As I part of testing my latest 3D browser game Bumper To Bumper in various browsers, I’ve noticed that the performance of the game dropped very low on Google Chrome and all Chromium based browsers (Edge, Brave). By low, meaning less than 1 FPS.
This left me scratching my head, as I thought that I maybe did something wrong. Few months ago, I’ve released Last Ball and it was performing very well across all browsers. I went to recheck all my browser games using Chrome and its relatives and, behold, frame rate was very bad even on my 2D browser games.
As the performance was OK on Firefox, this pointed to an issue with Chromium browsers. Turns out, in Chromium keeps and updates a GPU blacklist (blocklist, for the PC people), available here: https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/src/gpu/+/master/config/software_rendering_list.json
It is possible to configure Chrome to ignore this blocklist, using chrome://flags/ and enable the “Override software rendering list” (ignore-gpu-blocklist).
My GPU, a Radeon 6670, is pretty old and its last drivers I have are from 2015. However, it can still run PC 3D games with a fairly decent FPS (albeit on low graphics quality). Apparently, it cannot run Chrome anymore, according to the bright minds behind this browser. Unless you hack it.
What I found it funny was that Edge too exhibited the same behavior. I run Windows 10 with this graphics card and have hardware accelaration, but I cannot run the Microsoft browser with a bit of hardware acceleration? 😀
My issue, however, is from the point of view of a casual browser game player. They head to some site to play some games and notice that frame rate is crap, and, being casual, they move on because they think the game is crap, when, in fact, the browser is a piece of wonderful engineering.
Moreover, they decided to turn off hardware acceleration opaquely, without notifying the user that their graphic card will no longer provide hardware accelaration in the browser.
And sure, you decided to kill Flash games because the plugin didn’t live up to the standard of security. Please, don’t kill WebGL games as well.
So, Chrome developers, don’t act like you know what’s better for the user and notify them when you make changes that massively affect their browsing experience?