Hawken Beta Performance Analysis

Product: Hawken
Company: Meteor Entertainment
Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Eric Amidon
Date: January 16th, 2013

Frame time test, 99th/99.9th percentile test, conclusion

Frame time test

As mentioned, framerate reports alone only tell part of the story with the performance of any given game. To offer a deeper insight into how a game performs, testing frame time how long it takes for the GPU to deliver each frame is critical. To this end, FRAFS Bench Viewer software is used in conjunction with FRAPS for this test and the one following.

What you want in a graph like this is an end result that's mostly even and short in height across the board, thus indicating tight, consistent performance. Spikes are expected and do little to noticeably impact the player experience if they occur rarely. Long, chunky, block-shaped sections, however, depict major stuttering and uneven performance that does noticeably hinder the experience.

The graph shows frames in Hawken frames are often delivered at a respectable 8ms or below, and those delivered above it are done at mostly very consistent rates. There are the odd spikes, but these are infrequent enough and below the 60ms threshold (where it typically becomes noticeable), so it's safe to say performance is quite smooth overall.

99th / 99.9th percentile frame time test

Exploring frame time further, the 99th percentile test depicts the figure (in ms) at which 99% of frames were rendered. What you're looking for here is a consistent line that deviates only at the last 1% section of the graph, indicating consistent, low-latency frames.

The graph shows results in line with the frame time tests, which is to say strong, consistent performance. Of particular note is the very desirable 99th percentile frame time figure of 11, which says 99% of all frames were rendered at that figure or below -- quickly, to be sure.

The 99.9th percentile frame, meanwhile, depicts the figure (in ms) at which all but 0.1% of frames were rendered faster than. Because the 99th and 99.9% figures are somewhat far apart with respect to minimum frames per second, it can concluded stuttering is present in Hawken more than one might like, though not necessarily to the point of being distracting or even noticeable (in my testing, there wasn't enough worth mentioning).


Hawken is in near-perfect shape performance-wise, delivering high, consistent framerates with only very minor stuttering almost all players will never notice.

If you're curious how the game looks and fares with the typically impressive but demanding PhysX option turned on, stay tuned for another article soon.