Valve explains how it fixed Elden Ring on Steam Deck

While Elden Ring had numerous issues on PC, the Steam Deck version now runs much smoother and Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais shared how they fixed the handheld gaming PC issues with the game.

Upon launch, one of the biggest issues encountered by those who decided to play Elden Ring on PC was frame rate and stuttering. As reported by Eurogamer, his “working theory” was that “we were looking at another PC game that was suffering from shader compilation issues: split-second pauses when a new visual effect came into play.”

This is a much bigger problem to solve on PC as the range of hardware specs is obviously much wider on systems than on console. Using the same thought process, the Steam Deck also has “an advantage because it’s a fixed piece of hardware, just like a console”.

“On the Linux/Proton side, we have a fairly extensive shader pre-caching system with multiple tiers of source-level and binary cache representations pre-set and shared by all users,” Griffais said. “On Deck we’re taking this to the next level as we’re targeting a unique GPU/driver combo and the majority of the shaders you run locally are actually pre-built on servers in our infrastructure. When the game is trying to output a shader compilation via the graphics API of your choice, these are usually skipped as we find the precompiled cache entry on disk.

“Shader pipelined stuttering isn’t the majority of the big issues we’ve seen in this game. The recent example we highlighted has more to do with the game creating many thousands of resources like command buffers in certain places, which caused our memory manager to go into overdrive trying to deal with it. We now cache such assignments more aggressively, which seems to have helped a lot.

“I can’t tell if this is also the problem with gameplay experiences on other platforms, but we played on Deck with all of those elements and the experience was very smooth.”

As shown in a video by Digital Foundry, “Using a mix of the medium quality preset with strategically improved high settings (textures and anti-aliasing) along with reducing the shader quality from medium to low (doesn’t seem to make any difference to the graphics) and enable Valve’s 30fps system level cap and what we have is effectively a 720p rendering of the PlayStation 4 version of Elden Ring.

Another benefit of the Steam Deck is that “because Valve’s 30fps cap actually delivers 33.3ms frametimes – as opposed to From Software’s internal clock-based solution – you get a much smoother experience.”

For more on Elden Ring’s performance, check out our review of how it performs on PS5 vs. Xbox Series X/S.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and further Pull out. Valve explains how it fixed Elden Ring on Steam Deck

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