during campaign gameplay that it becomes an issue, even in the smallest-scale fights.
I've also noticed sounds being very delayed and presumably contributing to the stutter.

I should've mentioned that in my case at least, once a battle or scene has gone on for more than ~45 seconds in campaign gameplay, performance will stabilise. There may still be the odd stutter, but it's otherwise fine. Presumably because all the sounds, effects, animations and models have been loaded into memory by that point.
 

Waterbuckit

Recruit
Memory Cleaner seems to have some adverse effects - since trying it, I've had troops in tournament battles pop-in, being invisible for the first 20 seconds or so. That may just be a coincidence, and that said general performance does seem to be slightly better while using it.



Same story here. The main source of stuttering in custom battles for me is the destruction of siege engines and structures, but other than that they play as smooth as Warband with my current settings, at 500 battle-size. It's only during campaign gameplay that it becomes an issue, even in the smallest-scale fights.
I've also noticed sounds being very delayed and presumably contributing to the stutter.
At first I feared the worst, that it was my CPU being unable to handle the calculations made by the AI (as the issues happened particularly at the moment when troops clash and need to calculate blocking and such) but the discrepancy in performance between the two modes suggests a fixable performance issue to the campaign. I imagine there's probably just some lacklustre freeing of memory going on or some thread being left running. Can't say.
 

Nekolacek

Knight
Memory Cleaner seems to have some adverse effects - since trying it, I've had troops in tournament battles pop-in, being invisible for the first 20 seconds or so. That may just be a coincidence, and that said general performance does seem to be slightly better while using it.



Same story here. The main source of stuttering in custom battles for me is the destruction of siege engines and structures, but other than that they play as smooth as Warband with my current settings, at 500 battle-size. It's only during campaign gameplay that it becomes an issue, even in the smallest-scale fights.
I've also noticed sounds being very delayed and presumably contributing to the stutter.

I should've mentioned that in my case at least, once a battle or scene has gone on for more than ~45 seconds in campaign gameplay, performance will stabilise. There may still be the odd stutter, but it's otherwise fine. Presumably because all the sounds, effects, animations and models have been loaded into memory by that point.
That just confirms that the issue is with "not enough ram", as memory cleaner just makes any program drop anything its not using at the moment. It was worth a try tho, shame it doesnt help.
 

Nekolacek

Knight
I personally dont have stutters at all, since i have 16GB of ram, some people just want to help other people rather than just "buy new pc lmao"
 
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deuxhero

Regular
With 8GB of ram I can have 500 v 500 cavalry battles in custom battle without issue (only a frame rate drop to 20ish if I'm in the thick of it), but in campaign I stutter in the arena (at least the imperial one during tournaments).
 

Brandsan1

Recruit
With 8GB of ram I can have 500 v 500 cavalry battles in custom battle without issue (only a frame rate drop to 20ish if I'm in the thick of it), but in campaign I stutter in the arena (at least the imperial one during tournaments).

What graphic card are you using?
 

MKLVN

Veteran
RX480. I'll try updating the drivers tomorrow.

It’s the RAM. I also have 8GB and I have an RX580 and can run massive custom battles no problem. the campaign though is unbearable. I’m getting more RAM tomorrow and will update with my results
 

Mayhem66

Recruit
Same story here.

Performance is very bad to the point of nearly being unplayable in campaign but decent in custom battles (40-60 fps) with my settings nearly maxed and 500 battle size.

R9 Fury 4gb
AMD FX-8150
8gb Ddr3 RAM
 
This is not a game designed for 8GB RAM. It is technically possible to run in that situation, but if you want to enjoy it, ... you need a good computer.
 
Ram will help you in the short term and is generally a cheaper option, and a SSD will help as well. GPU and CPU are important for a multitude of reasons but if you're gonna dump money somewhere I'd suggest cpu (that is if your motherboard is compatible with a better one!). Ram is where I'd start though.
 
This is not a game designed for 8GB RAM. It is technically possible to run in that situation, but if you want to enjoy it, ... you need a good computer.
The system requirements on the steam page are misleading then. The recommended memory is listed as 8GB and the minimum is 6GB. We're just going to have to wait for optimization. I don't know how long that's going to take given that they're probably prioritizing fixing the bugs and glitches that people are reporting in. I hope soon because us 8GB RAM users don't deserve this! :sad:

AMD Radeon R9 390
Intel Core i5-6600K
8GB RAM
 

nemesis234

Recruit
Glad to have helped , seems the game is in need of quite some fixes , i can confirm i get huge memory leaks after 1 hour or so even with 12 gigs of ram , people have reported with 16 as well. Well they will fix it eventually , the game needs polishing , thats for sure
 
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