Performance in Linux vs. Windows

This was originally going to be a reply to this suggestion because performance was brought up there, but it kinda got long so I’m making it its own post.

tl;dr: On the same computer, same plaza server (30 people), same graphics settings, I see a pretty noticeable FPS increase when running the game under Proton on Linux compared to just running it natively in Windows.


A few FPS numbers

Quick disclaimer, obviously other peoples mileage will vary running the game in Proton. The came could run worse, or just not run at all for you, this post is based on my experience using it with Tower Unite. Bhopping around the same route at the Center Fountain/Main Plaza/Tower Lobby areas I consistently get above 60 FPS. The framerate is usually in the high 60s to 80s range, with there being a few split seconds where it’ll go up to the 90s, usually when facing the Game World Ports. On Windows I get somewhere between the high 40s to low 60s, with the highest number I saw being 82 FPS when facing Laser Tag.

Walking around the bottom floor of the arcade, 45-50 FPS on Windows and 60-70 FPS on Linux. Was able to get it to hit up to 90 FPS when standing in front of Vox and looking towards Avalanche/Dizzy, but that wasn’t consistent. I was trying to make sure that I was keeping my camera pointed at actual arcade machines and not just blank walls.


Differences between tests

In Linux it is running off a M.2 NVMe drive that’s about 60% faster than the 2.5" SATA III SSD it’s loading off of in Windows. I’m not sure how much of the plaza is being streamed in and out of existence within the area I was bhopping around, or how that would affect performance, but I’m mentioning it because it’s the only other difference besides the operating system, and I guess the programs I had open. On Windows the only things I had open were Tower, Steam, and Discord. On Linux I had Tower, Steam, Discord, Thunar, Guake, and Firefox with a YouTube video playing and a few other tabs open in the background. I might have also had GIMP open too, not sure though.


My Thoughts + PC Info/Game Settings

Because they’re both using the same version of the game, it makes me wonder how well the devs can get the game to run on Windows just because of how doodie the OS can be sometimes. Like- the devs didn’t do anything extra to make it run better under Proton–it just does–which sucks because it means that, in it’s current state, the game is able to deliver more performance than what a majority of people may be able to experience (assuming these results are consistent across the board). I imagine it’s frustrating having a performance boost like that be out of your control for the most part. Like, you can adjust the minimum and recommended hardware listings and tell people they may need to upgrade their computers, but having people move off the OS that has over 90% marketshare on the Steam Hardware Survey seems like a bit of a stretch.

This also makes me wonder how the game’ll run on the Steam Deck once that comes out. Mac has mentioned the GDP Win 2 running at 40-50 FPS, so with the more powerful hardware in the Steam Deck plus a possible performance gain from running it in Proton, I think Tower Unite on the Steam Deck will be pretty solid. If/when Mac gets a dev kit, I definitely wanna see some of how it runs in patron-media-annoucements.

Bonus: While typing this out I rejoined that server, which now has an extra ten people, more people are in the plaza (instead of Arcade or Casino), and some of them are spamming the rocket launcher, it’s still hitting framerates in the high 70s.

Gonna also include my PC specs and game settings just in case that’s in some way useful for the anyone reading this.

PC Config

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT @ ~4.11 GHz
GPU: Sapphire Pulse RX 580 8GB
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB @ 3200MHz
Motherboard: ASRock B450M Pro4
PSU: EVGA Supernova 650 G5
Windows Drive: PNY CS900 480GB, Windows 10 Home Version 2004 Build 19041.1237
Linux Drive: Western Digital SN550 500GB, Debian 11 Bullseye Stable

Also including stuff about my other monitors, because Windows can be sorta goofy in terms of CPU usage with the Desktop Window Manager and multiple monitors sometimes.
Primary Monitor: Asus VG248 (1920x1080 @ 144Hz)
Secondary Monitor: Dell E172FP (1280x1024 @ 75Hz)
Tertiary Monitor: Hanns·G HW191D (1440x900 @ 75Hz)

Windows extras:

  • GPU driver from August
  • Opted in to the Steam Client Beta
  • Had about 220 processes running in Task Manager
  • Cortana and web search in the Start menu are disables via registry keys

Linux extras:

  • GPU driver from April
  • Not opted in to Steam Client Beta
  • Had about 300 tasks running in top
  • Proton Version: 6.3-7
  • Desktop Environment: Xfce 4.16
  • Window Manager: Xfwm4
  • Theming: Nanodesu, Nordic, Breeze, Cyan Breeze Dark
  • All packages are up to date (as of October 8th, 2021 @ 07:54 AM UTC)
  • CPU frequency less consistent than in Windows, tends to go a little above 4.11 GHz
Game Config

Screen Resolution: 1920x1080 @ 144Hz
Screen Mode: Fullscreen Borderless
VSync: Off
FPS Limit: 144
FOV: 120
Resolution Scale: 100
Gamma: 220
Texture Quality: Ultra
Shadow Quality: Ultra
Effects Quality: Ultra
Post Processing Quality: Ultra
View Distance: Ultra
Foliage & Detail: Ultra
Ocean Quality: Ultra
Mirror Quality: Ultra
Anti-Aliasing Method: None
High Quality Shaders: On
Ambient Occlusion: On
Placeable Light Shadows: On
Workshop Item Shadows: On
Decals: On
Gun Flash Effects: On
Dynamic Weapon Scopes: On
Weather Particles: On
Weather Scenery: On
Day/Night Mode: Animated for both Lobby and Condo
Media Video Resolution: 720
Media Dynamic Lights: On
Display FPS: Off (using Steam in-game FPS counter)
User-Interface Scale: 120
Workshop Player Models: On
Launch Options: -notexturestreaming -nosplash


Conclusion

TU runs better for me on Linux than it does on Windows by a pretty decent amout.

If anyone else has some free time to compare how Tower runs on their computers on Linux vs. Windows, I’d be interested to see how it runs for other people. I suppose you don’t have to post everything, but things like CPU, GPU, RAM, distro, desktop environment, window manager, whether you use X or Wayland, and if you do or wwdon’t use one of the Steam Play options and instead use custom setups for Wine or Proton, or if you use something like Proton-GE.

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I’ve had a similar experience, however my linux system is running off of a external hard drive.
Despite being much slower to read/write from tower unite still runs around ~40-60fps in lobbies on linux+proton instead of 20-40fps on windows.

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