Kerbal Space Program

So, one of the reasons I upgraded my computer was so that I could do things like running Kerbal. I’ve got a new motherboard, with a Ryzen 5 3600 processor, and 32G of RAM. But when I load KSP, I develop cursor lag. Is this because I only have two gig of memory on the graphics card?

29 thoughts on “Kerbal Space Program”

  1. You post this knowing you purposely put in a low performance graphics card? I doubt the CPU has a whole lot to do with it. What are we to say? Yes?

    I’m not a user of KSP, but from a YouTube video I’ve seen it is a lot of fun when you have a more massive “Earth” with 2g. What a rocket it takes just to get to orbit!

  2. I’m sure you’ll enjoy KSP. The product page says 512M minimum, 1G recommended video RAM, so you should be good there. It could be a graphics-card horsepower issue (current drivers installed? do other graphics workloads run normally?) or a system problem like thermal throttling if you installed the CPU cooler yourself (check CPU temperature under a benchmark load like prime95).

    Try the configuration options for KSP in-game: wind down the resolution and texture quality a little to see if it helps.

    1. I haven’t even really started to use it. The problem starts when the program loads.

      As for card drivers, I assume that Anaconda figured that out the first time I booted into Fedora with the new hardware. It’s an AMD Radeon.

      1. The problem is probably the age of the card, not the amount of video ram, as it has enough of the latter. Which model Radeon did you get?

        (If you want to game, even if just low end, take the card back and get a Radeon RX 560 for about $100.)

      2. In general (and there are a few exceptions, emphasis on few) Linux and games don’t do well together. Mainly games are optimized under and for Windows. Including use of hyper threading etc. If you see one processor being maxed and the others idle not a good sign. If you want my opine, get a dedicated Windows machine for games and leave Linux for the serious work. OR you can try running Windows as a VM under Linux. Believe it or not, this might work better than you’d imagine.

        1. From what I’ve read, Valve has put a huge amount of effort into getting Wine to run games pretty well. You generally also have to get the proprietary Radeon or nVidia drivers to get good performance, though, and in my limited experience, that’s a big PITA.

          Rand, I don’t know if you’d want to do this or not, but the Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 10 will run most stuff outside of stuff that drives hardware from a parallel port, like a CNC machine or something. There’s even a freeware X server so you can run Linux X applications. It’s pretty impressive.

          1. Rick C. any experience installing graphics card Win drivers on top of Windows as the guest OS under a VM? Like either Wine or VirtualBox from Oracle?

            Should that work Rand would be able to continue to use Linux as the main OS and attach to a Win/VM session for KSP with better results than running native w/o drivers.

            Or as you suggest he could do the opposite and run Linux as a VM on a Windows host. I’d prefer the former but that’s just me.

            I’ve also had very good experience with Cygwin/X under Windows, but not every app will work under that. I use it mostly for XTerm, Emacs and limited builds. No games other than what comes with Gnu.

          2. David Spain: no, I’ve only ever run Linux VMs inside Windows, not the other way around.

            You can use Cygwin but it’s a bit funky. Running a Windows-native X server and WSL in Windows 10, everything is native: you can actually run Ubuntu and get packages with apt-get the normal way. As far as I know, most programs work just fine except for things that do direct hardware access (like talking to parallel ports to drive external hardware as I mentioned above.)

  3. Linux, and video card, and video card drivers are troublesome. Go off to the internet and look to see if people are complaining about your card.

  4. My recollection is that builtin Linux graphics drivers are pretty bad — you’d need to install the ones from the manufacturer to get decent performance, assuming they make Linux drivers.

    1. For AMD cards you get Linux drivers direct from them, not from the card maker, and the process is a lot like ESR’s old post about CUPS.

  5. I play a massively modded version of KSP (real solar system and realism overhaul FTW), so most of my lag comes from that. But in my experience, the startup portion of the game isn’t particularly user-friendly and has a tendency to not be a good windows app and let other stuff process cleanly, it can hang your whole system for a while at certain parts of the startup. Once loaded, the game itself does better. KSP doesn’t do multi-threading very well, so it’s going to have a tendency to max out one core and be limited by the power one core can provide. And to the extent that it has graphics issues, it’s a matter of how many parts you have on your craft and all their textures, so graphics memory and performance is going to matter more than raw GPU power.

  6. Yeah, this is probably all about the video card and partially about the drivers. Maybe better/correct drivers would help if you’re running pure software emulation or something equally terrible now.

    Intel graphics are very well supported but really only suitable for light gaming; Nvidia probably has the best Linux cards but requires proprietary drivers, which can be problematic if your running and obscure Linux version, etc. AMD cards often have decent open drivers but the closed ones may be better. YMMV and my knowledge may be slightly out of date.

    The best Linux benchmarking for video cards I know of is here:

    https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=category&item=Graphics+Cards

  7. Fedora apparently installs current AMD drivers right out of the gate—that’s pretty nice. (I use Fedora as my main environment, but with an nvidia card, for which several extra steps are needed.)

    These commands will show whether the AMD driver is being used (or decided it would run with your card):

    glxinfo | grep -i “vendor\|rendering”
    grep LoadModule /var/log/Xorg.0.log

    If you see anything like “mesa”, that would be software rendering, which is uselessly slow.

    For what it’s worth, KSP runs very well under Linux/nvidia, so I wouldn’t be worried about the Linux part. As other commenters have said, Fedora plus budget modern AMD card ought to be fine.

  8. Video Driver is my guess for the culprit but what is it doing to memory . If you loading thru Steam it may be calling up the 32 bit version can manually ran the 64 bit executable from the directory. Use up a bit more of that 32 gb of ram. Maybe get in and drop graphics settings

  9. @Rand; just a hunch, but are you using any sort of monitor/graphics control, such as Catalyst? I use the latter to manage my multi-screens, and it has all sorts of settings regarding texture quality, vertical refresh lag, etc, for gaming. One of the settings might possibly reduce your bottleneck?

    Best of luck fixing it, and please let us know what you end up doing to fix this.

  10. I’ve been playing KSP since version 0.15. It’s a great game, but it is loaded with tons of technical debt. There’s a bad memory leak in there somewhere; after playing for a few hours, it accesses the disk so much that it turns into a slideshow. I suspect that the memory leak is causing it to run out of RAM and thus use lots of virtual memory.

    KSP2 is supposed to be coming out next year, and is being written by a different company, starting with a clean sheet. If they take the time to do it right, then it will avoid the issues that cause KSP to bog down.

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