Gears 5 Developers Saw Massive Performance Benefits with Visual Studio 2019

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

4 responses to “Gears 5 Developers Saw Massive Performance Benefits with Visual Studio 2019”

  1. illuminated

    Sound like C++ project. It is the greatest developer performance killer.

    I wish everybody would move to C# and if garbage collector becomes an issue then somehow push Microsoft to work on improvements. Heck, even Microsoft could use their own tools more and gain from much more productive language that is C#. C++ niche and it should go into retirement together with Cobol.

    • MutualCore

      In reply to illuminated:

      You can't have a GC running inside a game engine. Performance killer! You trade what's difficult for developers(C++ development) for run-time performance.

    • wright_is

      In reply to illuminated:

      COBOL isn't in retirement yet. There are still hundreds of millions of lines of code in daily use around the world.

      Our ERP system is still written in COBOL, for example. A lot of big banking systems are still COBOL based.

      There are different languages for a reason, all are good at some things, worse at others. A .Net based language makes for quick development, but it has compromises elsewhere - low level system access, some performance issues etc.

      There is no perfect language, you chose the language that is most appropriate to the task at hand.

  2. rkpatrick

    "because the Xbox Developer Kit (XDK) doesn’t yet support this release"

    That sounds about par for the course. I've constantly dealt with headaches every time a new release of VS comes out (and VSV2019 is not remotely new), with the myriad of *MS* add-ons that don't work with the current version of MS' own flagship dev product.