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Difference between revisions of "Optimizing Roll20 Performance"

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<big>'''''Attention:'''''
 
<big>'''''Attention:'''''
''Roll20 is no longer maintaining this document on the community wiki. For the most up-to-date information please visit this page on our [http://Roll20.net/help Help Center] for assistance: [https://roll20.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360041544654-Optimizing-Roll20-Performance Here]. For more information you can email us at Team@roll20.net''</big>
+
''Roll20 is no longer maintaining this document on the community wiki. For the most up-to-date information please visit this page on our [http://Roll20.net/help Help Center] for assistance: [https://roll20.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360041544654-Optimizing-Roll20-Performance Here]. For more information you can contact Roll20 by making a [https://roll20.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new Help Center Ticket]''</big>
 
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'''TL;DR''': Slow network connection? Your biggest hit is going to come in the video chat department. Try switching your game to broadcast audio-only. Have a player with a really old computer? Try limiting the number of objects on-screen, and [[#Graphics_Rendering_Performance|these additional tips]]).
 
'''TL;DR''': Slow network connection? Your biggest hit is going to come in the video chat department. Try switching your game to broadcast audio-only. Have a player with a really old computer? Try limiting the number of objects on-screen, and [[#Graphics_Rendering_Performance|these additional tips]]).
  
== Network Connection Performance ==
 
  
Network connection refers to two things: the amount of information your connection can carry at once (&quot;bandwidth&quot;) and the speed at which it can make a round-trip to the Roll20 servers (&quot;latency&quot;).
+
== Graphics Rendering ==
 
+
The virtual tabletop itself is very lightweight from a bandwidth perspective. Common actions such as sending a chat message or moving a token require very little data. In fact, you and your players will spend much more time downloading image files for tokens and maps included in the game than you will due to performing actions in the interface. For example, you would need to move 1,000 tokens at the same time to generate as much data as it takes to download one small 7 KB token image. This means that even if you have a &quot;slow&quot; connection (e.g. 768 Kb/s, a common low-end DSL speed), your use of the Roll20 tabletop should not be very affected. A slow bandwidth will mostly cause you to have a long initial load time, and you may see images loading in slowly if your GM adds more throughout the game.
+
 
+
Latency, on the other hand, determines how quickly you'll receive changes during gameplay. If you are located far away from the Roll20 servers (in Chicago, IL, USA) or have a very unreliable connection (such as via a 3G cellular signal or satellite Internet service), you may experience high latency. Roll20 is designed to be fairly fault-tolerant, so you'll still be able to participate, but you may experience delays of several seconds between someone moving a token piece and it appearing to move on your screen.
+
 
+
'''Special Considerations for Video Chat'''
+
 
+
By far, the part of Roll20 most-affected by your network connection is the integrated voice and video chat. It is recommended that you have at least 250 Kb/s of downstream bandwidth for each member of your group, as well as at least 250 Kb/s of upload bandwidth for broadcasting a video stream from your computer to the group. High latency will also affect your video chat performance, causing there to be delays or even dropped/skipped frames (resulting in &quot;jerky&quot; video). If you are using the built-in Roll20 video chat and it's not working well for you, and especially if you are located outside of the United States, you should consider using another voice and video service. Many users have had good performance with Discord, Skype, or Appear.in.
+
 
+
== Graphics Rendering Performance ==
+
  
 
The graphics rendering performance of your computer is determined by several things, including having an up-to-date browser, your CPU speed, amount of available system memory, and your graphics card. While you certainly don't need a high-end gaming PC to use Roll20, playing on an underpowered netbook computer may cause you to experience jerky or unresponsive performance. For best results, consider using a mid-range computer (one built in the last 3 or 4 years should be more than sufficient, and old computers may be fine as well) with a dedicated graphics card and a screen resolution of at least 1280x1024.
 
