Games, Graphics, and the ‘Gamification of IT'

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For game designers, graphics performance can make the difference between a best-seller and a clunker, weighed down by bad reviews. That’s why virtually every game designer tries to ensure they’re getting the most out of the hardware their code runs on, and that bottlenecks are found and fixed before a game’s general release.

And while graphics performance has been largely a secondary issue for business applications, the increasing “gamification” of IT apps, including splash screens and Easter eggs for completing tasks, means that even business code is more susceptible to graphics performance hiccups than ever before.

Whether working with DirectX, OpenGL, or Metal graphics APIs, there is a single performance analysis toolset that can help ensure optimum performance, namely the Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers, a set of tools designed to unlock the full potential of your favorite platform while improving a game’s frame rate and performance, using a convenient panel overlay that lets you quickly identify problems and perform what-if experiments without having to recompile source code.

Here’s a brief rundown of what you get with this free download from Intel and how these tools help with performance profiling:

A System Analyzer for live high-level system analysis. This tool helps you isolate common performance bottlenecks of your game or graphics application – in real time. It lets you view the performance impact by experimenting with override modes. It also gives you the ability to figure out whether the application is CPU or GPU bound and capture frames or traces for detailed offline analysis. All with no code modifications or special compile or run-time libraries

A Graphics Frame Analyzer for powerful single-frame analysis. This amazing tool give you the ability to perform frame analysis for GPU-bound applications with detailed metrics down to the draw call level, including shaders, render states, pixel history, and textures. This tool lets you do a deep dive into any frame you capture and experiment with performance and visual impacts without recompiling source code.

The tool provides multiple other features, including an API log to identify visual errors by function and call errors and warnings to APIs, a pipeline view to visualize and solve performance bottlenecks in the graphics rendering pipeline, and a resource viewer to analyze texture bandwidth, optimize complex geometry, modify render states or edit shaders. Graphics Frame Analyzer not only lets you verify a draw call’s contribution to the frame, alpha channel, color, format, and depth buffers, but also helps you solve issues with shadowing, lighting, or color scheme issues by locating misplaced objects

A new Graphics Multiframe Analyzer for Metal applications that offers powerful, single-frame analysis for Metal* API. This tool lets you identify performance bottlenecks by capturing multiple back-to-back frames as a stream.  This stream can then be shared, analyzed, and replayed in the application. This feature helps you analyze any frame in the Metal stream and isolate performance improvements with the Pause Mode, and quickly understand how a scene renders using Fast Scrub Mode.

Then, by rapidly iterating through a stream’s frames during offline playback, you can quickly determine hardware bottlenecks with live analysis metrics and share a captured stream that display performance analysis results.

A Graphics Trace Analyzer (formerly Platform Analyzer) to analyze, view and verify hardware bottlenecks. Using this tool, you can identify how to evenly distribute workloads across the CPU and GPU, by exploring queued GPU tasks, examining the CPU thread utilization, and pinpointing CPU and GPU activity based on captured platform and hardware metrics. You can use the timeline to review tasks, threads, Microsoft DirectX*, OpenGL* ES, and GPU-accelerated media applications, understand full system latency with virtual reality (VR) compositor events, and reduce the application workload by collecting only the data you need.

Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers is easy to use and hassle free. Analyzing your application does not require any code changes, recompiles, environment changes or IDE. This tool suite is also compatible with games built in Unity* and Unreal*.

Best of all, the Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers is free to download and use, and why not? Intel wants every developer to get the absolute most out of their code and their hardware investments.

Click here for a free download and try it for yourself.