Gears 5 Developers Saw Massive Performance Benefits with Visual Studio 2019

Posted on November 16, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Games, PC gaming, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X with 4 Comments

The developers behind The Coalition’s blockbuster game Gears 5 say that using Visual Studio 2019 improved the project’s build times by 2.67x.

“The team in The Coalition building Gears 5 tested the compile and link times in three different versions of Visual Studio,” Microsoft’s David Li writes. “The experiment was conducted to measure not only overall end-to-end time improvements but also link time improvements in the preview compared to the current release. Using Visual Studio 2019, the team saw 2.67x faster end-to-end build times and 27.9x faster link times compared to Visual Studio 2017.”

Gears 5 is, of course, an enormous software application. According to Microsoft, it took The Coalition 41 minutes (!) to compile the game using Visual Studio 2017. But when moving to Visual Studio 2019, the compilation time dropped to 18.76 minutes. Linking times improved even more, from 11.28 minutes in VS 2017 to just 29.57 seconds in VS 2019.

Oddly, The Coalition can’t move Gears 5 to Visual Studio 2019 despite the improvements because the Xbox Developer Kit (XDK) doesn’t yet support this release, and Gears 5 is a cross-platform game. But Aurel from The Coalition says that this experience prompted it to use Visual Studio 2019 for its next (unannounced) project. “The benefits are many,” she says. “Faster compile/link times, more responsive UI, much more stable debugging.”

Interesting stuff.

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