The graphics rendering performance of your computer is determined by several things, including having an up-to-date browser, your CPU speed, amount of available system memory, and your graphics card. While you certainly don't need a high-end gaming PC to use Roll20, playing on an underpowered netbook computer may cause you to experience jerky or unresponsive performance. For best results, consider using a mid-range computer (one built in the last 3 or 4 years should be more than sufficient, and old computers may be fine as well) with a dedicated graphics card and a screen resolution of at least 1280x1024.
Line 32: Line 21:
 
A few tips for getting the most out of Roll20 with a low-performance PC (sorted by &quot;most likely to help&quot; to &quot;least likely&quot;):
 
A few tips for getting the most out of Roll20 with a low-performance PC (sorted by &quot;most likely to help&quot; to &quot;least likely&quot;):
  
* Limit the number of PC and NPC Journal Entires you load in each game. A vast majority of users that report issues have games that contain entries for thousands of Characters and Creatures.
+
* '''Limit the number of PC and NPC {{Journal}} Entries in each game.''' A vast majority of users that report issues have games that contain entries for thousands of Characters and Creatures.
* Limit the number of objects that you use. For example, try to use only a single image on the maps layer, instead of a large number of map tiles, furniture, etc. Instead, create the map in an external program and then import it as one JPG or PNG file. The fewer objects that Roll20 has to render individually, the better your performance will be.
+
* '''Limit the number of images that you use.''' For example, try to use only a single image on the maps layer, instead of a large number of map tiles, furniture, etc. Instead, create the map in an external program and then import it as one JPG or PNG file. The fewer objects that Roll20 has to render individually, the better your performance will be.
* Keep map sizes small. (The default size of 20x20 is a good bet.) Divide your encounters across several pages if need be.
+
* '''Keep map sizes small.''' (The default size of 20x20 is a good bet.) Divide your encounters across several pages if need be.
* Turn off the grid and/or the fog of war mechanics -- both of these require extra graphics processing on each new frame draw to use, slowing down your computer.
+
* '''Turn off [[Dynamic Lighting]]'''. Larger maps takes a larger performance hit than smaller ones. Applies both for [[LDL]] and [[UDL]]
* Limit your use of the draw tools.
+
** '''reduce number of light sources/ tokens that see'''
 +
** ''' reduce amount of DL lines'''
 +
* '''Turn off the grid and/or [[FoW]] mechanics''' -- both of these require extra graphics processing on each new frame draw to use, slowing down your computer.
 +
* Limit your use of the [[Drawing Tools]]
  
== Which is it? ==
 
  
Below are a few common performance issues seen by Roll20 users, and their cause:
+
'''Note:''' '''Archiving characters/handouts/maps does not improve performance,''' only hides them form your direct access'''
  
* '''The map and sidebar are compressed into the top of my browser.''' This is usually caused by an extension or plugin. Try deactivating your extensions and plugins until you find the one causing the problem.
+
=Browser=
* '''Jerky/slow scrolling/panning/zooming.''' This is caused by low graphical rendering performance. See the section above for tips on improving graphic performance.
+
{{main|Browser}}
* '''Fog of war and/or grid completely disappears on the map.''' This is caused by your graphics card running out of video memory. You'll need to use smaller maps.
+
'''Roll20 officially only supports the [https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/ Firefox] & [https://www.google.com/chrome/index.html Google Chrome] browsers''', so if you encounter a problem using other browsers, it's recommended to switch to either of these. And no, using any Chromium-based browser like ''Microsoft Edge'' is not the same thing as using Chrome. Roll20 often works well on other browsers, but your mileage may vary.
* '''When scrolling/panning, the grid or fog of war &quot;lags behind&quot;, revealing parts of the map.''' This is caused by low graphical rendering performance. Your best bet is to use a smaller map, or not use the fog of war feature.
+
* '''Jerky video chat, skipping, dropped frames, &quot;laggy&quot;.''' Could be caused by either network or graphical performance issues. Try using voice-only chat, using a dedicated video chat service, or disabling Roll20 video/voice chat entirely.
+
* '''There is a delay between when I see a text chat message appear and when someone says something about it in the video chat.''' There is a standard delay of a second or two in the video chat -- a lot of data has to make a trip to a server and then to your other group members, and the connection speeds and latency of the hops in between slow things down. If you're seeing a larger delay than that, it's most likely a latency issue.
+
  
== Chrome Specific Settings ==
+
There is no consensus on which browser works best for Roll20, as it seems to vary based on things like what operating system you use(Windows/Mac/Linux), your hardware(physical computer), your ISP, what browser plugins you use, and even what version of the browser you have.
  
 +
Some have claimed Chrome is faster, others swear by Firefox. It can be a good idea to try out the other (Firefox/Chrome) in case things are more smooth with it.
 +
 +
== Chrome ==
 +
{{cleanup| these suggestions might be outdated}}
 
Chrome has adjustable flags that may improve performance on some systems. However please note that these are '''advanced settings''' and in certain cases '''can cause degradation or unexpected behaviors'''. To view the Flags section browse to chrome://flags/ in the address field.
 
Chrome has adjustable flags that may improve performance on some systems. However please note that these are '''advanced settings''' and in certain cases '''can cause degradation or unexpected behaviors'''. To view the Flags section browse to chrome://flags/ in the address field.
  
Line 60: Line 52:
 
* '''GPU compositing on all pages''': Force GPU compositing on all pages, not just those with GPU features.
 
* '''GPU compositing on all pages''': Force GPU compositing on all pages, not just those with GPU features.
  
==See Also==
+
==Firefox==
 +
* '''turning off "form autofill"''' Sometimes Firefox mistakes Roll20 character sheets for web form to be filled out, and then processes all the suggestions it can figure out for each field, for each character sheet.
 +
 
 +
= Network Connection =
 +
{{cleanup| these suggestions might be outdated}}
 +
Network connection refers to two things: the amount of information your connection can carry at once (&quot;bandwidth&quot;) and the speed at which it can make a round-trip to the Roll20 servers (&quot;latency&quot;).
 +
 
 +
The virtual tabletop itself is very lightweight from a bandwidth perspective. Common actions such as sending a chat message or moving a token require very little data. In fact, you and your players will spend much more time downloading image files for tokens and maps included in the game than you will due to performing actions in the interface. For example, you would need to move 1,000 tokens at the same time to generate as much data as it takes to download one small 7 KB token image. This means that even if you have a &quot;slow&quot; connection (e.g. 768 Kb/s, a common low-end DSL speed), your use of the Roll20 tabletop should not be very affected. A slow bandwidth will mostly cause you to have a long initial load time, and you may see images loading in slowly if your GM adds more throughout the game.
 +
 
 +
Latency, on the other hand, determines how quickly you'll receive changes during gameplay. If you have a very unreliable connection (such as via a 3G cellular signal or satellite Internet service), you may experience high latency. Roll20 is designed to be fairly fault-tolerant, so you'll still be able to participate, but you may experience delays of several seconds between someone moving a token piece and it appearing to move on your screen.
 +
 
 +
==Video Chat==
 +
By far, the part of Roll20 most-affected by your network connection is the integrated voice and video chat. It is recommended that you have at least 250 Kb/s of downstream bandwidth for each member of your group, as well as at least 250 Kb/s of upload bandwidth for broadcasting a video stream from your computer to the group. High latency will also affect your video chat performance, causing there to be delays or even dropped/skipped frames (resulting in &quot;jerky&quot; video).
 +
 
 +
If you are using the built-in Roll20 video chat and it's not working well for you, and especially if you are located outside of the United States, you could consider using another voice/video service. Many use [https://discordapp.com/ Discord] for voice/video, instead of Roll20's built-in options.
 +
 
 +
Using a separate service for voice, while using Roll20 for the tabletop and video only, might make for a more stable Roll20 experience. That way, if your video/voice service or Roll20 have issues, you have the other one to rely  on. If Discord is
 +
 
 +
= Common Issues =
 +
Below are a few common performance issues seen by Roll20 users, and their cause:
 +
 
 +
* '''The map and [[sidebar]] are compressed into the top of my browser.''' This is usually caused by an extension or plugin. Try deactivating your extensions and plugins until you find the one causing the problem.
 +
* '''Jerky/slow scrolling/panning/zooming.''' This is caused by low graphical rendering performance. See the section above for tips on improving graphic performance.
 +
* '''Fog of War and/or grid completely disappears on the map.''' This is caused by your graphics card running out of video memory. You'll need to use smaller maps.
 +
* '''When scrolling/panning, the grid or fog of war &quot;lags behind&quot;, revealing parts of the map.''' This is caused by low graphical rendering performance. Your best bet is to use a smaller map, or not use the fog of war feature.
 +
* '''Jerky video chat, skipping, dropped frames, &quot;laggy&quot;.''' Could be caused by either network or graphical performance issues. Try using voice-only chat, using a dedicated video chat service, or disabling Roll20 video/voice chat entirely.
 +
* '''There is a delay between when I see a text chat message appear and when someone says something about it in the video chat.''' There is a standard delay of a second or two in the video chat -- a lot of data has to make a trip to a server and then to your other group members, and the connection speeds and latency of the hops in between slow things down. If you're seeing a larger delay than that, it's most likely a latency issue.
 +
 
 +
=See Also=
 +
* [[Browser]]
 
* [[Best Practices for Files on Roll20]]
 
* [[Best Practices for Files on Roll20]]
 
* [[Dynamic Lighting Examples#Best Performance Guide|Dynamic Lightning - Best Performance Guide]]
 
* [[Dynamic Lighting Examples#Best Performance Guide|Dynamic Lightning - Best Performance Guide]]
 
<br />
 
<br />
 
[[Category:Guides]]
 
[[Category:Guides]]

Latest revision as of 13:35, 1 April 2021

Attention: Roll20 is no longer maintaining this document on the community wiki. For the most up-to-date information please visit this page on our Help Center for assistance: Here. For more information you can contact Roll20 by making a Help Center Ticket

As far as most gaming-related applications go, Roll20 has very low network and graphical performance requirements. The vast majority of our users never need to worry about any of the following. However, if you (or one of your players) has a very slow Internet connection or a very old computer, these tips may help you have a smoother time playing.

Roll20 is a web-based application, and as such there are two primary performance considerations: the speed of the network connection, and the speed of the graphics rendering on the client's computer.

Note: Your own individual results may (and probably will) vary from other people playing in your game. If you're the GM designing the Roll20 Game, you'll want to keep the worst performing client (which may not be you) in mind. Just because a 500 unit by 500 unit map scrolls smoothly on your computer doesn't mean it will work well for your player with a 4-year-old machine.

TL;DR: Slow network connection? Your biggest hit is going to come in the video chat department. Try switching your game to broadcast audio-only. Have a player with a really old computer? Try limiting the number of objects on-screen, and these additional tips).


Contents

[edit] Graphics Rendering

The graphics rendering performance of your computer is determined by several things, including having an up-to-date browser, your CPU speed, amount of available system memory, and your graphics card. While you certainly don't need a high-end gaming PC to use Roll20, playing on an underpowered netbook computer may cause you to experience jerky or unresponsive performance. For best results, consider using a mid-range computer (one built in the last 3 or 4 years should be more than sufficient, and old computers may be fine as well) with a dedicated graphics card and a screen resolution of at least 1280x1024.

The graphics rendering of your computer directly affects how quickly things can be drawn on your screen as the scene changes. So when a token is moved or added, or you zoom, or scroll/pan around the map, the screen is being constantly redrawn. The better your graphics rendering performance, the smoother those operations will "feel".

A few tips for getting the most out of Roll20 with a low-performance PC (sorted by "most likely to help" to "least likely"):

  • Limit the number of PC and NPC N Journal Entries in each game. A vast majority of users that report issues have games that contain entries for thousands of Characters and Creatures.
  • Limit the number of images that you use. For example, try to use only a single image on the maps layer, instead of a large number of map tiles, furniture, etc. Instead, create the map in an external program and then import it as one JPG or PNG file. The fewer objects that Roll20 has to render individually, the better your performance will be.
  • Keep map sizes small. (The default size of 20x20 is a good bet.) Divide your encounters across several pages if need be.
  • Turn off Dynamic Lighting. Larger maps takes a larger performance hit than smaller ones. Applies both for LDL and UDL
    • reduce number of light sources/ tokens that see
    • reduce amount of DL lines
  • Turn off the grid and/or FoW mechanics -- both of these require extra graphics processing on each new frame draw to use, slowing down your computer.
  • Limit your use of the Drawing Tools


Note: Archiving characters/handouts/maps does not improve performance, only hides them form your direct access

[edit] Browser

Main Page: Browser
Roll20 officially only supports the Firefox & Google Chrome browsers, so if you encounter a problem using other browsers, it's recommended to switch to either of these. And no, using any Chromium-based browser like Microsoft Edge is not the same thing as using Chrome. Roll20 often works well on other browsers, but your mileage may vary.

There is no consensus on which browser works best for Roll20, as it seems to vary based on things like what operating system you use(Windows/Mac/Linux), your hardware(physical computer), your ISP, what browser plugins you use, and even what version of the browser you have.

Some have claimed Chrome is faster, others swear by Firefox. It can be a good idea to try out the other (Firefox/Chrome) in case things are more smooth with it.

[edit] Chrome

Chrome has adjustable flags that may improve performance on some systems. However please note that these are advanced settings and in certain cases can cause degradation or unexpected behaviors. To view the Flags section browse to chrome://flags/ in the address field.

Flags that may help with performance:

  • Override software rendering list: This allows GPU acceleration on unsupported configurations. Useful if you tend to run experimental GPU drivers or if you think your GPU is not being recognized for some reason.
  • GPU Accelerated SVG Filters: This lets the GPU do work for some type of SVG filters.
  • Threaded compositing: This will allow secondary threads to be dedicated to page compositing.
  • Disable GPU VSync: Removes Vsync with your monitor's refresh rate.
  • GPU compositing on all pages: Force GPU compositing on all pages, not just those with GPU features.

[edit] Firefox

  • turning off "form autofill" Sometimes Firefox mistakes Roll20 character sheets for web form to be filled out, and then processes all the suggestions it can figure out for each field, for each character sheet.

[edit] Network Connection

Network connection refers to two things: the amount of information your connection can carry at once ("bandwidth") and the speed at which it can make a round-trip to the Roll20 servers ("latency").

The virtual tabletop itself is very lightweight from a bandwidth perspective. Common actions such as sending a chat message or moving a token require very little data. In fact, you and your players will spend much more time downloading image files for tokens and maps included in the game than you will due to performing actions in the interface. For example, you would need to move 1,000 tokens at the same time to generate as much data as it takes to download one small 7 KB token image. This means that even if you have a "slow" connection (e.g. 768 Kb/s, a common low-end DSL speed), your use of the Roll20 tabletop should not be very affected. A slow bandwidth will mostly cause you to have a long initial load time, and you may see images loading in slowly if your GM adds more throughout the game.

Latency, on the other hand, determines how quickly you'll receive changes during gameplay. If you have a very unreliable connection (such as via a 3G cellular signal or satellite Internet service), you may experience high latency. Roll20 is designed to be fairly fault-tolerant, so you'll still be able to participate, but you may experience delays of several seconds between someone moving a token piece and it appearing to move on your screen.

[edit] Video Chat

By far, the part of Roll20 most-affected by your network connection is the integrated voice and video chat. It is recommended that you have at least 250 Kb/s of downstream bandwidth for each member of your group, as well as at least 250 Kb/s of upload bandwidth for broadcasting a video stream from your computer to the group. High latency will also affect your video chat performance, causing there to be delays or even dropped/skipped frames (resulting in "jerky" video).

If you are using the built-in Roll20 video chat and it's not working well for you, and especially if you are located outside of the United States, you could consider using another voice/video service. Many use Discord for voice/video, instead of Roll20's built-in options.

Using a separate service for voice, while using Roll20 for the tabletop and video only, might make for a more stable Roll20 experience. That way, if your video/voice service or Roll20 have issues, you have the other one to rely on. If Discord is

[edit] Common Issues

Below are a few common performance issues seen by Roll20 users, and their cause:

  • The map and sidebar are compressed into the top of my browser. This is usually caused by an extension or plugin. Try deactivating your extensions and plugins until you find the one causing the problem.
  • Jerky/slow scrolling/panning/zooming. This is caused by low graphical rendering performance. See the section above for tips on improving graphic performance.
  • Fog of War and/or grid completely disappears on the map. This is caused by your graphics card running out of video memory. You'll need to use smaller maps.
  • When scrolling/panning, the grid or fog of war "lags behind", revealing parts of the map. This is caused by low graphical rendering performance. Your best bet is to use a smaller map, or not use the fog of war feature.
  • Jerky video chat, skipping, dropped frames, "laggy". Could be caused by either network or graphical performance issues. Try using voice-only chat, using a dedicated video chat service, or disabling Roll20 video/voice chat entirely.
  • There is a delay between when I see a text chat message appear and when someone says something about it in the video chat. There is a standard delay of a second or two in the video chat -- a lot of data has to make a trip to a server and then to your other group members, and the connection speeds and latency of the hops in between slow things down. If you're seeing a larger delay than that, it's most likely a latency issue.

[edit] See Also